Quick and Dirty Thoughts: Red Dead Redemption

We’re going to post something big and official about Red Dead Redemption in the future. Probably a review of some sort. You know how these places about video games work.

However, today’s been a real slow news day (the pre-E3 doldrums), and I’ve decided to post some preliminary thoughts after the jump. Some minor spoilers, obviously, though very little plot related.

1. Like GTA but in the Old West – Sure, Rockstar’s been trying to wave off GTA comparisons, but this is almost literally a palette swap. X is still the kill Nico…err kill John Marston button, gunplay works roughly the same, and Y is still the hijack button. Sure, lots of things are changed, but the more things change the more they stay the same. And some of the new features are nice touches: the weapon wheel is pretty useful, as are the dramatic executions on wounded enemies.

2. RDR has the same sort of demented humor GTA has. In fact, it’s humor level so far seems almost more akin to San Andreas than GTA4. You have hallucinating religious types, crazy no goodnicks who you have to help, and an absolutely insane woman who can’t get past her dead husband. Fun, and funny, stuff.

3. Variety. That’s the biggest plus this game has, over GTA4. There are so many things to do, and so many ways to do them. If you get tired of doing plot missions, you can tool around and help random civilians (the most underutilized part of GTA4); get bored of that, and you can duel people, kill animals, collect wild herbs, break horses. There are so many things to do. In addition…

4. Crime does pay. In the GTA games, it always felt like, if you wanted to be a criminal, your option was to shoot everyone. That was criminal. Here, you can rob banks, steal stagecoaches, run people out of town with a lasso, and shoot up towns until they are ghost towns. And crime seems like a weighty, viable alternative. There are things to buy, so many things, and you rarely get paid for missions. For once, the “evil” routes in missions don’t seem like cheap, “I’m a jerk” type things. Being a criminal offers rewards being “good” doesn’t, and that difference will no doubt help with replay value. I never felt the need to play Bioshock twice to see both endings. In RDR, I feel like being a criminal would be a completely different experience, which says good things for its replayability.

5. Some stability issues. I stopped playing because my game crashed. Obviously, your mileage may vary. However, there’s nothing like a crash to kill the enthusiasm a game is building.

Those are my thoughts. Expect more coverage as the week passes.