Red Dead Online’s Halloween Update Is Disappointing

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Red Dead Online’s Halloween Update Is Disappointing
Screenshot: Rockstar Games

Last month, Red Dead Online dataminers found what appeared to be zombies buried in the game’s files after an update. These new zombie models, along with other creepy content found via datamining, pointed towards a new Halloween event. That event is finally, here and it’s pretty disappointing.

The Red Dead Online Halloween update went live on October 20 and added a smaller-than-usual Outlaw Pass, some cosmetics, and a new PvP game mode. As I’ve said before, I love Halloween. I also adore in-game Halloween events, even the ones that are fairly simple. Still, this one left me wanting more.

For starters, the zombies we first saw in the leak last month aren’t actually zombies. (Sad trombone noise.) While in-game they are referred to as “The Dead,” they appear to be a cult of living weirdos who use guns and worship Satan. They appear in the new game mode, Dead of Night, in which four teams of two players fight each other in a dark area of the map, collecting masks to become more powerful, which also earns you bonus points. Meanwhile, The Dead cult members run around the map and shoot at all the teams.

Having an enemy faction fighting against all the players in a PvP mode is a neat idea, but Dead of Night fails to be much more than a bunch of random chaos. It’s hard to see what’s happening, maps are just areas of the world that weren’t built or balanced for PvP deathmatch, and The Dead are too easy to kill to really affect firefights between players in any meaningful way.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

In a different, better timeline, Dead of Night might be a co-op game mode where players work together to fight off waves of unarmed zombies while collecting masks to eventually win. Instead, we get yet another PvP mode in a game that has never had great online gunplay or melee combat.

The rest of the Halloween update isn’t any better. The new Outlaw Pass is small, with only 20 levels. Being small isn’t inherently bad, but it still costs 15 gold for the premium version and unlike previous Outlaw Passes, you don’t get 15 gold back when you finish it. Many of the rewards are reskins of previous cosmetics, which I wasn’t excited to spend 15 gold bars on.

The best part of this update seems to be a glitch. Some players who leave the new mode are finding that the creepy night skies stick around in the open world. It looks cool and makes the whole world feel a bit bit more Halloween-y.

That’s the kind of update I wanted. Right now, riding around the world of Red Dead Online doesn’t feel any different than before this update. I want creepy skies, more bats, eerie music, maybe some zombies spawning around the world. Instead what we get is a mediocre PvP mode and a limited Outlaw Pass.

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