Red Dead Redemption 2 Review

Red Dead Redemption II is an open-world first-person western adventure game. The title was developed and published by Rockstar Games and released in October 2018 for Playstation 4 and Xbox One and in December 2019 for Windows and Stadia.

Rockstar Games, an American company based in New York, is responsible for other world-renowned games such as the  Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt sagas. Furthermore, Red Dead Redemption II is a direct sequel to Red Dead Redemption, published in 2010.  It is also the third part of the Red Dead saga, which found its origin in Red Dead Revolver in 2004. A game for Playstation 2 and Xbox that went much more unnoticed compared to its sequels.

A critical and popular success

The critics received the adventure in a very positive manner. It received a perfect score in several review portals like IGN. Metacritic even classified it as the best game of the Playstation 4, praising several elements such as the narrative, the gameplay, the open world, and even the music.

Commercially it was also a success, the installation generated $725 million in revenue during the first three days. Then, it closed its first two weeks with an approximate number of 17 million copies sold, surpassing releases like Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Fallout 76.

An online spin-off that exceeded expectations

The title also launched an online mode called Red Dead Online. After the player creates his avatar, he can perform various activities. Among them is the possibility of exploring the open world, perform missions, and climb in a system of ranks imposed by the game. Due to the great reception it got, Rockstar Games decided to release the mode as a separate entry that only shares the gameplay and assets with the original.

The Story

The plot of the adventure is set in the context of the sunset of the Wild West. In this case, law enforcement is wiping out the last of the outlaw gangs. One of these is led by the protagonist, Arthur Morgan. In this chaotic context, the main character must rob, steal, and fight while trying to keep his gang together and carry his ideals. All this while the police and the best bounty hunters undertake a relentless pursuit against him and his group.

Engaging gameplay with hours of bonus content

At the beginning of the game, the player will enter a huge open world. Although he must complete linear missions, he may witness random events or do several alternative quests. Depending on which ones are accepted or declined, the plot changes slightly, so each player has his own experience. This also affects a new system of honor and morality. These will impact on the character’s dialogues, in which different ones are unlocked according to the values he has gone through in the game.

Another implementation is the reward system. When the protagonist commits a crime, witnesses will go to report it to the police. If he doesn’t kill them first, the police will investigate and gradually put him on a wanted list. Depending on the severity of the crimes, this list may offer a small reward or the legend ” Wanted Dead or Alive “. The latter option attracts bounty hunters, who will pursue him throughout the adventure. The only way to eliminate this quest is to pay his rewards at a post office.

Apart from the main gameplay and missions, it is necessary to opt for an endless number of alternative activities to progress in the installation. These range from rock carving to table games, where the player can gamble on poker games, blackjack, dominoes, and Five Finger Fillet. On the other hand, hunting is a fundamental part of Arthur’s survival. He has several alternatives to perform it, from traditional hunting to fishing, where there are more than 30 different types of fish to catch.

A true approach to the use and care of weapons

The character has a wide variety of weapons that can be used throughout the adventure. Among these are the normal pistols, Gatling guns, revolvers, rifles, bows, explosives, shotguns, and repeaters. The game also supports melee weaponry such as knives, fists, and even axes.

Besides, Red Dead Redemption II features a new weapon degradation system. This causes the player to have to take care of them and clean them to keep them working properly. As in previous releases from the same company, such as Grand Theft Auto, using the same weapon over a long time, causes that the protagonist gains experience with them. This system of levels with the armaments provides improvements such as reducing the recoil when shooting or increasing the reloading speed.

One of the best graphics so far

For the graphical part, the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) is utilized. Very different from the original version first used in 2006 for the Grand Theft Auto IV, this graphical engine suffered several modifications. Apart from its most distinctive features known as depth of field, high draw distance, and detailed weather effects, Rockstar reworked RAGE in 2018. This new version brought with it physically based rendering, volumetric clouds, and fog values, pre-calculated global illumination, and even a Vulkan Render. So far, the only beneficiary of these attributes is Red Dead Redemption II. Therefore, the game has an exorbitant realism and a quality of detail that two years later, still exceeds other last-generation titles.

Terrain and maps for all tastes

The most benefited with the graphic aspect are the maps. This installation presents a re-imagination of the United States and covers 5 fictional states. In these, we can find all kinds of biomes, such as rivers, mountain deserts, valleys, swamps, and even plantations. There are also more urbanized sectors, such as small cities and industrialized towns. These cities possess certain atypical extravagances of the time, as electric trains that transit next to the horses used by the characters. In short, the number of maps and graphic details in each one is remarkable, surpassing by far its predecessor in the Rockstar releases, the successful GTA V.

Verdict

In short, Red Dead Redemption II is simply a masterpiece. The title not only features great graphics, polished gameplay, and extensive hours of gameplay. On top of that, it has Rockstar Games’ best performance to date in script and story-telling. In addition to this, the voice acting is masterful and makes the player go from laughing to very tense moments. All of this generates a feeling of empathy with the life of the fictional protagonist. This causes that after having completed the adventure, the players return to play alternative missions and do not want to conclude their experience with the game.

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Marc Hammes

Marc Hammes

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