Red Dead Redemption

DLC: Liars and Cheats Pack

Sometimes, being dishonest is a good thing.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: September 24, 2010
If there is one game that seemingly didn’t need downloadable content, it was Red Dead Redemption. The open-ended shooter based in the Wild West had it all. Competitive multiplayer? Check. Cooperative multiplayer? Check. An open ended world that also supported grouping up with friends? Check and mate.


However, Rockstar never sits still with their games. First came the free “Outlaws to the End” add-on, which gave players six new missions and a class based system to play in. Next was the “Legends and Killers Pack” (for $9.99) which brought back fan favorites from Red Dead Revolver to be used in multiplayer, new map locations for competitive, and the highly popular tomahawk weapon. Of course, both packs included more trophies.

The latest pack of DLC, “Liars and Cheats” (also $9.99) is the biggest expansion to the game yet. It provides the most requested features (liar’s dice and poker in multiplayer), an all new weapon, expands the free roam environment, and even adds two more playable modes. And once again, there are even more trophies to be gained for those who dare. Altogether, this gives Red Dead Redemption a whopping 79 trophies, and that number will increase with the upcoming “Undead Nightmare” pack.

Rather than trying to wrap a nice little bow on everything here, I am going to opt to pick apart each piece of this massive update. There’s so much here, it would be an injustice to try to lump it all together. Plus, there are so many different things tucked in, all of the new features deserve a closer look.

Stronghold is a new competitive multiplayer mode. Basically, it’s a lot like your standard “capture points A, B, C” affair, but with a twist. To mix things up there are also safes to unlock. These are done the same way, but it requires one person to actually open it up. This leaves that player an easy target, as they are vulnerable until their death or the safe is actually opened.

If you have played Red Dead Redemption’s competitive multiplayer before, you'll know what you are in for. There is a lot of rolling, and for players who rely on auto-aim, it’s going to get very frustrating. After a few times of having enemies roll up and shotgun my character in the face, I began using the same tactic (it worked swimmingly, I may add). Unfortunately, most of the time Stronghold will devolve into one of two things: 1) a close-up shotgun war or, 2) a repeater battle, with the defense staying on the high ground and picking off the offense.

But, I must say despite these flaws, if you know what to expect this mode will be fantastic. For those of you like me who are coming back to RDR after some time, it will take a lot of getting use to. But once it clicks, Stronghold is a welcome mode to the online experience and one that deserves a lot of play.

The new gang hideouts and hunting grounds are more of the same. There are seven hideouts and four hunting areas. The hideouts are more difficult this time around, with a lot more enemies, including bosses. I will also note there is a definite increase in difficulty with these hideouts.

As for hunting, it is also what one would expect: a handful of boars, cougars, bobcats, or wolves spawn in waves, including a boss at the end. These get rather hectic, especially the cougars that are just as aggressive and nasty as I remember. But I must admit, I had a chuckle at the legendary boss cougar having the name “Demi.”

After completing one of the new gang hideouts (the hunting grounds do not count), the high scorer gains access to the explosive rifle. This gun comes with only four bullets, which you cannot regain ammo for (unless you complete another of the new hideouts). It’s a good thing too, because after the hi-jinks I came across the last few nights, the rifle definitely needed parameters. It is also available in single player with challenges.

Most one hit kill weapons lose their novelty, but this one was entertaining for every shot. From shooting my friend’s horse and watching both his character and mount explode into a fleshy, bloody mess, to shooting an enemy posse and watching six people and a handful of horses explode; it’s a fantastic addition. Now if only I can get people to stop killing me after I come in first in a hideout and stealing it, the experience will be golden. I earned it, after all.

The multiplayer horse races were a pleasant surprise to me. The shooting is done without auto-aim, so those of you using it as a crutch will get no assistance here. Bullets are also limited, so careful aim is needed. It’s quite annoying to get the back of your head blown out with the finish line in sight, but hey, such is the life of the Wild West.

Multiplayer poker and liar's dice is just as much fun as I envisioned, with all sorts of crazy antics. One thing I didn’t expect, however, was the budget system. There is a daily spending limit, and players start with an allowance. To illustrate this, let me tell a story.

So we played our first game of poker online, with a third random person. For whatever reason, I was able to just bully my way to 1500 chips. After some time, my friend decided to go all in with (what would eventually be) two pair. Unsuspecting to the others, I had a five high straight. With that, I had nearly 2800 chips and my friend was knocked out. I eventually beat the final player, and walked away with $400 in poker money.

What came next, however, I didn’t expect. We went to join a queue to play again and got the message saying something to the effect of “your posse leader is broke and spent his allowance, he can’t play for 24 hours.” I laughed for a good five minutes at this, knowing I was solely responsible. It’s a great mechanic, however, as it safeguards people from going in all the time with no repercussions. Both poker and liar’s dice are at their best with full tables, especially when the chaos ensues. With different tables and betting amounts in both games, strategies and decisions are constantly changing.

This pack will last you as long as you want it to. If you enjoyed Red Dead Redemption this just further adds to the fun. It can get frustrating coming back from a hiatus, but once you get your bearings "Liars and Cheats" adds more than some full retail releases.
The Verdict
9.0

For $10, anyone with a copy of RDR laying around should pick this up. Having the game without this add-on only handicaps the experience.

9.0Graphics:

Red Dead Redemption has always looked great. This is no different, but it also comes with the flaws. You'll see a handful of disappearing horses and clipping characters throughout everything.

9.5Sound:

All of the new skins have their original voice actors. The explosive rifle sounds amazing hit or miss. There are some small audio issues of things randomly going silent when a player drops in poker or liar's dice, however.

8.5Control:

The removal of auto-aim in the horse racing segments is a great touch. Everything controls as well as it should. Again, the only problem is in the delays/hiccups when people drop.

9.5Gameplay:

The core gameplay remains the same, but is simply expanded. With so many different additions it's entirely possible to lose hours at a time. There are some balancing issues in Stronghold, though.