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Release Date: May 18th, 2010 Movie Release Year: 2010

Red Dead Redemption

Overview -

“Red Dead Redemption” is the dream of many a young lad (or lass) who pined at some time in his or her life of becoming a hero of the Old West. It should strike no one as a shocking fact that Rockstar’s open-world, third-person adventure game is a phenomenal, immersive experience that not only earns every penny of your money in the game play department, but stands tall on the merits of its storyline that tracks the classic (anti)hero in a vintage setting which simultaneously pays loving tribute to our notions of the West in all its forms: good and band, stunning and ugly, romantic and tragic.

OVERALL:
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
720p
Audio Formats:
Dolby Digital 5.1
Release Date:
May 18th, 2010

Video Review

Ranking:

At first glance, it would be easy to say “Red Dead Redemption” sports perfect visuals. Yes, the game looks like a period Western world, with perfect color palette selections depending on the locale (the contrast between the “civilized” modern Blackwater and dusty south of the border pueblo architecture is astonishing) and the game world stretching into the horizon, under a more objective eye, the game shows a few technical limitations that leave it “merely” very good looking.

First and foremost, the time period of the game allows for sparse design as one might expect from a frontier landscape, but a few hours into the game and one begins to notice that there is some repetition to the vegetation that makes up the lion’s share of the paths between ranches, forts, and towns. The same can’t be said for the more mountainous regions of the game, which do lend weight to the argument that the game is perfect visual offering, but those regions make a sizable but ultimately smaller portion of the game world.

On a truly technical level, Rockstar still has a bit of stiffness to character animations. When John’s on his horse, he looks great, but get him running and some of the same issues with GTA IV’s characters rear its ugly head. There’s a mild amount of pop in, logically as the complexity of the graphics ramps up, mostly as you the more busy graphical areas begin to show up on the edge of one’s field of vision. Additionally, some slow loading textures spring up, which in no way ruin the experience of the game but do highlight that it’s pushing both the engine and the system to the limits.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The most noticeable success of “Red Dead Redemption’s” sound department ties back into what really aids the narrative: the voice cast. Nearly perfect in every casting choice, the voice work of “Red Dead Redemption” has an authentic western sound, mixing a healthy blend of straightforward everyday people with some colorful genre staples. The voice work is expertly blended alongside a fine selection of realistic effects that do double duty as necessary game elements and atmospheric sweeteners.

The sound mix is perfectly balanced from the get go, with the surrounds successfully delivering vital aural cues to the gamer, whether it be distant gunfire or a deadly four-legged predator. The mix never falters even during moments where John spins in every direction taking out the closest opposition. Likewise, the effects carry proper weight from, from galloping hooves to the deep cold death of a shotgun blast. The game uses sound to drive home the idea that John Marston’s world is meant to be somewhat grounded in reality.

Helping blur the line between mere game and cinematic experience, the score of “Red Dead Redemption” comes and goes as needed, seamlessly, to the point that players may only notice it if they find themselves less than 100% immersed in the game. During critical moments in active play or during cutscenes though, the score makes its impact felt and captures the sprit of the genre lock, stock and barrel. It’s a subtle integration into the game, but one that when scrutinized holds up and reveals the intelligence behind the experience.

If one were pressed to find a real nitpick when it comes to “Red Dead Redemption,” it’s that the multiplayer experience isn’t as nearly refined as the masterwork that is the single player storyline. “Red Dead Redemption” is Rockstar’s finest hour as a company and the best combination of pure, easily accessible game play and honest storytelling the company has ever been apart of and to top it all off it’s a visual and aural delight.