Red Dead Redemption 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomas Barry 25.10.2018 17

Review for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4

Although they are synonymous these days, the Red Dead series didn't start out as an open-world experience. 2004's Red Dead Revolver, for the Xbox and PS2, was a linear third-person shooter, which endured a somewhat rocky development. Created by Angel Studios, it was initially supported by Capcom until it abruptly cancelled it. Take-Two then acquired the studio, rebranding it as Rockstar San Diego and successfully revived the title. It was Red Dead Redemption, however, its 2010 follow-up, that was the real revelation. Fresh off the back of GTA IV, the sequel took advantage of an adapted RAGE engine, featuring a massive Wild West environment that portrayed both America and Mexico. Redemption was a pioneer of the modern open-world formula, influencing various aspects of GTA V. It was intensely atmospheric, teeming with adventure, and told a deeply poignant story. Eight years on, is the prequel, Red Dead Redemption 2, an equally significant prospect?

It's hard to believe that the Red Dead series was almost buried before it even began. Rockstar clearly saw a lot of potential in Revolver, which was a more coherent project thanks to the grittier slant that it imposed on it. The most significant aspect of the first instalment was its Dead Eye targeting system, which became a staple for the series, allowing players to slow time and paint targets to unleash a quickfire barrage of bullets. Overall, though, Revolver amounted to little more than a linear spiritual successor to 1985's Gun.Smoke. Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, was one of the greatest games of its generation, selling over 13 million units. Fans have extremely fond memories of ambling from Blackwater to Escalera on horseback, the spontaneous encounters, gorgeous sunsets, and, of course, John Marston crossing the border to Mexico to the sound of Far Away by Jose Gonzales.

The original Red Dead Redemption wasn't just a product of Rockstar San Diego's vision for a Wild West epic, it was also down to the accumulated knowledge of Rockstar Games, derived from titles such as GTA and Bully, on how to craft deep and detailed open-world experiences. As stated, in turn, Redemption helped Rockstar North to perfect certain aspects of GTA V, predominantly the use of rural environments, wildlife, and elements of its online component. It seems fitting, then, that this new entry in the Red Dead series benefits so much from all its open-world predecessors. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the first ever cross-house collaboration between all of Rockstar Games' studios, making it quite a prospect. This prequel takes place in 1899, before the events of the first Redemption instalment, and follows Arthur Morgan, a fellow member of the Dutch Van der Linde gang.

Red Dead Redemption 2, without question, is the most polished and cinematic experience Rockstar Games has ever produced. It's the team's first open-world built from the ground up for PS4 and Xbox One. This really shows through its sheer beauty, the epic scale and proportions of the world, as well as its countless finer details. Perhaps one of the most impressive elements of the package is its quality and quantity of dialogue. Conversing with NPCs, not to mention plotting and reflecting with Dutch's Gang, has never been quite as immersive as it is here. It's never off-the-cuff, instead being startlingly contextual. A staggering half a million lines of dialogue were captured for Red Dead Redemption 2, which is twice the volume of GTA V. What's more astounding is how much of that can be missed, because the player makes Arthur Morgan pursue a different alley of conversation, or take a different action. Unlike in GTA V, whose characters and motivations faded fast, RDR2 is full of legitimately compelling characters and stories.

Screenshot for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4

In fact, the America of 1899 is a near perfect setting that really enables Red Dead Redemption 2's narrative to take centre-stage. GTA V's intensely satirical edge meant it was ripe for commentary, but that also created a superficial divide between the story and player. By contrast, RDR2's grittier and more realistic world is full of characters with compelling plights and moral quandaries. Everyone is searching for a sense of meaning in an evolving, ever-changing America. This means there's seldom a forgettable character or story. The setting, in other words, serves the story far better than anything previously. Historical events and themes of the time also further enhance this impression. It's not just about the demise of gunslingers and being on the run, as Arthur Morgan will find himself bumping into suffragettes, brushing up against the African-American civil rights campaign, and playing both sides of two wealthy households, amongst lots of other things.

It's not just the story itself, though. Red Dead Redemption 2 carries itself with a great deal of finesse, in so many ways. Much of this is down to the fine-tuning of Rockstar's already well-balanced open-world formula. Whereas GTA V and RDR, featured a lot of laborious set-up missions and drawn out bouts of walking around, RDR2 knows how to keep things lean. Exposition and set-up happen frequently, but only when there's an interesting exchange to go along with it. Otherwise, the game, very sensibly, cuts to the action. Missions are extremely well crafted and generally more grandiose and memorable. Then there are features like the cinematic camera, which is drastically improved from the one seen in GTAV. If the player sets a waypoint on the map, they can swoop into this mode and soak up the dialogue whilst being treated to some truly cinema-quality shots. There are also far more seamless transitions between phases of exchanges, cut-scenes, and gameplay, which keeps things engrossing and vivid.

Then there's the combat, which is much improved from the first outing. It certainly benefits from this cinematic finesse, with slow-motion cutaways that will occasionally frame Arthur mid-shot or provide a gruesome close-up of his shot. This really intensifies the massive shootouts that Dutch's Gang gets caught up in, which are much more grandiose and unique in their setup. Once again, the most unique aspect of the combat is the Dead Eye system. There's a meter for this that can be topped up with purchasable tonics and chewing tabacco. Arthur can use this to slow time and mark targets to be picked off in quick succession. Unlike the previous instalment, there are many upgrades to be had within this ability, which is great for the sense of progression. Overall, combat systems too have benefited from more fluid titles like Max Payne 3. With that said, though, Red Dead Redemption 2 still doesn't borrow quite as much as some might have hoped.

Screenshot for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4

For one thing, perhaps because of the nature of sprawling open-worlds, the cover system is not quite as ergonomic as it could be. Arthur will sometimes park himself in cover that's completely out in the open, and it's often unclear when he's attached to a wall or not. In this regard, it's not quite at the level of smoothness of something like Uncharted 4. Another minor qualm is to do with smoothness and flexibility. Arthur doesn't quite have the fluid movement, nor the full 360-degree range that's seen in Max Payne 3, which is a shame. He's not always immediately responsive with objects in the way, and particularly when on horseback, it's difficult to latch onto multiple targets that are surrounding him from behind, unless indulging in Dead Eye. It's also then difficult to get him to pivot back forward, meaning there's a temporary moment of riding blind. The only other mechanic that feels a tad lacklustre in the same way is stealth because it relies on this less-than-ideal cover system. Neither issue, in the end, is a huge detractor, but it's a shame that these fundamentals aren't quite as polished as everything else.

In terms of the open-world adventuring, there's a wealth of things to get up to. The random encounters, first seen in the original Redemption, and expanded in GTA V, are back, and even better constructed. They feature more interesting scenarios that often feedback to Arthur's advantage, or disadvantage, depending on how the player behaves. Unlike in GTA V, where most of these events played out like Uber-rides, spontaneous encounters in Red Dead Redemption 2 feel like proper missions. They are not predictable and are well worth the detour. Then, of course, there are the activities more becoming of gunslingers, such as robbing banks, thieving horses to sell off, collecting debts, and taking up bounty missions. Not to mention, elements like crafting, fishing, and hunting, the latter of which is incredibly expansive. There are over 2,000 species of animals, birds, and fish in the game, which is quite something. This includes legendary animals, which are painstaking and hard-earned trophies to track down. Overall, it's extremely easy to get side-tracked in RDR2, which is amazing considering the main story is already extraordinarily massive. From poker to climbing distant mountains, there's plenty to sink your teeth into.

In terms of the finer details, there's so much to talk about it's almost impossible not to forget about something. Starting with the horses, they can be named, bought customisable manes and tails, saddles and provisions, and stored and sold at stables. They carry the bulk of Arthur's supplies, which he will dip into before and during missions. Meat, skins, and hogtied and dead folk can also be stowed on their backs. The bond the protagonist has with his horse needs to be carefully nurtured, if intending to go the distance with them. Developing this bond enables extra moves, such as drifting and one-eighty pivots, as well as other things, like increasing the distance in which it can be whistled. All of this is done by feeding and maintaining the animal, calming it during stressful situations like shootouts and wildlife encounters, as well as brushing it. Taming wild horses works in the same way as before, although this time round it's more worthwhile to capture and develop their skill-set as they become more valuable. Horse animations are very lifelike, and their movement and dexterity is much better represented than before.

Screenshot for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4

There's a similar aspect of maintenance that goes along with guns, too. Arthur's weapons need to be cleaned with purchasable gun oil, and will show signs of wear should he neglect them. They are susceptible to damage from the elements, such as water and freezing temperatures, which adds a great deal of realism. Fortunately, the protagonist always has a great number of weapons at his disposal, so this never feels like an annoyance. The process of cleaning them is quick and streamlined. In similar fashion, Arthur's clothes and personal hygiene require attention, too. It's best to stow clothes for both hot and cold weather in the saddle, as wearing the wrong gear in extreme conditions can drain various stats. If he gets extremely muddy or goes too long without bathing at a saloon, citizens start to notice his odour and begin to avoid him. Another aspect that players need to be conscious of is the 'Honour' system, which modulates based on the protagonist's deeds or misdeeds. This can affect whether Arthur is welcomed to a town or given the cold shoulder. The genius of all these mechanisms is that they never feel mechanical or like a chore, rather they have true functions as finer details in the fabric of this adventure.

The 'Wanted' system has also been amended from the original Redemption. Especially due to the greater depth of interaction with NPCs, there's a more complex system at play when committing crimes. Rather than being attributed a wanted status and simply having a one-size-fits-all bounty placed on Arthur's head, towns and regions operate independently. Robbing a bank in Valentine, New Hanover, means the player becomes a high profile and easily recognised wanted man in that region alone. This affords more freedom to the player to roam elsewhere unimpeded, and perhaps adds a further strategic element outside of the main story campaign. More importantly, NPCs can now be witnesses to crimes. This means Arthur sometimes needs to convince folk to keep quiet, through peaceful, threatening, or sometimes lethal means. Taking the trusting route doesn't always work out, either, as some people are inclined to take a bribe but still report the player to the local sheriff. There are a ton of small nuances like this that help the universe to feel populated with genuine people going about their daily lives.

The last things to speak of, which are far more fleshed out than expected, are the gangs in Red Dead Redemption 2. Although the central protagonist is Arthur Morgan, it's the famous Van der Linde Gang he rides with that frequently takes centre stage. It's comprised of gunslingers, con artists, revolutionaries, and runaways, and developing relationships with these characters is a very fulfilling part of RDR2. In this sense, the title takes a real cue from shows like Deadwood. The gang is constantly running from trouble, meaning it regularly packs up camp and relocates to new territory. The people, not the place, take precedent. Returning after a mission to partake in songs by the campfire, reflect with folk on recent events, make food and financial contributions, and take care of housekeeping elements, like crafting, food, and supplies, consequently feels so much less arbitrary than it otherwise could. These aspects succeed in creating a real sense of community amongst the gang, which is only heightened as the campaign progresses. Crucially, too, there are seven other gangs to cross paths with, which means that gang work is a welcome on-going affair.

Screenshot for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The first collaborative project between all of Rockstar Games' studios is something truly special. While no single element of Red Dead Redemption 2 is revolutionary, due to its ambitious scope, it's greater than the sum of its parts. Few single-player experiences excel simultaneously at telling a deep and poignant story, whilst also providing the player with such a huge extent of freedom and possibility. The universe is exceedingly broad, varied, and beautiful, not to mention overflowing with interesting characters, wildlife, and things to do. The sense of polish and finer details really bring things together, along with the excellent musical score, fantastic voice acting and the title's intense and visceral cinematic qualities. Fans of the original Red Dead Redemption will be enamoured by the sequel. It doesn't just accentuate the West, but animates it on a new level, with a greater sense of life, community, and narrative. It's epic.

Developer

Rockstar

Publisher

Rockstar

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

 Arthur doesn't quite have the fluid movement, nor the full 360-degree range that's seen in Max Payne 3, which is a shame.

why cant Rockstar ever get the most basic aspect of control right?
this has been a huge problem since GTA4.


 Arthur's weapons need to be cleaned with purchasable gun oil, and will show signs of wear should he neglect them. They are susceptible to damage from the elements, such as water and freezing temperatures, which adds a great deal of realism.

well that just sank my boner into the ground :\

It really does look pretty darn amazing! Is there a PC version on the horizon? I only seem to see promos for X1 and PS4.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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Insanoflex said:
 Arthur's weapons need to be cleaned with purchasable gun oil, and will show signs of wear should he neglect them. They are susceptible to damage from the elements, such as water and freezing temperatures, which adds a great deal of realism.

well that just sank my boner into the ground :


Is the gun oil an expensive purchase or is it cheap enough or the currency plentiful enough that it doesn't become an issue?

I know you wrote there are heaps of weapons so it's not as annoying as it could be - but can Arthur's horse carry everything he finds or is there an imposed weight limit? 

Great review and can't wait to sink my teeth into it regardless!

( Edited 26.10.2018 05:01 by ringlord71 )

Insanoflex said:
 Arthur doesn't quite have the fluid movement, nor the full 360-degree range that's seen in Max Payne 3, which is a shame.

why cant Rockstar ever get the most basic aspect of control right?
this has been a huge problem since GTA4.


 Arthur's weapons need to be cleaned with purchasable gun oil, and will show signs of wear should he neglect them. They are susceptible to damage from the elements, such as water and freezing temperatures, which adds a great deal of realism.

well that just sank my boner into the ground :


Perhaps I made this aspect sound more hardcore survivalist than it actually is. Neglecting their care simply lowers certain stats of the weapon, such as range and reload time. I've not actually had a weapon fail on me, though I haven't intentionally let any gun degrade. I should have. It's just one of those smaller details, rather than something constantly requiring attention.
 
As for the combat/movement quibbles, it is improved upon GTAV, but still exhibits the same sort of minor annoyances from time to time, which is why I pointed it out. However, most confrontation is so large-scale, with an emphasis on numbers rather than close-quarters, that the slight lack of precision/precise movement is not such an issue. It's the one element that could have been more polished though.

ringlord71 said:
 
Is the gun oil an expensive purchase or is it cheap enough or the currency plentiful enough that it doesn't become an issue?

I know you wrote there are heaps of weapons so it's not as annoying as it could be - but can Arthur's horse carry everything he finds or is there an imposed weight limit? 

Great review and can't wait to sink my teeth into it regardless!


No, it's not an expensive purchase, can be purchased from gunsmiths everywhere. You'll also find it whilst looting folk with weapons. I don't think it's craftable, but I could be wrong. Arthur's horse can carry plenty, with upgrades it can be expanded, but I never maxed it out going about my business. Just the one large animal can be stowed, I believe smaller things like birds can be hung on either side of the saddle, and multiple skins can be stored on its back.  

-

Reading my review back, I realise there was so much more I could have spoken about. Though, I was anxious about spoiling things, not just the story. In the end, it's better to discover these things for yourself. I really didn't want it to be a 3,000-word write-up! In case I didn't make it clear, though, Red Dead Redemption 2 is without a doubt my Game of the Year. In my view, it's the best game of this generation, and I'll be surprised if it's knocked off that perch. Here's hoping there's a PC version in the future, as well as some DLC that's as epic as Undead Nightmare was for the original.
 
I should also emphasize, again, that the game is absurdly large. The map size is insane, and the single-player campaign itself is a good sixty hours. I was reminded of this scale again as I watched a few people streaming it after midnight yesterday, and some more this morning. It's a huge journey. I hear Rockstar actually ended up shortening it a bit by removing a love interest!

 

( Edited 26.10.2018 14:46 by The Strat Man )

Don't be afraid of that 3,000 word review, man. The lengthy ones are always my favorite to write and read!

I know why this game is 40+ hours long-
its because Arthur moves like a sack of shit covered in molasses and most of the time is spent tediously walking listening to people talk.

It looks far too nitpicky in its realism at the cost of convenience. I don't have the patience for that kind of thing. I'm sure it's a great game, but not something I can be bothered with. There is only so much open world I can make time for these days, and the less time consumingly nitpicky the better.

The looting animations are hilariously overly long and drawn out. This kind of absurd attention to detail sucks the joy out of this game in the long term as you play it.

im sorry, but disagree with the high praise this game is getting.

Azuardo said:
It looks far too nitpicky in its realism at the cost of convenience. I don't have the patience for that kind of thing. I'm sure it's a great game, but not something I can be bothered with. There is only so much open world I can make time for these days, and the less time consumingly nitpicky the better.

I wouldn't say the realism comes at the cost of convenience, Az. Yes, the pacing is slower than many open-world games, but it does so much more within that formula. Most of the details that accentuate aspects of realism are implemented in suitably streamlined fashion, so they're not as laborious as they might appear. I never felt shoe-horned into annoying sequences or aspects of maintenance. I'd say the game is quite conscious of that limit, and knows when and how to go easy on the player, without ruining that sense of immersion. Moreover, that element of the every-day is an effective counter-point to the intensity and dramatics of the main game and its story. Something about it just resonates with me, though I don't play a huge amount of open-world experiences these days. If you do, though, and you find them tedious and repetitive, I'd say this is one to give a real chance, rather than be dismissive of! Smilie 

Insanoflex said:
The looting animations are hilariously overly long and drawn out. This kind of absurd attention to detail sucks the joy out of this game in the long term as you play it.

im sorry, but disagree with the high praise this game is getting.


Sure, there could have been some compromise there. I'd say if you loot more than three bodies, it should then forgo the animation, as does take a long time to loot a mass of bodies. That said, that's a very small grievance, which surely doesn't really puncture anything in the grand scheme of things. How much have you played so far? There's so much to be occupied by, I'd be surprised if a small grievance like that had any real effect on immersion and enjoyment. I tried to point out, in general, that RDR2 doesn't do anything revolutionary, rather, that its mechanics are exceedingly well poised, and for the most part, feel quite purposeful. But perhaps a lot of that is dependent on how invested you feel in its universe to begin with.
 

( Edited 28.10.2018 16:46 by The Strat Man )

I try to avoid open world where I can now, as they just give me a general overwhelming feeling of tedium. It's like when I watched the gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 recently - it looks very cool, but so incredibly overwhelming in stuff to do that I just do not have the patience for that kind of thing now. BotW is like the only one I have enjoyed in recent years, as it just handled the exploration side so well, without restricting the player too much (e.g. the freedom to climb whatever wherever). But my bias as a Zelda fan means I was always gonna play that game either way.

I wouldn't even say I've played a lot of them, but the ones I have have been mostly meh, or the ones I haven't I have no desire to (GTA5, countless AC games). I won't rule playing RDR2 out one day, as I did enjoy RDR1 a lot, but it won't be any time soon. I trust it will be worth the time; I just need to be in the mood for it and not have a bunch of other games to focus on first Smilie

I'm in the middle of chapter 2.

heres the thing with this kind of game- it won't hold up the test of time because of how visuals in games are advancing at an exponential rate and at the end of the day what will keep people coming back will be the game's playability. 

Is it really worth it to have arthur be overly animated for such mundane tasks like opening draws which take several seconds that compound on each other over the course of an already long game? Having him move at such a lethargic pace might draw people in for the first time but after a while that shit is just going to be old hat.  

People love to shit on MGS5 for being basically incomplete but nobody will ever knock it down for how wonderful it is to actually control venom and the wide variety of things he can do and do them efficiently with a snappiness that feed satisfying. 

Horizon zero dawn is an even more apt comparison to red dead 2 since both games opt for an almost survival rpg style gameplay. Horizon controls amazingly tight and it's easy to fall into the role of the hunter that's alloy is because her moveset and how fluid she is to control.  

Playing as artur makes it feel like he is a couch potato who has never run before in his life or like a character from a survival horror game from the mid 2000s. He is supposed to be an outlaw who has lived a life of violence yet somehow Max Payne from 3 controls so much better in spite of him being an overweight drunkard in that game. 

Attention to detail is always appreciated in any open world game. But like film, there needs to be some editing of the boring not dull parts that hurt the pacing. The Yakuza games are brining with details and always cut out the boring bullshit like never having to see Kazuma slowly bend over and pick up an object like he's an old man.

even decrepit old snake in mgs4 was more fun to control than arthur. 

Whats funny is that me and my buddy who were playing red2 decided to boot up the psn version of red dead revolver on PS4. In that game Red Harlow runs like he's got a purpose and does not even have an item pick up animation. He just automatically heals when walking on a health bottle and his shooting animation is snappy and immediate. My friend watching was saying how he wishes arthur could pick stuff up like that. Revolver wants people to assume the role of a gun toting gunslinger and it succeeds because the playability allows it. Red is like a larger than life western hero and you never question how he is able to do the shit he can do.

meanwhile Arthur is supposed to be a similar type of character. But he plays more like a cripple who can't run as fast or as long as my overweight brother who can't do a single pull up.

The interface is a mess. The hold down multiple buttons to select an item wheel is terrible. Things like the map or the save game option being buried several screens deep are bad choices. There are all sort of interactions that seem like they are intended as immersive systems but really impede gameplay and enjoyment.

People attacking on sight if you have a gun out is one good example, but there are plenty of other examples. The AI is terrible at times. I've had so many examples of helping people in a gunfight, for example, then having them completely fail to acknowledge what just happened... The way that people just stay around seemingly forever once you commit a crime is lame too. Honestly, the Wanted system here is worse than in GTA3. =

Fall damage is so small that you often get hurt (or worse yet your horse does) for making a tiny, tiny fall off like a little rock along a road.

Missions are still insanely restrictive and scripted. Go off the path one iota or try to do something creative and you fail. I feel like this is well behind the curve of most contemporary open world games.

( Edited 28.10.2018 20:40 by Insanoflex )

I don't see the need for that kind of realism in video games. That's what I mean by it coming at the cost of convenience, accessibility, satisfaction for the player. Obviously I can only go by what I have seen in gameplay, since I haven't played it, but what I can say is that it is this kind of laboriousness that puts me off playing it unless I am strictly in the mood to deal with the meticulousness and slower pace of its gameplay. What I would likely end up doing is rushing through the main missions on easy mode whilst avoiding as much tedium as possible.

I agree with games you mentioned like MGS5, Yakuza. I have to throw BotW in there - that controlled generally very well, picking up items instantly etc. The modern Tomb Raiders had very quick looting and pick-up animations. So I think if you're gonna animate it, you can still do it with a quick animation, like TR. Can still go for realism without inconveniencing the player.

This focus on realism doesn't need to extend to every single thing - and if it extends into tedious gameplay, then it's gonna put me off, even if there is a great game overall.

( Edited 28.10.2018 21:05 by Azuardo )

Azuardo said:
I try to avoid open world where I can now, as they just give me a general overwhelming feeling of tedium. It's like when I watched the gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 recently - it looks very cool, but so incredibly overwhelming in stuff to do that I just do not have the patience for that kind of thing now. BotW is like the only one I have enjoyed in recent years, as it just handled the exploration side so well, without restricting the player too much (e.g. the freedom to climb whatever wherever). But my bias as a Zelda fan means I was always gonna play that game either way.

I wouldn't even say I've played a lot of them, but the ones I have have been mostly meh, or the ones I haven't I have no desire to (GTA5, countless AC games). I won't rule playing RDR2 out one day, as I did enjoy RDR1 a lot, but it won't be any time soon. I trust it will be worth the time; I just need to be in the mood for it and not have a bunch of other games to focus on first Smilie


I know exactly what you mean regarding Cyberpunk. I think RDR2 is more compromising and practical than that, although they seem to be emphasizing the opposite, somewhat, in their advertising, and I believe I may have over-emphasized that aspect of it in my review too. But yes, a hefty allowance of time to invest definitely makes a difference here - it does require an adjustment for its slower pace. In addition, I stopped playing Spider-Man about two weeks prior to getting hold of RDR2 because I was anxious of tiring the template, so I understand that side of things. On the other hand, BotW is one of my favorite games too, and I find it it difficult to compare them. They have different approaches in terms of immersion, story-telling and cinematic qualities. I agree the exploration was more rewarding with that, but the world itself was quite devoid of life and narrative depth, by comparison. 
Insanoflex said:
I'm in the middle of chapter 2.

Horizon zero dawn is an even more apt comparison to red dead 2 since both games opt for an almost survival rpg style gameplay. Horizon controls amazingly tight and it's easy to fall into the role of the hunter that's alloy is because her moveset and how fluid she is to control.  

Playing as artur makes it feel like he is a couch potato who has never run before in his life or like a character from a survival horror game from the mid 2000s. He is supposed to be an outlaw who has lived a life of violence yet somehow Max Payne from 3 controls so much better in spite of him being an overweight drunkard in that game. 

Attention to detail is always appreciated in any open world game. But like film, there needs to be some editing of the boring not dull parts that hurt the pacing. The Yakuza games are brining with details and always cut out the boring bullshit like never having to see Kazuma slowly bend over and pick up an object like he's an old man.

even decrepit old snake in mgs4 was more fun to control than arthur. 

Whats funny is that me and my buddy who were playing red2 decided to boot up the psn version of red dead revolver on PS4. In that game Red Harlow runs like he's got a purpose and does not even have an item pick up animation. He just automatically heals when walking on a health bottle and his shooting animation is snappy and immediate. My friend watching was saying how he wishes arthur could pick stuff up like that. Revolver wants people to assume the role of a gun toting gunslinger and it succeeds because the playability allows it. Red is like a larger than life western hero and you never question how he is able to do the shit he can do.

meanwhile Arthur is supposed to be a similar type of character. But he plays more like a cripple who can't run as fast or as long as my overweight brother who can't do a single pull up.


Chapter Two is so early on! I'll be interested to see if you change your mind at all, as you progress, there's much more to come. I agree about your movement and precision grievances, but I would have to disagree with the 'lack of editing of the boring parts that hurt the pacing.' The only truly tedious aspect of RDR2 that I've found myself grumbling over are long journeys by horseback. The train-based fast-travel isn't as accessible as I'd like, so I usually end up doing long-distance treks myself, which can be time consuming in an unwelcome way. Thinking back, a lot of aspects of maintenance that were initially introduced as though they're inherently central, end up not being as restrictive or time-consuming as was originally implied. Generally though, I think the narrative power has to be appreciated, or else a lot of the supporting arches fall away, perhaps quite easily.

( Edited 28.10.2018 22:28 by The Strat Man )

The Strat Man said:
BotW is one of my favorite games too, and I find it it difficult to compare them. They have different approaches in terms of immersion, story-telling and cinematic qualities. I agree the exploration was more rewarding with that, but the world itself was quite devoid of life and narrative depth, by comparison. 

Yeah, BotW defo did need a few more points of interest than just plastering the land with 900 koroks. It still needed that ruination across Hyrule to showcase the devastation and literal lack of life, but at the same time, needed a better balance. For as much as I love it, I'm sure there are just as many people that could lament BotW as being boring. It's my hope Nintendo looks to improve this aspect in a brand-new world that isn't affected by destruction so as to have a good reason to litter it with far more NPCs, towns, and more than just koroks. Hell, perhaps even blend it with WW and AC just a tad, and add some oceans to explore between islands. Lots of ideas they could incorporate.

But yes, I can definitely appreciate the attention to detail in RDR2 here, but just means it's something I'll really have to make time for and gear myself up for. Will have to make sure I don't plan on playing any open world-like games when I do get around to it lol. Heck, the next Zelda might even be out by then, which would put a big dent in that plan!

I have a hunch that Rockstar is going to patch in a setting that simplifies a lot of the tedious and slow looting animations.

Tom, lengthy reviews are awesome to read as Renan said. Especially when you find yourself in the zone where you just can't stop writing because you're basically word-vomiting. I know it does not sound as appetising, but I like reading word-vomit articles haha.

I'm partway through Chapter 3 of RDR2 & I am loving this game. My earlier worries about guns breaking down became a non-issue after trying it for myself, and I purposely zero'd a guns  durability to see if it would break, but it didn't. As you said, it just lowered the stats  so in hindsight, it was a silly worry for mine.

It does suffer from slow animation moments - the fact you can't run around in camp and Arthur slows to a frustratingly slow walk, even when pressing X, turns me off returning to camp unless I have to. Been preferring the campsites in the wild instead to avoid the slow -movements. And sure, skinning animals has that animation that can't be skipped & the lack of a proper fast-travel (I'm aware about the one-way trip out of homebase) does kill the pacing for me a bit, but other then that, RDR2 is bloody awesome.

So far the narrative itself does seem to be a bit flat with where exactly it is going - I've yet to emotionally invest myself into Arthur's story or even the rest of the gang (can't like Bill Williamson still). However, I feel the main narrative stems from the exploration side of things, with the random NPC encounters out in the wild, coming across undiscovered elements that were previously unfound, and role-playing in that regard.

But trying to enjoy the juices from that side of things does require patience from the player, which can be a bit to ask at times. I just largely feel like the main narrative does not give me much of an incentive to continue playing through, but it's the random encounters that keep me going, and being able to set up my own campsites, hunt my own animals & achieve my 100% checklist of things to do.

Similar to Metal Gear Survive, I just want to rush through the main story, and then enjoy the 'New Game +' of sorts by meticulously going about the world and achieving all the side objectives at my own pace, as they appear to be far more interesting, from gruesome discoveries under the general store in Rhodes, to hidden secrets behind nearly every NPC you encounter. Even bounty hunter missions have some fascinating characters in them.

But I loathe the 'bounty' system. Paying off a debt, only to accidentally bump someone with your horse resulting in a $10 bounty, rendering the fast-travel stagecoaches unusable is so infuriating. Or when there is a 'witness' to the crime only because they are in the area, as opposed to because they actually heard or saw something is also annoying. 

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