Red Dead Redemption Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Red Dead Redemption box art
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.

Red Dead Redemption screenshot

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 screenshot

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.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

Only inconsistent texture loading and vegetation pop-in mar the breathtaking visuals.
The gunplay is very straightforward and can be tailored to your skill level. Riding horses and driving carriages takes only a bit of time to get used to.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The background music is perfect, the voice acting is stellar, and the sound effects amplify the immersion.
Play Value
Both single- and multiplayer portions offer tens of hours of captivating gameplay. The massive, open-world is a place you're going to want to explore again and again.
Overall Rating - The Best
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Open world: It's the biggest and most action-packed world ever made. Experience a treacherous and unpredictable open world spanning miles of rugged terrain: from townships thriving on vice and corruption, ghost towns, gang hideouts, and military outposts to the mountains, deserts, and plains where violent looters, rebels, bandits, and deadly animals prey on the weak in a never-ending battle for survival.
  • A fight for survival: Betrayed by the government, his family kidnapped, former outlaw John Marston is forced to pick up his guns once again to track down and eliminate his former comrades-in-arms. Fight to survive the lawless frontier as you storm gang hideouts, search for treasure, rob or protect trains, and track criminals for bounty. Hunt animals for skins and duel enemies for money and fame, then risk your reputation and your winnings drinking, shooting, and gambling from town to town.
  • Gun battles: Take up arms in brutal battles, from intense personal duels to full-scale war using shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles, explosives, and the very first automatic weapons. Use a sharpshooter's Dead Eye skill to take down enemies with deadly accuracy in dramatic Western-style gunfights.
  • Honor or Infamy: Choose Honor or Infamy as you decide who to rescue and who to kill, opening up new opportunities with each decision you make.

  • Screenshots / Images
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