“The best way to describe a cowboy Is mud, blood, guts, and glory”.
After some pressure from a good friend of mine to get my hands on Red Dead Redemption 2, I can honestly say I have no regrets in trying my hand at the cowboy life. Having so many titles I still need to smash through I am always a bit hesitant and reluctant to start up something new, always feeling like there is just to much “unfinished business”. This title was well worth adding to the list though, sadly it is so worth it that all other titles have been shelfed for a bit as I get stuck into the role of Arthur Morgan.
I was actually itching to get my hands on this title for a while now, knowing the gaming giant Rockstar and the amazing Grand Theft Auto series they are so well known for. I just feel bad always having so many titles to finish and get to. But let me not repeat myself and sound like an old broken record droning on and on. Luckily this title allows one to go at it solo, or tear it up online with some friends, taming the Wild West or adding to it’s already chaotic nature. For this review I will focus on the solo play aspect more, as this was and still is the main area I am stuck in at the moment.
The Main Protagonist and the NPC’s
As I briefly mentioned, you take control of Arthur Morgan. One of the roughest toughest cowboys out there, who can defuse a situation with a simple stare down (seriously this dude is tough as anything). You form part of what is known as the “Van der Linde gang”, in a time where outlaws are being hunted down like animals and are forced to move from region to region to try and escape the long arm of the law. A new America is on the horizon and sadly it has no place for the lawless cowboys who once ruled the West and helped shape it in a sense. Along with that you ride with quite an interesting crew, no shortcuts were taken here as they have given each NPC quite a rich backstory and history. Especially when it comes to how they found themselves joining the crew and how they all contribute in their own special way to make your crew as unique as it is. The crew at Rockstar did not stop there however, with every little “one horse” town feeling unique in it’s own sense. So much detail has gone into every element that I sometimes find myself just getting lost in the day to day lives of all the townies, where you can spend hours just watching them as the game was done this well and felt this immersive. The NPC’s all feel that they serve some purpose in the game, from the veteran beggar on the corner, right up to the sometimes corrupt sheriff of the town.
Gameplay and Map
If you are well versed in Grand Theft Auto titles especially on pc (the platform I’m playing this on) you will somewhat be able to just pick this one up an go, although sometimes the controls do get away from you a bit and might feel a bit slow or sluggish. The amount of times slow character reaction and command registration has gotten me into trouble was more than I would want to mention, but like in all the other titles you get used to it and try find ways to incorporate that into your playstyle, and plan accordingly to whatever situation you dive into. The map is massive, there will be no shortage of exploration for you to undertake while on horseback. The map is also very detailed and well put together, with no patch feeling dull or dead (unless you stumble on some random dead NPC’s), but other than that there is always something happening, from random wildlife interactions to just plain entertaining townies having some form of violent or nonviolent interactions with one another. There will also be no lack of side missions/challenges for you to undertake, all of them with their own little twists and turns and sometimes very interesting tales. Some of those tales being so classic of that paranoid era and some as they start to profile criminals like serial killers etc, so there are so many elements to this game that you are just completely overwhelmed (in a good way) and can see this being one of the many titles on my list that I will keep going back to.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the other titles in this series, so although you will gain a little from having played the other titles, it was not a necessity and you will more than easily be able to pick this up and not be overly confused. The story in it’s own right is gripping and well thought out. In short you and continuing on from introduction in this blog. You are forced to flee from the West where you planned on settling after a big score (which you had to leave behind trusting your crew leader “Dutch” to ensure it remains safe) and now have to start from scratch in a new region. Being left with little to nothing in your pockets, starving and without a physical place to call home (apart from the mobile wagon camp), lying low and trying to blend in as normal upstanding citizens. You start working your way up and building your reputation from a clean slate. With this I can also add, you decide what direction you want your reputation to go into. Be it a life of crime and building a rep as a ruthless outlaw with a short temper and even shorter fuse. Or be it a more balanced and having a more positive effect on the community and help them build up their towns, helping them flourish. Now both of these will have affects down the line for you, be it good or bad, but this was the beauty in it for me. The game shapes and forms in such a natural way that you can actually feel and see your input with the choices you have made. The rich and deep storyline will also give you such a connection to the game that you just cannot drag yourself away from it. I don’t want to give to much of the story away as I think it is so worth everyone trying to pick it up and discover it for themselves. This was just my thoughts on the game itself and give a short breakdown of what they did right and wrong. With Rockstar delivering in a good way again as they are known for.
This title like all the other ones from Rockstar games is just a hit, in so many respects. If you have ever had the privilege to play any title from them, you will know that they go that extra mile to make every aspect of the game a hit, be it from the story, character depth and even to an extent the gameplay and game mechanics. Granted they have their own unique feel to their games and you can spot a Rockstar game from the first time you enter the game world. Not necessarily being a bad thing, just referring to their unique game styles and game mechanics. The map and everything in it is just beautifully detailed, with no stone left unturned or not detailed. I love how alive everything felt in the map, with you being able to explore any random part of the map and being able to find yourself getting lost in the beauty that was created. This game will definitely provide entertainment value that will extend into the triple digits of hours spent in the game. I find myself going back into the game when try and sleep at night, thinking of things I want to do and areas I want to go explore. Even in some cases areas I want to go back to, as it just possessed something magical about it. This game will challenge you at times which was also great, as you don’t just easily stroll through the story missions and other challenges, having to use your noggin to sometimes get you out of a situation you possibly accidentally got yourself into. This in my opinion was, is and will be a massive hit for a long time to come, having discovered a secret recipe in games and always managing to build on that to make an even greater gaming experience.