Thursday, September 27, 2012

Number 7: Read Dead Redemption

Another day (or two, or 3) and another Rockstar game, although a much more recent example in Red Dead Redemption.
After the disappointment that was Grand Theft Auto IV and the meh-fest that was Read Dead Revolver (a game I’ve spent a total of around 15 minutes playing, admitedly) I must say that I wasn’t expecting much at all from Red Dead at all. This game could almost make it into my list on its ending alone, so for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:
a)      What’s taken so long? and;
b)     Stop reading and go do that
John Marston is easily the best protagonist in a Rockstar game by a long shot, his highs are quite literally your highs, and his lows, well you get the picture.
Part of that comes from the fact that you do feel for him, despite the whining protagonists in GTA’s, especially IV and SA, you feel that John really does just want to get out of the situation, and it’s external forces keeping him from settling, whereas the other two seem to be the catalysts for their situation.
As you would expect the game plays quite a bit like a GTA game, although there have been additions of a lasso, which can be used to tame horses and rope adversaries from their mounts and the ‘dead eye’ system which slows down time and allows you to unload whole magazines into multiple enemies.
The fact is this is a stunningly beautiful and despite the bugs the game is prone to, it is a world that just feels alive, and above all authentic.
It may be bleak, but it is beautiful
This was the first game to really show me how good game storytelling could be, not pulpy but a story that could sit up with other mediums, held back (only minimally, mind) by the fact that it is a game. For that achievement alone it deserves to be in this list, it should be on yours, too.

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