Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games' sharp turn from the Grand Theft Auto series, turned out as a big surprise to many. The contrast of setting from a lively city to a wide western landscape was a big jump for Rockstar. However wide the gap between a New York City-playground and a western one, the transition is seamless. The beautiful, breathtaking scenery and realistic feel of the entire game is done perfectly, with only very minor flaws.
No aspect of Red Dead Redemption is greater than the world in which it takes place. Every blade of grass and every rock set askew seems to perfectly fit in with the environment around. Nothing seems out of place at all in this picture-perfect landscape, giving the perfect back-drop to gun down bandits in search of a bounty or save a man being attacked by coyotes. I was very impressed with this realistic sandbox.
I wasn't very partial to GTA IV's fighting system, however (thankfully) in Red Dead it is totally refreshed. Not completely redone, but to the point where it is fun, engaging and easier. In Red Dead, your horse gives you enough mobility for the game to be fun (but not easy enough that you're invincible, you die after about four consecutive shots). Besides by horse, you can travel by stagecoach or catch the nearest train to get to your destination. You can hunt, take bounties, do nightjobs in towns, play poker, play horseshoes, play blackjack, play liar's dice, drink shots at a bar, and just about everything else you can think of. They left no fun aspect out.
Every person met in the story fits just right in with the craziness and murderous nature of the dying west. Nobody really seems "fake"; every character met has a certain connection with the player. On the presentation of the campaign, Rockstar did a great job. The mouth-voice co-ordination is excellent. Everyone really says what they say, without lazy voice-acting or mouth programming. All-around, the story is a fantastic story for a video game and nothing comes short of awesome!
John Marston steps out over the Mexican town of Escalera.
Sound and Music:
I know I've said everything is near-perfection so far in the game... and the audio is no exception. The first time I shot my revolver was the first time it felt like I actually shot a revolver in a video game before. I was very surprised at the crack and echo of my first gunshot in RDR... everything feels so real. Train's engines pump as realistically as they would in real life. The roar of a bear running at you full speed is reflected expertly from the real world. Let's just hope that getting mauled by that bear has less repercussions in RDR than it does in real life.
The in-game Soundtrack is also very well done, varying from mood-setting songs that could play at any moment while adventuring to songs that play during important story transitions (complete with vocals and guitar!) After this game, I wouldn't doubt Rockstar's ability to choose songs that greatly fit the tone of their games.
When you start the Multiplayer mode, you are instantly taken to a public free roam session with other random players online, free to explore the west. Except this isn't actually as nice as it might sound. All there is to do in Free Roam is kill and be killed by other players and do gang hideouts. That is it. It gets old quite quickly. The only fun game modes (in my opinion) are Gang Shootouts, which are like team death-matches. There are a few other "capture the flag"-type modes that some might like but I do not prefer them. Other than game modes, the posse system is nice as it keeps you and your friends together across game modes and ensures you're on the same team (for the most part). Leveling up is fun and there are a few prestiges if you get far enough.
If you like shooting games at all, I highly recommend you purchase Red Dead Redemption. The only reason you might not like this is if you (for some reason) hate the western look and everything to do with it. Very strong emphasis on the word "hate". Otherwise, this game deserves a 5 out of 5 in every manner possible.