Early Preview: Red Dead Redemption Part 1

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Last week Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to an early preview of Rockstar’s upcoming open world western, Red Dead Redemption, which is the sequel to it’s 2004 release Red Dead Revolver.

Red Dead Redemption is a huge open world, free roaming western-styled sandbox game. You play as John Marston, a partially reformed outlaw who attempted to get away from a career of crime by living out his days peacefully on his ranch with his family.

That was until the Bureau (future FBI) arrived with a request that he couldn’t turn down… the line between good and evil is about to be obliterated.


The preview starts out with John waking up next to his campfire in the middle of the desert somewhere near the Texan/Mexican border. The campfire scenario is the save game ability in Red Dead Redemption and allows you to shutdown and recuperate after a long stint of saving the wild west.

As you look around the shear size of the Red Dead world is mind boggling (well not really but it’s a lot bigger than GTA IV and as always is also split into 3 distinct areas), desert scrub stretches out in all directions under a beautiful blue sky peppered with white puffy clouds… the wind is gently blowing some dust around and it appears as you would expect a Mexican desert to appear.

John kicks out his campfire and whistles for his horse, which itself is also something to behold with its realistic look and oddly realistic movements. Travelling by horseback is key in Red Dead Redemption and as such you can see that the developers have put a lot of work into making sure this part of the game is as realistic as possible.

As we trot down the road we come across our first opportunity to engage in a side mission, on the side of the road we see 4 Mexican army officers surrounding a civilian and shouting something inaudible at him. We decide to not interfere and rather sit back to see how it all unfolds; the officers then draw their weapons and execute the civilian on the spot.

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The officers ride away and we carry on down the road and quite quickly come upon a scene where 2 prisoners are attempting to escape a prison wagon. Now it’s time to get involved. The first prisoner is dropped with a pinpoint shot from our rifle and the second is quickly rounded up by lassoing him and hog tying him. We then carry him back to the officer who thanks us and summarily executes the returned prisoner. It seems justice and order are two words that haven’t been invented yet.

For our help in capturing this prisoner we are rewarded with a bit of honour and fame.

The Honour and Fame system is integral to your Red Dead Redemption experience and will alter the way that you are treated by strangers and friends alike. If you go out to kill as many innocents and lawmen as possible you will quickly start to realise that civilians will be avoiding you at all costs while lawmen and bounty hunters will be on your case 24/7. If you are an honourable cowboy the shop keepers and barmen may start rewarding you with free goods and people will be more eagre to interact with you.

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Last Updated: December 15, 2009

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Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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