Friday, 2 November 2018

Red Dead Redemption 2 ★★★★★

After an intense build-up of hysteria, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Red Dead Redemption’ from 2010 is finally here, and there’s been a hell of a lot of hype. 

This time around you play as Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch Vandelin’s gang of which John Marston is also part of. At the end of the Wild West era you are on the run from the law after a job gone wrong, facing a series of choices to revive the gang whilst also surviving in a world where everyone wants you dead.

It’s hard to know where to start because there’s so much to talk about – Rockstar have obviously poured their heart and soul into this one, making it a complete experience. Plot-wise it’s gripping and interesting,  and seems to be historically accurate. The game has quite a slow start, with a two hour tutorial before being able to explore the vast open world ahead of you, but once you’re in it’s so immersive and ridiculously easy to get lost in. 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming having such a large space ahead of you, and it can be hard to know what to focus on. As well as the main story lots of encounters take place along the way which are randomised and varied (I haven’t come across any repeats as of yet). They don’t affect the main story and can be ignored if you wish. With the missions it can be hard to know whether to go onto the next one as you don’t want previous parts to get locked off so you may find yourself wandering around a lot trying to get everything done – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but be prepared for many 3-4 hour sessions to make good progress.

An interesting element is that fast travel isn’t really an option until later on. It’s both a good and a bad thing – it’s great for the sense of immersion, as it replicates the pace of life from those days and in a way adds a role-playing element that can make you feel more in character. There’s also a myriad of side activities that add to this feeling, from partaking in poker to cleaning yourself in the local bath to avoid awkward encounters with the locals (yes, really). If you want to just dip in the game for a quick play, however, then these journeys can become tiresome, as you’re often 10-15 minutes away from the next quest marker so you won’t be getting anywhere quickly. 

I’d have liked the controls to be easier, but Rockstar has never really been known for amazing combat and controls. You need to almost make a claw out of your hand to be able to pull off what the game wants you to do – for instance, holding LT lets you focus on a person to talk with no gun out. If you do have your gun out, it will point the gun at the person which can set off a chain of events potentially leading to your death. It can take quite some time to get used to the controls and, if you have a bad memory like me, will take quite a few accidental deaths before you finally get it. The combat is brutal and macabre, at least, so despite some control issues is still enjoyable to partake in, and you can even go full first-person mode if you so desire.

And the obvious thing I have to mention is those graphics. Those beautiful graphics, which have now set a high standard for any future games. From the snow-capped mountains to the unforgiving marshlands, every landscape is meticulously crafter and a beauty to behold. This is also true for the NPCs, who have realistic and accurate movements that just make it feel so real.  And of course the obligatory photo mode is there, meaning you can take as many Instagram-worthy shots of this wonderful world as you wish.

I could carry on for hours, but I think it’s clear – despite some control issues and a hell of a lot of travelling, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ still stands tall as the biggest release of the year, and one you certainly don’t want to miss out on.

Hannah Read

Red Dead Redemption 2 at CeX

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