Game Reviews XBox 360 Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption Hot

Editor rating
User rating
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Accessibility At A Glance Red Dead Redemption


Precision > Yes You will need precision to play
One-Handed > No Avoid this game
Deaf Gamers > No Avoid this game Game
Subtitles > No You may want to move past this game
Colorblind > No Not so sure this is the game for you

About the Game

Rock Star
Release Date
June 14, 2010
Official Website
Licence Category

Red Dead Redemption is an open-world, third-person, action-adventure game set at the tail end of the American West West era. Action takes place in the first few years of the twentieth century and revolves around the choices that the protagonist, former outlaw John Marston, is forced to make due to his blemished past. The game features a morality system assigning honor and fame points generated through the player's choices. It also features Wild West themed mini-games, new targeting and cover systems, extensive horse riding abilities, a wealth of period specific weapons and more than 40 huntable animals.

Red Dead Redemption is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. A follow up to the 2004 hit Red Dead Revolver, this game tells the story of former outlaw John Marston, taking players on a great adventure across the American frontier.

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Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption

Editor review

Red Dead Redemption 2010-07-03 21:31:47 Scott Puckett
Overall rating 
Scott Puckett Reviewed by Scott Puckett    July 03, 2010
Last updated: July 03, 2010
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Red Dead Doesn’t Redeem Itself With Accessibility

First and foremost, “Red Dead Redemption” has achieved the dubious accomplishment of having the worst subtitling in any game so far this year, including the widely publicized debacle of subtitling and text in “Mass Effect 2.”

“Mass Effect 2” at least had the excuse of making a technical design decision based on the adoption rate of high-definition televisions and monitors; “Red Dead Redemption” uses a font which is illegible and unreadable at any distance on a standard-definition television set.

Yes, I’ve checked with people who own high-definition television sets and they confirm it’s just as bad on their televisions.

And RDR appears to have done so because it is a font that mimics text on posters identifying wanted fugitives from the 1870s or so. In short, the font choice appears to have been an aesthetic decision which makes “Red Dead Redemption” completely inaccessible to the hearing impaired.

Furthermore, it yields a larger usability issue because all text in the game appears to use the same font, whether it’s a subtitle or gameplay tip. Finally, making an already catastrophically bad design decision worse, none of this text is letterboxed, meaning that it can often be difficult to even see the characters, regardless of whether they’re subtitles or game assistance.

In light of this, it doesn’t matter whether ambient noises are subtitled (they aren’t), or whether environmental character dialogue is subtitled (it usually isn’t), because the subtitling can’t be read anyway.

Frankly, the font choice and lack of letterboxing make the subtitles so bad that the game might have been more accessible if they were not included. For any gamer who needs subtitles, even considering how fantastic this game is, it is a game that you should avoid unless the subtitling is changed.

“Red Dead Redemption” is somewhat better when it comes to precision – although many parts of the game require a player to move the joystick in certain directions during a quick-time event (such as breaking a horse), the game includes an auto-aim feature that is activated when the player aims near the center of the screen at a target.

The auto-aim locks on to a target, allowing the player to more easily shoot that target.

However, with that said, “Red Dead Redemption” often requires using both triggers (in gunfights, lassoing a wild horse, etc.) and may present challenges for players with precision concerns and gamers with use of only one hand. Furthermore,

“Red Dead Redemption” doesn’t offer any options to change the controller scheme – not even a default southpaw configuration which is common in many games.

Gamers with any forms of color blindness may also face significant challenges with “Red Dead Redemption.”

The world map uses red crosshairs to set waypoints and the mini-map uses a red line to illustrate the best path to the waypoint. The game menu uses red, black, white and grey for its color scheme, potentially creating problems. Likewise, the target reticle is white which can present problems for all gamers when aiming, especially considering the relatively small size of the reticle and the frequently light background colors in the game.

All of these issues are incredibly unfortunate, because when viewed as a game, “Red Dead Redemption” is an extraordinary accomplishment in designing a believable, detailed open world, with incredibly immersive gameplay which, unlike the errand-running in the “Grand Theft Auto” games, actually feels like a game, even when doing jobs like herding cattle. It’s engrossing and addictive; it’s also tremendously unfortunate that it is so inaccessible.

At A Glance

Precision: This game requires a significant amount of precision. Some game features, like auto-aim, make targeting easier, but in many cases the player still needs to manually aim in duels, ride a horse to herd cattle or other animals, scale rocks and buildings, and use sticks to control balance in quick-time events. Recommend rating of 3 out 10 for single-player campaign, 0 out of 10 for online multiplayer.

Deaf Gamers: The game is almost completely inaccessible to deaf gamers. The opening cinematic is not subtitled, and the parts of the game that are subtitled use a Western-style font which is both illegible and unreadable on a standard-definition television set. This may have been intended to make the game a more immersive experience, but it results in significantly degraded usability for both the hearing impaired and gamers who like to have subtitles active. Furthermore, this font is used throughout the game, even when the game is providing mission instructions or tips to ease gameplay. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

One-handed: Gamers with use of one hand may experience challenges due to using the right and left triggers simultaneously for firing weapons. Moving may be difficult since the game uses the left stick to move and the right stick to control the camera, but requires holding the A button down to run or ride a horse at full speed, or tapping it to sprint or to spur a horse to a gallop. There is no option to remap the controls. Recommend rating of 3 out of 10 for single-player, 0 out of 10 for online multiplayer.

Subtitled: The subtitles are not letterboxed, can appear on a light background which is problematic since they are white text, and use a font which is both illegible and unreadable on a standard-definition television. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

Color Blind: Gamers with a form of color blindness may experience challenges due to the game’s significant use of red. The map uses red crosshairs to mark locations, setting waypoints will display a red line on a white background to reach the objective or location, and the game’s menus are typically in red, black, white and gray. Mission objectives are generally orange or blue. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

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About the Author
Scott Puckett
None of your business.

People in this conversation

  • Purely to clarify things for people who may not understand the purpose of this review, it exclusively focuses on whether the game is accessible for people with disabilities, not the quality of gameplay. It examines, for example, whether a veteran who lost the use of a hand in combat could play it, or whether someone with deteriorating reflexes and muscle control could enjoy it.

  • Guest (shawn187)

    I am color blind and this game is stressful in the following ways:<br /><br />1. Waypoint routes are almost invisible. I have to tilt the viewing angle to the sky to see.<br /><br />2. When taking damage the screen turns more and more red. I cant tell when all the red is gone during recovery. <br /><br />3. Animals are impossible to see when blended with the landscape. <br /><br />4. Multiplayer is a nightmare when every different player is a different color and this game uses very slight different shades of color for each player. I have to use a red lens to see if everyone is in posse or just similar shades of a color. <br /><br />This game is great but the radar is just plain hard to see!

  • @shawn187: The animals are difficult for everyone to see, not just gamers with color blindness. It is a great game, which is why it's such a shame that it's so inaccessible.

  • For those like me, who can only use two controls at a time, this game is quite accessible. I only encountered a few cases where running and gunning was required, mostly chase sequences. Casual targetting mode is a godsend, though it doesn't really help in multiplayer except in co-op and casual-specific modes.

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