So it seems you’ve lost your way a bit when it comes to video games. I’m just dropping you a little note to let you know how it should be done; hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes again because your last “effort” has been a rather painful experience.
Firstly, the issue of narrative; building to the climax of a story is usually what writers aim to do. That’s kind of their raison d’être, if you like. So to have the climactic ending of the story: tracking down Bill Williamson, ruined by poorly implemented pacing is something of a downer. Let’s face it, overall in terms of story there isn’t much going on in Red Dead Redemption. It’s hard to see how then, you managed to speed through the only exciting parts of the story at such a blistering pace, resulting in a game that comprised of around 90% riding your horse across sparse countryside and only 10% doing anything of any interest.
Also, just a quick note related to story telling; it’s important to show gamers how to play the game and implement any features you’ve put in, but here are a few tips on how to do it properly:
- Tutorial sections should be short and to the point. Endlessly searching for flowers and skinning animals (with an animation that is too long and isn’t skippable – another annoyance) is no fun at all.
- Tutorials should be at the start of the game. Herding sections, which are basically a mechanism to tell me how to ride a horse, really shouldn’t be found after playing the game for 20+ hours.
- Either explain how to do everything, or nothing at all. I had to look online to see how to win at the pistol duels which are littered throughout the game like unwanted gifts a dog has left on your carpet. Even the manual was of little use, which is something of a crime.
It must be said that the setting is breath taking and you’ve delivered the beauty of everything from the setting sun to a raging storm with grace and finesse. Also, I appreciate that the Old West was a pretty desolate place with only pockets of civilisation, but please remember that this isn’t a simulation. Did you play GUN at all before brainstorming how to make a decent Western?
To someone that has played rather a lot of GUN, it seems as though you’ve taken this exciting world and simply added extra space; filled with nothingness for the player to simply traverse. You force them to follow some (achingly slow) idiot to some desolate and remote location to kill someone or do some random task that no-one cares about before heading back along the same tedious path to another, equally as boring location.
I’ve got to admit, you have done something of a magic trick with Red Dead Redemption. However, the magic isn’t in the beauty of the Open World or the accomplishment and gravitas of the narrative, but rather the astonishingly high review scores for what is essentially a competent, but somewhat mediocre, game.
Your game has highlighted one thing I guess, and for this you should be applauded; professional reviewers don’t spend enough time with a game before forming an opinion and jotting down a few thousand words. If they had played just a few more hours of your latest game, perhaps the reviews would have been a little less gushing and a little more accurate.
P.S. GTA IV was also a bag of shite.