Rockstar Games release another masterpiece
In 2010, Rockstar Games gave me one of my favorite games ever in the form of the western open world story of Red Dead Redemption. As a teenager, I played through Red Dead at least five times, partly because I’m an idiot who craves familiarity subconsciously, but mostly, the reason I played through the game is because it was just so well done. The story was admittedly basic, but the writing within was amazing.
The dead eye shooting mechanics were so rewarding. The visuals still hold up pretty well to this day. So when it was announced that a sequel was in development, I was on cloud nine. Now that the game is finally here and I finished it, brother, I’m on like cloud 28. The game is so amazingly well done that it is going to be hard to play any other game for a while.
The story of the game follows one of the last outlaw gangs in the west as they are hunted by the law and other equally imposing forces. The Dutch Van Der Linde gang is the game’s shining star, as each of your fellow gang members are richly written characters who you will want to talk and connect with throughout Red Dead II’s near 60 hour runtime.
Dutch himself is probably the most well written and complex characters ever to grace a disk or cartridge, as his descent into madness is an extremely hard to watch transition, but you cannot look away. The main character himself, Arthur Morgan, is someone who will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, as his growth from the beginning of the game till the end is beautifully done.
The story is amazing, but a huge part of games from most folks is the technical aspects like the physics engines and the gameplay. I am very comfortable saying that this game might be the most well done I have ever played. When you walk into a store you can interact with nearly any object before purchasing (or stealing) it.
If you fall over and get mud on you, it will stay there until you either get drenched by a storm or jump in a river. Same applies to blood, which appears due to gunshots as well as from animals that have been killed during a hunt. Arthur’s horse (who I named Larry) handles very realistically, needing brushing when he gets too dirty and food regularly. Arthur himself needs bathing and food regularly, unless you want him to be a smelly hermit who no one loves.
The combat is a more refined spin on GTA V’s, complete with the returning Dead Eye, and it feels just as good as it did back in 2010, maybe even better. Arthur himself handles with a weight common in many Rockstar Games protagonists, but for the first time it didn’t ever bug me. It actually kind of felt good to walk around as him and take in the views. The views, by the by, are phenomenal, and the fact that this is a fully explorable and dynamic world is just unbelievable.
All of that said, I don’t know if everyone will love this game. It is a slow burn, novel like experience that many may not be wanting nor expecting. However, if you can take the time to slow down and enjoy the ride, you will find yourself deeply immersed in the best entertainment 2018 has to offer.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.