Should you buy Red Dead Redemption 2?
“There’s a little bit of cowboy & cowgirl in nearly everyone.”
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a Western-themed action-adventure game developed and published by Rockstar Games. It is a prequel to the 2010 game Red Dead Redemption, and the third entry in the Red Dead series.
So, buying this game and actually playing it after finishing a two-week marathon trying to 100% AC Odyssey was seeming to be pretty difficult for me when the game had to compete with Alexios/Kassandra’s wicked and crazy journey in Ancient Greece. I was thinking, is all this hype just a super marketing stunt, with global gaming ambassadors just trying to push sales? Well, little did I know…?
Got it Monday morning, left from work early, got home, pushed my bro off the PS4 while he was playing Overwatch (I mean, who still plays Overwatch?) and started the long and tedious 100gb download. This was done by utilising the first disc, I mean, which PS4 game ever used 2 discs? Also, aren’t we done with using discs? @elonmuskofficial do your stuff and make something more 2018 please. Even then, I was thinking, this game better be TOP STUFF. Started the game, and off I went… and literally haven’t stopped till then.
After the first part of the game, which is the mandatory ‘training/non-open-world’ section where you get to meet your gang; peeps like Arthur Morgan (the guy you play as), Dutch, John Marston (the guy you play as in Red Dead Redemption 1) Bill, Javier and so on you start Chapter 2. This chapter opens you to the expertly created, wonderful world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
The World –
CAUTION: I literally got repetitive strain injury on my thumb from horse sprinting (repetitively pressing the X button) since there is no bloody fast travelling in Red Dead 2, or at least proper fast travelling apart from trains, stagecoaches and the very expensive one-way map from the camp/homestead. I later then found out that there is a way to NOT repetitively press X to keep the horse sprinting, but that was obviously after my injury. Silly me.
Unlike most open-world RPGs, the whole game is open for you to explore from the get-go apart from a ‘few sections’ which cannot be mentioned due to SPOILERS. The map is huge, around 4 times the size of the original Red Dead and the biggest Rockstar map ever created, with some of the map still needing to be unlocked, at a future stage of course.
My opinion on the matter though, don’t just start exploring straight off, it is best you reach Chapter 4, when you’ve gotten most ‘equipment’ needed to deal with certain challenges/activities you face when you’re trailing across different regions.
The sheer difference in environment, and eco-textures is profoundly jaw-dropping. From travelling to cold and snowy altitudes like Amberino, to hotter Arizona type environments like Austin, to Swampy/Louisiana type surroundings like Saint Denis, the game keeps you on your feet, especially when you need to decide on which clothes fit the right places you go to. Each region also has its own endemic flora and fauna, some of which can be pre-historic remnants of these beasts as well.
The Characters –
My first thoughts on Arthur Morgan, one of the main characters within the Van der Linde gang is that this guy is a total gun-slinging western cowpoke, a basic late 19th century American outlaw stereotype, but I found he was so much more than that.
As most modern RPGs, the game lets you decide what kind of person you choose the character to be. When facing certain challenges, be it choices within: main missions, side-missions or even the random guy on the side of the trail who got bit by a snake. Your actions have consequences, so always be aware and try anticipate what the best approach to the scenario can be. I personally, made my cowboy into a sensible crook who cared more about the people around him than the weight of his coin pouch – this made the actions and repercussions throughout the game better for my play style.
Apart from Arthur, the characters within the game end up being very helpful, likable/unlikable and immerse you within the Red Dead world. The sheer detail given to not only the main characters (gang members/antagonists) but the characters within the side missions, their quirkiness and emotional value they bring to scenes within the game really made me feel like I was living in the Wild West. Something which I never experienced is how alive this game actually is. It seemed like the NPCs are some sort of AI, living their best, and in some cases, worst lives by themselves. This can be due to the huge and broad dialogue options the NPCs can say to the player and to each other with regard to their situation in the game.
While this game is unlike many other games in the wider genre, which explores fast-paced action and immediate control and gratification like AC Odyssey, which in my opinion is still one of the best games this year, RDR2 will surely be one of the most memorable. Red Dead Redemption 2, in my opinion, will act as a benchmark for most games in the future. In a weird way, the game can be described as a western world simulator. A game which sometimes can be slow, and boring when traversing between missions, but if you’re up for exploring off the beaten track and finding new animals, landmarks or trying to find a good spot for an in-game selfie then you’ll absolutely fall in love with this well-deserved hyped up game and in my opinion – the best game of 2018.
- Fishing at sunrise.
Things I Hated:
- Brushing up by an NPC while trotting, NOT GALLOPING, with my horse and ending up being wanted with multiple sheriffs/police shooting at me which was totally uncalled for. Happened a lot with me. Sadness.
- Don’t be coarse with your horse.
Always keep a horse reviver on you, while going on an adventure with your horse you might find your trusty steed isn’t as indestructible as you may think. Smashing into a tree (happened roughly every 10 minutes in the game for me) or falling over a cliff face can seriously hurt your horse, or even kill it.
P.S when buying/catching a horse in the wild always make sure their health and stamina is over 50 to 60% – more important than their speed in my opinion.
- Bounty hunters are infuriating.
In the first few chapters of the game try not to be too trigger friendly, as the bounty right off chapter 2 can be quite hefty. Finding that amount of money to pay off your bounty so early in the game can be pretty hard and plus, you really don’t want a bunch of bounty hunters after you, they can be pretty annoying. If you want to be one of those gun slinging desperados like you see in the movies, just try not to get caught doing so.
- Always keep a good weapon load-out on your person.
The amount of times I was left fighting 50+ O’Driscolls with just my pistol, and grabbing random guns I find from my victims since I wasn’t pro-active in loading the right weapons from my horse was drastic. Keep yourself ready for any scenario the game might throw at you. Have fun, and try to find your perfect load-out to suit your play style.
- Make sure to be equipped with fists rather than a weapon when speaking to NPCs.
Something which annoyed me, but I got use to was that the aiming and speech button were the same thing. So sometimes I’d get off my horse to help this man who’s been bitten by a snake but I end up aiming my Mauser Pistol to his forehead, which will mean this NPC will suddenly heal from his ailment, whip out his Worn Cattleman Revolver and start shouting; “WHAT IN TARNATION DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”. This ends up being a mild misunderstanding, with a bullet ultimately penetrating the NPC’s oesophagus.
- Best Game Story of 2018.
- Sexy landscapes.
- Ultra great shooting mechanics.
- Amazing detail in-game.
- Barely any load times between scenes.
- FPS can sometimes slow down when there’s too much happening on screen.
Reviewed on PS4 Pro, you know it!