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Denny Markovic
16 Dec, 2009

Red Dead Redemption Preview

360 Preview | Gettin' Red and Dead.
The wild wild west is somewhat of an unexplored territory for gaming. Sure, there have been a few titles such as Call of Juarez and Gun, but otherwise you’d probably have to sit and think long and hard about what other titles have come out based around the wild west. Thankfully, the sequel to Red Dead Revolver is coming very soon, aptly named Red Dead Redemption, and because we here at PALGN are somewhat special, we were given a new look into the world that Rockstar have conjured up, and what we saw, we certainly liked.

To shed some light on the story first, the game focuses on the character John Marston, a somewhat ‘reformed’ outlaw that lives peacefully with his family, attempting to forget the sins of the past. This soon changes however when he is approached by the Bureau and sent off on a mission to clear out members of his old gang. This is the core story of the game that you will be playing through and hooked to the most, but the way you approach it and your pacing is largely determined by how often you get sidetracked with side quests and other things.

Red Dead Redemption goes the sandbox route of gaming much like that of Grand Theft Auto, but just in a western setting. With this comes a lot of side missions and things to do, that will easily keep you occupied for hours on end. As an example, the playthrough we watched showed off Marston encountering a stranded Mexican Man in the middle of the desert. Normally you’d expect him to ask for help or so, but this one in particular was a bandit and knocks you off your horse and attempts to steal it. The horse however knocks him off and returns to our protagonist soon after when Marston whistles, as this horse in particular was tame. It was also noted that each horse you have is substantially different to the other; sometimes it won’t respond whatsoever and you’ll be left stranded in the desert, other times it will respond to you accordingly, so the dynamic nature of the game is certainly exemplified.

Stop... lookin... at my crotch.

Stop... lookin... at my crotch.
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Another example of randomised side quests and such is a town that was taken over by a large gang, and you’re approached at the entrance by the sheriff to take it back. This leads to a rather large and intense fire fight between you and the gang, and also showed off the games nifty shooting mechanics, which work much like that of a 3rd person title like Gears of War. It also returns with the Dead Eye feature from the original Red Dead Revolver, which allows you to slow down time, pick points on an enemy or several enemies and then let it go, making Marston fire off several shots with pinpoint accuracy in rapid succession. It works a little bit like VATS from Fallout 3 just a lot quicker, and allows you to take down enemies very quickly if need be. Shooting at oil lamps and molotovs in enemies hands can also prove to have a positive effect for you as well, as (obviously) it causes them to explode and set anyone near it alight. So the game has some nice exploding barrel tricks up its sleeve, just they’re not red and blatantly obvious from the get go.

And the best part about the gun fights and stealing of the horse is that it was all random within the world. Things like that and several others will happen at any time and any place within Red Dead Redemption so playing through the story will always be somewhat different, as the obstacles in your way will not hesitate to change. This and with several optional side quests that you can seek, the main story and even a lot of exploration related quests such as treasure hunting, Red Dead Redemption will likely be a game that gamers can leave in their console for a long time.

Visually, Red Dead Redemption is shaping up to be a very nice looking title. Texture work is quite solid particularly in character models, the animation is motion captured in most instances and looks excellent (especially in the horses), and the lighting is very impressive, with full day and night cycles, light streaming through volumetric clouds, and a very impressive draw distance that really aids in sucking you into the game. It’s using the RAGE engine that also powers Grand Theft Auto IV and from what we’ve seen they’ve certainly improved the engine's efficiency and rectified many problems that GTAIV suffered. That being said, we did notice a few hitches in the frame rate when things got hectic, there’s quite a lot of pop in when walking into more populated areas, and some of the dynamic shadows are a little on the low res side, so hopefully by the game’s release Rockstar would have fixed these minor but noticeable issues (though we were assured the frame rate will be fixed).

Look at my horse, my horse is amazing.

Look at my horse, my horse is amazing.
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On the audio side, we couldn’t complain, as the voice work, music and sound effects sounded great. Gunshots were loud and explosive and gave off a strong reverb, voice work was excellent for what we heard, and the soundtrack was mellow and relaxing whilst out in the desert, and heart pounding and suitably epic when a gunfight ensued. Audiophiles will likely be pleased with the overall work that went into the sound, as all of it is sounding excellent so far.

Red Dead Redemption is looking to be a very strong title for the first half of 2010. The gameplay we have witnessed in our preview screening looked quite polished and enjoyable, and many of the issues we had with GTAIV and such have been rectified. Questing and the dynamics are looking to give the game a lot of replay value, as it’s consistently unpredictable and also fluid in progression, so there will be little frustration when playing the game. Though we still have slight worries due to some visual anomalies, physics glitches and just how broad the random events are going to be, from what we’ve seen so far Red Dead Redemption is shaping up very nicely, and looks to satiate the hunger of many westerner and sandbox fans alike.
Overall:
Red Dead Redemption is certainly a title to watch out for come release time, as it's shaping up to be one wild ride.

Related Red Dead Redemption Content

Red Dead Redemption 'Myths and Mavericks' Free DLC coming next month
28 Jul, 2011 There's more life left in this cowboy.
New Red Dead Redemption DLC next week
09 Apr, 2011 Pre-order exclusive content now available for all.
Yet another trailer for Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
22 Oct, 2010 Even in multiplayer, you just can't keep those zombies down!
9 Comments
4 years ago
Here is about 4 minutes of gameplay.

http://www.gamersyde.com/stream_red_dead_redemption_gameplay-13856_en.html

Looks amazing

The way Australia is heading though it will probably get banned for the hookers and the killing of animals. icon_rolleyes.gif
4 years ago
I really can't wait for this game. I loved GTAIV and it looks like a Western GTA. Can you horsejack and seduce sexy dames?
4 years ago
Looks and sounds great. CO-OP PLEASE?!?!
4 years ago
I can't watch the gameplay footage because I'm at work on the worst computer ever, but could someone clear something up for me? My biggest fear about this game is that, in addition to using GTA IV's engine, they're going to use GTA IV's controls. I can't think of any third person game that controls worse. The 'hold a button to jog, mash it to run' system is bad enough, not to mention the 'three different buttons for shooting on foot or in a car or in a helicopter' idea, but the gunplay is even worse. Instead of holding one trigger to pop out of cover and one to fire, like every game made by sane people, you hold one button to magically lock on from behind cover, and then press one to step out of cover, take aim and fire. You pull the trigger and a couple of seconds later your character shoots. I hate it so very much.

I'm really looking forward to this, because a Western game with some good production values is a dream come true for me, but if it controls like GTA IV it can go straight to Hell.
4 years ago
RXWAG wrote
I really can't wait for this game. I loved GTAIV and it looks like a Western GTA. Can you horsejack and seduce sexy dames?
haahhahaha i hope so!
4 years ago
I agree that the GTA style controls could use an upgrade but they didn't bother me quite that much matrix-cat. icon_eek.gif
This is one of my most anticipated games of 2010 behind Mass Effect 2 and SC:Conviction. By all accounts it's looking very promising. Let's hope it doesn't get gimped or banned by our classification nazis!
4 years ago
I agree with matrix-cat. I hated the GTA IV shooting controls/mechanics. Went back to try The Lost and the Damned a few weeks ago, ended up turning it off after the first gun fight.

I just hope they manage to make the shooting in this one fun. I love a good western game.
4 years ago
First day buy for me. The four minutes of gameplay footage is amazing.

RXWAG wrote
I really can't wait for this game. I loved GTAIV and it looks like a Western GTA. Can you horsejack and seduce sexy dames?
The awesome thing about horsejacking and I don't know if Denny has mentioned it, because I haven't read his preview yet... is that if some random NPC steals your horse, you can whistle the horse back and it'll buck off the thief and gallop straight back to you.
4 years ago
Yarp I indeed mentioned horse jacking. It's quite awesome in motion with the whistling and such.

Also a heads up, I've updated the media section with the latest screenshots.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  21/05/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Rockstar Games
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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