#609 Red Dead Revolver

Posted: 20th February 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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404th played so far

Red_Dead_Revolver_CoverartGenre: Action
Platform: Playstation 2/Xbox
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar Games

Prior to the expansion of the list, Peter played through Red Dead Redemption, a great game that is probably best described as Grand Theft Auto III (or later) as a western. As the new edition of the list was released, the game then (deservedly) made it on, meaning that we’ll have to play it again later.

So we want to play the first game in the series now. What we’re hoping for in a simpler western open world game. What we’re getting… well, we’ll see…

Our Thoughts

So it wasn’t that. Sure, Rockstar has its different games (such as their Table Tennis game), rather than the Grand Theft Auto open world games. And despite the series link to Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Revolver isn’t an open world game. Playing through it, it felt more like the different missions from these games, stitched together, with a focus on shooters and enough replay value added for higher scores and more money. Not shoot-em up style, there are plenty of 3rd person shooter elements and more actionny bits, but the exploration we were expecting is gone.

Elements of it are present though, in particular in the hub town which feels a bit more alive, with interesting new possible features to interact with and people walking around, the world generally being alive. I hated having to leave it, but the game did expect me to go on…

The “only the missions, not the open world” structure works on some level. You get enough story in each of the sections to make it interesting, while the game clearly knows how to put a lot of variety into them. If there’s one thing that bothered me is how easy it was to get overwhelmed – you can quickly get to a place where a lot of enemies attack at once without it being easy to find a place to defend.

This is most obvious with the bosses. They’re sort of puzzle bosses – brute force doesn’t work well on them, finding the extra ways to kill them are needed, in particular when keeping them away from your partners/charges to defend. The difficulty felt like it ramped up a bit too quickly there – dealing with the hordes is tough but doable, while the boss encounter required too many repeats. The checkpoint system gets a bit weird as well – I felt we had to replay a few too many encounters sometimes to get back to where we need to be.

What doesn’t help here is that the upgrades you get are paid from money that you gain in part based on how well you do on a level. This means that doing badly puts you in a downward spiral – your weapons degrade as you use them, requiring you to spend to improve them. It feels sort of balanced in that it doesn’t go down too fast, but it can feel frustrating.

Still, when the difficulty doesn’t get in the way, the game is fun and the world it builds is interesting. Its sequel did feel better, with the limited levels in this game feeling a bit constricting and too high-octane to keep up with. More breathing space would have been welcome.

Final Thoughts

As a loving player of Red Dead Redemption I now really understand what all the critics meant when they referred to it as a “spiritual sequel”. There is not much that they hold in common with the exception of the dead eye mode and the general setting of the Old West. It really makes me want to dig out Red Dead Redemption and do some post-game exploration and try to blow up that mountain lion with dynamite… don’t ask.