Red Dead Redemption almost became my favorite game. It was so close! The story is wonderful, the scenery is incredible, and the immersion is without question. The problem is the extra content that drags the experience out to tedious levels. I played it on a PS3, and I take large amounts of enjoyment getting platinum trophies on the games I play. So I went through the game doing every little thing possible in an attempt to get that platinum trophy. Here's the rub: by the time I reached the third section of the game, it seemed so absolutely repetitive that I couldn't wait to finish it. I shouldn't feel that way! I should have been dreading the moment those closing credits rolled. Still, don't get me wrong. It's wonderful. I don't think I've ever enjoyed just traveling around an open-world game like that.
The main complaint I've heard is that it's the same game that's been fed to us again and again over the last ten years through the Grand Theft Auto series, but it replaces mobsters, cartel-members, and street gangs with cowboys, Indians, and Mexicans. I can certainly sympathize with this complaint—particularly because I've grown to absolutely hate GTA games—but there's something just inherently more enjoyable about a western-themed sandbox game. I don't know why I feel differently about RDR, but the fact is that I despised GTA IV within the first 15 minutes, but my love for RDR quickly catapulted to ridiculous levels.
Even though I feel that there's way too much content in the single-player section of the game, I can't argue that it's pulled off brilliantly and is a masterpiece of video game storytelling. What's really soured me on the game is the multiplayer. The fact that the multiplayer trophies are required for platinum bums me out to no end. I'm grinding levels right now to get to level 50, and I find myself really, really eager to finish with this game and move onto something else. My completionist tendencies probably hurt me here, since I must finish what I start before taking on another huge challenge (God of War III is next on my queue, and long overdue). But I'm so close to this platinum that I don't want to stop playing. At the same time, I can't stop playing soon enough.
Rockstar used to be my favorite game developer, purely because GTA 3, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas were some of my favorites back in the day. But their formula has gotten tired and repetitive, and I think it's time for an overhaul. I'm not as excited for the next GTA game as I might be.
I'm going to continue grinding up to level 50, and I might work on a few of the DLC trophies, but once I platinum the game, it is unlikely I'll pick it up again. Then again, the online poker and liar's dice might be enough to play it every once in a while, but that remains to be seen. Overall, I think this is a must-play, but if you intend to platinum it, be prepared for some frustration. As for whether I declare it one of my favorite games, I'll have to let it sit in my mind for a while. When I was about halfway through, I thought it would overtake Ocarina of Time, but now I'm not sure where in my top ten it will go. Time will tell.