By Ethan Johnson
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is a testament to the love of Westerns. This prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption places you in the year 1899 as outlaw Arthur Morgan as he and his fellow gang members attempt to escape the ever gaining lawmen on their trail. The following story that takes place across the American West makes Red Dead Redemption 2 one of the best games to come out for this generation of consoles.
When first opening the box, one would be surprised to see that the game comes on two discs. This is because the file size is 105 Gigabytes. While this is at first daunting, after the installation has completed it’s easy to see that the file size was worth it. Red Dead Redemption 2 has some of the best graphics to come to consoles. There are times throughout the game that look almost photorealistic. From the trees to the people to the mud, everything looks and acts in a realistic manner.
The gameplay offers a wide variety of activities to take part in. Robbing Stagecoaches and fighting lawmen and rival gangs is not all that the game has to offer. If the gunplay gets tiring, mini games are offered throughout the towns including poker and blackjack. Hunting for rare animal pelts is also a possible activity. With this variety of things to do and more, it’s always easy to find something to do in the Wild West.
It is in the story where Red Dead Redemption 2 particularly shines. The Story stars a colorful cast of characters that all bring their own unique personalities to supplement the story. There’s Dutch Van Der Linde, the charismatic leader of the gang, Hosea, Dutch’s trusted right hand, and original Red Dead Redemption’s protagonist John Marston. These characters among with many others are all given their own unique moments that personify them and allow the player to truly become attached to them. The story itself is separated into six chapters with more of the world unlocking with each chapter.
Every chapter serves its purpose with the earlier ones slowly introducing the player to the core mechanics of the game and the later chapters acting as the climax to the story. While has good pacing for its place within the story, chapter one, which acts almost entirely as a tutorial, takes multiple hours to complete. This prolonged tutorial along with a lack of open world features during the chapter make the first chapter fairly tedious at times to play through.
The game also allows the player to create a strong bond with their horse. Almost every single horse in the game can be taken and owned by the player. The horse can be named, customized, and acts as storage as well as transportation. However, the horse can die if it takes enough damage and if the player finds themselves without a means to revive it, then it becomes time to replace a horse that the player may have had for dozens of hours. It is through these mechanics that the horses in the game become characters of their own and not just a vehicle for travelling across the map.
Speaking of the map, huge hardly even begins to describe it. Even on a horse, the map can take a long time to traverse which can be frustrating especially if playing on a time constraint. A fast travel system consisting of the use of stagecoaches and train stations can help cut down on travel sometimes. It is not just the size of the map that is impressive, it is also the diversity. From the frozen mountains to the north, to the sunscorched deserts of New Austin, or to the gator filled swamps in the east, the game boasts a variety in environments to rival many games. The large and varied map allows for a lot of exploring with enough changes in environments to make it interesting.
For those seeking a less lonely experience, the game also has a multiplayer mode. It allows players to customize a character before dropping them in a world with other players. Players are free to complete missions while working with or against others throughout the map. The mode has come under criticism for overpricing goods while not providing enough rewards in missions to allow player to buy goods.
With a large map, varied gameplay, and an engaging story with memorable characters, Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a lot of fun for many hours. However, some issues including long travel times, a slow start, and an unbalanced multiplayer provide some annoyances for players. Overall Red Dead Redemption 2 earns a 9/10 and is highly recommended.