|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rockstar San Diego||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Rockstar Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While the competitive side of things is very fun, what's really cool and unique about the multiplayer is the cooperative aspects. Getting a group of friends together and creating a gang or posse is awesome. Because Red Dead Redemption uses realms rather than maps, you'll find all sorts of things to do with your buddies. You can go out hunting together, you can collect medicinals, you can even storm gang hideouts together that dot the environment. In the near future, Rockstar will also release co-op mission packs, adding a bit of story to your co-op exploits. The first installment will be free to all, with two others, presumably premium add-ons, already on the horizon.
Whatever you decide to do in the multiplayer portion of Red Dead Redemption, you'll be rewarded with XP which will eventually lead to leveling-up. Every time you level, you will open up new weapons, better mounts, and character skins. Also, there are multiplayer challenges you'll be able to complete. As you level, new, more difficult challenges will open up, netting you even more XP for character growth.
The multiplayer side of Red Dead Redemption is pretty revolutionary. However, it does suffer a bit from poor connections; it seemed like the majority of people I was matched to deal with low connectivity issues. Additionally, due to the open-world, realm-like lobbies, people often spend a lot more time just exploring than actually participating in organized play. I expect both these issues to be ironed out over time as Rockstar tightens up matching with updates and people become more familiar with this unique take on multiplayer (and when some of the novelty wears off of having complete freedom).
Technically, Red Dead Redemption is a rock. The production values, for example, are off the charts. I was dumbfounded by just how amazing the world looks; riding off into the sunset never looked this good before. The only visual issue that kept cropping up was that rock wall textures often struggled to load instantly, and foreground vegetation pops in regularly. The character (and horse) animations are utterly fluid and natural thanks to the use of the Euphoria physics engine - shooting up unfortunate baddies is super satisfying thanks to the realistic ways in which projectiles knock them about.
The same attention to detail is also present in the sounds of Red Dead Redemption. For starters, the voice acting is supremely well done; there are moments when you'll think you're watching Deadwood, Unforgiven, or Young Guns. The background music typifies that of the best Westerns, and the sound effects, punctuated by period gunfire and the call of the wild, capture the setting perfectly.
Red Dead Redemption more than lives up to the billing; if this game's concepts seem even remotely interesting to you, head out immediately to your nearest game store and slap your cash down. The single-player story alone is more than worth the price of admission, and the multiplayer is truly unique and will likely evolve into something very special as the community continues to grow. Bravo Rockstar! You've created yet another juggernaut. I can't wait to see where the series goes from here.
CCC Editor / News Director