A PAX East Follow-Up

Red Dead first started way back in 2004 with Red Dead Revolver, which was met with generally lukewarm reviews.  Rockstar Games is prepped to heat things up with the game’s sequel, Red Dead Redemption.  The game brings the familiar open-world format and the Wild West theme to the new generation of consoles, and it’s something to mark your calendars for.

Redemption focuses in on a former bandit by the name of John Marston.  In the final years of the “Wild West” era, the United States government is looking to bring a definitive, sweeping rule of law to the not-so-new frontier.  To this end, they approach Marston “through his family” and task him with tracking down and “bringing in” a series of “prior acquaintances” and “bringing law” back to the west.  Translated, that means the feds threaten his family so he’ll kill a bunch of his old gang-mates so they can take back the territory back from the outlaws. 

Red Dead takes place in an open-world environment in the same vein as the Grand Theft Auto titles, with a dash of Oblivion.  The game handles very similarly to GTA, though, with a nearly identical button layout.  They did add a few features, however, like execution-style kills, where if John is nearby a wounded enemy, he’ll hug up against them, place the gun right on the guy and blow him away.  It also has a unique currency system that allows you to do stuff like kill animals for their pelts and trade other things.  The biggest difference, which returns from Revolver, is the “Dead Eye” system, which allows you to “mark” enemies for a bullet by looking at them, then snipe several enemies instantly.  This adds a bit of flare and variety to combat, but keeps it feeling pretty intuitive.

The build they had available at PAX allowed you to trek across a desert, which had little more than tumbleweeds and sandstorms.  There were some interesting random encounters to be had, however, with random travelers that can be found (I came across a covered wagon) and some mini-games to partake in (mainly involved around shooting the local wildlife).  The mission they had available involved teaming up with a crazed undertaker in order to find a treasure chest which had been captured by a band of outlaws.  Naturally, you have to shoot your way through a large crew of rough-riders using a variety of weapons (including revolvers, shotguns, hunting rifles and a good ol’ knoif) which was fairly simple, but enjoyable.

Red Dead Redemption has the feel of a potential classic, and with a May release, it’s set to keep emptying your wallet in this crazy first half of 2010.  Keep an eye on MyGamer for more details as they become available, and check out Red Dead Redemption’s website here.

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