Unfortunately, in today’s entertainment world, many video game developers will cut corners to try to save a buck or two, and Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is no different. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, but I do question the overall quality of the game. Red Dead Redemption is a frontier saga that follows the journey of John Marston (that’s you) and his Yeti companion, Sylvain ThousandPark (Sylvester Copeland) over the first lifespan of the game. The game is an open world, with scope to roam, and this would immediately indicate to any reader that the developers knew what they were doing.
Sadly, it’s also a world that is not very interesting. Rockstar’s harder games, with options to speed the pace up on certain missions, would have been a great addition to the series, especially in the early years. Instead, what we get is a regressive collection of side-quests and combat with random encounters that ultimately makes the game worse than its predecessor. The narrative is a complete mess.
The game itself succeeds in creating a sense of panic in the protagonist over the course of the thirty-odd hours it takes to complete the game. John sees enemies approaching him from all angles, and he manages to panic that they are undead. This works well for the most part, but at times makes the game feel like a pointless exercise in pathos.
The gameplay is what kills the game. Again, it’s the same type open world vehicle fare. If you aren’t an avid motor car enthusiast, skip this game. The only mode of transportation is a plane ride that makes you feel like you’re in college sorority sister mode.
The only potential innovation is the plane ride. At times, it’s fun, and at times it’s about as fun as watching Fast and the Furious. The most accurate simulator of any video game is the motorcycle. It handles more accurately than any motorcycle I’ve ever seen, and it’s the only vehicle that will allow you to use the gadget: the dashboard video controller. For some reason, no game has perfected the steering of a motorcycle yet. It just doesn’t work. At all.
The only other noteworthy feature is the variety of vehicles in the game. For example, the Banshee only has four vehicles for transportation, but they’re all incredibly unique. The Grand Cherokee has both a dirt and gold version, for those who like their Conference Car. The only installment of the Ferinia vehicle is the tractor-based version. For some reason, the game decided to give us a four-wheeler as the most efficient vehicle. That’s messed up.
In addition to the gag with vehicles, there is the almost disappointing four-player co-op mode. Touted to be some sort of faker, this mode seems more like a mini-game of sorts. You’re forced to follow an objective that no sane human being would even be capable of attempting. As I said, it’s sad.
The only other adversary is the police, and they’re your worst enemy. They’ll spawn on top of you to make it even worse. The cops are more than capable enough to make you look like a lunatic. They have reasonable detection when you’re in a pick-fixed area. You’ll also notice that they have the ability to see right through walls. The same goes for showing their lights on older vehicles. Your detection ability is heightened when you’re within 30 yards of a vehicle. But, the police aren’t the most aggressive bunch. They’ll lay down some great choke points when you’re in pursuit.
But, the single player has no dead ends. The story has a resolution, but Rockstar hasn’t come to the table on the whole “Mother perfection” cliff. The ending is as fitting as a midi of Beethoven’s La Carnage. The rest of the story will leave you both surprised and shivering.
As far as multiplayer action goes, Grand Theft Auto IV has no weaknesses. Each character is Karate skilled, if not a bit old school. The running animation is the most realistic to date, and the guns are every bit as powerful. The characters are on a learning curve, but it doesn’t stop there. They also have a sense of humor (at the start of the game) that tends to border on corny. There’s also plenty of replay value in the slick multi-player, to the point where you’ll want to keep playing it just to keep all the guns and clothes unlocks.
This is one of those games that you go back to over and over and it never gets boring.