Red Dead Redemption II Review

3 min


Red Dead Redemption 2 Video Game by Rockstar
Red Dead Redemption 2 Video Game by Rockstar

After almost half a decade of delays, Red Dead Redemption was released 2 years after being teased in 2016. Where has the time gone? If you were a fan of the original Red Dead Redemption, then you’re going to like how they fleshed out the prequel story of Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang 12 years before the first game. However, if you were expecting to get introduced to a rattlesnake infested desert off the bat, you get to play around in a snow-capped mountain range for the first couple of hours.

After tutorial missions cleverly disguised as the opening cinematic-like sequence of a movie, you get to explore Rockstar’s open world. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just any open world, it seems to be Rockstar’s most ambitious open-world title to date.

Main Story

Red Dead Redemption 2 had about half a million lines of dialogue, so you know the game’s story will be a lot to unpack. The story follows Arthur Morgan, the main protagonist of the first game. You start taking part in some exciting story missions that span across fun (but cliche) wild west tropes such as horseback riding, train robbing, and bank robbing.

Of course, you’re not going to be in the middle of a lawless desert without a wide variety of guns at your arsenal. Unfortunately, the story was not as action-packed as one would hope. There was a lot of walking around controlling the character while listening to dialogue that considerably slowed the game.

Of course, if you’re here to flesh out the lore of the world instead of engaging in constant gunfights, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2 for what it is. You will get attached to the main protagonist, Arthur Morgan, and his fierce loyalty to the Dutch van der Linde gang. Unfortunately, if you’re coming to Red Dead Redemption 2 from Grand Theft Auto V, then you’re going to cringe at the slower pace of Red Dead 2. Many people akin to Red Dead Redemption 2 as just Grand Theft Auto on a horse. The formula is distinct, but there are some notable differences between the two.

Unfortunately, the story starts off strong before forcing players to trudge along until the story’s emotional conclusion.

Side Quests And Side Content

Between the main story missions, you’re going to be doing several side quests and side content. For those who are playing Red Dead Redemption 2 for the story, then the length of the side quests are not going to matter. If you’re playing Red Dead Redemption 2 to be a playable John Wayne simulator, then you’re not going to enjoy some of the dull side quests. Some of the side quests can take a lot of your game time, and some of them can be over by the time you’re done with a single sneeze. Some of the side quests aren’t anything but long playable cutscenes.

Red Dead Redemption 2: Official Trailer

Unfortunately, doing these side quests don’t feel very rewarding. You get some valuable items you can sell at traders, but nothing is especially satisfying about doing them. Rockstar could have put some valuable items only found through side quests to incentivize players to finish them. No special weapons, no unique collectibles, and nothing game-breaking that’s worthy of doing. It seems side quests were merely meant for fleshing out the lore of the world and nothing else.

However, side content can take you off the beaten path if you want to explore and feel immersed in the open world. This makes the content worth it if you’re going to escape into the wild west between missions. There’s plenty of side content to do that keeps you immersed in the world. There’s hunting, crafting, fishing, card games, and almost every generic wild west activity you can think of.

The Open World

While the game slows down a bit, story-wise, the open-world stays fresh and diverse. It feels as if the open world is alive. It’s not like Rockstar’s other title, Grand Theft Auto V, where there are generic NPCs you can run over with your car when you’re feeling especially murderous. The NPCs in Red Dead Redemption 2 don’t feel like generic walking mannequins that you can rob if you wanted. Instead of feeling like you’re the most powerful being in the game as you would feel with Grand Theft Auto V, you feel like you belong in the world itself.

Rockstar knew what they were doing with their open-world because they knew the main story of Red Dead Redemption 2 was going to move at a snail’s pace. Players spend more time out in the open world because there is a lot to see if you stroll off the given path. The world is alive and is continually moving regardless if the player is walking by or not. There is some dialogue you will only hear once that reflect the changing world as the player progresses.

The open world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is beautifully crafted. There was a lot of detail on the part of Rockstar to bring the world to life. While Red Dead Redemption Online is still struggling a bit on the server-side, the base game itself is worth picking up if you want to know the events that transpired before the original Red Dead Redemption game. This is definitely a game for the ages and sets the standard for living open worlds.

€ 59.99 on Humble Bundle (GameDom may get a commission on retail offers)

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Michael Langdon
I write about video games, television, movies and the internet.

3 Comments

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  1. I’ve never loved a video game character more than I love Arthur Morgan. There will never be another game like Red Dead Redemption II. This game is a masterpiece – the story, voice acting, graphics, everything is done phenomenally. Props to Rockstar!

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