Video Game DLC Review: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare [Xbox 360, 2010]

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare [Xbox 360, 2010]

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
System: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)
Genre: Third-person shooter
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Release Date: November 22, 2010

Whoever came up with the idea for Undead Nightmare deserves a pat on the back. Inserting zombies into the wild western world of Red Dead Redemption? That is a stroke of genius, my friends.

What makes Undead Nightmare so great is that it isn’t just a killer concept — this is premium downloadable content. For a mere $9.99, you get access to a lengthy single player campaign (approx. 10 hours to get 100% completion) as well as two new multiplayer modes. That’s more than some full-priced retail games offer! Expansion packs don’t get much better than this.

Reformed outlaw John Marston is once again the main protagonist, and this time he is out to find a cure for the terrifying new plague that is sweeping the land, all so he can get his wife and child back to normal. The entire Wild West is being overrun with zombies, with the undead rising from their graves all over the area.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare [Xbox 360, 2010]

The plague hasn’t just infected humans. It has spread to animals, too, even in John’s preferred method of transportation: horses. I was horrified (yet also amused) when I whistled for a horse, only to have one arrive with half of its face missing. It must also be stated that you don’t know fear until you are attacked out of nowhere by a zombie bear.

Rockstar didn’t just include zombie animals, they also opted to entertain by introducing mythical creatures to the game. Now you can randomly come across chupacabras, sasquatches and unicorns. It’s pretty clear that the developers had a damn good time making this DLC.

As stated earlier, the single player campaign can last a good ten hours or so to finish completely. Aside from the main storyline that brings back some old favorite characters, there are also side quests and random encounters with loners out in the wilderness. Perhaps most fun are the objectives where you can clear out a whole town’s mess of zombies and let them live in peace, albeit most likely for just a few days. This brings a sense of heroism to John’s meandering adventure.

Fans of Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer will be pleased with Undead Nightmare’s two new modes: Land Grab and Undead Overrun. The former is a free roam feature in which you attempt to hold onto a piece of territory for a certain amount of time, all while fighting off any attackers. The latter mode is my personal favorite, as it is basically a Horde mode against increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Even with a good group of players, this mode can get pretty damn crazy. There were times when I was the last survivor and had to run for my life against a seemingly endless onslaught of zombies. It beats the hell out of Call of Duty’s Nazi Zombies feature, that’s for sure.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare [Xbox 360, 2010]

While Undead Nightmare offers an impressive amount of content, it isn’t quite perfect. I ran into some weird glitches, including one particular annoying bug in which I had cleared out the zombies in a town except for one that remained somehow stuck in the walls of a building. I couldn’t get to the bastard, so I had to restart at the last checkpoint and save the town again. Not a huge deal, but an inconvenience nonetheless.

Glitches be damned, this is still a fantastic expansion for those looking to continue the wonderful Red Dead Redemption experience. It is a shame that more developers do not create such engrossing DLC as Undead Nightmare, as this really is one of the best that I have come across. Every now and then this expansion goes on sale for $5, but even at its $9.99 price it is more than worth purchasing.


21 thoughts on “Video Game DLC Review: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare [Xbox 360, 2010]

  1. Karl Weller says:

    It’s easily one of the most rewarding add-ons I’ve ever played! In fact, calling it an add-on is doing Undead Nightmare a grave injustice. Zombies in the old west, simple, but addictively affective!

    • Eric says:

      Yeah, I was surprised with just how expansive this add-on was. This should be the shining example of how to make proper DLC. Thanks for the comment, Karl! Hope to see you around.

  2. Nostra says:

    I really couldn’t get into Red Dead Redemption and found all the horse riding boring, so didn’t play it for very long. Which probably will mean I won’t be checking out this expansion.

    • Eric says:

      Ah, that’s too bad that you didn’t get into RDR. It does have a slow start, but it picks up once you get past all the tutorials and chores, etc. I still think it’s Rockstar’s best game, personally.

  3. Scott Lawlor says:

    I didn’t really get into RED DEAD like Nostra. I blame the limited game time I have, always going for the quick buck and easy thrill.

    But Zombie Cowboys are strangely appealing

    • Eric says:

      RDR does have a slow start, like I mentioned to Nostra, and it requires a bit of a commitment to really gain the full experience from the game. But then again, that would mean less time for movies. 😉

  4. Max says:

    I actually liked this DLC more than the real game. Does that sound right? I probably had more time playing this. It’s a shame that Red Dead feels too much like GTA. I had a lot of fun recently playing Saints Row: The Third.

    • Eric says:

      I don’t think it’s odd at all to like Undead Nightmare more than the regular game. It’s almost an entirely different game altogether, and you can’t really go wrong with a zombie outbreak in a Wild West setting.

      I haven’t played Saints Row: The Third yet, but it looks like a lot of over-the-top fun.

  5. 3guys1movie says:

    Nice review Eric, Loved Red Dead Redemption was a nice break from COD. My buddys and I really liked the multiplayer aspects as well. Hit me up on XBL sometime my live ID is SanClementeJedi

  6. haskellch says:

    Red Dead Redemption is still one of my favorite games for the PS3. I opted to buy the physical game disc for Undead Nightmare and have been holding out to play it. But your review may be the shove I’ve needed to actually sit down and play it.

    • Eric says:

      It took me over a year after completing RDR to finally pick up and play Undead Nightmare, but it was worth the wait. It’s like experiencing the original adventure all over again, but with the added bonus of zombies. You’ll love it. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Gary Smith says:

    Excellent review Eric.

    RDR is easily my favorite game of the current generation (actually since the KOTOR), and this expansion pack is nothing short of fantastic. I had over 200 hours in my original playthrough of RDR, just in the single player, and probably another 80 to 90 in Undead’s single player. And it’s the one game I just keep coming back to above all others.

    Undead Nightmare is the benchmark for DLC.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks, Gary. I would say you got your money’s worth with RDR, wow. I agree that it is one of the best games of this generation, and it is still Rockstar’s crowning jewel (not GTA IV as so many seem to think).

  8. pinkbambi13 says:

    I wanted to love this so much… HOWEVER, once I snagged a horse of the apocalypse, the whole game glitched to the point where I couldn’t play it. Such a shame, it looked brilliant.

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