Red Dead Redemption

[Hands-On] Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Red Dead Redemption is going to retroactively zombie your world... for a price!
Author: Ryan Green
Published: October 13, 2010
New York Comic-Con isn't exactly an ideal world for a wild west shooter, unless it is pumped full of supernatural elements and possibly a Steampunk version of Iron Man. Nevertheless, Rockstar created a haven for us journalists (and suckers who waited on line for an hour) so they could try out the latest DLC offering in seclusion.

Being cut off from the rest of the convention's chaos was oddly apt for content about zombies. Truth be told, the entire scenario was against me as a gamer, as I have never played Red Dead Redemption before. I know, I'm the real monster here.

It might seem strange that RDR is going the zombie route after taking a much more serious tone, but it still meshes with the world. A bit. The content itself takes place more than 60% through the game's story, but it isn't clear exactly why it happens. According to the booth rep, I was told it may or may not be a dream. It is somewhat a shame that Rockstar isn't being definitive on that, at least for now. Zombies being canon to the universe would really bring the series in a new direction and raise the stakes for titles like Dead Rising 2.

Regardless of the reality within a video game, the setting is clear. This is the old west, and there is a strong evil surrounding you. The demo started off in a graveyard with not another living thing in sight. It was obvious that the DLC has changed the mood, as the sky looked darker and more foreboding. My quest was to eradicate the graveyard of coffins and destroy any zombies that happened upon me. Anyone who is familiar with zombie games, or Rockstar missions, should know where this is going.

The simple task of burning the coffins was slowly made into an absolute hazardous experience. Each coffin I burned, more of those blasted ghouls would spring out of the ground and chase me down. All you can do is keep your distance and blow their heads off because in typical zombie horror fashion, head shots count the most.

Keeping your distance isn't easy, and it is made more challenging with the multiple zombie types. Aside from the standard, foot-shuffling undead foe, there are at least 3 more unique types that I encountered. A bulky charger, a fast one that runs on all fours low to the ground, and a green glowing model that spits bile (or hatred) at you. This isn't unfamiliar territory, but it also isn't dull.

To aid you, there are a few new weapons at your disposal, and one is clearly more useful than the other. The Blunderbuss is a slow-loading rifle that uses zombie parts for ammo. It sounds gross, but the end result is probably a lot more disturbing, as it one-shot killed any zombie I shot. The aftermath of pulling the trigger was instant liquification of a solid object, which was satisfying to say the least. Unfortunately, limited by your reload speed, so weapon switching will probably in order. If zombies get too close, you have two options. Hitting the fire button at the right time will allow you to instant headshot a zombie that is attacking you. This may not be the best route for every attack, but it helps to balance out the game. Your other option is the torch, which will light your enemies on fire upon striking them. It slows them down a bit, but should really be used on a few and not a motley crew.

There was one thing that became certain to me rather quickly; no matter what speed I took this mission, I was overwhelmed by the zombie hoards. Rockstar mentioned that there might be more variants to be announced as the content comes closer to release, so I don't envy anyone that wants to breeze through this 7 hours of content. Like the genre around it, this DLC isn't exactly forgiving as I died twice like an unwitting traveler in an unfamiliar part of town.

However, those more familiar with RDR will appreciate some of the finer changes to the game. Like bandit hideouts, graveyards will be one of those random events that you will encounter, as well as zombified wild animals. I was told that if you get your horse killed, the next time it is summoned, it will be part of that disgusting undead army. Yes, I'm a little zombist (that is a word).

Anyone seeking variety in their Red Dead Redemption should keep an eye on this new DLC, as it might bring a healthy inane dose of chaos that they've been looking for. Undead Nightmare will launch on October 26th for $9.99. Be sure to keep it here at for the full written review.