So I finally got around to playing the Red Dead Redemption expansion pack, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. Overall, it’s very strong– one of the best zombie video games I’ve ever played. In no particular order, here are my other thoughts:
- RDR:UN is competely unique when it comes to providing an immersive zombie world, but very derivative of Left 4 Dead when it comes to the design of the actual zombies. To wit– in addition to the slow shamblers we all love– there are little zombie “character classes” like sprinting zombies, spitter zombies, exploding zombies, charging/tank zombies, and so on. Sound familiar? I don’t mind that Rockstar wanted to give their undead some variety, but it would have been neat to see some more original concepts.
- RDR:UN does a wonderful job of zombifying familiar characters, as well as non-human elements. Getting to ride a zombie horse for the first time was very awesome.
- The story is very good compared to most top-shelf XBox 360 games, but it’s still not on the level of a Dragon Age, Mass Effect, or the original Red Dead Redemption. (Consumers are always cautioned not to “expect too much from an expansion pack”, yet the urge to do so is irresistable. John Marston– the game’s protagonist– is such a loveable character, one can’t help but wish to see him placed in a more immersively-plotted narrative.)
- In addition to zombies, Marston encounters Bigfoots, undead bears, unicorns, and firey hell-steeds. He’s been thrown into a world of fanciful creatures. (This may irk purists who are hoping for a strict “zombie virus” story.)
I’m still playing this game, and excited to see how it ends. Though it breaks no new ground regarding the undead, it remains one of the strongest zombie-themed titles I’ve ever played.