Red Dead Redemption 2: A Sequel Worth Waiting For

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Red Dead Redemption 2: A Sequel Worth Waiting For

Jack Corcoran, Staff

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Rockstar Games, for a long time, has held a storied reputation amongst the gaming community. With making well-established franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar established their reputation for making extensive and detailed games that often garner critical acclaim.

Sandwiched between Grand Theft Auto games was Red Dead Redemption, a Western-set game where gamers played as John Marston, a former outlaw commissioned by the government to hunt down and kill/capture the remaining members of his former gang. The game was released to much acclaim and success, and fans demanded a sequel. After eight long years, Rockstar was ready to release a sequel that not only lived up to the original, but even exceeded it.

In Red Dead Redemption 2, gamers are Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, as they travel across the expansive country with the law breathing down their necks. For any player that has played the original Red Dead Redemption, they have a good idea of how the story ends, however that doesn’t make the ending of Red Dead Redemption 2 any less tragic.

Rockstar effectively develops their characters as the game wears on; players watch the fabric of the gang fray and painfully unravel, achieving a level of emotional depth that no game has reached before. From the logical Hosea to the naïve Lenny, all these characters get their own time in the spotlight, whether it be their own missions or side quests that can take multiple hours to complete in their entirety.

However, the character crafting really takes hold in the main two characters: Dutch and Arthur. Watching Dutch succumb to the pressures of new society and transform from a leader oozing charisma to a narcissistic sociopath is tragic, and watching Arthur turn from a blank slate for the player to an honorable (or dishonorable, depending on how you play the game) hero lives up to the game’s name.

The mechanics are good as well. The camp activity where players donate money and upgrade the camp is new and refreshing, particularly as they see the attitude around the camp change. The honor system works well too, as player actions with random people on the road have an impact, as well as the choices made during the game. These mechanics are well-fleshed out and feel realistic.

The game isn’t perfect, however. The shooting mechanics seem stuck in 2010, feeling very much like the original. The lock-on system can be faulty, and dead eye is inconsistent, at some points even worse than the last game. Towards the beginning of the game, it can be tedious as many of the missions are just introducing the side quests that will be accessed later in the game.

Also, Rockstar has a terrible habit of forcing long discussions and expository information during horse rides, and that is in abundance as players are forced to spend multiple real-world minutes listening to non-necessary information. Instead, they could have what they did during certain missions where they just pass the time by with a quick cutscene instead of a five-minute horse ride.

All in all, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a once-in-a-generation game. The story is fantastic, one that rivals even the best in cinema. Despite its flaws in mechanics, the world is lively, with every NPC having their own personality and dialogue; it is also aesthetically flawless, with gorgeous mountain vistas coupled with smoke billowing from the stacks in Saint Denis.

This game is leaps and bounds better than the already amazing original, and it will continue to improve and be added to with the upcoming Red Dead Online addition. This should not only be a Game of the Year candidate, but the favorite to win the award as well.

FINAL GRADE: 9.75/10