Red Dead Redemption 2 Review PS4
key review info
- Game: Red Dead Redemption 2
- Platform: Playstation 4
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
It's incredible how Rockstar Games was able to outdone itself once again after a masterpiece like Grand Theft Auto V. I jumped into Red Dead Redemption 2 expecting a massive open-world, but what I got instead surpassed even my wildest dreams. It would be an understatement to say that Red Dead Redemption 2 is the best game of the year. It would make it more justice to say it's a love letter to all the fans of the American frontier era.
Behind every game of this magnitude there are certain financial expectations, but Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like it's been created for the players first. From the first scene that opens up the game and until the last that wraps up the story arc, Red Dead Redemption 2 breathes new life into a genre that exploded in the last couple of years.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the first game in the series launched eight years ago, and follows the adventures of the Van der Linde gang. You play as Arthur Morgan, a petty criminal and outlaw who was raised by Dutch van der Linde, the leader of the band with the same name.
As Arthur slowly earns Dutch's trust he becomes his right hand and the main enforcer of the gang, the man who's entrusted with the most delicate or brutal missions. Despite his rough education, Arthur Morgan is keeping a journal where he marks every important encounter during his adventures, spicing them up with good-looking drawings.
It's quite strange to see an outlaw who robs and kills people on a regular basis drawing flowers and animals in his journal. One of Dutch's line from the beginning of the game probably defines best Arthur Morgan's character: “We're bad men, but we ain't them.” Of course, Dutch is talking about the rival gangs and, in particular, he's referring to the O'Driscolls, Van der Linde's main enemies.
The game starts quite slow story-wise, but that's because Rockstar wants to accommodate players with how things are done in Red Dead Redemption 2. Arthur gets to meet the whole gang, learns to hunt, track animals, and use the bow in a matter of a few hours. The myriad of buttons that you need to use in order execute various actions is absolutely overwhelming and the control scheme doesn't help at all.
But once you build your first camp the game starts picking up to the point that it becomes truly addictive. The story is very well paced but everything you do in Red Dead Redemption 2 happens very slow because Rockstar wants players to experience the game as real life.
There are a lot of things that you need to take care of while adventuring in the wilderness, such as what clothes you're wearing, how much you eat, when to sleep and how long. At first, it feels like Rockstar have exaggerated with these things, but you get used to them several hours into the game. However, I think that looting corpses, and looting in general, could use faster animations. As it stands, looting feels like chore in Red Dead Redemption 2, to the point that I'm skipping the mission requires it.
What really makes Red Dead Redemption 2 one of the best game of all times is the world Rockstar has built. It's not the size of the open-world, but the way it reacts to the player that matters most. Each time you travel between two points it's almost impossible not to meet something or someone that requires your attention.
Besides the member of the Van der Linde gang, your horse is your best friend. He will not only carry you to whatever corner of the Earth you want to reach, but he's also your … inventory. All your weapons are stored on the saddle and you can also carry one big animal that you've just hunted on the back of the horse. But not for long since the the animal will start degrading if you don't skin, cook or sell it in a certain time.
Combat in Red Dead Redemption 2 is a bit awkward and requires some time to get use to. Luckily, aim assist and Dead Eye Targeting, a new combat mechanics that allows Arthur to slot time and pick out shots to kill his enemies, help a lot. Dead Eye Targeting, as well as your health and stamina bars can be replenished using various consumables like tonics and food. The main downside of the combat mechanics is the cover system, which doesn't work always as intended and many times Arthur will end up hiding behind the wrong side of a tree or rock.
You'll have to be extra careful not to hit the R2 button while talking to someone or visiting a town because Arthur will shoot from the hip. The problem is R2 is the most often button used in combination with others on the controller. There aren't too many actions that will not require you to use R2, so it's not rarely that I have found myself being hunted by the lawmen because I accidentally shot someone.
Every action you take in Red Dead Redemption 2 has repercussions on either long or short term. You can be a ruthless killer or a real gentleman, the game doesn't forces you to choose a path. There's a myriad clothes that you can wear and just as many ways to customize your horse, as long as you have the money and materials.
While not pursuing one of the main missions, Arthur can hunt, fish, do some bounty hunting, or simply watch a circus show. These are just a few of the activities that players will happily take on between Red Dead Redemption 2's story missions, but I feel like they're the backbone of the game since they're all so well done.
Voice acting and everything related to writing is absolutely exceptional, and the same goes for music. I remember that during one of the story missions I've waited for about half an hour because the music was so mesmerizing. With nearly 190 dynamic songs, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic wild west saga that delivers an unprecedented level of immersion.
- Exceptional level of polishing and detail
- Great writing and voice acting
- Amazing soundtrack
- Massive, reactive open-world
- Sets a new landmark for the genre
- Clumsy controls
- Overcomplicated inventory menus
- Looting animations
Although some design decisions don't make sense, the positives completely outshine some of the awkward mechanics implemented. Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of those games that can redefine a genre, and it's not just through sheer size that it does that, but through a combination of writing, visuals, music, voice acting and gameplay mechanics. It's an outstanding piece of work that every other game developer should strive for.