Red Dead Redemption at PAX East - Recap
We'd like to extend our thanks to each and every person who waited on line this past weekend at PAX East in Boston for a rare chance to get some hands-on time with Red Dead Redemption in advance of its release date this May 18th. Special shout especially to the dude who knitted a mini-sweater in the time it took to wait, to Andrew (aka "The Painted Cow" on XBL) who marched in proudly with a custom-made Rockstar airbrushed hoody, and to the dance crew that entertained the rest of the line with their impromptu performance.
Thanks to all members of the press that came through the booth as well - here's a quick snapshot of impressions from some of those that came by:
Wired's Game/Life blog stopped by and immediately picked up on the significance of Red Dead Redemption's setting in the final years of the American fontier:
"In less than 10 minutes, I felt drawn in to this rich slice of history that Rockstar has replicated — a place where the harshness of nature and the cruelty of man are at odds with the urge to tame and the desire for progress and for peace. I’m thrilled by the romantic notion of living on the cusp of those two worlds and spilling blood as part of the final death throes of the Wild West."
IGN's Greg Miller may have already been a fan, but his first hands-on time confirmed what he suspected:
"It was glorious," he writes.
It was the amount of teeming life packed into the world that is the focus of his write-up:
"I started back toward the mission, but stopped to shoot and then skin a rattlesnake (you can sell your skins and pelts so that you can afford upgrades), save a woman being dragged through the dirt by some evil cowboys, and tame a horse (after lassoing the animal, you have to walk up to it and stay on its bucking back by balancing Marston on top of it with the left stick). Just when I thought I had sowed my wild oats and was ready to settle down on the task at hand, a man came tearing over a cactus-covered hill hollering that I needed to help him – two mountain lions were chasing and attacking him. I Dead Eyed both of the beasts and got an Honor boost as well as a shot to my Fame Level. The Fame Level tacks how well known you are in the area; as it gets higher, more people start showing up to challenge you to duels and such."
Kotaku took a similar approach, forgoing Honor for ruthlessness as way to explore the opportunities the world provides:
“What can I say? I am one cold-hearted bastard. I turned to the horses. Two shots to the neck, and the first one falls down dead. I methodically, slowly took out the four horses pulling the coach, rendering it useless; a stationary monument to my cruelty... I was thinking of the sheer potential this game possesses. You've got some damn entertaining gunplay, countless miles of scenery riddled with wild animals and even wilder humans, and some of the best video game horse riding I've experienced since The Ocarina of Time. Red Dead Redemption is the sort of game I will get completely lost in. I'm sure the story is compelling, but I've a feeling that once I get my hands on the game when it hits stores on May 18th, John Marston's family will be the least of my concerns.”