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Red Dead Redemption: Legends And Killers DLC Impressions

by Tim Turi on Aug 10, 2010 at 01:35 PM

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When Red Dead Redemption released back in May, Rockstar blew gamers’ boots out of the water with its rich and vivid Wild West saga. While the single-player campaign had people buzzing about the riveting quests and dramatic conclusion, the capable multiplayer hooked its spurs into online gamers with itchy trigger fingers. Today marks the release of Red Dead Redemption’s first paid DLC pack, Legends and Killers, which is tailored for grizzled multiplayer vets looking for variety.

The Legends and Killers pack includes nine new maps, a new weapon, and characters from the game’s spiritual predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. These enhancements pertain only to multiplayer, but are they enough to coax Marston’s loyal followers online?

At 800 Microsoft Points, or $9.99 on PSN, Legends and Killers is a tough sell if you are anything but gung-ho about Red Dead’s multiplayer. If you’re a little lukewarm on the multiplayer, take a look at what I did and didn’t like about the DLC pack to ease the decision.

What I liked

  • Revolver Characters: If you’re a free roamer like myself, you’ll want to replace your dull cowpoke with one of the Revolver characters right away. The salty, stern-looking crew adds even more character to the game’s already robust aesthetic. Pig Josh is a hulking, shirtless heifer with dynamite strapped to his head. Red Harlow is a solemn, scarred Marston look-alike. There’s even the eye-patched, fur-wearing Ugly Chris. Rounding out the ensemble crew are equally awesome Mr. Kelley, Annie Stoakes, Shadow Wolf, Buffalo Soldier, and Jack Swift.
  • The Tomahawk: Aiming this Native American hatchet is about as easy as nailing a moving gunman in the eye with a stick of dynamite from 87 yards. When the deadly projectile makes purchase, however, it’s totally worth the frustration. With a little practice you’ll be planting this hefty hatchet in skulls in no time.
  • Blackwater: Based on the game’s iconic turn-of-the-century town, this map makes for great firefights. Scaling the sides of buildings and nesting up high with a sniper rifle results in tons of fun. Store interiors, narrow alleyways, and the open streets make each encounter in Blackwater varied and frenzied. Games of Hold Your Own change dramatically, with teams diverging to simultaneously secure the highest perch and the enemies’ bag.
  • Hennigan’s Stead: This map based on the Marston Ranch is a flat expanse littered with trees and horses. Dozens of mounts roam the field, making quick ride-by shootings a whistle away. The action gets fast and chaotic quickly, but those not keen on galloping can pick off riders from the shelter of distant trees. Hennigan’s Stead makes for a great Free For All map if you prefer to be a lone gunman.
  • Fort Mercer: Duke’s base of operations makes for a fun fight. Tons of small nooks surround a wide open interior, with high perches on opposing sides of the map. Engaging in long distance firefights across rooftops while fending off the rabble in the courtyard is a blast.

What I didn’t like:

  • The Other Six Maps: Though many of the other maps are better designed than those that shipped with the game, they all lack the personality of the previously mentioned. The closest contender, Thieves’ Landing, is tainted by tons of water hazards that make running for cover a frustrating mess. Rio Bravo’s clustered mass of rock formations results in close tomahawk action that’s only fun until the fight becomes between the camera and the tight passageways. The rest of the maps (Escalera, Manzanita Post, Punto Orgullo, Tall Trees) are capable and entertaining enough, but they don’t really justify shilling out the extra cash.
  • Random Characters: After you fall in love with the cast of Red Dead Revolver you just purchased, being forced to play as random Miners or Cattle Rustlers is disappointing. You can only play characters like Jack Swift or Buffalo Soldier if you’re randomly appointed to the Revolver team in a gang shootout or enter a Free For All match. Why can’t I be Pig Josh all the time?
  • Nothing New For Single Player: I won’t lie, while I enjoy Red Dead’s multiplayer, it’s the single-player that really got me. Legends and Killers adds nothing to John Marston’s story. I’ve only ever pulled the trigger on map packs for multiplayer games I was crazy about, and this just isn’t one of them.

The Verdict:

If you’ve been fanatical about Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer since launch, or used to love it but want something that freshens it up, the Legends and Killers DLC is for you. If you’re more interested in playing new multiplayer modes or expanding the single-player experience, wait it out until the next DLC packs hit in the coming months. Those will contain multiplayer poker and zombies, which are sure to please fans who aren’t satisfied with the new maps and characters.

If you somehow completely missed the boat on Red Dead Redemption, click here to read our full review.