It may not be the prettiest of games around, but Rockstar’s 2004 Western-themed third person shooter is pretty damn stylish fun as I’ve just found out for myself.
The initial story that gets laid out before you as you begin the game revolves around young Red, a boy whose parents get gunned down before him by raiders, and who then grows up to be a tough, silent, and no nonsense taking bounty hunter with issues of revenge to take care of.
And so far that is pretty much it. Next step is to take to the west, walk around various environments and fill the opposing gangsters, outlaws and miscreants with hot lead. The game is essentially a third person shooter and each mission sees you taking on some pack of outlaws, trying to blast through them until you finally call out the big boss – who always just happens to be the toughest bastard of the lot. You get a variety of short and long range weapons to hot swap between, even including throwable types like knives and explosives.
Red can pop in and out of cover, dive roll out of harm’s way and also build up his ‘deadeye’ ability which then slows time and allows him to target a number of spots on an opponent’s body while time slows to an absolute crawl. And then there are the duels, essentially a four part sequence that sees you grabbing your gun, drawing it, placing six target locks and then firing them off as the slow motion counter finishes. (Tons of fun I tell you!)
So far the action is pretty straight forward but at the same time nice and engaging as you constantly need to scan your environments for cover, look for enemies and in general just try to stay alive. The enemies tend to come at you in droves but thankfully it would seem that their mouths are bigger than their aim for the most part!
The graphics engine is nothing to write home about, looking pretty much the same as any other Rockstar produced game (like Warriors and Grand Theft Auto), but it gets the job done and the cleverly muted/dulled palette used gives a nice dusty, gritty feel to the experience – enforcing that whole stylish old wild west feeling at the same time. Exactly the same can be said about the character animations in general. They aren’t pretty but they are well executed and fit the theme and tone of the game like a glove – so hats off to the team for producing such a visually atmospheric experience!
However, it must be said that it is the music/sound effects that totally steal the show in my opinion. The score consists of some brilliantly composed spaghetti western stuff, the kind of soundtrack that you would find in any one of the old classic westerns and as such this complements the feel of the game perfectly! Everything fits in nicely together and the package as a whole just feels so authentic, meaning that Rockstar really seems to have nailed the genre down with this one.
So, so far so good. I’m enjoying this little self-indulgent purchase of mine that I dug out of BT Games’ second hand bin and certainly look forward to seeing how the rest of the story and action unfolds. It seems a lot less ‘over the top’ than Gun (another western-themed game that I thoroughly enjoyed), so this should be one heck of a fun ride, Stetson and six-shooter at the ready!
Related Link: http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/reddeadrevolver/index.html