By: Phil Owen
Originally posted on filefront.com
A lot of folks never fully grasped what made games like Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV and Far Cry 2 truly great. It isn’t the characters or the writing or the action; those games really succeeded because of the worlds their developers built for them.
Red Dead Redemption is like that. Rockstar has created a beautiful vision of the American West and the Mexican desert, with environments ranging from desert to plains to forests and even wetlands. It’s all a sight to behold, and it would have been difficult to predict that riding a horse through vast expanses of empty desert could be such a wonderful experience. I started a second playthrough immediately upon completing the story for review, because I just loved existing in this world, to the point where even the most mundane of activities in the game were wildly compelling.
Marston’s first few assignments involve clearing rabbits out of a garden, racing horses, herding cattle and roping and breaking wild stallions. My Marston then spent his nights patrolling a ranch with a dog, looking for trespassers. He took the money from that job and played some horseshoes, and then he lost his paycheck playing poker. The stereotypical gamer would respond to this idea with disdain; “Let’s just shoot some people, jeez,” he says.
But those who think that way are missing the point. These “missions” exist to immerse the player in the world that the engineers at Rockstar have created. And it works wonderfully; by the time my Marston began to deal out some extreme violence, I was able to understand the world of 1911 New Austin (aka Texas) and the character of John Marston.
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