I have waited a long time for a new Red Dead and I wasn’t disappointed. I was so keen for the little timer on my Red Dead Redemption 2 to count down to 0 so I could experience the wonderful and free feeling of an immersive and all round well crafted open world! I knew Rockstar would never disappoint and after pre-ordering it a week prior to its release, I was itching to get started despite always being a little nervous about approaching such a vast world with all sorts of things to do.
The opening chapter to RDR2 had already gripped me with snow storms I will likely never experience in my life (phew) and the hardships that came with it. Playing as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van Der Linde gang, I was on the run from their previous home and in search of a safe hideout up in the pristinely white mountains at the north end of the map. After being introduced to the game and to Arthur, I found myself being thrown into a world full of opportunity and adventure. The map is so large especially when compared to its predecessor and looking at it was a bit intimidating to begin with. What on earth do I do first? Where do I go? What can I do? Well, you can do a lot!
Before discussing the story quality, I have to compliment the grand variety of activities there are to do. There are side missions as well as random little events that can pop up whenever and wherever and can range from simply speaking to someone to having to take an injured fellow back to his home or to the doctor. There are also enemy gangs that will attempt to ambush you from time to time and if you’re a little naughty, bounty hunters will hunt you down for the many dollars being offered to take you down. I found it to be incredibly immersive and was thankful that the long journeys I had to take across the map on my trusty stead were always filled with some sort of flavour from one of these occurrences instead of being tedious and boring,
In terms of what you can actually do, there are lots of tasks you can do such as fishing and hunting which both benefit the gang as you can either donate meats and pelts to the camp or sell them for money which you can then donate to camp as well. Or you could use it to customise your horse or Arthur. I personally used a lot to make his guns pretty. I adored that each weapon could be customised completely including pretty engravings and carvings which are must-have for any stylish cowboy in my opinion! You can also gamble by partaking in poker (which I suck at) or dominoes which is just a little bit of fun.
RDR2 is the most visually satisfying masterpiece of a game and would regularly stun me with the gorgeous environments that seemed to come to life around me. I loved climbing as high as I could and gazing over at some pretty spectacular landscapes and several sunsets that were a pleasure to witness. It always thrills me when a video game makes me think ‘Wow’. The animals in each environment act so naturally and the animations are so smooth and detailed it’s hard not to be impressed and almost forget that this is a virtual world. All kinds of weather come into play as well from sunny days out to awful thunderstorms that make you want to pitch up a tent and hide for a few hours.
Now, I’ve been shocked and surprised by storylines very few times through games. That’s not to say storylines have been boring, but it’s really rare, like in any media, when a storyline strikes you. The way RDR2 tells Arthur’s story is beyond incredible, I was able to get to know him as a character and the people around his life. The grand schemes and fantasies of the gang to live a decent life become so vivid and I truly felt for a lot of them during most of their storylines. I’ve finished the story and will say that so far, it has been the best adventure I’ve come across gaming wise, and it made me laugh and cry and get angry at the events that took place and it was all just so exciting and made me truly grateful that I play games and got to experience the story Rockstar wanted to share.
After going through what I can only describe as a rocky, exciting and crazy tale, I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who loves a good story and lots of fun things to do in between that just makes the whole experience so rich and full! I’m waiting patiently until I can play online with a character I’ve made alongside Adam and have some adventures of our own!