I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Why are so many people pissing and moaning about the free Outlaws To The End DLC for Red Dead Redemption? Even more so, why is everyone still getting their panties in a bunch over the “bugs” and “glitches” in the game?
In my opinion, Rockstar knocked the single player experience in this game clear out of the park. I’m not saying that because I’ve played it for a few hours, I’m saying that because I’ve put in over 140 hours and have experienced very few problems. Certainly not enough “glitches” to taint my gaming experience. Admittedly, much of the time I am playing in single player, but lately, after hitting 100% in single player, I have been playing online much more. What I find is that the original multi-player experience is lacking. It’s difficult to get any of the achievements in public free roam due to everyone’s need to shoot others in the head for no reason other than they can.
On June 22, 2010, Rockstar redeemed themselves by releasing the multi-player co-op mission pack, Outlaws To The End. If this is any representation of the future DLC, sign me up now. They got it right. Completely right.
Sequestered Missions – Each of the missions take place in an isolated game, meaning the only people sharing the game are the players on the mission. No other players to interfere with the fun.
Friendly Fire – Bullets are bullets. They hit what ever you fire them at. I like this because if forces all the players to be aware of the location of each of the other players. this actually adds to the co-operative nature of the missions. If you are in front, squat down so those behind can fire over you.
Familiar Environments – These missions take place in existing areas on the map. No new territory to explore, but this, I believe, was an answer to gamers who were not happy with the multi-player side of the game. Putting the mechanics of the co-op play in place using existing locations sounds like a very economical way to see if this is what players are looking for in multi-player. They can test the waters and show gamers that there is more to come on the multi-player side.
It’s Free – Nothing is free nowadays. Even the free lunch is around $5.99. This was a fantastic move of good faith on Rockstar’s part. It’s like they heard the fan base and said “Well, ok. Here, have this DLC and see if you like this instead. No charge.” Wow.
So why all the whining? I think there is a very vocal minority that IS still having issues with the game (even after the patch was released), but it’s not necessarily a problem with the game. My background includes being a programmer and a network engineer for over twenty years. Rockstar has sold, as of June 8, 2010, over 5 million units (VideoGamer.com). Don’t take that number lightly. First of all, if the game was as bug ridden as some claim, they would never have sold this many copies in just one month. Secondly, there would be five million people screaming about the game not working. This is not the case. In fact, in most places I find comments from gamers negating the claims of bugs and glitches. Bottom line – if the problems were only the fault of the software (the game) then everyone would have the same problems.
What could be wrong? Here are a few things you should checkout before dragging Rockstar out to Hanging Tree. Start with the simple things.
Stay Cool – Make sure your console is properly ventelated. Heat is your enemy; keep that console cool and you may see your lockups and slow-downs go away.
Clean the Game Disc – Make sure the disc is finger print and jelly free. Wipe clean with a damp soft cloth or paper towel.
Clean the Game Drive – Run a lens cleaner in your system. Having a buildup of dust on the lens can slow down disc access and even corrupt the data being read from the disc.
Check Your Connection – Connect a PC or Mac to your internet connection using the same method as your gaming console. If you are using a network cable, use the same cable for the test as it may be the problem. Is you are connecting using wireless, place the PC or Mac you are testing with as close to the location of console as possible. There could be other devices nearby that are interfering with the connection. Next visit SpeedTest.net and PingTest.Net and run each test by choosing the location on the map that is nearest to you. The results may explain why you are having problems. If you are running other services through your internet connection at the same time (NetFlix, YouTube, BitTorrent, etc.) shut it all down. Gaming relies on consistent network communication and other services like these can really suck up your much needed gaming bandwidth. If you don’t have any of these services running but still see speeds much lower than expected, but only when your PC or Mac is connected to you network at the same time as your console, then it’s time to scan for viruses, adware and malware.
Beyond the Obvious – If none of the above look like they are causing a problem then more drastic action may be required. Consoles keep a cache of patches and updates that pile up over time. Clearing this cache will force the console back to a patch-free state and it will only download patches it needs as it needs them. For Xbox 360 users this fairly simple. Microsoft provides directions HERE for clearing your cache. For the PS3 the solution is less elegant and may require the drive to be reformatted. Before going to that extreme, try reinstalling the game and making sure you have the latest firmware. If the problems persists, contact Sony support to walk you through a reformat of your hard drive.
You owe it to yourself to get your console issues resolved so you can experience Red Dead Redemption: Outlaws To The End in all of its glory. It’s a truly enjoyable extension of the single player experience into a multi-player world without the irritation of other interfering with your mission.