Rockstar has been leading the way in downloadable content all generation and that trend looks set to continue with impressive support continuing for the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption. Grand Theft Auto IV’s two DLC packs, The Lost & the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, revolutionized the concept of expanding a game’s single player campaign and now with the Legends & Killers pack for Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar is aiming to replicate that success in the online arena.
If you haven’t already checked it out, the first DLC pack for Red Dead Redemption – Outlaws to the End – was extremely successful; it added co-op missions, improved free roam and gave players another couple of hours of gameplay. Best of all, it was free and paved the way for continuing digital support.
The Legends & Killers includes nine new maps, eight playable characters from Red Dead Revolver, more achievements/trophies and my personal favourite: the tomahawk. All that will set you back 800 Microsoft Points or $15.95 on PSN, which is starting to look cheap compared to the new precedent set by Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2’s hefty DLC, but as always some players will question why some of the maps weren’t included from the beginning – there’s no avoiding it.
Rockstar has taken a variety of maps that should be familiar to anyone who played through the entire single player campaign and paired them up with corresponding game modes. The nine new maps, and their playable game modes, in Legends & Killers are: Blackwater (All Modes), Escalera (Gang Shootout, Shootout), Thieves’ Landing (All Modes), Punto Orgullo (Hold Your Own), Fort Mercer (Gang Shootout, Gold Rush, Grab The Bag, Shootout), Tall Trees (Hold Your Own), Manzanita Post (Grab the Bag, Hold Your Own), Hennigan’s Stead (Grab the Bag, Hold Your Own) and Rio Bravo (Gang Shootout, Gold Rush, Grab The Bag, Shootout). All up, that’s over 30 new gameplay variations that’ll drastically increase your play time with the online component of Red Dead Redemption.
Some maps work better than others with their prescribed game modes and Fort Mercer is the standout addition. If you remember it from the single player campaign, the fort is designed as a gang hideout and translates perfectly into competitive online gameplay. The forrest terrain of Tall Trees and the mountainous area of Rio Bravo are great for free-for-all shootouts, while the urbanized town of Blackwater is great for more tactical combat with its combination of rooftops, hiding spots and open streets.
Manzanita Post was the surprise packet as it was the only map I struggled to remember from the single player; it clearly didn’t leave much of an impression on me the first time around. It contains strategic cover and gatling guns alongside dense forrest cover that allows flanking and covert movement. Manzanita Post is so successful because it focuses on two specific game modes: Grab the Bag and Hold Your Own. As a result, it’s been tailor-made for stealthy play and will quickly become a fan favourite.
The tomahawk is a cool addition, even if it’s more aesthetically pleasing than anything. It’s a fun new weapon and iconic of the era, although not all that different from the throwing knife. However, at times it’s grossly overpowered. Occasionally it dishes out a one hit kill when it clearly shouldn’t, no matter where you strike your opponent. The tomahawk is also available in single player and offers some new challenges and trophies/achievements. It’s nothing to write home about, but at least offers some incentive to return to Marston Ranch.
Eight new playable characters from Red Dead Revolver round out the package. They add some nice variety, and a fat guy running around is always good for a laugh. Red Harlow, Jack Swift, Mr. Kelley, Annie Stoakes, Buffalo Soldier, Shadow Wolf, Ugly Chris, and Pig Josh have all made their way over, but I doubt too many Redemption players will even remember that Red Dead Revolver ever existed; the sequel is certainly in a league of its own by comparison. They make no difference whatsoever to the gameplay, but add some variety to the cast.
Legends & Killers immensely improves the range and diversity of Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer but won’t sway anyone who didn’t care for it originally. It was easy to overlook the multiplayer component in such a strong single player game and, to be fair, it’s not for everyone. The new maps and accompanying game modes add significant replay value to the multiplayer experience but do little to entice anyone who has already lost interest.
If you enjoy playing Red Dead Redemption online, the Legends & Killers pack is money well spent and vastly increases the variety of games and maps on offer. Nine new maps along with some new characters and a badass weapons are more than enough to justify the cost if you want to continue playing. Having said that, Legends & Killers is strictly for gamers still interested in playing Red Dead Redemption online and won’t do anything to convince you otherwise if you’ve already lost interest.