Codex Gamicus

Red Dead Redemption is an open world action-adventure Western video game, developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games. It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2010. It is a spiritual successor[1] to 2004's Red Dead Revolver.

Most of the game's story takes place in the year 1911 in the American Old West and follows John Marston, a former outlaw, while he sets out to hunt down his former gang members. Marston's wife and son are taken hostage by the government in exchange for his services. Having no other choice, he sets out to bring his three former gang members to justice.

Upon its release, Red Dead Redemption was met with universal critical acclaim averaging 95% on both review aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings, making it one of the highest rated video games for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on both websites. Reviewers praised the visuals, the music, the open world gameplay, and the story. According to the NPD Group Red Dead Redemption has sold two million copies in the month of June alone.


Red Dead Redemption gives the player a large open world environment allowing the player to explore. Players can interact with the environment and engage in combat with enemies, using various firearms. Different breeds of horses are the main forms of transportation. Swimming is not an option, as the protagonist John/Jack Marston cannot swim — he will drown if he ventures too far into deep water.[2]

As well as following the main storyline, players can take part in random events they encounter as they explore the West. These include public hangings, ambushes, pleas for assistance, stranger encounters, ride-by shootings, and dangerous animal attacks. For example, if a group of people ride into town firing guns in the air, the player can kill them, and will receive a bonus of honor and fame. Players can also take part in optional side activities ranging from standoffs, gambling, and hunting animals for pelts, meat and other various items.

Red Dead Redemption makes use of a morality system where players have the ability to gain positive or negative 'honor'. Some of the ways to gain positive honor include taking an outlaw alive instead of killing him, or saving a kidnapped innocent. Negative honor can be gained for committing crimes including killing or robbing civilians. This works along with another system, 'fame,' showing and governing how people react based on Marston's honor status. If Marston has negative honor, lawmen and civilians will usually say obscenities to Marston and feel insecure around him; lawmen will even threaten to kill him next time they see him. If he has positive honor, lawmen and civilians will usually greet him and feel safe around him.[3] As Marston's fame and honor increase bounty hunters think twice about attempting an arrest and people turn away from his criminal behavior.



Red Dead Redemption features a cover system that allows players to hide behind objects and reach out to fire on enemies.

Combat and gunplay are major parts of the game. Gunfights in Red Dead Redemption are conducted using a third-person system. The player can take cover, target a specific person, blindfire, and free aim. Individual body parts can also be targeted, in order to take targets down non-lethally, who can then be lassoed and "hogtied" to capture individuals alive. When the player shoots an enemy, the game engine uniquely creates the AI reactions and movements. John Marston can choose from period-accurate weapons including revolvers, pistols, lever or bolt-action rifles, knives, explosives, lassos, mounted gatling guns, shotguns, sniper rifles and cannons.[4]

A combat feature that Marston can use is the "Dead-Eye" targeting system. "Dead-Eye" is used in a bullet time-like manner, allowing the player to slow down time to place a precise shot or paint in multiple shots on the body parts of one or multiple enemies. When the targeting sequence ends, Marston will fire in extremely quick succession on targeted people and objects.

Adopted from the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption has a modified wanted system. When committing a crime such as killing civilians near other people, some will run to the nearest police station as witnesses. The player can bribe them or kill them before they reach the station. If a crime is committed near a police officer, the wanted meter immediately appears along with a bounty count where it increases with more crimes committed. To evade law enforcement in pursuit, John Marston must escape a circular zone until the wanted meter disappears. Despite the chase being aborted, a bounty is placed upon John which will cause bounty hunters to come after him in the wilderness. The police will continue to challenge him again unless he pays his bounty at a telegraph station or presents a pardon letter. When arrested, John pays off his bounty and is then released. If the player does not have enough money to pay back, the police will assign bounty hunting activities.


Red Dead Redemption includes online multiplayer with a maximum of 16 players per session. Every multiplayer game, both free-for-all and team based, will begin with a Mexican standoff. Survivors of the standoff will be able to move to any part of the battlefield in preparation for respawning enemies. Crates in the environment will contain extra weapons, ammo, as well as recharge Dead-Eye powers, which has all the features of the single player version except it will be in real time. Players can level up and complete weapon challenges giving rewards such as new character models, golden weapon skins, and new mount breeds. New multiplayer modes, such as attack and defend, will be added in the upcoming "Liar's and Cheats pack" and the "Undead Nightmare pack." [5]

Both regular and team versions of Shootout mode follows a traditional deathmatch scenario where players or teams must accumulate the most kills. Many Capture the Flag variants are also available. Hold Your Own is a traditional capture the flag, where each team has their own bag of gold to defend from the enemy team. Grab The Bag has both teams attacking one bag placed in a section of the map. Gold Rush is a free-for-all variant, trying to grab and keep as many bags, spawned all across the map, as possible.

Like Grand Theft Auto IV's free mode, Red Dead Redemption has its own free roaming mode. All players in the server can form and join player parties, named "posses", of up to eight players and taking part in activities such as attacking computer-controlled gang hideouts or other player posses, go hunting, and create in-server matches.[6]


In the year 1911, John Marston, a retired outlaw formerly of a gang led by Dutch van der Linde, is taken away from his wife Abigail and his son Jack by government agents. The agents tell Marston that his family will be safely returned to him if he hunts down the remaining lead members of his former gang. Left with no choice, Marston travels to the territory of New Austin to capture or kill one of his old friends, Bill Williamson, who now runs his own gang of bandits out of Fort Mercer. Marston confronts Williamson at the fort, only to be shot and left for dead outside the fort. A rancher, Bonnie MacFarlane, finds him wounded, and brings him to a doctor to be treated.

After recovering from his wounds several days later, Marston begins repaying the MacFarlanes for their help. At the same time, he recruits help for a plan to attack Fort Mercer. Along with U.S Marshal Leigh Johnson of Armadillo, con man Nigel West Dickens, grave robber Seth Briars and drunken arms dealer Irish, Marston uses a Trojan Horse strategy to breach the fort and massacre Williamson's gang, only to find that Williamson had already fled to Mexico to seek help from Javier Escuella, another member of Marston's old gang. Irish agrees to take Marston into Mexico over the river border.

In Mexico, Marston is forced to work with Mexican Army Colonel Agustin Allende and Captain Vincente de Santa, as well as the revolutionaries in the area led by Abraham Reyes. Allende promises to deliver Escuella and Williamson to Marston, but soon betrays him and has de Santa attempt to execute Marston for working with the revolutionaries and killing Allende's men with elder gunslinger and childhood inspiration Landon Ricketts. After escaping execution, Marston sides with the rebels who help kill de Santa and successfully get Marston to Escuella. Following Escuella's capture or death, Marston joins Reyes and his men for an assault on Allende's villa, not only culminating in the deaths of Allende and Williamson, but also Marston's rebel friend Luisa as well when she attempts to save Reyes. Reyes takes control of the surrounding Mexican counties, and vows to march onto the capitol with his rebel army. Marston, meanwhile, returns to the city of Blackwater to meet with his government contact, Edgar Ross.

Much to his dismay, Ross will not let Marston return to his family until Dutch van der Linde, who has emerged from hiding, has been killed. While Dutch and his men wage war on the United States Army in the area, Marston has several run-ins with Dutch who manages to elude capture each time. Marston eventually joins Ross and a group of U.S. soldiers in an assault on Dutch's hideout. Marston follows the outlaws to their base, and confronts Dutch on a cliff. Dutch ultimately chooses to commit suicide, leaping off a cliff to his death. Before jumping, however, Dutch warns Marston that the government will always find another "monster" to justify their pay.

Marston is released from his deal with the government, and returns to his family at his ranch. After some time spent getting the farm up and running again, Marston is forced to repel the army when Ross betrays him, leading a surprise attack on the property and killing Marston's friend, Uncle. Marston manages to get Abigail and Jack out safely but is executed by soldiers after sacrificing himself to allow his family a life of normalcy. Jack and Abigail then return to the ranch, finding John dead and the soldiers gone.

The game then jumps to 1914. After the death of Abigail, an older Jack stands at his parents' graves before setting off to track down a retired Edgar Ross. After receiving a tip from a government agent in Blackwater, Jack ultimately discovers Ross hunting on a riverbed in Mexico. The two decide to have a lethal duel to settle matters once and for all. After defeating Ross, Jack receives the latest edition of the newspaper, detailing the outcomes of some of the individuals that aided his father three years ago. Irish accidentally shot himself dead in the town of Thieves' Landing, Marshal Leigh Johnson retires from service, vowing never to return to Armadillo, Western legend Landon Ricketts dies of old age, Seth became wealthy after finally finding the treasure he sought, and Abraham Reyes was considered a "tyrant" after overthrowing the Mexican government and becoming president.


A trailer of the project was sent to a select number of people at a Sony conference in 2005, promoting the release of the PlayStation 3 system. The trailer was a tech demo of RAGE set in a western setting referred to as Old West Project and a direct sequel to Red Dead Revolver. The trailer circulated throughout the internet.[7] In the April edition of Game Informer, Red Dead Redemption was listed as being for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.[8] On February 3, 2009, Rockstar Games announced the first official trailer.[9][10] Resulting trailers showcased numerous characters, gameplay features, and multiplayer modes that would be featured in the final release.

Marketing and release[]

In North America, GameStop and Rockstar collaborated on a preorder bonus in which customers could vote for one of three outfits that Marston could unlock in the game. Each outfit came with a different bonus. The "Savvy Merchant" would halve the purchasing price of ammunition and guns and double the selling price for ammunition and guns. The "Expert Hunter" would double the amount of money the player could get from selling hides of animals. Winner the "Deadly Assassin" outfit allows Marston to regenerate slow-mo "Dead-Eye" targeting twice as fast. Voting was open to all, but only those who pre-ordered the game through Gamestop will receive the winning outfit.[11] However, Rockstar announced that in an upcoming patch to fix several issues players are experiencing, they will release the other two outfits for all users free of charge.[12] Rockstar announced that the other outfits of the contest will be available through a future title update.[13]

Along with the GameStop preorder special, there were several other bonuses available through other store chains throughout the world. The "War Horse" is a black horse with a white mane, tail and markings considered "rare" as well as being "faster" and having "more health" than any other horse in the game.[14] The "Golden Guns" reward increases fame with each kill, allowing users to progress much quicker up the ladder of fame.[14] The official online Rockstar Games store, the Rockstar Warehouse, offers a Red Dead Redemption T-shirt as the pre-order bonus. A limited edition version of Red Dead Redemption mainly featured redeemable codes for the Deadly Assassin and the official soundtrack while other countries also received the War Horse and the golden guns.[15][16]

Exclusive additional content such as a new gang hideout and an outfit from one of the game's gangs, is available for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.[17] Both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions features rewards respectively for Avatars and the social network PlayStation Home. The Rockstar Games Social Club is a web site that displays the gameplay statistics of registered users and feature competitions and awards based on player activity within the game. The game was featured on NASCAR driver Joey Logano's #20 Toyota Camry in the Nationwide Series running of the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17, 2010. On June 12, 2010, Rockstar released the second patch (1.02) for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, addressing numerous issues.[18]


Template:Infobox film In North America, television network Fox presented Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater, a half-hour machinima short film directed by John Hillcoat on May 29, 2010.[19] The whole film explores an alternate take of the main storyline's first act. Shortly after release, the whole film became downloadable officially through Rockstar's official website.[20]

Downloadable content[]

On June 22, 2010, Rockstar Games released the first downloadable content for Red Dead Redemption titled Outlaws to the End. The content includes six new cooperative side missions ranging from raiding a mine and stealing the gold to riding down a river to secure a town's weapon cache. New multiplayer challenges as well as new trophies/achievements are also included. The downloadable content is free for all users on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

On July 8, 2010 Rockstar announced four new downloadable content packs.[21] The first, dubbed the Legends and Killers Pack was released August 10, 2010. This pack adds nine new multiplayer map locations, 8 new multiplayer characters from Red Dead Revolver, a tomahawk, and new achievements and trophies.[21] The second pack is called the Liars and Cheats pack, and consists of new competitive multiplayer modes such as "Attack and Defend" and horse racing, as well as multiplayer versions of Liar's Dice and Poker. Additionally players can play as the heroes and villains of the single player story in multiplayer, and eight additional multiplayer characters are also added. This pack also includes new achievements.[21] The third, known as the Free Roam Pack brings new modes, challenges, and hideouts as well as leaderboards and a scoring system for multiplayer posses.[21] The final pack is called the Undead Nightmare Pack. In this pack a horror element is added, with ghost towns and cemeteries hosting zombified humans. It also brings a new single player adventure, new animals to hunt, and eight more multiplayer characters.[21]

On August 27, 2010 Rockstar announced that the Free Roam downloadable content would be combined with the Liars and Cheats content. The content includes multiplayer horse races, multiplayer poker and Liar's Dice, Stronghold, an attack and defend multiplayer mode, the Explosive Rifle, seven new gang hideouts and fifteen new multiplayer characters from the single player story. New achievements and trophies will also be added.[22]


Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack
File:Red Dead Redemption Official Soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack by Various artists
May 18, 2010
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 75:18
Label Rockstar Games

Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack of video game music from the game Red Dead Redemption. The music was mainly composed by Friends of Dean Martinez member Bill Elm and ex-member Woody Jackson along with additional contributions from various musicians. Recorded at 130 beats per minute in A minor, most of songs featured are constructed from stems in the game's dynamic soundtrack.[23]

All music composed by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, except where noted.

Red Dead Redemption Original Soundtrack (75:18)
No. Title Length
1. "Born Unto Trouble"   3:12
2. "The Shootist"   4:17
3. "Dead End Alley"   2:06
4. "Horseplay"   3:15
5. "Luz y Sombra"   5:19
6. "El Club De Los Cuerpos"   6:24
7. "Estancia"   2:02
8. "(Theme From) Red Dead Redemption"   5:38
9. "Triggernometry"   5:24
10. "Gunplay"   1:28
11. "Redemption In Dub"   2:10
12. "Muertos Rojos (aka The Gunslinger's Lament)"   5:51
13. "The Outlaw's Return"   6:54
14. "Exodus In America"   4:59
15. "Already Dead"   1:31
16. "Far Away" (José González) 4:40
17. "Compass (Red Dead On Arrival Version)" (Jamie Lidell) 2:59
18. "Deadman's Gun" (Ashtar Command) 4:15
19. "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie" (William Elliott Whitmore) 2:24


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 95%(PS3)


Metacritic 95/100[25]
Review scores
Publication Score A[26]
Edge 9/10[27]
G4 5/5 stars[28]
GamePro 5/5 stars[29]
GameSpot 9.5/10[30]
GameSpy 5/5 stars[31]
IGN 9.7/10[32]

The game received widespread critical acclaim, with much praise given to the presentation of the open world, story, and soundtrack. The game has received a 95/100 on both Metacritic and GameRankings. On GameRankings, it is the 5th best rated Xbox 360 game of all time, having an aggregate of 94% based on 67 reviews and the 3rd best rated PlayStation 3 game of all time with a score of 95 based on 48 reviews.

The New York Times said, "The leading edge of interactive media has a new face." In conclusion they rejoiced "In the more than 1,100 articles I have written for this newspaper since 1996, I have never before called anything a tour de force. Yet there is no more succinct and appropriate way to describe Red Dead Redemption."[33]

IGN heaped praise on the game giving it a 9.7/10 saying "what is most impressive about this sandbox is how fun it is to simply hop on a horse and take off across the prairie." In conclusion they exclaimed "Red Dead Redemption is a must-play game. Rockstar has taken the Western to new heights and created one of the deepest, most fun, and most gorgeous games around. You can expect the occasional bug or visual hiccup, but you can also expect a fantastic game that offers the Western experience we've all been waiting for."[34] GameSpot awarded the game 9.5/10 and said that it "raises the bar for open world action games".[30]

Gamespy gave it 5/5 stars saying "With Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar succeeds in creating one of the most impressive open worlds I've ever seen in a game, and it's telling that — even after playing for over 30 hours — all I want to do is get back on my horse and gallop back into the wilderness."[31] VideoGamer gave it a 10/10 exclaiming "The game itself is absolutely spectacular... The sheer quality of Red Dead Redemption is evident right from the word go." They also said "it's a magnificent piece of work that everybody should play."[35]

Eurogamer awarded Red Dead Redemption an 8/10, stating that it "successfully re-clothes the Grand Theft Auto framework in an exciting, distinct and expertly realised scenario".[36] The Australian video game talk show Good Game's two reviewers gave the game a 9.5/10 and 10/10.[37]

According to the NPD Sales Group, Red Dead Redemption has sold over two million units in the combined months of May and June.[38]

Humourist and game-reviewer Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation criticized the game for being too similar to Grand Theft Auto IV (calling John Marston a simple re-skin of Niko Bellic). He also criticized the controls, noted a number of bugs detrimental to his experience and criticized the abundance of minigames and other diversions. On the positive side he called the game graphically beautiful, well-written and absorbing, but ultimately just a time-sink.[39]


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  2. Rockstar Games Presents Red Dead Redemption—News. (2010-04-30). Retrieved on 2010-05-02
  3. Cocker, Guy (2010-01-28). Red Dead Redemption Hands-On—Xbox 360 Previews at GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-03-29
  4. Rockstar Games Presents Red Dead Redemption. Retrieved on 2010-03-29
  5. Red Dead Redemption's online 'Multiplayer Free Roam' revealed. Joystiq (2010-04-08). Retrieved on 2010-04-08
  6. Multiplayer in Red Dead Redemption. (2010-04-08). Retrieved on 2010-04-08
  7. Red Dead Redemption 2005 Teaser. (2007-05-26). Retrieved on 2010-05-12
  8. Red Dead Redemption PC. GameInformer (2010-04-15). Retrieved on 2010-04-15
  9. Aj Collins (2009-02-04). Red Dead Redemption Announced. Retrieved on 2009-02-04
  10. Stewart, Kemuel (2009-02-04). Confirmed: Red Dead Revolver Gets Sequel. GamerCenterOnline. Retrieved on 2009-02-04
  11. Red Dead Redemption. Retrieved on 2010-03-29
  12. Red Dead Redemption Title Update Coming Next Week. (2010-06-03). Retrieved on 2010-07-08
  13. Red Dead Redemption DLC details - the Outlaws to the End co-op mission pack coming in June as free download. Rockstar Games San Diego (2010-05-05). Retrieved on 2010-05-05
  14. 14.0 14.1 Online Stores - GAME Australia. Retrieved on 2010-03-29
  15. Red Dead Redemption Limited Edition - Playstation 3 - EB Games Australia. Retrieved on 2010-03-29
  16. Red Dead Redemption - Playstation 3. Retrieved on 2010-05-16
  17. Red Dead Redemption PS3 lands exclusive content. N4G. Retrieved on 2010-05-14
  18. Title update 1.02 now available for Red Dead Redemption on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (12 June 2010). Retrieved on 13 June 2010
  19. FOX to show half-hour Red Dead Redemption special on May 29. Aeropause Games (2010-04-29). Retrieved on 2010-05-16
  20. Red Dead Redemption - A Short Film From Read Dead Redemption. Retrieved on 2010-07-08
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Tolito, Stephen (2010-07-08). Red Dead Redemption Adding Zombies, Multiplayer Poker, More. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2010-07-08
  22. Fahey, Mike (2010-08-27). Red Dead Redemption's Liars And Cheats Pack Is Two Packs In One. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2010-08-27
  23. Behind the Scenes of the Red Dead Redemption Soundtrack. Rockstar Games via YouTube (2010-07-28). Retrieved on 2010-08-04
  24. Game Rankings Red Dead Redemption. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-05-18
  25. Metacritic Red Dead Redemption. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-05-17
  26. Red Dead Redemption Review. (2010-05-17). Retrieved on 2010-05-17
  27. Review: Red Dead Redemption. Edge Online (2010-05-17). Retrieved on 2010-05-18
  28. Red Dead Redemption Review. (2010-05-17). Retrieved on 2010-05-18
  29. Red Dead Redemption review from GamePro. (2010-05-07). Retrieved on 2010-05-17
  30. 30.0 30.1 Red Dead Redemption Review
  31. 31.0 31.1 Red Dead Redemption review from GameSpy. GameSpy (2010-05-19). Retrieved on 2010-05-19
  32. Brudvig, Erik (2010-05-17). Red Dead Redemption Review - Xbox 360 Review at IGN. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-05-17
  33. "Way Down Deep in the Wild, Wild West". New York Times. 
  34. Red Dead Redemption Review. IGN.
  35. Red Dead Redemption review VideoGamer. VideoGamer (2010-05-19). Retrieved on 2010-05-21
  36. Red Dead Redemption Review. EuroGamer (2010-05-17).
  37. Good Game stories - Red Dead Redemption. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2010-05-31).
  38. Kohler, Chris (2010-07-15). June NPD Sales. Wired. Retrieved on 2010-07-15

External links[]