I completely underestimated Red Dead Redemption 2 going into it. I’m used to video games not being as extensive as far as the plot lines and story based quests are concerned. It seems average nowadays that games are only between 20-40 hours in max length. I’ve been playing Red Dead for the past week now, applying myself to it for at least 5-6 hours daily, and I’m around 40% in story completion. Nevermind the sidequests, the challenges, and the legendary hunting trips which are all things that I would like to spend my time on as well.
I was almost getting to the point where I was offended at how long the game was. Rather than further pushing myself, I’d like to step back and say: okay, this is not the kind of game that was meant to be played as fast as possible for the sake of a quick review. There’s physically just so much to do in the game that it would be unjust to breeze by in pursuit of main story goals.
It’s completely different from many of the games that have come out in the past years. For example, in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey the plotline, exploration, and side quests are fast-paced, and the game can logically be beaten within a reasonable amount of time. There’s not much that Assassin’s Creed offers beyond side quests and story mode. While, yes, there is exploration, but the level of activities in Assassin’s Creed couldn’t hold a wet diaper up to Red Dead.
There are amazing things that work well for Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s obvious that Rockstar devoted every cent, every worker, every drop of time into this game. All Rockstar teams have all be simultaneously working on this single game for as long as it’s been in production. That’s about 2000 people all working together on one game. Not to mention that all of the money made from GTA V, which has been a lot, has been spent towards this game. This isn’t just a game of the year kind of thing. It’s something that deserves to go down in history.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place before the events in the original game from 2010. It’s told from the perspective of Arthur Morgan in Dutch van der Linde’s band of outlaws. It features many of the characters we met in the first game, including the main character from Red Dead Redemption, John Marston. Not having played through the game’s entirety yet, I can only suspect that the intention of Red Dead Redemption 2 is to lead up to the events that left John half dead and abandoned for the first games.
I’m both curious to see what exactly went down and conflicted as I have now gotten to know some of the original characters in a different light. I now know Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella in more depth than just the bad guys that did John wrong. And darn it; I almost don’t want anything bad to happen any of them!
Besides just allowing you to see the characters and story from a different perspective, the game also offers a variety of ways in which you can spend your time including fishing, horse collecting, and horse grooming customization, hunting, sidequests, gambling, drinking, robbing, or bounty hunting. It’s easy to get sidetracked and spend a few hours doing a task that’s totally irrelevant to the story.
My initial take away from the game first is that it’s gorgeous as I would expect with all the effort put into it. The scenery of the game is so immersive that sometimes I swear I can smell the damp earth and fields of green as I ride my stead from one location to the other.
I often found myself getting caught up at how the environment looks, and how I can equate it to my own home. Living in Montana, look at this game is like driving around my home. Montana has largely been left untouched by urbanization, so the landscape here is all open, just mountains, farmland, forests, and rivers. There’s a reason why we call it Big Sky Country up here. I’m sure there are as equally untouched and beautiful places, but to see something so familiar to me recreated in a video game of all places so perfectly just adds a sense of homely familiarity that I hope others can appreciate as well.
Additionally, the amount of landscapes and environments that went into this game takes it so many steps further than the original. The original felt empty to me, which was understandable given the time that it came out, but this one feels like a living, breathing, thing.
The feeling that this game is alive is only amplified by the activities you can do. Beyond hunting and fishing, you can choose to take care of Arthur Morgan and his horse by feeding them and grooming them to ensure that they are both healthy which in turn benefits their stats. Having to stop and camp to feed Arthur, or having to pause your gameplay to feed your horse just makes it all so much more believable. All these things are what Rockstar is well known for. They pay attention to the small details.
I have so much to say and not a lot of space to say it all in one review. I’m looking forward to continuing and sharing my opinions on this game. In the meantime, I hope you have been enjoying it too!