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Daily Gaming Experience 05/21

Well I finally sucked it up and purchased Red Dead Redemption.  I’ve probably put at least 3-4 hours into it so far and at this point I’m pretty pleased overall.  I don’t know if I would use some of the words that review sites are using such as “breathtaking” but it’s a very good game no matter how you look at it and some will find it amazing.

Most of what the reviews say is true though.  You have a vast, open world and “immersive” is probably an appropriate term for the atmosphere.  As opposed to GTA where the ambience is created by a bustling city, the aim of Red Dead Redemption is to give you a feeling of a being a lone cowboy traveling an expansive wilderness spotted with towns with a typical population of about 50.  That’s not a nice way of saying the game is boring either, because it’s not in my opinion.  While you’re out on the open range you can hunt and kill any animal you come across and skin them for meat, pelts, and eventually profit.  There are also random events that occur too, so you might just be minding your own business scouring for a certain flower to complete a challenge when all of a sudden a couple of sheriffs blow by you in hot pursuit of a suspect.  You can simply let them pass and there’s no penalty for doing so or you can help them out and gain honor and/or fame.

Honor and fame are similar to other reward systems in other games.  Honor is basically your “be good or be evil” scale, while fame rises just on the amount of ‘stuff’ you decide to do.  The fame gauge will increase no matter if you’re collecting bounties, winning gunfights, helping strangers, or cheating at poker, but those particular actions will determine your honor level, which has the usual consequences and benefits.

There are a ton of the aforementioned challenges in the game to keep you busy as well and give you purpose for wandering around performing whatever activities you stumble upon.  You can level up as a hunter (obvious), treasure hunter (obvious), and scavenger (picking rare flowers and such).  I don’t believe these levels contribute to your actual character’s abilities but it’s something to do and if you simply enjoy leveling for the sake of leveling you’ll get some enjoyment out of them.  Challenges also come in the form of a list of various tasks to accomplish that will unlock different outfits.  Complete them all and you’ll get some new garb that usually has a small benefit that comes with it.

The only thing that was kind of bugging me in my short time with the game so far was that I had a hard time figuring out what to do next pretty much from the get go.  I’ve been having fun while being lost all this time but I had to go to a message board to finally figure out how to move the story along.  For those that care or are wondering the same, sometimes you must visit prominent NPCs multiple times.  I’m not really a fan of that because once you visit someone how are you supposed to know how many times it takes to advance the story?  I’ve met someone and visited them twice since then and I was told to go visit them again.  Very strange development decision, and even if your journal had just a small tidbit about what to do next it would be great but it doesn’t.  Anyhow, that’s my only real complaint so far.

The only other nitpick I have is that you can’t sell old weapons.  You can sell just about anything else you would realistically want to get rid of so I’m at a loss as to why.  Thankfully money doesn’t seem to come too hard so I haven’t had an issue with it yet and will just have to get over it.

I’m looking forward to trying the Free Roam mode that’s available online.  Word is it’s buggy as all hell right now and pretty much unplayable when you consider most people are getting kicked off after 5-10 minutes of playing.  Regardless I’m sure it will be fixed soon and I’ll be interested to see how it plays because apparently you do gain experience so I want to see what that entails.

All in all I’d say this was a very successful game.  I think it’s right on the edge between “rent it and keep it for awhile” and “buy it immediately” so as always do your research and try to compare it to other games you’ve enjoyed in the past to gauge your interest!

No posts over the weekend, back on Monday!

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