Sandbox games are popular these days to the degree that the style is now becoming an industry norm. Whether it’s Grand Theft Auto V or the recently released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, having an open world to explore is becoming more traditional with every new release. But there is one sandbox game that hasn’t been discussed in a long time and that game is Red Dead Redemption. The Western game not only had beautiful environments, but was filled with tremendous gameplay elements. The game also included one of the most well crafted narratives the industry had seen at the time. Looking back, Red Dead Redemption was lightning in a bottle and had a uniqueness about it that still stands even five years after its launch.
Western games are few and far between in the the realm of video games, but Rockstar managed to captured every little detail to give the game that classic old west aesthetic. From the large desolate landscapes filled with cacti to the small towns that included saloons, hotels and churches, Red Dead Redemption had a way of honing in every aspect of the early 1900s. Even the designs of the technology was spot on. Seeing the use of automobiles, machine guns and modern trains seemed to heightened every possible feature the game had to offer. It’s why the game still holds up and looks beautiful to this day.
Since it was developed by Rockstar, there were definite similarities between Grand Theft Auto gameplay-wise. Red Dead Redemption wasn’t just Grand Theft Auto in the old west, though; there was something more to the game. Sure, you could talk to your companion while you traversed the open landscape, but Red Dead Redemption had deeper gameplay mechanics than its modern counterpart. While the game was overall a standard third person action shooter, there were parts the completely stood out. It’s a simple feature, but exploring every nook and cranny by way of horse was a unique and fresh way to find various locations. And since the game’s release, riding horses to explore is becoming a more popular trend. The duels were another prominent feature. Utilizing the gunslinger mechanic which slowed down gameplay, duels offered a gruesomely unique experience.
Strong male leads haven’t always been too prevalent in Rockstar’s games. John Marston, on the other hand, was an exception. While his back story was a bit generic, he had a swagger about him that added to his personality. But having a strong protagonist was only one aspect that made the game’s narrative so spectacular. In short, Red Dead Redemption’s premise revolved around John Marston taking down members of his former gang to save his wife and son. Without giving too much away, the narrative was a well crafted, filled with a likeable cast of characters and scenes that will have anyone sitting at the edge of their seat, but the ending is what made it and set the bar for emotional storytelling. It’s safe to say that Red Dead Redemption went out with a bang (har har).
Video games come and go, but few stick in our minds; Red Dead Redemption brings a tremendous experience with every aspect. With stellar gameplay mechanics and an immaculate narrative that will leave anyone blown away once complete, Red Dead Redemption is one of the best games to hit the last generation of consoles. Now all we need is a sequel.