Posted by : Jameson Durall Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Dead Redemption

I played a few hours of Red Dead Redemption when it was released, but then sat it aside at some point meaning to get back to it.  Recently, Xbox Live Marketplace had the entire undead nightmare collection for 50% I grabbed that it and that got me motivated to pick the game up again.

I've now completed the main story line and had a really good time with it.  I did keep getting that Legends of the Fall feeling that it's almost over...then it picks back up again. I think that is probably a good change of pace in most cases, but for me I was in the mind set of getting the game done and felt it dragged on.

Rockstar executed well on allowing the player to do whatever they want, when they want.  The world is truly free roaming with very little in the way of stopping the player.  It was easy to spend hours killing animals or picking flowers and the story waited for me when I was ready to continue.  Another area they really succeeded in was the impromptu events that would spawn around you that made the world come alive but never made you feel like you failed if you missed it or didn't feel like participating at that time.
No...I don't see a number here
Before I get into my dislikes, it's important to know that I'm color blind and often have trouble distinguishing things in a games.  In RDR, I had a lot of trouble finding in game items in the world because of the lack of HUD indicators.  I understand the desire to minimize things that pull you from the experience, but if I don't know it's there...I can't use and enjoy it.  I also had trouble seeing threats in the world and generally had to wait until they attacked me first to know who I should be firing at.  I still have no idea why sometimes when I went to Thieves' Landing that a group of a dozen guys would just open fire on only happened about half of the time.

As with most open world games, the amount of traveling was a bit annoying.  They did allow for some of the story rides to be skipped to the starting location which was nice, but I spent too much time just riding a horse to a location I needed to get to next.  The controls were also a bit rough at times and made navigation difficult.  I once had great difficulty just getting up a ramp of a chicken coop to complete an objective and that frustrates the hell out of me.

Most of my complaints are really small ones and it brings to light the fact that they spent their dev cycles in the areas they should have...making a fun experience.  As developers we tend to worry about little things too often and forget that players often will overlook them if the overall experience is one worth having.  This is an important lesson that I'm going to try and remember when finishing a game and focusing so much on the little bugs.

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