John Marston makes his return to your console with Zombies, Monsters and Bigfoot…oh my!  We all knew Read Dead Redemption wasn’t ready to ride into the sunset yet and Rockstar saved the best DLC for last.  In the tradition Of GTA 4′s Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and the Damned, Undead Nightmare brings a whole new adventure to the old west.  Undead Nightmare takes the settings you’ve grown used to, a few of the characters you’ve grown to love, but then throws in zombies to create a unique spine-tingling survival horror experience.  Were talking about hours and hours of new gameplay for just $10.

Undead Nightmare looks and feels like a labor of love.  Rockstar created a quality send-off  to allow gunslinger John Marston one last ride into the sunset.  From the opening cinematic to the spine tingling music and sound effects, Undead Nightmare recreates the Wild West into a horrifically good time.

Story

John Marston returns home one dark and stormy night and senses something just isn’t right.  After spending a little quality time with the family, Uncle comes crashing into the bedroom covered in blood, snarling with demonic eyes and looking twice as creepy as ever.  A couple of bites later, Marston finds his wife and kid bloodthirsty and feral.  With his family hogtied and secured behind a locked door, John Marston ventures into town seeking to find a cure.  What he finds creates one of the greatest DLC packs to ever grace a console.

As you might have guessed, this story isn’t RDR cannon and exists as more of a, “what if”.


Enemies

Undead Nightmare’s world is populated mainly with, well, the undead.  Zombie humans pose a different challenge then what RDR fans are used to: they don’t hide behind cover, are capable of impressive bursts of speed, often attack with numbers and can only be killed by different types of head trauma.  Shooting them in the head isn’t that easy but satisfying with a crisp popped melon sound and graphic decapitation with rag doll physics.  Their  jerky erratic movements makes it difficult to pull off an unassisted headshot – you’ll find yourself using the dead eye much more often.  Ammo is more of a premium and something to be conserved…this is survival horror after all.

Four different Zombie types add a little variety.  From quick and feral Bolter zombies to the slow but powerful Bruisers, each class presents different challenges.  When faced with hordes of mixed Zombies you’ll find them using rudimentary tactics: Bolters run you down while the Retchers hurl projectile vomit making it easier for the Bruisers to knock you over to be surrounded by the undead.  Each different Zombie type has a unique look with several variations.


Humans aren’t the only Zombies out there.  Seems that the virus isn’t species specific as you’ll find Zombie wolves, warthogs, grizzles,  bats, cougars and the mythical Four Horses of the Apocalypse.  Capturing and riding one these phillies grants specific supernatural abilities: War is a flaming horse that burns zombies when they come in contact, Death explodes the heads of nearby zombies, while Famine and Pestilence have infinite stamina and are nearly impossible to kill.

Weapons

Undead Nightmare starts you off at ground one.  You start the single player game without most of the awesome weapons you accumulated previously.  However, it’s not to say you won’t find new goodies though most are the unconventional types. These include  Holy Water (which is basically blue fire) zombie bait to lure zombies, Boom Bait  (a lethal exploding bait), a flaming torch which acts as a melee weapon and the Blunderbuss (which kills zombies with devastating power and shoots zombie body parts).

Gameplay

The Single Player plays like Red Dead Redemption with Zombies.  That’s not a bad thing if you enjoy the original game.  Missions will include the standard fetching  missions, side quests and saving people, but now offer unique experiences such kidnapping zombies, searching for mythical creatures and most importantly, securing towns.


Securing a town makes for an entertaining experience.  When first entering a Zombie infested town you’ll notice darkened clouds.  As you fight your way through and the Zombie count lessens, you’ll notice clouds open up and the weather improves.  It’s a nice little touch that adds to the immersive experience. Once a town is secure it is marked by a cross and you’ll have a new safehouse available.

If there’s anything to complain about it’s that some missions will take you traveling accross the entire map.  While it wasn’t much to complain about in the original game, now that these destinations and areas are no longer new it’s less enjoyable.  I personally had no problem but see it as an issue others could cite.

Multiplayer

Undead Nightmare adds a new mode to the Red Dead Redemption – Undead Overrun.  It’s basically a survival mode that deservedly draws comparisons to Gears of War 2′s Horde mode.  A 2-4 co-op player mode which pits players against successive waves of undead combatants.  Much like Gears’ horde mode each wave becomes more difficult.  While it sounds familiar (and it is), Undead Overrun is still massively enjoyable.

Before each game,  players are given a choice to use  4 different weapon set options: Ravager, LongShot, Overkill and Mauler. Each weapon set is specific to what fighting style one chooses to employ.

Because Overrun takes place in several familiar cemetery, church and even entire town settings, players have many strategic options on where to hide and how to make their stand.  Again, ammo is a premium and don’t be surprised if you run out.  Coffin crates provide the sole means of replenishing ammo and appear at the beginning of each round.  It’s important for one player to retrieve but it takes precious time to open.  Once opened, ammo is shared by the team.  Using items such as zombie bait and dynamite and to exciting strategic possibilities.

The other new addition is Land Grab.  While not a Zombie themed mode, Land Grab presents a new dynamic as players fight for control of different territories.  It’s an enjoyable mode available via Free Roam.

Verdict

Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare is a bona fide slam dunk.  If you have enjoyed Red Dead Redemption there is no reason not to get it.  In fact, the only reason not to get it would be if you hated the original.  Rockstar just gets everything right.  This is immersive Survival horror with moments that will scare you out of your socks.

We’re talking about 5-10 hours of extra gameplay for the single player experience and at least that much more for the Undead Overrun and Land grab multiplayer options.  Rockstar has found a way to out do themselves again.  I can’t help but give this DLC pack the highest of recommendations.

Here’s The Rundown:
+ A new Single Player Adventure
+ Outstanding new Undead Overrun and Land Grab multiplayer modes
+ An AMAZING value!!

+ Feels great to step into the boots of John Marston again
- Frequent travel around the familiar map is no longer original

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare was developed and published by Rockstar games.  It was released on October 26th for the price of $9.99.  A review code was provided to us by Rockstar.  We played the undead hell out of it.  It was awesome.