BY HARRISON BLUTO
Photo courtesy of Harrison Bluto.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is an explosive thrill ride reminiscent of the classic western movie genre. Rockstar Studios smashes expectations with their vast and beautiful open world as well as fun and satisfying gameplay. Red Dead Redemption 2 lives up to the massive hype it produced upon announcement and over the course of its advertising campaign making it a must-have game for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners.
Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the story of Arthur Morgan and a gang of outlaws led by the notorious Dutch van der Linde. The story opens with the gang on the run and desperate. Dutch is determined to get one more score so that the gang can flee somewhere where they can be truly free men and not be held down by civilization.
The extensive cast of side characters is all unique and distinct. Every time you are sent on a job with a specific character you know what to expect from them and potentially how the mission will be played out. Everyone is fully and well voiced adding to the experience overall.
Relationships between characters are well established without spouting endless exposition. The same applies to the story after you get past the rather wordy first chapter/introduction to the game.
Before I get into the things that make this game spectacular, I want to mention a few minor issues I had with the game over the course of my time playing. One of the things that occurred occasionally was AI issues with the random town inhabitants. The issue mainly consisted of AI powering through their initial path despite me walking through it and they would try to walk through me. The other main issue I had in the game was that using the optional cameras such as a first person perspective and “cinematic perspective” camera felt like handicapping myself compared to the default third person perspective camera. These issues; however, are extremely minor in the grand scheme of this game.
The game is visually stunning, detail is emphasized in every corner of this extensive game world from precise muscle animation on horses to the individual hairs on your characters beard. The game is brimming with details such as your hat being shot off if you aren’t behind proper cover or your horse being covered in mud if you ride through the rain.
Red Dead Redemption 2 emphasizes a level of realism throughout the game. This realism can be seen in needing to maintain your weapons and horse in order to keep them in proper working condition. Typically, when games attempt to have mechanics such as maintenance and eating to stay fit it tends to overpower the experience and make the game appear to be a series of chores needing to be accomplished before you have fun. Red Dead Redemption 2’s realism mechanics, however, don’t take prominence over the core gameplay and simply add to the depth of this virtual world.
The gunplay in the game feels weighty and satisfying and the level of customization to your weapon loadout allows you to play the way you like unless a story mission requires you to use a specific gun or other weapons. Red Dead Redemption 2 has a gunplay mechanic referred to as “deadeye” where you are able to slow down time and mark the targets and areas you want to shoot. As you use the mechanic more, it improves overall, eventually allowing to see critical points on enemies.
All the progression systems in Red Dead Redemption follow this structure, the more you run the better your stamina is, the more you ride your horse the better your horse is and so on. Progression mechanics such as these are a personal favorite of mine because it feels as though the more you do something the better you get at it rather than magically being able to do something better because you put a level point into it.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a rich detailed love letter to the wild west and is a must-have for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners. Overall, I’d give the game a 9.7/10.