The original Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox 360 became one of my favourite games and the pinnacle of those I hold dear. The Zelda series has been for me like so many others the defacto of gaming. The one franchise that produces astounding quality and a life-time of memories. If anyone asks me what my favourite franchise is, Zelda immediately comes to mind. Before now Red Dead Redemption was just a single title. Unique amongst the plethora of Grand Theft Auto releases. Now Red Dead Redemption 2 has set in motion a new franchise.
It’s been a long wait for a follow-up to Red Dead Redemption. An entire era of gaming. Almost a decade gone by which included games such as Grand Theft Auto V, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Battlefield 4, 1 and V. To put things into perspective the RDR games released on completely different consoles. The original on PS3 and Xbox 360. RDR2 on PS4 and Xbox One after the release of various upgrades such as the Xbox One S, One X and PS4 Pro. Rockstar Games only waited 5 years to release a sequel to Grand Theft Auto IV with GTA V. Red Red Redemption 2 endured an 8 year wait.
I’m reluctant to write too much and go on a long transient of thought boring both you and I in the process, though there is much to analyze and admire in Red Dead Redemption 2. To miss out on the essence of what makes the game so great would be an injustice. Almost sacrilege. It is deserving of both my time and yours.
Red Dead Redemption 2 provides a new protagonist to portray. A few years prior to the previous. This is in-fact a prequel. Your Arthur Morgan, a member of a notorious though somewhat civil outlaw gang which includes Red Dead Redemption’s John Marston. It’s a shame that he’s not the protagonist again. I thoroughly enjoyed my time improving his fortunes and travelling to Mexico whilst taking on bandits and of course the law in the original.
As with all open-world games there is an element of repetition in going back and forth from one location to another. In a world so gorgeous, detailed and immersive such as this that is certainly not a negative. My experience of RDR2 is on the original Xbox One console. The newer console versions provide 4K and HDR visuals which one can only imagine the beauty. I’m mesmerized by the detail and visuals. Who would’ve thought that the original Xbox One could produce such grandeur.
Arthur Morgan is a like-able and friendly character. Rough around the edges and not patient with degenerates. He has his own demons to contend with such as the loss of his wife and son. A romance that can’t survive his outlaw lifestyle. Loyal to the cause and the comrades he clings to as family. A broken man that is loyal to a fault.
The brilliance of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the story-telling and freedom to explore. It’s evident from the outset that the dialogue is first class. A lot of time and effort committed to providing the many letters and conversations. It feels like a movie and your the star.
The player is immediately thrust into a life of turmoil and uprooting to new pastures. It’s clear that a recent mission had gone bad forcing the group to flee and find freedom away from society. An outlaw’s life is fraught with many perils from that of the law and rival bandits and gangs.
The snow filled mountains are majestic and awe inspiring. The conditions are harsh and brutal but there is a sense of survival from living in these conditions. Being warm and well fed is vital. After a few missions to acclimatize the player into the surroundings and game features a battle ensues and the group move south to a warmer and less harsh climate. There is much relocating within the games chapters and story-telling. Never allowing themselves to settle or be civilized for too long. Something inevitably goes wrong at every turn. For every good moment a negative is soon to follow.
If it’s beginning to sound like a movie it certainly feels that way too. It’s a fantastic production which can have the player hooked for hours on end. I’ve lost countless days to a game I only intended to play in short bursts. Six or eight hours later and I’m still riding around either causing mayhem or helping some poor fool in an attempt to complete a side quest or mission. Real life forgotten whilst I take my leave into the world of Arthur Morgan.
There is so much to do within the game aside from the missions. Fishing can seem rather mundane in a world filled with so much danger and adventure but it’s actually rather relaxing. Delivering the caught fish to the camp provides food for the community. Hunting is really rewarding though to skin the perfect pelt requires a clean kill with a low impact weapon. Blasting an animal with a shotgun just results in a poor garment. Gets the job done but rather poor execution.
There’s a wide variety of animals to hunt and encounter from deer, rabbits, birds, fish, bears, cougars and so much more. The most annoying for me personally is the damn wolves. They’re worse than bandits. Hunting in packs and relentless. Guns are problematic, after a few shots a reload is required. By then your mauled to death. A knife is the best weapon though fleeing on horseback doesn’t feel cowardly at all. It’s surviving so long as the horse doesn’t get frightened and leave you clinging to life surrounded by wolves visualizing you as their next meal.
Train stations are dotted around the large and vast map with adequate distance between them. It’s a fast way to travel between locations though there are other perks. Bounties can be paid to repent your bad deeds and free you from any pursuing bounty hunters. Letters and packages can be retrieved throughout the games story along with other quest opportunities.
It’s easy to become a wanted individual by the law. Throttling a stranger, shooting someone or fighting. Pretty much any negative action will result in some kind of consequence as there’s also a moral gauge within the game that impacts on how people react to you from being a good citizen to a fearsome outlaw.
Hygiene plays a role in other peoples opinions of you aside from your behaviour. Baths can be taken at hotels and clothes can be changed at the players home location. Food can be stored in the players satchel, horse satchel and at the camp. Within the camp is a ledger to contribute trinkets and cash towards the group. Although Dutch is the groups leader it is left to Arthur to decide upon upgrades such as buying a boat, chicken coop and ammo, medicine and food supplies.
Missions can often be completed with a variety of play styles and approached from various directions. Stealth, or guns blazing though some are linear especially those attached to the main story. In those instances you’ll need to remain close to the required marker whether it be a specific character or location. Getting lost or too far from the action will be a defeat requiring a checkpoint restart.
Waypoints and markers help indicate the direction to travel to reach your target location. Usually there will be a route provided to follow on the mini-map much like a Sat-Nav GPS. Whilst the pathways are clear the opportunity to explore off-trail can’t be ignored. There’s much to see and encounter on track and off-track.
Waterfalls and other various landmarks are scattered around the map for players to reveal and marvel. Strangers to help and bandits to avoid. The world feels alive. One moment your riding briskly down a path with no care in the world the next your set upon by a skirmish of rival enemies, bounty hunters and wild animals.
Objects, food and medicine can be crafted at camps. Pop-up camps can be settled at any location for a rest, warmth and food. They can just as quickly be demolished and put away for future use. The world is your oyster to explore. Relationships are important within Red Dead Redemption. Plenty of people to meet, interact, help and harm.
Death, though poignant and somber isn’t the end of the world in the game. You’ll lose some money, though the reason for this is unclear. My guess is it’s a fee for medical assistance rather than a penalty. Either way you are penalized for being reckless. Dying will happen for sure we all make mistakes but it is possible with a calm, and logical mindset to play through without such misfortune.
Red Dead Redemption Review
Red Red Redemption 2 is a magnificent spectacle. A game worth cherishing and embracing for years to come. A standard has now been set for others to reach. This is gaming brilliance with incredible graphics, gameplay and fantastic story writing. I struggle to think of anything negative. The world is vast and detailed. The story captivates the many aspects of the wild west from the open plains to the swamps and newly industrialized cities. There is so much diversity and opportunities to explore. Reliving life in 1899 feels real and authentic. The wait for a new Red Dead Redemption was absolutely worth it.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.