Is Red Dead Redemption A GotY Contender?
It's usually a bad idea to make predictions concerning annual awards, especially when the game in question hasn't even arrived on store shelves just yet. Even so, given the early critical acclaim Rocktar's Red Dead Redemption has received, it doesn't seem too silly to consider it as one of 2010's best.
Granted, the competition for such a lofty award will be stiff - as it is most every year - as we've already seen legitimate contenders in God of War III, Heavy Rain, and Mass Effect 2, and looking down the road, we have to look at LittleBigPlanet 2, Halo: Reach and Gran Turismo 5. But even so, concerning RDR, we've seen a 9.75 from Gamer Informer, a 9 from a UK publication, and a perfect 10 from OPM, so if scores from major websites are as high, we really do have to say this hotly anticipated Western-themed adventure will rightly claim its spot amongst the 2010 elites. The official trailer was enough to give me goosebumps; it looks great, it sounds great and apparently, it plays great, too. I've often compared it to last year's Assassin's Creed II (and I may or may not be accurate) and if RDR has that level of polish, it's going to be one hell of an achievement.
While we've had Red Dead Revolver, Gun and the Call of Juarez titles, we've never really had a defining Western shooter, you know? I almost want to give RDR a nod at the end of the year simply for being the first landmark title to feature a true-blue Old West setting and premise. I think I'll always have a special place in my heart for Heavy Rain and what it did for the industry, but there are other titles this year that can also have a big impact. And you know, here's what does it for me: I really don't like Westerns. I've never liked those movies; I think just about every last one of them is overrated (with the possible exception of "Tombstone," just because Val Kilmer saying "I'm your huckleberry" still gets a grin out of me). And yet, Red Dead Redemption is one of my most anticipated games of the entire generation. ...how can that be? I couldn't possibly care less about cowboys and junk like that.
Well, it's because I really love and appreciate fantastic efforts in gaming, regardless of the concept, and RDR appears to be something well worth my time. The only question left is if it can stand with the other 2010 heavyweights come December 31...
5/14/2010 Ben Dutka