Red Dead Redemption: Legends and Killers DLC Review

August 18, 2010Written by Ray Conley

Rockstar Games took everyone’s wild imagination by surprise when they brought the Wild West to life through the boots of gunslinger John Marston.  Spectacular vistas and heart-pounding gun battles ravaged the desert wilderness in Red Dead Redemption, and the free-roam multiplayer brought many new possibilities to the fore-front of online gaming.  After Rockstar’s first successful launch of their free DLC, Outlaws To The End, another downloadable package came shortly on its heels – Legends and Killers.  Will this first payable download add to Red Dead’s legend or will we want to kill this one off and feed it to the coyotes?

We’ve been able to get a good amount of play time into Red Dead Redemption’s first pay-to-play DLC, Legends and Killers which costs $9.99 on the PlayStation Store.  With this new add-on, you’ll have access to 9 more additional competitive multiplayer maps, 8 new multiplayer skins, the tomahawk weapon, and some new trophies to boot. It may sound like a hefty list of extras that could potentially add more playtime in your saddle, however this DLC pack really feels like a “been there, done that” situation.

When playing within the “new” multiplayer maps, you may suddenly notice a sense of déjà vu.  All the new competitive maps essentially make places that are accessible in free roam into a shoot-out arena by implementing Free-For-All, Gang Matches, and some Grab-the-Bag game modes.  You’ll be revisiting familiar locations such as Sidewinder Gulch, Escalera, Fort Mercer, and Thieves’ Landing just to name a few.  Each map will force you to implement different strategies depending on the game mode that is in play.  For example, in Thieves’ Landing, you’ll find yourself cautiously strafing the sides of buildings rather than running out in the dark, muddy road.  Since the sunlight is apparently prohibited in this swampy city, you’ll constantly find yourself straining to catch some sort of movement in the dense fog, hoping to snag your target on the draw before they do. In Sidewinder Gulch, a game of Grab-the-Bag proves to be extremely tedious and very drawn out, mostly ending up with both teams not scoring anything when the ticker runs out.  A tussle around Redemption Rock can prove to be fast-paced and fun – and if the players find themselves cooperative, you may find yourself throwing the coveted tomahawk more than tossing bullets, which can lead to quite the frenzy.  Regardless of the different varieties present within each map, it’s hard not to feel somewhat shortchanged on the map locations, as a round of clearing Gang Hideouts in Free Roam seems to be much more rewarding and better paced in some of the locations, like Fort Mercer – and you don’t have to pay for that either.

For the new multiplayer skins, you’ll be able to don the guise of Mr. Kelly, Red Harlow, Pig Josh, Jack Swift and a few others that are all from Red Dead Revolver.  Putting on your new suits won’t add any special advantages to your play style, but may give you the morale boost you need if wearing shiny new clothes is your thing.

The new tomahawk weapon didn’t come across to me as anything special either.  If you look underneath the textures and coat of paint, you’ll find that it handles and throws just like a throwing knife.  In fact, I’m pretty certain it is a throwing knife with a makeover.  However, there is still a sense of satisfaction when you can savagely plant your axe into your target over large distances, something that never seems to get old.  Also, some of the added trophies will encourage you to really explore the tomahawk with newer challenges.

If you’re a trophy hunter, then you may find some extended enjoyment with Rockstar’s addition of 10 new trophies.  Some trophies will require you to make a certain number of kills while playing a certain character obtained from the DLC, while others will have you pushing your throwing skills to the limits.

After everything is said and done, I can’t help but feel that this DLC isn’t Rockstar’s finest.  Since all the competitive multiplayer maps aren’t really “new” and is already easily accessed during Free Roam, you’ll wonder why Rockstar couldn’t include these areas with the original release of Red Dead Redemption.  The multiplayer skins really don’t add much more playtime or value to the online experience either, but if you’re a die-hard fan of the previous Red Dead titles, then you may enjoy the new look of the wardrobe.  The tomahawk coupled with the new trophies is probably the only thing that shines from this DLC.  However, those things alone wouldn’t be able to justify the price you need to pay to play. All that said, don’t let this DLC pack dishearten you… Red Dead Redemption is still the best game released this year, and plenty more DLC is on the way aiming to keep things fresh.