Red Dead Revolver
Red Dead Revolver is a wonderful blend of spaghetti western and intense third-person shooter action. This game is my latest addiction - with its purposefully grainy graphics, swelling symphonic music and a lean, mean main character it's about as close as you will ever get to being Clint Eastwood.
While rather open-ended, Red Dead Revolver is still built around a pretty captivating story line that has you hunting for your family's killers. In true Eastwood style, you play a cowboy as quick with his fists as he is with his gun. The levels are played as chapters in this story. In between the chapters you return to town to roam, purchase equipment and unlock characters for the game's other modes of play.
Unfortunately the levels themselves are pretty small, instead you spend your time attacking or defending an area trying to wipe out all of the bad guys and the boss bad guy. There are some neat play mechanics though. My favorite is the ability to hop onto a horse or bull and ride it around as you shoot at people. It's a ton of fun.
You start out with just a pistol but eventually can enter levels with a rifle, pistol, knife and even dynamite. Rockstar did a good job of mixing things up a bit to keep the feel of the levels very different. For instance there are levels where you have to direct cannon fire, or have to take out a stagecoach, there' s even a level loaded with evil circus midgets.
Throughout the game you will take on the roll of a variety of characters from Red, the main cowboy, to a female farmer to a general in the Mexican army. The variety is nice, but it does take away from your ability to really relate to Red as the central character ' especially since some of these characters are actually Red's enemies. Some of the best parts of the game involve one on one duels built around an interesting game mechanic that slows down time for a few seconds to allow you to draw, aim and fire. If you miss, you'll likely die.
After you complete a level you get bounty, which can be used to repair and upgrade weapons or buy new ones as you wander the town. The single player experience is a fun and solid game; unfortunately the same can't be said for multiplayer. There's a way to take on other players on the same console in a sort of death match, but the modes could be so much more fun if online or system link was supported. Also it would have been nice to see more multiplayer variety. The three modes included basically two deathmatches and a one on one match called High Noon.
The graphics in this game are superb, it's also one of the only games I've played that included camera effects like washout, grain and defects to add to the effect. The sound, too, is simply terrific. The soundtrack borrows heavily from Ennio Morricone's music, which set the tone for all of Serge Leone's spaghetti westerns.
Red Dead Revolver is a fantastic game in a genre that is, sadly, rarely tapped. Its single player mode is more than worth the money, unfortunately the multiplayer modes do little to add to the game.
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It's usually easy to write a review. Games tend to be strong in a given area, or weak in several. With enough gameplay however, both can be understood with little effort. Quality tends to shine, while crap tends to stink. Once in a while, however, a game comes along that stands above the rest, and yet has drawbacks that could bring down the entire game. Such a game is Red Dead Revolver, perhaps the closest I've ever seen to a western film brought to the Xbox screen, and at the same time, could've been so much more.
Visually, this game is fantastic. Detailed character models, an old movie style film grain on every scene, and a sun so bright it's liable to make you squint if you look at it during a high noon scene. Combined with a soundtrack that is outstanding in every definition of the word and sound effects that remind one of an old school spaghetti western, and you've got a game that does it's very best to submerge you in the feel of the old west.
In addition, with a solid mix of weaponry, special powers, and a really fun but sometimes frustrating dueling mode, Red Dead Revolver's gameplay can be really fun. Furthermore, in terms of content, there's a great deal of good acting to be had and a simple plot with enough twists to be entertaining.
Even in light of this achievement, this game still possesses flaw. The gameplay, which is reminiscent of the hectic atmosphere of Timesplitters 2, without the Goldeneye, style crosshair control, is not what I'd call indicative of the wild west feel the game goes for, and in fact, can be jarring and disrupting in that regard. Without any real cover control, you won't be getting the 'duck behind barrel, rise up and shoot feel'. Furthermore, with little effort I was able to unlock each and every part of this game within five hours, and even with a robust multiplayer mode, featuring dozens of characters, that seems like little in the way of deep gameplay to keep one entertained. Even in a lighter game, I'd expect to go through around ten hours worth of content before having the entire game open to me.
All in all, Red Dead Revolver is a great game at a standard price point, with gameplay that should've been tweaked but wasn't, and extra content that could've been there but isn't. Almost as if it typified the term 'rental game', if you'll really enjoy the wild west of this game, get it, but otherwise, look to the local rental store.