Red Dead Redemption Hands-On Preview

Red Dead Redemption

The wild West. Movies like Gunsmoke, A Fistful of Dollars, and Tombstone have taken us to this era many a time. Video games have ventured into it as well, but I never thought that they really captured the essence of what the Wild West truly was. Call of Juarez was good, but it lacked the feeling of an open, desert-like atmosphere. Gun had the open world, but it felt a bit too small. Gunsmoke on the NES? Need I continue?

Now, it seems, I may finally get what I’ve been looking for.

Red Dead Redemption, due out May 18th for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, is probably the closest thing we gamers will ever get to a true Western movie-caliber game. The environment willl be barren, hostile, and empty, save for the cacti and assorted shrubbery. Any fans of the Western will feel right at home with Rockstar’s newest offering.

The game controls much like Grand Theft Auto IV, but adds a bit more. The L1/left bumper opened up weapon wheel (a la Mass Effect), with which players can switch their weapons on the fly. The left stick chooses the type of weapon (pistol, shotgun, etc) and the arrows choose which specific weapon will be used. During a firefight, the player can slow the action, pick which enemies and which parts of the body will be shot, then go back to real time and set off every shot quickly. The features adds a whole new level of strategy to a fight, giving the player multiple options at any time.

What gives Red Dead Redemption the authentic Western feel, though, is the environment. The barren wasteland of the desert, the frontier towns complete with sheriff’s office and general stores, and the trails in which John Marston rides make the player feel like he or she is in the middle of the Wild West. While riding between towns, players will run into all kinds of obstacles, from wolves to coyotes to random banditos and townsfolk who will either attack or run away. While walking through a town, players can find a wanted poster, collect it, and go out and capture or kill the wanted man or woman to collect the bounty. That is but one, I was assured during my time with the game, of the many different side quests that will be available.

Red Dead Redemption is shaping up to be quite a game, certainly one worthy of Rockstar. Look for it May 18th.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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