Saturday, April 2, 2011

Practicum #3 - Jeff

This time around I'll be talking about Red Dead Redemption, an action game set in the dieing west. The game is similar to Grand Theft Auto 4 in that it runs on the same engine, features a vast, open world, and emphasizes gunplay.

When you start Red Dead Redemption if multiplayer mode, you are dropped in a town somewhere in the game world. This is called free roam. In free roam, you are able to travel anywhere you like and interact with other players or non player characters. You can form posses with other players and do stuff like play liars dice, sack towns, or drag people through the streets on horseback with your lasso.

The bulk of the multiplayer experience in RDR comes from player versus player games which can be entered at any time using a menu. These are typically deathmatch or capture the flag games. As you can see in the posted video, each game starts off with a standoff (or in the case of free for all, a Mexican standoff). Getting kills and doing achievements earns experience points to level up, which gives you access to different guns. Leveling up also lets you choose from a greater variety of avatars and horses to choose from (sadly I'm still pretty a low level, so my "horse" is "el senior," the donkey).

I was surprised to see such a rich multiplayer experience in RDR, since I had only paid attention to the single player mode in the past. Being able to replay shootouts in some familiar locales in the game with real people was tremendous fun, because real players were much more creative and unpredictable. I know that sounds like a given, but when when my team decides to do something like making a push for the hill with a cannon on it without the game's script telling us to do so, it made me feel like I was actually in the gritty west.

RDR also features some downloadable content (DLC) from the Xbox LIVE marketplace. DLC can be purchased using "Microsoft Points," which have a dollar value. I have noticed that paid for DLC comes in three different types: full games (including arcade games and retro titles), expansion packs (see following paragraph), and micropayments (like extra skins for your avatar). It's kind of annoying having to use a credit card to buy Microsoft Points, especially since they have no set dollar value (the more you buy at a time the cheaper they are) and they are sold in inconvenient increments.

For RDR I downloaded a zombies expansion pack which was released on Halloween. The expansion pack features an additional single player story and multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is similar to Call of Duty zombies modes where you have to hold out against as many waves of zombies attacks as you can.

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