Listen, I know that’s a saying from Blizzard’s Overwatch, but it felt so right using that as the title. Any who, it’s been 8 years since Red Dead Redemption took the crown as the best cowboy game ever made (I’m sorry Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood I still love you). Can Rockstar keep the magic going with Red Dead Redemption 2?
What You Need to Know
Rockstar is taking the Devil May Cry route where the next sequential entry is actually a prequel. Basically, RDR2 is a prequel to the 2010 entry. Therefore, you don’t really need to know anything, but cool moments will pop up where you will recognize characters or locations from the first game.
You are Arthur Morgan; a member of the Van Der Linde gang. The gang is just trying to make a living, but it’s hard when they’re a bunch of outlaws. Dutch, their fearless leader, is cooking up a scheme on how to get the gang out of America and live free from struggle, but the only way to achieve that goal is to have money.
This has a potential to be a very long section so please bear with me. I need to explain everything as best as I can folks.
So, RDR2 plays like Grand Theft Auto with cowboys. You shoot up other cowboys, take cover, stock up money to get good stuff, and get in the occasional fist fight. It’s the typical Rockstar formula, but it’s so good.
It can’t be that simple though.. it never can.
What sets this game apart is how in depth it goes with character management. You have to manage Arthur’s bathing habits and trim his beard. If he isn’t clean, people will interact with him differently. You have to make sure he eats the right amount of food or else he’ll lose weight or gain weight, both conditions having various impacts to his performance. Not to mention you have to do the exact same for your horse. If your horse isn’t clean or fed, it’ll slowly lose health and pretty much die.
What you wear impacts Arthur as well. If you’re wearing a T-shirt in the mountains, he’ll freeze while wearing a snow suit in 70 degree weather will make him sweat. Your guns will get dirty over time so make sure you carry a bevy of gun oil in order to clean them off.
Aside from that, there are some pretty interesting lite RPG opportunities. You can form a bond with your horse which unlocks new abilities such as drifting. This bond strengthens as you hitch it posts, feed it, and show affection to it. You can even name your horse! However, your horse isn’t just a useless NPC like Sheva from Resident Evil 5. Your horse can carry a lot of cargo, including your big guns like the shotguns and repeaters, and custom outfits for when you’re journeying through the different biomes.
Arthur levels up his abilities as you use them aka running increases stamina, getting in fights increases your health, etc. Make sure you fight and run and shoot as much as you can.
There are a bevy of activities and side quests. You can hunt animals, help strangers, rob stores or trains, fish, cook, the list goes on. Once you start making money, you are instructed to donate money or valuables to the camp money box. The money is used to upgrade the gang’s camp, giving you some good bonuses such as giving you ammo or healing supplies (think Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but much deeper).
The morality system is back so doing bad things puts you Santa’s naughty list (sorry Christmas is still in my mind so I had to do it), while good things will increase your honorable standing.
It’s been a long time since I played Red Dead Redemption, and to be honest, I don’t remember anything except the ending. Going into RDR 2, I did expect a quality piece of work, and that’s exactly what gamers should expect. This is probably why all those articles of 100 hour weeks came up close to release..
This game is a masterpiece. It looks gorgeous; I can’t stress that enough. How Rockstar manages to get so much out of consoles is bewildering. Characters are stunningly detailed, the snowy mountains feel so real, the water is so clear you can almost see your own reflection through the tv screen or monitor you’re playing on. It’s sensational.
There’s so much to do, which is a tad overwhelming, but it’s a ton of fun completing the activities. Doing the stranger quests lead to some funny moments, while helping random people in need can often give you benefits. I saved a guy from a snake bite, and the next time he saw me, he let me buy a new weapon for free at the gunsmith. Moral of the story: help out your fellow NPCs!
On the story side of the game; it’s freaking long. There are a total of six chapters, each containing roughly 10 or so missions, and two epilogues. You’ll be playing this game for awhile, but it’s a solid story that kept me entertained. I’m still trying to beat it, but it’s crazy seeing where the gang’s adventures take them and events that lead up to the original.
I think I’m done gushing over the game. My only personal gripe is that the RPG like elements such as taking care of yourself or your horse were annoying, especially in the beginning of the game. My horse was getting dirty every 10 minutes, and I honestly just forgot to eat (who doesn’t?). I did figure out the once you get a brush, you can brush your horse off to clean it which is so much easier.
With that being said, there’s no way in heck that I could tell somebody with a straight face “Do not to play this game”. I just can’t find a reason, unless you hate Rockstar, old Western movies, or long games. Even then, I’d tell you to reconsider.
After reading this, I need you to do two things for me..
- Play Red Dead Redemption 2
- Have a great start to your 2019!