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Games of the Year: Red Dead Redemption

Games of the Year: Red Dead Redemption

The Wild Wild West

Next up with their game of the year is Lewis Anderson, who found the Wild West and living by the gun the most memorable and enjoyable experience this year in Red Dead Redemption which scored 9/10

Red Dead: Redemption is the story of a doomed man. Rockstar took what they learnt from the ever-improving string of GTA releases and applied it to a whole new backdrop, that backdrop being the Wild West.

Although it’s not quite the stereotypical Wild West you might expect, the one from a thousand bad cowboy films. RD:R occurs at a time when the western frontier was slumping into submission in the face of US government action and the protagonist, John Marston, is a relic from the old West who can’t see that the world is being tamed around him.

As you explore the plains of the US, you hear tales of factories being built where once there were ranches and catch the occasional glimpse of trains, motor cars and street lights. Technology is taking over, and the Wild West is tamed as it spreads.

Marston has one aim: to kill his old bandit chums so that the US government will return his family to him. He’s a simple man; an ex-bandit who wants nothing but the simple life that comes with owning a ranch. So the tragedy is there from the beginning, he is totally unaware the only thing he wants from life has already been robbed from him.

It’s interesting because, almost from the start, it’s apparent there’s no way for the story to end on a high note. And it doesn’t. Not wanting to spoil it for any readers I won’t go into any detail, but suffice to say it’s a grim, but inevitable, finish.

The multiplayer side of RD:R is excellent too. Players can level up, unlock guns and ever-trustier steeds in a variety of game-modes. The level of depth to the multiplayer game ensures plenty of game time and it’s pseudo-MMO gameplay lends itself perfectly to the Wild West backdrop.

RD:R isn’t without its flaws though. Marston’s plight is easy to relate to and his naive determination makes him quite likable, so it’s tough to make him act immorally, which kind of renders the honour system impotent. It’s all well and good having a flexible good/bad system, but what’s the use of that when you only see your character doing good as you progress through the storyline?

But hey, nothing’s perfect. Well, except for RD:R’s visuals. The stunning landscapes (on show here) are the perfect backdrop to cowboy action and many times over you’ll stop to watch a sunrise or some other natural phenomenon just because it looks so nice.

And just to top it all off, there’s zombies too. The most recent DLC re-animated a whole load of cowboy corpses that need to be dealt with and there’s only one man capable of dealing with them.

Cowboys + zombies? That’s a guaranteed game of the year formula right there.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

//Assassins Creed Brotherhood (Review – 8/10)

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood is more of the same. It’s lucky then that what you get more of is pure sandbox gold. Renaissance Rome is your playground this time round and the relics of the old empire offer plenty of crumbling ruins and whatnot to perch on whilst stalking your victims. Online multiplayer and a Metal Gear Solid-style training simulator keep things fresh and the AC series from feeling stale.

However AC:B suffers a little when you call on your recruited assassins. They can grow powerful indeed and a simple tap of the left bumper guarantees you victory, leaving the challenge of most missions negligible.

//Minecraft (No review)

The best game lurking under the radar this year has to be Minecraft. It’s still in alpha but has already hooked a wide audience because of it’s focus on player creativity. What you want to build – or destroy – is the only thing that matters.

Mining bricks, and laying bricks; that’s all there is to it. Simple, just like its cutesy, lo-fi graphics that perfectly suit Minecraft’s gameplay. The fact it’s available to play in an unfinished state might work in its favour too; it’ll most likely get mentioned not just now, but in next year’s GOTY lists too.

//World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (Review – 9/10)
The sheer scale of World of Warcraft’s latest expansion Cataclysm is awesome enough to get a GOTY nod. From level one upwards, the whole character development experience has been overhauled to take into account Deathwing’s emergence as the new threat to Azeroth.

Deathwing, a giant dragon with severe psychological disorders, smashed the world apart when he escaped his subterranean prison. As such, classes, gear and the world itself have been altered dramatically, guaranteeing a fresh, exciting experience for new and veteran players alike. Blizzard’s now-extensive experience with MMORPGs has helped create a smooth, flowing game world that’s a real pleasure to behold.

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