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Jeremy Jastrzab
29 Jan, 2010

Red Dead Redemption Preview

360 Preview | Finally, some hands-on with the Red and the Dead.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Red Dead Redemption. It’s actually the third, but it’s the first time that we’ve managed to get our grubby mitts on the controls. During the first viewing, we got to check out the vast expanses of the gaming world while during the second viewing, we got a few more of the intricate details revealed to us. But now, we’ve finally gotten a chance to actually play the game.

While this preview will primarily concentrate on our play through, a quick recap is in order. You play as John Marsden (who’s voice sounds remarkably like Johnny Klebitz from GTA IV), an ex-train robber lured backed (re: blackmailed) by the government to hunt down his old gang from anywhere between Nevada through to Mexico and back. It’s your typical Western plot, with a huge injection of Rockstar extravagance, embellishment and flair. A lot of the characters that you seem to meet feel like the ancestors of some of those from any modern Grand Theft Auto game. That said, Redemption looks to be a much more serious Western affair than its spaghetti predecessor, Red Dead Revolver.

Damn it, why is it occupied now!!!.

Damn it, why is it occupied now!!!.
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While we only got to play two missions (and watch a third) it became very clear to us from the start that we didn’t need to see much more to know what we were dealing with. Why? Because the game is built off the same engine as Grand Theft Auto IV, so mechanically, the games are similar. However, there are a couple of additions that could help Red Dead Redemption break away from the issues that eventually held back the Grand Theft Auto episodes. Movement still felt a little clunky though, with wide turning radii and an inexplicable need to have Marsden amble so slowly, unless pressing the run button. However, with the wider open spaces, this hopefully won’t be as much a problem as it was in GTA, what with getting hooked in narrow spaces.

Along with the addition of checkpoints, something that took a lot of hassle out of the Episodes of Liberty City, you now have regenerative health. While this is contentious for some, in an open world game such as Redemption, it is a huge blessing. You’re under a lot fire, as was shown in one of the missions, and not needing to worry about health packs, like you had to in GTA, will be excellent. Furthermore, with some proposed tweaks in the cover system, less reliance on a full lock on, more accurate aiming and the ‘dead-eye’ mechanic, the action should be easier to handle this time around as well. Replacing the health meter on you radar is the dead-eye meter which fills as you kill enemies, which allows you to virtually halt time to line up your targets with pin-point accuracy and it will get more intricate as you play.

Given that Red Dead Redemption is much more open, there will be a larger emphasis on exploration. An illustrated example had the player finding a treasure map. However, at the ‘spot’, there wasn’t treasure but someone that you had to help out. In turn, helping him yield the real treasure map. Now, you’d find something hot like, potentially, the best revolver in the game or something similar. If Redemption is able to pull of these kinds of tricks, then it would add an extra incentive to explore, over just finding packages or seagulls. Furthermore, there will be a heap of random events, such as hold-ups, stage coaches being robbed, farms being commandeered and so forth to keep you occupied while traversing through the world. You can choose, save to goodies or help the baddies, and your ‘fame’ and ‘honour’ will adjust accordingly. Then there are the mini-games and gambling activities as well. Basically, there will be a lot to do.

Must... kill... former gang... WEEEEE!!!

Must... kill... former gang... WEEEEE!!!
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Two missions were playable, from fairly early on in the game. A third mission was view only, which actually gave a good indication regarding the scope of the fire fights that you’ll get involved in. Suffice to say, you’ll have large hordes of enemies battling over vast expanses. The other two firstly had you playing with cover, and ‘learning’ how to use it. It also showed how you don’t always need to kill your enemies to complete the mission. The second mission had you raiding a mine to find a Gatling gun, and it was here that the benefits of recharging health were happily realised. Oh, and pushing the mine cart around to get the gun out of the mine was more fun than you may have thought.

Two aspects of the game that are still unexplained to us are the multiplayer, which we’ll apparently get to have a hands-on at a later date, and whether you have any means of fast travel to help you get through the vast expanses in the game. Otherwise, Red Dead Redemption is well on track to provide a Wild West gaming experience unlike anything before it. Well, maybe a little bit like GTA might have been if it was set 100 or so years earlier.
Overall:
The equation is pretty clear by now: Grand Theft Auto + Wild West = Red Dead Redemption.

Related Red Dead Redemption Content

XBLA: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Review
09 Nov, 2010 Boogey boogey boogey!
Red Dead Redemption: Liars and Cheats trailer
16 Sep, 2010 Did you just say...explosive rifle?
11 Comments
4 years ago
I like the look of the combat and the exploration in this game. A lot.

Yet I'm not a fan of GTA IV (mainly because I didn't have fun exploring). I also don't tend to like the missions in GTA games. Obviously after only seeing three missions you can't help but I wonder if I'll still be able to enjoy Red Dead Redemption as much as I want to.

I can definitely see myself just going off exploring the map (especially if exploration has been implemented in a thoughtful manner) but I hope I find the missions entertaining as well.

Oh and I love the caption of the second picture, heh.
4 years ago
I agree. The western setting certainly holds more appeal than exploring an concrete uban sprawl. This looks like real quality. Let's hope the gameplay holds up as good as this game's looks. The latest info on Red Dead Redemption has really put this game on my radar.
4 years ago
Rockstar are like "so hot right now".
4 years ago
Yeh, deffs looking forward to this. I really wanted to like GTA4 but just didnt like the characters at all and couldnt get into it.

Western sitting just tickles me in all the right places!
4 years ago
I think this will be the game that makes me buy a PS3 or xbox. I've always had a fascination with lever action rifles, I don't know why but I do and I want to play this game. I think this game will do really well.
4 years ago
GTA IV had the worst on foot controls I can think of. I was going to end that sentence with 'this gen', but honestly I can't think of any other game with more convoluted controls. I'm truly flabbergasted that Rockstar is sticking with that scheme four games later. From the completely ridiculous 'hold a button to jog, mash it wildly to run' to the unfathomable cover-shooting where, instead of pressing one button to aim and one to shoot (like every game ever), you press one button to magically lock on from behind cover, then press another to stand up, take aim and eventually fire. You press the 'shoot' button and it takes a full second for your character to shoot; I can't believe anyone could have come up with that sober.

Still, as time goes by Rockstar is refining the formula. The controls are still atrocious, but at least the GTA Episodes show that they're paying some attention to the mission variety so you can at least stumble through enjoyable missions. Gay Tony's checkpoints were a godsend, and I can only think RDR's regenerating health will be a great move. GTA IV was not a hard game, but it was controller-throwingly frustrating when you'd accidentally fumble Niko out of cover at the wrong moment and an enemy's assault rifle burst would strip 90% of your health bar away and force you to tip toe through the rest of a mission lest you die and be condemned to repeat the last 15 minutes.

Gay Tony showed me that, when the missions are fun and there's enough to do in the world, I can handle the horrific controls of Nu GTA, so I'm good and excited for Red Dead Redemption. Rockstar always brings the goodness, even if it might be well hidden.
4 years ago
matrix-cat wrote
GTA IV had the worst on foot controls I can think of. I was going to end that sentence with 'this gen', but honestly I can't think of any other game with more convoluted controls. I'm truly flabbergasted that Rockstar is sticking with that scheme four games later. From the completely ridiculous 'hold a button to jog, mash it wildly to run' to the unfathomable cover-shooting where, instead of pressing one button to aim and one to shoot (like every game ever), you press one button to magically lock on from behind cover, then press another to stand up, take aim and eventually fire. You press the 'shoot' button and it takes a full second for your character to shoot; I can't believe anyone could have come up with that sober.

Still, as time goes by Rockstar is refining the formula. The controls are still atrocious, but at least the GTA Episodes show that they're paying some attention to the mission variety so you can at least stumble through enjoyable missions. Gay Tony's checkpoints were a godsend, and I can only think RDR's regenerating health will be a great move. GTA IV was not a hard game, but it was controller-throwingly frustrating when you'd accidentally fumble Niko out of cover at the wrong moment and an enemy's assault rifle burst would strip 90% of your health bar away and force you to tip toe through the rest of a mission lest you die and be condemned to repeat the last 15 minutes.

Gay Tony showed me that, when the missions are fun and there's enough to do in the world, I can handle the horrific controls of Nu GTA, so I'm good and excited for Red Dead Redemption. Rockstar always brings the goodness, even if it might be well hidden.
I completely disagree and found the controls to be fine, if not pretty standard. I actually think they idiot proofed them quite well.
4 years ago
Seriously? I played Gay Tony shortly after Uncharted 2 and I spent the first few hours marvelling at how clumsy everything is. Uncharted has perfect cover-based shooter controls; everything is simplified to the point where controlling Nate becomes second nature five minutes after picking up the controller. The first eight hours of GTA IV are just missions teaching you the controls. Aim, aim a bit more, stand up and fire and sit down again, walk, walk a bit faster, run, pick something up and throw it, punch, kick, dodge and counter when the game feels like it. You can do those same things in Uncharted 2, but it's so much easier. There's just no reason GTA controls need to be so grossly overdesigned.

This isn't even mentioning things like the lack of what a weapon wheel, so you have to cycle through each one of your weapons in real time until you get to the one you want. Or that you use three completely different buttons to shoot depending on whether you happen to be on foot, in a car or in a helicopter. Or that, to climb a ladder, you first have to press the 'enter car' button and wait for your character to amble over and latch on to it (make sure to hold a button to climb it a bit faster!).

GTA isn't Metal Gear Solid. You don't need to be able to lie on your back and throw grenades over your head. It plays like a simple cover based shooter, it shouldn control like one.
4 years ago
in GTA4: the lock-on button is an extension of the aim button though - if you don't hold it down fully, it's free-aim. it's only holding it all the way that it locks on.
however one issue i had with GTA4 was that due to the openworld nature, with auto-spawning cops/enemies, you could occasionally have enemies spawn behind you, which defeated the point of even having a cover system - so limited enemies in U/2 made it work better there.
but i think the lock-on was pretty necessary in GTA4 - as because of the open world, you could get flanked. i know i had several occasions where the enemy would suddenly disappear from where i was shooting at them, and only the lock-on let me know they were running around a building, instead of through the door/choke-point.

the changing fire button for driving/walking was a PITA though, but if you consider the other options, what are they?
face buttons to accel/brake - triggers to shoot? yeah, but then how do you aim? you'd have to take your thumbs off the accel/brake to aim, then shoot with the triggers. it did feel stupid going from trigger to bumper when you hopped in a car, but it's really the only way to maintain control of the car, and shoot at the same time.

will definitely give you the walk/hold to jog/mash to sprint thing though. why they don't give you walk/jog on the analogue stick depending on how hard you hold it, and hold a button to sprint, is beyond me.

a weapon wheel would also be welcomed.

EDIT - yeah, i changed some stuff upon reflection - i exaggerated some claims.
4 years ago
Red Dead Redemption will have a weapon wheel so there's something.

I know this is for American Gamestop pre-orders only, but this video shows a few outfits during gameplay. Pretty cool standing toe-to-toe with a big Grizzly.

http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/2010/02/03/2961/watch_the_official_red_dead_referendum_outfits_video
4 years ago
I am buying this game first day!....good for me.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  21/05/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Take 2 Interactive
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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