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5 unique things about Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer

Red Dead Redemption, as you're well already well aware, is a Western. The game takes place over 100 years ago. Your weapon is a six-shooter, not a rocket launcher. You throw sticks of dynamite, not grenades. You ride a horse, not a jeep, tank or helicopter. Everything – including the multiplayer, obviously – is going to be very unlike the average action sandbox.

What surprised me during my recent hands-on demo with Redemption's multiplayer, then, were all the not-so-obvious things that were new and unique. Here are the five that made the biggest difference.

You can play a fat man in a sombrero

Multiplayer modes are not the best place to express your individuality, as the choices for avatars are usually limited to either a) brown camouflage dude with helmet, or b) grey camouflage dude with sunglasses. You might be the best player on the field, but the only way others will recognize you is by memorizing your tag.

In Red Dead Redemption, however, you can look as normal or as abnormal as you wish. The character customization menus are unusually complex, with the camera circling around a 3D campground full of gangs and posses, helping you decide which grizzled veteran of the frontier you'd like to portray.

The elderly lawman with the magnificent mustache? The cocky train robber with the handkerchief pulled across his face? Or my favorite, the chubby bandito, who seem as if he's struggling just to climb onto his horse, and whose enormous sombrero often obstructed my aim during crucial duels. Plus side? My opponents were more likely to hit my beloved hat than my even more beloved head!


Waiting to start a game is a game in itself

Remember GTA IV's multiplayer lobby, which was basically the entire city opened up as a free-roaming, free-killing playground? You'd fool around for a bit, but with so much space and so little purpose, it was easy to get separated from the other 15 players and eventually forget you were even online.

Red Dead Redemption takes the same idea and, this time, makes it work. You actually have way more space to explore – the entire countryside, and all the little towns and outposts contained within – but now you're given a clear (yet optional) goal. Join a posse.

Doing so adds you to a temporary team that can ride together, attack enemy AI together, bother law enforcement together, hunt wildlife together or simply shoot down other posses together. And if you're lost, you can always warp to where your posse's leader – who sets the group's agenda – is located.

 

You will die before you've even begun

Spawning next to another player sucks. You have no time to prepare a strategy or switch to your favorite weapon before either you or he is right back at the kill cam countdown. In Redemption, though, this is how every match starts… and because everyone is forced to partake in the twitchy trigger madness, it's honestly quite cathartic.

Here's what happens. After you've exited the roaming lobby and entered a specific match, all of the players either form a circle – for free-for-all modes – or line up in two parallel rows – for team modes. Several long seconds tick by as you stare into the faces of your opponents, quickly deciding which man to shoot and which man is most likely to shoot at you.

Then the countdown's over, bullets are flying, people are panicking and, after several very short seconds, a "last man standing" has been declared. Love them or hate them, these Mexican standoffs will at least succeed in pumping up people's adrenaline before the real battle is even underway.

19 comments

  • iluvmyDS - April 12, 2010 3:18 p.m.

    @Thelonious actually it takes place in the early 1900's which is over 100 years ago
  • TENAXIS - April 11, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    hhhhmmmm GTA4 in wild west. looks awesome im just scared about the auto-aim thing sounds too easy to master, b4 u know it, the game becomes a twitchy "who-can-tap-L2-faster and shoot" kinda thing...
  • DriveShaft - April 11, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Ever since Red Dead revolver came out 6 years ago I've wanted this :D
  • Zeb364 - April 9, 2010 4:57 p.m.

    I am praying this turns out as good as i looks. I've always wanted a really solid Western Game but none has ever quite made it. Red Dead Redemption looks like it might finally be that game, all it has to do is hold up to it's promise.
  • idlemindkiller - April 9, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    Cant wait for this. Pre order is paid off and I will own this on release day. Get ready to get rocked fools. Oh and I beat GTA4 too so eat some nuts butt funk or ass face or whatever your name is.
  • drewbian - April 9, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    must. have. RDR.
  • FilthyKillz - April 9, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    If you have a box filled with kittens, send them to me, because I will kill each and every one to get this.
  • bonerachieved - April 8, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    I'm the biggest advocate for this check out the thread in the forums! sooo stoked
  • Felixthecat - April 8, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    @IGiveUFunkButt Shaddup! GTAIV was an amazing game with one of the best stories I've ever encountered in a game, and RDR will be awesome, don't you worry. @Thelonius RDR is set in 1908 which, y'know, was 102 years ago. The Great Deppression started in 1929.
  • Thelonius - April 8, 2010 10:02 p.m.

    Hate to be a dick, but the game takes place during the great depression, not over 100 years ago. I LOVE YOU CHARLIE!!!!! =]
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - April 8, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    @IGiveUFunkButt This isn't GTAIV. Plus you haven't even played it yet so save your crazy rant until you play it or see all the high review scores its going to get.
  • IgneousSteak - April 8, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    @IGiveUFunkButt Erm, probably loads of people who thinks this looks awesome (myself included) can honestly say they beat GTA IV. I think if you want 'good' (by which I presume you mean accurate, powerful) weapons and cars then maybe the old west just isn't the setting for you. That doesn't mean it won't be a good game for other reasons. Just look forward to Agent instead. There's nothing wrong with a developer having a little diversity in their games, how boring would infinite San Andreas clones be?
  • Ccm731 - April 8, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    GOTY for sure
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - April 8, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    @BlackElement17 No mustache-twirling minigame of which I'm aware. Maybe for the sequel?
  • BlackElement17 - April 8, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    But can you hog tie another player and leave them on rail road trax to get hit by a train?
  • michaelmcc827 - April 8, 2010 7:45 p.m.

    Goldrush sounds amazing...I can't wait for this game.
  • mdiaz033 - April 8, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    ohmanohmanohman i wanted this game bad before but now i can no longer wait......i MUST play it now! the mexican standoff sounds awesome even if i get killed it'll be worth it the day i become the last man standing!
  • Felixthecat - April 8, 2010 5:37 p.m.

    It's gonna be soooooooooo epic. It's already probably gonna be my GOTY, because I'm that excited about it. Too bad that I use my brothers account to play online :( But if GR does a lil' tournament for it, I'll be there.
  • Bloodstorm - April 8, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    sweet. Me and my friends still get into free roam games in GTA4 to mess around, but to have a free roam mode to do more then just run each other down in cars or fend of swarms of pissed off cops will be great. Being able to cooperatively hunt down AI outlaws and all of that will make the game last long.

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