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Spartan Scoop


Time to play poker to raise my honor
Courtesy of Rockstar Games
Cover of Red Dead Redemption


Red Dead Redemption, one of the greatest games ever made. Red Dead Redemption focuses around the fictional town of Blackwater, and the heist that the Van Der Linde gang did over ten years prior. You play as John Marston, a former outlaw turned government employee in order to catch the members of the gang that evaded death or capture. Aside from the hunt for your former family, there are a large number of side activities for the player to participate in. The quest the player finds are all their own self contained stories focused around the subjects of the quest.

The Good

The main missions have you apprehend every member of the Van Der Linde gang, revealing their shared past, and expanding on the story.(Which is even further expanded upon by the prequel.) The base game has an emphasis on exploration, and even lets the player find a large number of weapons, and even better horses by either taming them, or purchasing their certificate from a stable (though the DLC does this better). 

War, Plague, Pestilence, Death, and a unicorn

Don’t forget about the various outfits the player can unlock by completing the challenges associated with them. Every outfit in the game has its own effect, even the simple Duster Coat makes it so you get quicker dust build up on the outfit. Or the more adventurous sharpshooter outfit, which increases the rate at which your dead-eye builds. Dead-eye is a key mechanic of the series, with multiple different levels. At the lowest level it does practically nothing. Where at max level it lets you paint parts of enemies bodies in order to shoot them with extreme speed and precision. Proper use of dead-eye is key to playing the game.

Especially with the number of weapons in the game. John has a lot of different options to dispatch the vagabonds and outlaws he encounters throughout the game. His choice of sidearm, rifle, and shotgun all matter. Though unlike the sequel, every following weapon is better than the last one. So unless you run out of ammo the weapon takes, there is no reason to use the older, weaker weapon.

The various quests expand upon the ideas of the game and make it feel more like you’re a part of the world, rather than a third party. One of the best ones involves a mysterious man you will occasionally run into. At the end of his quest line he predicts what will happen to John, and then disappears the second John looks away. 

The game has a lot of small details. For example after the confrontation with Bill at the start of the game, John will occasionally wince and grab his side until you catch Bill.

A lot of these small details are in the honor system. The honor system works similarly to the karma system in Infamous, changing not only how people react to you, but even the appearance of certain in-game elements. Your honor changes based on your actions. Saving people, apprehending criminals, and sparing people in duels all increase your honor. On the flipend killing people when you instigated the duel, robbing people, and tying people to train tracks. High honor makes John compassionate and gives you discounts in all stores. Low honor makes John cruel, and rewards you with a unique horse that will randomly appear when you try to call your horse.

The DLC of this game is amazing. Undead Nightmare takes place right before the barn scene, when Uncle suddenly turns into a zombie. After being forced to put him down, your son and wife turn into zombies as well, and you imprison them in the house in order to find a cure. 

Undead Nightmare has its own set of side quests, which involve finding sasquatches and even the Chupacabra. The horses that you can find are even better than this. You can find the horses of the apocalypse. War, Plague, Pestilence, Death, and a unicorn. The first 4 can be obtained by catching the previous in the list. The unicorn requires thde player to not only catch the other horses of the apocalypse, but even slay the fearsome Chupacabra. The Chupacabra also has its own prerequisites, making taming the fearsome unicorn a mammoth task worthy of its fearsome visage. 

The end of the DLC also has one of the coolest post games in my opinion. Not because there’s a lot of things to do, but because you play as a zombie. While playing as zombie John not much changes, except that zombies won’t attack you unless you attack first.

The Bad

Don’t mistake what the game does well as having no issues at all. Undead Nightmare on the Xbox has a bug. If too many zombies spawn all NPC assets disappear, so there are just a bunch of walking clothes everywhere. This bug will also prevent progression of any activity that requires zombie kills, as the game won’t register any kills the player does while it’s like this. The further into the game you get, the more common the bug is. 

For the base game, it is the post game. After finishing the second to last mission, you now play as John’s son Jack. And while this section does have a very cool mission, Jack is not fun to play as. The reason for this is because Jack is whiney. Not only are his high and low honor personalities both awful, but he even became an outlaw, which is exactly opposite what John wanted for him. John wanted Jack to pursue his dreams of being a writer, not to become like him. 

There are other minor issues due to the fact it is a 13 year old game and the limitations of the console. The biggest issue is the fact that Rockstar is charging 50 dollars for a port of it to modern consoles. Not a remaster, just a straight port. Why? This game is not worth that price, and I’d be honestly surprised if anyone bought it at full price.

Red Dead Redemption is a fantastic game, despite the issues with the game and corporate greed. I highly recommend it, however you should probably play 2 first, as it is a prequel. For rating I’ll give it a throwing knife out of a High Power Pistol.

About the Contributor
Matt Allen
Matt Allen, Reporter