Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Red Dead Redemption: stupid horse

I finished Spec Ops, but it's a game worthy of a much longer completion post than I currently have time for.

I've heard increasingly good things about Red Dead Redemption, with praise becoming more concentrated the further we get from the release date.  Indeed, RDR was one of seven games to which Edge recently awarded a retrospective ten - of which, RDR was the only one which I hadn't played.  Wanting something that was open-world, outside the standard space or city location, this seemed the obvious game to play next.

It started off incredibly slowly.  A train ride, with random people talking about mundane details.  Given control of my character, I veered all over the place, walking slowly and bumping into walls.  I'm not sure if this is due to the PS3 controller - which is pretty awful - or the game, but after controlling Assassin's Creed II I feel pretty disconnected from John Marsden.  I'm fighting against the controls, rather than interacting effectively with them.  After two hours of play, it's settled down a bit, but when I get on my horse I still have real difficulty turning around to ride off.

The first two hours have been incredibly impressive, though.  The environment is immense; I've rarely felt quite so awed by the size of a game's world, particularly since there are no artificial barriers pushing me down corridors or restricting access to the next area.  I've not felt the need to ride to further towns yet, but I've ridden a fair bit around the countryside and come across odd shacks and dwellings.  I found an old lady who was waiting for her groom so she could get married - I later found out that he'd died several years before.  I was accosted by a man asking for help to save his friend who was being hanged.  I didn't manage to shoot the rope in time but I did kill the bandits who hanged him.

The combat mechanism feels much more refined than I remember from GTA IV or other Rockstar games.  Locking on with a single shoulder button feels quite natural, but there's flexibility for more accurate aiming when needed.  I've particularly enjoyed a couple of shootouts I've had while riding my horse at speed.  It's one area where the controls do work, but maybe too well - I was once riding through town and accidentally pointed my gun at a bystander, who then started shooting at me.  Of course, shooting him back wasn't the done thing and I found myself being arrested for murder.  Not fun.

So, so far, a good variety in missions, great world, interesting characters, occasionally frustrating controls.  I just need to learn the route between Armadillo and the McFarlane Ranch so I don't keep on running into the cliffs and getting stuck.  This is where the Wii U's gamepad maps would be invaluable.

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