Rockstar Games has at least a handful of times got themselves to appear as just rock stars, and rightly so. They have repeatedly shown their ability to create games that contain everything from moving stories with interesting characters to open-minded worlds that offer pure exploration. The fact that the budget of the latest games in their "portfolio" in many cases exceeds the largest of Hollywood movies just does not surprise, and Red Dead Redemption 2 does not seem to be an exception – rather the opposite.
The well-planned and minutially detailed introduction, slowly and surely, the player crashes into the complex game mechanics and the confidently lukewarm story of "The Van der Lind Time" is as much a masterful way of starting a story as it is proof of solid, thoughtful and educational game design. At the end of this so-called prologue, the huge game world is introduced in its entirety. Which contrasts with the somewhat limited surface of the "prologue" not only feels overwhelming, but also attracts its beautiful views for exploration.
Prickly composed characters such as John Marston, Susan Grimshaw, Lenny Summers and Hosea Mathews not only interact with each other and the main character of the game (Arthur Morgan) in film sequences or in connection with events associated with the story. Without responding to actions, in Arthur's clothing style, even on Arthur's well-being. Much because it is precisely the player's responsibility to take care of such guides when it comes to the main character. If he rams in a clay puddle he gets dirty, rides he lands and rich around grows his hair as well as beard and eats he does not become thin and clumsy in more than one way. This kind of detail is far from there, but finding that kind of thought in a game on your own is a big part of the joy of playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2. Therefore, I will try to be frugal with this kind of curiosity .
Something else that actively nails both characters and animals in the world is how they interact with the environment. Just the thought of the artistic and technical constriction that must be behind as little detail as how the mud behaves when a foot or paw stamps in it, how the trails in the snow are formed when Arthur and his gang pulses through it or how rain is bleeding down both clothes , fur and ground, in short, is breathtaking. As if that were not enough, the characters interact with all kinds of objects in a way that I have never witnessed before. In short, it looks realistic when the character in question picks up a jar of beans or attaches the gun to the podium again. No clipping, no feather movements, without weight in every movement and fixed limits for where the hand on the character ends and the object begins.
With such a large, comprehensive and well-integrated world, one can of course expect that there are more than a number of main tasks to focus on. Of course, Rockstar Games outweighs my expectations in so many ways that I do not even know where to start. But I still think that the possibility of hunting animals is one of the best starting points. Not because the possibility of hunting animals is something new in the game world, but because the hunt in Red Dead Redemption 2 can mean so much more than shooting an animal and using parts of the body for cooking. Here the hunt can also include an animal skin to upgrade its equipment with horns to create useful items of and exclusive fur to sell or sew clothes off. It can also mean long journeys on the cold mountain peaks that require warm clothes, while it may mean different rewards depending on how the hunt goes. Shooting the first best bear does not have to yield a qualitative coat, just like a shotgun may not give as nice plaid as a pair of well-placed arrows.
As if this were not enough, players would also be able to store both clothes, weapons and ammunition like meat, fur and horn somewhere. All this does not fit Arthur's pocket just. And if the horse has not taken Arthur to the hunting grounds, it's probably here it's coming into the picture. A West Game had of course not been a Western game but the ability to ride a horse, and the horse in Red Dead 2 is much more than a means of travel, it is also a walking luggage and, in many cases, Arthur's best friend.
To get as much of your horse as possible, it is important to create a strong bond with it. Firstly, take care of it, brush it and feed it. But even by folding it or calming it after a hot sprint from a gang of bandits. Managing his horse is rewarded with a companion that runs faster, is more persistent, more easily maneuvered and withstands more strain when the bullets win. There are also several different types of horses to choose from, some can be found in the wilderness and can be tamed, while others can be bought in various cities. Everyone with different potentials when it comes to endurance, speed, etc.
However, horse is not the only way to travel. You can also take the train, one of the many horse-drawn carriages in the towns or get on foot. The choices are many and as more opportunities are opened up. However, some clean-up "teleporting" that is usually found in other big open world games is not offered, which may seem both good and bad at one and the same time. On the one hand, it may be frustrating to move between the wilderness and city life when you want to sell from new yacht exchanges. On the other hand, the game never breaks the illusion of the time and space game after all. Something I personally really appreciate, especially when wildlife is not the only thing that can drive time between the main tasks.
During each trip, no matter what direction, there is always something exciting on the road. If it's not a legendary moose that attracts, maybe it's a stranger who needs help with his horse, or a bunch of bandits trying on a robbery. Alternatively, a snake knocks out of the woods and needs antidote, or the most obscene lantisers invite strangers to dinner. It may also happen that companions from "The Van der Lind time" ride past a chat, or that wild strangers offer Arthur to buy secret treasure maps. Or so … Yes, as you may understand, there is a very long list of things that can happen along the way between all the places you want to visit in the wild west. And believe me, this is just a fraction of all the exciting things that can happen on every outing in the huge world offered in Red Dead 2. Not to mention all the crazy combinations all these events can result in.
The game takes its time, but the time it takes to do what one wants to do is underneath essentially every circumstance worth every second. Not least when you combine all of the above in a single great beautiful touch, it combines with beautifully accompanied west inspired pieces of music, the patch of the horse's claws against the terrain and the quiver from yet another undiscovered bird species. Nevertheless, the languishing tempo may feel frustrating sometimes. At least in the more stressful and action-packed sections, where you sometimes wish it did not take quite a while to pick up the divergent weapon lying on the ground. Or that the body to be moved well should not be so difficult to lift. Even though the pace in most cases adds to an almost perfect atmosphere.
With as much as already said, you may think that there should probably not be more to talk about, but it actually exists. The last thing I would like to mention is the game's control, as it is too much … much, good and bad. Each choice is made by pressing fast keystrokes or keystrokes that require you to hold the same button for a long time. This layout makes it possible to give the same button several different features, while making some actions harder to perform "by mistake". Combine this with another layer of features on the same button based on whether the right shoulder button is pressed or not, we have a rather complex control schedule that takes a long time to learn. Something that may be inevitable in such a massive game, yet an actual complaint I have, one of the total two complaints I have. Despite this, there are bright spots even when it comes to the control schedule. The many and harsh layers of control leave space for some easy-to-use quick features. As an example, the opportunity to adjust the size of the map without having to enter any menu or the ability to switch to the first-person perspective by simply pressing a button, just to name a few.
In conclusion to this review, I just want to say that there is no doubt that this game is worth your time. The game does not possess a single missed opportunity, delivering everything from a grandiose open world to small subtle details in both the story and the surrounding. I have never before played a game that contains as much and as high quality as Red Dead Redemption 2. I will without a doubt hesitate to spend as much time as I can only in the wild west for the remainder of 2018.
- Gripping story
- Interesting characters
- Grandiosa surroundings
- Extensive game world
- Extremely detailed
- Very varied
- A quiet lukewarm pace
- Explorers when it's the best
- The horses and everything they mean
- Hunting and fishing
- Slower than you sometimes tolerate
- Complicated control schedule