A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Red Dead Redemption is a violent western game with very mature themes, and not suitable for kids or young teens. The action involves frequent gunfights that are both bloody and highly stylized. Players will also hunt and kill wild animals, then skin them with blood spattering the screen. Our hero, an ex-outlaw, is honest and good by design, but players can have him kill civilians (with a penalty in reputation) and take on criminal missions -- including drug running challenges -- if they choose. Tobacco and alcohol use occurs frequently, and their effects are made clear in the game. There is a sex scene in which a woman can be seen naked, and women in saloons are dressed provocatively. Foul language abounds in the dialogue, and players are at risk of being exposed to more should they try the online mode, which offers open voice communication. (Common Sense Media does not recommend online play with open voice communication to children under 12 years of age.)
What's it about?
The decidedly adult-oriented RED DEAD REDEMPTION, developed by the same people who make the Grand Theft Auto games, offers players an extraordinarily large, detailed, and authentic recreation of the Wild West circa 1911. Players take on the role of an ex-outlaw who must hunt down the bandits he once rode with in order to secure the safety of his wife and child, who have been taken hostage by corrupt lawmen. There are countless precursor and side missions for players to lose themselves in along the way, ranging from cattle herding and bronco busting to helping sheriffs round up or eliminate local thieves and murders. Strangers in need of help are everywhere, and there are also some criminal outfits that try to enlist the player’s help. An online mode provides the ability to freely roam the game’s massive world alone or with friends in the form of a posse. Players can also enter traditional deathmatch-style events.
Is it any good?
Few games aspire to the sort of scope achieved by Red Dead Redemption. The world players inhabit is breathtaking in its beauty, mind-boggling in its enormity, and almost incomprehensible in its level of authentic detail. Horses animate just like the real thing, clouds create shadows that roll over the landscape, faux newspapers contain complete articles and ads appropriate to the time and place, and characters chat with one another with marvellously authentic accents and dialects.
The things players can do in the game are even more impressive. Whether it’s living off the land by hunting and skinning wild animals, joining an armed posse to go save a homestead, or heading out onto the range to capture and break some wild stallions, there is never a dull moment or a shortage of activities. Adult gamers looking for something meaty, lengthy, and beautiful are in for a treat.
Online interaction: This game supports online play with open voice chat, which means players are free to use harsh language, exchange personal information, and share inappropriate ideas. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for pre-teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of violence in this game. Would the game been as fun without the extreme violence, sex, and cussing?
Families can also discuss Red Dead Redemption’s depiction of women. Many of the female characters in the game are shallow and appear to be little more than harlots, but a few are given legitimate and even liberal personalities.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.