Grand Theft Western? A Review of Red Dead Redemption.

Who would have thought that in the middle of May a AAA title could just drop and disrupt everything else you were doing and playing? Rockstar does it again the same way they did it with GTAIV 2 years ago.
Take just about everything you love about GTAIV and set it in the Old West, early 20th century.  Then take a classic revenge story and place it into this setting and off you go!
To be quite honest, I was expecting this to be like the last Western game Call of Juarez II that came out last year and this game by miles blows CoJ II out of the water.  Just like GTA you have many missions and side mission you can go on, The shooting mechanics are actually a bit more forgiving than in GTAIV and one thing I have noted early on is that you have to plan a little more when attacking a large group of enemies especially since in these times you don’t have RPGs, grenades and high tech sniper guns…I mean it’s the turn of the 20th century after all what did you expect???
Sometimes, you can just find a spot and sit back and appreciate the scenery and see what kind of solid job that Rockstar did with putting this game together. During the day, you can see the heat simmer off of the desert at a distance, check out the details of Armadillo with some of it’s false front buildings typical of the times. And so on.
And the west is indeed wild!  You will see men beating up on women, cattle rustling, gangs terrifying farmers and through it all you have the choice to save the day, side with the bad guys or ignore it all.  Another addition that sets this apart from GTA is the Fame meter.  For every deed that you do, you fame can increase or decrease and people react accordingly. Try it out!  Go rob a bank early on in the game and then come back later and see what happens!
There are other activities you can do to get money such as play horseshoe, try your hand at poker and even chase down the average gang or 2. You can buy and rent property also, go hunting and even prevent the occasional hanging.  If it happened in the West, it’s in this game.
The dialogue and music also are pretty good but a few accents are a bit over the top and I sometimes wish there was more variation in the music.
And the horses????  Wow!! The best horse mechanic that has been seen in a long time but in a game like this where your primary mode of travel is the horse, why not get it right? watch the animation with the stagecoaches, wagons and even the lassoing tutorial and see what I mean.
I have very few complaints about this other than the occasional sticking that I get when trying to enter or exit a building and one mission I am having trouble on setting the waypoint, whereas I am not sure if it’s a glitch or I am just not in the right spot. You get a few missions whereas similar to GTA, they are unforgiving and you have to be near perfect to complete it. And a small nitpick that I have is yes, even though the moon changes phases nightly…LOL, sometimes the phases are out of synch! On the flip side, take note at how far off you can see at night depending on where the moon is!
All in all, even if you have never been a fan of Westerns in general but liked GTA you would enjoy this game and I do plan on trying out the multiplayer side to see what that’s all about.  It’s one of the best sandbox games to come out since GTAIV and I see many days going down the tubes playing this game!

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