Let’s be honest, a lot of other people liked this game better than I did.
The sequel that is a prequel, Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in the time line before the story of the much revered Red Dead Redemption. The main story is based around the adventures of Arthur Morgan as we works as the second hand man of Dutch van der Linde. The Van der Linde gang finds itself on hard times and running from an attempted score in the town of Blackwater that went awry. Living much as nomads, the gang must keep moving to avoid the law and Pinkertons. As they move they must also try to make a living by either doing good or bad things.
Having only played less than five hours of the original Red Dead Redemption and without a nostalgia for that game this game was a new experience to me for the most part. There were things about this game that I really loved and enjoyed. Conversely, the things I dislike about the game I came to loathe and those things truly tainted my thoughts and feelings about the overall game.
Things I Liked…
The game is beautiful on a technical level. I played on a launch edition of the Xbox One and there were issues of draw-in of objects but all-in-all the game is still gorgeous. Everywhere you look there is something detailed and amazing. Look up to the sky and you could see the sun shining bright through the clouds or the twinkle of stars through a night-time drizzly haze. The draw-in issues were so minimal that it barely mattered to me but that was because everything else looked fantastic. The level of detail that the characters and environment had was astounding. Looking at a character and seeing their freckles or looking at a banister and seeing the grain of the wood gave the game a weight of realism. Then there are all the sounds. The clop of the horses, patter of the rain, clack of a gun’s hammer… all made the game more immersive. Then layer the music on top of it all, marvelous.
Things I Disliked…
Of all the things the game did, I’m left with feeling that it just didn’t respect my time. The game is wide and deep in that there are many things to do and are robustly built. That turns out to be a blessing and a curse. When I was trying to get through the story, I felt constantly inundated by side story material that I didn’t necessarily want to do. I’d be trying to get to a town to do what I thought was a story mission only to get interrupted by riders approaching me then opening fire for reasons I never understand. What I did to trigger this, other than being at a place at a certain time, still eludes me. It felt as though there were just too many things to do and manage. Hunting, which I did little of… trapping(?) which I did none of(not sure this was a thing you can do or not)… strangers, there were so many I just lost interest… robberies, that I avoided doing… and the list goes on. It is great that they had all these in the game and did them well but it became overwhelming and frustrating while just trying to progress in the game. The limited fast travel system meant ride your horse most of the time to go anywhere which felt like a further misuse of time. Then there is the gun play that is horrible, frankly. It had what I can only describe as a wonk and wobble that I could find no control adjustment to make it feel much better than barely playable much less ok.
When It’s All Said and Done…
If I were asked to rate this game… three out of five stars. Let me explain. The environment and story of this game made me want to keep playing. I loved seeing the world and going through it. There were times I wish I had the time just to go around and look. I wanted to explore but I just don’t have the time. That’s not a problem with the game but it became a problem with my experience with it. As well as they developed everything you can do in this game it felt like a burden at times just to move forward and disappointing to not be able to play out scenarios they present you.
What makes the game for me is the story. Again, I didn’t play the first game significantly and don’t have that as an attachment. I found Arthur Morgan to be one of the most empathetic characters I have ever played. Going through the game, I found myself making decisions based on the thought in my head of ‘I just want things to work out for this guy and it be good’. All the time knowing it would not because of the foreshadowing presented I knew what his outcome would be.
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A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.