Probably the most hyped video game of the year, Red Dead Redemption 2, was released last week. And after growing old waiting for my PS4 to install the game, I’ve managed to put a good number of hours into it. So here are my thoughts so far.
The good news is, it’s easy to see why people were so excited for the game, given its sheer scope not just in size, but content. It really does feel like you can interact with pretty much everything in one way or another. You can completely ignore the story and just spend time playing poker or robbing passersby on the road. You can make small talk with citizens, take baths, go hunting, and play Dominos (though even in a video game, I still don’t get it). It’s simply fun just goofing off and doing your own thing.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a very meticulous game, with all of the above activities (and so many others) having their own rules and mechanics. It feels like everything about the game’s world is given an extreme attention to detail. This level of intricacy is felt in the game’s sense of realism. Arthur Morgan – the player character – really feels like he has human limitations that other video game characters don’t have.
Similar to Breath of the Wild, Morgan needs to eat, dress appropriately for the weather, and craft materials in order to survive. Unlike Breath of the Wild, Morgan can’t climb every surface, and struggles against the environment as much as he does fellow outlaws. Your horses also need to be taken care of, and yes, you can even let Morgan grow a beard, and then decide how to shave his facial hair.
On the downside of things, I think this emphasis on realism can sometimes be frustrating. Having to stop and set up camp in the middle of a quest, and then needing to use item after item to keep all your stats in order can grow a little tedious after a while. Breath of the Wild’s similar survival elements were much quicker paced and always enhanced the experience. By comparison, Red Dead Redemption 2’s survival aspects can be involving, but just as often can feel cumbersome, and drag what is already a very long game out even longer.
Another problem I have is shuffling through items. Now, RDR2 is wise enough to have a Secret of Mana-esque item wheel for most of the essentials by holding the L1 button (though going to a menu is still required for many other items). But I kind of wish you had to hit a button to select an item, instead of simply letting go of L1 on a highlighted item, because this often causes me numerous problems when I’m in a firefight.
Although I’m less than twenty percent through the story, I’ve already encountered some notable technical issues. One especially egregious moment saw two bounty hunters randomly spawn in front of me as I was going through a tutorial on crafting while camping, the bounty hunters bumped into me with their horse, which canceled my crafting (and the dialogue that went with it). The bounty hunters then instantly despawned (and later respawned), and I couldn’t get back to my tutorial, so I had to kill myself to get back to the previous checkpoint. I’ve also witnessed a few instances of NPCs’ character models suddenly changing (a man working a hotel lobby inexplicably transformed into a bandaged version of himself and back again in the span of time it took to rent a bath). Granted, with just how massive and detailed the game is, you could say that such technical issues are almost expected. But does that really change the fact that they’re issues?
With all that said, I have had a mostly stellar time with Red Dead Redemption so far despite the flaws. It is a very easy game to get lost in and just have fun acting out the old west. I still have a long way to go before I reach the end of the story, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see how long the game remains engrossing. As it stands, Read Dead Redemption 2 has so far been an addicting, if flawed time.
5 thoughts on “Red Dead Redemption 2 Impressions”
Yeah, the press really hyped this one up, didn’t they? I’ll probably check it out before the end of the year myself to see what the fuss is about.
Are you looking forward to when this happens again and the press insists that the game in question is somehow even more perfect than the last thing they hyped?
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“Breath of the Wild’s similar survival elements were much quicker paced and always enhanced the experience. By comparison, Red Dead Redemption 2’s survival aspects can be involving, but just as often can feel cumbersome, and drag what is already a very long game out even longer.”
I do think the BotW’s was survival nonesense was at a quicker pace but I don’t think that they enhanced the experience. I was turned off by it in BotW and I’m even more turned off by it in RDR2.
Yes, the game is a technical marvel but like BotW last year, I’m not in love with playing it and I’ve actively been looking for other things to do besides play it. Glad you are enjoying it though.
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That’s a fair complaint. As much as I love Breath of the Wild, I can understand why certain elements might not sit well with people. That’s another reason I picked Odyssey over it for GotY 2017. Nothing really to complain about with that one. I guess that’s similar to my stance on their respective series as a whole.
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I’m really enjoying the game, but it definitely has its issues – fundamental design issues, not just bugs. A few times now I’ve found myself Googling things that should be explained or apparent in the game, which is a bit frustrating. The fact that every gaming site online has been posting tutorials on how to find your hat is a clear indicator of this, I think.
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Agreed… What’s fun is a lot of fun, but it’s definitely not a 10 in my book. Apparently you can keep hats you pick up, but hell if I know how. Also, I wish your attributes (health, stamina and deadeye) didn’t each have their own separate cores. It would be sooo much more fluid if you just had one core that allowed your stats to fill up (that you could refill by resting or whatever) and then used items just for the stats themselves. Instead I find myself constantly pausing what I’m doing to use an item to refill my cores, then pausing again to use more items to refill my stats. It’s especially egregious in combat. Imagine if in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly the characters paused during every shootout to eat something. Not exactly the most exciting little detail.
Still, it’s a lot of fun in so many ways. I especially look forward to the multiplayer (if it’s at all like that of RDR1 from what my friends tell me), as I think it would better suit the game.