Red Dead Redemption – hands-on with flying tomahawks in the Legends & Killers DLC

With less than a week to go before the trigger is pulled on the second round of downloadable content for Red Dead Redemption, publisher Rockstar Games invited us to check out the Legends and Killers pack for ourselves. Bringing with it a small host of add-ons for competitive multiplayer, the new pack boasts new maps, new characters and – perhaps most significantly – tomahawks.

We had ample time to play around with the tomahawks, which feel a little like the game’s existing throwing knives. They’re not exactly a game-changer, but they are great for short-distance kills, particularly if you’re trying to be stealthy; throwing them won’t reveal your position on the map like a shot will, and two are usually enough to take down an enemy.

Their weight drags them down to the ground after they’ve flown maybe a couple dozen feet, but this can be used to your advantage if, say, an enemy is cowering behind a rock that you can arc the tomahawk over. They’re less of a sure-fire kill than a revolver shot to the head, but they’re more fun, especially if you’re hiding at a high vantage point and can lob them at unsuspecting enemies below.

Above: Or at suspecting ones. It doesn't really matter, they'll be dead either way

It’s a good thing, because the new starting locations we played in – nine in all – were full of high places in which to hide. My favorite was the town of Blackwater, with its flat rooftops, climbable towers and covered balconies, although Rio Bravo, Tall Trees, Fort Mercer and the little Mexican town of Escalera also offered plenty of hills and tall buildings from which to lob tomahawks (and bullets). Thieves Landing, meanwhile, was considerably flatter, but its familiar rickety bridges turned into deadly choke-points (with crates to cover behind) in multiplayer, and its buildings and lumber yard offered enough hiding places to make running around in the open a more terrible idea than usual.

Finally, Legends and Killers brings something that – depending on whether you played 2004’s Red Dead Revolver – you’re likely to either find awesome or completely inconsequential: eight newly remastered characters from that game (including hero Red Harlow), for use in multiplayer. These don’t play or perform any differently than the standard multiplayer skins, but it was still cool to be able to see Red, Buffalo Soldier, Annie Stoakes, Jack Swift and Shadow Wolf again, among others.

Like the previous DLC offering, Outlaws to the End, Legends and Killers tacks a few new Achievements/Trophies onto Red Dead, at least some of which revolve around the new tomahawk-centric multiplayer challenges. Unlike Outlaws, though, it isn’t free – on PSN, it’ll set you back $10, or 800 Microsoft points on Xbox Live. Again, if you don’t care about the Revolver characters, that may seem steep for what’s essentially a map pack – but to be fair, the maps are huge, and if you play a lot of Red Dead’s multiplayer, then the tomahawk is just fun enough to justify the purchase. In any case, you can decide for yourself when the DLC goes live next Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Aug 5, 2010

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.