Kyle Winfield | Staff Writer
Westerns have been making a bit of comeback in the media, over the past few years. With the remake of “Magnificent Seven,” to the success of HBO’s “Westworld,” it seems like Westerns, as a genre, are on the up and up. Though they have been curiously absent in another form of media, recently, Video games. Until today that is, with the release of Rockstar’s “Red Dead Redemption 2.”
“Red Dead Redemption 2” is a third person, open-world action-adventure game and is a sequel to 2010’s “Red Dead Redemption” in title only. The game itself is a prequel, set 12 years before the events of the previous game. In this game, the player controls the lovable rogue, Arthur Morgan, a member of the infamous “Van der Linde Gang.”
The game operates as your standard “Grand Theft Auto-esque” game. The player operates in a third person perspective, and can engage in a variety of activities, both legal and less so, which are appropriate for the era. From poker, duels, drinking in a saloon, to robbing trains and stagecoaches. Even outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and skinning your quarry are available.
The game does take some older mechanics from the previous title and revamps them. One such change was made to the health, stamina and dead eye systems. Instead of just having meters for each which simply refill over time, they now have “cores.” These cores influence how fast these meters recharge, based on how full they are.
A low health core, for example, could cause your health meter’s automatic recharge to be substantially slower than a full or even half full core. These cores can be refilled by using in-game consumables. The same goes for your horse, which also has cores for its health and stamina, which can be refilled the same way.
Speaking of abilities tied to meters, the “Deadeye” mechanic returns from the previous game. “Deadeye” allows the player to enter a bullet-time or slo-mo state during shootouts, which then allows the player to mark parts of certain targets and then auto-fires on said targets, ideally allowing the player to hit multiple enemies.
Right off the bat, the game blows many similar games recently released, out of the water and even out of the whole lake altogether, in terms of detail, graphics, scope, voice work, and much more. But before more praise is added to the heaping pile that this game has already been given, there is one element that, while doesn’t ruin the game overall, is a bit of an issue.
This being the mobility of the player, both on foot and on the horse. Similar to the on-foot controls of “Grand Theft Auto V,” the movement has a strange sluggishness to it that is strange, given how polished the rest of the game is. Morgan feels slow to turn and slow to break from cover, which can be an annoyance at times and in other cases, lead to an unnecessary death.
Movement aside, the rest of the game is stellar. The graphics for “Red Dead 2” are probably the best any console game has looked since the release of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.” The landscapes, especially with the right lighting, look extremely picturesque and borderline photo-realistic.
The detail of the game-world is also second to none. Each town, camp, city and region feels lived in and are well populated with a multitude of very distinct NPC’s, with whom the player can interact with, either with a greeting, or an antagonistic remark. There are also strangers littered about the regions which can give side missions.
This detail also extents to the wild regions outside of cities, which are populated by an extensive amount of flora and fauna. All animals can be hunted and looted for components and certain plants can be picked and used in crafting. Also, when killing animals and leaving them for a few hours, players can return to find their bodies in a state of decay.
Yet another positive are the performances by nearly every main voice actor. Each really sells their own role, and sounds like the kind of people you’d expect to hear in a western set in the year 1899.
Overall, Rockstar has absolutely hit a home-run with “Red Dead Redemption 2.” From it’s compelling and engaging story, to it’s fantastically detailed world, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is a game that should not be missed. While it does have a few missteps, they are nothing compared to the rest of what the game has to offer. Though be prepared to sit through a 100 gigabyte download.