Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Red Dead Redemption

Just as I said I would last week, I got my hands on the Playstation 3 version despite some unfounded rumors that the Xbox 360 one had less hiccups. And so far I can't let up on this game!

Red Dead Redemption is a production that's hard to describe to non-gamers. All I can say is that it's an open-ended playroom with the wild west as the setting. Anything you imagine that description to be, within gaming constraints, that's probably what's in there. Dirty saloons littered with colorful people? Yep. Shootouts at high noon? Yep. Stagecoach chases, posses, even red injuns? Yep, yep, and triple yep!

And, hey, you can even hunt and skin wild game and play saloon favorites like poker and blackjack, too! All for a little extra cash in your pocket to buy items such as chewing tabacky and gin. Okay, well in the game those items have more to do with increasing your health and precision aiming rather than giving you mouth cancer and cirrhosis of the liver . . . but still cool nonetheless.

Red Dead is created by Rockstar Games, the same people who brought us, among other favorites, the Grand Theft Auto series. And like the latest installment in that series, RDR borrows the same game engine and basic mission layout system. Not to mention the cover and targeting systems being rather similar in most respects.

So far, as I mentioned in my sidebar on this page, I haven't been doing much progressing on the main portion of the game. I played a few missions to whet my appetite and learn the basics, but honestly I've been spending most of my days simply exploring this wide-open gorgeous world the developers have created.

In many ways, this game is superior to GTA IV. In my opinion, the vastness of the plains and open prairie lends more to exploration and soaking in all the details. Whereas in GTA IV you were down and dirty in an urban recreation of present-day NYC--and all that such a setting entails--in RDR you have more time to just mosey on down the trail on your favorite mare or gelding, survey the land, and just generally take your time going about your business. You have few modern distractions like buddies calling you up on your cell phone to hang out, or annoying family members needing your help to rescue them from dumpsters. No, just you and your horse this time around.

Yessiree -- at the end of the in-game day, after a nice hunt or a big fat win at the tables, it feels good strolling through the main street at dusk on the way to my lodgings, iron strapped to my side, a polite nod to the passing ladies, and knowing that time here runs at a slower pace.

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