Red Dead Redemption

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Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption treats players like dogs instead of wolves.

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Sounds like someones the perfect game would be a mix of STALKER and GTA San Andreas. Now thats a realism gamer's wet dream.

I love your "survival" idea! Seems like a good concept.

I don't really like health/tiredness/hunger/etc meters in games. That's why I don't like the Sims. It's a game. They're not meant to get hungry then whine about it in clipart form.

I agree about the horse thing - if your horse dies or runs off I reckon you should have to steal a horse or whatever. If they wanted, they could put your 'deed' horse outside the nearest save house, but only then do you get it.

With any luck (read: with some seriously unbelievable luck and altruism on Rockstar's part), when the game gets its inevitable crappy port to the PC, they'll add mod support and let people add that sort of thing by themselves. I gotta admit, it would be fantastic, especially seeing as that's the sort of thing I already enjoy in Fallout 3 (with mods).

I enjoy Red Dead Redemption, but I totally agree. That is actualy the real reason for a lot of old west crime, and it woudld be a great mechanic that would make all of the money gaining minigames and quests much more relevant. Good idea Yahtzee.

afaceforradio:
I don't really like health/tiredness/hunger/etc meters in games. That's why I don't like the Sims. It's a game. They're not meant to get hungry then whine about it in clipart form.

I agree, though I think some modifications to the current statistics would justify a survival idea. Food could restore health, so greater meals restore more health. Water/food combined may restore the "quick-shot" meter and resting somewhere instantly refills these meters.

I'm kind of mixed on the "hunger" system as Roguelike games do that a lot. Now Roguelike games used that as an interesting feature by giving the character some advantages in what they eat, such as getting the ability to sense living creatures telepathically if eating a floating eyeball. I'm not sure how to incorporate that idea into "Red Dead Redemption" but if the protagonist may get some bonus in eating particular meals, I think that may justify the "hunger" system for me.

Referring to the start of the topic. We may have not been able too hunt before but our cavemen ancestors certainly couldn't, say, drive a car(well).

Best article I've seen you write, Yahtzee.

And best means the one I find the least amount of disagreement with; you're less of a jerk nowadays, that might be a bad thing.

I think the best way to improve Red Dead Redemption would simply be to get rid of the regenerating health/dead-eye and intantly respawining horses. If you had a health meter then there'd be an actual reason to buy food, and there'd actually be a reason to steal horses if there weren't an infinite number of them just waiting for you to whistle for them.

I do actually like the idea of the 'survival' thing.

While some people might complain "I want a game, not real life", a Western survival would be a real life that we don't know - and I think putting myself in the shoes of another life is actually quite exciting, just as living our lives for those people might be interesting for them.

Being able to turn off the survival mechanic would be important. I'd think it'd have the same potential for continual micromanagement annoyance as getting called to go play pool with your cousin over and over in GTA IV.

On the other hand, if you can turn it off at any time, and you ever do, you lose the immersive quality of it. Perhaps if it was a mild mechanic that only required occasional attention, like working out at the gym in San Andreas.

When I heard of the Fallout new vegas Realism option, this would be exactly the kind of thing I'd envision. In games where wilderness plays a big part, having to worry about survival is a great way of making it more interesting, or strengthening the moral choice business.

Brilliant article! such survival mechanics are sorely needed, and would surely enrich the game.

afaceforradio:
I don't really like health/tiredness/hunger/etc meters in games. That's why I don't like the Sims. It's a game. They're not meant to get hungry then whine about it in clipart form.

I agree about the horse thing - if your horse dies or runs off I reckon you should have to steal a horse or whatever. If they wanted, they could put your 'deed' horse outside the nearest save house, but only then do you get it.

I totally agree with this. After years of playing old-style RPGs, I have decided there are few things less fun than having to eat and drink manually in a game to keep playing.

That said, I guess I wouldn't have a problem with the carrot approach rather than the stick. The more recent games reward eating and drinking (especially self-cooked) with stat boosts. Maybe a better stamina, a health boost, increased dead-eye regen or something like that would be a good way to go?

I can't express to you how much I HATE being forced to go looking for food and drink though. That's not why I play games. It's been done to death over a decade a go. It blew chunks. Don't ever EVER bring it back.

Old Hat:
I think the best way to improve Red Dead Redemption would simply be to get rid of the regenerating health/dead-eye and intantly respawining horses. If you had a health meter then there'd be an actual reason to buy food, and there'd actually be a reason to steal horses if there weren't an infinite number of them just waiting for you to whistle for them.

This sounds simple enough and basically the same theme in terms of changes. That said, it's not quite the same: say you're an expert gunner and manage to go for long periods without taking any damage at all. So because you never get shot, you never get hungry? I'm not sure that's how it's supposed to work...

I dunno, it'd be an interesting mechanic to check out - the survival mode proposed in the article, that is - at the least. A toggle might be too tempting to flick it off whenever I got to starving in the middle of nowhere, though. Instead maybe have it as a choice at the start a la Diablo's Hardcore mode: you can't turn it on or off after you've begun a game, but you can choose to have it or skip it before then. Yeah it is a little annoying to restart a game if you find you don't like the mechanic or if you're wishing you had it, but I think that minor annoyance would be better than walking around with an Easy Mode button just begging to be pushed.

Also, if someone who has never played RDR might make a suggestion on the subject, maybe the horse should inherit this as well. Obviously the horse's survival requirements would require less frequent attention than those of its rider, but it shouldn't be neglected entirely. Tired horses run slower and are more prone to collapse/injury/death from sheer exhaustion, after all.

I went through about 6 copies of the Mouse Trap game as a kid. Parents bought it once, and then returned it 5 times or so.

Every time it was missing at least one piece. EVERY TIME. I did manage to build different parts of the trap each iteration though.

Argh. I wasn't more then 7 or so, and I'm still angry about that damn game. And yeah, I didn't see the point in the "game" part of it when you could just build the Rube Goldberg trap.

As far as RDR. I haven't played yet, but watched my roommate run around a bit doing quests. I asked him if he's killed an entire town yet, and he said the game didn't really reward being an outlaw at all, so he didn't bother. Such a sad state of affairs when you can't feel good for killing the idiot wounded woman out in the middle of nowhere who refuses to go back to town for medicine, but is happy to have you fetch it for her.

I like the way you think Yahtzee, I've been doing some thinking on games Ideas I'd like to develop if I ever become a games developer, and if implemented well hunger mechanics and stuff like that could make for some interesting concepts(strictly in single player of course),as long as they're all about making the game more engaging and less about padding it out

Basically, games should re-implement man-vs.-nature (with a dash of man-vs.-himself) mechanics that were once ubiquitous. I agree - although, I also like the suggestion that there be a way to turn off these mechanics.

Sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Rather STALKERish.

I think I would like Survival mode as an option, but would hate it as a mandatory setting. It's the sort of thing that sounds cool until one has to actually play it, at which point it becomes an annoying upkeep to keep my cowboy up and running.

But that's my personal taste, much like survival fits Yahtzee's personal taste. I respect that he views it as what he would personally prefer and not "what those stupid fools at Rockstar failed to do" or something.

Nice inspired idea Yahtzee. I'm glad Fallout New Vegas is implementing such an idea, it will certainly make trying to survive in a nuclear wasteland feel more like trying to survive in a nuclear wasteland.

The GTA games (and this is a GTA game) have always been inspired by violent films rather than reality, and I wouldn't want this game to turn into Oregon Trail. Or worse, "Little House on the Prairie." But RDR has inspired me to watch a few more westerns of late, and basic survival is one of the pillars of the genre. So there should be some risk of something like starvation involved every time you leave a town, in addition to the cougars.

But even so, with one's magically reliable horse and inhuman marksmanship it's like being the Lone Ranger or Roy Rogers, when I'd rather be the Man With No Name or John Wayne. I guess the thing to do would be a play-through without using the horse whistle or dead eye abilities.

"Players would have to be sure they were properly equipped before heading out of town."

Didn't you complain about this mechanic in Monster Hunter Tri?

The law thing I do agree with. No reason to ever to break it, no rewards, and no need. I played whole game and only ever got in trouble once...for running into someone

afaceforradio:
I don't really like health/tiredness/hunger/etc meters in games. That's why I don't like the Sims. It's a game. They're not meant to get hungry then whine about it in clipart form.

I agree about the horse thing - if your horse dies or runs off I reckon you should have to steal a horse or whatever. If they wanted, they could put your 'deed' horse outside the nearest save house, but only then do you get it.

Which is why he also suggested it to be an option you could turn on/off. So those who want it can have it, and those who don't can not use it.

The survival idea is actually really great, especially as a mechanic to actually immerse players into the idea into the mind of a man who starts to view criminal activity as being a necessity. Perhaps even open up questions of morals, ethics, etc. the way that films and books do, without trying to ape them directly, by encouraging players to be 'moralistic,' even in the face of death (perhaps through additional rewards?), but at the same time enticing them with quick, easy rewards that solve their problems right away (if only temporarily). And it would be natural, logical evolution of the gameplay of Dragon Age, Fallout 3, Bioshock, and all those other moral-choice games, but without ham-fistedly inserting an obvious choice.

I feel like cutting myself now.

Thankfully, it seems like your "survival mode" ideas are being implemented in Fallout: New Vegas' optional hardcore mode. So, we may yet have a game, in a desert, where survival is actually a challenge.

I like Red Dead Redemption and am still playing it. It's taking forever to finish because I keep getting distracted. This is strange for me. I've never considered myself a completionist or an achievement/trophy collector by any means.

But, I can't help but be drawn in by its random encounters, strangers, outfits, treasures, bounties, gang hideouts, sharpshooter challenges, survivalist challenges, and hunter challenges.

I just find it fun. This place somehow feels more real than the open-worlds of other games I've played.

That said, I agree 100% that the gameplay mechanics definitely do NOT feel real. It IS more like a toy than a game. There's very little consequence to injury or even death. Money quickly becomes meaningless as you run out of things to buy. Nothing is scarce.

Some Sims-style people management or inventory management might add interesting decision-making and consequences. Or it might make it tedious. I'm not sure.

It might be worth another look, but I did not care for Fallout 3 when I played it. Far too often I was out on an expedition to explore some bombed-out ruins, but instead found myself spending half my time managing my inventory. It was tedious. I got bored and quit.

Perhaps I'd find some middle ground to be perfect. Perhaps optional realism preference settings.

Yeah, I was chilling in the wilderness of RDR and my Horse got mauled by a cougar. It was a big "oh, shit!" moment. Here I was, ages away from civilization, no horse, angry Cougar eyeing me for the main course.

I was scared, briefly, dumb luck struck from the sky and I was up a creek without a paddle. But I also knew that the game wouldn't need me to eat, sleep, or drink. If I could get away from the cougar I'd be fine, I'd just need to keep my eyes peeled for other beasties.

A survival mechanic would really enhance the game, but I agree it would need to be toggled on and off. I played Liar's dice for a side quest and made $600, in a game that gave me $25 for completing a death defying mission, but I don't really have anything to spend that money on, especially since the game is handing me better weapons through story missions.

Now if I knew the bitch goddess of cougar attacks could strike at any time and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere and I actually needed to survive a trip back to town I'd be carrying max water and rations at all times.

However, I also like the idea of using positive reinforcement. A stat bonus if you keep yourself well fed, hydrated, and rested.

Sounds like Yahtzee enjoys STALKER, particularly the modded one that has hunger and sleep play a much larger role

How about an option to just disable regenerating health and added option to eat the meat you've hunted? And have a bloody weight limit! That being said, I don't actually mind the regenerating dead eye meter. It's hard enough to accurately hit something on consoles (at least for PC gamers like me), so a bit of a help there is always welcome
As for the horse, could go either way. I don't mind having the option to recall my horse, provided it is within a distance where it is reasonable to assume it heard me.

But more importantly, why the hell can't you swim in the game? That irritates me far more than anything else

Rather than this "Survival mode" I would add a more complex health system. Something like in MGS3 or Call of Cthulhu: Dark corners of Earth. Health system would be fun but not this stupid sims like hunger meter because it would be annoying(I hated MGS3 for that damn hunger meter). Another annoying thing would be if you could not call your horse, horses die quite frequently and in an easy way. Just one hit from a mountain lion and ciao. Lastly John Marston is a married man, he goes through hell just to see his family again, I don't see him with a prostitute. So basically I don't agree with a lot of your suggestions Yahtzee.

Although I agree that there should be something done with the money because you don't need it that much in the game.

I'm going to have to call "bulls**t" on Yahtzee this time. If they had the "Survival" system like he's suggesting, he would have criticized the system for taking you out of the action and out of the game similar to the way you had to take your friends bowling in the first game.

While the meters sound like a good idea they would have to be used in a good fashion. Most games out today that have those meters tend to fuck it up, you leave with full everything and have to come back three hours later because, lo and behold, your asshole character is hungry. If they did it on a not so realistic scale I could see it being a fairly interesting concept, but the idea of rockstar doing ANYTHING interesting is laughable.

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