Gamer Update #9: Red Dead Redemption PS3 and Undead Nightmare

In my last blog post I mentioned that there was a game I was trying to beat. That game is Red Dead Redemption for the PS3. As you can see in the picture below, I have the Game of the Year edition, so it has the DLC including Undead Nightmare.

Red Dead Redemption GOTY PS3

I started playing the single player campaign in Red Dead Redemption last summer. And now, one year later, I have finally beaten the game. Oh, Red Dead Redemption wasn’t the only game I played during the past year. I also played other games (and written about some of these games in past “Gamer Update” blog posts). Anyway, I estimate that it took me about 35-40 hours to beat Red Dead Redemption.

When I first started playing this game, I liked it a lot. For the first 3-4 hours I was addicted to playing it. The graphics are real good, especially for an open world game, and the voice acting is superb. John Marston, the person that you play as, is a great and memorable character with some really funny lines of spoken dialog. For the most part, the other characters in the game are great too, although there are some duds.

However, shortly after the 4 hour period, some things about this game started getting on my nerves.

First off, I’m not a big fan of the controls. I wouldn’t say that the controls are bad, but even though I got better at the controls the more I played the game, I never got 100% comfortable with the controls. I also don’t like that when you push back on the left analog stick, instead of just instantly “going backwards“, your character walks/runs around in a little circle before “going backwards.”

It is very easy to die in this game. I played the game on the “Normal” setting (there’s also a “Hardcore” setting), and it only takes 2-3 shots from enemies to make you die. Your heath recharges over time, but you can also acquire items that will recharge your health instantly.

The game has a cover system, which works well for the most part. So you can pretty much stay in cover to recharge your health if you need to. But if you’re in an open area and you start getting shot at, your character moves way too slow to get to cover. More often than not I end up dying before I make it to cover.

You can also die by being attacked by a wild animal. On a horse, you can outrun wild animals, but if you’re walking around on foot, an animal like a cougar can easily kill you. Yes, sometimes you can hear and see these animals before they are upon you so you can shoot them first, but sometimes they can sneak up on you. If this happens early on in the game, when your character is weak, a cougar can kill you in one hit.

Dying frequently became pretty frustrating. However, if you die during a mission, you can restart at a checkpoint, which lessons the frustration a bit.

Also, one of the main story missions requires horse breaking, which is the act of taming a wild horse. This was a huge pain the first time I tried doing it. The in game instructions and tutorial weren’t really helpful. I spent a good 30+ minutes trying to do this but kept failing.

So I went looking for help online, and I found out that the best way to break a horse was just to twirl the left analog stick in a clockwise manner. I have done the horse breaking thing several other times during the campaign (and in Undead Nightmare) and this method has worked for me every time.

With all that said, overall, I did enjoy my playthrough of Red Dead Redemption. As I played more of the game, I died less frequently. I got better at combat and I made better use of Dead Eye, which is the ability to use a “bullet-time” effect that slows down your enemy for a limited amount of time. This Dead Eye ability recharges over time, but just like your health, you can also acquire items to make you recover Dead Eye instantly. Also my character got a bit stronger the further I played in the game.

Red Dead Redemption has a great story, and like I said above, it’s got some great characters. I just wish some of the controls and combat mechanics were better and more forgiving, because if that was the case, then Red Dead Revolver would have become one of my favorite games this generation (the Xbox360/PS3/wii generation). But still, this is a very good game.

After beating the single player campaign in Red Dead Redemption, I went on to play the Undead Nightmare campaign. I did think about perhaps waiting until Halloween time to play Undead Nightmare, but ultimately I decided to play it now.

As you probably guessed, Undead Nightmare has you fighting against zombies. I expected the zombies to be slow moving, so it was a bit of a surprise for me to find out that there were a lot of fast moving zombies. To compensate for this, the Dead Eye ability is tweaked a bit and I believe it recharges faster than in the main Red Dead Redemption game.

Also, at the beginning of Undead Nightmare, to make it have more of a “survival horror” feel, you are led to believe that you have a very limited amount of ammo and you should use your lasso to hogtie zombies as much as possible. However, as I continued playing, I found that I had (pretty much) enough ammo for most zombie encounters, but to be safe I do recommend conserving ammo.

The main story campaign in Undead Nightmare is pretty short. However, just like in Red Dead Redemption, Undead Nightmare has things like extra challenges and side missions you can do if you want to do them or if you going for the 100% completion. Doing this extra stuff will add a couple of more hours of gameplay. One of the extra things I did was to acquire the four “Horses of the Apocalypse” and that was pretty fun to do.

Both Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare have online multiplayer, but I have not played any of it. Maybe one day I’ll try it out, but that’s not really high on my list of gaming priorities right now.

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