Red Dead Redemption 2 is the next installment in the western-themed action-adventure series. It was developed and published by Rockstar Games. This open world game was released on Oct. 26, 2018. Red Dead is set at the beginning of 1899, while the previous game was set during 1911. This means that the game is a prequel to the first where you follow the main protagonists, Arthur Morgan, on his adventures as he is a part of the Van der Linde gang. Red Dead Redemption is considered one of the best games ever made by several video game critics. It won several awards, including Game of the Year by various groups of gaming publications. So, did the second installment to the series live up to the first? Saddle up for long horse rides, bar fights, saving damsels in distress, and all kinds of fun action adventures. Prove yourself as the baddest cowboy around and holster up your pistol for a wild ride.
The first thing you notice once you first start playing the game is how beautiful the graphics are and the attention to detail there is. The open world that you play in is absolutely gorgeous. From snowy mountains to open deserts, everywhere you look is just stunning. The lighting effects in darkness and weather are great too. Whether it is sunrise or night time, the lighting effects in the world make it just that much more immersive. You can even see individual horse muscles as you groom your horse. Every gun and piece of clothing has an immense amount of detail put into it, and shows you much effort went into the game.
However, graphics are only one component to the game, so how is the main character Arthur Morgan? Morgan has so much depth and detail put into him as a character. The amount of dialogue and supporting cast of characters really brings out who Morgan is. You can actually choose what kind of person Morgan is throughout the game. There is an honor system based on your actions throughout the campaign. If you decide to help a little old lady in danger then your honor meter will go up. However, if you choose a less friendly path with handling the situation then your honor meter will go down. You can even purposely antagonize each person Morgan meets, and this will slowly change how he naturally speaks around others and his actions.
The marketing for the game showed that it would rely heavily on your gang and the members within it. You can feel this throughout the entire game. You can buy upgrades for your camp, do specific missions for fellow companions, and get to know new characters as well as some old ones from the previous game. Throughout six story chapters, and two epilogue chapters, the relationships and decisions you make relating to the gang feel impactful.
The overall story was very intriguing and compelling throughout. It takes an estimated 60-65 hours to beat the main campaign. If you are a hardcore player and want to go for that 100% completion, then it will take you well over 100 hours to complete. Each story mission has its own unique objective and the characters that accompany you make it all the better. The relationships you build with characters and how that progresses can really be seen during each story chapter. Throughout the campaign, you can see the changes that characters go through as there are real stakes that make you get attached to your favorites. Even the side missions are incredibly fun and interesting and don’t feel like a chore to complete.
You can lose yourself for hours in all the side activities within the game. Clear out everyone at poker tables or play a nice casual game of dominoes. You can get that nice country feel by going fishing out on lakes and rivers or even in the swampy bayou. Strategically hunt animals with scent covering lotion and a bow and arrow. There is even a realistic skinning animation after every prey that you kill. You can even go to a theatre showing in some of the towns within the game. Each show is unique but may consist of magicians, dancing girls or comedians. You also customize Morgan’s hair style, clothing and guns at all the local shops within the towns.
With all the praise I have been giving this title, every game has its flaws and negatives. With the game being so realistic, sometimes the movement and physics can get the best of you. Occasionally you will be riding on your horse and if you barely brush into something then you will go flying off of your horse. You also have to loot each body and grab every individual item one by one. This can get very tedious and annoying on story missions when you are on a time crunch. At your main camp, you cannot run around the camp. The game only allows you to walk to where you need to go until you are out of the borders of the camp. This can also get very tedious when you want to complete things quickly or at your own pace. Probably my biggest problem with the game is the lack of fast travel. Granted, there is a fast travel system in the game, it is only a one-way trip. Once you get to your destination, you have a long journey back to camp or to any other destination you wish to go.
All in all, this is a must-have game. The game does the first installment in the series justice and even improves on several aspects of it. If you’re split between getting several games around this holiday season, this would be my front runner. Spend your hard-earned cash on this game, because unlike some companies nowadays, Rockstar Games truly cares about its fans and gives them amazing pieces of art with each of their games.