Red Dead Redemption 2; a game that will consume you, make you laugh, bring tears to your eyes, make you a dab hand at poker, and change the way you say ‘boy’ for the rest of your life.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) is game-making in it’s finest form. Set prior to Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption, RDR2 tells the story of Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch van Der Linde’s crew as they fight for survival in the ever-changing world of the west. The time of outlaws is drawing to a close and the van Der Linde gang is trying to find a way out. One last heist, one last big money scheme and they can live happily ever after away from the Pinkerton Detective Agency pursuing them.
Arthur Morgan is one of gaming’s best characters. Iconic like Kratos, gritty like Marcus Felix and tough like Geralt, Arthur will quickly capture your senses with his one-liners, no-nonsense approach and witty remarks. The voice acting of Arthur, alongside every single character in this game is immense. Truly immense. Each scene is film worthy, every line delivered to perfection and it all adds to the realism of a game that has pulled at my heart-strings.
“‘Careful not to work yourself to death there uncle’
‘I was thinking…’
‘Does it pay well?’
‘So, while the rest of us are busy, killing, stealing, lying, trying to stay alive…you get too think all day.’”
The realism is something that you have to take your (cowboy) hat off to Rockstar Studio for. The breath in the snow and the beard growth and the footprints in the snow and the sway of the trees and the horses testicles (THEY SHRINK IN COLD WEATHER). You might not go into this game thinking about those kind of details but they quickly ease your rapid fall into RDR2’s arms.
As a horse owner I love this game even more. The depth of detail they have added into the game is perfection. With the breeds of horses, to the colours, to the saddles, everything down to brushing your horse and the levels of bonding. I fear no game will ever be able to top this level of authenticity. That goes for all of the wildlife, and pretty much every single aspect of this game. I have spent hundreds of hours just riding across the lush country, atop my dark Andalusian, Achilles, or my white Arabian, Luna, or my American Paint, Rain. I created bonds with these animals that left me in tears and made me proud every time we rode into a camp of rival outlaws and slickly gunned them down.
‘You better sleep with your eyes open.’
‘Yeah? Well you’re gonna sleep with your chest open if you ain’t careful boy.’”
There are plenty of gunslinger moments, from the classic RDR duels, to dead-eye, to large scale assaults and roadside-robberies. The choices are endless, and if you want to be a ‘bad’ Arthur then you will most likely kill everything and everyone in your path. I admit, I did this on my first play through. It was fun. Going back to the beginning and being the ‘good’ Arthur, choosing to help suck venom out of a man’s leg after being bitten by a snake rather than killing him and stealing all he had, letting people live, helping those in need. This actually yielded a far more enjoyable experience, satisfying as well as rewarding. The story is tailored to Arthur’s honour rating, and I recommend experimenting with these play styles. It isn’t just good or bad either, there is a wide spectrum and Rockstar have created so much choice within the game.
I could write thousands more words about this game. I loved it. Adored it. The clothes, characters, guns, towns, games, wildlife and challenges. The herds of horses, rival gangs, alligators in swamps, Revenant-style bear attacks, customisation of weapons, quirky side-missions and hairstyles complete this game and make it an absolutely perfect experience.
“I gave you all I had.”
5/5 – One of the greatest games that will ever be, without a doubt. A wonderful spectacle with intense gun-play, an intense story, detail you didn’t think possible, and the complete urge to get yourself a six-shooter and a ranch to shoot bottles in. RDR2 is a masterpiece that gets better each time you play, and will make you feel every emotion under the sun. Enjoy cowpokes, and always be yourself. Unless you can be Arthur Morgan. Always be Arthur Morgan.