Undead Nightmare has a great mix of serious action thrills and comedy. It's fully aware of how ridiculous the situation is, and the developers never miss an opportunity to point it out. Early on a player assures us that there's absolutely no harm in him going down a dark alley alone. He's perfectly safe. Nothing could ever happen to him. Moments later he's dead. Later in the game we're introduced to a film director looking to make a zombie picture, but John doesn't understand why anybody would want to watch a movie about the walking dead.
And even with all of this buffoonery, John Marston is a serious man on a deadly serious quest. The powerful lead character never allows the events around him to go over the line into slapstick territory, always offering an anchor to the lunacy. He may not have the right answers, but he knows that he needs to push on for the sake of his family. And because of his conviction, I found myself compelled to see his story out. Without that stern character leading the charge, I suspect Undead Nightmare would have turned into yet another cheesy zombie game.
This expansion pack gives players a new way to play Red Dead Redemption, as the guy who has free license to shoot anybody and everybody in sight. It turns the game into an all-out action game, one that involves the player doing a lot of running for safety. These moments are not only thrilling; they feel notably different from the original game. Because you are one of only a handful of survivors, you won't be able to buy ammo or perform trades. Instead players will need to use their ammo wisely and search out new quests. Thankfully ammo is not tight, I rarely ran out of ammo, even when I was taking down the zombie hordes overtaking the cities.
Playing through Undead Nightmare reminded me just how gorgeous Red Dead Redemption is. The characters and zombies are good looking, but it's the stunning vistas and beautiful scenery that makes the game. This is one of the few games where I would routinely stop and look out at the world in front of me. I'm so used to seeing amazing graphics in every game; it's rare for me to actually take notice. But there's something about this world that is so unbelievably pretty that it requires a few seconds to marvel. This world is so foreign from most video games, it's the first fully realized Wild West location and easily one of the best game worlds I've ever seen.
Undead Nightmare did a great job reminding me how much I loved Red Dead Redemption. Even though it's only a few hours long, the game manages to recapture everything I loved the first time around. It feels like they had a checklist of what made Red Dead Redemption the game it was and added zombies. And for $10, that's a recipe I can get behind. Undead Nightmare proves yet again that Rockstar Games is the undisputed king of story-driven downloadable content.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Undead Nightmare is a great reminder of why we fell in love with Red Dead Redemption in the first place. The added zombies may seem silly, but there's a solid story that successfully walks the line between comedy and serious action. Some may complain about the filler missions, but it's worth spending the $10 to revisit one of the best games of the year!
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