So we all know Red Dead Redemption is a 10/10. I could review it again and also give it a 10/10 but i’d rather go a bit deeper into why it is and what i’ve taken away from it SO FAR.

I want to start by saying that i’ve never played a game with this much….just of everything. The whole thing feels so fluid and fun and alive, it’s the closest a game has come to replicating a real world environment and Rockstar have really raised the bar for other open world games, like hugely. I tend to play the vast majority of open world/sandbox games that come out so in my own mind i really do have a lot to compare to.

I’ll just give a quick setting for the game in case you haven’t picked it up yet. You play as Arthur Morgan, an outlaw who doesn’t give a shit about anyone except Dutch and the gang, who he follows loyally (you may remember him from the first game). A young John Marston is also in your gang but him and Arthur seem to have fallen out. Arthur is quick witted and treats everything with as much sarcasm (or genuine hatred) as he can.

I didn’t read a lot before the game came out as i knew i was getting it on release day regardless and i knew i’d love it but one thing i did pick up on is that there 200+species of animal running around, and my god is it noticeable, hardly a moment passes without something happening, something catching your eye or someone approaching you.

THE LITTLE DETAILS

After you kill a critter you can skin it and take its pelt to sell or craft. This is one of the first ‘activities ‘ that made me realise just how detailed this game is. The skinning takes time, it isn’t just a stock animation, each animal is skinned differently, the carcass leaves blood on the floor or back of the horse, the carcass decays attracting buzzing flies and if you have something on the back.of the horse there’s an extra animation for putting it underneath the object, not just throwing it on, or into an invisible bag. This is just the beginning..

There’s not been a moment where I’ve thought ‘that hasn’t been thought about’. The character interaction is continuous, the speech isn’t just random, there is genuine reaction to everything you do and the response is appropriate. The other day I hog tied a dude, took him with me for a while and the left him in the desert, as I rode off Arthur sarcastically shouted ‘I’ll be back for you soon‘ this wasn’t a mission or meant to be, it was random but had been thought about. An enemy gang stopped me from crossing a bridge and after I took them out Arthur commented ‘should have let me cross the bridge’’ these moments are continuous and keep the game so realistic. Everyone has something to say, you can choose to antagonise or greet pretty much everyone making everything very interesting. When out on the road you can rob everyone you come across and help many strangers, most i’ve saved have taken me very far from my original objective, but rewarded me.

The small details continue with the world itself and this world feels alive, so very alive! As i mentioned there are 200 odd different species in the world and my god can you notice it. Everywhere i ride i’ll see a rabbit running alongside me or i’ll disturb a herd (?) of deer, birds will be flying, alligators will be lurking and horses be a’roaming. All of these you can study and kill, or lasso, the horses you can calm and mount to become your own (which you can also sell) and i’m not kidding when i say this is constant and the animals are everywhere.

On top of this you have random encounters everywhere. Quite often you’ll come across a situation which will affect your honour rating (I’m yet to figure out what actual effect this has on the game) and you can choose to help someone or blow their fucking brains out, everyone can be robbed including stage coaches and trains and quite often there’ll be a random encounter such as an escaped convict looking for help or a bloke being cornered by wolves who you can save. It’s been a while since I played GTA V but i remember it having an element of this but it felt repetitive, in Red Dead i don’t feel like i’ve done the same thing twice. I really liked how there was a high risk of bounty hunters coming to get me if i had a price on my head or at any time i could get held at gun point or shot at, and i think this is what’s so great. You’re not the only badass in town or person out on an adventure, there’s a lot going on around you and the intelligent NPC system makes that little closer to reality as there not just dumb robots who are walking into walls, and i can’t wait to see how the online mode builds on this.

The open world is simply amazing, although slow (as talked about by Salman) it’s stunning and completely absorbing. I spent whole 4 hour sessions without doing 1 lick of story and not getting bored. It’s vastly different from GTA where the main aim of the open world is pissing off police, in this it feels that you are genuinely a cowboy who can touch and feel everything around you. 

-FYI all images are in game screenshots

This is a fantastic game that EVERYONE has to play. It’s absolutely a 10/10 and will probably be in my top 3 of the year.

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