Red Dead Redemption 2 – Oh my….

True story: I had low expectations for Red Dead Redemption 2.  I don’t know why, because it was obviously going to be critically acclaimed, and there was almost a guarantee of the 10/10’s and 5-star reviews.

I kind of dreaded the prospect of playing it if I’m honest.  Knowing it would be big, and perhaps having been shaped by the modern obsession of everything being quick, and instant.  Hammering a 60+ game, following on from playing Horizon Zero Dawn didn’t appeal like it would have a few years ago.

I am an idiot.

This isn’t a review, but more an initial thoughts, just to get some of it down and not forgotten and I endeavour to see this game to the very end.

 

Rockstar have a rough idea of what they’re doing…..

You’d be well within your rights to call me a moron.  The writing was on the wall from the get-go.  This was the follow-up to the wonderful Red Dead Redemption, a game that I loved.

The next Rockstar game after the incredible Grand Theft Auto V.

There was nothing to indicate that Red Dead Redemption 2 was going to be anything less than excellent, but I dreaded it anyway.

I cancelled my pre-order, only to re-order the day after.  I just wasn’t feeling it, but I couldn’t not be part of the day-one crowd. Kind of pathetic, but I guess I knew subconsciously, below all of the odd stubbornness, that it was going to be a new classic.

Luckily, I let the “release day” part of me take over, and well…..here we are.

I have a very patient and understanding wife.  Seeing me squeeze as much of our spare time together into playing a game isn’t exactly the best example of husbandry, but the release of a Rockstar game is a big deal.  So, I managed a good chunk of time over the weekend to get acquainted with the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.

 

So here we are

A two-disc game in 2018? What the hell?!

Yep, big install.  Over 80gb off the discs, plus a 4gb patch to download, and basically Friday night was a write-off.  That’s fine though, it made Saturday morning that much sweeter.

Off we go!

Straight away, and not surprising anyone (based on the hype), Red Dead Redemption 2 looks incredible.  That snow…..I’m not sure I’ve ever seen snow behave so snow-like in a game before.  Knee-deep, you wade through, leaving a genuine looking trail behind you.

You’re almost immediately flung into the action, starting to learn who all of Dutch’s gang are, how you playing as Arthur fit in.

This is a brand new title, but it feels kinda familiar.  I think the fact that it controls just like Grand Theft Auto V actually benefits it a bit.  There’s a level of comfort there from the get-go.  Sure, it’s a little clunky (it feels a little steady), but at least you have some of that muscle memory that can kick in straight away.

Quite quickly, I’ve started to learn about the characters in the gang.  Faces we saw in the original Red Dead Redemption, albeit before the events of that game.

I like Arthur.  He seems like a decent guy, who just looks out for his “family” and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

A few quests later (some early tutorials on hunting, horse riding etc) and you’re down from the mountains and ready to begin properly.

 

Quests, quests, quests

Within a few hours of playing the game, you suddenly find yourself with a wealth of things to do.  Different members of the gang need your help and you get to learn about them, converse with them, and basically steep yourself into what is beginning to feel like a real world, with real people.

The voice acting and motion capture here is phenomenal.  Everyone in Red Dead Redemption 2 comes across as a real person.

I’ve been out and stolen a carriage, been out to hunt a legendary bear (I bailed!), gotten drunk and arrested.  Honestly, it’s been a few hours and I feel like I’ve experienced so much already!

NPCs all have something to say, and Arthur can interact with every single one of them.  Every. Single. One.

I’ve been in fist-fights with people that were rude.  Been mobbed by a rival gang whilst I’m just out on the road with my trusty horse Shadowmere.  And now I have bounties on my head in 2 towns, and yet I’ve spent more time helping strangers by the side of the road than in any game I can recall in recent history.

Red Dead Redemption 2 offers variety.  It offers a level of detail and depth that you just don’t see too often, and better still it delivers it all in a stunning-looking package that runs pretty smoothly to boot!

 

As it stands, all I want to do is to keep venturing out, seeing what comes my way, and most importantly, set-up camp in the middle of nowhere and brew myself some coffee using the percolator I bought at the general store.

My hunting skills are lacking, but I’ll get there.  I just want to take screenshots and trot around for a while, taking it all in.

I can’t remember the last time I was so keen to get back to the world of a game.  Especially one I didn’t really want to give a fair chance.  But here I am.  Time to cause some chaos, Red Dead Redemption style!

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