What sounds like a contradiction is Red Dead Redemption's compromise between reality and fun. By now, most of us have learned how to aim accurately with a console controller stick… but when you add in the extra difficulty of using antiquated turn-of-the-century weaponry with fewer bullets, as well as shooting from horseback or across wide horizons, the targeting can become too frustrating and too slow.
Conversely, you don't want players picking each other off with game-breaking ease. Thus, the art of auto-targeting. Pull the left trigger slightly and you can lock onto an opponent – for awhile. Eventually, you'll lose the computer-aided tracking, meaning you'll either have to lock on again… or learn to kill with a headshot before the lock is lost. While the system took me awhile to master, and forced me to spam the trigger button quite a lot, it somehow felt like the right balance of accuracy for an old-fashioned Western shooter.
Shooting isn't always the best part
Maybe those last two paragraphs don't matter that much, as the greatest times I had with Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer were when I wasn't shooting… or at least when I wasn't just shooting.
In the Free Roam lobby, for example, I enjoyed hijacking horse-drawn carriages and using their rickety wooden wheels to trample unsuspecting players more than I enjoyed simply shooting up AI outlaws. As for the matches, my favorite was not Free For All Shootout (deathmatch) or Hold Your Own (team capture-the-flag), but the silly-sounding Goldrush, in which everyone scrambles about town, weighed down by bags of money and trying to deposit their stash before another player guns them down and steals the loot. The resulting chaos was usually fast, frenzied and hilarious.
Not necessarily the adjectives you'd use to describe the Wild West, but certainly the kind you might want in your game's multiplayer. Red Dead Redemption releases on PS3 / 360 on May 18th in North America and May 21st in Europe.
Apr 8, 2010