GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween 2013: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
It's no secret that the zombie genre is kind of oversaturated. Still, that doesn't mean zombies aren't freakin' awesome. While we certainly see a lot of the undead these days, there's still room for enjoyment as far as fans are concerned. When Rockstar Games released Red Dead Redemption, it delivered an insanely entertaining open-world gun-slinging adventure. Of course, the studio would eventually shift into a different albeit familiar gear with Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, a zombie take on the exploits of protagonist John Marston that was a great alternative to the main game.
So once again, GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween 2013 will feature a cool zombie game ... because we love out zombies. Of course, if you have an affinity for the dead, you can also check out our last entry, which happens to be Fatal Frame. Ghosts aren't exactly zombies, but they aren't exactly alive, either, so there you go!
Why it stands out
When it was first revealed, Undead Nightmare kind of caught everyone off guard. After a few story-based DLC packs continued the story of John Marston in the Wild West proper, this expansion went in a completely different direction. Zombies in the American frontier? That's kind of preposterous, isn't it? Well, as preposterous as it may be, it was still quite novel upon launch, and the end product turned out to be immensely satisfying.
Undead Nightmare takes place in the same main location as the base game. The whole thing has received a much moodier coat of paint, though. Plague infests the land, and the townsfolk have all become zombified monstrosities. It's all appropriately apocalyptic, changing the scenery quite drastically, and offering up a different ambiance.
Thankfully, if you loved playing Red Dead, Undead Nightmare gives you more of the same gameplay and features that Rockstar's known to deliver. Missions are enjoyable, side missions are often a blast, and the world is worth exploring. Throw in a few hordes of zombies and you've got DLC that feels more like a complete game. In fact, you don't actually have to own the main Red Dead game to play this zombie expansion, which is actually kind of neat for folks who love them some good ol' zombie lore.
Is it scary?
It's difficult to call Undead Nightmare a traditionally scary game, because it's really not. It's more menacing than anything else, and being tossed into a zombie Wild West is both dark and surreal. It's almost like a classic B-movie — it isn't really horrific, but it sure as hell is pretty damn cool.
Though they're two different experiences, I'd be much more comfortable drawing comparisons between Undead Nightmare and Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned than anything else. The campaign isn't what you'd call terrifying, but the spooky environments and creepy zombies add this incredulous fulfillment that's a bit goofy but still totally worthwhile.
Why play it on Halloween?
A lot of reviewers have gone on to call Undead Nightmare one of the best pieces of add-on content in recent memory, and rightfully so. It's fairly cheap, doesn't require the main game, and offers up a sizable adventure. Most importantly, thought, it's effing zombies in the Wild West! That's a selling point in and of itself! Whether you fancy yourself a Red Dead fan, or if you're just a zombie lover, Undead Nightmare is kind of a must for people who enjoy shooting those limping, smelly freaks dead in the eye.
Ultimately, it's the whole zombie theme that makes this expansion a great game to consider playing on Halloween. The haunting atmosphere, desperate themes, and zombies themselves all combine to create a deceptively lighthearted ride through a dying Wild West setting.
Oh, and you can ride zombie horses! Zombie horses!
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