Released in 2018, Read Dead Redemption II blew fans and critics away. But how has it aged? Simply put, very well.
A prequel to Red Dead Redemption, the story follows Arthur Morgan, a hot headed cowboy. In a world filled with corruption and greed, it is up to you to make things right. Whether done with honor or with your pistols is up to you.
The story begins with you, Dutch and the rest of the Ven der Linde gang in a dire situation. Finding yourself with no shelter, facing blizzards, and a half missing crew, Arthur is tasked with finding a solution. In what is a two hour interactive tutorial, you find shelter, eliminate a rival gang, rob a train, and upset a wealthy business owner. “A two hour tutorial, what is this madness” you ask? With what the world has to offer (hint: it’s a lot) it makes sense that the tutorial is this long.
Once this is over though, the world opens up and boy, it’s impressive. Considering this was initially a console exclusive the amount of detail found in it is amazing. It feels alive. Towns are filled with people, roads with wagons and carts, the wilderness with animals. No area feels dead. Even arid regions of the map which are normally bland in other titles are filled with vultures and lizards.
That’s not all folks! The weather and special effects help craft a living world like no other game. Sun shines through the trees. Snow makes lands harder to traverse. Rain fills your screen and your ears (as each drop interacts with the environment). Fog creeps in and makes seeing your route next to impossible. Lightning fills up the sky in spectacular fashion. Dust flies through towns as people walk or ride, or when the wind blows – The game has it all.
“So the game is pretty, huh. Anything to do?” Yes, surprisingly plenty. Unlike most larger games which offer little substance in their vast environments, RDR2 lets you have your cake, and you get to eat it too! Hunting, gathering, crafting, fishing, a plethora of mini games, strangers, outlaws are found throughout the world – Allowing a break from the main story whenever you please.
Hunting finds you tracking animals, with stealth and moving against the wind, you’ll be able to hunt a wide variety of animals. With around 200 species there’s no shortage. Legendary hunts are also available, giving you a chance to really test your skills.
Gathering and crafting are similar to other titles. Get component X to craft item Y. Fishing is a nice break from all the gun fights, and makes for a surprisingly enjoyable experience with others online. Backgammon and poker are playable as well, and you will often find NPCs playing these. Strangers and outlaws will find out throughout the world. Whether they need your help, or want your gold, every experience is unique.
Enjoying your cake? Have some icing! RDR2 gives you a lot to do, but it also gives you an amazing screenshot mode with a large amount of options and filters to capture every moment. Zoom, blur, colour and contrast are but a few options. A pleasant surprise which more games need to include.
Now, one aspect of RDR2 that I most enjoyed is also my least favourite – Online. Roaming around with your posse offers endless opportunities for fun and laughter as you hogtie your friends and watch them try and break free before meeting the oncoming train (all friends do this, yeah?). Completing world events pits you against other posses which sees you working together to come out on top. Missions are made that little bit easier with an extra set of hands. Other players interact with you as you move from town to town. It all makes the world a lot more enjoyable. However, hackers are existent. In all my hours of online I’ve only encountered two so it’s not plagued by hackers. But those two experiences were horrid. Being blown up from across the map to being locked in a cage is not a fun experience.
If you’re not sold on the game yet, I’ve saved the best for last. There’s a first person mode. I see you there, in your seat, murmuring “that’s no big deal” to yourself. Remember how I mentioned that there are 200 species of animals? That applies to dogs, too. Now you can pat all your favourite dogs in first person! There is no greater delight than seeing a dog get excited as Arthur pats them – He even calls them a good boy (wow, just like in real life). Disclaimer: there are no pugs.
No detail has been spared in Rockstar latest game. Overall, it all makes for a great Western film. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to pick this title up. You won’t be disappointed.