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Red Dead Redemption 2

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 8 - 2018

A blaze of glory that goes on and on.

The anticipation of a new game from Rockstar easily reaches fever pitch. The developers only release a game every so often, but there is almost an unspoken guarantee that it is going to be amazing, and that people will queue up to buy it at launch. Their latest title, which people have been salivating over since it was announced, is Red Dead Redemption 2, the latest entry in the Wild West fantasy series, and of course players have gone totally potty for the game now that it has arrived. Video games have grown in complexity, and the industry as a whole has become more popular and widely accepted, since the last Red Dead game, so there will be many players who step into this latest title without having seen any of Rockstar’s previous games, let alone the last Red Dead game. What a treat they have in store.

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Can you imagine the sheer sense of wonder that would come from stepping into Red Dead Redemption 2 as your first foray into video gaming? As long time gamers, we have experienced the gradual improvement of games, and as such can only see how good a game is in comparison to previously played games. I don’t think I am exaggerating by saying that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most impressive games ever made, and I am pretty sure most players will agree. It is magical.

Red Dead Redemption 2 casts the player back to 1899, towards the end of the traditional Wild West, when the outlaw lifestyle is simply becoming too difficult to maintain in the face of civilisation and industry. Players take the role of Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang who, at the beginning of the game, are escaping from a job gone bad in Blackwater. The aftermath of this job forms the tutorial section of the game, as the gang tries to find somewhere safe to hold up amidst some truly terrible weather and tend their wounded, all while regretting the fact that they lost their haul and looking towards the gang’s leader Dutch for answers as to what they will do next.

Players are introduced to a few of the basics, such as how to ride a horse, shoot a gun and use the games somewhat awkward inventory wheels, which I am not a huge fan of. But more than anything, this tutorial section gives the player in insight into just how amazing this game is going to be. From the snow and blizzards that make up the majority of the tutorial, through to travelling to the greener lands that will mark the end of the tutorial and the opening up of the world, everything seems to be alive. Throughout the game, there are the expected cut scenes to move along major storylines. But even outside of these sequences, in the general, day to day gameplay, the player will be treated to a cinematic treat. Varied terrain, small towns and encampments, are all filled with life and very easy to just stop and watch in awe. The developers obviously knew how good their game looked, as they even included a cinematic view that the player can activate at pretty much any time with the press of a button to have the camera zoom out and give the player the most impressive scenes to enjoy, as Arthur continues about his business.

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Leading on from the tutorial section, the gang set up camp outside the town of Valentine, and this is where the true open-world gameplay begins. The camp will give Arthur access to the various members of the gang, along with any services on missions they may offer. However, as a member of the community, Arthur is expected to contribute to the well being of the camp, in the form of a cut of any cash he makes, and providing food. The gang is at a turning point in history, when the Outlaw is no longer to be tolerated, and this is causing friction between the group. The main story missions will explore this and other themes, while slowly exposing the relationships between various characters. My hat goes off to the writers for Red Dead 2, as everything feels very organic, from the real plot points to the ambling chit chat that goes on while Arthur is riding his horse or walking the street.

While the main missions are great and thoroughly entertaining, it is the sheer scope of what the player can do that makes Red Dead 2 really amazing. Side missions can be picked up pretty much everywhere. Some are marked and prove to be important, while others are more like little distractions that the player will stumble upon while going about their business. Even then though, the game just keeps on giving more and more for the player to do.

This is like some kind of Cowboy life simulator. The player will find all sorts of systems in place that dictate even the most mundane necessities. Arthur will get hungry and thirsty, something to keep an eye on. He will also get dirty or start to look dishevelled, which will affect how people respond to him. Have a wash, take a bath, buy new clothes, even have a shave and a haircut. These are all things that the player will have to think about over the course of their game. Hell, the player will even have to consider which clothes Arthur is wearing depending on the weather, and of course Arthur will get tired, so finding somewhere to sleep would be a good idea.

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Then there are the other activities in the game. Hunting is an important task, and there are plenty of wildlife to try and take down. The developers have even added a little more thought to this simple activity, making sure that the player takes into account wind direction when trying to sneak up on prey.

Through all of this, the player will have to rely on their trusty steed, so it is quite handy that they are great in Red Dead 2. Horses, much like Arthur himself, need to be looked after. There are quite a few different horses in the game and, much like cars in GTA, they come with different capabilities. Should the players horse die, which would be very sad as it is easy to get attached to them, the player can buy another, or just steal one, and can have multiple horses stabled around the world for easy access. Riding the horses is dead simple and feels quite natural, ensuring that even shooting from horseback is no big problem.

Talking of shooting, due to the limitations of the time period, the selection of weapons available are quite limited. That being said, they all work perfectly well, as long as the player makes sure they are well maintained. The weapons can also be improved, which gives the player something to work towards. Rockstar’s combat has always had a slight awkwardness to it, and in Red Dead it is no different. There is simple, if chaotic, melee combat, and shooting is equally simple, with an aim assist that make landing a shot quite easy, and a “bullet-time” style ability that slows everything down and allows for some really impressive shots, ensuring the player feels like a seasoned gunslinger. The problems come from the way Arthur moves, getting stuck behind the environment or not quite acting how the player wants, that means soaking up some bullets will be an inevitability.

You could go on forever about the little ways that Red Dead 2 immerses the player in this massive open-world. From having a game of Poker to making decisions that will adjust Arthur’s moral compass, there are so many ways that the player can put their own stamp on the world. The main story missions will build long term relationships with the other members of the gang, while chance encounters will result in small, but often meaningful, interactions with so many more characters. Players will come away with anecdotes and tales of their Cowboy prowess. But it really is the impressive visuals that pull the player in and keep them there. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a stunning looking game.

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While Red Dead Redemption 2 has a very obvious appeal to anyone who grew up with Cowboy movies, the sheer quality of the game transcends this and could actually make people who have never had any interest in Westerns watch them. Rockstar’s games only come along so often, but when they do, they are always a spectacle. Red Dead Redemption 2 is perhaps the most anticipated game of the year, and it doesn’t disappoint. Expect the usual slew of awards. For the undecided, fulfil your Cowboy fantasies and pick up Red Dead Redemption 2 now.




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Cozy Grove Due This Spring

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