Red Dead Redemption preview

Rockstar San Diego shows us how the West was won

Red Dead Redemption

A Fistful of Duffers

“...You don’t belong in these parts, stranger. If I were you, I’d just keep on movin’.”

The above words have been uttered to countless wayward cowboys in more Spaghetti Westerns than we care to mention. Yet they could just as easily be directed at Western video games. Over the years, more than one publisher has attempted to win back the West as a viable games genre, only to have their efforts gunned down by unimpressed critics. Mad Dog McCree, Lucky Luke, Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, Outlaws, GUN, Dead Man's Hand — the list goes on and on. Despite their endless scope for action and adventure, Western games just don’t seem to belong on consoles, which is a darn pitty.

One game that did put Westerns back on the map was Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Revolver. This unashamed ode to Sergio Leone’s gritty filmography was everything a Western video game should be (mixed in with a dose of quirky Rockstar mentality, natch). In addition to being the world’s first 3D sandbox Western game, it also introduced the much-loved Dead Eye mechanic, which its quick-draw rivals have been aping ever since. Without question, it was the best video game to feature a cowboy this side of 1985’s Gun.Smoke.

Well, until now that is. Come April 2010, there’s going to be a new sheriff in town, and its name is Red Dead Redemption. Last week, we were lucky enough to get an up-close-and-personal look at Rockstar Games’ Western epic, and like an impatient stallion we’re champing at the bit to see more. Here’s what we learned during our daytrip to the Frontier Plains. Needless to say, it ain’t no country for old men...

The Game With No Name

Red Dead Redemption is the long-awaited sequel to Rockstar Games’ veteran PS2 shooter. Amazingly, it has been in development since the original game burst through saloon doors in 2004, and was the genesis of Grand Theft Auto’s RAGE engine. That’s right ladies and gents; the RAGE engine was actually designed with Red Dead Redemption in mind, not GTA IV (although back then, the game didn’t have a name — just like Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). Billed as an open-world Western Adventure game, Red Dead Redemption is like a period Grand Theft Auto. Replace the cars with horses and you’re kind of halfway there.

But to dismiss Redemption as a sepia-tinged GTA is to sell the game short. From what we’ve gleaned, it offers a far richer gaming experience than its urban progenitors, with freedom and random occurrences taking precedence over scripted events. Honour and morality will also play a big part in the game, with every good turn and misdeed affecting your chances at salvation. Indeed, your character has an ‘honour metre’ which rises and falls depending on the actions you take over the course of his adventures. In short, it’s like starring in your very own Wild West show, with murder, adventure and buried treasure lurking behind every cactus tree.

Red Dead Redemption

An identity-concealing kerchief is a good way to stay off the Wanted list.

The Last Outlaw

Red Dead Redemption stars John Marston; a partially reformed outlaw with bloody retribution on his mind. In a plot partly inspired by Australian Western The Proposition, Marston finds himself on the right side of the law — blackmailed into hunting down his former bandit buddies via a chilling ultimatum. Set at the turn of the 20th century when frontier life was beginning to fade from existence, the game promises to be a grimmer and more realistic affair than Red Dead Revolver. Needless to say, the line between good and evil will be continually blurred, with Marston’s Bureau paymasters proving no less notorious than the gang members he is forced to hunt. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 is also tipped to figure big in the main narrative, with executions and uprisings occurring on every street corner. You can elect to save condemned prisoners or watch their grisly fate unfold — with every decision affecting Marston's honour.

Red Dead Redemption

John Marston: a man caught between a rock and a hard place.

Rockstar Games is keeping the deeper plot mechanics under wraps for now (indeed, the cut scenes were forcibly skipped during our preview session), but we remain optimistically excited. After all, this is the same company that brought us Max Payne and Niko Belic. Salut.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Rockstargames

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Jager

GamePro Australia
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?