Red Dead Redemption Preview (PS3)
Red Dead Revolver was a decent game, with a decent story and an old-western style narrative that made it both appealing and attractive to players. How often do you get to go back to the Wild West and fight off bandits, ride around the desert, and walk into saloons like Clint Eastwood? Sounds like a no brainer.
Of course, Red Dead Revolver followed Red Harlow on his quest, as a bounty hunger, to do whatever jobs he found (or found him), and eventually to find who killed his parents. Red Dead Redemption, the sequel, has little to nothing to do with Red at all, except as the color you’ll paint the town. And the trees, grass, horses, and more people than we dare imagine at this point.
|"I know what you're asking yourself. Did he fire five shots, or six. Well, you just gotta ask yourself one question. Are ya feelin' lucky, punk?||See all that? Everything in the background? That's all playable. Whatever you see, you can go there.|
Unlike Revolver, Redemption is a story of a former outlaw who must now track down his old partner, and on the way play the good guy in his travels. Using GTA IV’s Rage engine, the world of Redemption is huge, larger even than Liberty City, and players will traverse through it mostly on horseback. The difference here is, instead of a metal city where most buildings are inaccessible, the west back in the early 1900’s was a very barren place. We expect to be able to enjoy the majority of what the world has to offer.
Animals, for example, are a great benefit. Redemption comes with a ton of them, living and breathing in-game for your satisfaction, do to as you please. In the playtest I witnessed, we accidentally ran over a rabbit with our horse, an oddly horrifying and yet rewarding move. Free meat and coat; all in a day’s work. An entire ecosystem is at work in Redemption, so feel free to go off hunting just about anything, from rabbits to coyote’s to deer and bears. And when you’re done, sell your keep.
The open world environment is supplemented, like GTA IV, with a still-quiet narrative around John Marston, our outlaw-turned-hero-against-his-will. I witnessed a segment where John and his gang went to exchange prisoners and is double crossed (as he expected), and immediately is given the “bullet time” chance to kill his prisoner and the two closest bandits. Our goal right after is to stop a woman from hanging on the gallows, until she’s dropped and we’re given a time limit to fight off the bandits and free her. The time limit, of course, being her ability to hang from her neck. It may have been just me, but I really expected her to be shot down by John from a distance of at least 50 feet. It’s a western no?
|Your valiant steed will be your mode of transportation across the giant world. Treat it well.||A western like we've been waiting for? If these screenshots say anything, that answer is yes.|
Redemption is meant to be a darker game, but the gameplay is fast paced, even with old-school weapons. Like most westerns, it’s hard to take seriously, but that may change as the game is fleshed out. Still, I can’t get over accidentally running over a rabbit. On horseback.
With an open world environment are a few big promises, though they aren’t things we haven’t seen. Night and day come and go in real-time. Cities are small and the area in-between is big, so missions can take place anywhere, at any time, and players have the option to accept them or just walk away. A larger story is at play, of course, but because the world is so big, chances are you won’t see the end of the game for a good long while. Sound familiar? Like GTA IV.
But don’t take my pretentious tone to mean it’s a bad thing. Remember, GTA IV, besides being one of the highest rated games of all time, is a game we loved too, and the fact that similar elements appear in both titles is nothing but praise for Red Dead Redemption. It means that while we have some idea of what to expect, we’re still going to be in for a wild ride. In almost no way did GTA IV fail us, and while Red Dead Revolver was only decent, Redemption takes a completely different turn with the genre, falls back on some excellent gameplay elements, and promises to be fun. I just hope we can all get to the end of the game this time.
Red Dead Redemption is set for release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in early-mid 2010.