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Classic Review: "Red Dead Revolver"

Shelby is a fan of all things video games, movies, and music.

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Pre-Release Issues

(Note: This review of Red Dead Revolver is for the PS2 on PS4 version of the game)

Red Dead Revolver is a game with a fairly long and troubled development, a development so troubled it's hard to believe that it would eventually lead to the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption and its sequel. Starting life as an even more "arcadey" game under the banner of Capcom, before eventually making it's way to Rockstar Games after Capcom lost faith in the project. It's hard to believe that the primarily Japanese company Capcom was a key component on the road to creating one of the most popular Western (both genre and hemisphere) games of all time.

The Humble Origins of Red Dead Redemption

Fans of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption who return to Red Dead Revolver may be surprised to find a completely different style of game to both Red Dead Redemption, and most of Rockstar's other projects at the time. Red Dead Revolver features no open world, few side activities, and an aesthetic more akin to God Hand than Grand Theft Auto. The areas in which players will engage in shootouts are almost entirely small arenas and the game makes no attempt to convince you otherwise. Red Dead Revolver also features several boss fights that range from pretty good to mediocre, with the biggest offender being the occasional bullet sponge that drags on a little too long.

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Replayability and Multiplayer

Despite a fairly low amount of content, the game features a high level of replayability via unlocks, and, after a mission, scoring based on stats like accuracy and damage. The inclusion of multiple player characters also adds a bit of variety to the games. Red Dead Revolver also includes a local multiplayer vs. mode where up to four players (or three A.I.) can get into deathmatches via time/score or play the dueling mode in which players engage in quickdraw until the last man is left standing. It's a surprising amount of fun and something I could see my self playing for a few hours with friends on special occasions.

The Influence of Red Dead Revolver

That's something that I would say about most of Red Dead Revolver, a surprising amount of content compared to prior impressions. While the shooting is a bit floaty and loose, I found that once I had found my footing it was a lot more satisfying than even Red Dead Redemption's more lock on based shooting, allowing me to hit headshots and feel like a real sharpshooter rather than using lock on to quick switch targets. Outside of the basic shooting, players will find many mechanics that were almost directly moved from Red Dead Revolver to Red Dead Redemption. Things like the dueling mechanics and the "Deadeye" system, which function the same in targeting as Red Dead Redemption's duels (the only control difference being using the right stick to draw your gun) and level 2 "Deadeye."

Weapon Variety and Technical Issues

Red Dead Revolver also features several different weapons with varying stats that will allow the player to customize their playstyle as they see fit . . . with the limitation of carrying only one handgun, long gun, and throwables, of course. Almost all of these weapons are satisfying to use, I even found myself bouncing between different types to suit my mood which is something that I rarely do in anything except a Devil May Cry.

I did run into some technical issues with the PS2 on PS4 version of the game. Occasional one second freezes of the action, especially when activating "Deadeye" and Red teleporting around would often be jarring if not downright deadly in the case of an early train level where I was teleported directly out of the map. This also happens in the PS2 on PS4 version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and it stood out like a sore thumb there as well, I suppose this is just a side effect of how Rockstar ported these games rather than original release issues.

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Summary

None of these issues truly break the game but they're definitely an annoying stain on an otherwise fun game, it's a shame this version doesn't have these issues ironed.

All in all, Red Dead Revolver is a fun, arcade-like third-person shooter wrapped in a revenge story that hearkens back to a simpler time in video games where points and replayability were the goal more-so than cinematic moments that wow on a first playthrough but bore on the next. It's also an interesting look into the building blocks that would form Red Dead Redemption, and for $15 USD it's not just a history lesson but a good game to fill an afternoon or two.

The Verdict

I give Red Dead Revolver a 3 out of 5

© 2019 Shelby Walles