On October 26th, 2018, we were prepared for the release of one of the most highly anticipated games of recent history. After the team at Rockstar Games had delivered our favourite game ever in GTA Online, we had a good idea of what to expect.
An engaging, immersive and action packed rollercoaster story & world to explore was what we had in mind. As the clock ticked past midnight and the new world began to unravel, our first impression was just how enjoyable the game is to play. Fast forward a week or so and we have completed all of Red Dead 2's story and missions from start to finish, and our impression hasn't changed, we are still in awe of just how enjoyable to play Red Dead Redemption 2 is.
Completing the game took us just over a week, putting in around 8-10 hours a day, and throughout those gaming sessions we were glued to our screen, constantly wanting to play more and find out what happens next. Red Dead 2's story is so engaging, and emotion triggering, it is like actually being part of the Van Der Linde Gang. We found ourselves rooting for some of the characters, becoming resentful towards others, and just plain hating & despising the rest. Very few games offer this level of depth in their story, and we particularly enjoyed playing as part of the gang rather than just being the leader or a loner and getting to dictate everything. Aspects of Red Dead 2 such as the character developments, plot twists, heartbreaks and victorious moments all make the experience offered in the story a hugely rewarding one. We found the story missions to be unpredictable and varied, and the cut-scenes appropriately set up the next mission in terms of time and detail.
Red Dead 2's controls are comfortable and practical, setup just right so that they are actually functional during skirmishes and encounters in which you may need health tonics or consumables. We found Horse riding to be superb fun, the game delivers a fast and fun riding system, but many wagons and stagecoaches are not that fun to drive. On occasion, we found the Riding controls to be a bit awkward during shootouts on horseback, which resulted in some hilarious crashes, but overall navigating Red Dead 2's environment by horse is a hugely fun experience.
Combat is probably one of the best things about Red Dead Redemption 2. Headshots on enemies trigger a cinematic cut-scene that shows your enemy dying and your character in the shooting pose, all of which makes getting those sweet shots even sweeter! Deadeye allows for some epic kills to be carried out, but we found it a little time consuming during intense shootouts, so it may be best to pick smaller less hectic shootouts for using the Deadeye system. Red Dead 2 has a variety of weapons to carry out your enterprises, from pistols and rifles to shotguns, dynamite, tomohawks and throwing knives. The majority of weapons are well balanced and fun to use, part of the fun is finding out which weapons suit you the best, and the customization options also add an extra level of detail to your weapons.
There are many aspects of Red Dead Redemption 2 that take getting used to, such as crafting items, bonding with horses & horse maintenance, character health and stamina tonics and hunting animals. In addition there are fences and trappers to locate to get rid of stolen goods and to get upgraded items from, and there are numerous domino & poker games around the map. Players will have to donate regularly to the camps supplies, both monetarily and with resources, to ensure everyone is kept happy. While off exploring the games vast environment, you may find yourself being held up by a gang of outlaws, or if you commit too many crimes bounty hunters and lawmakers will actively hunt you down for the price on your head.
While having some similarities with GTAV, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a completely unique experience. We are finding the balance between the time period RDR2 is set in and it's limitations to be refreshing and engaging in the form that Rockstar has presented it in. We knew 2018 was going to be a year where other games would be overshadowed by Red Dead 2, we didn't know by how much though. Sometimes the hype and expectation around a games release isn't matched by the end product. We can honestly say Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games we have ever played, it will leave most players feeling lost in its vast interactive environments, laughing at it's hilarious PVE engagements, immersed in the engaging story and entertained by victory in glorious shootouts & accomplishments!
As time goes on we are sure Rockstar Games will break a couple of records with Red Dead Redemption 2, maybe not as many as with GTAV, but they will probably come close. In our view, this would be deserved as the developers have delivered a masterpiece of a game that we found enjoyable from start to finish. With It's Online counterpart Red Dead Online set for Beta release at some stage in November, we can only see the game getting a bigger audience and with Rockstar's reputation for excellent DLC's we are fairly sure the game will continue to grow and evolve. Needless to say, we can't wait for RDOnline.
Rockstar Games has raised the standard again with Red Dead 2, a standard that was already not being reached by the vast majority of game developers. We don't generally write specific reviews for too many games, and for us to write a review the subject/product/service has to be something we are passionate about and genuinely believe in.
Red Dead Redemption 2 in our opinion will impress, entertain & surprise any gamer that enjoys an interactive environment, immersive storyline, exciting missions and tonnes of details, activities & interactions to keep you busy for hours at a time. If you are still undecided at this point, then don't take our word for it, go get you a copy and see for yourself! You won't be disappointed.