"Red Dead Redemption 2" video game review: an open-world concept game where you're in the Wild West fleeing bounty hunters
- "Red Dead Redemption 2" is an open-world video game set in the American Wild West. It's pretty popular and available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- The game offers endless possibilities and many hours of missions to complete, making for a compelling and engaging story.
- It's also beautifully designed, boasting interesting landscapes and incredible graphics. I enjoyed playing the game and would recommend it to anyone.
The concept of the open-world game isn't necessarily new, but it has really hit its stride in recent years with games like "Horizon: Zero Dawn" and "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild." One of the latest games available on PlayStation 4, "Red Dead Redemption 2," takes a beloved open-world concept, gives it a modern look, and lets you roam the land as an outlaw and member of a notorious gang.
But "Red Dead Redemption 2" is a little different than its other open-world counterparts. It's slower, a little bloodier, and arguably more unforgiving. But are those things necessarily bad? No, they're not. Here's what we thought of the game after playing it for a while.
Set up and initial impressions
Navigating through the menus in the game is a simple process, and before long, you'll be on your way to playing through the story.
The story, however, is slightly slower than you might expect. Initially, you'll be introduced to the characters and their role in the game, along with how to actually play. You'll have to go through a series of missions aimed at teaching you how to use the controls, and the overall look and feel of the game. The process may take a few hours before you're introduced to the actual open world that you'll end up playing most of the game in.
The game centers around Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang that was forced to flee after a robbery goes awry in the town of Blackwater. The gang then has to rebuild from the ground up - all the while being chased by bounty hunters and federal agents as the era of the Wild West comes to a close.
You'll quickly realize that the character you're playing, Arthur, isn't necessarily all that special - you could have played as any other character in the Van der Linde gang and had a similar experience. That, however, ends up being one of the best things about the game - the fact that it ends up feeling like you're just playing a day in the life of a Wild West gangster.
One of the first things you'll notice about the game is how beautifully designed it is. The characters look fine, but it's the vast landscapes and quaint towns aimed at emulating the Wild West that really pull everything together.After playing through the tutorials and being introduced to the open world, you'll begin to understand just how big the world you can explore is. It's probably not on the same level as a game like "Breath of the Wild," but considering the fact that there's no fast-travel mechanism and you have to go through the world on horseback, it can take a while to get from one side of the world to the other. Not only that, but missions rarely take you to the edge of the world anyway, so in a way, the game ends up feeling endlessly open.
What's new in "Red Dead Redemption 2?"
If you played the original "Red Dead Redemption," don't expect this game to pick up where it left off.
"Red Dead Redemption 2" is actually a prequel set in 1899 compared to the original's 1911. While the original game takes the perspective of a former outlaw, in the new one, you play the outlaw - though during the game, you'll have opportunities to take the high road and build up your honor.
That said, there are plenty of similarities between the two games. You'll follow a different character in each, but there are some recurring characters, like Dutch Van der Linde and the original protagonist John Marston.
The look and feel of the game is similar too - though obviously much more modern in the latest version of the game. Graphics are much better, game mechanics are more refined, and the story is a little more compelling. It feels like a natural successor to the original game - but considering the fact that it's a prequel, you can play through RDR2 without having ever picked up the original game before, and you'll be just fine.
Playing through the actual game varies from the action-packed and violent to the mundane.
Your goal here is to really play the game as if you were Arthur himself - and to that end, you'll need to shave, sleep, clean your weapons, and so on. All this may sound boring, but it actually makes the game more compelling. It helps make you feel like a part of the world that the characters live in, and as if you have actual stakes in what ends up happening.Of course, there are times when this can feel a little long-winded. For example, there's no fast-travel mechanism in the game, and as such, you'll have to manually make your way to each destination. It helps to invest in a horse that can run fast here. Rockstar Games, the developers behind the game, put a lot of work into building a beautiful landscape, and they're going to make you look at it every time you want to get anywhere.
Perhaps the most fun parts of the game are the heists.
From robbing a bank to stealing a stage coach, these missions are difficult and often take a few attempts to get right. That's not a bad thing - these parts of the game are enjoyable and intense, and you probably bought the game in the first place for those reasons. Action sequences take a little getting used in terms of how you use your weapons, but eventually it becomes like second nature.
Not all of the game is about slaughtering people and taking their money.
In fact, there's a compelling reason not to go around shooting your gun off. During the game, you'll build up your honor meter and you'll end up getting rewards for taking the high road as often as possible. For example, if you have higher honor, you might get better advice from townsfolk, get discounts on items, and more.
One of the more interesting things about the game is that you can communicate with every single character at will. You can greet them, antagonize them, or even straight-up rob them, which means that there's almost endless communication in the game.
There is a main story in the game, but there are also a ton of side missions that can see you gain or lose honor, get some cash, and more. If you're looking for things to do in the game, you'll never really be at a loss.
Gameplay quickly becomes compelling and intricate. There are endless possibilities here - which is exactly how it should be in an open-world game.
What we didn't like
"Red Dead Redemption 2" is a clear winner for any fans of the "Red Dead" series, or those interested in the concept of playing as a gangster in the wild west, but there are still a few downsides to note.Perhaps the main downside where gameplay is concerned is the fact that there's no possible way to fast-travel. You do end up getting used to that fact, but it extends how long it takes to do anything by quite a while.
Apart from that, there's little to complain about.
"Red Dead Redemption 2" isn't for those that want something quick and easy, but for those that are interested in getting attached to a game that may take them months to play.
The bottom line
"Red Dead Redemption 2" is a well-designed game meant for hours and hours of play.
The game goes beyond basic good design, and offers a compelling and interesting story along the way. It can take a while to get through and it can be frustrating to have to manually make your way to each destination, but you'll quickly become attached to the characters and story of the game and enjoy it almost every step along the way.
We recommend "Red Dead Redemption 2" to any gamer who's looking for something to sink their teeth into over at least a few weeks, and who doesn't mind a bit of blood and gore. That said, this game definitely isn't for kids, so we would not recommend buying it for someone under the age of 18.
Pros: Compelling story, beautiful design, endless possibilitiesCons: Can take a while to do anything, only available on two consoles
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