Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Review

I’m a huge fan of Red Dead Redemption—it’s one of my favorite games ever. That’s saying quite a bit since it’s such a recent game. Recent or not, Red Dead Redemption was great, and I maintain the opinion that no game has a better ending.

Each mission in Red Dead Redemption had you usually putting a bullet in someone’s skull; sure I’ll admit that. But the structure of these missions was what made Red Dead Redemption fun. I love the train escort mission in Mexico, and the assault on Fort Mercer. Whenever you receive a mission from an NPC you knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward. There were tiers to each mission and you didn’t know what you would do next.

It was the best Rockstar game I’ve ever played because of the inventive mission types throughout the main storyline.

That’s why the Undead Nightmare DLC is disappointing. I really wanted to play more of Red Dead Redemption, and I’d heard good things about Undead Nightmare; but outside of the quirky encounters with people that Marston met in Red Dead’s main game, there isn’t much I enjoyed. 

You can tame The Four Horses of the Apocalypse--each has a different ability, like unlimited stamina.

Really all you do in Undead Nightmare is go to a town or settlement, and kill all the zombies. That’s it! And you repeat this about a dozen times.

If you take away these “town cleansing” missions then the main story is short. But most of the time you can’t progress the main storyline without cleansing a town first. It just gets boring, fast.

One thing I do like is that you have to change your placestyle in Undead Nightmare. Headshots are the only way to kill most zombies, and ammo is minimized. You quickly get overrun by undead, if you’re on foot, so I almost always shoot zombies from horseback.

I really did like how Undead Nightmare started off. With a creepy narrator giving us an overview of the situation. But the narrator never comes back and you lose that zombie movie vibe that the game was originally going for.

Undead Nightmare does feel like it’s own standalone game. Event the visuals have a different look to them. The landscape has a yellow haze over everything, and the zombified wildlife is a nice touch.

I would have enjoyed Undead Nightmare more if there were a multiplayer free roam mode. Unfortunately the only multiplayer addition is a Gears of War-esc horde mode, where you try to survive waves of zombies. I would have loved shooting zombies in a free roam mode, but alas.

All the wildlife in Undead Nightmare has been zombified

I may have just become bored of shooting countless undead. Does every game need to have a zombie mode? It’s fun for a little while, but for me it becomes stale far to quickly.

Undead Nightmare is only $10 on the Xbox Live Marketplace, which is a fantastic price. So it’s almost a steal. But I thought the gameplay would be more indicative of what I’d played in the original Red Dead Redemption. If you like Red Dead, and you love to kill zombies, then this expansion is your dream. Personally I just was expecting to be blown away based on the reviews I’d seen for Undead Nightmare. Unfortunately I wasn’t, but at $10 I don’t feel cheated in the least, I just wanted more depth.

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