Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption Review

Kid Friendly: Very 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.)
Internet Requirements: Moderate
-          (This game features a moderate amount of internet usage. While it does have a good deal of offline content that can be played without internet connection; this title also offers plenty of online content which includes a multiplayer-mode as well as extra levels and gameplay which may be bought and downloaded online.)
Story Summary: Red Dead Redemption is a breathtaking story of blood, violence, and redemption in the
 American Old West. The main character is John Marston, an ex-outlaw who has been
 captured and blackmailed by the newly formed FBI. With the agency holding his family
 hostage, Marston is forced to trek across the Old West to find his old gang mates and
 bring them to justice, dead or alive. On his journeys he meets a great number people;
 both equally savory and unsavory as he follows a trail of blood in an attempt to find

Kid Safe: Very Low
-          Foul Language: High
o   This game features a large amount of foul language including f*ck, s*it, d*mn, c*nt, c*ck, and other words. Fascinatingly enough, the foul language does not often come from the main character, John Marston; who in fact very often presents himself in a very cordial and well-mannered fashion except when he is dealing with some of the more unsavory characters of the title. Instead, almost all of the foul language is found in the interactions with most of the other characters of the game; who generally are criminals, drunks, rapists, lunatics, etc.

-          Violence and Gore: High
o    This game features a great deal of violence and gore. Leaning towards realism, this game does not falter on many interactions that occurred in the American Old West. When playing this title, individuals will use firearms to shoot anyone they so choose in the world (however the story only focuses on killing criminals). These deaths will also reveal realistic sprays of blood followed by spasms and collapsing of a dead body. Aside from killing humans, an entire set of challenge levels encourage you to hunt, kill, and skin wild animals in the world; leaving their maimed bodies lying where they fell. Finally, there are some disturbing scenes where story-arc characters are brutally beaten and bloodied; namely a young woman by the name of Bonnie who, after being kidnapped from her home, is hung after been beaten and raped by a gang of men.

-          Sexually-Related Content: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   This game features a large variety of sexual content and nudity. There are multiple references to rape, sexual deviancy, sexual intercourse, as well as the presence of prostitutes in all towns. To begin, on more than several occasions, there will be discussion among criminals and the main characters about the forcible rape of women; one of the main examples being the previously mentioned Bonnie who was kidnapped from her home and found beaten and bloodied by a gang of men. Next, there are several references to bestiality (engaging in sexual activity with animals); one such example being a side mission you do for a gentleman who is missing his "lady". When you go to the location you find a young woman brushing a horse, only then do you find out the horse is the one the man is pining over. Upon returning the horse, you find out that he wishes to engage in bestiality with the mare; the young woman leaving you with the phrase "You probably don't want to watch what these two have planned together. Finally, there are blatant scenes of sexual intercourse; one such example showing a young man and woman, only half-clothed, having sex on a table; stopping when you walk in with the half-clothed woman running out.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: High
o   This game features a large amount of drug and alcohol usage. To begin, you may at anytime go to a bar or saloon in game and continue to imbibe alcohol. In doing so, your vision gets progressively more blurred and your character begins to stumble about, bump into people, and appear generally intoxicated. Eventually you will collapse and black out. On top of this, there are more than a couple cut scenes where your character is scene smoking cigarettes extensively.

Game Quality: High
-          Graphics / Visuals: Moderate
o   The graphics and visuals for this title are generally of very high quality. The game portrays a very realistic depiction of the desert including: blowing dusty winds, camouflaged animals running about in the brush, mountains off in the distance, the dirty, grainy look of a town that has been resting in a desert area, etc. Likewise, this title bolsters an impressive physics engine for all of the units and characters; allowing them to flow very realistically, rationing their weight here and there as they move around in the world. I would like to make a special note for the design of horses which, being an equestrian myself, acted rather and moved very much like real horses (something that is rarely done well in most games).
o   However, for as impressive as the graphics generally are, there are some rather sufficient flaws as well; as this game is absolutely riddled with glitches and errors that tend to effect gameplay. On one occasion I returned to my horse to find him floating in the air with his hitch as his only tether to the world, as though gravity were turned off. On yet another occasion, when picking up an individual up off the ground, they suddenly were stuck in the environment and my character was acting as if he was carrying something that wasn't there. Sadly, a large number of very similar stories have been reported across multiple gamers.

-          Audio: High
o   The audio, much like the graphics, are of a generally high quality. The music and sound add incredible ambiance to the gameplay, altering the mood of the scenes quite drastically. When traveling on horseback, the overbearing sound of hoof beats will be the primary sound with your partner's voice tapering up and down with it based on where he is riding in relation to you. Indeed, other times music will take over with a soft acoustic playing as you walk through town, only to be dominated suddenly by a quick and frantic tune as bandits stir up travel in the saloon in front of you. Not only this, but the game features recognized actors and voice actors including Kevin Glikmann, Spider Madison, and Ben Davis.
o   Once again however, like the graphics, this title suffers from audio glitches as well. These faults were generally only found in the voice acting and sound bites rather than the music. Occasionally a sound bite would break, causing an odd, audible squeaking or popping noise. Likewise, once or twice I watched as a character's lips moved and produced no sound, only to hear it a second later due to poor lip synching. Luckily, unlike the graphical difficulties, these were far and few between.

-          Gameplay / Playability: High
o   This game tends to have a rather high playability that add to an intense and immersive feel to the game. To begin, the open world is absolutely huge, featuring one of the largest environments that Team Rockstar (the developers) have ever put into a title. This allows players the freedom to go to and explore an entirely fleshed out world with citizens, businesses, homes, families, and anything else they could imagine. On top of this, many cities feature mini-games that players can enjoy including poker, blackjack, liar's dice, horseshoes, and other such games. A player can literally burn hours just on these alone.
o   However, the open world is as much a blessing as a curse. Generally a player is expected to ride everywhere in the world in real-time, spending almost as much time trying to get to a mission or level as they do actually playing it. A player may even be deterred from playing solely due to the length of time it takes to get around and complete missions. While the game does offer two means of skipping this, the stagecoach and the fast travel system, it does nothing to encourage their usage. The stagecoach costs in-game money to spend. Likewise, I was never even made aware of the fast travel system by the game and had to be informed outside of the title by someone who found it by accident.

-          Dollar Value: High
o   All in all, this game is generally of a high dollar value. It offers a truly expansive world and story that can take well over 30 hours to complete if you only stick to the single player mission. From there, this title also offers a robust online experience where individuals may play online multiplayer with other players around the world and other battle each other several different modes. On top of this, the game already bolsters a list of new missions and levels that can be purchased and downloaded online to increase the amount of gameplay you have available. If you are alright with the intense amount of adult-oriented content and the occasional graphical glitch, this game features almost triple the amount of content than most games on the market for the same price.

-          If the adult content is unacceptable, several other games may be right up your alley. If you are looking for a title with an intense, action oriented story, you may wish to check out Uncharted for the PS3. Likewise, Infamous bolsters a strong open-world environment with a superhero overtone. Sadly, the Old West has yet to be produced in a kid friendly manner and lacks any games under an M rating.

Finally, I apologize for the length of this review however the sheer size led to the size of the review
itself. It even caused me to rework the design of my reviews in several ways. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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