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Do you like the Wild West? I usually don’t. I think old Western movies suck. I think The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a pretty boring flick. I do, however, like Deadwood. Deadwood was this cascade of vile profanity with a story focused on some likable and some utterly disgusting characters. It was great.

And so is Red Dead Redemption. So in normal review fashion I’ll make it even more clear for you:

This is a great game

Red Dead Redemption is the kind of a game I go around wishing for at times. It’s not grand, it’s not fantastical, it’s down to earth and sensible. Sometimes this sensibility will be a bit disappointing, but all in all its a great experience. For a sandbox game there’s a lot of fun stuff to do. Hunting is fun in its own right. It’s not Monster Hunter, but then it’s always satisfying lining up a headshot from horseback while a deer is in full flight. It is actually always satisfying shooting stuff. Weapons feel right, the sounds sound gratifying, and just generally everything feels true to the setting.

The dead eye mechanic that’s been toted on about is what you’d expect. Awesome. There’s nothing quite like marking down six headshots and watching John Marston make six families fatherless( or more likely, leave six prostitutes without income).

Best of all, in my humble opinion, is the story. It’s not particularly complicated, it’s not very amazing, it’s not very epic, but it’s damned good. It’s about John Marston. Once an outlaw, now trying to make right for himself. Forced to do a job for some government agents keeping him on a tight leash he goes hunting down some old comrades of his. And while the story is never epic, it’s always good and down to earth. The moments that will have you thinking “That sonuva whore!” is more likely to be where rattlers steal the hard earned goods of your benefactor, rather than some story of grand betrayal in the highest echelons of society. The ending, which has been the most thought provoking aspect of this game is an interesting choice. It left me speechless and disappointed when it happened. But as the events has matured in me over the day I’ve come to accept it realizing that it was inevitable, and even come to think it was good.

The question is, what will you think?

What’s bad then? It is by no means a perfect game. Cover will often not be as protective as you think. As soon as you leave an act, the people that have grown on you during that part of the game, will be left too. Which is a damned shame. The cast of characters are great. It’s a wonderful set of scoundrels, lowlifes and decent human beings.

I know that not all people will appreciate the lack of grandeur. But I quite like Red Dead Redemption. It’s believable. So much that I’ll mourn the passing of the Old West.

Giddyup pardner!


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