Less than amusing ramblings from a jaded former gamer.

My Biggest Surprises and Disappointments of the Last Gaming Generation Big Disappointment: Red Dead Redemption

Please, just shoot me.

Again, zzzzzzzzzz…

Seeing as we’re in a new year and possibly a new gaming generation, I figured now is a good time to look back on what games from the last few years really defied my expectations. Either because they went above and beyond what I was expecting of them or because they were horrible letdowns that made me feel stupid for buying them. Today’s disappointment is Red Dead Redemption, a.k.a. Grand Theft Auto: Old West Edition.

So it feels like I’m sorta double dipping with this one. I already complained about how much a letdown Grand Theft Auto IV was, how big a disappointment could Red Dead Redemption really be? I mean, didn’t I learn my lesson? Well no, because “Old West” is right at the top of my list of “Things I’d like to see more video games revolve around.” It’s right above pirates and sandbox games where you get superpowers (and they don’t suck).

The American old west is a great setting for video games. It’s ripe with tropes that fit with the medium. It’s genre saturated with tales of greed, revenge and lawlessness. It was a time period of industrial expansion into the great unknown territories, creating for a very real conflict between old and new. Notorious outlaws, dangerous wild life, gunslingers, vast territories waiting to be explored, communities struggling to survive harsh ordeals, people with dreams of getting rich by going west.

There’s so much you can draw on to create a compelling a game. That’s not even including all the history from that time period. The gold rush, the American civil war, decimation of Indian territories and the Oregon trail to name a few. And yet there seems to be almost no decent games set in the old west. We get ninja games out the fucking ass, but where are all the cowboy games? (Or Pirates games? WTF world?)

"Well it does says Pirates on the cover. If we made another game about pirates people would just accuse us of copying this one."

I mean, just because someone made a game called Pirates, doesn’t mean it was the last definitive word on pirates in video games.

There was Gun, which was okay. And Red Dead Revolver, which was forgettable. Really the best western themed game would probably still be one of the Oregon Trail games. If you want to get really loose with your idea of the old west you could maybe throw in Fallout: New Vegas. But still, slim pickens for fans of the genre. So yeah, even though GTA IV blew chunks, I was still willing to give Red Dead Redemption a chance simply because I was so starved for decent old west games. How bad could it be?

Really fucking bad. This fucking game is so bad it gave me a damn hangover. Well not literally, the one and a half Four Lokos I drank while playing Red Dead Redemption gave me a terrible handover. (Exactly one and a half more Four Lokos than anyone should ever drink ever.) Still, I probably wouldn’t have been drinking so damn much if Red Dead Redemption wasn’t so fucking boring. It’s yet another game where Rockstar recycled their same tired ass crap, just in a new setting.

I seem to remember sitting through twelve hours of dull cutscenes (the alcohol may have been affecting my perception of time) before I watched the hero of the game walk up to a fort and ask the people he’s trying to catch to come out. Like the notorious outlaws he’s trying to catch are just going turn themselves over. Not surprisingly, they shoot him from the safety of their fort and then I blacked out from a combination of boredom and Four Loko abuse. (Mostly the Four Loko abuse.)

After spending several tortuous hours in the bathroom getting that nasty Loko shit out of my system every way my body can excrete something, I came back to Red Dead Redemption and continued to be bored. On the upside, being sober meant it no longer felt like someone was repeatedly smashing my head open with a sledgehammer. But the downside is without alcohol, I was forced to face the boredom full on, and man was there a lot of that.

The tension! Will he remember which stop is his stop?!

Nothing says old west action like a long uneventful commute!

This is another game I could bitch about forever but will keep it short for everyone’s sake. The first big problem is the story. It’s basically a rip-off of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Except with shitty voice actors, zero sense to what makes a compelling story and an metric fuckton of padding. Basically you play a former outlaw trying to capture two former associates so the federal government will let your family go.

How you can possibly stretch that out for twenty or so hours? With bullshit of course! You have to run errands for every crazy fucker in the west to get worthless shit to storm the fort these guys are staying at only for them to escape and for you to make no progress in the main story. And that’s just covers act one! The story is so pitiful that I quit this game about twenty hours in and only recently finished it about a year and a half later, and I had no trouble following what was happening because the main story hadn’t progressed at all in those first twenty hours.

Then we got the gameplay, which is the same shit you find in every Rockstar game. Copious amounts of shooting people who can’t seem to shoot straight and tons and tons of driving from one location to another, except now it’s on horseback so it’s even slower than usual. Almost every fucking mission starts with you having to ride with someone for a mile before you actually get to something important, listening to them blather on about god knows what. If you’re going to force us to listen to this much dialogue can you at least write some dialogue worth listening to?

And even more shocking is how Red Dead is a step down from GTA IV, which was a step down from San Andreas! There’s more bull shit than ever before and once again water kills you. Just flat out murders your character, the badass former outlaw. They couldn’t even bother with a fucking drowning animation. If you walk into waist high water, you’ll watch as John Marston goes from being fully alive to stone dead once the water reaches his stomach.

What kind of monster would even think of such a devious death trap?

Over three feet of water! My only weakness!

The whole game just felt like a clumsily mess of shit and the old west setting is just crudely exploited in the most uninteresting way possible. Just an expensive wallpaper for what was yet another damn Grand Theft Auto game, and not even a particularly good one. Rockstar really hasn’t grown as a company this generation, they’re still making the same shit they did when they hit it big with Grand Theft Auto III, just with more shitty gimmicks to hide the fact they’re a one trick pony.


3 responses to “My Biggest Surprises and Disappointments of the Last Gaming Generation Big Disappointment: Red Dead Redemption

  1. Stephen January 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    “Rockstar really hasn’t grown as a company this generation, they’re still making the same shit they did when they hit it big with Grand Theft Auto III, just with more shitty gimmicks to hide the fact they’re a one trick pony.” – Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  2. VideoGameHater January 28, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    There are some good cowboy games for the super nintendo… namely Sunset Riders and Wild Guns.

  3. Oh wow March 19, 2015 at 2:29 AM

    The multiplayer is quite entertaining, though

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