Red Dead Redemption 2 Review
Red Dead Redemption 2 made its long awaited release on October 26, and people could not be any happier. Previous to this, I had never owned the original Red Dead Redemption but was able to play it multiple times at a friends house and enjoy it. Finally hearing that they were going to be releasing a new Red Dead Redemption this October, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The only sad part was that I did not have a new console at the time of its release. So, I ultimately had to go out and buy the new Xbox One to be able to play, which is not the worst thing since the last time I played an Xbox was in high school. Or I could have tried waiting a whole year and see if Rockstar was going to release it to the PC but I just could not wait that long for what was to be a fantastic game. So, let's get into what I think about the new Red Dead Redemption 2.
Just starting off with opening the case to the game you are shown the enormous map that they keep inside of the cover. The map covers a wide range of different terrains throughout, whether that is forested areas to wide mountain ranges that are covered in snowy weather to the desert landscapes that make you imagine that you are in the real wild west. Each landscape is able to have different weather as well at any time. From windy to foggy, the lighting that is able to be seen throughout really makes the game stand out from other games that Rockstar has created. With all of these different landscapes come the many different animals that live in them. With almost two hundred animals in total, it is almost impossible to see them all in your first play through. Along with this comes the process of hunting, each animal that you encounter can be tracked and killed to be used for resources or sold to the local shops for money. Going back to the map, you are able to explore as much or as little as you wanted almost right from the beginning. With the ability to jump on the train, you are able to travel from town to town for only a few dollars each trip. This is a good way to exploring the new world of Red Dead and get a sense of what each town offers you. This is because each town you travel to has it owns personality as well as the personality of the people that live there. With concerns of the map, fast travel is another thing that Rockstar tended to lean away from. Since they created such a vibrant and thrilling game, they want you to go on the road or explore the woods and interact with all of the people along the way. At first I found this to be very frustrating, but over time I started to find out that being able to explore made the game more enjoyable. I was meeting people and seeing animals that I never would have encountered if I just fast traveled there. A lot of the time talking to these people that you meet on the way, opened up more task or opportunities for me to explore and see what the entire world had to offer. Most of the time, the people I helped would give me money or tell me about different places and adventures to go on. As for my character, it was hard at times to decide if I wanted to be a good guy the entire time or try to be the outlaw my character was perceived to be. On this note, I have to say that the map was more than I had ever expected and it makes the entire map feel connected in a way that makes playing it feel natural.
Now getting into the magnificent story that has kept me entertained and enthralled for hours of game play. You play as the character Arthur Morgan who is traveling with his gang of men and women, as well as a kid. They are trying to escape their past that is constantly haunting them throughout the game with people looking for them everywhere they travel. The people of the camp all have their own part and aid in the progress of the story. With all of these people at the camp, there are many occurances of people butting heads. Further in the story this all comes into play and decisions will have to be made on what you as Arthur want to do. Throughout the course of the story you have to move a couple of times to get away from the law and other criminals that are trying to find you. With this each time you set up camp it is in a different and remote place than the last. Within the camp you are able to upgrade the different tents such as your medical, ammunition, horses and cooking. All of the tents help in adding you in your missions by giving yourself supplies as well as helping the people in your camp. Getting back to the story, the way the game is setup it is very character driven and Rockstar wants you to feel connected to them. To me it almost felt that I was playing a movie that I was able to control. I tended to enjoy this very much, because first going in, I wanted Arthur to play the bad guy in situations but as his story was able to progress, you started to see that he was not as bad as you thought. All of the actions that you do as Arthur influence him in society. This means that killing or robbing people will make people in general start to look at you in a more negative way or if you start saving and helping people they will be happy to see you and help you by giving you money or objects to further the story. From playing the game since release, the story has always been getting better and keeping my attention by bonding with the characters, I still have not finished the story because it is so long by itself and the side missions that keep the thrill constantly moving. Overall, I think that the story is a great experience for those who want to get to know the characters on a bigger level than most games and not just play missions to get them done.
So, there tend to be a lot of things that I found to be great about the game with a few that still annoy me to this day. Starting off with the positives. As I stated before the weather and environmental effects in this game is phenomenal. From the sun shining through trees to the foggy rolling in the morning. There has not been an instance that the weather and its effect have made me disappointed. Another thing that I really seemed to enjoy comes from just the small details that can be seen. Such as your hat coming off in gun fights and having to go and find it, to having to change your cloth because of the current weather you are in. You also have to take care of your character Arthur, by this I mean you have to make sure that he is eating enough. Whether it is eating too much or too little. Because if you do not, other medicine and resources in the game tend not to be as effective as they would be. Another thing about Arthur is that your hair grows in real time in the game. By this I mean you cannot just change your hair from short to long. You have to wait for it to grow before you are able to cut it or design it to your liking. I found that all these little personal things and so many more, really made the game stand out and think why did they never have these before? Nonetheless, I found a lot of positives in the game and tended to struggle with the negatives.
Getting into the negatives of Red Dead Redemption 2, I can think of two big ones that really stand out to me. The first being the horse. I seemed to never be able to control the horse the way I wanted to. Mainly when I would try to cut through trees, the horse would swerve out of the way of one tree to only hit the tree right next to it. This would happen to me multiple times and tended to be very annoying throughout the whole campaign and gameplay. I think that overall the horse controls could have had a little more tweaking to make situations such as this no occur. But for the majority of the time, the horse controls were easy to use and made playing effortlessly. The other negative comes from the campaign. Which tends to come as a bit of a spoiler! Towards the end of the campaign Arthur is slowly dying of tuberculosis and he knows he is going to be dying soon, so he then sacrifices his life to save his friend John Marston once a shoot out occurs that he knows only one of them will make it out alive. This scene in the campaign tended to be very emotional as Arthur is riding to the scene thinking about his life. But the only thing that I tended not to to like that much is the fact that I was not able to play him once he dies. You do get to play as John Marston but it tends not to feel the same as Arthur, such as the remarks that he has to the NPCs in the game. I understand that I could go back to old saves and then play as Arthur but having an option to have Arthur survive at the end of the campaign would have been better. Or even having the ability to switch from Arthur to John like they did in Grand Theft Auto V, would have been amazing. I also have to look at the fact that the campaign would not have had such a big impact emotionally as it did though if Arthur was to survive. Nonetheless it was still something that frustrated me that I could not change easily or going to a different save.
In the end, I think that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best campaigns that I have played in the longest time, from the long story that grabs you in and gets you really connected to the main characters to the gameplay in general. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been some of the best gaming experiences that I have had in a long time. So I would have to say that overall, I would give Red Dead Redemption 2 a 10 out of 10.