Red Dead Redemption: Three and a half gun slingin’ missions explained

We’ve been desperate to get to grips with Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption since the first time we watched John Marston ride into town. And finally, we’ve been handed the reins to give this superb looking cowboy game a go.

We were given a demo of one mission  by Rockstar but were handed the pad to try out two others. There was also time for us to do a heck of a lot of off-mission stuff too, which we’ll bring you in part 2 of this preview tomorrow. So without further ado lets get you up to speed on Red Dead Redemption…

Mission 1

This was the one we weren’t allowed to touch. The action sees John Marston working with the Mexican Army, specifically a man by the name of De Santa – the right-hand man of Colonel Allende.

Joining their ranks sees John storming a rebel stronghold on the top of a mountain. This involves killing lots of men.
   Above: The wily AI are pretty good at finding cover

As the mission progresses, the sense of scale in Red Dead Redemption comes to the fore. The compound seems to be miles away in the distance – sticking out of the red dusty cliffs like a sore thumb. But there’s zero pop-up as John makes his way towards it with his band of gringos.

The mission is nothing new really. Diving from cover to cover while dodging bullets will be familiar to anyone that’s played GTAIV, but it’s the glorious setting that sets it apart from anything else you’ve seen.

Being flanked by snipers from the cliffs of a canyon is lifted straight out of classic Western films and make John seem like a real bad-ass as he fires back with sniper shots himself. Watching the enemies realistically slide down the mountain with the brilliant RAGE physics is also morbidly entertaining. 

Above: Marston disarms his enemy - cowboy style 

The push from John and the Mexican army rises from the dusty flatlands, through a gorge and up to a climatic gun fight to the death just outside the doors of the complex. With the last foe dispatched via the slow motion targetting (read: Dead Eye mode) it’s time for our go…

Mission 2

Our first mission puts us on the trail of one of John’s former gang members, Bill Williamson. To find his former buddy John speaks to Sheriff Johnson of Amarillo and as these things usually pan out, the sheriff wants a favour before giving him information on Bill’s whereabouts.

Above: This snarling bloke is Sheriff Johnson

We follow the sheriff across town as he tells us about our mark – a criminal called Walton who may have information on Bill Williamson. Sadly, said target has the power of sight and makes a bolt for it on horseback as John closes in. We hit Y to whistle our horse – a thing you can do when ever you need a steed – and we’re off across a dusty trail. The best part about riding with an AI character is that if you hold A you’ll keep pace with them at all times. 

Obviously, the desperate culprit legs it back to the Walton gang’s HQ – which is just what Sheriff Johnson wanted. It’s time to dismount and get busy with the guns now.

Above: The hunt for the Walton gang begins

The first thing we noticed as we skidded behind cover and fired blindly at the cocky gang members is that it all feels very familiar. GTAIV familiar. Of course it shares some similarities with Rockstar’s other big game but John moves a lot like Niko. From the way he tilts as he runs and changes direction, to the way he sticks to cover, it’s all very samey. But in a good way.

The main difference is in the gunplay – or specifically the Dead Eye modes, which you can see in the previous video. We use the slow-mo ability to cruelly line-up headshots before stalking our main target, Walton himself, who’s ran off and is now taking refuge behind a big rock.

There’s something sadistically satisfying in wounding an enemy rather than murder him straightaway and as we need this guy alive we aim carefully at the guy’s knee-cap, squeeze the trigger of our six-shooter and he’s down, writhing in agony.

We then get to hog-tie Walton before Sheriff Johnson rides off with the captured convict on the back of the horse. Mission accomplished.


  • AliasAce - February 2, 2010 4 a.m.

    The first Red Dead was a hell of a lot better than Gun. Gun was a crappy western game that had okay mechanics, but Red Dead had awesome multiplayer and a lil' thing called "high noon", which was the best fun i ever had in a game! I loved the take 10 steps-turn and shoot showdown in Red Dead! Thats why this game is gonna be better than GTA4!
  • oryandymackie - January 31, 2010 1:22 p.m.

  • MaynardJ - January 31, 2010 12:09 p.m.

    I enjoyed Gun and still have to play my copy of Call of Juarez on PC. I don't think my PC can handle RDR, so I guess I'll have to play this on the 360. Anyway, it looks great with the action and the scale of this sandbox world. To actually comprehend the scale, I should visit San Andreas and Liberty City first, I've been a bit behind since Vice City.
  • patri0t - January 31, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    this looks really good and hopefully it will be but a western setting just seems like a weird thing to go for, to me anyways.
  • DriveShaft - January 30, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    Love it, hope there's a few references from Red Dead Revolver though - maybe even Red himself? How I miss that mute bounty hunter so...
  • Tomsta666 - January 30, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    When I first heard about this game I was like... meh. Didn't really care much for the first one. The more and more I see of it, the more I want it... NOW!!!
  • Felixthecat - January 30, 2010 10:24 p.m.

    My most anticipated game of this year. I pretty much jizzed myself when I saw the article.
  • Gameguy94 - January 30, 2010 1:35 a.m.

    This is definitely going to be a awesome game. I mean come on it's an Old Western GTA/AC...with VATS!!!!
  • crumbdunky - January 30, 2010 12:16 a.m.

    Everyone who's been having a peep at RDR has been so positive and after last time out being, imo, bit of a missed opportunity that just tailed off into nothing very much after all-in much the same way as this sentence actually.Anyhoo, after all the rumours of staff being flogged, blackmailed and threatened with keelhauling if they didn't slave 24 hour shifts eight days a week on the game it's great to know it's turning out so well! There's never been a great western type game with Gun failing to pull it off particularly well and Call of Juarez being a game without any redeeming characters(seriously, I wanted the brothers to die even though you play as one of the buggers!)which makes RDR being a good one something that could turn into a sub genre we see a little more of. F'rinstance the scope is there for adventure games set in the old west, FPS perhaps and definitely there's room for a fantastically grown up, detailed WRPG as well. Whatever, with so many sites and mags seemingly impressed with the detail of the gameworld as well as the core mechanics we've heard a lot of here things sound really cool right now and if the supposed ructions at the SD workplace haven't had a bad effect I can see this one being really big even with all the great games due out soon.
  • Yeager1122 - January 29, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    This is the next game im getting to bad it doesnt come out for a while.
  • FreekinIdiot - January 29, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    God i cannot wait to get my hands on this! Ever since GUN I've wanted to ride the digital wild west again
  • sterlins16 - January 29, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    this game looks like a must have on 2010 its just like gta but in a less than familiar setting
  • boxmeizter - January 28, 2010 10:38 p.m.

  • Tasty_Pasta - January 28, 2010 9:20 p.m.

    Man, I am soooooo excited about this game.
  • metalgatesolid - January 28, 2010 7:40 p.m.

    I just hope the sandbox world always has something to do. That was Guns only negative point but that was very enjoyable otherwise. I just hope the world is bustling with life and things to do.
  • DrLovez69 - January 28, 2010 7:23 p.m.

    This looks amazing. I love wild west games, I beat Bound in Blood, brilliant. Gun too, and now this. Can't wait. Is there a release date or thereabouts?
  • Antonthe3rd - January 28, 2010 6:57 p.m.

    Good article. I played the Red Dead Revolver back in the day but it blurred into one big mess in my mind with Gun cos they came out at the same time. But from what I remember it was pretty awesome, and I got high hopes for this one as well.

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