There are only a few games every year that hit the sweet spot between the quantity and quality of playable content. Among the publishers of those titles, Rockstar Games stands out as one that manages to consistently deliver experiences that happen to hit that mark. Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception to this.
The game has you playing as Arthur Morgan, an outlaw and prominent member of the Dutch van der Linde gang. The gang is part of a dying breed of gunslinging cowboys that find themselves in the early stages of a transitory America. The whole country is transforming, and all signs point towards the fact that it isn’t going to be the wild west anymore.
You get to experience what this volatile period is like not only for Arthur but the entire gang through his interactions with them. This process allows you to watch him develop as a character, make connections and live in a world where outlaws like him are reviled.
The story acts as a prequel to the events of the original Red Dead Redemption and therefore doesn’t require you to have played the 2010 classic. That being said, if you did play the original, you will find that your experience is enhanced and that you also find familiar characters on your screen.
Red Dead Redemption 2 offers one of the most dynamic, beautiful and varied worlds you can find in gaming. In fact, as far as dynamism goes, the game feels like the most realistic implementation I have seen to date. The world around you is constantly changing and feels like it exists independent of you. That being said, everything you do has an impact and everything in the world can impact you.
This means that you are going to have to do things like wear the proper clothes as per the season and take care of your horse while also contributing to the camp you are a part of. This will result in smoother progression, perks and a pleasant attitude from the townsfolk. Lack of attention paid to these things will lead to a more difficult playthrough.
The only hiccup as far as gameplay is concerned is that it can take some time to get used to the weapons and movement and even though the two might not be as smooth as they are in other games in no way are they a meaningful impediment to the gameplay.
You can’t mention Red Dead Redemption 2’s gameplay without mentioning the game’s honour system. The way in which you interact with this system will decide how the communities around will react to you.
While it does feel like you are being incentivised to play a more honourable Arthur, the game ensures that you never get close to a white or black distinction. By ensuring that you have to at certain times do morally questionable things that come with being a part of the gang, the game ensures you are picking a shade of grey, which shade that is though, is up to you.
Make no mistake, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a once in a generation kind of game, and it is an absolute pleasure to experience. It manages to hold its own against some of the best titles of the year and even of this console generation. All this without the still to be released Read Dead Online which will almost certainly help RDR2 perform even better if GTA Online is any indication. With so many things going for the game and no meaningful cons, it is safe to say that this is not a game you want to miss.