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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (208)

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Red Dead Redemption 4/5
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes... 4.5/5
Mega Man 11 4/5
Octopath Traveler 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Sp... 3.5/5
Bloodstained: Curse of ... 4/5
Everybody's Golf 3.5/5
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 4.5/5
Super Mario Galaxy 2 4.5/5
Castlevania: Portrait o... 4/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5
Final Fantasy X / X-2 H... 4.5/5
Kirby's Dream Course 3.5/5
SteamWorld Dig 4/5
Super Mario Odyssey 5/5
Star Fox 2 3/5
Metroid: Samus Returns 4/5
Dragon Quest VI: Realms... 4/5
Super Mario RPG: Legend... 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Br... 5/5
Blaster Master Zero 4/5
Dragon Quest Heroes: Th... 4/5
Super Mario 3D Land 4.5/5
Castlevania: Dawn of So... 4.5/5
Bravely Second: End Lay... 4/5

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Red Dead Redemption   PlayStation 3 

A Western Worth Experiencing    4/5 stars

Red Dead Redemption is a well put together western experience but its technical issues and sometimes confusing story choices prevents it from becoming the masterpiece that some claim it to be.

Red Dead Redemption is a story about a character named John Marston who lives near the U.S. and Mexico border and is on a mission to take out a couple members of his former gang in order to save his family. After a lengthy intro John Marston encounters the man he is seeking and is shot, only to be saved by a passerby rancher. Marston wakes up at the ranch and that is when you start to take control of him.

It doesn't take long to learn that Marston is a man who use to do a lot of bad things but is trying to "redeem" himself and be a good guy. He's ridiculously nice to the rancher that saved him and for the most part is really nice to all the characters he meets on his travels. At times the bad guy in him surfaces which makes him feel more real, but for the most part I wondered why he changed his ways in the first place. That's a question I feel like to which I never got a good answer.

Red Dead is definitely a sand box game. It doesn't take long before you are exposed to the entire world and are left to choose what to do next. The rancher vaguely tells you that the sheriff in the nearby town might be able to help you with your mission so you head there and more missions and parts of the story open up. While it was fun to be able to pick and choose what missions you want to do and when, it feels like there's a lack of urgency to finish your mission and save your family. Marston is always saying he needs to save his family but he is practically willing to help any person who bothers to talk to him. Eventually you can put together a small gang of individuals and head to the fort to try and capture the man you're looking for but that's only about a third of the story.

Game play in Red Dead is solid but nothing special. Riding a horse feels good and it's pretty easy to handle which is good because you'll be on a horse a lot. Operating weapons is like any other third person shooter you've played. It's comfortable and plays well. One good feature is the red dead meter. When activated, everything will go into slow motion for a short period of time allowing you to target and take out multiple enemies if needed. It's also used in duels which can be frustrating if you aren't completely sure of what you're doing. I had to look up a description on the internet of how to duel well because at times I wondered why I was losing. It didn't help that I accidentally skipped the initial tutorial of it. But, it's a cool feature for duels and matches well with the game.

In typical Rockstar sandbox fashion, there are tons of things to do other than advance the story and save your family. There's a handful of games you can play with townsfolk like Texas Hold 'em, Blackjack, arm wrestling, Horseshoes, Liar's Dice, and Five Finger Fillet. While I enjoyed playing cards from time to time and the Liar's Dice game that's part of a side mission, for the most part I avoided these games. The monetary reward versus the time invested just didn't seem worth it.

There are also strangers you encounter on your travels which open up side missions you can do. For example, there are townsfolk that keep going missing in the hills so you head there and eventually encounter a cannibal and you choose to take him out or let him continue his eating ways. There's another guy who is looking to obtain a specific piece of land so you do it for him. Sometimes the motivation for you character to help these people is quite questionable but it does give you something to do.

There are rankings you can improve. For example, there's a gathering rank you can raise by picking certain types of flower. Also, there's a hunting rank by skinning certain animals or a sharp shooting rank and by doing other things. I did a lot of these but the farther you go the more ridiculous the requirements get and the only reward that I could see is a new outfit for your character to wear. It just wasn't worth my time.

Also, you will encounter places you've been before and take out a new gang of bandits to secure money or treasure that they are keeping. While it's fun to take out a hoard of bad guys trying to kill you once again your character is trying to be good but still does a lot of bad things. It just doesn't really make sense.

To me the story felt a little padded. Eventually you make your way to Mexico and play out a few more story lines while you are still trying to save your family. It felt forced. The only motivation you have for being in Mexico is that the men you seek are hiding there. But, once you complete that you head back to America and the story starts to wrap up and things get going again and it's quite compelling. The story line is totally worth finishing as the end game is quite good.

Generally speaking the voice acting, music and environment are all very well done. It really feels like you're in a western. That doesn't mean there aren't annoying technical issues. The biggest one I encountered happened multiple times. As you're playing out a certain mission, every once in a while the real time cut scenes wouldn't play out right. A camera would get stuck in a certain position and things would play out and you couldn't see a darn thing. One time it was a side mission and I was talking to a guy. He left the screen and the camera never changed or followed him so the entire conversation took place staring at a blank wall. The other time it was an important part of the story during a fire fight and the camera never changed again. A group of characters ran up some stairs and the camera just stayed there and nothing happened. I had to skip that story segment to get things moving again. While there were a couple other minor things not worth mentioning, those are bugs that I deem unacceptable in top notch games. Oh, and it really started to get to me that if I wanted to look at the map I had to pause the game and select the map. It felt like it took forever.

Finally, I felt like for a game with mature content, the use of it seemed immature at times. For example, when you skin an animal blood will spatter up and hit the imaginary lens of the camera. Also, at one point during the story you walk in on a guy having sex with a women on a table. As a man in his thirties this "mature" content felt like it was designed for immature dudes in their late teens and early twenties who'd get a laugh from it. I get the most of the cussing in the game and the gratuitous gore because it added to the western feel but other things I felt like it was added because they could, not because it made the game better. To be fair, I'm also a guy who never really understood while people got such a kick out of the Grand Theft Auto games either.

I spent about 25-30 hours going through the single player story and a lot of side missions. While I had absolutely no desire to 100% the game, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't take on the online multiplayer or try and do any co-op missions since I don't really know anyone who was currently playing the game. But, there's plenty of that to do too if you so wish. And, since I own the GOTY edition I have the undead nightmare story that has zombies that I might tackle one day.

This is a really good game and totally worth playing, but it is no masterpiece in my opinion.

4/5

 

 


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