Game Reviews

Retro Review: Red Dead Revolver

(Red Dead Revolver, Rockstar)
(Red Dead Revolver, Rockstar)

Rockstar has announced that there will be a third entry into the Red Dead series. What’s that you say? There are THREE Red Dead games produced by Rockstar? The whole series didn’t begin on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3? Nope, Rockstar released their first Western Americana game May 3, 2004 for the original Xbox and the PlayStation 2. I remember being insanely exited for this game twelve years ago; my father had my grow up on Westerns and up to that point there weren’t really any good Western games, but Rockstar changed all that. I picked the title back up recently due to a new game incoming and I finally defeated Pig Josh, a boss that I had been stuck on for over a decade. Rockstar helped me pick up this title again, and I couldn’t be happier that they did.

Unfortunately, the story in this game is not as epic as its successor. Instead of having an open world and quests to beat, you are stuck in a linear story that is chopped up in chapters. When you’re done with a chapter you either go to a menu screen where you can buy weapons and then decide on the nest bounty, or you’re thrown into a small town to wonder. Several bounty hunters, which you play as, cross paths while tracking bounties and each level is basically a boss fight. This is a pretty good way to go about a Western Americana game, but it grew stale after a few bounties were put down. Sometimes after I beat a bounty I was thrown into a little hub town where I was mostly bored and looked immediately for the Sheriff’s office to kill more baddies. With most of the chapters you have to kill a few grunts before you get to the final boss, but one I remember in particular was a pretty long trail. You have to be good and you have to be fast to kill all your bounties and the checkpoints are not very nice to you. I had to restart one chapter several times at the beginning once I got to the boss which was quite irritating. Nothing felt better than putting a bullet into that ass-hat after having to restart that level.

(Red Dead Revolver - Rockstar)

(Red Dead Revolver, Rockstar)

The controls handle quite well for a game in that generation. Left Trigger is draw; Right Trigger is fire. If you need to change what weapon you want to use simply tap on the D-pad to pick between rifles, pistols and some hand thrown goodies. Don’t forget to count your shots and hit Y to reload. That could save your life seeing as reloading two six-shooters takes up a bit of time. If you can’t seem to damage a bounty or if your assailant is too far away simply press on the Right Stick. This starts up a slo-motion mode where you can more accurately send your enemy lead. When you’re finally resting after a bounty slaughter and walking around town you can talk to people by pressing X. I never found anything too insightful in town, but maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places. During certain boss fights in the game you go into duel mode, which takes some time to perfect. While in duel mode you have to watch your hand – once it hovers above your pistol you pull down on the Right Stick then up really fast to simulate a draw. Once the gun is out of the holster you have a limited amount of time to aim, press the Right Trigger and place all six shots in your gun into the enemies. If you don’t kill them, they will get you and you will have to start over. Don’t get frustrated though – practise makes perfect.

Rockstar made this game look amazing. The feel of the game, the atmosphere, is definitely a barren area of the Old West. The towns and canyons you fight in are rustic and dilapidated. They even made the cutscenes look like an old WWII news-reel with the lines and copper tinge to them. The designers also went out of their way to make both the bounties unique and the bounty hunters. Yes the grunts are all similar, but when you play as a different bounty hunter you know which you’re playing as due to their distinct look. Every villain is also unique and has a certain special ability about them that can kick your butt. What bothered me is there really isn’t a huge variety of munitions that can be purchased. I was hoping to at least get a Coach Gun (short double barrelled shot-gun) at some point in the game, and I have to wonder if I had done a bit better in chapters if that would have been unlocked for me. The pistols have some variety, but the long guns aren’t that great. I would also like a Sharps for those long distance outlaws, but once again, nothing like that unlocked. This lack of weaponry can sometimes put you at a disadvantage while trying to defeat the lawless.

(Red Dead Revolver - Rockstar)

(Red Dead Revolver, Rockstar)

I’m really glad that I got back into this game. I remember trying to beat Pig Josh a few years ago but my Xbox Disc Drive wasn’t reading properly. Now flash forward a couple years and I finally had it repaired. One of the reasons I couldn’t beat Pig Josh was due to the fact the game kept skipping, the other part was my lack of skill and patience while playing. Growing up somehow does make you a better gamer, that or playing every Dark Souls games. If you’re a fan of Redemption then I would suggest you grab this title, if you have a working PlayStation 2 or Xbox I’m sure you can find it pretty cheaply. And if you don’t have one of those systems I think I read somewhere you can download an enhanced copy onto your PlayStation 4. Either way it is a must buy. I noted that some of the secondary characters in Revolver made their way into Redemption, which makes me want to hop back into the saddle and replay that puppy before the sequel comes out. We all know that Rockstar never disappoints, and I can guarantee you that Red Dead Revolver will not leave you with a flesh wound.

Red Dead Revolver

Red Dead Revolver
9

Score

9/10

    Pros

    • Regular shooting controls handle well, almost better than Redemption
    • Cutscenes look like an old-timey movie
    • Great character and villain design

    Cons

    • Quick draw controls are difficult
    • No congruent story, it is all chopped up into levels
    • Needed more gun purchase options

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