Red Dead Redemption

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Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption.jpg
Red Dead Redemption's box art depicts main protagonist John Marston.
Developer(s) Rockstar San Diego
Publisher(s) Rockstar Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Producer(s) Steve Martin
David Kunkler
Designer(s) Christian Cantamessa
Programmer(s) Ted Carson
Michael Currington
Artist(s) Joshua Bass
Daren Bader
Nick Trifunovic
Writer(s) Dan Houser
Michael Unsworth
Christian Cantamessa
Composer(s) Bill Elm
Woody Jackson
Series Red Dead
Engine RAGE, with Euphoria and Bullet Physics
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) NA May 18, 2010[1]

PAL May 21, 2010[1]
JP 20101007October 7, 2010

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download[2][3]

Red Dead Redemption is a Western action-adventure video game set in an open world environment. It is developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games. It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles on May 18, 2010. It is the second title in the Red Dead franchise, and is a spiritual successor to 2004's Red Dead Revolver. The game, set during the decline of the American Frontier in the year 1911, follows John Marston, a former outlaw whose wife and son are taken hostage by the government in ransom for his services as a bounty hunter. Having no other choice, Marston sets out to bring the three members of his former gang to justice.

Red Dead Redemption is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The player can travel the virtual world, a fictionalized version of the Western United States and Mexico, primarily by horseback and on foot. Gunfights emphasize a gunslinger gameplay mechanic called "Dead Eye" that allows players to mark multiple shooting targets on enemies in slow motion. The game makes use of a morality system, by which the player's actions in the game affect their character's levels of honor and fame and how other characters respond to the player. An online multiplayer mode is included with the game, allowing up to 16 players to engage in both co-operative and competitive gameplay in a recreation of the single-player setting.

Upon its release, Red Dead Redemption was met with universal critical acclaim, averaging approximately 95/100 and 94% on review aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings respectively, making it one of the highest-rated video games of all time. Reviewers praised the game's visuals, dynamically-generated music, voice acting, gameplay, and story, and they gave it several Game of the Year awards. It has ranked highly on several "Best Games" lists by various publications. As of September 2011, the game has sold over 12.5 million copies. After the game's release, several downloadable content (DLC) additions were released. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, which was also released as a standalone game, added a new single-player experience in which John Marston searches for a cure for an infectious zombie plague that has swept across the Old West. A Game of the Year Edition containing all additional content was released in October 2011.


Red Dead Redemption is an open world game. As protagonist John Marston, players can interact with the environment and engage in combat with enemies, using various firearms. Different breeds of horses are the main forms of transportation, each with different attributes. These horses must be tamed in order to use them. Marston can utilize trains to get from place to place quickly, but he can also stop the train by threatening or killing the passengers or driver.[4]

In addition to following the main storyline, the player character will witness and can take part in random events they encounter as they explore the game world. These include public hangings, ambushes, pleas for assistance, encounters with strangers, ride-by shootings, and dangerous animal attacks. For example, if a group of people ride into town firing guns in the air, Marston can kill them, and will receive a bonus of honor and fame for protecting the town. The player character can also take part in optional side activities, most of which give the player money. There are various stores to buy supplies with the earned money such as weapons, medicine, and horses. These side activities include dueling, in which the player character must be a faster draw than their opponent; bounty hunting, where Marston can hunt down bounties on wanted posters; herb collecting, which involves gathering exotic plants from around the game map for town medics; and gambling, where people can be found playing games such as poker and Five Finger Fillet;[5][6] and hunting, in which the player can kill wild animals and skin their hides.[6]

Red Dead Redemption makes use of a morality system where players have the ability to gain positive or negative honor.[4] Honor can be gained by making morally positive choices, such as taking in an outlaw alive, or saving a woman from a kidnapping. The player character's overall honor standard is lowered for committing crimes or other negative choices. This works in conjunction with another system, fame, which affects how people react based on Marston's honor status. If Marston has little honor, non-player characters feel insecure around him. If he has a high amount of honor, other characters will usually greet him and feel safe around him. He will also receive discounts in some stores, more pay for jobs and other bonuses.[4][7] A very low honor rating can result in a town's establishments closing their doors when Marston arrives. To combat this he can disguise himself by wearing a bandana when performing criminal acts.[4]


Red Dead Redemption features a cover system that allows the player character to hide behind objects and reach out to fire on people and animals.

Gunfights are a major gameplay mechanic in Red Dead Redemption. The player can take cover, target a specific person or animal, blindfire, and free aim. Individual body parts can also be targeted, in order to take targets down non-lethally. When the player shoots an enemy, the game engine uniquely creates the AI reactions and movements depending on where they were hit. The player character can choose from period-accurate weapons including revolvers, pistols, lever or bolt-action rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, knives, explosives, lassos, mounted Gatling guns, and cannons.[8] Duels utilize a gunslinger gameplay mechanic known as Dead Eye. Dead Eye is a targeting system that is used in a bullet time-like manner, allowing the player to slow down time to place a precise shot or paint in multiple shots. When the targeting sequence ends, Marston automatically fires to all marked locations in extremely quick succession.[4]

Adopted from the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption has a modified wanted system. When the player commits a crime such as killing people near witnesses, some will run to the nearest police station. The player can bribe them or kill them before they reach the station. If a crime is committed near a police officer, the wanted meter immediately appears along with a bounty count which increases with each crime committed. If Marston's bounty becomes high enough he will be pursued by either the U.S. Marshals or by the Mexican Army depending on his locations. To evade law enforcement in pursuit, John Marston must escape a circular zone until the wanted meter disappears. Alternatively, the player character can kill all lawmen in a town to have the wanted meter disappear.[4] Despite the chase being aborted, a bounty is placed upon John which will cause bounty hunters to come after him in the wilderness. It is impossible to surrender to these bounty hunters by putting away Marston's weapon and standing still as they will kill him regardless. Only law enforcement in towns and a posse will accept surrenders. The law will continue to chase Marston unless he pays his bounty at a telegraph station or presents a pardon letter. When arrested, Marston pays off his bounty and is then released. If the player does not have enough money to pay back the bounty, the law will assign bounty hunting activities.[4]


Red Dead Redemption includes online multiplayer with a maximum of 16 players per session. Every multiplayer game, both free-for-all and team based, will begin with a Mexican standoff. Survivors of the standoff will be able to move to any part of the battlefield in preparation for respawning enemies. Crates in the environment contain extra weapons, ammo, and other powerups. Players can level up and complete weapon challenges which earn them rewards such as new character models, golden weapon skins, new titles, and new breeds of animal mounts.[9] Additional multiplayer modes were added via downloadable content (DLC). Stronghold is an attack or defend scenario, with teams switching roles as the round ends. It is included in the Liars and Cheats pack.[10] The Undead Nightmare pack included two new games modes: Undead overrun mode, and Land Grab. It also included eight new zombie characters.[11]

The free-for-all and team versions of Shootout mode both follow a traditional deathmatch scenario where players or teams must accumulate the most kills. Many capture the flag variants are also available. Hold Your Own is a traditional mode where each team has to defend their bag of gold to from the enemy team whilst capturing the other. Grab The Bag has both teams attacking one bag placed in a section of the map. Gold Rush is a free-for-all variant, trying to grab and keep as many bags as possible. The multiplayer portion Red Dead Redemption also features open world gameplay.[4] All players in the server can form or join a group of other players, known as a posse, of up to eight players and take part in activities such as hunting or attacking computer-controlled gang hideouts or another player's posse.[12]



Red Dead Redemption spans two fictitious United States counties and a fictitious Mexican state: New Austin, West Elizabeth, and Nuevo Paraiso. New Austin and West Elizabeth are adjacent to each other and share a southern border with Mexico. Nuevo Paraiso is a Mexican state, separated from U.S. territory by the San Luis river. The game takes place primarily in the year 1911, featuring the end of the American Frontier and the cowboy and outlaw archetypes that shaped it. The landscape of the Wild West is beginning to fade and modern technologies like automobiles, machine guns, and oil drilling projects are beginning to appear.


The game begins in 1911, where John Marston (Rob Wiethoff), a former outlaw, is taken from his family by the Bureau of Investigation. They state Marston will be granted amnesty if he brings the remaining members of his old gang to justice. Marston agrees and sets off to track Bill Williamson (Steve J. Palmer), who now runs his own gang. Marston confronts Williamson at his stronghold, Fort Mercer, only to be shot and left for dead. A local rancher, Bonnie MacFarlane (Kimberly Irion), finds him wounded and takes him to her ranch for recovery. Several days later, Marston begins repaying the MacFarlanes for their help in the form of odd-jobs around the ranch. During this time he works with a U.S. Marshal, Leigh Johnson (Anthony De Longis) and his deputies, the dim-witted Jonah and sarcastic Eli; Nigel West Dickens (Don Creech), a con artist selling patent medicines; Seth Briars (Kevin Gilkmann), a treasure hunter and grave robber who prefers the company of the dead to that of the living; and an unreliable alcoholic arms dealer known only as Irish (K. Harrison Sweeney). Marston performs various tasks and favours in exchange for help with an attack on Fort Mercer. Marston and his group breach the fort and defeat Williamson's gang only to find that Williamson had already fled to Mexico to seek help from Javier Escuella (Antonio Jaramillo), another member of Marston's former gang.

In Mexico, Marston initially sides with Mexican Army Colonel Agustín Allende (Gary Carlos Cervantes) and his right-hand man Captain Vicente de Santa (Hector Luis Bustamante), to help put down a rebellion in return for Allende delivering Escuella and Williamson to him. However, Allende attempts to betray Marston, forcing him to side with the rebels. With the help of elderly gunslinger Landon Ricketts (Ross Hagen), rebel leader Abraham Reyes (Josh Segarra), and Luisa (Francesca Galeas), one of Reyes' many lovers, Marston leads an assault on the El Presidio fortress, where they discover Escuella, who attempts to bargain for his life by revealing Williamson has been under Allende's protection. Marston and Reyes storm Allende's palace, where they apprehend and execute both Williamson and Allende after a short chase. Reyes takes charge of the local government and plans to advance on the capital, while Marston leaves to return to his farm.

Much to his dismay, Bureau agents Edgar Ross (Jim Bentley) and Archer Fordham (David Wilson Barnes) refuse to let Marston return to his family until Dutch van der Linde (Benjamin Byron Davis), the leader of Marston's former gang, is killed. Discovering that Dutch has been building his own gang with sympathisers from the local Indian reservation, Marston joins Ross, Fordham and a group of soldiers in an attack on Dutch's hideout. Marston chases Dutch to a cliff overlooking the river and mountains. Dutch ultimately chooses to commit suicide, backing off a cliff to his death. Moments before he dies, he warns Marston that the government will just find another "monster" to justify their pay. Marston is released from his deal with the government and returns to his family at his farm. After some time Marston is forced to repel a surprise attack on his ranch from Ross and government agents. He manages to get his family to safety but stays behind to hold back the attackers. Despite a valiant last stand he is shot multiple times by Ross and his men. He is buried by his family on the hill overlooking the ranch.

The game then moves three years ahead to 1914, where Marston's son Jack (Josh Blaylock) stands over the graves of his parents, John and Abigail (Sophie Marzocchi). He leaves home to search for the now-retired Ross, and eventually finds the former agent hunting on a riverbank in Mexico. The two duel, with Jack emerging the victor. The fate of John Marston's companions are later summarized: Marshal Leigh Johnson retired from Armadillo to be replaced by Jonah, and then moved as far as possible from the town; Abraham Reyes, though promising to lead Mexico into an age of freedom, was consumed by power and became a tyrant; Bonnie MacFarlane eventually married; Irish shot himself dead in an outhouse when his gun accidentally discharged; Seth Briars eventually found the treasure he was looking for and became rich; and finally, Landon Ricketts passed away quietly in his sleep.


Red Dead Redemption was developed as a spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver.[13] A trailer of the project was sent to a select number of people at a Sony conference in 2005, promoting the release of the PlayStation 3 system. The trailer was a technology demonstration of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) and was set in the Old West. It was referred to simply as Old West Project and a sequel to Red Dead Revolver. The trailer circulated throughout the Internet.[14]

Production on Red Dead Redemption began in 2005. During development it was known internally as Red Dead Revolver 2 and was aimed for release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.[15] On February 3, 2009, Rockstar Games officially announced the game.[16] In the April 2009 edition of Game Informer, Red Dead Redemption was listed as being for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PC.[17] On June 10, 2009, a correction was made by a representative for Rockstar Games, who stated the game would not be coming to the PC. In a comment on their website the representative said "As of now, there are no current plans to bring Red Dead Redemption to the PC platform. If that should change, we will let you know."[18]

Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser stated that Red Dead Redemption was "a nightmare" to create and that development of the game was a "massive headache" from a technical perspective.[19] Rockstar themselves called Red Dead Redemption "more ambitious" than Grand Theft Auto IV, and claimed that Red Dead Redemption would surpass GTA IV to become "the ultimate open world game".[20][21] Rockstar UK boss Neil Stephen told Market for Home Computing and Video Games (MCV) that "This title is incredibly beautiful and on an unprecedented scale," and that Rockstar has "very high expectations" for the game.[22] Like previous games by Rockstar, including Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, Red Dead Redemption was made using Rockstar's Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) coupled with the Euphoria engine.[23]

On November 25, 2009, Rockstar confirmed the game would be released in April of the following year.[24] A new trailer entitled "My Name is John Marston" was released a week later on Tuesday, December 1. It confirmed the game's release date as April 27, 2010.[25] On March 4, 2010, Rockstar pushed the game back to May citing the "optimal time frame" for release.[26] Rockstar said that its decision to delay Red Dead Redemption to May was to allow its developers to "polish and fine-tune" the game before its eventual outing.[27] Overall, Red Dead Redemption took over 800 people and nearly six years to complete, with a total cost estimated at approximately $80m-$100 million, making it one of the most expensive games ever developed.[28]

Red Dead Redemption was rated M by the Entertainment Software Rating Board in Canada and the United States, 18 by the Pan European Game Information and British Board of Film Classification in Europe,[29] MA15+ by the Australian Classification Board in Australia, Z by the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization in Japan, and R16 by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in New Zealand.


In January 2010, Gamasutra published a blog post written by an individual using the name "Rockstar Spouse". It pointed out the unethical practices used at Rockstar San Diego during the game's development, including twelve-hour work days and six-day weeks, with lower-than-the-industry-average salary increase. A few commenters on the blog who claimed to have worked at Rockstar San Diego at some point described the project is "an organic disaster of the most epic proportions", that the game has been in development for more than four years, and that game developers from Rockstar Toronto, Vancouver, Leeds, New England, and even the Midnight Club team at San Diego had to be transferred over to work on the game to finish it.[30] Rockstar responded in a statement on their official website, claiming that people had restated the opinions of anonymous forum posters as being facts.[31] In April 2010, an email sent by Rockstar's public relations department to a reviewer from the Australian magazine Zoo was published on several online websites, reporting that Rockstar was requesting Zoo's review of the game reflected "the huge achievement" the company had made making Red Dead Redemption.[32]

Marketing and release[edit]

In North America, GameStop and Rockstar collaborated on a pre-order bonus contest in which customers could vote for one of three outfits that Marston could unlock in the game. Each outfit came with different attributes. The Savvy Merchant would halve the purchasing price of ammunition and guns and double the selling price for ammunition and guns. The Expert Hunter would double the amount of money the player could get from selling hides of animals. The Deadly Assassin outfit, winner of the contest, allows Marston to regenerate slow-motion Dead-Eye targeting twice as fast. Voting was open to all, but only those who pre-ordered the game through GameStop received the winning outfit.[33] Rockstar later announced that in an upcoming patch to fix several issues players are experiencing that they would release the other two outfits for all users free of charge.[34][35]

In addition to the GameStop pre-order bonus, there were similar bonuses available through vendors throughout the world. The War Horse is a black horse with a white mane, tail and markings and is considered rare. It is also faster and has more health than any other horse in the game.[36] The Golden Guns reward increases fame with each kill, allowing users to progress more to fame.[36] The official online Rockstar Games store offered a Red Dead Redemption T-shirt as the pre-order bonus. Wal-Mart offered a deck of playing cards that are used in game. A limited edition version of Red Dead Redemption featured redeemable codes for the Deadly Assassin and a digital copy of the official soundtrack in most countries, while others also received the War Horse and Golden Guns bonuses.[37][38]

Both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions features rewards respectively for Avatars and the social network PlayStation Home. The Rockstar Games Social Club is a website that displays the gameplay statistics of registered users and feature competitions and awards based on player activity within the game. Exclusive additional content such as a new gang hideout and an outfit from one of the game's gangs is available for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.[39] Art depicting the game was featured on NASCAR driver Joey Logano's #20 Toyota Camry in the Nationwide Series running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17, 2010.[40] Logano drove the Red Dead Redemption car again in June 2010 during the running of the New England 200 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.[41]

Downloadable content[edit]

On June 22, 2010, Rockstar Games released the first downloadable content (DLC) for Red Dead Redemption entitled Outlaws to the End. The content includes six new cooperative side missions ranging from raiding a mine and stealing the gold to riding down a river to secure a town's weapon cache. New multiplayer challenges as well as new trophies/achievements are also included. The downloadable content is free for all users on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. On July 8, 2010 Rockstar announced four new downloadable content packs:[42]

  • The first expansion pack, dubbed the Legends and Killers Pack was released August 10, 2010. This pack adds nine new multiplayer map locations, eight new multiplayer characters from Red Dead Revolver, a tomahawk, and new achievements and trophies.[42]
  • The second expansion pack is called the Liars and Cheats, and was released on September 21, 2010. It consists of new competitive multiplayer modes such as Stronghold and horse racing, as well as multiplayer versions of liar's dice and poker. Additionally players can play as the heroes and villains of the single-player story in multiplayer. Fifteen additional multiplayer characters are added. The explosive rifle was also added which drops all the weapons from the deceased player when killed by the weapon. This pack also includes new achievements and trophies.[42] A third expansion pack known as the Free Roam Pack was to bring new modes, challenges, and hideouts as well as leaderboards and a scoring system for the multiplayer posse. This was cancelled and combined with the Liars and Cheats pack instead.[42]
  • The third expansion pack, called The Hunting and Trading pack, was released October 12, 2010 and included a new animal, the jackalope and the Savvy Merchant and Expert Hunter outfits for use in single player as well as related challenges.[43]
  • The fourth expansion pack, Undead Nightmare, was released on October 26, 2010.[44] In this pack a horror element is added, with ghost towns and cemeteries full of zombies. It also brings a new single-player adventure, five new weapons, six new mounts, new animals to hunt, and eight more multiplayer characters. A new cooperative multiplayer mode called Undead Overrun is included. This is survival mode in which waves of zombies attack the player characters.[42]

On June 6, 2011, Rockstar announced a free downloadable content pack. Called Myths and Mavericks, it includes "new fan-favorite playable multiplayer characters by popular demand as well as something for all players of Deathmatch, Grab the Bag, Gang matches and other online modes."[45] On September 13, 2011, a Game of the Year Edition containing all downloadable content was announced for release on October 11, 2011 in North America and October 14, 2011 internationally for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[46][47]


In North America, the television network Fox presented Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater, a half-hour machinima short film on May 29, 2010.[48][49] It was written by Dan Houser, Michael Unsworth, and Christian Cantamessa, and was directed by John Hillcoat. Several of the game's voice cast, including Rob Wiethoff and Don Creech, reprise their roles.[50] It was broadcast in the United Kingdom on June 5, 2010. The film explores an alternate take of the main storyline's first act, in which John arrives at Blackwater and attempts to find and kill Bill Williamson, who flees at the end of the film. Shortly after release, the whole film became viewable through Rockstar's official website.[51]


Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson
Released May 18, 2010
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 75:18
Label Rockstar Games

Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack of video game music used in the game. The music was mainly composed by Friends of Dean Martinez member Bill Elm and former member Woody Jackson along with additional contributions from various musicians. Recorded at 130 beats per minute in A minor, most of songs featured are constructed from stems in the game's dynamic soundtrack.[52] A mix of modern instruments and those featured in traditional western films, such as the jaw harp, were used. Creative uses of instruments were used to bring unique sounds, such as playing a trumpet onto the surface of a timpani drum. Rockstar consulted musicians who played traditional Western instruments. Harmonica player Tommy Morgan, who had been featured on several films over his 60 year career, provided traditional harmonica segments for the game.[52] The soundtrack itself won awards such as Best Original Score and Best Song in a Game ("Far Away" by José González) at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards.[53]

Track listing

All music composed by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, except where noted.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 94.66% (PS3)[54]
94.12% (X360)[55]
Metacritic 95/100 (PS3)[56]
95/100 (X360)[57]
Review scores
Publication Score A[58]
Edge 9/10[59] then 10/10[60]
Eurogamer 8/10[61]
G4 5/5[64]
Game Informer 9.75/10[62][63]
GamePro 5/5 stars[65]
GameSpot 9.5/10[68]
GameSpy 5/5 stars[66]
GameTrailers 9.5/10[67]
IGN 9.7/10[69]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 10/10[73]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 9/10[72]
PALGN 9/10[70]
Play Magazine 92/100[71]

Red Dead Redemption received universal critical acclaim, with much praise given to the presentation of the open world, story, and soundtrack. Aggregate scores were high, with a score of 95/100 on both platforms at Metacritic. On GameRankings, it is the eighth best rated Xbox 360 game of all time, having an aggregate of 94.12% based on 73 reviews and also the eighth best rated PlayStation 3 game of all time with a score of 94.66% based on 50 reviews. Commercially, the game has also been very successful. According to an August 2011 report, the game had shipped over 11 million copies, 2 million of which were retail units of Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.[74] By September 2011, Red Dead Redemption had sold over 12.5 million units.[75] As of February 2012, the Red Dead franchise (including Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption, and Undead Nightmare) has sold over 13 million units worldwide.[76]

Many critics praised the landscape, environment and graphics of Red Dead Redemption. Erik Brudvig of IGN lauded the environmental details, noting the player can even scare a flock of birds from the bushes as they ride past. He also noted that the game's dynamic events, weather and ambient sounds provide a rich experience for players. He summarized by stating "you can also expect a fantastic game that offers the Western experience we've all been waiting for."[69] Game Informer called the scenery "breathtaking", and the cinematic cutscenes "vastly improved" over Grand Theft Auto IV, and named it the "best-looking Rockstar game to date".[62]

The music, sound and voice acting in the game was also widely praised and spoken about. It won the Best Original Music and Best Voice Acting awards from GameSpot.[77][78] When talking about the sound design of Red Dead Redemption, Game Informer said "From pitch-perfect gunshots to the daunting rumble of prairie thunderstorms, the remarkable attention to audio detail brings the world to life".[62]

Critics and reviewers spoke about the successful use of the game engine, and made similarities of the controls and physics to the Grand Theft Auto series. Game Informer said that Rockstar "[transposed] the Grand Theft Auto gameplay template onto a Wild West setting".[62] Good Game reviewer Stephanie Bendixsen said that "[Rockstar] really looked at what people liked and didn't like in their game design from [Grand Theft Auto IV], and included it here".[79] Eurogamer's Simon Parkin felt Red Dead Redemption successfully "re-clothes" the Grand Theft Auto framework in an "exciting, distinct and expertly realised scenario".[61]

The multiplayer aspect of Red Dead Redemption received mixed commentary from critics. GamePro's Will Herring praised the variety of multiplayer modes and the open gameplay, but noted that it put more responsibility on the players for keeping the game interesting.[65] Justin Calvert of GameSpot also gave high marks for the game's variety of multiplayer modes, but felt that there was a lack in customization options for players.[68] In a more critical view of multiplayer, Scott Sharkey of noted that games can suffer from griefing due to the open nature of multiplayer gameplay. He also criticized the leveling and unlocking aspects, noting that "The first few minutes spent as a toothless miner riding a balky mule can be pretty humiliating".[58] G4TV's Jake Gaskill echoed this sentiment. He noted that the game often respawns players in a similar location to their death, which allows the killing player to repeatedly grief the other player.[64] Rockstar has since added a feature which allows for players being griefed to transport to another area upon respawn.[80]

Red Dead Redemption has appeared on several Best Games lists by various video-gaming publications. IGN ranked it third on its 2011 list of the top modern video games.[81] In February 2013, GamesRadar listed Red Dead Redemption at second on its list of the best games of all time.[82] GamesRadar later placed the game sixth on its list of the best video game stories ever, in July 2013.[83] On September 3, 2013, Red Dead Redemption was ranked thirteenth on IGN's list of the top PlayStation 3 games.[84] IGN later ranked the game seventeenth on its list of top Xbox 360 games, on September 20, 2013.[85] In November 2013, the game was ranked at fourth and eighth place on Eurogamer and Hardcore Gamer's list of the best games of the generation.[86][87]

In their October 2013 issue, Edge Magazine retroactively awarded the game a coveted ten out of ten, one of only twenty-three games to achieve that perfect score in the magazine's twenty-year history.[60]


Since its release, the game has received a large number of awards. It won several Game of the Year awards from media outlets such as GameSpy,[88] GameSpot,[89] Good Game,[90] Computer and Video Games,[91] and Machinima,[92] among others.[93][94] The game's music also received awards for its original score from GameSpot,[77],[92] and Spike TV.[53] José González also received an award from Spike for his original song "Far Away".[53] The graphics received honors at the Korean Games Conference,[95] and from the television program Good Game.[96] Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare also received Best Downloadable content awards from Spike TV, G4 TV and Game Revolution.[53][97][98] At the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, Red Dead Redemption won the Game of the Year, Best Song in a Game ("Far Away" by José González), Best Original Score and Best DLC (Undead Nightmare) awards.[53]


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