Walking into the sunset.
I’ve finally done it. After three years of being on and off with it, I finished Red Dead Redemption. After not feeling willed on to finish the game, it feels like closure considering how much people have talked about it as a possible game of the generation contender.
That’s all well for you guys. I’m glad I played through it, I’m glad I finally finished it and you know what, it’s actually a quite good game. But it still didn’t ‘wow me’ in the same way games like The Last of Us; Mass Effect 2; Heavy Rain; or even another Rockstar stablemate in Grand Theft Auto IV have.
I couldn’t really get with the story, I couldn’t connect with a majority of the characters (the MacFarlenes, Abigail, Jack, Ricketts and to a lesser extent Marshall were the exceptions). I just didn’t feel like I connected with them or with the larger story being told, though with that said the final third of the game on the farm with Abigail, Jack and Uncle was certainly terrific to experience (even if at one point one of the missions felt like I’d been playing Rockstar Games Presents Farming Simulator 2010).
But at the same time, I come out of playing Red Dead Redemption with a lot more respect for it than I had before and, to a larger extent, a lot more respect for Rockstar for crafting such a massive and diverse world. The last time I went through the game, I was largely playing for story reasons and it otherwise went ignored. But this time, I started noticing more and more details of the world itself. This is where a good chunk of my respect for the game comes from: if there’s one company that knows how to build such a sufficient world, it’s Rockstar.
After all, it made one of my favourite open worlds in recent memory with Grand Theft Auto IV, where Liberty City was just thriving – if Niko was the star of the game, Liberty City was its supporting star. And while it wasn’t Rockstar that built it (at least directly), exploring LA Noire’s telling of 1940s Los Angeles was terrific. But Red Dead Redemption’s world felt an evolution of what GTA IV attempted. I maintain GTA IV is still my favourite of the two, but after finally fully delving into the world of Red Dead, it now has me even more excited for how Los Santos will be in Grand Theft Auto V.
It’s that reason that Rockstar San Diego gets most of my props for the game. I may not have enjoyed a great deal of the story, but I did enjoy exploring the game’s world, I enjoyed playing through the missions, story stuff aside, and I enjoyed listening to bits of the game’s soundtrack. You’d be hard bitten to not have felt that riding into Mexico with Jose Gonzalez’s Far Away was an incredible moment. Likewise, the same feeling when rushing towards Abigail and Jack at Beecher’s Hope after what had just gone down with Dutch to Jamie Lidell’s Compass. Or seeing the credits roll to Ashtar Command’s Deadman’s Gun (yeah, RDR’s soundtrack is a bit good, innit?).
So is Red Dead Redemption a contender now to be my game of the generation? No. Two reasons for that. The first being that The Last of Us is just too damn good. The second is that throughout playing it, it just didn’t scream like it was a game of the generation contender in my book. But I understand why now, after finishing it, people love Red Dead Redemption. I only merely think it’s a good game, nothing more, but I get why people love it now. I get why it’s their game of the generation. Of course, it’s all down to the individual taste of the person, but nevertheless, I get it.
So, Red Dead Redemption. You definitely aren’t a game of the generation caliber game in my eyes (not even close). Quite frankly, you aren’t worth a ten or even a nine in my eyes if I had to score it (eight would sound right). But you know what? You’re still a bloody good game. I’m glad to have been mostly wrong about you.