It's a rough night with some really ominous weather. John Marston and his wife Abigail have just gone to bed, safe in their small house. Then old Uncle comes crashing through the door, more mentally absent than usual. It turns out that he's caught a bit of the zombie flue and after infecting Abigail with a bite, John makes him a head shorter with a well-placed gunshot.
By that time Abigail has already turned their son Jack into a late-night snack and John has to lock them up in order to find some form of cure for their sudden zombie-disease. Or as the speaker so elegantly puts it - John is "ready for anything. Well, almost anything."
Just like in the main adventure John is a real man that no one can manage without. Saving his wife and child soon becomes a secondary priority as it seems like everyone in the whole Wild West has some undead problem. Luckily he's got some new weapons in his arsenal - a slow firing, but heavy hitting, blunderbuss and some holy water and other weapons borrowed from Castlevania's Simon Belmont. And the zombie bait, which can be prepped with some dynamite. Very effective.
Just like in the regular Red Dead Redemption there's a lot here to keep you occupied. Some characters need your help with some of the strangest things (I won't spoil too much, but at one point you get to kidnap zombies), some of stuck on roofs with a horde of hungry undead surrounding them. There are also some mythological beasts to kill, all while you try to get closer and closer to finding the actual cure.
Undead Nightmare is radically different from the normal Red Dead, and while the original is still one of the best games this year the variation is welcome. Zombies don't act like normal outlaws or gringos, they don't pop up their heads from cover to fire at you. They will just try to rush you, more similar to the zombies in movies like Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later than in games like Resident Evil or Dead Rising, and they tend to never be alone. Luckily, you get a bit extra Dead Eye this time around so you're able to headshot them. Otherwise the bullets won't bite. And you have to keep a constant eye on your amount of ammo and loot everything in sight, because those bullets soon become pretty scarce.
There are moments in Undead Nightmare that I'd actually describe as scary, which is backed up by the horrible weather - the more zombies, the worse it gets. The fog is everywhere and the Wild West has never been gloomier. It's quite a difference from the sense of freedom in the original. The big drawback is that you can no longer camp up because of all the undead, which means you will spend a lot more time travelling, but on the other hand it's a lot of fun to ride around on the four horses of the Apocalypse...
Undead Nightmare is mostly about singleplayer, but there's also some new multiplayer material in here - like Undead Overrun, which shares a lot with Treyarch's Nazi Zombies from Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2's Horde. I almost get Left 4 Dead-vibes as me and three friends have to defend ourselves from the zombies that are attacking us from all sides. Undead Overrun is without a doubt the most fun I've had in Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer.
If you're only going to buy one Red Dead Redemption-expansion, there's no doubt that you should go for Undead Nightmare. Not only is Undead Overrun worth the few bucks the expansion costs in itself, but at the same time you get a single player campaign that's almost as long as the campaigns from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Medal of Honor put together. Yes please.
Whenever something new is released in the Western genre there are inevitably people that praise the company for attempting to revive a ‘dead' genre.... 9/10