Release Date: November 26, 2010
Publisher: Rockstar Games
ESRB: Mature

Unfortunately, in today’s entertainment world, many video game developers will cut corners to save a buck and overprice things like downloadable content to maximize their company’s profits. As unlikely as it sounds, Rockstar’s recent downloadable content for Red Dead Redemption, titled Undead Nightmare, has restored my faith in humanity. An extra storyline to the already amazing video game, Undead Nightmare is priced at only $10 (DLC) or $30 (disc-based), and it will provide purchasers with over 15 hours of single player gameplay, not including the new multiplayer features.

Undead Nightmare tells a somewhat more humorous tale from the life of protagonist John Marston. An evil plague has befallen the South, and somehow the undead are rising up from their graves. The old West is at a loss for what is happening, and Marston sets off to help his family, as well as other citizens, survive this horrendous outbreak.

I know it might sound crazy. Zombies in the old West? Although it sounds ludicrous, Rockstar has managed to pull off a pretty realistic representation of what would happen if a massive zombie outbreak was to curse the years surrounding 1911. While the story may play out like a well-written B-movie horror flick, the actual portrayal of the zombies is at times maddeningly frightening. These undead do not think. They do not wait. They simply see you, want what’s inside your skull and run. And because the setting is a pre-developed United States, players will often find themselves with no other option left but to run as well. It’s quite an experience to see Martson booking it down a hill with a hoard of zombies stumbling after him.

As far as the actual gameplay goes, Rockstar made the right decision in not fixing what wasn’t broken. Their already realistic physics engine makes the zombies react perfectly to real-world experiences. Shooting a zombie’s shoulder may spin its fragile body around itself, or perhaps knock it backwards into the zombie behind it. Everything feels organic and realistic, or at least as realistic as one can allow for an old West zombie video game.

Although I highly recommend this game, either as a download or disc-based experience, I have a stipulation for anyone considering  it: Finish the single-player campaign on Red Dead Redemption prior to playing Undead Nightmare. If you don’t, more than just plot points will be spoiled for you.

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