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Dynafire has 132 chronicles

  1. Dynafire Red Dead Redemption review-sort-of-thing

    Player Chronicle -- Posted on Jul 27 2010

    Having recently discovered that a LOT of people are buying and playing Red Dead Redemption, I felt it necessary to rain on their parade. Well, sort of. See, it's widely regarded as being this nearly perfect game, with consistently high review scores from critics and users alike. I must have been playing the bastardized version of it, then, because from my experience, it was just "okay".

    The main plot of the game is that you are John Marston, a former outlaw turned government whipping boy, who must track down and capture or eliminate the members of his old gang. In return, he gets to see his family again. However, it's not quite that simple, as you must do a plethora of side missions to learn the whereabouts of your targets.

    First off, let's get the good stuff out of the way. It is a very story-driven game, of which there are few these days. The voice work is great, and the game does capture the spirit of the old west quite well. Not that any of us have any first-hand experience with the old west, but it closely resembles everything I've read about it through history books and other various sources. I also enjoyed the story, though Marston resolves to fix pretty much any problem by shooting, or threatening to shoot it in the face, if he doesn't get what he wants. Ultimately, the ending was satisfying, though as they say, getting there is half the battle.

    Now, for all the problems I had with this title.

    The controls while you're on foot irritate me. I hate having to continuously tap A to sprint. Why the hell is there even a middle option of holding A to do a slightly slower sprint? No one wants to walk in games, ever. Why not just make sprinting the default action, and activate walking by either holding A, or moving the left analog stick slightly forward? Also, It is ludicrous to try getting into doorways sometimes. If try to enter from the side or something, and overshoot the doorway, you will need to circle around in the opposite direction to go inside. Otherwise, you'll end up walking all over the place, and not going in the stupid door. It's annoying, but for what it's worth, you do get used to it.

    Horses are another issue. During the first mission, you're instructed to hold A to match the riding speed of the person you're following, and it works like a charm. During later missions, however, I found myself fighting for control as my horse was not content with simply riding at the same speed behind the other character, but decided it would be best if we tried to ride directly alongside them. This doesn't work, as a lot of the paths are ridiculously narrow, and there is generally traffic coming at you as well. You can ride in the grass, but it's just baffling how it worked so well in the first few missions, but doesn't in the later ones.

    Still using the "main character can't swim" method of blocking portions of the map, I see. Honestly, this is just stupid. You're telling me that the game is making Marston out to be this legendary figure of the old west, but he can't set foot in water? I don't even need to explain how ludicrous this is. It's just a way of preventing you from accessing the other parts of the map without completing a ton of missions first.

    Money is useless. Every weapon is equally effective when shooting an enemy in the face, so it's not really necessary to buy them. Not to mention the bullet-time (aka deadeye) that recharges fast enough you never need to worry about not having it. The only other items you can buy are consumables that restore health (and in a game with regenerating health, these just seem wrong) or deadeye. I suppose you can buy horses too, but I fast traveled everywhere, so I didn't see the need.

    As to why I fast-traveled everywhere; the world is massive. This can be a good thing, but in this game, it is not. A conservative estimate is that probably 90% of the game is empty. There are some various random encounters and game to hunt, but ignoring that, there is no reason to travel by horse, unless you just want to enjoy the scenery, or get insta-killed by a cougar you never saw. Tying this to the money thing, the only reason you'd really want to go off the beaten path is to hunt things, or to explore. All hunting does is get you furs and such, which you can sell. As is already established, money is useless. So that just leaves exploration, and having explored pretty much everything in the game, I can say that there is very little worth looking for. There are a couple neat places, but mostly, it's all grass and/or sand. The treasure hunting challenges in the game seem to want to get you to explore, but every place that houses a treasure is located on your map. It was about level 4 of the treasure hunter challenge that I realized this, and located all the remaining treasures in about a half hour. I didn't do this until pretty far into the game, and had purchased all the maps at the stores though. Still, I was expecting it to be a little more challenging than that. It required absolutely no thought or problem solving on my part, and truthfully, I felt ripped off.

    There is very little enemy variety. Aside from certain enemies being more accurate and powerful, every gunfight plays out exactly the same. Look for cover. Go to cover. Shoot guys in the face. Repeat steps 1-3. Occasionally there are some gatling gun sections that play out like a rail-shooter. It's somewhat fun, but still, entirely uninspired and predictable.

    I think that's about it. I know a lot of people will argue with me (JackDaniels of course), and that's fine. I can't change how I feel about this title, but if you guys like it, don't let this get to you. Overall, it's worth checking out. The story throws a nice little twist or two at you, and while a lot of it is fairly predictable, I left with an overall sense of satisfaction.

    In conclusion, the game brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Open world games have been done before, and been done better. We've all experienced bullet-time in some form or another, we've all used cover and shot guys in the face. I suppose to be fair, there are few western-themed games, but I was concentrating more on the gameplay than the backdrop. Again, it's worth checking out if you're looking for a time-sink. The campaign is fairly long, and there's always multiplayer to turn to.

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Chronicle Comments

Dynafire has 3 comment s on this chronicle.

  1. Seripha Seripha
    Posted On Aug 24 2010

    Excellent review. I had originally wanted to pick up this title, but I just never got around to it. For some odd reason, I don't find it difficult in the least to believe you in regards to your drawbacks with the game. I mean, we've all played GTA, so we know what Rockstar's propensities are, both good and bad.

    Overall, your review relieves my concerns that I could have been missing out on a great game. Maybe I will pick it up sometime in the future when it drops way down in price, but I am pretty sure I can do without it until then. Smile

  2. DecipherOne DecipherOne
    Posted On Aug 05 2010

    I still haven't finished this game yet, but I pretty much feel the same way. The game is fun, but the missions are pretty repetitive.

    I've actually spent more time playing poker then anything else in this game, which is cool, I think a multiplayer aspect of that mini-game would have been a great addition.

    The water borders are frustrating and the statement that you made about still using them is exactly what I thought.

    All in all I do feel like it is simply grand theft auto, except with a protagonist with values that aren't, at least in the story, simply looking for money and power.

    Oh, one thing you didn't mention was the interfaces for menus and items, horrendous, I thought. The weapons selection was not very intuitive and kind of a pain in the behind if you are in the middle of something and wanted to switch weapons. And there are so many submenus in the menus that I could spend ten minutes trying to find something.

    Another complaint is the lack of a quick save feature. Setting up camp and or find a bed to save every time is dumb. I would go out and hunt and have a bunch of meat and items to sell, only to be killed and have everything wiped out. The lack of a quick save is one reason I haven't finished the game yet, because of the frustration I would have, I would just turn the game off.

    The story is great and the characters were cool, but if I had a rating system, I would have given the game three out of five bandannas.

  3. BEN BEN
    Posted On Jul 28 2010

    What a hater Laughing

    For a title that had me playing through the entire campaign, and you know how rare that is...I have to disagree with you overall while understanding your frustrations in some of the particulars you shared.

    I too thought there was a lot of dead time, but for me, I found myself enjoying the exploration and side adventures along the way.

    The main thing I agree with you on, is how easy killing everyone was. The lock-on functionality really made gun fights easy to finish and I liked your comment about all the enemies being the same level of difficulty to kill.

    The swimming complaint made me chuckle, because I drowned more than a few times.

    Overall though, I agree with the high ratings for this game. I too wrote a game reviewing Chronicle for this game and gave it much more props. I agree it wasn't a perfect game, but it really gave us a neat experience in an uncommon environment of the Wild West. For that I will compliment the developers and continue to like Red Dead Redemption Wink