Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

I don’t know. I really don’t. Do I like this? Do I hate it? Probably not hate it, no. It’s repetitive, annoying, and having no ammo half the time makes it hard. You can’t step off your horse for more than 3 seconds or you die, and having all the towns constantly get over-run with the undead again is a right pain in the posterior.

But, there’s enough there to make me want to carry on. I think I’m about to travel to Mexico, but I hope there isn’t much of the game left now. I’d rather it be over and done with so it can stop confusing me.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (360)

I bought this DLC pack over Christmas when it was on offer. Some time before actually buying the main game, in fact – so interested in playing it I was.

And now I’ve played it for a couple of hours or so. Sadly, I’m not really enjoying it all that much. I don’t know why – the story is funny and it’s still RDR – but it’s just not all there. Maybe it’s the headshot-to-kill issue (if you don’t shoot them in the head, then, as we all know, zombies just rise again), or the frequently rubbish controls making zombie swarm control impossible. The gunplay controls were poor in the main game, but gunplay is more in-your-face now, with no hiding behind rocks and crates like before.

Instead, I’m relying more on the run-away-from-the-pack then pick-off-the-stragglers with a torch-in-the-eye takedown method. It works well, but is slow and frustrating.

I’m also not liking my current mission, which is picking daisies (or sage or summat). Fine in the main game, but here? The millisecond you’re off your horse, the Horde decends and eats your brainz. Not frustrating at all.

Maybe I’ll like it more further in. Or not. We’ll see!

Red Dead Redemption (360)

I wasn’t going to go for the 100% Completed achievement on this, and although that statement still stands, I found myself playing the game a lot more over the last few days to get closer.

I ticked off a pile of achievements, such as Expert Headshot, clearing out all the hideouts, and bagging 18 bears. I finished all the Stranger missions, earned myself $10,000, bought some rare weapons, visited every place on the map, and maxed out my Fame meter. I also notched the Ambient Challenges up a bit, but I can’t see myself finishing them – the Survival one in particular isn’t really fun, and I think I’ve killed enough bears now for the Hunting one. Also, killing cougars with just a knife? Er, no.

So I’m done with it now, at around 40 hours, I think. Very enjoyable it was, and (as expected) my control niggles were just that by the end – niggles. Undead Nightmare next? Yeah, I think so.

Red Dead Redemption (360): COMPLETED!

Well. That was a twist.

Sort of. I suppose if I’d read the signs I’d have realised the game couldn’t really end any other way. Dutch pretty much tells you what’s going to happen anyway.

But it was more the stuff after that which I’d not expected at all. Yes, this is very vague if you’ve not completed it. Let me just say that the dialogue logic for all the stranger and random encounters must have been one hell of a headache for the developers.

If you want to know why, I’ll spoiler it for you:

Spoiler Inside: Spoiler! SelectShow

With the story done, I’m now off to mop up some loose ends. I’ve a stranger mission or two to finish (one to find too, actually), and I want to get my Fame up to the maximum, which will involve more hunting and some random encounters.

I did some hunting last night for beavers (needed for a stranger mission), only to keep getting mauled by bears. Tch.

Red Dead Redemption (360)

Had a bit of a marathon session of this over the last few days – not least 6 hours straight on Friday. Not done that sort of gaming run in years! Ended up having real-world RDR encounters (saw some flowers that looked like wild fever-few – fought the urge to pick them, saw crows – wanted to shoot them) like I used to with Tony Hawk games.

I think I’m nearing the end now. I’ve reached Blackwater, found where the guy I’m after is, and completed a few missions around the area. There can’t be too much more now, surely? I’m about 28 hours in, I think!

Red Dead Redemption (360)

Er, so Henry Hatsworth got too hard. The Captain Boss and his nurse are impossible. I’ve put it to one side (code for “probably never play again”) and started something new. Or old, but new to me.

Now, I hate westerns. And I hate cowboys. And I even hated Sunset Riders which lots of people think is ace. But I love (at least, I do now – didn’t like it at first) GTA IV and this is, pretty much, a cowboy GTA game. Apparently. And it won Game of the Year or something, so it might be good.

And is it? Yes. Yes it is.

But first the complaints. The controls, particularly combat controls, are broken. Just like they were in GTA IV. Just like they were in GTA: San Andreas. And Vice City. And GTA III. And Manhunt. And every other game I’ve played built on a GTA game engine. Targeting baddies just doesn’t work half the time, and shooting on horseback? Rubbish, just like GTA drive-bys.

Also, the world of RDR is a big place. Everywhere is a long ride from everywhere else. OK, so there are stagecoaches that act like the GTA taxis (but aren’t nearly as frequently found), and you can save everywhere (except you can’t – lots of places seem exempt from “everywhere”) with your campsite kit and fast travel, but still – getting from A to B can be tiresome. Even more so when you’re “accompanying” someone, which basically means you hold the A button and fall asleep until someone starts shooting at you.

Thankfully, it’s all so, so glorious. Graphically, it is probably the most impressive game I’ve seen on the 360, with a draw-distance to rival Oblivion. It seems to play a lot like Oblivion too, actually – perhaps it’s the picking flowers, bizarre quests, and horse riding. No horse armour yet, though.

As with other Rockstar games, a lot of the fun of the game comes from two things: the “do things that aren’t scripted” (my perennial GTA favourite is the “take a bike where a bike can’t go” game – replace bike with horse for RDR) stuff, and the characters and their stories. Everyone is so well acted, so fleshed out, that they’re more than just game characters – they have their own agendas, secrets, and backstories, and finding these out is excellent.

There’s bound to be a twist at some point. There always is. And I’m guessing that it’s one of the Armadillo sheriff’s deputies turns out to be a bad’un. We’ll see. I’m only 6 or so hours in (past the barn fire, done a few Seth quests), but it’s great so far.