Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Dead Redemption Review

Platform: xbox 360
Genre: sandbox

I will start this review with a confession. I always wanted to play a good western game although I cannot say that I'm a big fan of the genre. I didn't see any Clint Eastwood movies or the highly-acclaimed Deadwood. Also, on the gaming side of things, I only played the Call of Juarez series and I tried Gun but it kept crashing to desktop. Other games like Dead man's hand, Red Dead Revolver have passed me by. (Baku: Nothing missed there since Red Dead Revolver is not really much of a game as it's comprised mostly of arenas where you shoot a bunch of people to get revenge for something or other buy some new weapons then go on to the next arena and kill a bunch more people)

Rockstar Games, known for their Grand Theft Auto franchise took their unique gameplay style along with the somewhat mature(Baku:I think it's really mature with just enough humor) mature characters and story to the Old West. What came out of it ... is awesome. They kept the open world formula with lots of distractions from the main plot but they replaced the cars with horses. At least this might be their first game where the means of transportation are fully licensed. The setting is huge and of course some parts of it are closed till a certain point in the story. Some might say that the world is too empty and it might not have easter eggs or funny references at every corner as you may find in some of their other games but it doesn't matter. Personally I had lots of fun riding my horse (with no name) through the desert, killing and skining everything that walked, watching people die of thirst and then vultures coming to eat them, picking flowers, searching for hidden treasures or helping random civilians in need. The list of things to do is enormous ... add the side-missions, mini-games, the achievement to tie a unlucky-female and put her on the train-tracks, capture better horses and so on and you have a huge game with lot's of things to do.

The main plot is awesome, it integrates a lot of stuff related to that period like the mexican revolution and the noble indians. From my point of view the story could be summarized as the end of a era ... the end of the cowboyz and outlaws and the coming of "civilization". I found it a bit sad, but that may be because I really liked the main character ... John Marston. He is a ex-outlaw on his way to redemption. Unlike Grand theft auto where nobody had a problem with hookers, John is a family oriented man. I think from all that Rockstar threw at us, he is my favorite character(Baku:And the rest of the cast isn't too shabby either, they created a lot of intriguing characters)... And without any spoilers I take off my cowboy hat and bow before Rockstar for the awesome ending.

The gameplay is nothing more than you would expect it to. Go to a letter on your map, watch a cutscene, mount your horse, go from point A to point B, shoot something/someone ... mission succesfull. The cool part is that as you advance through the story you can buy newspapers that will have news related to what you did. Also there are some challenges that can keep you distracted and have to be triggered in a way. These vary from collecting plants to killing and skinning some sort of wildlife (there are a lot to choose from, from rabbits to bears) or find a hidden treasure. Of course at higher levels they can have more and more special requirements like shooting 5 birds from a moving train (Baku: which took me about 1 hour to complete... damn birds).

As the shooting goes you can take cover almost behind anything, and (I see it's a trend now) a bullet-time effect ... that slows down time and you can precisely target your opponent. This is widely used in duels against random folk that just have a death-wish or something.
Although you may call it a western-GTA I found it a different game and I had a lot of fun with it. Also it cannot be a GTA because John Marston doesn't have a cellphone and an annoying cousin to invite him to playing poker or darts.

the bad: sometimes riding session can get boring and long, some graphical issues
the good: the story, the characters, the setting

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dead Money (Fallout New Vegas DLC) Review

Platform: PC
Genre: (DLC) RPG

Well, let's give a go to DLC reviews. Although I'm not a big fan of theese and I prefer a old fashioned boxed add-on, some DLC's still shine. Of course, I'm not talking about those that give you a new skin/suit or just a overpowered gun.

So, Dead Money... This and the other DLC's to come are reason I cannot finish New Vegas. I want to play through all of them before I end the game. That, plus the exploring of everything in the game. It is the first one, and in pure Bethesda Style is a masterpiece. You are taken to a abandoned Brotherhood of steel Outpost where you are gased and find yourself in a dark place. It's the Sierra Madre Casino that protects it's riches. Without spoiling much, i can tell you that the characters you will meet are awesome and have very interesting backgrounds. The setting is filled with smoke and creepy-ex-residents of the Sierra Madre which only die if you cripple one of their limbs. Also death cam come from various traps scattered through the scenery or from a collar that you cannot get rid of and will explode near certain emitters. If you want to spend more time in the darkness, appart from a extra snowglobe there are some hidden stashed you can collect.

There's not much to say though without spoiling anything. The story is great, it would've been awesome if there would have been more space or if you could go back to find all the stashes.

Oh yeah ... it also raises the level cap to 35 :D.

The bad: a bit repetitive
The good: awesome characters