My Final Entry


          While I did not have a chance to completely finish Red Dead Redemption, since we have reached the end of this semester, this will be my final entry.  Red Dead Redemption was a truly fun and great game to play.  It did go on to win a number of awards during 2010, and deservingly so.  While I did not finish it this time around, I have previously beaten it one time before.

          Marston goes on to aid the rebels in defeating Colonel Allende and completing the revolution.  Marston goes on to find Williamson and Escuella in the Perdido fort, where he finally captures them and turns them in the American officials holding his family.  Marston then returns to the modern city of Blackwater out in the Plains in search of his final target, Dutch.  Eventually, John captures him as well, holed up deep in a fort in the mountains.  With all three men captured, Marston returns home to his family and attempts to rebuild his ranch just outside the Plains.  After some time though, the U.S. officials bring an entire army with them to Marston’s home, to finish the job of eliminating the main players of Marston’s old gang.  Marston holds them off long enough for his family to escape, but is killed by the overwhelming forces.  The game then jumps about ten years where you play a final epilogue like mission as Marston’s son.  Out for revenge, John’s son goes on a manhunt for the men responsible for killing his father.  When he finally tracks down the man and confronts him, the game ends with one final shot from your pistol, killing the man and the screen exploding into a red mess saying RED DEAD REDEMPTION.

          The game ends on a great note and I love how it comes full circle at the end flashing the title of the game in all its red glory just as Marston’s son gets redemption for the death of his father.  This was a great game Rockstar, proving the West is a viable source for games in the future, which I truly look forward to playing.

Published in: |on April 28th, 2011 |Comments Off on My Final Entry

The Rebels’ Struggle


          Once Marston reaches Luisa’s house, he finds her and her family busy at work preparing to leave.  Luisa explains that revolution is sweeping through the countryside and it is no longer safe for her family to remain where they are.  As a favor, she asks Marston to escort her younger sister to the docks where she will meet some other family to live with while the others move to hide deep in the hills.  The simple wagon ride turns into a daring chase as Mexican army soldiers have set up road blocks all over in search of rebels, and they must reach the docks before sunset or risk being left behind.

          After Luisa’s sister reaches the docks safely, Marston returns to Luisa’s house to find the rest of the family gone and Luisa crying.  She explains that she has much patriotic fervor and remained behind to help the cause.  She also explains that her lover, Abraham Reyes, the leader of the rebels, has been captured by the Mexican army and that she fears the revolution will end.  Marston agrees to help her rescue him from Perdido, a Mexican army fort for holding prisoners.  John climbs a broken part of the wall, uses a sniper to take out the executioners, and takes Reyes out of the fort on horseback while being chased by soldiers to a Luisa where she is waiting for him.  Reyes goes on to tell Marston that he is debt to him for saving his life and that he will do all that he can to find Escuella and Williamson if he helps the rebels’ cause.

          John then returns to Captain de Santo in a final attempt to follow up on the leads in search of those men.  Colonel Allende tells John that they have captured the men and are holding them in Chuparoosa.  Once they escort Marston there, they lead him into a church and tell him that his services will no longer will be needed.  Just when it seems like its all over, the rebels launch a surprise attack to rescue Marston and a huge battle erupts.  Once the fighting is over, Reyes promises to help Marston and then gives an admirable speech to his men calling for revolution and telling them this is their time.

Published in: |on April 25th, 2011 |Comments Off on The Rebels’ Struggle

Moving On


          After finishing the assault on Torquemada, Marston returns to Captain de Santo seekinginformation on the locations of Williamson and Escuella.  Colonel Allende tells Marston he requires him to complete one last important mission, and that he will pay him 20,000 pesos and give him what information he has as reward.  The mission involves escorting thetrain that was used as a decoy in a previous mission, full of supplies, to a distant Mexican army camp.  Accompanied by one of Allende’s less competent captains, Marston quickly realizes he and everyone else involved in the mission are not meant to survive as they are ambushed a number of times simply riding to the train.

          When they finally reach the train station in Chuparoosa, Marston is ordered to defend the train while riding it and firing the mounted machine gun.  Once they leave the train station, it does not take long until they come under attack from rebel forces.  This is another one of the extremely heavy combat oriented missions as hordes of rebel forces pour out of the surrounding hills in an attempt to stop the train.  While this mission is difficult, it is also always fun unloading on enemy units using the mounted machine gun, generously without an ammo limit.  Once they reach the Mexican army outpost, having clearly not supposed to survive the mission, Marston decides to seek out the rebels, while the captain promises to find out why they were sent on the suicide mission.

          Marston first returns to Chuparoosa for supplies and then seeks out Luisa at her home for information on the rebels.  On the way to Luisa’s house, I run into another one of the combat challenges.  This challenge requires aiding a Mexican army soldier clear out the same town from one of the previous missions, full of rebels, and rescuing one of his fellow soldier friends.  With the town cleared and the soldier rescued, Marston moves on to Luisa’s house in search of the rebels, who he hopes can provide him with the information he has been seeking.

Published in: |on April 17th, 2011 |Comments Off on Moving On

The Mexican Army


          After saving the stolen train, I have Marston return to Chuparoosa for supplies.  While there, he meets a funny British fellow as a stranger mission who asks him to find a package for him in the far western region of Mexico and deliver it for him to someone on the other side of the country.  When I arrive there, it turns out this region is another challenge area full of hostile Mexican rebels.  The challenge requires aiding the Mexican army clear out the town of rebels and burning down the houses in the town.  This is the first instance of being able to use fire bottles, which are essentially fire grenades and are extremely lethal.  After clearing out the town, I found the package and decided to hold onto it for now until I eventually get to that side of the country.

          Next, Marston heads back to Captain de Santo to speak with Colonel Allende about finding Williamson and Escuella.  In a typical, full of himself, power-hungry, dictator stereotype, Colonel Allende tells Marston he must further help the Mexican army in defeating the rebels in exchange for aiding John look for those men.  Marston reluctantly agrees, and along with Captain de Santo, set out on the next mission.  This mission requires racing de Santo to another town occupied by Mexican rebels.  Again, Marston aids the army in clearing the town of all rebels and then is forced to burn down more homes in the town to send the others a message.

          Next, Marston aids the army in a full assault on a rebel base situated in some old ruins overlooking some cliffs.  In this mission, Marston receives a sniper rifle for the first time, which proves to be quite effective.  The mission progresses in stages as Marston uses the sniper to cover the soldiers as they make their way up the cliff and into the ruin fortress.  With the mission complete, Marston begins to become impatient with de Santo and tells him he wants information on Williamson and Escuella next time they meet.

Published in: |on April 14th, 2011 |Comments Off on The Mexican Army

A Helping Hand


          With Luisa successfully rescued, Marston returns to Chuparoosa where he meets up with Rickets once again.  Playing poker with some of the locals, Rickets convinces Marston to join in the game.  The is the first time the game requires you to play one of the mini games and gives you a chance to experience what they are like.  The game quickly turns violent as a German believes you are cheating and challenges you to a duel.  After completing that duel, another man comes up with a hostage, threatening to kill her unless they hand over the winnings.  These duels give you practice in picking out your own targets, in the third and most advanced level of the slow motion dead eye, making sure not to accidentally kill the hostage when fighting the second duel.

          Next time you meet up with Rickets, you two reminisce over old times, while Marston explains why he is after these men and Rickets talks a little about his old adventures.  Luisa soon after interrupts, warning that a number of innocent prisoners are being sent to their deaths and they need to be saved.  Marston and Rickets intercept the wagons and bring them safely across the border to the U.S., where Rickets decides to stay with the people to help them out, and suggests Marston talk to Luisa for more information on the men he is looking for.

          Before heading back to Mexico, I decided to complete the Fort Mercer challenge.  This is another very heavy combat mission, not on the scale of the previous assault, but another small gang has moved in.  With the help of one other guy, Marston scales the wall and clears out the fort earning a large money reward.  Next, Marston heads back to Mexico to meet up with the military leader running the region.  Before he can meet Colonel Allende, he is stopped by Captain de Santo who tells Marston that if the helps the army against some of the rebels, that he can schedule a meeting for Marston.  The first mission with de Santo requires escorting a train disguised to be carrying supplies to root out a rebel ambush before it can cause any real damage.  Once the train safely reaches the next town, the train is stolen in a surprise attack by the rebels and Marston must once again help by chasing it down and stopping it before it plunges over a destroyed bridge.

Published in: |on April 13th, 2011 |Comments Off on A Helping Hand

Welcome to Mexico


          Once Fort Mercer is successfully cleared of all the gang members and taken control of by the group, Marston makes preparations to head for Mexico.  He intends on following up on capturing Bill Williamson after discovering he had recently left and to move on to his next target, Javier Escuella.  Crossing the border proves to be quite difficult though.  Irish claims he has many friends in Mexico and can easily help Marston get across the river to the other side.  Irish and Marston take a raft to cross the river but soon come under attack by Mexican rebels, apparently wanting Irish dead, on the opposite shore and must fight their way downstream, taking a much longer route than planned.  Eventually they find a safe spot to land, and Irish goes on one of his drunken stories he conveniently can’t quite remember as to why some of his “friends” are trying to kill him again.  Before making a quick getaway, Irish suggests checking up on an old American living in a small town or the Mexican leader of the region for leads on the men John is looking for.

          As Marston makes his way towards the town of Chuparoosa, the song Far Away by Jose Gonzalez, plays into full swing, allowing for a real appreciation for Red Dead Redemption’s soundtrack.  It always did a great job really setting the mood of the open western environment and theme of the game, winning several awards for best soundtrack, including a Spike Video Game Awards best original song in a game for Far Away.

          Once Marston reaches Chuparoosa, he is soon introduced to Landon Rickets, a former, legendery American cowboy who still has some skills with a gun and watches over the small town.  He explains the situation in the region, telling Marston that most of the people here are simple peasants, barely making ends meet, but full of revolution and passion, as most are unhappy with the current, corrupt dictator of the region.  Rickets goes on to show Marston some proper shooting techniques, and together they rescue the town’s bank wagon from thieves, showing how much the town relies on Rickets.  Marston begins asking the locals for information on Williamson or Escuella, but most are unwilling to talk.  Rickets encourages Marston to help the people, where they might consider sharing more information with him.  They begin by rescuing one of the locals’ sister being help captive by the army.

Published in: |on April 11th, 2011 |1 Comment »

The Assault of Fort Mercer


          Final preparations to begin the assault on Fort Mercer to finally take down Bill Williamson and his gang began with meeting Irish, another friend of Mr. Dickens with an unusually strong character.  Irish is an alcoholic arms dealer whose life is saved by Marston when he finds Irish getting beat up by two “friends”.  Irish promises to equip Mr. Dickens’ armored wagon with a mounted machine gun, the necessary firepower needed to complete the assault.  Irish first sends Marston on a mission which turns up no results.  When Marston tracks Irish down again, Irish brings you to a mine where a group of miners have found a machine gun.  When Marston succeeds in stealing the machine gun from the miners, it turns out the gun is broken and Marston must track Irish down again in Thieves Landing, another classic Western bandit town full of drunks and outlaws.  Irish sets up a deal with a friend to provide the necessary ammo, which goes completely wrong, seeing Marston fight his way out of a warehouse and escaping on a wagon.

          Finally, with all pieces and people in place, it’s time to begin the attack.  With Seth already inside the fort, convincing the gang to let Mr. Dickens inside to sell his goods.  In true Trojan Horse fashion, the outlaws fall for the trick, as Mr. Dickens attempts to sell his miracle medicine, and Marston unloads the machine gun mounted in the back of Mr. Dickens’ armored wagon once they are through the gates.  The Marshall and his deputies then bring in the rear and together they clear out the rest of the outlaws in the fort.  Once the fort is cleared reinforcements from the gang attempt to take back the fort, and Marston must use the mounted machine gun again to hold the back.  Once the reinforcements are defeated, Marshall learns that Williamson left the previous day for Mexico to meet up with another friend of the old gang, ending the first act of the game.

          This is one the best, most fun, and action packed levels of the game.  Here, the game first introduces mounted weapons, which have unlimited ammo and allow you to mow down huge numbers of enemies, always a satisfying feeling in a video game such as this.  Explosions sound off all over the fort and there are huge numbers of enemies to kill, really making you feel like you are part of a huge assault.  This is also usually a good time to complete any other stranger missions or challenges from this region before moving on to Mexico, since arriving there will provide you with many more to accomplish.

Published in: |on March 14th, 2011 |2 Comments »

Preparing for Assault

          As you continue to play through main storyline missions, each one is gearing up to prepare for your assault on Fort Mercer to capture Bill Williamson with the help of some of your new friends.  These missions come from Mr. Nigel West Dickens, Seth, and Irish.  As usual, you can complete the missions they provide to you in any order you want, but they all will inevitably lead to Fort Mercer.  Personally, I usually complete whichever mission is closer to me in the world, and I try to balance them out between each character.

          Marston first meets Seth in a very awkward position.  Sent to find Seth at a church by Mr. Dickens, Marston finds Seth digging up graves.  You quickly learn that Seth’s character is as crazy and obsessed as Mr. Dickens is with scheming for money.  Seth in search of treasure and explains how he has driven himself crazy and lost everything searching for it.  He asks to take him to his old partner who he believes betrayed him, but who is now in the custody of some lawmen.  You steal one of their horses to gain their attention, while Seth sneaks in to talk to his old partner, and are introduced to the wanted system of the game.  If you are ever caught breaking the law, a number of lawmen will begin to chase you and you must outrun them to lose your wanted level, again, very similar to the Grand Theft Auto system of escaping the police.  Once you outrun them, they are left at an increased awareness, and you must pay them off to completely reduce their suspicion.  After interrogating his old partner, Seth learns that a map is buried with one of the bodies he was digging up before.  The map leads Marston and him to an old abandoned mansion full of a gang protecting the treasure.  You must fight your way through many outlaws on the grounds and in the house until you find the treasure, only to be fake, full of only a glass eye.  Seth promises to help you anyways, since he has access into the fort and can be  a useful guy on the inside.

          Finally, with Mr. Dickens, his scheming ways begin to catch up with him as he attempts to fool more buyers, but when warned by others he already cheated, only manages to escapewith the help of Marston.  Later, he goes on to explain that he needs Marston to help him raises money to add armor plating to his carriage to turn it into a “Trojan horse” to assault the fort with.  To do this, Mr. Dickens changes his tactics by sending Marston to win a couple of races.  Eventually, he also suggests you meet another interesting friend of his, Irish, who can provide them with the proper arms to make the assault.

Published in: |on February 23rd, 2011 |1 Comment »

Challenges and Strangers

          Challenges and stranger encounters are another great element of Red Dead Redemption that keeps you busy aside from playing the main story line.  There are four sets challenges to complete starting from level 1 to level 10 of difficulty.  These challenges are treasure hunter, hunting challenge, sharp-shooting challenge, and survivalist.  The treasure hunter challenges are exactly as they sound, you are given a map or picture showing the location of a treasure hidden somewhere in the world and you have to use the clues on the map to find it.  Once you find one, you earn some money and fame, and are given a map to the next one.  The hunter challenges are also pretty straightforward in that you have to hunt a certain animal and collect its pelts.  The hunter challenges range from killing five coyotes or deer at first to eight or ten cougars or bears at the harder dificulties.  The sharpshooter challenges test your skill with using your guns.  These usualy range from killing small or hard to find animals such as birds or rabbits but without having to collect their pelts.  Finally, the survivalist challenges require you to find anywhere from six to ten flowers unique to certain regions throughout the world scattered around the deserts and plains.

          Stranger missions are minor side quests that occur by meeting random people scattered around the world of the game.  They show up as question marks on your mini-map.  When you find one, you start a conversation and they give you a mission ranging from finding or killing a single person, helping out a friend, or simply talking to them.  Many of the stranger encounters have a string of minor missions as you will likely run into some of them again as you progress through the game.

          Another similar occurance to the stranger missions are random encounters that happen randomly throughout the game as you wonder around the world.  These can happen any time and include helping to chase down outlaws or thiefs, rescuing someone from attacking animals, or beating someone in a shooting contest.

Published in: |on February 19th, 2011 |1 Comment »

The Story Continues…

          The mission structure of Red Dead Redemption is another element similar to that of Grand Theft Auto where you have freedom the roam the open world as you want and then go to areas shown on the mini map whenever you want based on the character giving you the mission.  As you progress the early stages of the game’s story, missions are mostly available to you from Bonnie and the Marshall.  As you complete missions for them, they typically intoduce to more characters that can help you on your main mission, to capture or kill Bill Williamson holed up in an old fort.

          Missions for the Marshall are mostly combat oriented as you help in fighting against outlaws stealing cattle, terrorizing a small town of farmers and locking them up in a barn, and defending yourself from an ambush by Williamson’s men.  Eventually, the Marshall suggests you find a man named Nigel West Dickens, a scheming “scientist” and business man with medicine “with a cure to anything.”  You start by rescuing Mr. Dickens from a group of outlaws and get him back to Armadillo.  He then persuades you to help him in his business schemes by convincing some simpler farmers and thugs to buy his medicine.  While dealing with Mr. Dickens interesting character, using your skill as an expert sharpshooter, rather than the effects of the fake medicine, you convince the people to buy, except for one.  This introduces you to first duel of the game.  Here, the player goes into the Dead Eye, slow-motion and must aim their pistol to disarm or kill before the other person gets his shot off.  For your help, Mr. Dickens suggest you should seek out his odd friend, Seth, who may be able to further your cause in attacking the fort.

           Since the structure in playing missions is random based on which you choose t0 play, the order of the stories, with each character within the overall story of the first act of the game, can occur in any order you want.  While all of this is also occuring,  Bonnie begins to run into problems with another gang back at her ranch.  Her father comes across a group of dead people and horses, only to return to the ranch with the barn on fire.  Marston manages to save the cattle within that sustain the ranch.  In the next mission, you learn that Bonnie has been kidnapped by the gang, and with the help of the Marshall, you go off the rescue her, taking out a lot of outlaws along the way.

Published in: |on February 10th, 2011 |Comments Off on The Story Continues…