Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

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Red Dead Redemption is a game that really is unparalleled when held up to any other current title. It is more vibrant and alive than any game, including GTA IV. ~Geoff Calver

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption is an awe-inspiring game. From the get-go, Red Dead Redemption fascinates with its unique characters, witty dialogue, deep storyline and beautiful game world.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

Red Dead Redemption begins, appropriately enough, in the small city of Blackwater, a town at the edge of the wild west. As John Marston, the hero of the game, gets off a boat with two federal agents, a car is lifted by a crane from the ship onto a dock. A newspaper boy calls out headlines and a train waits at the station, ready to carry passengers into the wilderness beyond.

This opening scene segues into a train ride. As Marston looks out the window, we, the gamer, see plains turn into desert plateaus. As the sun sets, John Marston listens to ladies describe the savages who live in the west and a preacher explains to a young woman that only through an acceptance of God into their lives can people reach heaven.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

These opening scenes set the tone for the game. The car arriving represents the onward thrust of modernity into a west that, in 1911, was still very wild. The land of Red Dead Redemption is one of liars, thieves and murderers. But it is not a soulless world, and that is something that lends the game a stark beauty. Amidst the gorgeous yet savage setting, there are people with good hearts who need saving but who also, frequently, offer help to Marston.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Marston is a former outlaw tasked with bringing his old comrades to justice. The newly formed Bureau in Washington, DC has taken his wife and child hostage in order to force him to help bring law back to the wild west. And in his journeys, Marston meets a huge variety of characters.

A small sampling of the characters would introduce you to a well-educated, well-grounded young woman who prefers ranching and lassoing wild horses to civilization and banking; an old woman who is waiting by a church for the man she intends to marry, unaware that he died 20 years ago, madly in love with her, and is buried in a cemetery nearby; an enterprising swindler with a flair for histrionics and musician who sleeps with whores and who implores with you to convince his wife to stay with him. Some of the characters are downright evil and some who appear evil at first are shown to have a soul after all. And that isn’t a coincidence, as Marston himself is a reformed outlaw, forced back into a life he wanted to leave behind.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

The characters in Red Dead Redemption are truly human, and that is a high compliment, because most games feature wooden characters who drop one liners and stiff discussions with pregnant pauses. The characters in Red Dead Redemption are unique, expressive and wonderfully voiced. They come to life, and with them, the world of Red Dead Redemption is made vibrantly real as well.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption’s most prominent feature is simply it’s landscape. Spread over a huge area, Red Dead Redemption encapsulates the American west. Great plains give way to huge, snowcapped peaks which transition to wetlands, mesas, deserts and canyons. There are hidden treasures in the landscape. Caves, waterfalls, lakes and small chapels nestled in the hills. Striking through the middle of the game world is a large river which separates the United States from Mexico, which is equally gorgeous with its scorching, hot days and star-filled nights.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

This is a believable world. Animals chase each other through the wilderness, lightning flashes in the distance as a storm approaches. The light of late afternoon is harsher than the light of early morning. Characters request your assistance on the side of the road; some with intentions, some with bad. Travelers halt their horses to relieve themselves in the woods before continuing on their journeys and every once in a while the sounds of a shootout carry on the wind.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption is a game that really is unparalleled when held up to any other current title. It is more vibrant and alive than any game, including GTA IV. It’s landscape is diverse, huge, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. It’s analysis of the retreat of the wilderness is simple and elegant. It’s characters are more alive than any that have come before them, and the sheer amount of things to do in the world of Red Dead Redemption is nearly endless.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption is a game that I heartily recommend to everyone. It is a Rockstar Game, so it isn’t intended for youngsters with its violence, seedy characters and stark portrayals of life in the west, but it is an essential game in that it truly represents a step from interactive medium to an emotional, involving, beautifully created experience that truly blends the line between cinema, game, and art.

WET

WET is a unique-looking game with a lot of fun features. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with a Kill Billesque storyline and visual styling, and ridiculous gunplay that is over the top and absurdly fun. Unfortunately, WET isn’t a perfect game because it lacks creative depth and can feel repetitive, but it is definitely a fun shooter if you’re just looking to kill a couple of hours. ~Geoff Calver

WET

Gameplay

WET tells the story of female assassin Rubi Malone. Rubi carries a pair of revolvers and a sword, and she dispatches her foes with style. The game obviously focuses on having fun while completing your mission. Rubi is beautiful and athletic. She is able to run along walls, jump high over obstacles, and slide for ungodly lengths of time along the floor, all while shooting not just at one enemy, but at two. The game encourages you to run along a wall and then jump into mid-air and slide along the floor while killing enemies left and right. As you perform such combinations, you have points rack up. The more points you gain putting together awesome acrobatics and the more enemies you kill while performing the acrobatics, the faster your health will replenish and the more points you’ll have to spend towards upgrading Rubi’s weapons at the end of each mission.

WET - Xbox 360

WET tells an interesting, if a bit convoluted story. The game begins with Rubi watching a suitcase being handed between two men in an ornate room in Chinatown. The suitcase is her target – she needs to retrieve it – and she crashes through the glass ceiling and begins shooting up the place. This leads to a chase where she follows Simmons, the man carrying the suitcase. It turns out the suitcase holds a heart, which a man named Ackers has hired Rubi to retrieve so that he may have heart surgery. He rewards her well and comes back a year later asking if she can go to Hong Kong and find their heir to his crime fortune, Trevor. From there, Rubi travels around the globe through a twisted plot of backstabbing, lies, and falsehoods. She gets beat up a few times, engages herself in high-speed chases, and in the end, prevails.

WET - Xbox 360

The story of WET is fun in that it is over the top, just like the gameplay. The twists and turns are at times so ridiculous that you feel you are watching a ‘70s B grade action film. And that’s the point. WET is fashioned to look and feel like a Kill Bill or even more aptly, Grindhouse style of film. It is over the top, action-packed, and features a grainy visual style meant to replicate cheap 70s Technicolor film.

WET - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

Unfortunately, though the upgrades to Rubi’s weapons are decent (she can eventually gain access to shotguns, SMGs, and crossbows); they don’t change the gameplay dynamic much. The novelty of putting together acrobatic kill combos begins to get stale when you realize that the AI isn’t very intelligent and are mostly just cannon fodder. The difficulty in playing through WET is fighting off huge numbers of enemies rather than thinking about how to do so.

Graphics

The graphical style of WET is completely unique to recent video games. The only other game I can really think of that reminds me of WET in terms of atmosphere, film influence, and graphical styling is the old driving combat game Interstate ’76, where bellbottomed 70s hipsters drove around vehicles outfitted with guns. It, too, was over the top in its action and in its depiction of its heroes, and it screamed of 70s B-movie styling.

WET - Xbox 360

WET makes great use of its graphical deficiencies. The graphics engine behind WET isn’t all that great. The character models look decent but not special, the locales are colorful and varied, but the amount of detail on the buildings, vehicles, and in everything else around you isn’t anywhere near that of many newer titles. What is impressive is how the team working on WET managed to work around the weakness of their graphics engine. The 70s B-movie looks manage to make it okay that the graphics aren’t like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4. The screen has little dots all over it like grainy film, and occasionally a bar will move through the screen like a slide in a film that suddenly shows itself. If you’ve ever see a Quentin Tarantino film, you know what the visual style of WET is. And it’s really unique and fun.

Sound

The sound in WET is a mixed bag. The music is fantastic. It features a great score, and beyond that, there is a ton of original music made specifically for the game by artists ranging from Gypsy Pistoleros to The Chop Tops. It is excellent music that is loud, vicious, and fits right in with the game style.

WET - Xbox 360

The voice acting ranges from good to great. Rubi’s voicework is fantastic. Voiced by Hollywood actress Eliza Dushku (who is the lead character, Echo, in Fox’s Dollhouse) she sounds great and her voice really gives life to her over the top female assassin character.

The Final Word

WET is a fun, action-packed game that takes lots of inspiration from 70s B-grade action movies and Quentin Tarantino’s work. It isn’t going to keep you up at night wondering about where the plot will go next, and it isn’t going to be on any “game of the year” lists, but it certainly is a fun title that is over the top and features great styling, music, and an innovative approach to how you go about taking out enemies.

The Scorecard

73%

+ Great atmosphere that evokes Kill Bill, Grindhouse, and cheap 70s action films

+ Fun gunplay

+ Easy to pick up and play for just a few minutes

+ Excellent music

– The storyline is a bit convoluted and doesn’t really draw you in

– The graphics are dated

– The AI is about as smart as my fish