‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is a ‘Rockstar’ telling of the decline of the Wild West with Law and Order gaining a strong foothold in the area. As our protagonist now realises, they’re fewer places to hide and more obstacles to overcome. This puts a great spin on an otherwise straight forward plot delivered by it’s predecessor, allowing players to explore a point in time which hasn’t been truly glorified by the silver or TV screen before.
The beginning mission throws players straight into the Tundra where they’ll see snow falling in a beautiful display of particle effects with lanterns carried by the player and his companions are dimmed by only wondering a couple of feet away. The textures on display during cinematic or in game are extremely life like combined with the high frame rate applies a big sense of realism to the player.
The graphical fitness on display is second to none especially when played on either the Xbox X or the PS4 Pro. It has a perfect harmony to it. Each texture is a representation of what has gone in to this game and is seen as soon as you start.
Furthermore, with the new added feature of a first person perspective to help players fully immerse themselves the moment to the cinematic draw distance, textures still remain solid with zero noticeable grain. This first person perspective will allow players to take breathtaking screenshots of their experiences within game, which very few games have replicated. Bar ‘Spider-Man’, by the gods bar Spider-Man!
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However, there are areas which could be improved. For example, the action of pitching your horse seems very close to the original game which doesn’t match up with the graphical and technical prowess of Red Dead Redemption 2. Let’s hope such hiccups are patched at a later date.
Rather than simply producing a bigger map with more content this time around, Rockstar have opted to place players in a living world. Bar Fights, Duels and other escapades happen whether players are around or not. This coupled with the outlaw camp life of chores and persistent relocation really brings both the weight of our protagonists situation and the evolving Wild West to life.
Building on this ethos, Rockstar have also blurred the line between a bog standard levelling up system and super market sweep ‘to do’ missions. Whilst players won’t see to much of the customary skill trees and progress bars, they are encouraged to engage with other NPC’s in game. How does this make up for the latter? Well, every NPC has their own backstory and useful information. This can lead players to previously undiscovered quests and locations naturally, rather than suffering a cluster of map markers.
The most important part of Red Dead Redemption 2 is how real it feels. You have to eat. You have to drink, you have to pay attention to the clothes you are wearing dependant on what weather conditions you are in otherwise you could experience Starvation, Dehydration or Hypothermia. This is quite a big thing in terms of RPG’s because not only is it about playing the game but it’s about actively keeping your character healthy and warm which creates a bond between player and character it’s the ultimate form of role play.
Whilst realism is obviously a key focus for Red Dead Redemption 2, avoiding arrest or worse by simply paying a small fine after killing someone kind of takes the immersion away. Granted, a 100% realistic take on the trials and tribulations of Arthur and his crew would make any player as miserable as the protagonists in-game, but maybe a couple of tweeks here and there to the consequences of outlandish actions wouldn’t go a miss.
Taking the above into account, when one needs to eat, players have the option to hunt. When doing so, the attention to detail is on point: from seeing actual individual animal tracks to pinpointing scent and wind direction, Rockstar nailed this mechanic. Animals could smell you and be startled, being a pungent outdoors dweller and all!
Overall Score: 8.9 / 10
To summarise: Red Dead Redemption 2 is a fantastic attempt at creating a land that people can jump into and lose themselves. This has been achieved with an attention to detail and effort put in by the developers.
Given its vices, Red Dead Redemption 2 still comes out trumps in the open world genre Rockstar has helped to define. It’s truly a second existence for players in a sense, Rockstar have certainly set the bar for up and coming games to follow in its shadow. It’s still early days and big things are still expected to come from it, such as the recently leaked Battle Royale mode for Red Dead Online. How strange?
Formats: Playstation 4 Pro(Reviewed), Xbox and PC
Price: £59.99 PS Store
Release Date: 29/10/2018
Pegi Rating: 18+
Review Copy Provided By Publisher