Red Dead Redemption was a change of style for Rockstar when it launched in 2010. I absolutely loved the original and its heartfelt story. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a return to the western setting and follows Arthur Morgan a high ranking officer in the Van Der Lind gang. It’s a vast change of pace from the Grand Theft Auto series and is Rockstar at their best.
Story & Gameplay
RRD2 follows Arthur Morgan, an outlaw on the run with his gang after a Bank robbery goes wrong. Finding yourself on a snow filled mountain surrounded by enemies, you learn the ropes of the game while fighting for survival. The slow pacing of starter missions builds the Arthur’s background leading to this moment and introduces the characters that will accompany you on this 60 hour plus story.
As the wild west is coming to an end, Arthur, Dutch and his crew are looking for one more big score to escape the law and set up somewhere safe. As we follow the gang through different states and different ways of making money, the character of Arthur evolves in unexpected ways. Anyone that has played the original Red Dead Redemption knows the gang splits up, but the story of RDR2 is much more. Its Rockstar best story to date.
As the story is so special I want to avoid spoilers at all costs. This is a game that can take you months to finish because there is simply so much to do and see. I will say though the story of Arthur, Dutch & John is one of the best stories in gaming. When the credits finally roll you will have felt every emotion and will have been on a journey like no other.
Game play wise, Rockstar have gone direct opposite to GTA. RDR2 is methodically slow. Walking is slow, riding your horse is slow, combat is slow, it’s all done to make you feel the world around you. Playing on a 4K TV with HDR on PS4 Pro, RDR2 is the best looking game I have ever played. The way the light hits the mist, to it creeping through the trees in the morning, the weather system and lighting is moving. I spent a lot of time just looking at the incredible weather.
I spent more time admiring the incredible depth of detail though. Games have been trying to nail the feeling of actually existing in a world, non have done it as good as RDR2 though. Your every choice matters and can impact the way people react to you. Something as simple as not washing, fighting someone, refusing to help someone else can all come back to haunt you. The world is so detailed in every single way that it’s impossible not to get lost in its beauty and feel like you are living in a fleshed out breathing world.
It’s this attention to detail that brings the most emotional parts to fruition later on in the game. Your actions have deep consequences and the game really drives this home in act 5 to the end of the game.
There is just so much to do and see in RDR2 you could spend 100 hours and not beat the story. It’s rare that an open world RPG feels like a world and has many twist and turns, Witcher 3 springs to mind, but RDR2 takes everything that the Witcher 3 does and improves on it. It’s a special game and a real turning point in gaming.
The only downside I’ve found is the controls. Sometimes you will press R2 to do one thing and it will do something else. Sometimes you will want cover behind a rock but you will take cover behind a pebble instead. Apart from this the shooting and movement feel fantastic.
Voice & Acting
Rockstar stays away from big names when it comes to voice and video capturing and RDR2 is no different. What they get from this choice though pays off big time. The story is so perfectly told and delivered that you can’t help but feel emotion. It’s rare that a game nails everything but RDR2 really does. There are so many lines of dialogue in RDR2 that you barely ever hear a line twice. In fact the only time I did was when browsing in stores.
The physics of the game are impeccable. With so much motion capturing the game sometimes feels like a movie. The simple act of getting on your horse is so excellently executed that it feels like watching a western.
Overall there is nothing to fault at all here, it looks sounds and feels so perfect and fitting. The music knows exactly when to kick in and fade out. Everything is such a perfect blend, it really is special.
It’s rare to play a game with and get so much enjoyment out if it like you will with RDR2. Everything you do is an adventure. I set a way point to a missions and after 5 hours I finally arrived. There is so much to get you sidetracked that it’s nearly impossible not to get lost. With so many activities, side missions, collectables, hunting and more it’s nearly impossible to see and do everything. The map is huge and includes all of the American map from the original RDR, its insane.
The attention to detail and depth of the simplest of tasks makes everything feel incredible and fun. It’s rare to have so much depth and be so grounded yet have so much fun. Rockstar know that RDR2 won’t be for everyone, but if you know it’s not GTA you will love it.
Simply put Red Dead Redemption 2 for me is the best game I have ever played. The details, realism, sound, voice, acting, map, open-world, lighting and more are just head and shoulders above anything that’s has come before it. It’s a stark contrast to the GTA series but shows the true masters that are Rockstar. Quite simply put, it’s the best game of this generation and probably ever.
Thank you Rockstar for the review code and this incredible game.