First Thoughts: Red Dead Redemption 2


Whether it’s good or bad, everyone has been talking about Red Dead Redemption 2. I think the negativity hasn’t been anything to do with the actual game itself whatsoever, but instead about the recent controversy when Rockstar thoughtlessly came out bragging about making their employees work crazy-long hours to make sure the final product was shoved out in time, which was a very poor move. Twitter doesn’t like when people brag about stuff like that, and with good reason.

I found myself siding with how many people online seemingly felt – that the way they were treating their employees was less than admirable, but sadly, still knowing I was going buy that game no matter what. Boycotting was one idea, sure. But this is Red Dead Redemption 2. We’ve all been waiting for it for a long time, and all that hard work (all 100 hours a week of it!) would’ve gone to waste. Sort of. It was still always going to fly off the shelves, it’s no simple task to boycott a Rockstar game.


Firstly, this game is phenomenal. I hate to jump on the bandwagon of people singing songs of praise when I think a game doesn’t deserve that much of a pat on the back, but this time it’s really hit the nail on the head and come out as what I think, is a huge success.

To give some idea of the premise of the story, but not saying too much for those of you who haven’t had a chance to grab a copy or properly sink your teeth into it – the story is good. Or at least I think it’s going to turn out very good and iconic, much like the first game. Now, I say that after only having had a chance to sink maybe 10 hours into the game, so take it with a pinch of salt. We start off in a snowstorm somewhere in the mountains, with several characters trying to find shelter, a gang of misfits of some sorts. We play as the aging outlaw Arthur Morgan, as he travels eastwards with this somewhat infamous gang, known as “Dutch’s Gang”.

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You don’t exactly start in lush green pastures.

Very quickly we’re thrown into the story, after a major event has taken place for Dutch’s gang, in a place called Blackwater where things have gone awry somewhere down the line. We’re not told everything from the get-go, and we’re given dribs and drabs of what had happened previously as the game progresses.

Eventually, Dutch’s Gang settles down in an area called “The Heartlands”. It’s from here where you’re released upon the world, and pretty much allowed to do whatever it is you want. Of course, the logical thing to do is to progress the story, but some of us who are just too curious to see what we could get up to before all that get stuck in.

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Whilst it may be sunshine and rainbows right now…

You’re certainly not short of anything to do. I’m weird and the first thing I wanted to get into was playing Poker – but there are so many options. Whether that just be exploring for odd locations, hunting all sorts of game for different reasons, bounty hunting, stealing from literally anyone – or just talking to them – there is so many things to do, in a vast open world.

Aside from a large number of weapons being available, some of which are more “modern” guns (This is set in 1899, so some progress has been made!) you get all the goodies from the old game, such as my favourite, the lasso, it’s impossible to not have a laugh at least once when it comes to hogtying people. You can also put in a huge amount of customisation into both the weapons you get, but also all the different outfits and clothing you can acquire along the way. Some clothing is even needed depending on where you explore due to the varying hot and cold temperatures you will encounter.

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“That’s a real purdy knife, mister.”

The world building in Red Dead Redemption 2 is amazing. The world does appear somewhat empty at times, and maybe a bit lonely. But you can talk to literally anyone; you can annoy them, be friendly, or just flat out rob them, beat them, or kill them if you’re into that. But you’ll quickly discover a new feature in the game, which is a morality meter: Honourable or Dishonourable. Depending on how you act in the world, it affects the meter, which in turn effects how you’ll be treated by everyone in the game; you could be noble and help everyone at every chance you get, and become nice outlaw (Is that a thing? It is now!) or take every opportunity to be the baddest badass outlaw you can be. Or, you could just do whatever you want, whenever you want. The choice is up to you, and it’s personally one of my favourite new features, and gives the game a whole new level of replay-ability.

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Even small choices could have consequences, but it’s entirely up to you how you want to be portrayed. 

Not only is the gameplay fun, but the world in terms of how it all looks is drop-dead gorgeous. There are so many different styles of environments to see and explore, and you can see how much effort has gone into each area to make it unforgettable. The landscapes are simply amazing. And the detail that’s gone into even the smallest aspects of the game, like the plants and buildings, are impeccable. The effort that’s gone into all the towns scattered around, and even just smaller locations, I can now see why this game was a beasty 105GB download, and it was well worth the wait.

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Every nook and cranny of Red Dead Redemption 2 so easy on the eyes. 

On top of everything in the game being jaw-droppingly beautiful and full, the voice acting is also top notch, and clearly has been a massive focus when making the game. Since you can talk to literally everyone with a few different options to choose from, that by itself is a tall order to fill. All the eclectic characters that form Dutch’s gang, all of whom you can have many different conversations that change overtime, and even open side missions and requests for, give the entire game much more of a Roleplay game feeling, which I welcomed with open arms. If anything, this large focus on just being able to chat to anyone and get really stuck in to the world, has really set it apart from any Rockstar game to date.


In conclusion – I’m darn-tootin’ impressed. I’ve got a long way to go until I even start to see the end of the game in sight, but from what I’ve played so far, I can’t see it going downhill anytime soon. The tremendous effort that was put into Red Dead Redemption 2 is extremely apparent. Whilst there has been the controversy behind the way it was made, as I soon began to learn on Twitter, these kind of overworking practices are sadly fairly commonplace in the gaming industry, as I saw many people tweet about how they’ve been overworked when its come to a deadline, rather than just extending time to put out the final product. Even if it was going to be delayed for a few more months, the game would still fly off the shelves.

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He’s just angry because his hat fell off. Again. For the 13th time. 

Putting that aside, Red Dead Redemption 2 is awesome. It’s easily going to install itself as an iconic game to be remembered the same way the first game was, without a doubt. The story is gripping and intriguing, the world is stuffed with so many things to do, and all of it is stunning. Now, time for me to hit the old dusty trail and get stuck back in myself, partner.


 

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