Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Review

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare


Over the past few years, Rockstar has shined in the DLC department. Both downloadable episodes for Grand Theft Auto IV were fantastic, and the multiplayer additions to Red Dead Redemption have been solid. But with Undead Nightmare, they are finally capitalizing on the single-player portion of Red Dead Redemption. This zombie-filled adventure features a six-plus-hour story arc in addition to new weapons, new mounts, and even a couple more multiplayer modes. Rockstar may be a bit late to the zombie party, but the quality and care behind this latest offering once again show us how DLC can be done right.

As you start up Red Dead Redemption you are prompted to choose either the main single-player campaign or the new Undead Nightmare content, so no need to worry about its effect on an old save file. A delightfully creepy voice sets the scene as John Marston is at home with his wife and son. The night seems peaceful enough, but before long John finds himself fighting off zombie hordes in search of answers and a way to stop this disease plaguing the land. It’s recommended you finish the original game to get the full experience since you’ll be meeting familiar faces along the way. You’ll also be able to appreciate the ending even more. The story is played out in full cutscenes with voice work from all the original actors, showcasing the top-notch production values of the original game. The narrative doesn’t match that quality, but Undead Nightmare‘s emphasis on a more humorous and campy approach suits the game well.

As any good zombie hunter knows, always aim for the head. This philosophy is carried over into Undead Nightmare. Just unloading on your enemies isn’t the best strategy since ammo is now harder to come by, so well executed headshots are critical. Running is also a must when you find yourself surrounded by a large group of zombies. These gameplay mechanics are a fairly significant shift from the take-cover approach of the main game, but they provide a nice change of pace. Unfortunately they can also be troublesome in some situations. Red Dead Redemption‘s strength is mid- to long-range combat, so when zombies get really close things can start to feel clunky. This doesn’t occur frequently, as killing zombies is a bit on the easy side, but the situation does pop up from time to time.


Undead Nightmare‘s other problem is repetition. The actual missions are a lot of fun but you must save any new town you ride into before being able to sleep there (and these towns are your only means of fast travel, as that feature has been disabled). There you will find survivors whom you can aid by finding and giving them ammo, or you can opt to ignore that and just take on the zombies. At that point the town is safe until the zombies eventually overrun it again. The first few times the process is enjoyable but things quickly become tedious. Fortunately these problems are easier to overlook considering the amount of new content packed into Undead Nightmare.

There are a few new weapons introduced in this DLC including holy water, which sets zombies ablaze in blue flames, and the blunderbuss. I won’t go into the specifics of that weapon, but suffice to say it packs more firepower than any other gun you’ll find in Red Dead Redemption. There are also new horses to tame — mystical horses to be exact. The four horses of the apocalypse all contain a special characteristic such as Pestilence’s increased damage resistance or War’s ability to set nearby enemies on fire. On top of that, there are more ambient challenges and a couple of new outfits to unlock, so running out of stuff to do will take a while.

The new single-player adventure is the main draw here, but there are also two new multiplayer modes introduced. The first, Land Grab, is a simple capture-and-defend game type that can be played in free roam. But the real highlight is Undead Overrun. In this mode you and up to three other players must take on waves and waves of zombies as time winds down. Only by killing the current wave and opening each new coffin that appears can you add time to the clock. You will also acquire new weapons along the way as the zombies get tougher and greater in number. It isn’t the most original idea — we’ve already seen things like the popular Nazi Zombie mode in Call of Duty: World at War — but it works very well in Red Dead Redemption and should prove to be popular for those who continue to play online.

What it comes down to is any fan of Red Dead Redemption should absolutely consider buying Undead Nightmare. With new cutscenes, missions, weapons, challenges, and multiplayer game modes for just $10, you can’t go wrong. Combat can occasionally feel a little off and saving towns gets tiresome, but these small problems don’t detract from the experience. Undead Nightmare is the best piece of DLC yet for one of 2010’s best games.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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