Article By A. Hunter
So, again TJ says, “Adam, just write about anything, but make it good.” And apart from gaining the opportunity to play some killer basses in the studio, I have recently been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PlayStation 4. So without further a do, I’m gonna talk about that.
What did I like about Red Dead Redemption 2? The story. I had a 10 year break from gaming and when I came back to it, the most positive evolution of gaming was the level up of story telling. Games have become like movies in that department and RDR2 is no exception to that theory.
The game is set at the end of the wild-west cowboy era, the American Civil war has ended and the idea of building a society and removing outlaws is starting to become a reality. You play as the main character Arthur Morgan, the enforcer of a gang led by the eccentric outlaw Dutch Van Der Linde.
As Arthur you explore the open world environment completing bounties, killing rival gangs, robbing banks and taking part in many cowboy related activities, which will have the most cynical yelling “Yehaaaw” at their television. The detail in the level of role playing allows the player to truly immerse themselves into the role of an outlaw, doing “what it takes” to survive the new frontier. With the story, the level of detail is truly impressive, it is multi layered with many stories that interconnect and engage you. I must admit I found myself becoming fond of most of characters in the gang, they all had their own flaws, which I warmed to.
However, this attention to detail is also the games downfall. As it is set in the 1800’s you have to ride by horse everywhere, the developers decided to test the players patient by encouraging you to brush the horse. If you don’t brush or feed the horse at regular intervals, and it really does feel like you are doing this every 20 mins, the horse loses energy and life. I don’t understand why this was put into the game as it is so annoying.
There is realism, and there is tedium. Weapons need to be constantly maintained, Arthur needs to be fed and watered at regular intervals, chores such as fetching water, collecting bails of hay and chopping wood become so tedious.
And don’t get me started on travelling throughout the map. The map is huge but often lifeless and a dull affair when galloping through. There are many small things that happen, like hold ups, fights with rival gangs, witnessing a KKK meeting, which were great at first but by the endgame became repetitive and an obstacle for me to trigger another mission.
But, the game looks incredible. I still can not get over the backdrop of this game, it is gorgeous. I am still in awe of the developers ability to get this game looking and running this good on a console. I mean, come on. I can’t be the only one who remembers Lara Croft’s tribute to Madonna’s cones? and in the grand scheme of things that wasn’t that long ago. Games have come along way since I was a kid and this game from a technical point of view has few they could call a rival.
However, there is a problem with the level of visual detail in Red Dead Redemption 2. When controlling a player you can often be taken out of your immersion as each action seems to have a lag. For example if I want to get on my horse, there is a second where there is an animation where the character gets on the horse. Doing any action feels sluggish and cumbersome, picking up a hat or a gun requires the player to run through a round of animations, which once again leaves me as the player frustrated.
And it’s from there I have to ask myself is this a good game, is this what a game is? I mean, I played the last Super Mario Brothers 2D side scroller on the Nintendo Switch and my immersion was never broken. Though the game isn’t trying to be hyper realistic, or a role playing game, I didn’t once sigh at being taken out of the game by a technical aspect of how I control the character.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was marketed and reviewed as a technical masterpiece, it was dubbed flawless and the best game to arrive since forever. But the trouble is, if you say something is the best, if you tell your audience that this game is hyper realistic, that no other game can compete with it then automatically when you do find fault it becomes more of a talking point.
I think the game is great personally. Do I think it’s perfect? No. But nothing ever is. I enjoyed it despite its faults, the story and visuals were excellent, the gameplay was ok without being awful or great.
Red Dead Redemption 2?
It was alright by me, partner.