Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare review

Posted: October 30, 2010 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

The old west was a pretty crazy place to live but how crazy would it have been if it had been overrun by zombies? You can see for yourself with the newest dlc from Red Dead Redemption titled “Undead nightmare”. This latest dlc is the biggest yet with a single player campaign and also some new multiplayer modes. Rockstar games always gives their fans a bang for their buck with dlc and “Undead Nightmare” is no exception.

You once again take on the role of John Marston, the lead character of Red dead redemption. The story takes place after John finishes his business with the U.S government but before the shocking conclusion of RDR. The game begins with John at home with his family (wife Abigail and son Jack) when they are visited by Uncle who isn’t looking very fresh. Madness ensues and in the end, Uncle is dead and John’s wife and son are turned into flesh craving zombies! The horror! Now John must search for a cure, bumping into old friends, both living and dead on a quest to save his family.

If you’ve played RDR then you will be able to jump into this game with no problems as none of the controls have been changed. What is different is the way you will go about killing your enemies. Cover is completely useless because zombies will run at you. These guys are not like the classic George Romero type of zombie and will advance very quickly and overwhelm you. There are four types of zombies. You have your standard zombie, a zombie that scurries along the ground, a zombie that spits acid and a big zombie that likes to charge at you, knocking you off your feet. Each zombie type requires a different strategy to take down but the one thing they all have in common is that they all die and can ONLY die from a headshot. Most of them can be easily shot in the head but the scurrying zombie is low to the ground and makes it tricker to get a bead on. You still have dead eye so combat shouldn’t be a problem. Run. Gun. Dead eye. Win.

You are given less ammo now to give you more of a survival horror feel but you also get some new weapons to combat the undead. There is a torch that you can use to burn coffins and zombies. Zombies that are on fire will die after a while so after you light them up there is no need to waste ammo on them. You can use a new shotgun that completely blows away all zombies that are directly in front of you. The cool thing about this shotgun is that it uses zombie body parts as ammo. Along with the new gun you also get bait and explosive bait. Bait is useful for luring zombies to a particular spot and explosive bait will explode after a while. You can come up with a lot of fun scenarios with this weapon. Last but not least is holy water. Holy water is an uber weapon which will kill a ton of zombies at once. Use bait and then holy water and prepare for a nice rain of blood.

The mission structure remains the same. You see a letter on the map (usually a U for undead nightmare), you go there and progress the story. Just like RDR there are a ton of side quests and challenges to do. The side quests are ok but not nearly as compelling as the ones in RDR. They are mostly of a “go there get this/kill all the zombies” variety. While not as engaging as the original side quests, you will want to do them to get some much needed ammo. One of the persistant side quests is to save towns from zombie attacks. You can save every town in the game but eventually a town will be overrun again and you can go and save it. This is completely optional but I always felt compelled to save the towns. Luckily these missions are not as annoying as the constant cell phone calls from Grand theft auto 4. If you keep towns safe you can use them to fast travel to different locations. Zombies stalk the countryside so you can no longer sleep outside to fast travel or save so keep towns zombie free to make your travelling easier.

The challenges are much the same this time around. You have sharpshooter, hunter and treasure hunting challenges making a return. One cool challenge tasks you with capturing the four horses of the apocalypse. You read that correctly, THE FOUR HORSES OF THE APOCALYPSE! Each horse has a unique look and special attribute. I suggest getting and keeping one of these guys because they all have higher stamina than a regular horse (one has infinite stamina). You do not want to be stuck riding a zombie horse. If your regular horse dies, you will be stuck with a zombified one when you whistle for another and these horses are a pain in the ass. They like to make sudden sharp turns and if you are not careful you can get yourselves killed. My zombie horse rode us off a bridge! Stupid zombie horse! I condemn thee to Hell! Speaking of zombie animals, nearly every animal is zombified now so prepare to be attacked by zombie bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes. Just like in RDR if you are not careful YOU WILL be killed by a cougar. The more things change the more they stay the same. There are also Sasquatch (Sasquatches? Sasquatchi?) in the game. Yeah. I’ll let you guys see for yourselves. I’ll just say that the conclusion to the Sasquatch mission is both hilarious and heartbreaking.

The music in Undead Nightmare is appropriately spooky. It doesn’t sound overtly different than regular RDR music but it definitely has been given a spooky touch to add more flavor to this horror soup. The zombies sound really scary. They sound less like they are moaning and more like they are screaming. Each zombie type has a specific scream to them and they are all equally as unnerving. Their flesh also has this really disgusting sound to it when you shoot at them. The animals also sound a lot creepier and you may get the chills from hearing the zombie animal as you travel.

The story for Undead Nightmare is not as serious or as realistic as the original story and is a bit sillier. This makes sense of course. Zombies running around killing people isn’t exactly heavy subject matter so it makes sense that things are slightly more fun. Don’t let this fool you though, things are still pretty brutal. While not on the same level as RDR the story is really good for what it is. John Marston and much of the cast of RDR make a return as do the voice actors who gave them their voices. The acting and writing is as good as ever. It was fun to see some of the old cast return and still act as insane as they normally did before the outbreak. A zombie apocalypse isn’t going to stop Nigel West Dickens from being a two timing con man or Seth from being a sick sick bastard. Other characters return in undead form as well. Some are even from side missions that you may have forgotten about, so make sure you have your RDR cap to remember who some of these people where. Do they have RDR caps? If not they should.

Graphically the game looks much the same but the colors have a greenish hue to give the world a more ominous feel. The sky is constantly overcast with dull sun rays shinning down. There is also a constant fog on the horizon and bats flying around everywhere. Really cool and creepy stuff. The only time you will see a bright but still cloud filled sky is when you liberate a town from a zombie invasion. Before you arrive, the sky above a besieged town is covered in black clouds but after it is saved the sky opens up, clouds turn white and the sun bathes the land. Of course this just lets you see how messed up everything is due to the zombie attack.

There is a lot of replay value in this $9.99 dlc. You have a single player campaign that can last as much as 10-15 hours and new multiplayer modes. The multiplayer modes are essentially horde mode so gather 3 friends and get to some zombie killing. There are also new trophies to unlock. The trophies aren’t terribly difficult but will require some time especially if you want the one for getting 100% in the single player.

Undead Nightmare is another great dlc from Rockstar games. While not as robust as the dlc expansions for Grand theft Auto 4 you will still get more than your money’s worth. This dlc and all of the previous ones have been collected into a single disk which should be available soon. If you can’t spare the hard drive space this is the way to go. Whether you download it from the PSN, Xbox live or buy it on disk, do not miss out on Undead Nightmare.

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