Red Dead Redemption is not only a game. It is also a platform where you can spend your free time at no cost. Many news revolving around the industry of this game. The second part of Red Dead Redemption was released in the last few years.
Some fans are expecting much from the second installment of the game. On the other hand, some are emotionally attached to the first game.
Storytelling is also a big part of it. While not spoiling too much, fans of the first Red Dead Redemption know that the gang fell apart, so Red Dead Redemption 2 shows that in all its glory. It is truly a sad story with excellent writing. There are also tons of content, like side missions, which are equally as good.
Therefore, I will review it here by comparing it to Red Dead Redemption, RDR2. If you have no experience with this comparison, you may easily decide which one is better.
Red Dead Redemption
The game Red Dead Redemption was an oddity in gaming. It only fell into a few molds when Grand Theft Auto and other similar games were in vogue. Red Dead Redemption told the story of John Marston, a somewhat cliché version of a cowboy.
When playing Red Dead Redemption, you quickly get into the game, forget about its cliché character beginnings, and drop into its Wild West flair. Red Dead Redemption’s opening was reasonable and entirely to the point. Moreover, it provides you with what you need to know and lets you go on your way.
RDR’s combat was, for its time, decent, and its horse-and-buggy mechanics worked well. It did include a GPS-like mechanic to lead you to the next location. So, the game wasn’t without its “modernisms.”
The game is the most open-world, meaning that it fell right into the same mold as Grand Theft Auto 4. You can let loose in the world and do whatever you want (within the game’s combat and mechanic boundaries).
If you chose to leave quests hanging, that was your choice. If you want to complete them, that is also your choice. Searches are not often accumulated and don’t require completion in any particular order (besides, you might need to complete a quest to progress the main story).
RDR’s world landscape is of tumbleweed and Arizona-style mesas, feeling very much that it is located in “the old west.” Every game inclusion and mechanic, from the clothing to the horse riding to the shotguns, felt every bit like you were in the “Wild, Wild West.” The game wasn’t, by any stretch, perfect. But it was about as close as you could get to fulfilling an Old West vibe.
Red Dead Redemption 2
This game has many of the subtle mechanics from RDR that are included in RDR2. Therefore, it has too many unnecessary contrivances that are included in the game. These make this game a chore to play. The first is the three literal hours-long, overly dull, and unnecessary tutorial intro.
It is a sequel to a game most of us have already played. Was it essential to force us into this extremely long intro to show us how to shoot a gun or fire a bow and arrow?
This mistake of an introduction hangs a very dark cloud over this entire game. It is a cloud that is not cleared even after entering the “open world” (I’ll come back to this below) game.
Once you enter the game, you’re introduced to Arthur Morgan (the hero or, more accurately, an anti-hero).
Unfortunately, what John Marston was to Red Dead Redemption, Arthur Morgan isn’t to Red Dead Redemption 2. John Marston’s character handling in RDR had him overcome the story’s cliché beginnings.
While in Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar’s writers could never overcome Arthur Morgan’s cliché beginnings. The cliché nature of Arthur was compounded with each new story progression.
In Red Dead Redemption, the player can choose whatever path he wishes to take, good or bad. If you decided to be a “bad guy,” the game would let you go in that direction without too many overly burdensome penalties. In Red Dead Redemption 2, the game engine explicitly forces you into being “the good guy.” If you choose to try and be an outlaw, the game engine does its level best to reinforce that behavior negatively. And it does so with speed and force.
In Red Dead Redemption, if you entered a town and chose to kill everyone in it, there were no overly negative consequences to that action. Sure, you might become wanted, but you could get away from that by merely outrunning whatever law came after you.
In RDR2, the game’s “wanted” force is so stacked against the player. Your death is imminent within moments. Not only do many, many law enforcement officers spawn out of thin air and utterly questionable mechanics. But they also have perfect aim and will kill you within moments.
Additionally, the game spawns your character outside of town once you are killed. If you try that behavior again, the game will back throw its might of spawned law officers at you, kill you and respawn you even farther out of town.
With each attempt and death, the game engine progressively generates you more now and farther away from the city. Eventually, you’re spawned so far away from that town. It takes quite a while to get back there.
This mechanic is not only overly burdensome. The game won’t allow you to become an outlaw.
It wants you to remain neutral at worst and friendly at best. Ultimately, this means that the game forces you to stay “friendly” with every town. That’s not how the “Old West” worked.
The inclusion of this excessive force mechanic says all it needs to say about this game. But that’s not the only problem.
Red Dead Redemption 2 also suffers from overly quickly triggering these “excessive force” situations. You suddenly bump into someone with your horse and “wanted.” If you randomly point your weapon at someone, “wanted.” Seemingly innocent actions trigger this “excessive force” mechanic, and you become “wanted.”
Besides, spawned law enforcement officers are almost impossible to kill. Once the “wanted” mechanic begins and the excessive force spawns start, you’re outgunned.
Even the most reliable weapon the game offers cannot kill these “excessive force” officers, not also if you shoot them point-blank in the head.
These serious mechanical problems were never in Red Dead Redemption. In RDR, you can play the game in the way you choose.
In RDR2, you’re forced to play the game the way Rockstar wants you to. And this is the main difference that weakens the life out of RDR2, and it’s the sole reason that fans intensely dislike playing it.
The graphics are impressive. The lighting is top-notch and utterly realistic looking, and tons of detail in the environments.
The open world is massive and has a lot to do. The story is easily 60 hours long. There are still places I have left unexplored and undiscovered, and there are always side missions that were left undone. This game could easily be over 100 hours.
The story is excellent. It’s dark and gritty, but it can be, at times, heartwarming and satisfying if you do a High Honor play-through. There are many twists and turns and some rather disturbing moments, but it pits you through the reality of the Wild West. It wasn’t a great time to live through.
The gameplay is satisfying, intense, and challenging. Yes, the gameplay in GTA V is also enjoyable, but the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 fares better, as it has more of a challenge to it since it’s more hard-hitting to your health, plus you have to admit, the Deadeye system is not awesome.
The game is immersive. Nothing in this game feels phoned in or unrealistic. Every activity you do, every movement you make, and everywhere you travel feels alive and immersive. The hell going into a general store is immersive based on how Arthur grabs. The items on the shelves and how he scrolls through the catalog in the stores.
You feel immersed in its world, so much, so you can take a break from combat and ride across the globe.
The characters are expertly written, and this game has no bland characters. All of them, including the main protagonist Arthur and even Dutch, are written in excellency. You will feel connected to them, and anything that happens to them hits you hard. And the decisions you make for them and how you treat those feel real and impactful, not fake.
The activities are varied.
- Are you tired of story missions?
- Do a stranger’s task.
- Don’t want to do a stranger’s mission? Go hunting.
- Don’t want to hurt anything?
- Go bounty hunting?
- Don’t want to do some bounty hunting?
Play poker. Or do you want to go fishing, or do you want to watch a theater show? There are more than one or two types of activities, like in Just Cause. There are multiple kinds of them, one for everyone for them to dump hours into easily.
No fast travel. It’s utterly frustrating that there is no fast travel, well yeah, there are stagecoaches, but they are few and far between, and as a result, it can be daunting having to go back and forth through long stretches of travel.
Red Dead Online is boring. It’s gritty, and there isn’t a lot to do as opposed to the massive and dense single-player campaign. And it seems like another milk fest for Rockstar and Takes Two Interactive.
The frame rate did stutter a couple of times. But you will see it has something to do with the fact that you can play it on a base Xbox One and not on an Xbox One X.
The survival elements get tedious and frustrating. Oh, look, your stamina core or health core is low. You have to eat something while being in the middle of a fucking battle. And every time you dismount from your horse, you end up with your revolver. So you have to go back to your horse to get one of the more advanced weapons from the said horse.
The realism is a bit inconsistent. This game is realistic in some parts, such as you having to eat food to heal yourself. Yet, for some reason is unrealistic in some regions where weapons are locked off from purchase when you see it right there in the catalog at a gunsmith and when you have enough money to purchase it.
But overall, other than those few nitpicks, the game is an absolute masterpiece. It’s a masterwork from Rock Star. This game is one of the most favorite games of fans of all time. And it was my game of the year for 2018. It’s quite a fantastic game that every gamer should play.
If you haven’t played this game at all, you are missing out on the fun that a player can get after having it.
A game cannot claim to be an open world when artificial constraints are placed on the player’s activities, thus forcing the player to conform to specific rules. An open world means just that open world. It means you can explore, do, and quest in any way you choose.
At best, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a new race of games. Open-world games should never force artificial constraints onto the player.
Even Grand Theft Auto V didn’t do this in its open world. Yet, for some puzzling reason, Rockstar felt the need to employ these overly complicated limitations on the player. They have to remove these constraints, at least to enjoy playing this game.
In short, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a mess of a game, designed to be a mess. It implies to be an Open world but is not. At best, it only offers a Constrained World. Nobody wants unnecessary constraints placed on their character or their play when exploring an open-world environment.
There are plenty of other problems with this game, but the above is the primary reason I won’t play this game, and it is why I do not consider Red Dead Redemption 2, in any way, a proper sequel to Red Dead Redemption. It is simply intended to be a cash grab and, for me, a misfire by Rockstar.