What could be considered the most anticipated game of the year is finally here, Red Dead Redemption 2 (we’ll call it RDR2 from now on) is out now on the PS4 and Xbox One. It seems like it’s been in development forever, but it’s actually only been 8 years (yep, development started before this generation of consoles was even on the market.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, RDR2 is easily on of the best looking games available right now. The level of detail that Rockstar has put into it really has to be seen to be believed. Every time you start up the game your jaw drops. Amazing greenery, clouds, water and characters really make the game believable. Even details like the fact your hair and beard will grow and you have to cut your characters hair and make him shave are there. If you are dirty and don’t look after yourself in the game people will react differently to you.
The lighting is amazing as well and is helped by the volumetric cloud system, which works with the day / night cycle. Businesses will open and close according to the time of day in the game, so if you get to your destination a little late, you’ll have to find something else to do in order to pass the time. Maybe go for a bath or rent a room and have a nap. You can even go to the bar and get drunk (and possibly get into a fight). Honestly, there is so many things to do, you could spend months just wandering around, talking to people and helping them out.
The game takes place in 1899, right when the last of the outlaws are moving on and civilisation is progressing. You play a character called Arthur who is part of a gang who are after one big last score so they can move on and live out their bandit lives in peace. When the game starts it’s cold and snowy (make sure you dress correctly in the game for the weather conditions, yes, you have to do that). You’re getting a plan together for the job, by doing this Rockstar try and help you learn the incredibly complicated control mechanics. It’s a good way of doing it, but I still find myself struggling to figure out how to access certain menus and actions. I won’t get too much into the story as I don’t want to include any spoilers here, but it is like playing a very long movie (there’s approx 64 hours of gameplay in the main story line).
Rockstar recorded over 500,000 lines of dialogue for this game and they were at one point the largest employer of actors in western America. You can go to the furthest part of the map, find someone and have a full blown conversation with them that would be completely different to anyone else you meet in the world of RDR2. The conversations are also relevant to that person and their surroundings and not just random, which is pretty incredible if you think about it.
You can interact with most animals in the game as well, pet dogs, chase rabbits, etc.. One detail is when you go hunting, you have to bring your kill back to the camp, skin it and then it can be given to the person who make the food for the camp (it’s not like in other games where you kill something it magically ends up in your bag)
So while all the above is glowing, it’s not all rosey in the land of RDR2. Personally I found the game incredibly slow. The opening few chapters were tedious at best. I’m someone who likes to get stuck into things right away, and well, in RDR2, that’s not really ever an option. Everything takes twice as long as it really should, with travelling the huge map being one of them. Later in the game there is fast travel between camps, but you need to get to the camp first and that can take quite a while depending on where you ended up. I understand it’s to make it more realistic, but it kinda kills the fun. Same it true about about other areas, I think I’ve died 3 or 4 times now where my horse has slipped going up a steep incline, fallen and landed on me. That’s not fun! Realistic yes, but not fun.
Overall, I’m enjoying my time in RDR2, the details in the game keep me coming back to see more and find out where the story is going and it’s one we can most definitely recommend to any gamers out there.