It is no secret that the newest entry in the Red Dead series, “Red Dead Redemption 2,” has been a massive success. Being one of the largest open-world video games to date, many gamers were naturally eager to get their hands on a copy and enter the lawless Wild West. With the undeniable hype surrounding this game, the inevitable question of whether the game would meet expectations arose. Unsurprisingly, “Red Dead 2” went above and beyond.
The gun control and gunplay aspect of the game is a large part of what makes an open-world adventure enjoyable. With the three main types of guns present — a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun — “Red Dead Redemption 2” fills the firearms category fairly well. Yet, it’s not just guns that you can use. Knives, dynamite and a bow are all alternative forms of weapons usable in combat. This variety of combat and attention to detail allows the player to feel more immersed in the life of the Wild West.
The inclusion of aiming from the hip as well as using crosshairs is another great addition to the game. This allows players the ability to shoot with less accuracy, but have a higher chance of hitting an enemy if they are gathered in a group, which creates more options for the player when engaged in gunfights. Furthermore, the mini-map on its own is a useful tool, especially in combat or “Wanted” situations, where the player’s character is being hunted by the law and the player must either pay a bounty or avoid the area. In these situations, there is a red line indicating the area where the player is “Wanted” on the map, allowing the player to avoid deadly gunfights.
One of the unique aspects of “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the travelling companion, your horse. During the tutorial portion of the game, the player is given the opportunity to buy a new horse as well as name it. This small feature is only one part of the growing bond between the player and horse. It is very important to take care of your horse or they will die and the player must either travel on foot, spend money on the stagecoach (a fast travel feature) or buy a new horse for almost double the amount. By brushing and feeding your horse regularly, much like you would in real life, your horse will live a much longer life. It is not just the health of your horse that helps, though. The closer you become with your horse, the more its stats will increase. By taking care of the animal you improve its health bar and stamina which means a longer lasting horse as well as getting from place to place faster.
As you travel around the expansive landscape, it is no doubt that you will encounter some crazy scenarios. Choosing to interact with or walk past these strangers in need will affect your morality and outlaw status. Getting involved in gunfights, trade or even chasing someone down are all scenarios you might encounter. These scenarios are not needed to complete the game; however, they do make for more enriching and fun gameplay. Positive actions, or being a somewhat nice person, result in the rest of civilization having a more cheerful disposition towards you, while negative and antagonistic actions result in a bounty on your head as well as being wanted, “dead or alive,” in certain areas if neglected. Some optional situations will require the drawing of a gun, but often it isn’t necessary. If you do have a bounty on your head, you can always pay it off in a nearby town, but be careful; most actions that often go unnoticed in other video games, like bumping into strangers, can cause your character to be wanted again. The game does not outline which side is better; that is up to the player. You can be an outlaw with morals or a shoot-first, ask-questions-later gunslinger. As with so much else in this title, the choice is yours.
Verdict: With engaging (borderline-addictive) gameplay, an enhanced combat experience and a surprisingly in-depth companion system, “Red Dead Redemption 2”’s success is a testament to the hard work that went into continuing the legacy of Rockstar’s previous masterpiece.