It feels cheap as hell, deathwise, and you’re constantly falling off ledges due to depth perception issues or your partner running to the edge of the screen, coop characters don’t do what they’re meant to unless you coax them just right, there are some infuriating boss battles (Mr Freeze can go fuck himself) and the vehicle handling is appalling. It’s way too hard, yet incredibly easy and it just feels like a deeply weird piece of game design.
And yet it’s brilliant, brilliant fun, in both single-player and when playing it with my wife.
Just like all the other Lego games, then, basically.
Things wrong with this game:
1) Same old fantasy setting.
3) Voice acting.
4) Text that’s way too small to actually read on my TV.
5) It’s not Oblivion.
Things right with this game:
1) A generous demo that actually gives you a real indication of what the game is like.
2) Controls that make sense immediately.
3) Cut scenes aren’t too long and you’re into the game very quickly.
4) It’s not Two Worlds.
If the text was readable (and I had money) I’d consider this at full price, having enjoyed the demo immensely, but as it is I’ll be looking to buy this after Christmas, I think.
Excellent. All I really wanted from this was the nostalgic rush of playing the first level with the killer whale. As that’s the demo level, I don’t need to spend any money on the full game. Thanks Sega!
I would like to play in the Chao Garden again, though. I have many fond memories of, er, carrying them around. I’m sure I used to do other things, too, but it’s mainly the carrying I remember.
This is going to be a very short blog post. This is because I’m not very bright.
I tried out the demo mission and got very confused when building some tanks to capture a demo and everything went wrong and my thumbs went everywhere and all my units started going to the wrong places and the enemy completely destroyed me.
So, being the mature thirty-something that I am, I turned the game off in a huff.
Does look like it would be good if I wasn’t such a child, though.
Bought this when it was on special offer ages ago, then promptly forgot about it until this weekend.
My impressions go something like this:
ZOOM! PEW PEW! EXPLODE! ZOOM! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS HAPPENING BUT THIS IS AWESOME! BARREL ROLL! ZOOM!
It’s really quite marvellous. I’ve decided that I should concentrate on unlocking all the EX options and trying them out instead of worrying about high scores and multipliers quite yet.
First impressions after running around the demo a couple of times.
It all feels a bit cheap and rough, graphically, but the gameplay seems reasonably intact.
Feels a bit like Crackdown fan fiction, but it’s still very enjoyable stuff.
I just don’t know whether it offers much more than just playing through the original game again.
Still, it’s definitely not been horribly broken. That’s a plus.
Eleven hours since I saw the end credits and no sign of me getting bored yet. I have, however, given up on finding the “California” stranger mission for a while. I need to complete it for an outfit, but I’ve searched the big purple circle on the map for a couple of hours without finding any sign of the stranger, so I’ll come back later. I’ve switched to another outfit (when I’m not helping out random people or dueling) so next time I play I’m going to have to search Thieves Landing for a chest containing a scrap of cloth. That’s not going to take ages. The weird thing is, though, that I’m really looking forward to it.
I found Merle wandering round Mexico, so I caught and tamed him again. I then traded him to a horrible man in exchange for someone’s freedom, then stole him back… and then watched him crumple to the ground when attacked by a cougar. Argh!
On the plus side, I’ve now completed the “kill two cougars with a knife” challenge.
Yes, I’ve finished the story, but I’m still playing.
Last night was pretty wonderful for the three hours or so I played. I collected some plants, saved some helpless people, played horseshoes and took part in some epic shootouts. A couple more achievements – for getting lots of money and doing some hideouts.
I’m already starting to be a bit of a naughty boy, though. I started a couple of bar fights (and ended one of them by pulling out my rifle and splattering brains across the ceiling of the Armadillo saloon). I shot a dog and a pig, just to work towards the “kill one of every animal” achievement. Worst of all, I shot a train driver and then heard screams as people left the train to see what was going on and got attacked by wolves.
It doesn’t matter, though. I’ve got my bandana on, so I’m not losing any honour. That makes everything okay, right? Right?
So, last night I saw the credits roll on what has to be one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. I got to the end without spoilers and I urge you to do the same. Knowing what’s coming would be absolutely ruinous.
With that in mind, if you’ve not finished the story and seen the credits then do not read any further. Please. Don’t do it to yourself.
HERE BE SPOILERS. TURN BACK. NOW.
No, really, go away.
ONCE MORE. HERE BE SPOILERS. TURN BACK. NOW.
So, you watch Dutch fall to his death and it’s time to go home. And it’s idyllic. You can see why John fell in love with Abigail and your son Jack is as whiny and full of himself as a teenage boy should be, but you sense that he’s got real potential. You herd cattle, tame horses and take your boy out shooting. And, of course, you know it can’t last.
But what’s going to happen? The ranch is set up so that at some point it might have activities. Maybe it’ll have infinite taming and herding missions. Is someone going to set themselves up by the horseshoes so you can play? Maybe this will become a happy, working ranch, a home to come back to after going off to hunt cougar or pick flowers.
Maybe. But it even if it does, there’s going to be blood spilled on the grass before you get there. You know it can’t last. And, if you’re like me, you’re dreading a mission where John goes out on his own, because of what he might find on his return.
None of that happens, though. They come to you. Dozens of men in army uniform. Are your wife and son going to survive? Even as it started, I didn’t expect what was coming. I mean, it’s an open-world game. Threads are left dangling – strangers, ambient challenges, all the extras of the game world.
And then John’s in the barn with a firing squad of sorts lined up outside. And then you realise. There’s no way you can take them all. You try – I think I dropped four of them before they got me – and you fail and John slumps to the ground. And suddenly you’re Jack, on a horse, riding back to your father. There he is, on the ground, looking as dead as it gets.
Still, though, you expect him to cough up some blood and wake up in his bed. But no. This game has had the audacity to kill John Marston – to kill you. That doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen.
But it did. And now it’s three years later and you’re Jack. You’re alone. The ranch isn’t populated by farmhands and cowboys. It’s just you, still sleeping in your childhood bed, though you’re no longer a child. What are you to do?
You’ve got revenge on your mind, but there’s no mission marker. It’s just you and the world.
I went to the graveyard near Blackwater to finish of a stranger storyline. Three years later and a widow is still by her husband’s grave, still mourning, still bitter. Nearby, I see a new stranger marker. A government man; I ask him about Edgar Ross. I have a lead.
And I ride.
I ride west. Which seems appropriate.
I find his wife. She sends me on my way. I let her live.
I find his brother. He sends me on my way. I let him live, too.
These are the sins of Edgar Ross, not the sins of his wife, not the sins of his brother.
And there he is, hunting duck by the river. Four bullers in his arm – and I hope he feels them before the final two bullets hit him in the head. He slips into the river, quite dead.
There I am, wearing my father’s old hat and duster coat, standing by a river in Mexico as the man who, more than anyone, is to blame for my father’s death lies there turning the water red.
Do I feel empty? Hell no. This revenge feels very, very good. And then the screen goes red and white, the words RED DEAD REDEMPTION are stamped on it and the credits roll. Immense satisfaction, but also a great sense of loss. Not only for John Marston, who I spent fifty hours with, but for the game. It’s the same feeling as you get when you finish a great book. You don’t want it to go on any longer, because it’s complete and it works and that’s the fucking story, but now it’s gone.
And doing it over again is possible, but wouldn’t be the same.
So, really though, what now? There’s a whole world out there. I’ve got challenges to complete and outfits to find and achievements to get there’s a number in the eighties that I have a real shot of getting up to one hundred.
But, no, more than that – who is Jack Marston? That’s what I get to decide. Is he ruined beyond redemption? Am I the man my father wanted to be or the man my experiences made? Outlaw or hero? Murderer or killer? (As John says shortly before he dies, there’s a difference. At least in intention.)
Now I get to choose. Online, I’ve seen a lot of people who played a “good” John Marston are playing an “evil” Jack. And I see the attraction. Free of cutscenes telling me who I am and pushing me in one direction, I now get to do whatever the hell I want. The world’s a playground and maybe I just want to shoot everyone.
I think that would be fun, to be the black hat. To put on my bandana and kill and kill and kill again with no remorse and a stack of pardon letters in my pocket.
Here’s where things get strange. It’s a game. Just a simple old game world with clear rules and boundaries and consequences. None of it matters. The story’s over and it’s a playground.
But I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I can turn cold-blooded killer of the innocent. Not because of who I am, the big beardy fellow with an Xbox controller, but because I know what John wanted. He wanted his son to be better than him. And if I turn Jack into the scourge of the west, am I not betraying his memory? I feel like I have a responsibility to John Marston. We went through a lot together to save his son and, well, I guess I need to see him saved.
Let’s see what happens, though. I’m still in the shock of the endgame. In a few days maybe the feelings will fade and the bullets will fly into the heads of shopkeepers and farmers. We’ll just have to see.
SPOILERS ABOVE. IF FOR SOME BIZARRE REASON YOU’RE SCROLLING UPWARDS DO NOT READ THIS POST UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN THE CREDITS ROLL AT THE END OF RED DEAD REDEMPTION.