Monday, December 13, 2010

Undead Nightmare, The VGAs, a Soundtrack, and a review!

It was a big night at the Spike TV Video Game Awards on Saturday for Red Dead Redemption. It picked up 4 of the 9 categories it was nominated for, including Best Score (which I can personally say is great), Best Song (Far Away by José González), Game of the Year, and Undead Nightmare took home the award for Best DLC. It was a great night for Westerns (and Weird Westerns!) least on the Video Game front.

The Official Synopsis:
When former outlaw John Marston wakes up at his farmhouse, he finds a world gone insane: overnight, deranged hordes have overrun the towns and outposts of the American frontier. In a desperate attempt to save his family, Marston must traverse a world torn apart by chaos and disorder, using every skill he has to survive long enough to find a cure.

For anyone who hasn't picked up Undead Nightmare, (and isn't as interested in the main Red Dead Redemption game) now is your chance to see what all the fuss is about. Rockstar has released Undead Nightmare as a stand-alone disc. It has the entire world created for Red Dead except mutated into a Zombie Apocalypse of Undead Nightmare, and you dont need the first game to play it. From personal experience I can say that Undead Nightmare is a GREAT game. It works best as a final chapter to the main game. Characters and situations play carry over from Red Dead and the humor of the game comes from your familiarity with the things you've seen before. Its also the reason the game works on a horror level. Seeing the towns and landscapes that you've become familiar with in the first game, so strangely different, firmly puts you into the shoes of John Marston as he deals with what has happened his home.

However if that stuff doesn't matter, Undead Nightmare is a great Zombie Western all on its own. It has plenty of scares and laughs (and frequent frustrations) to make it a fun experience for first time players. It might even pique the interest of some to pick up the original, a wise investment in my humble opinion.

The music in Red Dead is great, and the music in Undead Nightmare is equally great, yet different. In some of the quieter scenes the soundtrack is full of bass harmonicas and strange alien chirping....almost as if the landscape itself were making the noises. There is even a track of music that reminds me of the creepy whistling from High Plains Drifter, very appropriate. Other times, especially during fight scenes and in action areas, the soundtrack breaks into some groovy 70s rock tracks that fit the scene perfectly. Its as if you are watching a cool 1970s Italian Zombie Western.

They just released the Soundtrack to Undead on iTunes, and its great. You can pick it up there or you go HERE and listen for yourself. Make sure to check out the the stand out track Bad VooDoo by Kreeps, which I posted below, you won't be disappointed! The game and soundtrack don't take them selves too seriously, but even so the scares come honestly.

My final analysis on Undead Nightmare is if you are looking for a great Zombie Western video game, and dont care about not being familiar with elements of the previous game, you can't beat it. When I first started playing it I loved it more than the original game, however by the end I found I loved it only just as much. There are some tough parts that I wouldn't want to do again (cleaning out the graveyards becomes increasingly difficult as the waves of Zombies become nearly endless by the final round). Also it is nice to go back to the original game sometimes, after awhile it gets a little tiring constantly having to look over your shoulder for a surprise Zombie attack (but honestly, I probably wouldn't change a thing). For the price this is an absolutely fantastic game. Music, graphics, gameplay all carry over flawlessly from the first game. The story is good, and spending more time with John Marston is always a plus.

If you have a game console and you haven't picked this or Red Dead up yet, shame on you...but now is your chance to make amends. And if you are a fan westerns and Weird Westerns, Double shame! Well worth the price and very, very fun. Plus, sometimes its just so satisfying to go out onto the plains, riding around on your horse and shootin' zombies!

I give it 4 out of 5 Bloody Spurs

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