Red Dead Redemption, the new western epic developed by the famed creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, Rockstar Games, hits stores May 18th, but while a ton of people seem to be excited for the game and the story it’ll tell, many people don’t have any idea what the multiplayer is truly going to bring.
While attending PAX East this year in Boston, I was able to have a go at the single player aspect of RDR, and it seems that Rockstar have put an immense amount of effort into making this title worth every single one of your precious dollars. Navigating the sprawling the landscape on horseback, while riding off towards the sunset, only to encounter a wagon being hijacked or a grizzly bear who would love nothing more than to make you his quick snack, is something that can only be described by actually playing the game.
Although I haven’t experienced the multiplayer aspect of the game quite yet, from what I do know of the game’s many multiplayer modes, players will be left completely satisfied and ready to don the cowboy boots and spurs once more.
Let’s start with the most advertised aspect of the multiplayer portion so far: Free Roam.
According to Rockstar, the Free Roam portion of the game “brings the open-world experience to multiplayer for up-to-16 players, with the opportunity to form posses of up-to-8 to take on the world’s gang hideouts, ambient challenges – and each other. Free Roam also gives players a living, breathing world instead of a generic game lobby – with the freedom to roam the open expanse, hunting or creating shootouts before heading into competitive game modes – and leveling up with every major action. With each level come new avatars, outfits, mounts, playlists and challenges.”
Free Roam is incredibly exciting to me for many reasons. First off, who hasn’t dreamed of riding the wilderness on horseback with a bunch of their friends, going on wild west adventures and having intense shoot outs with bad guys at the O.K. Corral. All right, maybe not all of us, but there’s no way this mode isn’t going to be an absolute blast. Rockstar has stated the entire single-player game world will be available for you and up to seven of your friends to explore. As if this wasn’t enough, Rockstar has added special Free Roam missions for you and your buddies to tackle.
Scattered throughout the world are an abundance of gang hideouts, just waiting for you and your friends to take them on. Enter the area and you can expect a fierce firefight to the death, so let’s just hope you land on top. Another addition the expansive free roam world is the aspect of “Ambient Challenges.” Whether it be going on a hunting spree to find and skin a number of cougars, grizzlies, or other wild game, or searching the wilderness for a rare sample of plant life, these “mini-missions” are essentially little time wasters for your posse to take on when not battling it out with the baddies.
Although Free Roam seems to be expansive enough and will most likely occupy players for a long time coming, Rockstar has also added competitive game modes to satisfy those with a thirst for digital blood.
Rockstar defines the competitive modes as, “Red Dead Redemption’s competitive multiplayer serves up classic multiplayer match modes with a distinctly Western twist: every match starts with players eye-to-eye in a classic showdown. Experience team-based Gang matches, Free-For-All Shootouts and classic Capture The Bag modes in specially designed locations within Red Dead Redemption’s vast and beautifully detailed open world.”
Each match starts off with the two teams facing each other in a classic western quickdraw, with the last man standing reaping the benefits of, well, not being dead. This incredible idea brings an instant feeling of tension and fear, as you never quite know who’s going to wind up on top.
Detailed in the game are five different game types for you to compete in, either by yourself, or with a group of friends. The first two game types align themselves in the “Free For All” category, so don’t expect your friend to be a comfort blanket in these modes.
First off, we have “Shootout”, which is the classic deathmatch mode, in a classic western setting. Better weapons are scattered across the entire map, so make sure to keep your eye open for anything that will help you to survive.
Secondly, we have the game mode “Gold Rush”. The name pretty much describes the action, as players battle against each other in a quest to find bags of gold on the map and bring them to their respective treasure chests. But be careful, as every bag you grab makes your character slower and slower, allowing enemies to come up from behind and blow your stinkin’ brains all over the desert.
The last three game types revolve around “Gang Matches”, where you and your friends battle other posses for the top spot.
First, team deathmatch makes itself at home with the mode, “Gang Shootut”, which is basically the same as regular “Shootout”, but with the addition of team vs. team gameplay.
The next game type, “Hold Your Own”, takes the idea of Capture The Flag, and puts a wild west spin on it. Both teams have a base and a bag, and the other team’s objective is to capture the enemy bag, and bring it back to their own base. Although this sounds like simple CTF fare, Rockstar has added randomly strewn horses and ballistic weapons, such as cannons, to make things a little bit more exciting. I can’t wait to fire a cannon at an enemy riding a horse and watch the chaos ensue. I’d expect a lot of laughs to come out of this one.
Finally, we have “Grab The Bag”, which is similar to the “Sabotage” game mode in the Call Of Duty games. There’s a chest with a bag in the center of the map, and the first team to grab it and bring it back to their base wins. Sounds simple enough, but I’m sure Rockstar wouldn’t let players off that easily. Expect to find defensive weaponry and other sorts of goodies to help your team from losing the match.