Review: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

THE PRICE OF GREED

Developer(s): Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar North
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Rating: 9.5

If someone was to say that zombie games are popular in this day and age, they would be understating the obvious. From the smallest flash games, through downloadable arcade games, and all the way into top tier disc-based titles, it seems like there are zombie games and mini-games everywhere. The main question is what can Red Dead Redemption possibly bring to this table? The Undead Nightmare pack is the latest DLC release for Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption. In this edition, John Marston is back at his slaying best in a single player campaign that offers a fresh take away from games that feature relentless hordes of zombies. Rockstar also offers those same zombies up to the horde lovers in a multiplayer that features wave based levels that increase in difficulty. All in all, this DLC is definitely a fresh combination of old and new ideas combined for some entertaining gameplay.

The developers place you in a storyline that takes place right after Marston disposed of Dutch van der Linde in the main quest of Red Dead Redemption. Marston is simply trying to live the quiet life with his family at Beecher’s Hope when they are seemingly taken overnight by an evil illness that turns everyone into flesh-eating zombies. With ammo and weapons at a minimum, and no honor system to worry about, Marston again sets off to save his wife and son. From there the storyline focuses on Marston and a list of new characters who are familiar from the main quest. The story also takes place in the beautiful open world maps in New Austin and Mexico. As in the main story, Mexico is opened up through the storyline as the player progresses. For serious gamers looking for as much replay value from a game as they can get, this open world map will give you a lot to do and see.

Dark and lonely nights are waiting for you.

The main storyline in Undead Nightmare is somewhat familiar in feel to the main story of Red Dead Redemption. In a smart move by the producers, the same voice actors give us an authentic feel to this new edition. The major difference is that Red Dead Redemption focuses on a serious plot with moral choices that are made at every turn ultimately trying to decide the fate of Marston and his family. The Undead Nightmare edition of the game still involves Marston saving his family, but pokes fun at the other characters and shapes them in a more jovial light. Every character in the game is attempting to figure out the reason this illness has appeared and the conspiracy theories will flow on you like the water of the Rio Grande. The story feels more like a tribute to the old B-movie zombie storylines that we have all grown to love. The quests themselves also feature some recognizable gameplay. Interactions include many of the characters introduced in Red Dead Redemption. Also, instead of clearing out gang hideouts, you clear out graveyards and save towns from an infestation of flesh-eaters.

The side quests in Undead Nightmare are not as imposing or massive as they are in the main title, but they do add a good deal of content to the 10-plus hours of gameplay that you can get from the main quest. As in the main game, there are still random encounters with citizens as they attempt to ward off their tormentors. There are also four ambient challenges to test your zombie killing skills as well as rounding up treasure and some amazing (to say the least) new horses. The developers also add on some “stranger” missions that include some characters that aren’t really strangers, but who will reward you with some very useful tools and weapons to aid you in your liberation of towns. Finally, if you’re just looking for mindless killing of the undead, feel free to liberate all of the towns in this massive open-world map for the “spinning plates” achievement.

Mr. Marston is in trouble. Big trouble.

For those gamers who simply have to fight off waves of growling undead, then a breath of fresh air that has been added to this title is the Undead Overrun multiplayer mode. While it is not incredibly deep in unlockables, it is amazingly high on the fun meter. Players are given a set of stock classes in the pre-game lobby. From there, they are left to fend off the unrelenting and endless hordes of the undead. Smartly, the game designers took cues from the “Left For Dead” series when they designed the zombies for the multiplayer and single player game types. As a result, spitters are replaced by retchers, chargers are replaced by bruisers, bolters replace hunters, and a host of fresh zombies replace the common infected that we have seen from the Left for Dead title.

Overall, the Undead Nightmare DLC provides gamers with a very good experience. As with the main title, the graphics are clear and the open world is still amazing. Also still included is the ability to free roam and perform side quests will continue to give players added value and time to this title. With the incorporation of the same voice actors and new soundtrack additions, the sound is very well incorporated into the settings and storyline. For its price, this game will leave zombie and Red Dead enthusiasts with a sense of satisfaction bigger than a healthy plate of human tar tare.

Reviewed by vadrummin – December 10, 2010

Graphics
Rockstar uses the same open world as Red Dead Redemption. The graphics are truly a visual treat that completely immerses the player in this western-based world. There are however, a few slight frame-rate issues even with the game installed on the system.
 
Sound
The new soundtrack adds a lot to this game. The music is fun and gives the game that zombie-movie feel that the writers were looking for. The growls and howls of the sound effects further add to the environment of a zombie apocalypse.
 
Fun
Take off the expert targeting mode and run around mindlessly killing the undead for an added blast to this title. The achievements, side quests, and multiplayer can keep gamers occupied for endless hours.
 
Final Score

 

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