Base Jumping in the Wild Wild West?
Red Dead Redemption is a new game in development by Rockstar Games, probably most famous for their Grand Theft Auto series. Red Dead Redemption has a few similarities to the GTA games in that it is a open ended, free roaming adventure game, something that Rockstar excel at. But this time the game is not set in a huge sprawling city, instead it puts the player in the shoes of… make that cowboy boots of… John Marston, a former outlaw turned lawman tasked with hunting down his former gang of miscreants in what sounds like a shout out to Pat Garret hunting down Billy the Kid in Young Guns 2.
From the above comments you have probably already guessed the game is set in the wild west and is the developers first try at a rural based open world game. Gone are the cars and cops and in come the horses and sheriffs. The first thing I noticed is that the game looks stunning.
With huge cityscapes giving way to sprawling panoramic views with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. This is combined with what looks to be amazing draw distances giving the player a vibrant representation of the wild west in which to play and explore.
There will of course be towns and settlements dotted around the game, where the player can trade goods and pick up bounty missions among other things. I am also hoping that you can frequent bars and play poker like they do in so many western movies. With three huge distinct areas making up the games map, you can expect to be spending some time exploring in this game. Rockstar also promises that this will be a living breathing world with over 40 animal species populating the scenery from rabbits and rattlesnakes to bears and wild horses, which coincidentally can be roped and broken to be your new mount. Itâ€™s not yet made clear whether or not you can do the same with the rabbits should our hero feel the need to get himself a pet.
Along with the main story line, which, if Rockstars other games are anything to go by, will be lengthy in itself, there will also be what the developers are calling procedural events. These sound like they will be side missions, triggered as the player explores the world, meeting characters along the way.
Although our anti-hero in the game is technically on the side of the law, it is up to the player how they want to complete given tasks. Be it bringing in a bounty dead or alive, or stealing a horse rather than procuring one by more honest methods, the outlaw way may seem more profitable. But with the games honour system tracking all of your actions throughout, it could ultimately lead to more trouble than it is worth.
The combat in the game appears to be a mix between the expected third person view and what is being called Dead Eye mode. Dead Eye seems to be similar to the VATS targeting system of Fallout 3, with the player slowing down the action and lining up shots to individual body parts before the action returns to speed and the player unleashes a volley of gunfire on the target or targets. This brings to note the Euphoria physics engine meaning you can target your bountyâ€™s leg with a single shot leaving him alive, yet limping and disabled and therefore much easier to capture and secure. Weapons range from your lasso, pistol and throwing knifes to rifles shotguns and even hand cranked Gatling guns giving the player a wide variety of firearms to wreak havoc with.
On top of all this, Rockstar have announced that there will be a multiplayer element to the game. Details of what this will include have yet to be announced. Whether it will be competitive death match style play, or whether my personal hopes for a cooperative mode are met, is unclear as of yet.
The only question remains is, can this be one of the few, if not only, game set in the wild west that is actually a bit hit? I for one am hoping it will be, as it is without a doubt one of the games I am looking forward to playing this year. The game will hit the shelves for both Playstation 3 and Xbox360 on the 30th of April.