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Red Dead Redemption – Review

Every now and then, a game comes along which truly outshines the competition.
Red Dead Redemption is such a game.
Developed by Rockstar games (the team behind the dizzyingly successful Grand Theft Auto series), RDR places the player into the shoes of John Marston, a grizzled ex-bandit in the lawless land of the Wild West, trying to clear his name and prevent the killing of his family by the hands of the newly formed federal government (as you do.)
Set in 1911 in the fictional U.S. state of New Austin, during the decline of the American Old West, Marston is forced by the government to round up his former partners in crime, and let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
I must say before I go on, that the story in this game is the true star, but I don’t want to spoil it for you all by talking about it too much. Brilliantly paced and expertly crafted, I was hooked from the beginning, and found myself really caring about the characters, much as I would do whilst sitting through any Hollywood blockbuster.
Now for the game play. Rockstar have stayed true to the open-world sandbox style that has earned them so much praise for the GTA series, and it fits in perfectly with the scope and scale of the game.
You will be tasked with completing various missions for the many colourful characters you will meet on your travels. Being the Wild West, most of these missions obviously involve shoot-outs and horse-back duels. These are great, and are the games bread and butter.
But the developers have made sure that the experience does not repeat itself, and have spliced in a few different mission types to keep the experience fresh for the player, such as horse-breaking and racing. And with a completion time of up to 40 hours, this is necessary to keep the player coming back.
One feature which sets RDR apart from other third person action-adventure titles is “Dead-eye”. This is Marston’s version of The Matrix’s” bullet time”, allowing him to slow time down, target numerous enemies, and fill them with lead quicker than they can say YEE-HA!!! This helps to keep the game play fresh and exciting, allowing you to feel like a true gunslinger.

DRAW!!! - John Marston using "dead-eye" to kill his enemies

Visually, the game is absolutely stunning, and the scale is beyond epic. All this is yours in what’s easily Rockstar’s most generous open world game yet.  Environments and characters are richly detailed, and you can tell straight away that crafting this world was a labour of love for the developing team, and the fact that they have created it completely from scratch with no reference points, is truly a testament to their creativity and dedication to authenticity. Just as Liberty City came out as the star of Grand Theft Auto IV it’s the expanse of the Wild West that shines brightest here.
I cannot recommend this game highly enough, it is a true masterpiece, and to be honest I would expect nothing less from a developer with such a pedigree as Rockstar has.
Truly the West at its wildest and brutal best. 5/5