The third installment in the Red Dead series dropped on October 26th and gamers everywhere were freaking out, including me. For those who aren’t familiar with this title, the original Red Dead Redemption was released in 2010 by Rockstar Games and is the second in the series following Red Dead Revolver from 2004. This series overall is a Western-themed, open-world, action-adventure with an easy-to-follow story that lets you live your dream of being a cowboy/outlaw in the late 1800s to early 1900s. To be honest, it’s Grand Theft Auto with horses.
The premise for Red Dead Redemption 2 is similar to the previous titles, in that you play as an outlaw trying to choose between the gang and himself, killing as many (or as few) people as it takes to achieve mental clarity for your character. Redemption 2 plants the protagonist, Arthur Morgan, right in the middle of Dutch Van der Linde’s outlaw gang, which was the same group John Marston left and was tasked with taking down in Red Dead Redemption. Due to the presence of Marston as an active member of Van der Linde’s gang, Redemption 2 is actually a prequel and not a sequel, as the number “2” would imply. Enough about the story, let’s get into the mechanics.
I’ve been playing every day since the release, and I can safely say that this game is outstanding. The graphics are phenomenal and the environment is beautiful. Not many games can pull off different climates and weather fronts well, but wow, these developers put forth some intense time and effort to perfect the environment. Not only is the setting majestic, it is more than deadly. Your character and horse will take damage if you get caught in extreme weather which makes it even more immersive. It takes the ease of traversing an open world and makes the player have to think about how they proceed in the environment, which increases the challenge. The weapon wheel, inventory menu, and pause menus are easy to navigate and separate every aspect of your character’s needs appropriately. Another mechanic Rockstar does well in all their games is assisted targeting. I will admit that I am terrible at aiming in-game weapons with my console controller, so I rely heavily on assisted targeting when provided to me. Redemption 2 delivers four assisted targeting options for a wide spectrum of gameplay options.
All in all, Red Dead Redemption 2 has lived up to the majority of the hype. It was a long-awaited addition to the Red Dead franchise that will become a classic, as did the previous two titles. I give this title an 8 out of 10 rating, taking the lack of fast travel into account. Unfortunately, this is as close as we will come to Westworld…for now.
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