Red Dead Redemption 2
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America, 1899. The end of the wild west era has begun as lawmen hunt down the last remaining outlaw gangs. Those who will not surrender or succumb are killed.
After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.
From the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America at the dawn of the modern age.
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Red Dead Redemption 2 reviews and comments
Let’s start by saying this: Red Dead Redemption 2 is great… for an interactive movie. That’s what a large portion of this game feels like: a cinematic experience over a gaming experience. Rockstar decided to make RDR2 a prequel to the first game. The first Red Dead Redemption didn’t involve much plot. You are given the protagonist, John Marston, and introduced to the hunted antagonist, Bill Williamson. It gets a little more complicated later, but it was generally simple. RDR2 heavily involves its innumerable characters, especially at the beginning of the game. The first chapter is nothing short of a long, dragging, no-fun zone.
There’s about five minutes of legitimate gameplay in the first mission. If you decide to watch the uninteresting cutscenes, then a great deal of time is spent watching them, and then riding your horse. Then the game gives you about 5-10 minutes of what would be considered fun: taking down enemies. Then it is time to loot and travel back to your camp again to repeat the same process. This introduction leaves a bad first impression that doesn’t improve much.
Back to the first point: RDR2 is fundamentally an interactive movie. Rockstar does not care much about the player at all. Rockstar tries to make you care about their characters. Character development and an interesting plot are great when you’re watching a movie or TV show, or reading a book, but Rockstar does not seem to understand that this is a video game. A player picks up their controller to have complete agency over their character. RDR2 has barely any, and it is so tedious with its brief animations, constant cutscenes, conversing NPCs (non-playable characters), and method of traveling that playing it feels more like a movie you have to press a button to once a minute to keep it running.
The purpose of spending lengthy amounts of time on your horse is to get a sense of the map, and to admire the beauty of the game along with its abundant amount of detail that Rockstar littered throughout it. This is something many critics and fans have been praising emphatically: the detail. Detail is enjoyable, but much of it serves no purpose other than just gazing at it. It’s not wrong for a game to look beautiful, but players still misunderstand that Rockstar failed to create an engaging experience by combining beauty and detail with enjoyable gameplay (the fact that the "cinematic camera" exists doesn't help). The characters, detail, and gameplay are all incoherent with one another in RDR2.
Another factor that bruised Rockstar was realism. This explains every single brief animation and unnecessary task. At one point in the 2nd chapter, a message pops up on the screen telling the player that they should shave their character’s beard because it’s getting too long. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what video games have come to, this is what everyone is praising. Red Dead Redemption 2, the video game meant to be watched, the video game meant to mimic our boring lives.
RDR2 also disappoints in comparison to its predecessor in some ways. The controls are much more restrained and harder to handle than the loose, breezy controls of the first one, as well as the unnecessary addition of convoluted inventories for your items and practically useless horse commodities. Simple equals better, Rockstar.
Rockstar spent so much time polishing detail, writing characters, and worrying about realism that they forgot to make a fun gaming experience. Rockstar is not the only game developer who includes these elements in their games, but Rockstar stressed them so much in this game that they failed at making it fun to play. Again, I have not played it the entire way through, nor is the whole game like this, but it did not leave me with a good first impression. I only hope that the game improves, and that I have the patience to push through the tedious sections to complete it. And keep in mind that this is just my opinion. I am clearly in a really small minority.
Sure, the gameplay is absolutely terrible, absolutely everything can and will kill you at random in the name of "realism," and the game will constantly take your weapons away, but your horse's testicles will shrink when it's cold, so 10/10 GOTY
Fuck Rockstar for this one, seriously. Absolutely anything you do that the game thinks might be fun will be met with punishment.