Monday, February 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Undead

Game: Undead Nightmare (Red Dead Redemption Expansion)

System: Xbox 360, PS3

Release: November 2010

Saddle up partners it's time to hit the trails. There's a trouble a foot. Some dam fool has risen the dead. Now they walk the earth, and only you...what's that? You've heard this one before. Oh...

Undead Nightmares is a decent run of the mill zombie experience. John Marston watches his family turn into zombies, but manages to avoid getting harmed. He locks them in a room, and sets off to solve the mystery. Along the way he visits everything and everyone from the main game. Only now there's zombies, the four horses of the apocalypse, and some new guns for shits and giggles. Eventually some random mystical character finds John and helps him save the day.

Gameplay is the main reason for more Red Dead, and things have been altered slightly to fit the zombie motif. There are new weapons, horses, and side quests. The most interesting weapons are the torch, explosive rifle (think cannon balls from a boom stick), and the deadly blunderbuss that shoots body parts. Finding and taming the four horses of the apocalypse is a neat touch, and picking flowers now provide upgrades like phosphorous bullets. The other side quests are predictable fetch like crap (more on that later) that I mostly ignored.

Luckily the AI and combat can be extremely intense compared to the main game. There are different classes of zombies that will seem oh so familiar to Left for Dead veterans. There are chargers, spitting zombies, and fast moving crawlers that move around on all fours. Enemies will surround you quickly if you stand still, and ammo is scare until the later half of the game. Zombies will also pull you off your horse, and the undead wildlife will relentlessly chase you. The gameplay and AI are hands down the best feature of the Undead Nightmares.

Missions on the other hand are repetitive and predictable. Go to this town and help the survivors. Go here and find a clue. Go there for some flowers. Oh now go back to that town because they're being attacked again. Each town you save unlocks a new gun, and provides a new save point with some ammo crates. You can also only fast travel between towns you save making this feature key to completing this game. There are probably six-ish quests that relate to the main story, and the ending seems abrupt. Call me picky, but I wanted a little something more like that one locomotive mission to Mexico.

Undead Nightmares is a fun experience, but it's nothing special. Playing more Red Dead Redemption is always welcomed, and this was probably the games saving grace. The new gameplay features were neat, but the missions were boring. The story was cookie cutter zombie horror in a cookie cutter western setting. Snerts says Gamefly this bad boy. No need to buy, but it's sure fun to try.

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