Red Dead Redemption First Impressions

I got a chance to sit down with Red Dead Redemption last night for about 2 hours before I had to stop to watch LOST, but I think I got a pretty good feel for the game, or at least enough to write about my first impressions.

If you haven’t heard of this game it’s an open world game like GTA IV and is developed by the same guys. You play a cowboy in the old west and can basically do whatever your heart desires. Feel like shooting a buddy’s horse? No problem, shoot away… Feel like skinning that horse and leaving a rotting pile of muscle and bone on the ground? Skin away! But if you choose to go down this path people may start to dislike you and you may even become a wanted man, and that’s the beauty of the game. There are so many things to do and so many ways to play the game, you’ll probably never get bored. And that’s what I’m hoping for.

I go back and forth when it comes to these open world games. I liked Saints Row and played all the way through it, but then when GTA IV came out I played it for like a week and got bored, still haven’t finished it. It just seemed to be too repetitive so I’m hoping this one doesn’t fall into that rut. It does start off a little slow, but there is a lot to learn in terms of riding horses and shooting the guns and stuff like that, so the tutorials at the beginning help out and the first few missions are simple things like shooting rabbits or herding cows. Honestly I haven’t even gotten to a mission where I have to kill any bandits or anything, but that’s only because I spent a good hour just roaming the land… and subsequently getting eaten by a mountain lion.

The game looks and feels amazing. I did run into a small glitch while racing Bonnie in a horse race where my horse decided it was going to abruptly turn right and fall down into a cavern costing me the race, but I’m going to chalk it up to a mouse that spooked the horse and sent him of course, of course, of course, of course (sorry, I had to).  I wanted to let Bonnie win the race anyways, maybe I’ll get lucky later. I mean shit, my wife and kid are in a whole different part of the world, might as well get a little when I can, right? I mean it’s the wild west, my wife should be expecting it. Anyways, so Bonnie shows you the ropes for a bit and then you’re sent on your way. It plays just like GTA where there are different markers on the mini map that show you were missions are and stuff like that, but there are also tons and tons of mini games and challenges to complete in order to boost your fame and what not. I randomly picked up a flower and it started me into a challenge to collect a certain amount of flowers. Then I shot a bird and I started working on the sharpshooter challenge. So there are all these mini challenges and games that just pop up throughout the game that I was never bored in the 2 hours I played.

Another thing I liked was the random events that take place throughout the world. I had just come back from investigating a little boys disappearance when I ran into 2 bandits trying to rob a wagon driver of a treasure map. I shot the bandits, but not before they could kill the treasure map guy, but that turned out to be good for me cause I got his treasure map, which unlocked yet another challenge section. And I have a feeling these treasure map things are going to be hard since it’s literally just a hand drawn map of world objects, not even like something that you can overlay onto the main world map. The one I picked up was a drawing of a random rock formation that I had to find.

So that’s about as far as I got, I went through a handful of storyline objectives and then a bunch of random stuff that I just happened to stumble upon. I herded a bunch of cows as well as horses, I used my lasso and roped in a few horses and broke them (make them tame enough to ride), I even shot and skinned a bunch of random animals, as well as being eaten by a mountain lion. Overall I’m having fun with the game so far and I hope that the thrill doesn’t wear off, but that’s when the multiplayer comes in right?… maybe…

When I first tried to get into the multiplayer it seemed like the servers may have been having some issues due to the large number of people trying to play, but later in the evening I had no trouble getting into some games. First of all the lobby’s are what they call “Free Roam” where it’s a number of people just roaming throughout the entire game map. Here you can either go out on your own and kill other players, bandits, hunt, or whatever else there is to do in the world, or you can posse up and go at it as a group. Now I don’t know if people just haven’t figured out the idea behind the “Free Roam” mode or what, but it seemed like all people were doing was killing other players the entire time. I don’t know if they just didn’t realize that the mode they were in is not a deathmatch room and that you have to actually join a game to do that, but either way it was kind of annoying. I would literally spawn and die. This was partly due to the fact that I have not redeemed my code for the free War Horse cause I wanted to start at the bottom with the Donkey. So a lot of people do have faster horses than I do, which leads to them killing me. It didn’t seem like anyone was posseing up and hunting or whatever, they were just killing players. Luckily though you can join a quick match of an actual game right from the menu, which I did, and ended up in a free for all deathmatch, which I won.

I will say that the controls in multiplayer are a little weird and take some getting used to. It could just be that I’m not used to the 3rd person point of view, but I’m sure I’ll get it all down after a couple more tries. I only got the one game in before the servers started having issues again and I got booted, but it was fun and I think some of the other game modes will be fun as well, but I’m still really itching to see what Free Roam is all about, without getting killed every 2 seconds. So hopefully by this weekend people will have figured out that there is more to it and won’t just kill anyone they see.

So overall I’m pretty happy with the game and can’t wait to put a few more hours into it so that I can really see what it’s all about. Did anyone else pick this up yesterday? What do you guys think so far?

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