First Impressions: Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption Is Pretty Awesome

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America, early 1900’s. The era of the cowboy is coming to an end.

When federal agents threaten his family, former outlaw John Marston is sent across the American frontier to help bring the rule of law. Experience intense gun battles, dramatic train robberies, bounty hunting and duels during a time of violent change.

Red Dead Redemption is an epic battle for survival in a beautiful open world as John Marston struggles to bury his blood-stained past, one man at a time.

Is it just might or is there an abnormally large influx of sandbox games coming out?

This morning at PAX East, I had a few minutes to play Rockstar’s upcoming Western 3rd person shooter Red Dead Redemption, which is a follow up to Angel Studios aka Rockstar San Diego’s Red Dead Revolver.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not a big fan of open world/sandbox-y games, but I actually liked RDR. Maybe it was the skinning of animals for trade or the ridiculously large open world of RDR, but I thoroughly enjoyed the few minutes I had with it.

Like any shooter, the mechanics tend to be tricky but RDR’s Dead Eye system makes things a breeze. Reminiscent of The Matrix, Dead Eye slows things down long enough for you to lock onto your target(s) to get the job done. That’s not to say it’s difficult to shoot otherwise, it just makes things easier. A meter on the HUD will dip after every use but restores itself after every kill. Speaking of meters on the HUD, your pony friend can only take so much running and when he’s tuckered out you’ll end up on your ass, so tread lightly.

Like I said before, I had very limited time with the game this morning, but I’ll be dropping by the Rockstar Offices when I get back to NYC for a more in-depth hands-on. In the meantime, check out all the videos available so far. Multiplayer details will be revealed the week of April 5th.

Red Dead Redemption is out on May 18 for Xbox 360 and PS3 in NA with a May 21 launch in Europe. May can’t come soon enough.

P.S. – I’m not sure if there’s footage of a particular mini-game in the below videos, but I did see one that involves a knife and your hand as you stab in between fingers. I forget what that’s called but it was pretty neat.