Red Dead Redemption 2 Reviews

710,447 (374,438)
TA Score for this game: 958
Posted on 19 May 19 at 18:55
This review has 6 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Rockstar have been long known for taking years to make huge games to their franchises, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception, with a seven year development cycle and nearly three thousand names credited in the developers thank you letter, There was a chance this game could have been a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth”, however Red Dead Redemption 2 shirks those expectations, putting nothing short of a masterpiece out with the solo campaign being one of the best I have played in many years. It isn’t without its faults, but they are very few and far between.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption 1, where you play as a totally new character called Arthur Morgan in Dutch’s infamous gang, and learn throughout the game the events that transpired that made the members of the gang you encounter for RDR1 act how they are, which I thought would actually be a turn off point for me in the game. Considering I had already had full knowledge of the story of RDR1, including the ending and a lot of the characters from RDR2’s fate from the first game, I thought that I would not care for the plight of the characters seeing as I already knew their fates. How wrong I was.

Rockstar took all the time and attention to detail, making all the characters have all been fleshed out and developed with such attention to detail, that you can’t help but care about most of the characters in the game, with you learning and developing bonds with characters you can’t help but too be invested in, to the point where you begin to care about the people you want to help and see through to the end of the game, and despising others that you want to see trampled under the hooves of your horse for even so much as raising a slightly smug eyebrow. It all feels so natural and fits wonderfully in to the game play, with most interactions being when you are lulling around the base camp or riding to missions, It feels satisfying to know that because of the amount of different interactions you can have with most of Dutch’s gang, you feel like you may get conversations other people may completely missed just because you visited camp at a different time to them.

The camp is the crux of most of the game, as it is where you will go to make conversations, start missions and side quests, and most importantly, keep Arthur at peak performance, as there are many RPG’esq stats that you can control to help keep yourself fighting fit, including picking out outfits dependent on location so you don’t overheat or freeze and loose stats, you can cook and craft different foods and munitions too help keep your stats high so you have higher health and stamina pools, and you can upgrade the camp too, adding useful functions such as fast travel, better resources and happier camp mates, which lead to them helping around the camp more too. This leads to a feeling of this sense of home, where you are providing to help your camp become happier, whilst also getting to know the place like the back of your hand. I caught myself so many times back on trips to camp talking to myself, saying things like “I need to make sure I stop by Pearson first to deliver this animal hide, oh and while I am here I can go speak to Abigail about that item she needed, and while by her I suppose I can spare twenty dollars towards the camp funds” It all feels so natural and that you are really In Arthur's shoes.

With so many different features in the game, it’s actually easy to be overwhelmed with that responsibility mind, and it becomes very clear quite quickly some of the mechanics aren’t crucial to survival, I put a lot of time In to hunting and fishing to help keep Arthur healthy, and too keep his stats high, although realised quickly that the pelts and meats were not hugely valuable, and that the upgrades that getting a perfect kill hunting gave me were not really worth it in the end. Even so, I can’t complain as the hunting mechanics are actually well fleshed out and hunting down the legendary animals actually feels like you are trying track a hard to find beast that has a rare part you are looking for, where in most games hunting can sometimes just come across as lazy and tacked on, it provides a satisfying side experience that can help between doing the main quests.

This is sometimes the problem with RDR2 though, with so much to do and so many different features, sometimes they don’t really feel worth doing. A lot of effort was put into the fishing mechanics, which they were kind enough to at least put stats into and different rewards so people that wanted to complete the compendium could do so. However, it feels token and unnecessary, which is what a lot of the side activities do, but none of them play poorly, and all of them feel like effort was put in to them, so if you are in to really role playing and going really deep into the experience and world of the wild west you can, with so many different activities that don’t have any effect on the main game, such as Blackjack, Poker, Five finger filet, fishing, tracking, tracking bounties and finding hundreds of different collectables, however pointless it is in the overall scheme of things, it does help to bring the world alive, and adds to the compendium, which is the games way of adding lore and information to the world, with nearly everything from animals, items, weapons and even cigarette cards, all having flavor text to help make everything feel so unique and in place with the setting and tone of the game.

The world map is beautiful too, with the attention to detail probably at its clearest when you are riding around. Leaves on trees are pushed aside when you pass them. Rays of sunlight pass through them revealing well textured shadows. The gorgeous vistas lead too so many “stop and admire” moments that you just have to breath it in and just take in the scenery. It feels so alive, with many NPC’s stopping to greet you (whether that is with a friendly hello or a pistol to your head). So many unique events and stranger missions start just on a whim riding around. Bandits will harass you. Animals will stalk you from hillsides. Taverns are crawling with patrons and interesting conversations are never far.

Your horse makes this possible, A lot of your game time will revolve around keeping your horse happy and healthy, similar too Arthur's mechanics, you need to groom, feed and look after your mount. The longer you stick with a single horse, the greater your bond will become, leading to benefits in the functionality of them, with stats and skills being increased over time, leading too this feeling of your horse almost becoming an extension of Arthur. Stables will provide new accessories and features for your horse, which also help improve stats and keep your horse happy.

One of my only real gripes with the game is the combat and movement, it’s just your standard suite of cover shooting, with auto aim that locks and follows targets doesn’t feel particularly engaging, and at times the cover mechanics seem to play up and would leave Arthur trying to cover behind a nearby lamppost, rather than the fully stable wall beside it. Also, out of combat Arthur seems to have the hardest of times walking around small buildings, often smashing into cupboards he’s trying to loot and getting stuck on coffee tables, it can be quite infuriating when you’re trying to clear a building and corpses of all their valuables.

Another issue which needs to be addressed is the multiplayer, it is still in BETA, but with it already charging for micro-transactions it’s open to criticism in my eyes. It feels very bland and basic, with nowhere near enough content added to keep you wanting to come back and play it. Also, the levelling system means that higher level players can have access to skills and weapons that give them an edge in the combat, leading to some frustrating deaths from enemies that may shrug off a free head shot to then turn and turn your head in to an impromptu coconut shy.

The achievements for RDR2 are very completionist heavy, even if there are the base achievements for doing story missions, there are harder achievements, with requirements to catch most fish, skin and find nearly every single animal, collect and complete a plethora of side content (which isn’t immediately clear how too start) and maxing out your characters conditions and completing story missions to a very high standard. That isn’t all either, as there are multiple multiplayer achievements, however these are much simpler and mainly require level ups or crafting X amount of something, expect to be in for the long haul if you want the 100% completion for Red Dead Redemption 2!

Coming cool off the heels of the first game, being a prequel to a game that was eight years ago, no-one expected Red Dead Redemption 2 to be as well made as this, with Rockstar making sure all the effort was put in too the right places to make a very unique experience, and a richly varied cast and vivid world help keep you engaged and invested in the life and times of the characters involved. There are faults, such as the dated feeling combat, and the lacklustre multiplayer mode (Which is still in BETA, so it could yet be improved), however the story and rest of the gameplay make up for it in spades!
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144,821 (80,370)
TA Score for this game: 1,018
Posted on 12 December 18 at 08:13, Edited on 25 December 18 at 03:40
This review has 17 positive votes and 14 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Please visit the the review on my site to get the best experience, since TA does not support gifs showing in reviews.

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Open plains as far as the eye can see. The occasional tumbleweed rolls silently across the soft but dry and compact sand. The wind is gushing the plants. Sounds of fast hooves approach.

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See all the games that went straight to my heart, right here!

The story of Red Dead Redemption 2 takes you back to before what happened in the first game of the series. Without spoiling too much, you will be meeting John Marston again. While the gameplay does not have survival elements, the story is everything about survival, on several different levels. Being chased by the law, friends or foes situations and the nature.

Survival of the fittest
Being a group of outlaws in the midst of an evolving country that moves towards industrialisation, everyone is being hunted by the law – local and national. Not to mention that you have crossed or do cross a few rich people’s boundaries for whats yours and mine, which just adds to the number of enemies.
Keep your gang members fat, fit and healthy.

As you progress through the story the internal disagreements gets more evident. Some characters will feel suspicious from the beginning while others will slowly reveal some agendas that you might or might not agree with.

And then there’s the environment. The wild west is a harsh place to live in, and you don’t get to settle down – you will have to keep moving. Not to mention that hunting is a must to get food on the table.

The group leader, Dutch, always have a plan for what to do next. They do not always pan out as expected and hoped for, which is one of the gangs biggest struggles. And this is where the disagreements often begin, and the camp gets diverted into two. However, with everyone being loyal to Dutch, no one actually leaves the gang.

This prequel to the highly praised game does play out close to the first, but not in the same area. You will recognise Blackwater which is on this map in the south west – it was in the north east in the first game, so the area is to the north east of the first game.

There is no dull moment
The environment is vast and varying to a huge degree. If you go to the mountains in the north, you will meet a beautiful snow covered landscape with ice, pine trees and frozen lakes. Go to the east and you will meet the sea and the city and in the middle and the west you will be running on dusty paths and meet small but growing cities.
Anyone up for a snowball fight?

The best part of the game, is that you never really feel truly alone. Not only will you have your trusty steed with you most of the time, you will meet fellow people on the road and there is animal life everywhere as well. Very rarely you will feel the world is empty. The occasional ruin of a house, especially if it’s burned down, will remind you of how hard it was to survive back in the day.

You have challenges, where you have to kill animals in a certain way, win certain minigames, collect certain stuff, you also have random encounters and strangers to deal with. Meeting a cart with two guys driving it and a person in the back yelling for help and innocence, your first reaction would be to set them free. You might inevitably actually help a prisoner who has been doing crime, which will impact your honor negatively.

It is all about honor – or the lack of it.
Side missions and main missions is where the story really unfolds for you. This is where you get to know your fellow members of the gang. Why they are going with the gang and why they stay for now. Most of the side missions is actually going from one place to another, shoot something and then maybe run back. There’s a few missions where you have to do other stuff, and they are a welcome change of pace.
This is pure Lucky Luke world.

You will spend a lot of time stopping in your tracks when you hear someone talking or yelling. And it is a good idea to do so, because you might get a good story told by someone, or if you help someone, they might gift you something a little later. On another note, if it is clear that it is a prisoner that has escaped, if you hogtie them and deliver them to a prison, there’s a small reward to grab. However, real wanted posters grabs are giving much more, and I recommend you do those when possible to get a bit of cash.

You can also buy upgrades to the camp and your friends, and refill the depleting stock of food, medicine and ammunition. You can upgrade the horse station so you can recall your stabled horses without having to run to the stables, add carpets and ornaments to the camp and upgrade your satchel and outfits.

Your trusty steed is your best friend
Horses can be stolen from strangers, or you can catch them out in the wild. They aren’t hard to catch or tame, if you’ve played Zelda Breath of The Wild its an easier system to deal with. You can buy horses from stables too, and personally I couldn’t not buy an Andalusian when I saw one mid-early in the game – and when I could buy the black Arabian, I did. And I called him Shetan as a reference to Walter Farleys books.
Random encounters can be entertaining.

You can go out hunting – and if you want to upgrade your satchel and get certain outfits you have to go out hunting for prime members of different species. There’s also a handful legendary animals to go hunt for, as well as fishing. You can collect cigarette cards and a few other things that will easily keep you occupied for many many hours.

Visually the game is stunning. It is hard to describe, but there was a moment where I was walking on horseback through a dark forest in the early hours of the morning. I was hunting a panther for getting a special saddle I wanted. When the sun raised above the horizon and started to shine through the trees, I was flabbergasted. And I only have a subHD TV with no HDR – so I can’t imagine how much better this would have looked on a newer TV. I grabbed a video, but it does not make it justice.
It’s a beautiful world in the wild west.

Smell the flowers, pick herbs, suck in the fresh air
There’s lots of details all around you, and the typical small leaps that developers do to save processes and improve the performance of the game was really hard to spot. You would usually be able to see a bush or a tree being in 4 parts instead of actual branches and leaves.

The details in the horses is also amazing. There’s actual breeds and this time there’s differences in shapes and sizes and each breed has a handful of coats that will appear in the game. Horses also feels like they have a decision making skill – they spot a predator before you do and the horse might decide to buck you off and make a run for it. With a panther nearby, your horse will most likely buck you off before you can react to the horse being nervous. The only detail the horses could use would be difference in personality based on breed.

When visiting a town, depending on time of day, lots of things is happening. During the day, you will most likely spot the paperboy, stores are open, people are talking on street corners and some will even be random encounters. Come night, the life of the saloon really shows. Music, people talking and laughing, dancing and fights. Once I was about to go into the saloon when a random encounter surprised me – the guy bursts out, knocks me back and before I could even avoid getting into the fight, the encounter had rolled into melee fight mode.

Many memorable hours
With the risk of spoiling a bit here – the last half of the story playthrough, I was sick and coughed a lot. People who have played the game, know what I am talking about when I say my sickness caused me to be even more immersed into the game.
Weather is diverse and surprising.

I’ve clocked in around 110 hours of playtime before writing the review and I did not collect or hunt much. I mentioned the panther saddle I wanted, and I’ve played the minigames I’ve found – maybe a bit too much. The game taught me to play Dominos, and I’ve actually played Dominos with friends since! I went for the side missions and the stranger missions when possible, but I haven’t looked for guides, and I haven’t looked for cigarette cards or gone hunting for upgrading the satchel. I, however, did go for some challenges for some hours, but realised I had to move on and get back to the story so I could write the review.

Basically the game has at least a 50 hour content heavy story to get through in the singleplayer experience. I haven’t explored the online part, but from what I’ve seen in streams, it looks fun, but the game has gotten some critique regarding the economy. Rockstar seems to have taken this to heart and tweaked it, but you still need to be good with a digital gun to keep up with fellow players.

Where’s the turd?
It’s hard to find pointers in the game to critique especially in the singleplayer stuff. A lot of people have been mentioning the game has had a slow pace or clunky feel to it, but most of that comes from the game having more natural movements when it comes to the horse and the humans. Picking something up, will make your character reach out and grab the item – and the horse will buck you off if it gets scared enough. Horse also reacts to being scared from predators – and NPCs will report any crimes they see if you commit them. One thing that bugged me is the camera angle changing when you are being chased on horseback – making it hard to focus on what’s ahead.
There it is…

Red Dead – both games – is games that is part of about 20 games I’ve played in my lifetime, that has left me in awe and left me sitting for a few minutes while the credits rolled on the screen, reflecting on the story the game presented me for. I loved playing through this game, and I wish it wasn’t over. I disagreed with the ending of the first game, but the prequel that I review here and now, had a nice ring to its ending.

If you like cowboys and the wild west, this game is a MUST for you. If you like open world games, you gotta get this game. If you like a good story, I highly recommend this game. If you just like 2D platformers or match-3 games, keep walking. If you are a new gamer this game might be a little too much to take in, but there’s no reason to not take the leap. There’s a good chance you might like this game.
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