Red Dead Redemption is a western, action-adventure game developed and presented by Rockstar San Diego as the spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver. It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on May 18, 2010 in North America, and May 21, 2010 in Europe.
John Marston is a former outlaw looking for an all new life in America in 1911. When government agents threaten his and his family's well being, Marston is sent across the American West to help uphold the law and to find self peace and redemption. His job is to kill or capture his former gang members, including his old friends and gang partners Bill Williamson and Dutch Van Der Linde, or his family will pay the ultimate price.
Along the way through frontier towns, deserts, prairies, and mountain passes, and territories, Marston is given work as he freely explores the free-roaming sandbox environments. The game features thirty-six species of animals that can be hunted and traded for supplies. Marston can also participate in jobs, activities, and games such as Poker, Horse Taming, and Nightwatch.
The game takes place in 1911, which is during the 30-year end of the Western American Frontier (also known as the Wild West). As players see in the opening of the game, many new and "unfamiliar" people are moving into the West on the train. The town of Blackwater has noticeable modernized differences in architecture and technology compared to other gritty towns like Armadillo and Thieves' Landing. Electric line poles are also noticeable along roads. Even Marshal Leigh Johnson is seen fussing with a telephone in one of his mission cut scenes, showing the unfamiliarity with such technology people of his generation and likeness have.
Some people have a hard time accepting this new lifestyle, and many are willing to fight to preserve their way of life. Players can see the frustration many characters have with the Federal Government and eastern folk. Being so far away from the modern America gave the West a sense of self reliance, independence, and order which would be difficulty to comply with the Federal Government. It was inevitable, as more and more people poured in from the east, that every part of the American West would be populated. It wasn't until the 1920s that the Wild West would forever become a famous and popular icon in American history.
- Storyline missions
- Random Encounters
|Hold it right there, outlaw!|
This article is littered with spoilers, so I reckon you might ought'a mosey on down the road if you don't want to read any plot details.
|WARNING: SPOILER ALERT|
|The story opens with John Marston, a former outlaw of the Dutch Van Der Linde gang, arriving in Blackwater alongside government agents Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham. The agents escort John to a train which is destined for Armadillo, a town located in the territory of New Austin. His goal is to capture or kill his former gang partner Bill Williamson. John's wife and son have been kidnapped by the federal agents and threatened with their freedom if he does not comply. He heads out and meets Williamson at Fort Mercer; but after some conversation with him, John is shot by Williamson's men and is left wounded. Bonnie MacFarlane and her father, Drew MacFarlane find him, treat his wounds, and provide him lodging in exchange for his help on their ranch.
While Marston works at the ranch, he also spends some time helping the people of Armadillo, including US Marshal Leigh Johnson, merchant Nigel West Dickens, alcoholic Irish and crazed prospector Seth Briars. When Williamson finds out that Marston is living at the MacFarlane's ranch, his gang burns the barn. After the burning, John recruits Marshal Johnson, Nigel West, Irish and Seth Briars to breach Fort Mercer, Williamson's main base of operations. The "Trojan Horse" strategy works well, but he finds Williamson gone, as he and Javier Escuella, another outlaw in Van Der Linde's gang with Marston, have already fled to Nuevo Paraiso the previous day.
Irish takes Marston to Mexico, where they are ambushed on the way in. Marston is forced to work with Colonel Allende, a dictator, and his captain Vincente de Santa. Marston also works with vigilante gunslinger, Landon Ricketts, as well as with the revolution army, led by Abraham Reyes. Allende promises Marston that he will assist in capturing Williamson and Escuella but betrays Marston and tries to kill him. After the attempted murder, Marston joins Reyes and his rebel army. They manage to find Escuella, leaving Marston to capture or kill him and then proceed to attack the villa.
Though Marston manages to kill Allende and Williamson, Luisa Fortuna, Marston's rebel friend, is killed by the Federales in an attempt to save Reyes from execution. Reyes then takes over Allende's villa.
Marston returns to Blackwater. He informs Agent Ross that Williamson is dead and demands to be reunited with his family. Ross tells him that he needs to kill Dutch Van Der Linde, the leader of Marston's former gang. Dutch had joined with the local American Indian population to fight against the U.S. Army. Marston fights against Dutch's gang in the hunt for Van Der Linde. Although the army mistakes Marston for one of the gang, Marston eludes capture.
Eventually, Marston joins with the army in attacking Van Der Linde's hideout. After a long chase, Marston confronts Dutch on a cliff. Dutch explains that both he and Marston have outlived their usefulness in a rapidly progressing world. Faced with the choice of cooperating or being shot by Marston, Dutch commits suicide by falling backwards off the cliff.
Marston also had helped Professor Harold MacDougal, an extremely bigoted former Yale professor, but MacDougal flees for the east after his Native American guide, Nastas, was shot by Van Der Linde's gang.
Fulfilling his duty, Agent Ross releases Marston's family and they are reunited. The family spends time together at their ranch (Marston Ranch). Starting the ranch again, they acquire cattle from the MacFarlane's and break wild horses for use. John also takes his son, Jack, out on several hunting trips. The family's happiness is interrupted when Agent Ross leads a surprise attack of the ranch, killing Uncle in the process. John defends the ranch and kills many men. Outnumbered, he tells Jack and Abigail to run while he fends off Ross and the army.
Surrounded by the army, John emerges from his hiding place in the barn and attempts to kill as many of the men as he can. He hits a good number of them before they open fire on him. John is hit multiple times in the chest, legs, and arms by the bullets. John gasps for breath and mutters his last words silently, "I love you." John then falls backwards dead. In the crowd of agents, Edgar Ross is seen. Ross lights a cigarette and then leaves the barn.
Jack and Abigail hear the gunfire and then return to the barn, where they find out John was killed.They recover the body and bury it along with Uncle. In 1914, after three years, Abigail dies of unknown causes. A grown Jack Marston returns and buries his mother beside his father. Jack sets out on a quest of revenge against Ross.
Jack hears of Edgar Ross's retirement from the Agency of Blackwater and a newspaper article about Ross's retirement confirms so. Jack finds Edgar Ross's wife, Emily Ross, who tells Jack that Edgar has gone on a hunting trip on the San Luis River with his brother. Jack travels to the river where he finds Ross hunting ducks. The two exchange heated words with Jack accusing Ross of murdering his father. Ross tells Jack that his father killed himself with the life he led, and he'll kill Jack if he doesn't run off. Jack tells him that he isn't going anywhere, and the two have a duel.
Jack wins the duel, killing Ross. Jack Marston looks down at the gun that killed his father then walks away slowly to his horse, unwittingly knowing that by killing Ross he is going down the path of an outlaw, the life that his father tried to save him from. From there on, Jack becomes the protagonist of the game in 1914, the first year of World War One.
A newspaper wraps up the rest of the game. Marshal Leigh Johnson retired from being Sheriff of Armadillo, and then moved as far away as possible from the town. Abraham Reyes, even though he promised to lead Mexico into an age of freedom, was consumed by power and went on to become a tyrant. Bonnie MacFarlane eventually was married, but it is not said to whom. Irish shot himself dead in an outhouse in Thieves Landing when his gun discharged. Seth Briars eventually found the treasure he was looking for and became rich and Landon Rickets passed away quietly in his sleep, another part of the Old West falling away.
Like Rockstar's crime epic Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption has many deep themes. These are the four main themes:
The first is the battle between an old world facing change from a new world. The Old West in the game is being introduced to technology, gaudy clothing, airplanes, and ultimately civilization. While some, like the folk in Blackwater, accept that change some characters in the game such as Dutch Van Der Linde, Bill Williamson, Javier Escuela, and ultimately John Marston do not accept it. The main two factions in the game appear to be outlaws and the government. Both sides are equally bad, seeing how even though the outlaws kill and steal to live their lives, the government takes money and fills the Old West's heads with empty promises. At the ending of the game, John Marston faces his last target Dutch van der Linde on the edge of a cliff and points a gun at him. Dutch tells John that you can't fight change, and even if the Old West is over, another monster will just be found.
The second theme appears to be a question that falls under the moral choice of good, neutral, and evil. The government agents in Blackwater (minus Edgar Ross and Archer Fordham) believe they are good even though they usually ruin and interfere with the Wild West more than they help it. The outlaws in Dutch's Gang killed and stole from the rich, but then gave to the poor. This raises the question: Is it acceptable to be evil and brutal in the present in order to achieve a better future? And if both sides are evil, then that makes John Marston neutral to good and evil. John has killed hundreds of people, abducted people, and stolen from the government his whole life. But yet, he tries restarting his life with his family and forgetting about the past. He no longer cares which side is right, and that makes him neutral. Of course, the game does not answer this question and it is up to the player to decide if the question is right or wrong.
The third theme of Red Dead Redemption appears to be that there are no clean getaways. John Marston, as said above, lived a life of crime in his younger years, and now tries to put all of it behind him and start a ranch. But there are no clean getaways from your past when you live the life of an outlaw, and the past always catches up with you. To get rid of his past, John must achieve Redemption. Justify his sins. And he achieves this in the ending when he sacrifices himself to let his wife Abigail and son Jack escape from government agents who have come to assassinate him.
And the fourth and final theme of the game is shown through the character of Dutch van der Linde, self-destruction. The people from the New West are brightly dressed, own motorvehicles, and are bringing in new technology. While most accept this, Dutch van der Linde seems to want to destroy the new society. In Dutch's eyes, the world is meant to be brutal and a true fight for survival like it was in the Old West. This is also shown through Dutch's followers, savages who come from a bloody and brutal background. Dutch thinks that technology, social order, and government brings nothing but corruption, and this is why he sets out to destroy the town of Blackwater.
The gameplay of Red Dead Redemption is vast. The use of guns in the game is very similar to that of Grand Theft Auto IV, another game developed by Rockstar Studios. There are a variety of pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles available to the player as the game progresses. Ammo can be purchased in stores across the landscape, as can other useful items. Prices for various items vary from settlement to settlement.There are numerous ways to make money in the game. One way is through random encounter missions which present themselves as the player travels. Players can also accept bounty hunter missions, to capture or kill escaped criminals; play games of chance such as poker or blackjack, search for treasure or hunt wild animals (skins, meat etc. can be sold at stores). There are many animals available to hunt ranging from dangerous animals such as boar, bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, and even legendary animals such as Lobo the Wolf or Gordo the Boar, to harmless animals such as rabbits, birds, raccoons and even beavers.
A change from Grand Theft Auto's system of a wanted level is the bounty system. As players commit crimes, their bounty increases. Certain crimes raise the bounty more than others: murdering a sheriff, for instance, will raise the player's bounty more than committing arson. Players with high bounties will be tracked down by either the Mexican Army or the US Marshals depending on whether the player is in the US or Mexico. Players can surrender themselves to law officers at which point they will have to spend time in jail. If players cannot pay the bounty, they will be sent on a bounty hunter mission (it is best to capture the bounty alive so the player can get more money to pay off their own bounty). If a player can get close enough to a law officer who is currently in pursuit of Marston, they can bribe the officer (for a much larger fee than that required to pay off a civilian). This will stop all officers from chasing you but your bounty remains.
Players can get rid of their bounty by going to telegraph offices and paying off their bounty piece by piece. Another option that can be used is to hand over a pardon letter, which eliminates all of a player’s bounty.
A trailer of the project was sent to a select number of people at a Sony conference in 2005, promoting the release of the PlayStation 3 system. The trailer was a tech demo of RAGE set in a western setting referred to as Old West Project and a direct sequel to Red Dead Revolver. The trailer circulated throughout the internet. In the April 2005 edition of Game Informer, Red Dead Redemption was listed as being available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
On February 3, 2009, Rockstar Games announced the first official trailer. Resulting trailers showcased numerous characters, gameplay features, and multiplayer modes that were to be featured in the final release. Previews and beta releases included some features that were absent or changed in the final release.
- Main article: Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater
A half-hour feature film was released on FOX TV on May 29, 2010. It is directed by John Hillcoat. The story takes place on the alternate take in the storyline's first act. Shortly after release, the whole film became downloadable officially through Rockstar's official website.
Shortly after the release of Redemption, on June 22, 2010, Rockstar released the first DLC, Outlaws To The End. The content included six new cooperative side missions ranging from raiding a mine and stealing the gold to riding down a river to secure a town's weapon cache. New multiplayer challenges as well as new trophies/achievements were also included. The downloadable content is free for all users on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
Rockstar subsequently announced several more major DLC; in chronological order, Legends and Killers, Liars and Cheats, Undead Nightmare, and Myths and Mavericks. Several other minor DLC were released as well. A full list can be found on the Redemption DLC category page. In September 2011, a Game of the Year edition was announced that includes all previously released DLC (details below).
A Free-Roam pack had been announced earlier. It was initially going to be released for free, but Microsoft's and Sony's rules regarding the quantity of free DLC that a game can have resulted in the contents being incorporated into the Liars and Cheats pack instead.
- Main article: Red Dead Redemption Soundtrack
- Main article: Pre-order Bonuses
Game of the Year Edition
On September 13, 2011, Rockstar announced that a Game of the Year Edition of Red Dead Redemption would be released on October 11, 2011. This edition bundles the game with all downloadable content released to date. This edition also brings the Solomon's Folly gang hideout and the Walton's Gang Outfit to the Xbox 360.
The Game of the Year edition adds a Hardcore single-player difficulty option that was not previously available for the game.
- Main article: Brady Games Official Guide
Upon release, the game received widespread critical acclaim from all over the gaming industry. Aside from a few graphical glitches (noted by IGN and other gaming sites), its presentation, sound, and multiplayer were universally praised. While others such as GamePro have criticized the "occasional pop-in and repetitive missions", they also said it "expertly captures the Wild West", with 1UP giving similar praise and complaints. IGN gave the game 9.7/10' GamePro gave it a 5/5 stars, and 1UP gave it an A.
The average score, according to Metacritic, is 95 out of 100 for both PS3 and Xbox 360 versions with 100% of critic reviews rated as "positive." The game won the title of "Game of the Year" from multiple publications as well as awards based on user and developer voting. Among these are the Spike VGAs 2010, Game Informer, Game Developers Choice Awards, GameSpy, and GameSpot. The soundtrack also received many awards.
GameSpy gave it 5/5 stars saying that Rockstar managed to create one of "the most impressive open worlds I've ever seen in a game, and it's telling that — even after playing for over 30 hours — all I want to do is get back on my horse and gallop back into the wilderness." VideoGamer gave it a 10/10 exclaiming "The game itself is absolutely spectacular... The sheer quality of Red Dead Redemption is evident right from the word go." They also said "it's a magnificent piece of work that everybody should play."
The game's most "negative" reiview was made by Eurogamer, who gave it 8/10, stating that it "re-clothes" the Grand Theft Auto series with its "distinct and expertly realised scenario".
Other reviewers such as Edge, GameSpot, GameTrailers, PALGN and Game Informer, gave the game scores ranged between 9/10 to 10/10.
- After they've been killed, some enemies will let out a distinctive scream that's been heard in action films for decades, in films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. This scream is called the "Wilhelm Scream". It originally came from the 1951 film "Distant Drums".
- Red Dead Redemption is the first sandbox game from Rockstar that allows the player to enter an entirely different country (Mexico) later on in the game.
- The ending to Redemption bears a striking similarity to its spiritual predecessor, Red Dead Revolver, in which a rancher comes home believing things to finally be good in life only to be slaughtered with the rest of his family by a sudden government attack, leaving the only remaining son to achieve retribution.
- Red Dead Redemption was very different during initial development, this can be seen here.
- The font used for the Red Dead Redemption logo is called "Chinese Rocks". You can download the font here.
- The ending is also similar to Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV, in which Niko Bellic carries out his final deal and attempts to leave his criminal life behind, only to have it taken from him with the death of either Roman or Kate at Roman's wedding. The final Mission, Remember My Family, also bears resemblance to Niko's revenge mission that he carries out after the wedding with Little Jacob to avenge a lost loved one.
- The title is actually shown twice in the singleplayer story, at the beginning during the first mission Exodus in America, and the last mission Remember My Family, after Jack takes revenge on Ross.