Saturday, June 12, 2010

Red Dead Redemption (2010) Rockstar San Diego. First Impressions...

Zero is being kind to Red Dead Redumption.  This game sucks.  It asinine, more repetitive than fuck all WoW step'n'fetch missions, and worst of all...boring.  The graphics are on par with Halo.  The character models look like fucktards who spent most of their fucktarded childhoods eating wall candy.  The score is supposed to be haunting yet thrilling but ends up being a half-assed Morricone farted through a harmonica and across the strings of a steel guitar.  Even a Tarantino soundtrack is more original.  While suffering through the opening sequences I just wished I was able to watch Season I of Deadwood, maybe then I might be impressed by gore and profanity.  Rockstar-whores unite!  It's another Houser piece of shit, formulaic and trite with cheap thrills and misogyny, fumbling to stand on the shoulders of brilliant pop culture.  Oh look!  In this bizarro version of Back to the Future III I can pistol whip a whore!

Wait, what?

Apologies, I was briefly afflicted with teh stoopid.

RDD is pretty darned awesome.  I'm sure I'll change my tune once the bloom is off the rose but for now I'm really enjoying my time in Rockstar San Diego's bizarro-early Twentieth Century Western.  RDD takes place roughly in the first decade of the 1900s and watching the encroachment of technology on the Old West trope is awesome (it reminds me of The Wild Bunch quite a bit).  Here's a brief rundown of my thoughts in the first ten hours of game play:

The Good:
  • This may sound insane but I haven't seen empty vistas look so damn gorgeous.  Whatever shaolin programming Rockstar San Diego pulled off, well color me impressed.  The simple fact that the landscape rolls on uninterrupted in some cases is impressed.  Last night I came down from riding the high country as the sun was setting in the West.  As I headed in the direction of town I realized that, although the town of Armadillo was still a great distance away I could see lights coming on, the thick plume of smoke of the train rolling into town, and very faintly I could hear the train's whistle on the air.  I really wanted to do a screen capture just because it was so damn pretty.
  • RDD rewards exploration quite a bit (though there is touch of...well I'll get to it in a bit) and I unlocked some treasure hunter missions last night.  As we all know - I love treasure hunting and exploration (it might be one of my favortie aspects of gaming) - and attempting to hunt across the wilderness trying to match land formations to a treasure map makes me happy.  Now I just need to find that tree with the cow skull nailed to it.
  • Oddly enough I spent a few hours yesterday playing Texas Hold 'Em and horseshoes.  I was caught cheating and fought some duels.
  • The score is now on my must buy list.  Sure it's sparse harmonica and steel guitar and when action kicks in there's some gripping bass but I happen to like Western music.
  • Rockstar quality writing as apr for course but for some reason, I'm actually worried about what's gonna happen to the characters.  I have an impending sense of doom.
  • Leaping from a horse to a moving train is awesome.
  • I had a very upsetting moment last night when roaming.  I hear a man crying and went to investigate.  He was kneeling next to the corpse of a woman and sobbing, then he shot himself.  I wish I had been quick enough to save him.
  • Other weird and creepy moments involved: returning a wife to her husband (I had the choice of either letting her leave, talking to her, or simply hogtying her.  I hogtied her and carried her back), dealing with cannibals, and assorted lunatics out in the wilderness.
  • Hilarious moments: some drunk staggers out of the back of the saloon and proceeds to piss on the side of the outhouse, after beating a verbally abusive shit kicker at horse shoes I walk away only to hear him say "Hey friend, can I interest you in a game of horseshoes?", driving a four horse team stagecoach cross country through the desert and nose diving into an arroyo, shooting a bandit in the leg only to hear him exclaim "What the Hell didja do that fer?!?", and while trying to lasso a horse I was yanked ass over tea kettle into a fence post.
The Bad:
  • Even with the tutorials on I have been unable (or am still am confused) about how to do some things in game.  I realize practice makes perfect but I think I need to check some online tutorials - especially concerning duelling.
  • Cougars, mountain lions, whatever the hell they are called, are dicks.  They kill the shit out of me on a regular basis.  Even when I'm trying to pay attention to my surroundings sometimes the bastards just fly out of the ground, knock me off my horse, kill the horse and whale the tar out of me before I can do anything.  Once I was hunting boar and not only did the boar charge me but two freaking mountain lions came tearing out of the brush.  Jerks.
  • Repetition of non-story based dialogue is a problem in all video games and RDD is no exception.  While playing poker I wanted to shoot the other players not for winning but saying the same six lines over and over again.
  • While I am playing a "good" guy, doing the honorable thing and helpin folks, these lazy NPCs come out of the woodwork sometimes.  I don't mind and in fact I enjoy it however when I'm about to fight a duel don't ask me to save your x,y,z.  "Can't you people see that there are guns here?"  Other times I am amazed at how many people are wandering around the emptiness either being mauled by animals (and need saving) and getting their shit stolen. 
  • Zero Punctuation is correct about the stupid WoW-ish step'n'fetch missions - particularly while hunting.  "Get me six boar tusks."  Stupid game, get your own damn boar tusks.  Or...if you want me to get boar tusks then at least have them show up with a frequency that mirrors the hordes of wolves and cougars roaming the country side.
  • C'mon Rockstar!  I can't swim?!?  Are you kidding me?
  • There's no way to skip the skinning cut scene.  Boo.
  • While attempting to rescue someone from bandits:  I untied the victim, who promptly brandished iron and charged into the teeth of the enemy and got shot to pieces.  Hey moron, don't warn me about the danger then charge into it.  Leroy Jenkins rides again.
The Ugly (and forgivable):
  • Yes, there are some twitches in the physics and some bugs.  Are they game breakers?  Not in the least.  Sure, it's confusing to see the top of a horse floating in the middle of the street but it's not my horse so screw it.
  • Speaking of horses I like the horses in RDD...however "summoning" your horse with a sharp whistle sometimes is frustrating.  Once I was out hunting and needed to go back to town so I whistled for the horse.  I don't know where that damnable critter wandered off to but by the time it showed up I was busy becoming cougar chow.
  • Like I said before, I'm playing a good guy but every so often a malevolent urge will come over me.  I really want to figure how to lasso and drag someone behind my horse.  While attempting to rescue a citizen being mauled by coyotes I accidently shot him first...oops...then I looted his corpse.  A woman had her wagon stolen so I took off after the thief.  In order to slow him down I shot one of the horses drawing the wagon.  I "accidentally" set a room and its occupants on fire by shooting the oil lamp.  My bad!  Also, walking into the vault of a bank makes people angry.  Cry babies.
I am looking forward to getting back to the game.  I need to collect up my Spaghetti Western scores although I might just turn off the music and see what the game is like with just ambient noise.

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