Red Dead Redemption (well done on the stupid name) is a game.
It’s most definitely a game. And a Western. I hate Westerns. This may have affected the rest of the review, but probably not. If it were better, I would have liked it despite being a Western.
Let’s get on with it though, you play the Man With No Name. Except you don’t, which is a shame, because that guy may have had no name, but he did have a personality. Unlike actual protagonist, John Marston. As one of the game’s other characters points out, “You’re being deliberately enigmatic as a replacement for being interesting.” She’s right. And one of the game’s vanishingly few likeable characters. Most of the others are kinda dicks, I’m not really sure why games do this, or why films do it for that matter. I sort of get what they’re after, they are trying to build realistic characters by making them gritty or edgy, but mostly they end up just being either quirky and obnoxious, like Mr West Dickens, or clinically boring like John Marston. The boring doesn’t end there.
The world is big, flat, vast. And dull, since, whilst there is more than plenty to do, it’s very MMO grindy, it’s things like, kill and skin four wolves, or let’s play some poker, rather than actual missions, of which there are few to choose between. There are some proper side-quests and some of these escape the MMO grindy tasks like finding six of three different types of flower in the local environs, but even they have an irritating habit by being about characters of no real consequence or story. It’s a bit like Pokemon, adding more grinding instead of gameplay until it effectively floods the gameplay.
Then there’s the lack of an autoaim feature, which would be fine, but aren’t I playing a gunslinger with almost preternatural skill? Then surely autoaim makes sense? Dead Eye (the Matrix-esque ability to slow the game world) is nice, but it need not replace autoaim.
The most over-rated piece of average I’ve played since Mass Effect 2.
I suspect most of its popularity is more to do with a dislike of Grand Theft Auto 4 than an appreciation of Red Dead Redemption. I really wish it were better, the opening was so promising.