It’s February 3rd 2009, an otherwise normal day is churning on. It’s a cold Tuesday, and Rockstar fans were mostly waiting in anticipation of the upcoming expansion for GTA IV, The Lost and Damned after a few hitches and delays, and then – Red Dead Redemption was announced.
I remember the day fondly, an article popped up on IGN declaring the announcement and showing off some really beautiful screenshots. The article briefly went into the setting, the character and a rough Release Window of Autumn 2009. Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games really did wet my appetite when he made the following statement:
The team at San Diego have massively exceeded our expectations with the sheer depth of experiences in Red Dead Redemption, The seamless combination of breathtaking beauty and intense action, all woven together with strong plotlines in a massive vibrant, rural environment is mind-blowing. We think this game helps to push the limits of what an open-world gaming experience can be.
That one paragraph, alongside the screenshots provided – sold the game to me instantly. And, everything Sam Houser said was absolutely spot on, Red Dead Redemption was, and still is – a breathtaking, beautiful and interactive experience.
Red Dead Redemption was brilliant for various reasons, it absolutely nailed the Open World experience – it felt fresh, it felt different. Rockstar replaced gas-guzzlers for pure horsepower, they replaced those boring machine guns with rifles, Rockstar literally improved every single mechanic within the RAGE engine – in turn, Red Dead Redemption felt like a perfectly realized western drama.
The story alone was a truly immersive and impressive feat, I truly felt like an ex-outlaw, wanting to clear my name and just do the best for the character I was playing as. There was never any killing of innocents (apart from this one time where I placed a hooker on the train line… that didn’t end well for her. I felt terrible.) as I was playing, I was John Marston – and I was absolutely not interested in killing the innocent inhabitants of New Austin, however – I did feel as if John fancied himself as a bit of a hunter, and absolutely loved just how viscous Tall Trees were when trying to find some pelts. (Does Bearclaw Camp or Tanner’s Reach ring any bells?)
If you were to compare the mechanics of Grand Theft Auto IV to Red Dead Redemption, it becomes immediately obvious that GTA IV just felt bloaty. Whilst a great game in itself, everything felt clumbsy and boat-like. It was very hard to be precise in GTA IV, whether it be your on-foot movements, climbing, driving – everything just felt a little… off. Red Dead Redemption changed all of that, everything was refined – walking around and combat on foot was actually fun!
And Rockstar didn’t stop there, they released an epic expansion to the game entitled Undead Nightmare, which pitted John against an undead outbreak within the lands of New Austin and Mexico. It made the world seem eerily.. dead, and added a lengthy chunk of story into the game with mutations, the four awesome horses of the apocalypse and lots and lots of zombies! It gave players the choice, let the world rot with the zombies – or help save civilization by helping the various settlements dotted around with resources and lots of zombie killin’!
Boy do we love Red Dead Redemption, and we sincerely hope Rockstar are cooking up a new title within the franchise. Whilst there have been murmurings of a follow-up, there has been no solid, concrete evidence to suggest there is even a new title on its way. All we can do, is wait.
If you have never experienced Red Dead Redemption, it is definitely something you should have on your todo list. It is arguably one of Rockstar’s greatest games they have ever made, a true masterpiece that can only be experienced yourself – don’t read spoilers, don’t watch a walkthrough – play the game yourself and relish the world of Red Dead Redemption! You can pick up the Complete edition, which includes all of the DLC released in one package from Amazon – Xbox 360 : PS3.
We’ve inlcluded the Official Trailer, and the awesome short film created within Red Dead Redemption entirely below for your viewing pleasure. The Short film really is something, and shows off the game in such a wonderful way.