9.5

Red Dead Redemption is an amazing and memorable game that you would be foolish not to pick up.

Red Dead Redemption is not just Grand Theft Auto with horses. You would not be doing it any justice to make any quick assumptions that this is just an old west cash-in of the GTA series. Red Dead Redemption is briefly, an amazing game. It delivers an exciting and memorable single player experience that features great characters and voice acting, along with a great story featuring protagonist John Marston. The open world was creatively designed, and there are so many things for you to do in Red Dead Redemption, that even after the credits roll, you can still be entertained by the numerous amount of activities to be found in Red Dead's world. Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer is also notable, and is stuffed with enough content and customization options for it to be a whole other game all together. If you're looking for an Old West title, a great open world game with an amazing story, or just want to ride horses through the frontier like a cowboy, Red Dead Redemption is your kind of game.

Beginning with its single player, Red Dead Redemption revolves around protagonist John Marston. John Marston is a man whose family has been captured by government agents, and the only way to see his family again is to track down his old gang members and bring them to justice. It's a great setup for an Old West game, and Rockstar does a great job with the presentation. Just like the GTA games, Red Dead Redemption is an open-world, non-linear experience. The game has been updated with a new game engine, delivering slick visuals that help the game deliver an authentic Old West experience. John Marston is a very likeable character that you will quickly come to care about. Throughout his journey you will encounter a very humorous and witty cast of characters that help tie in Red Dead's great story. The story missions are unique and fun to play, and unlike Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption gives you the option to replay story missions to achieve higher scores based on factors such as number of kills and accuracy. The story will take you about 20 hours to complete, and it leads to a very good and fulfilling conclusion that will have you pondering the consequences of your actions and distinguishing the rights from the wrongs. However, don't expect to play straight through the story. You will most likely become easily sidetracked into one of many activities or side missions Red Dead Redemption offers. Along with the familiar side missions that are familiar to anyone that has played a Rockstar title before, there are many more things for you to do that fit in perfectly with the Red Dead's setting. You can hunt for animals and sell their body parts for cash, which you can use to purchase guns and ammo and other trinkets that are designed to give you a helping hand throughout the story. In addition to hunting, you can go bounty hunting, horse-breaking, play horseshoes, poker, blackjack, or Liar's Dice, clear out gang hideouts, pick flowers, compete in duels, do night watch jobs, crack safes, and so much more. There are so many tempting distractions in Red Dead Redemption that it will soon be difficult to focus just on the story. All of these activities are fun and help give you a timeout from the game's story and really help immerse you into the game to make you feel like a real cowboy. Red Dead Redemption's single player experience is downright amazing, and the great amount of things to do within the game will guarantee that you won't be bored of it for months to come.

Of course, Rockstar wouldn't just stop without adding a multiplayer component. Yes, just like Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption offers a similar multiplayer experience, but in more than one way is it much more engaging and fun. When you first join multiplayer, you will be automatically put into a free roam server. This lobby gives you the whole open world the single player game offered you, but is now filled with actual humans. Multiplayer has its own leveling up system, so anything from hunting specific animals to completing gang hideouts will help you level up. You will also unlock new character models and horses as you progress through Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer. Free roam is a very unique and fun experience that you will soon grow fond of. You can posse up with some friends and go take on other gangs together, or you can stick solo and wreak havoc in the game to become the server's public enemy. Being a public enemy marks you with a skull on the map, and gives other players your location. It can be dangerous to have other players come after you in order to try to kill you, but also it's almost a rewarding feeling that you are the most dangerous person in the lobby. Of course, you can always stray away from free roam and try out the other game modes in Red Dead Redemption. There are your basic multiplayer game modes, such as gang shootouts and hold your own (a rendition of Capture the Flag), but these modes have a nice little twist. Each match begins with a Mexican standoff, in which both teams stand opposite of each other and prepare to engage in a shootout. When prompted, players shoot at opposing members until one team stand victorious. The winning team gets and edge in the beginning of the match, being able to pick up weapons and get a jump on the other team early, and winning a standoff with no one on your team being killed also earns you extra XP. There is also a free downloadable Co-op pack, which includes stand alone missions in which you can take on unique styles of gang hideouts with up to 3 other people. These missions are fun, and nothing can be more engaging than trying to earn a higher score than your friends to see who the best shot is. Multiplayer is very deep and rewarding, and is packed with enough content to be sold as a whole other game separately.

All in all, Red Dead Redemption is just an extraordinary masterpiece. It not only delivers a very touching and remarkable story, full of fun activities for you to engage in, but an in-depth and very fun multiplayer experience. My only complaints about the game are occasional bugs and visual hiccups, but none of them detract from what is a truly astounding game. Whether you want to play through an amazing single player experience, or you want to posse up and take down other gangs with your friends in multiplayer, or just want to feel like a true cowboy, Red Dead Redemption will not disappoint you.

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