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Red Dead Redemption 2 review
by kahden_bricks

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is a colossal disappointment, and surely not a masterpiece. “Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece. 10/10…” wrote just about every video game critic on the internet. What? Has everyone been brainwashed? With all of the extremely high critical acclaim, it was natural for me to go into Rockstar’s RDR2 with extremely high expectations. What I was met with was an aggravating, boring, mess of a sequel. This is what everyone has been freaking out about? Are you kidding? What has the gaming community’s taste gone to? I cannot properly judge the entire game because I have not had the time to complete it yet, but I’ve already spent a great deal of time with its tedious introduction. The following criticisms are based off of what I’ve picked up in the first two chapters alone.

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.

Other reviews25

Probably my number 1 of the decade. 
The greatest Western story ever told. Transcends its medium and becomes one of the greatest pieces ever made. Very few games have ever made me care so deeply for a character’s well being and wanting them to be the best person they can be. 
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Simply the greatest game ever made, which was my opinion when the first one was released. It's story is perfectly written and captivates you and sucks you in from the very begining to the very end. Outstanding!
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Red Dead Redemption is a game I always remember. I was a year out of college and sort of didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I remember being down in the dumps a bit living with my roommate in Concord NH. I loved Rockstar games and remembering looking up Red Dead Revolver and it looking like a game I probably wasn't too interested in. I picked up Red Dead being skeptical and it ended up being one of my favorite games. A character you could become obsessed with, John Marston. 

Cut to 2019 and Red Dead Redemption has been replaced. That gunslinger I once loved has been replaced by a caring bad guy who is self-aware of the bad deeds he continues to do. He can't help himself and he knows that, which is probably why I love his character so much. With one of the realist villains I can remember with Dutch Van Der Linde and some of the most realistic gameplay in a videogame, I was enamored for 80 plus hours of gameplay. 

I can't wait to remember it again.
Red Dead Redemption was an interesting game but surely nothing groundbreaking. It had its own personality and taste but was brought down by its slow-paced, clunky and repetitive gameplay. This prequel is no difference.

Rockstar obviously put a lot of effort into creating an immersive and visually stunning setting. All locations are beautifully crafted, incredibly rich in detail, and full of things to do and places to explore. Like in most open-world games, the map is enormous just for the sake of it, with most events concentrated in the rather small cities and camps, but I guess that's how it really was back then. While graphics are impressive for a game of such scale, I wish they could work a bit more on at least the main characters' models. Facial animations and skin textures are pretty good, but hair mostly looks like something from a late seventh-generation game.

The story is nothing new but delivers: it's backed up by a lot of memorable, all-round characters, and writing, acting, and direction are top-notch for a videogame. It was great to meet the rest of Dutch’s gang and see their development throughout the 40+ hours of the campaign. The connection with the events of the original game is well thought, and Arthur is a surprisingly likable main character. It takes quite a considerable amount of gameplay to get to properly remember everyone, get attached to them and finally get sucked in, but it will pay off in the end.

The gameplay is incredibly outdated: controls are clumsy, unresponsive, and convoluted. Combat and shooting suffer the most as everything is as flat and clunky as it was in the first game over eight years ago.
Missions are repetitive, monotonous, and rarely rewarding. They can all be summed up as endless horse rides, shoot-outs, and fetching/moving objects with not much interaction. The game also decides to reset or change your inventory depending on the mission, leaving no room for strategy in selecting good equipment. The rest is just an endless list of way too many unnecessary and tedious chores to remember. Shaving, trimming, hunting for food, cooking, eating, cleaning weapons, wearing the right clothing, looting, collecting money, taking care of your horses, etc. Most of these tasks surely add realism but are not that much fun to play. The game also gives you the opportunity to donate part of your rewards and loots to the gang to update the camp, which I liked, but it's mostly minor graphic additions and some provisions which you can easily find in the game anyway.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story, setting and characters, but the monotonous and outdated gameplay needs a lot of improvement. It would still recommend this game if you like open-world experiences but this is far from being the masterpiece professional reviewers are talking about (7.2/10).
The campaign was incredible, I'd never been so engrossed in a single-player experience. It's like a whole other life you live as Arthur Morgan.
«Can’t stop playing»
«That ending!»
After finishing this game, every other game feels like garbage and certainly not worth to be paid with the same currency.
«Blew my mind»
«OST on repeat»
I felt like I was there, so immersive! Rockstar outdid themselves this time. What a game!
«Can’t stop playing»
Only downside is a kinda clunky gameplay.  Everything else is phenomenal. 
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
This is by far the best video game ever I LOVE this game it’s so easy to get lost in and there are so many things to do. Rockstar Games is my favorite game company and the usually do an exceptional job with their games and this exceeded exceptional by my standards. 
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»