Critical Analysis of a Game:
Red Dead Redemption
Professor Shawn Graham
Submitted: Thursday February 7th 2013
The game I have chosen for my critical analysis is Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead Redemption was made, published, and engineered by a company called Rockstar Games (Rockstar Website). The major distributor of the game is a company who happens to own Rockstar, Take-Two interactive. Being one of the most successful video game developers to date, Rockstar is famous for creating the popular and controversial game series Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar differs very much from other video game developers because they are one of few who have grown and experienced the advancement of video games in terms of graphics and gameplay. Rockstar is known for revolutionizing the concept of having an open world in console video games. This was not originally the case and happened over years of expansion.
Rockstar’s first game was released on the original PlayStation. The game is called Grand Theft Auto. Its camera was in a bird’s eye view with basic 3D graphics consisting of repetitive player movements. In comparison to today, the game was really quite simple in terms of graphics and game play. The game lacked a larger narrative. Its gameplay was based mostly around the options of stealing cars, doing hits for gang members, killing civilians, and evading the police. This lack of narrative and focus on violence may be one of the reasons why Rockstar dealt with a lot of controversy from the media.
As Rockstar grew and released multiple titles, their video games utilized the advancement in technology to create a larger narrative. Using Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), Rockstar developed third person 3D modeled sandbox game (Ogilvie, 2010). With this new open world, the game developers were able to explore more narrative options. Red Dead Redemption used their graphical improvements to allow for new historical representations such as: talking NPCs with their own ethnicity and culture and NPCs who show facial emotion and body language. This allows players to connect better with the world Rockstar has created because they represent what people are familiar with.
Rockstar had greatly passed simple storyline of Grand Theft Auto. This is why I chose Red Dead Redemption. It excels in the ability of experiencing a fun and highly skilled game while having improved representations of people, stories, and histories. They do so through implementing character traits in certain NPCs. The NPCs are programmed primarily in two ways. One is to help the player in their quest by providing information to solve the main problem space. The other is to try and stop the player; this creates another problem space that the player must solve. The addition of these advanced NPCs really helped Rockstar deliver a story to their players. They force the player to constantly see familiar NPCs which creates a bond between them and the player. These NPCs force you to make many moral decisions throughout the game.
These moral choices the player has to make adds a great deal of advancement to the narrative because the game is programed to change based on these decisions. If the player was to help a gang of thieves raid a site in order to get money, civilians would remember due to the decrease in honour and news would spread. Decisions the player makes affect how NPCs, such as townsfolk or sheriffs, approach the player in the game. If the player was riding their horse along a prairie road and happened to see a gang of thieves taking someone hostage, the player could kill or hogtie the bandits and their honour meter would go increase. These decisions program NPCs to now feel safe around the player by cheering for them. These cheers can often make the player feel happier because of the heroic role they are playing. This social value is what makes Rockstar games a fan favourite. Another reason Rockstar...
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