A stunning visual spectacle with a truly beautiful story…
I don’t play many video games these days. My time is valuable and so if I am going to pick up my playstation controller it has to be for a good reason and this year Red Dead Redemption 2 has been just that.
Rockstar have put together a game that is not only a spectacle visually with a stunning looking backdrop of emerging America but they have constructed arguably the best story a game has ever had. The ballad of main character Arthur Morgan is one of a man trying to find his way in a world becoming more and more civilized by the day. Gunslingers and outlaws are becoming a thing of the past and the group Morgan belongs to are looking for that final payday. He’s a real character in a sense that he has a detailed history, believable flaws and even health problems all of which that just add to the realism of a story that is both emotional and beautifully tragic at the same time. The old west can be a brutal place and it spits you out as a player sometimes while also being an immensely rich and a fun environment to play in. GTA of the wild west it is not, although some will say it is, RDR2 is more complex in a lot of ways.
I spent much time doing everything but main story line stuff and even side story line stuff, much like GTA but with less intentions to commit criminal acts, in this game being wanted is a pain in the ass. You can turn your attention to pretty much everything that is interactive in the world. You can craft, fish, hunt and generally just live in the world. Your choice to be honorable or not is always held in account. There are only a few real drawbacks, as a player you have to ride horses quite often and the mechanics of combat can be clunky.
There are some points in the game where this is a truly cinematic experience which is complimented by the rich soundtrack. Galloping along with seven or so fellow outlaws by your side will make it as authentic as the Magnificent Seven or the many Clint Eastwood forays into the genre.
The characters that join you are one of the strengths that help carry a main story so rich with drama, action, deception and so much more.
For everything RDR2 the one thing it isn’t is a disappointment. I spent five months gradually playing out what is an incredible and sometimes poignant story that at moments brought a tear to my eye. Games are becoming more and more cinematic while also retaining the charm of being a solo experience although many times my better half would happily watch. There is no medium out there like a video game and the satisfaction that comes with it is hard to recreate elsewhere. If anything this sort of thing is an escape from our own world, like all good story telling RDR2 is very effective at it!
9.5/10 – stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Fallout, Skyrim and of course GTA