Reviewed by Hassan Shah
Synopsis: Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2), the sequel to Red Dead Redemption, is an epic tail about outlaw life in the old wild west. The game takes place in 1899 America, a time when the industrialization and civilized life are becoming the new normal. You play as Arthur Morgan, a veteran member of the Van der Linde gang who tries to gather money in hopes of fleeing the country away from these threatening ideas along with his fellow criminals.
Review: Red Dead Redemption 2 achieves a level of immersion and realism that is unrivaled. The game’s predecessor, Red Dead Redemption, was one of the best of its generation winning multiple game of the year awards. Considering Rockstar’s track record with games like Red Dead Redemption, the GTA series (Grand Theft Auto), and Max Payne, it’s no surprise the level of praise RDR2 has received from critics.
Let’s start with the story. RDR2 has a VERY long story. Fortunately, it’s not one that drags on too long or insists upon itself, nor is it riddled with filler content. Everything that happens in the story feels meaningful and well paced. After a boat heist goes sour in the city of Blackwater, the Van der Linde gang goes on the run from the law as you travel from state to state in search of stability and money to flee the country. Once the gang feels that they have bought themselves some time, they set up a camp. At camp, Arthur can chat with gang members, play games, take on missions and side content, relax, or listen to stories around the fire. The more time you spend at camp, the more you learn about your fellow gang members.
Each camp covers a section of the massive map that you will eventually leave once things get too hot with Pinkertons (1889 equivalent of FBI). You spend much of the story trying to gather money and build connections so that you and your gang can leave the country. The characters in the game are some of the most interesting and deep you’ll see in a game. Arthur Morgan, the man you play as, is my personal favorite fictional character ever. He most likely will be yours too. He’s a stoic, strong, and selfless man that cares for nothing but the people around him. He has a mysterious past that will become more clear as you progress.
The gameplay in RDR2 is clean and polished, but it can be slow at times. Many have deemed the gameplay as being clunky and boring. There is some heaviness to it when using controller but this is overshadowed by the excellent story, graphics, and mechanics the game has to offer. Riding horses feels real, shooting guns is satisfying and realistic, and walking through bustling cities or dense forests are all things that add to the incredible immersion of RDR2. Hunting is another big part of the game. There are over 250 types of animals in the game, all with different behaviors and ways of obtaining undamaged pelts and furs. For example, you might need the pelt of a Florida panther to craft a new saddle for your horse. In order to hunt the panther, you must come to the right location on the map, at the right time of the day, with the appropriate weapon, all in hopes to create a new saddle. This is one of several examples of how deep this game can go.
Performance wise I had no problems running RDR2 on my 2014 PS4. Glitches and bugs were infrequent and did not ever take away from the experience. The game’s graphics are arguably the best ever which compliments well with the fact that the landscapes you encounter on your quest are absolutely gorgeous. This review might sound like the game is nearly perfect, and that’s because it nearly is. The pacing of the gameplay and the story in this game will come down to preference, but considering the number of awards this game has won, it’s safe to say that you will love it.
9.8/10- Would be 10/10 hadn’t it been for clunky controls