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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Rockstar

 

Developer

Rockstar San Diego

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 26, 2010

 

 

- Just like the DLC for Grand Theft Auto IV, the new single-player story is practically an entirely brand-new game in itself
- New Undead Overrun multiplayer mode is just as enjoyably good as similar forays in Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty: World at War

 

 

- Too many zombies attacking at once leads to some confusing camera moments
- Zombie close-up kill cut-scenes are somewhat disruptive of gameplay flow
- When aiming for that zombie headshot kill, inconsistent and difficult targeting can be frustrating

 

 

Review: Red Dead Redemption DLC: Liars and Cheats (360)

Review: Vanquish (360)

Review: Grand Theft Auto IV (360)

 

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Red Dead Redemption DLC: Undead Nightmare

Score: 10 / 10

 

undead nightmare          undead nightmare

 

In the first two downloadable content packs, Rockstar brought gamers a lot of multiplayer nuances that help improved what is considered one of the greatest Western-themed videogames, Red Dead Redemption. With the third installment, however, Rockstar is infusing its stellar Western with another popular gaming genre Ėzombies Ė and the result is a rowdy living-dead romp through the Wild, Wild

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West with the Undead Nightmare DLC.

As already mentioned, the previous two Red Dead Redemption DLCs were focused primarily on multiplayer upgrading. But Undead Nightmare presents a fresh single-player storyline that plays almost as long (about a dozen hours) as many full-priced games. The storyís not very original: something sinister is

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causing the dead to leave their graves and walk the Western landscape, attacking all those unfortunate to cross paths with these zombie hordes. When John Marston, the Red Dead Redemption anti-hero (the timeline is three months before Marstonís untimely demise in the main game), finds that his beloved wife and son have succumbed to the zombie affliction after being bitten, he ties them up and sets off on an adventure to find the mystery behind the undead outbreak in a desperate effort to save them.

Not too imaginative, but thereís plenty to distract gamers from paying too much attention to the plot, most notably attack waves of zombies that appear no matter where the gamer is throughout the landscape. Undead Nightmare keeps gamers on edge all the time, waiting for that next zombie attack, as missions are being completed. Missions include rescuing missing persons trapped outside the few safe zones, or assisting those survivors, either in towns or settlements, under the duress of zombie attack.

Attacking will be a variety of different zombies, too. Thereís the usual basic zombie, the Undead, wandering the landscape. These zombies present little difficulty in battling, unless of course if they attack in a group. Then thereís fast-running Bolters, who leap at gamers, but are easier to defeat than the Undead. Bruisers are the large zombies that charge at gamers and knock them down. And finally, the vomit-spewing Retchers with toxic bile and exploding bodies after death are the most damaging zombies.

Other missions involve cleansing the undead from five graveyards, each with a graveyard boss battle. Of course, thereís some new zombie-fighting specialty weapons added to gamersí arsenals: holy water projectiles that set zombies afire in a blue blaze; Boom and Zombie Bait (used to lure zombies to collect in one spot); and the Blunderbuss, the powerful gun that uses collected zombie parts to fire one-shot zombie-exploding devastation.

 

undead nightmare          undead nightmare


One challenging weaponry aspect is that since the townspeople have either become zombies or fled in terror, thereís no ammo to buy, so gamers must learn to do with a limited supply thatís only replenished through assisting towns in fighting off the zombies and scavenging around for ammo caches hidden throughout. Making that lack of ammo even more of a difficulty is that the zombies must be killed only with headshots. But the targeting system is inconsistent and oftentimes frustrating because ammo is being needlessly wasted. The camera also gets confusingly lost when too many zombies are attacking at one time and the close-up zombie kill cut-scenes can be gameplay-disruptive.

Zombie fighting is the main focus here, of course, but there are two fun ambient side missions that introduce mythical creatures to Red Dead Redemption. An early mission has gamers hunting down the six remaining Sasquatches that are roaming around, mistakenly blamed for the zombie plague. And what would a zombie Judgment Day be without the four horses of the apocalypse that gamers can lasso and tame for use. Famine and Pestilence donít do any damage, but they both have unlimited stamina, and are zombie-proof from damage. When running into zombies, Death explodes their heads, making it easy to stay on horseback and battle the zombies instead of the much riskier on-foot fighting. And the most impressive-looking horse, the flaming War, sets zombies on fire when contacting them.

Itís not only the human population that succumbs to the zombie disease, either. The frontierís many creatures are zombies, too, the most dangerous being the grizzly bears and cougars. Thereís even a zombie horse that gamers can ride if their steed gets killed, which somehow has more stamina in its zombie state but with the trade-off of being very difficult to control.

As good as the single-player Undead Nightmare addition is, itís made even better with a great new multiplayer mode that borrows from similar modes in Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. Undead Overrun gathers gamers together, with wave after wave of increasingly tougher zombies attacking. Thereís no hope of survival; the goal is to endure as many waves as possible before being overrun.

Undead Nightmare, as a single-player upgrade, is an exceptional bargain for the amount of new gameplay that it provides. But including the highly entertaining Undead Overrun multiplayer mayhem makes this a cannot-miss DLC purchase for Red Dead Redemption gamers.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(November 15, 2010)

 

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