For as long as I can remember, the ideology behind cowboys and the Wild West has enthralled me. So too has the phenomenon known as the undead. Imagine then how surprised I was when Rockstar Game Studios announced the culmination of two of the greatest (and most successful) storytelling experiences. Red Dead Redemption on its own was a blockbuster of epic proportions, and even I didn’t expect it to do as well as it did. Now imagine throwing zombies and other supernatural creatures into the mix. You wouldn’t be wrong if you assumed that it would lead to an even greater gaming experience. Let us embark upon a journey. A journey of awe and wonder. A journey of shock and horror. A journey of the undead. [Please note: If you haven’t finished Red Dead Redemption, you may encounter spoilers in this review.]
Read more after the jump.
The dead invades the West
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare picks up after the protagonist from the main game, John Marston, has freed his family from the evil U.S. Government and has returned to his farm called Beecher’s Hope. They spend some time rebuilding, replenishing cattle, and other stuff that Ranchers do in America, however one evening Uncle (a close friend of the family) fails to turn up after leaving the farm on an errand. The Marstons dismiss it as just another one of the whimsical Uncle’s drunken nights out and retire to bed. Sometime during the night they are awoken by a very scary looking apparition who is clearly out of his mind. Uncle has returned, and the Marstons are unable to figure out what is wrong with him. They try to reason with him but during the process Abigail Marston is bitten and subsequently ends up like Uncle. Now as these types of games usually go, you have to have a stupid character, and John’s son, Jack, is also bitten. John proceeds to hogtie his family after killing Uncle and leaves Beecher’s Hope to try and find a cure. On his journey he encounters massive hoards of undead which he must battle to find a cure and also the truth behind the zombie infestation.
My whole family is dead…
The general gameplay of Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare remains unchanged from the first one, however, there is a key difference – a severe lack of ammunition. This adds a little bit of realism to the otherwise unrealistic storyline. If there was a zombie apocalypse during the age of the Wild West, then I could envision a scarcity of many different types of resources. Also lacking is the stagecoach system which is very much akin to Grand Theft Auto’s taxi, but a new Fast Travel system is introduced to make up for this. In contrast to the main game’s Bounty Hunter quests, a new Lost Souls set of quests are introduced, which sets John Marston out to rescue people from the zombie horde and bring them safely home to their friends and family. Then there is the sound track. At certain points I felt like I wanted to pull my guns on Rockstar for providing us with such appalling music to go with the battle and even the ambient scenes. At other times I wanted to jump for joy due to the eerily Quinton Tarantino-esque/Dust Till Dawn style music. Lastly, because the world has gone to hell, breaking the law is not really a problem, but if you are in the process of clearing an infested town and accidentally kill one of the survivors, all of them will turn on you. I found the task of running up and down from town to town to prevent it from being overrun to be extremely tedious, but I suppose some people would find it fun.
It’s all just so surreal
The story for me was very fun and fast moving. I found some of the plot points to be very amusing, especially when a certain character introduces the “horror movie genre” to film making. Aside from the supernatural plot of the story, it can be summed up as a very believable story which also has many influences from existing zombie-based movies and games. If you were a fan of the original story, and you have an open mind for anything supernatural, then you will certainly enjoy the Undead Nightmare DLC.
My daddy bought me a sixshooter…
The Undead Nightmare multiplayer is very engaging and challenging, but at the same time very rewarding. Just like the multiplayer of the original game, you can unlock certain items for your character as you complete graveyards and protection of towns. It will certainly provide the gamer with hours and hours of fun. The combat and controls are pretty much the same as with the single player portion of the game and you will find that it becomes second nature as you progress.
And then he rode into the sunset…or did he?
This DLC is chock-a-block full of things to do. With 8 Main Quests to complete and numerous side-quests to embark on, it would be a good idea to set aside a goodly amount of time for this adventure. Aside from the quests you can also set out to capture the Four Horses of the Apocalypse which aids you in the destruction of the zombie masses. If you complete all the Survivalist Challenges you can even unlock a unicorn as your own personal mount.
If you enjoy shooting, maiming, burning, and dragging undead creatures through the Wild West (not that any of you have had the opportunity to do so), then I would highly recommend this game. If you’re at least willing to try based on the assumption that you might like it, give it a bash, you have nothing to lose (aside from R270 or so). If you find the idea of anything supernatural offending, what the heck is wrong with you? We live in the age of vampires, werewolves,zombies, and Justin Bieber. Pick your poison, but just remember one thing, always watch your back.
Score: 8/10 [The 2 points lost is primarily for the shortness of the DLC. I think it could have gone on a bit longer for originality’s sake.]