A plot full of betrayal and back-stabbing means the storyline of this game has as many twists and turns as the dust tracks one must navigate on horseback. The broad range of environments is matched only by the scope of human emotions this game deals with. Lines are blurred and waters muddied (and sometimes bloodied) in this Western epic from Rockstar Games.
This recent playthrough marks my second attempt at this game. I gave up the first time shortly after having reached Armadillo, sick of being blasted in the face by seemingly every NPC in the game. Since then, having watched and loved the HBO TV series Westworld, I decided it was time to saddle up once more.
My version of John Marston conducted himself with honour, helping those in need and dealing out swift justice to those who would do others harm. Likes included playing Horseshoes, picking flowers, and hunting treasure and grizzly bears. Dislikes: cougars.
There are still some issues with this game. I mainly disliked the combat system here, similar to GTA V, with the white dot which snaps to the target. I tried turning the aim assist off but it makes firing your weapon on horseback near on impossible – for me at least. Also, the difficulty curve once you enter Mexico and Act II of the game was, I felt, much too steep. In particular, the missions involving trains seemed to be ridiculously difficult, only managing to complete them once I had died multiple times and had memorised where the enemies would appear.
However, things I liked about Red Dead far outweighed my dislikes. Stand-out missions such as ‘Hanging Bonnie MacFarlane’ and ‘The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed’ got my heart pumping in ways I had not felt in a video game for many years. The characters were another excellent feature of this game. Rockstar has a way of creating the most vivid, funny and vile characters, that are often in their own way very likeable, Irish being a notable example.
Red Dead Redemption, like almost every character in the game, is flawed yet lovable. It is guaranteed to make you laugh, get your heart thumping and, if it’s doing it’s job right, will probably make you angry at some point. It’ll even bring a tear to your eye, but not in a sentimental way as this is the Wild West, everyone has their own motives and agenda, but even in this desolate land, flowers can still bloom.
“The Gunslinger” this silver trophy is earned simply by changing the targeting mode to extreme and scoring a single headshot.