Red Dead Redemption is one of my all-time favourite games – between the normal version of the game and the Undead Nightmare expansion that was released for the game I felt that no game has even come close to trying to match the scale and scope of Rockstar’s classic Western. So it’s no joke when I say that I was incredibly excited when I found out the game was getting the sequel/prequel treatment – but can it possibly live up to the hype I had built in my head?
This is a really complicated question to answer because really and truly the answer is both yes… and no.
When Red Dead Redemption 2 gets going it is without a doubt one of the greatest gaming experiences I have ever had in my entire life, and I become addicted to the experience like there is nothing else in the world that matters. This however can be overshadowed by the fact that sometimes it just feels way too big for it’s own good, where the first game focused on a much smaller area of land it was a lot more jam packed with things to do and people to hunt or see. But with the sequel I find myself spending hours upon hours galloping across empty America just to get to the next objective or thing I want to do.
Now I appreciate a lot of this is on me as back in the day I would have hunted every single animal and met every single stranger but unfortunately as Adulthood has caught up with me I simply don’t have the time to do everything the game would like of me – what I do however manage to grasp is the incredible story and side missions of the game which really are not only the best that Rockstar has ever put out – it’s some of the best story telling and character building I have ever experienced.
The gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 really shines through with polish as well, Rockstar have not cut any corners when it comes to making you really feel like a cowboy and in my younger years this would have filled me with so much joy but unfortunately these days, I just wanted something that’s a bit more… well… gamey? I just wanted to shoot people in the face and ride a horse around stealing things – which in fairness I did get to do but it unfortunately just felt a little bit few and far between.
On the topic of being a badass Outlaw – Red Dead Redemption 2, unfortunately, has a morality system in disguise of an “Honor” meter which dictates how Honorable your Arthur Morgan happens to be in the game. Annoyingly with this is that there are a lot of reasons for being Honorable and helping people out or not robbing things but no real perk or reason for being an outlaw and pulling off train robberies at random which just feels like a massive shame in a game all about being an outlaw in the wild west.
The world and music are undeniably brilliant and with Rockstar not sacrificing a single detail in their huge open world you really have to respect every ounce of effort the developers put in to create such an incredible world. A lot of games recently tout that every decision made affects the overall world but Red Dead Redemption 2 is the first game I truly feel put’s this into practice even if only for really small experiences dotted throughout the game it feels like a living breathing world where people will go about their day regardless of whether you are there or not – it’s the first time ive felt that you are a character in this world rather than the world exists around you to service your every whim.
A good example of this for me came about 30 hours in where I found a random dude at the side of the road who had been bitten by a snake and was dying – my Arthur sucked the venom from the poor guys leg – I later met him in town and he told me to put any gun of my choosing on his tab so thanks to this small act of kindness I was gifted with the most expensive rifle in the game.
There’s no denying at all that Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game of stellar quality, and the bit’s I can fathom the time on are absolutely solid 10/10 experiences. But for someone with a full time job and family I struggle to put the time required into the experience – AND I have managed to put well over 50 hours in, so this gives you an idea of the scope and scale of what feels like Rockstars Magnum Opus.
If you have the time to spend on the game then I cannot recommend it enough and it becomes a solid 10/10. However if you are like me and you are a bit time limited this game may fill you with dread but push through because the sections of game you do manage to do are completely worth your time and will absolutely blow your mind.