With no regard for his own personal safety, Bazaboy answers the questions we all want answered. First up – can Tea and Coffee keep him gaming all night?
THURSDAY 20th MAY
For the first night I decide to begin with a couple of the most common forms of caffeine, Tea and Coffee. Not only do they taste good, but they are also nice and warm. On receiving the game through the post this morning, I popped it in the console right away for a couple of hours play, to acclimatise myself with the controls and how it plays. Before I go any further I have to say that Red Dead redemption is a stunning game. I do not just mean it looks amazing, but also playing it is such an enjoyable experience. During my first small session I spent an hour and a half hunting rabbits for a marksmanship challenge. Although this sounds a little boring, the game is such a joy to play that even this small task was a lot of fun.
I start playing on my first test session and things start of with me picking up a mission which has myself, a sheriff and two of his deputies being ambushed by a large group of miscreants. We take cover in a ruined shed in a classic western movie shootout, which incidentally the game is full of, and this early into the night this poses no problems as I pull of a series of “dead eye” head shots before picking off the stragglers as they take cover behind some rocks. I am so alert that I manage to take out all ten or so of them without even wounding any of their horses. Strange thing, over the short time I have been plying I have becomeÂ connected to my own horse. I know that if I lose him or he dies another one is easy to come by, but I actively try and keep him from being injured just as much as I do myself. I have no problems shooting helpless rabbits, deer and armadillos through out the game, which do the player no harm whatsoever, but I have actually let a bad guy dismount his horseÂ before shooting him so as I do not hit his four legged friend.
Half an hour in and I am still feeling pretty alert. To prove it, as I ride along a road, I spot a lone figure shooting birds out of the sky and, as I approach him, he challenges me to a shooting contest. He bets against me being able to shoot down four flying birds within a time limit, which I accomplish well ahead of time. A real test of alertness and I am wide awake and on a high after winning said challenge and walking away with a bit extra cash. As I call my horse and start walking back towards him, BAM! what the… a mountain cougar. I am not talking about a mature woman chasing me, I mean the four legged variety. It comes out of nowhere and wipes me out in two hits. Is it because I am tired ? I think not. I was just taken by surprise, something you quickly get used to in this game, especially when it comes to these cougars which are, in my opinion, the most dangerous animal in the game. Sure, the bears kill you in less hits, but they do not move quite as fast.
Riding into the mountains as part of a side quest, I am searching for the third person to have gone missing in the area. It becomes clear what has been going on as I end up saving a chap from being eaten… by a cannibal. Shockingly this turns out not to be a singular occurrence as, at the time of writing this, I have now run into three of these crazy flesh eaters in the game. This was followed a few minutes later, as I rode back into town, with another test as to whether or not I was getting tired. A quickdraw duel gave me the answer that I was still running at pretty much full capacity, as I emptied all six rounds from my pistol into my opponents head. A little bit excessive maybe, but it definitely done the job.
Its at this time I decide to prepare my first cup of coffee, leaving the hero, John, propping up the bar in Armadillos town saloon. At the moment I would say I am running at around 90% tip top gaming performance and, by my reckoning, still have a couple of hours in me yet. After making myself a nice big mug of coffee and a couple of choccy digestives, I return to the game and take it easy as I enjoy my cuppa, by patrolling a ranch with Charlie the ranch dog who sniffs out trouble before I have to deal with it. Much to my amusement, he seems to lead me directly to an outhouse. I then decide to pick up another bounty mission and give myself a bit of action, now that I have coffee inside me and I am raring to go.
So I set out in search of my bounty feeling a little more alert, for my tasty beverage has done its job. I track down and kill the target. This whole taking them in alive is not my style. Then, as usual, I am chased all the way back to the town by the killed target’s gang. As I get to town to collect my reward, on entering I relax a little as the gang’s no longer chase you once you enter town, or so I thought. As I slow my mount to a canter, heading towards the sheriff, gunshots fill my ears and five guys on horseback come galloping into town, aiming right for me. Taken completely by surprise, and maybe a little because I am tired, I panic and find myself doing absolutely nothing to stop them as they charge at me and gun me down. I sit there, dumbfounded for a few minutes, pondering what has just happened and then swear a little when I realise that because I had not yet handed in my bounty and triggered the auto-save, the target is still alive and therefore must be dealt with once again. So off I gallop. At least they did not kill my horse.
Next up is a treasure hunt, which in this game can be tricky and calls for a mix of lateral thinking, exploration and patience. A true test to whether or not I am awake and alert enough. Although I am beginning to feel a little tired, running on about 75% now, I am still happy enough to play on. Treasure hunting involves the player finding a map, which is really nothing more than a series of sketches of a landmark or landmarks. The player then has to match these up in the game world. The current map I am trying to decipher, I was fairly sure, was one of two places I had been in game already. Of course, there was quite a distance between the two and sod’s law naturally dictates that I choose the wrong one to begin with. But this did not stop me scouring the first spot, ensuring I was not missing the landmark. Before riding to the second spot, I decided to make myself a cup of tea.
It was as I was drinking this, and casually riding to the second potential treasure spot, that the initial tired feelings began to kick in. Although the coffee and tea perked me up for twenty minutes or so, it was not long after finishing each cup that the tired feeling would sneak up on me again.
Another bounty mission taken and this is where the tiredness really dawns on me. As I ride to the targets last known location, my eyes begin to droop. When it comes back to the action of fighting the target and his goons however, I am alert enough. The problem arises though on my ride back. As normal I am being chased by some of the targets cohorts and, although my eyes are not drooping at this point, I slow down my horse in preparation to gun down the bad guys. I aim with my gun as the 3 horses surround me and i am firing but I seem to hit nothing but air. Unbelievably their shooting was just as bad as mine, so when I do actually come to my senses and get my horse moving again, I leave them standing as I fly as fast as my equine friend can carry me to the town.
I am finally relenting to the fact that I am beginning to get tired and that I got lucky, escaping my attackers. Refusing to quit just yet, I do the one thing I think can save me now – coffee and a toilet break – one of a few visits I have made this evening/morning.
Another cup of coffee once again perks me up for a few minutes. But as soon as my little break is over and I come back to the game, I almost immediately begin to feel tired. I still amaze myself when a shopkeeper runs up to me, saying someone has stolen his money, and asks me to retrieve it. This leads to me racing after the thief. Leaving the town, I see him running off in the distance. In another scene directly from many a western movie, you know the one where the hero takes aim at a running bad guy in the distance before firing a single shot, I hit the deadeye control, slowing the action down and do just that. I watch with a little smile on my face as he cartwheels to the ground. Despite this bite of action, I am definitely tired now, running at around 40% and dropping fast. I have decided that come 04:00 I am heading to my bed.
As I drop a final horse thief while I patrol the ranch once more with Charlie the dog, I am tired enough to realise that I need my bed. My conclusion tonight for the more traditional caffeine based drinks, coffee and tea, is that they can wake you up for the limited time you have them there to drink. I believe it is mostly because you actually have a hot drink there, keeping you warm and keeping you occupied for a few minute, before the effects wear off and the tiredness sneaks back in. As for improving any kind of gameplay, I am afraid not. My skills in the game were pretty much steady all night, apart from when I started to get a little more tired. So how do these shape up overall? Well, they don’t do anything for your gaming skills and although they do perk you up for fifteen to twenty minutes each time, just know that sleep is coming for you eventually. I will be interested to see how the various energy drinks hold up compared to them.
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