#TheVerdict: Red Dead Redemption 2; The Beginning of an Era
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a Western-themed action-adventure video game developed and published by Rockstar Games. The game is a prequel to the 2010 game Red Dead Redemption, and the third entry in the Red Dead series. Set in 1899, it follows the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, and also details the time of a young John Marston in the same gang.
Platforms: Playstation 4 and XBox One
Watch the Official Launch Trailer HERE
There is no world-ending calamity or urgent tasks that need your immediate attention in Red Dead Redemption 2. You’re free to explore the world on your own pace, returning to your camp every now and then to gather info, missions, and supplies before heading off into the wild – to hunt prey, both animal and human, the difference between the two blurred more often than not.
There was no reason to give an NPC a cycle that extends beyond a single day, and yet, the woman who warned you not to rob her house will inform her sons of what you did. The next time you pass by, her sons would be sitting on the porch, talking to her. This is not part of a side quest or the main one, she is but one random NPC, with her own life, and her own routines.
That is what this game is about. The world carrying on its own, while you take a break from your breakneck heists, and high octane wild west shootouts and disappear into the vast world of the game.
Each NPC, brings with them, a master class of voice acting, and dialogues.
In my wanderings, I discovered a gang hideout far up in the foothills of Annesburg. Naturally, I shot all of them down, looted their cave, and left. However, not long after, in the darkness of the Roanoke Forest, one of the survivors shot my horse and ran off into the woods. Had I not left my Griselda (horse) on the trail and run after the hillbillies with my shotgun, she would have fallen into the pit they’d dug to trap and kill her. A pit I found myself falling into, before shooting my way out of it. Realising their trap had failed, one of the brood screamed ‘He left the horse on the trail!”
Opinions may differ on this, but I don’t think I know another piece of entertainment media, outside of TV shows, that kept such strong and consistent writing going on for the massive story of this game. Each character has been well realised, supremely well voice acted, and, well, real. They feel real. The biggest winner of the writing pie, of course, is the protagonist, Arthur Morgan.
Morgan’s story arc is the best they’ve written since Niko Bellic in GTA 4, and John Marston in RDR 1. We play a man who begins to question the nature of his life, and the choices he made in following a leader who demands blind obedience. His growth as a character might just be one of the greatest stories ever told in this format.
It is oftentimes hard to remember that what we’re witnessing on screen is a video game, not a well-produced movie. This is helped, not by the incredible graphics, but Rockstar’s insane attention to detail bringing every piece together to create a world that feels as real as it can be. Whether it is in the cobbled streets of Saint Denis, or the great plains of West Elizabeth, the music, the characters, and the gameplay will have you completely hooked from the get-go.
Sure, companies love advertising how cinematic their games are, but still adhere to a certain video game logic we’ve come to expect out of the medium. RDR 2 is no different, but it hides it’s ‘video game realism’ under layers, which makes it easier for players to completely throw themselves into the game, for hours on end.
The game is not without flaws. There are hilarious and frustrating glitches, Arthur controls like a jello with legs at times, the aiming is terrible until you tweak it a bit, and some may find it’s upkeep features to be too taxing.
In the end, the best praise this game can get is that it is fun and relaxing even when you are not playing it. That is to say, you don’t have to follow the story to get the complete experience. In fact, the complete experience lies outside the confines of the main story, in the vast swathes of land that are yours to explore.
They weren’t lying when they said this is the evolution of the open world genre.
About the Author:
Sujayendra Krishna Nellore, aka “Baba”, is a self-described “paid-to-eat”, full time as Features Writer at Zomato, who has been playing video games for the past 21 years,from back when the 8 Bit Cassettes ruled gaming world.