Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Review

Kid Safe: Low                     Game Quality: High

Genre: Open World Action/Adventure
-          This game takes place where choice is everything. Rather than providing a set story that a player has to follow, they are provided a world that they can explore and do as they wish with a focus similar to an action movie. Likewise, as players adventure through this title they will find alternate means of completing their tasks including battles, negotiation, and puzzle solving.

Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          This game features a moderate amount of online content. To begin, this game is downloadable content that can be acquired through purchase on the internet; however a hard copy is also sold in stores. That aside, the game, just as with Red Dead Redemption before it, boasts a modest online multiplayer mode where individuals may play with others through the internet. It should be noted that the hard copy sold in stores boasts extra multiplayer content through the "Liars and Cheaters" and "Legends and Killers" content that is included on disc.

Story Summary: In Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, players once again hop into the well
worn boots of ex-outlaw John Marston, who we met in Red Dead Redemption. This title takes place during unaccounted time from the first title, roughly three quarters of the way through the main story. The game takes on a wonderful campy feel and generally embraces spooky pop-culture references like the "Haunted Mansion" at Disneyland and Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". Opening on a stormy night on the frontier, we find that the dead have begun to rise from their graves to consume the living and that a plague is spreading through the civilizations of the Old West that is turning regular folk into cannibalistic monsters with a thirst for human flesh. As Marston, you adventure across the entire world from the original game, which has now taken on a spooky, undead twist. You are on a mission to not only protect the settlers of the old west and find out why the dead are rising but hopefully find a cure for your wife and son who have become infected monsters themselves.

Kid Safe: Low
-          Foul Language: Moderate
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare contains a moderate amount of Foul Language in the form of the following observed words: d*mn, s*it, h*ll, b*stard, and f*ck. It should be noted that this is a notable improvement to the "High" rating that Red Dead Redemption previously received, although I suppose it helps when the majority of characters that the player encounters are moaning and groaning monsters. While this title does feature some harsher language such as "f*ck", the cussing is kept to a rather impressive minimum given the horror element and the fact that an average individual would be screaming obscenities out of fear.

-          Violence and Gore: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   As would be expected with a zombie game, especially one from Rockstar studios, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has a very high level of Violence and Gore. The majority of enemies that players will run into are zombies and therefore corpses; many of them appearing heavily wounded, rotten, and oozing puss, blood, and organs. Likewise, players will witness cannibalistic attacks where zombies will attack living human beings who will scream in pain as they are quite literally eaten, usually spraying blood and leaving a pool of blood beneath them. To Undead Nightmare's credit, these scenes are not overly graphic, as very often zombies are simply seen over their victims with red spray shooting out rather than gruesome scenes of torn flesh and sinew.
o   Players will also run into living humans that they can kill as well as characters that were well established as previously living in the first game. Players may kill any living human they find, however that is not many; likewise there are several characters throughout the world who have gone insane and will attack Marston, thus forcing players to kill them. Likewise, multiple characters from the previous games (the reviewer counted six in total) become infected and zombified, forcing Marston to kill them. Killing zombies must often be done by shooting them in the head, resulting in the zombie's skull exploding in a spray of blood and viscera.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Low
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has relatively low sexually-related content with the exception of two points. The first item of note is that players will run into female zombies that are wearing corsets and lingerie; these items are non-revealing in terms of genitalia but are sexually suggestive. Secondly, there is a very odd (and unexplained) scene where there is a zombified prostitute that suggestively touches her body and rubs her breast when you approach her before running away hand in hand with another male zombie; this is the only zombie that ever shows this behavior.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Very Low
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare features a single observed instance of alcoholic consumption in which the Marshall pours Marston a shot of whiskey while they are talking. Not shocking giving most barkeeps are probably slavering beasts at this time.

Game Quality: High
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare makes up for some of its predecessor's faults and demonstrates a high level of visual and graphical quality. Using the already established landscapes from Red Dead Redemption, this title takes the already magnificent open-world of the Old West and repaints it for a more "spooky" setting. Whereas most of the original game was during bright, sunny days or moonlit, starry nights; Undead Nightmare has a far bleaker tone. The majority of the game seems to take place during dusk and night, with the occasional daybreak brightening the world; and the rolling hills and lands are almost always covered by a soft mist and fog that adds to the atmosphere of this game. Likewise, the horse mechanics return and are just as impressive as ever, boasting realistic equine movements which is rather uncommon in the current market. Finally, the subtle and realistic facial expressions continue to impress.
o   Sadly, Red Dead Redemption is still not without faults. We experienced several graphical glitches, most often with characters model. In one instance, we found that when you jump a certain distance from a ledge Marston will quite literally hover over to the ledge. In another instance we found a zombie that ran at us only to suddenly sink up to her waist into the ground graphics; snarling and eternally stuck. Likewise, while the facial expressions of characters are generally high quality, the lip synching still needs some works; as we experienced multiple situations where audio and graphics were not working together properly.
-          Audio: Very High
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare features a very high quality of audio and sound. To begin, Rob Wietoff returns as John Marston along with a fair number of the original voice cast to share their talents in Undead Nightmare. The voice acting is, once again, spot-on; with each character providing properly emotive delivery and really lending weight to the drastic situation. Likewise, the already established ambient qualities return; lending realistic quality to the sound of this game across the board with everything from thundering footsteps to the soft rustle of tumbleweeds across an empty town. Lastly, the already impressive music has been reworked for Undead Redemption; with composers having mixed previously "rustic" cowboy music and adding a pleasantly spooky edge to them.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare displays a relatively high quality of gameplay and playability. For those who never played the original Red Dead Redemption: the game immediately starts off by fully explaining almost all of the controls before ever sending you into the vast hordes of the undead; with the exception of three zombies that help you learn the basics of shooting and hog tying. From there, Undead Nightmare retains its previously impressive third-person shooting mode while adding additional weapons for players to try out. From there, players also are able to use their slow-motion shooting (called Dead Eye) more frequently than the original game in order to help them against the vast amount of zombies they will be facing. Finally, characters are able to create new items including Blunderbuss ammunition out of the pieces of their slain enemies.
o   Undead Nightmare does suffer from some gameplay difficulties. The first problem is that horse wrangling, something used to catch the exclusive Four Horses of the Apocalypse, is never explained; the game relying on the fact that you played the first iteration of the game. This is a large problem as horse wrangling is especially difficult with the Four Horses and takes multiple steps in order to complete. Secondly, the shooting system for Red Dead Redemption is built for medium to long range engagement and not for the hand-to-hand combat that the undead bring to the table. Occasionally the gunplay gets buggy and does not work properly due to this fact.
-          Dollar-Value: Downloadable Content - Very High / Hard Copy - Moderate
o   This might seem like a very strange split, so allow me to explain. The downloadable version of Undead Nightmare is only $10 U.S., for this you will be receiving approximately 6 to 8 hours of brand new story-mode gameplay as well as several new online gameplay modes for playing in multiplayer with other people around the world. This is a phenomenal value and many games are charging $50 or $60 for the same amount of content. However, if you are buying the hard copy from stores, this content will cost you $30 U.S. because of the added "Liars and Cheaters" and "Legends and Killers" expansions packs. This is not quite the same value as the "Legends and Killers" expansion adds extra characters and places for characters to go to in the multiplayer free roam and the "Liars and Cheaters" extra characters, locations to go to, the ability to play poker and liar's dice online, and a new game mode. Generally these will be of no use if you do not use the internet often and will only be useful if you play Red Dead Redemption multiplayer extensively.

-          Sadly, as previously mentioned, the Old West and Zombie related games both have issues producing any titles that are not M-rated. Good fallbacks still stand for now including games like "Resident Evil" for zombie games and "Infamous" for open-world games.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns., I continue to encourage you to contact us. I hope this guide has proved useful. Enjoy.

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