Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2, a prequel to the first RDR, has all you’ve ever wanted - it’s Western-themed, action, and adventure. The most expected game of 2018 is finally out, for consoles so far, but it will surely hit the PC market just as strongly. The game that already made its developers and distributors about $750 million richer in the first weekend, and it might beat the record of GTA V (by the same Rockstar Games studio).
Western has always been an unpredictable genre. With its strictly defined chronotope, it’s incredibly rich in situations and morals, collisions and topics raised. Seems that Red Dead Redemption II will give it another new breath, as it already makes for a Game of the Decade, with followers unavoidable and attention to the genre hyped up to the sky. So if you are still in doubt whether you should download Red Dead Redemption 2, continue reading.
Graphics — 5/5
Cinematic is the word. Rockstar tried to make it all as interactive as can be, and they seem to succeed. The environment is spacious and full of life; nature breathes, the wind moves the grass, animals escape you in forests and fields, people move naturally, horses react when you touch them, smoke rises from barrels as well as blood spills. Yes, the blood. Bodies give it away as easily as characters’ mouths release explicit words, so natural for Wild West and so inevitable for R rating, though much less that one could expect. By the way, sounds are just as natural and elaborate. At any time, you can switch between first-person and third-person view, with controls changing respectively.
The price that gaming community pays for that graphics is delayed for who-knows-when PC release. Rockstar won’t sacrifice a bit of that splendor, and it will take a lot of time to port it to not as unified platform.
Gameplay — 5/5
Well, some might say it’s the Wild Wild West version of GTA, with era shifted and cars replaced with horses, but the very spirit of the criminal adventure preserved. It’s not exactly so, because what today is a crime back then was a common way of living, so you don’t interfere with the law as often. But it’s harder with the people you meet, armed and prepared being the natural condition.
So you won’t achieve much is you lack any of your skills. Shoot and fight with your fists. Communicate and make friends. Ride horses and rob trains. Move stealthily and make noise as you enter. Choose the way you act like you choose the weapon. By the way, weapons of late XIX century are recreated very thoroughly, so you’ll easily learn when to take your rifle, or a revolver, or whatever else you’ve got.
Anyway, the narrative will lead you through a 60-hour long story, and still there’ll be lots left to explore. The open world is RDR II’s great feature, and it will attract you again and again. And the story itself will tell the life of Arthur Morgan and other people like John Marston with his family, or Dutch van der Linde., or other gang members, deeper than it’s required from a game character.
An interactive cinema, would some say, but it’s closer to a multi-season TV show, as one movie isn’t long enough to introduce and uncover its characters’ arcs.
Controls — 4/5
That’s where the similarity with GTA really shows. Shooting and aiming is done the same way. Switching to other actions is also made similarly. Well, if you remember the first RDR installment, you’ll see that it’s just Rockstar’s manner, not lack of originality. A devoted fan will appreciate this manner, extracting the knowledge from deep memory. A newbie may need some time to learn the controls; luckily there is a tutorial that’s split between missions. So you learn to shoot and hide, to talk to people, to hunt or to move around when you need that. More to that: you can return to those tutorials whenever you need to reactivate your skills.
There is also a help button always available that lists all the available commands for the current mode. No matter if you’re riding, walking, seeing the world from the first or third view; it shows the actual action list.
So mastering the controls is hard (as they’re very miscellaneous), but quite possible.
Replay Value — 3.5/5
What we know about Rockstar Games is that the company always offers more than it seems for the first time. It’s hard to remember all its official add-ons for GTA V. So you can be sure: RDR 2 will get many additional stories and arcs before sequel time. Some of them might be paid, some free.
But it’ll be a long time before you want an encore, because the original tale is long, and the land is so open for you to explore. The world is so elaborate that you’re sure to anachronistically quote Aerosmith inside, not wanting to miss a thing.
The Bottom Line
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a milestone, there’s no doubt. This quality level in anything, from narrative to graphics, from realism to open world possibilities, is over the top. It’s certainly worth its price, as each buck of it bangs out an hour of truly enjoyable gameplay (even more, if you want to replay it to maximize your results).
- Graphics 5
- Gameplay 5
- Controls 4
- Replay Value 3.5
Branched storyline in an open world.
Western esthetics kept at its best.
So much attention to it that it’s hard to stay away.
Some may dislike its level of brutal violence and explicitness.
Not available for desktop platforms yet.
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