GSY PREVIEW | X360 Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | 12:10 AM

Gamersyde Preview: RDR multiplayer

Gamersyde Preview: RDR multiplayer

Imagine being invited by Rockstar Games in their offices in the suburbs of London. Imagine you are about to be shown the multiplayer mode of Red Dead Redemption. This is the kind of offer you cannot refuse. The kind of thing that puts your patience to a test until the D day has come. Granted: this requires venturing in the Channel-crossing Eurostar! But believe me: the result was well worth the effort especially since we laid our paws on a few modes that were not featured in the latest multiplayer video. Below are our hands-on impressions. Our way of sharing the fun we had with Rockstar’s next game with you.



The previous video provided you with a glimpse of the Free Roaming aspect of the game. Luckily for you, our three-hour session focused on different modes this time around. So we mainly feasted on the more classical modes you can find in other games such as Deathmatch and Capture The Flag.

Our very first play was set in a quiet little village embraced by the night. Stars shining in the endless firmament. A poetry flavoured and peacefully silent scenery rapidly torn apart… by gunshots. Gunshots echoing from the pistols of other players, who did not wait for me to indulge in a blood-soaked Team Deathmatch. This was the grand opening of our playing session in London, faithfully reminiscent of the greatest western movies. The very first impression we had was that of sheer realism unfolding before our eyes. Full immersion guaranteed: it only takes a few seconds to find oneself beyond the territory of oh-so-classic videogames. Everything’s in: terrorized NPC running in the streets, horses scared away by gunshots, tumbleweeds rolling their way. Hitting shots prove how good the Euphoria physics engine is. Hitting a player in the leg will put them off balance before kissing the ground, desperately trying to stand up as fast possible. Hitting shoulders or arms may also send gringos tasting dust, provided the impact is strong enough. This will always have you wondering whether you are dead or not. Exciting isn’t it?



We were given a few weapons to happily wound our foes. Weapon selection is performed by holding the LB button. The inventory is composed of the good ol’ 6 round Magnum, the German engineered Luger, the famous Winchester riffle and even the truly devastating dynamite. The selection menu takes up the whole screen space so changing weapons will require you to run for cover first. Though kind of frustrating at first, this is actually quite realistic: have you ever seen Clint Eastwood change guns in the midst of a duel? Targeting shares similarities with Grand Theft Auto IV: holding the Left Trigger activates an auto-lock system when a foe is in your line of fire. Just as in GTA, the auto-lock system targets the foe’s torso. Targeting head and other body parts requires you to aim more precisely with the analog stick. Frag purists may cringe. However this feature definitely helps targeting, say, some horse rider breaking through the night. Dynamite sounds as if all hell had broken loose. Slip it in a highly explosive area and enjoy some tasty chain reactions.

Animations and character movements are very realistic. Some may find the overall handling a little heavy but we are not dealing with leotard wearing ballerinas are we! The cover system resembles that of competitor games. Press RB to hide your Stetsons safe. Combine RB with the relevant direction to move your Stetsons to another safe place close by. The stealth mode is another hot feature. Disappear from your foes’ radar by crouching and moving slowly. Sneak-to-their-necks players rejoice!



It is very well possible to turn yourself into a riding terror in the midst of raging gunfights provided you find a horse that is not scared away by what’s going on around. This confirms what Driftwood already said: horse animation and modelling is downright perfect. One can marvel on the shiny impressive muscles and even blood pumped veins of the animal. Horses will wave their tale from time to time – dissuading cumbersome insects away from their buttocks! – neighing and shaking their head as signs of happiness. All these elements truly participate in making these animals so lively. Once your galloping, kindly tap the A button to have your ride accelerate. Do not push it though. Exhausting your horse will have it shake you to the ground without warning, hoof crushing your chewing tobacco blackened teeth as a goodbye present! Quite a brilliant addition to the gameplay. And believe me: experiencing this once will turn you into a respectful rider. Guaranteed.

Now horse handling will certainly require some practice before freely riding in these vast western spaces. But this is part of a seemingly profound gameplay. Make your ride jump by pressing the X button – some may make the connection with Zelda Ocarina of Time here. The other means of transportation we could try out was the stagecoach. Though not easy to handle because of weight-related inertia, it offers the possibility to take a passenger for a ride. Some bloodthirsty mate dying to tackle the enemy gang is an educated choice. Here again the attention to detail is enjoyable: wood crackling sounds caused by holes and bumps on the road, hanging objects shaken by some sporty driving… Then you realize that resistance is not an actual attribute of this vehicle. A few shocks here and there will have your wheels buckled. Even better: take your wooden ride for a jump and admire all pieces falling apart upon landing, all wheels taking a direction of their own, and horses being granted freedom again!



After letting us enjoy what resembled Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, our hosts from Rockstar offered us to join forces against an AI controlled gang. Problem was there was no horse around me, and the place was quite far away. In such situation press up on the D-pad to whistle after your very own horse. I was standing at the roof of a building. So what I did was jump on my ride – specific animation included! I was then ready to meet my new allies and party together.

When I arrived I instantly realized that a front line had already been formed. The goal being to push the enemies further and further until they are stuck with nowhere to go – generally inside a building. In the process, you marvel on the destructible elements of the environment, left in pieces by waves and waves of fire. After annihilating all enemies in the building they were hiding in, it was our turn to be victims of a counter strike in the very same building. Being the seasoned tactical genius I am, I reached the balcony and decided to try out the sniper riffle available in my inventory. Slight drawback: it is tricky to switch to sniping mode without losing sight of your target. Let’s hope this issue will be fixed for the final release. However, the “cheaply made magnifying glass” visual effect is nicely executed, logically blurring the vision on the sides of the screen.



Only a few rounds were necessary to prove our superiority to the AI so we switched to the more common modes. While waiting in the lobby – other players choosing their equipment, host deciding which mode they wanted to play – we could freely perform a few entertaining actions. Some of us indulged in brutal hand fights, contenders even crawling after each other on the ground, Ultimate Fighting-style. Others simply enjoyed watching the scene, leaning against a wall, or playing music. This is yet another original idea that brings the fun factor even higher in such an already well-thought out package. To add up to the fun, a duel takes place at the beginning of each game. Either alone against everybody. Either team based. All players circle together and have to open fire as fast as possible. The survivor will be the first to start the new game, while others will spawn randomly on the map. As a team, your only reward is the right to taunt those you dominated and brag, brag, and brag more.

The gold rush mode will certainly be all the rage in this game given the uncontrolled laughing it triggers. The goal is simple: grab gold filled bags located in various places of the village, and put them in different chests in order to make some points. It is possible to carry two bags at once but this will slow you down, making you an easy target for your foes. Its team-based alternate is similar to ordinary Capture The Flag: one bag per base to carry back to your own camp. Teamwork is essential here. Gatling machine guns have been positioned on strategic places for better defensive abilities.



Overall impression


Yet another demonstration of talent by Rockstar Games. We hardly found anything negative about Red Dead Redemption, even trying to be picky. A little clipping here and there. The practice-requiring horse handling. Or the lack of precision in sniping mode. These are roughly the aspects we would like improvements in. However we played on a build dating from February, so we can expect some changes in the finale version. Red Dead Redemption will likely be one of the top games this year. There’s no doubt its universe and exceptional execution will appeal a great number of players dreaming of wide-open spaces.

All comments

Commented on 2010-04-20 00:16:25
Big thanks to Balita for taking care of the translation. We have been so busy with other things that it would never have been done this fast without him. :)
Commented on 2010-04-20 00:25:52
I already convinced my partner in the ol west for the game!!!!

Awesome impressions!!!
Commented on 2010-04-20 00:33:55
Oh man this sounds like a blast. I got it preordered and am ready to go! Thanks for sharing.
Commented on 2010-04-20 01:05:44
one thing i've not heard anything of in the previews for this game is it's soundtrack. Rockstar are applauded for their great use of licenced songs..and whilst i in noway expect to hear radio stations whilst riding my horse i do wonder just what sounds will accompany me on my treks through the desert. I wonder if there's any old folk songs licenced from that era.

Great write-up about the multiplayer. The only thing i'm slightly disappointed at is the tapping A to gallop. I would of much preferred it being analog stick sensitive, or even holding down the stick (ala MW). GTA4 got away with it as it didn't really require you to sprint for long instances..theres always a car to reach. The horse's are the transport though here.. i dont fancy racing across vast deserts wearing out my A button..and thumb
Commented on 2010-04-20 01:13:16
Then dont run ;)

Enjoy the vistas!!!
Commented on 2010-04-20 01:21:15
what i hated bout GTA's multiplayer is that there wasnt an option to turn off the colorful blimps over a players head, only the option to turn off their name. i know it would damn hard to find anyone in the game with that option turned off but thats what makes it exciting if you're playing with just friends. hide n seek in GTA was no fun wen you couldnt blend in with the crowds or anything like that.
Posted by bleachedsmiles
Great write-up about the multiplayer. The only thing i'm slightly disappointed at is the tapping A to gallop. I would of much preferred it being analog stick sensitive, or even holding down the stick (ala MW). GTA4 got away with it as it didn't really require you to sprint for long instances..theres always a car to reach. The horse's are the transport though here.. i dont fancy racing across vast deserts wearing out my A button..and thumb
yes i would of liked that as well, because i seriously hate in games like gears of war or army of two that you cant direct your camera while holding A to sprint or move faster unless you do some funky move where your thumb is hitting the analog stick and A button at the same time. its ridiculous
Commented on 2010-04-20 01:35:35
great preview, and thanks for taking the time share with us, may 21st cant come soon enough for me and bro :P
Commented on 2010-04-20 03:00:26
tldr
Commented on 2010-04-20 03:25:02 In reply to bleachedsmiles
Posted by bleachedsmiles
one thing i've not heard anything of in the previews for this game is it's soundtrack. Rockstar are applauded for their great use of licenced songs..and whilst i in noway expect to hear radio stations whilst riding my horse i do wonder just what sounds will accompany me on my treks through the desert. I wonder if there's any old folk songs licenced from that era.
Ennio Morricone if there is any justice.
Commented on 2010-04-20 10:06:46
thanks for posting your thoughts, it's a shame you didn't get a chance to try out the hunting modes, these for some reason have me and my mates most excited...
One thing, what version were you playing xbox or ps3? I'm still undecided about which format to buy on
Commented on 2010-04-20 10:11:36 In reply to callmekymbo
For all the presentations we have attended to this day, we have always been shown the 360 version.
Commented on 2010-04-20 11:47:39
So the Enemy AI isn't good ? Or how do I have to understand this

"Only a few rounds were necessary to prove our superiority to the AI"

This would be a shame if so !
Commented on 2010-04-20 12:49:33 In reply to iosomewhere
He's jut bragging about his skills. :D
Commented on 2010-04-20 13:58:30
How was the performance? Some people who got to play at PAX said there was frame rate as well as V sync issues. Were these present in your play?

I had, and still have, some rare frame rate issues with GTA4, at least on 2 occasions the frame rate seems like it has gone below 5.
Commented on 2010-04-20 19:26:35
Thanks for the preview. Looks so much fun.
Commented on 2010-04-21 16:43:12 In reply to b0vril
Posted by b0vril
How was the performance? Some people who got to play at PAX said there was frame rate as well as V sync issues. Were these present in your play?
For us, the performance was good, no issues about the frame rate or the V sync. But we played a lot with multiplayer mods, so on rather small maps.
Commented on 2010-04-22 18:53:09 In reply to Driftwood
"Driftwood
Commented on 2010-04-20 12:49:33
He's jut bragging about his skills. :D "


Lol...ok !

thanks

About the game


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