Monday, September 10, 2012

Red Dead Review that I wrote

at 6:47 PM
Edmund Burke, famous Whig, wearer of wigs, and conservative British political theorist, would have us believe that the wisdom of our institutions, grounded in our collective past and tradition, is much more capable of proper decision making than our individual reason.  Because individual people, especially the dirty peasantry, are stupid as fuck.  Keep this thesis in mind for the rest of my post.
Don't forget me.  Ever.
I started playing Red Dead Redemption because it didn't involve me actually purchasing a game, and I love me some Western flicks.  It captures the dominant mood and tropes of the genre without coming off as entirely stale for a Sergio Leone-aficionado.  Your bargain-bin American History major can tell you that this vision of history is a dolled-up, half-truth narrative which reflects the spirit of a very brief portion of the West for a very brief time.  Plus, most cowboys were black.  True story.

A lot of Westerns use the "end" of the Wild West as a major plot device, as the major source of tension for our hero to negotiate as he pulls himself up by his own boot-straps, but few acknowledge that it barely existed at all.  So I appreciate the nods RDR gives to this fact.  Sentiments espoused by characters along the lines of "your rutin-tutin type of outlaw do-goodery and justice aint appreciated round these parts!" have been, a few times, followed by more accurate and probably more satisfying attempts to depict a complicated power structure and system of law.

This isn't always the case.  At one point I had to go save some lady's kid because "the law can't even help themselves."

It's quite obviously a well put-together game, which makes sense since apparently it took slave labor to make. I have a number of issues however:

Everyone is really, really ugly to the point of distraction.
Though I like this dude's style.
I'm playing on ps3 (mistake number one) and why the hell is R2 the shoot things button and not R1?  I press R1 in fire-fights and it takes me out of cover, which has the direct opposite effect of shooting back.  This could be entirely my own fault but I certainly struggle with it on a regular basis. 

I don't have a problem with not fixing what ain't broke, but RDR is essentially a Western Grand Theft Auto - a Grand Theft Equestrian if you will.  From the style of cutscenes and voice acting to that circle map on the bottom-left corner, it all feels very familiar.
You look significantly less like an ass-hole though.
Finally, and most irritatingly, I can't save whenever I want to and this does not work very well when you live a real life and you know, things come up outside of the goddamn game.  I do not get how this is still a thing in games.  Jesus.

Wait why was I talking about Burke at the beginning of this post?

All in all I give RDR a keeps-my-attention/10 which is the highest score available on my scale.  It has pretty beautiful scenery, voice acting that doesn't unnerve me like most, and the missions tend to be short bits of excitement that also don't feel like a waste of time.  The only issue it is currently facing is that I got Batman Arkham Asylum and, well, it's batman.  Got to play that shit.

1 comment:

  1. R2 to shoot has been the standard since literally forever so it's not really fair to put that on RDR.

    Still, it brings up a good point, which is: good lord is the PlayStation controller bad. Do people even use that thing? Why are the triggers not in the shape of my fingers and why do they insist on mapping them as though it were Xbox even though the contours encourage you to hover over L1 and R1? It's like an open acknowledgement that yeah the other console is the real one that people play but hey we can't fix our controller now. Also, it's shaped like triangles, which my hand isn't, and the analog sticks are in a place where my thumbs aren't.

    WTF for REAL. I honestly WANT a PS3 because there are a ton of exclusive games I'm missing and I will definitely cave come Dragon's Crown, but horry shit man.