In 2010, Rockstar’s release of Red Dead Redemption starring John Marston surprised both critics and players, rising as one of the best games of the past generation and, albeit with similarities, away from the Grand Theft Auto franchise. After a few years, Rockstar returns with Red Dead Redemption 2 to explain the origins of the band of outlaws to which Marston belonged, but this time from the skin of Arthur Morgan, with whom we will live a masterpiece that will mark time within the world of video games.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is Rockstar’s most ambitious project to date, and some data make this statement very clear. The game has about half a million lines of dialogue, these being more than twice that for example, we saw in GTA V. There are also ten times more personalized animations than GTA V, offering a total of 300,000 individual animations. But these figures, which are only numbers, are reflected perfectly in the care that the studio has taken when creating each element of the game, which is where the promises are shown and fulfilled.
An exciting story and narrative
The game takes place in the year 1899, a time when the transition between the Wild West and the civilized world begins to be a reality. In that ellipsis, our protagonist, Arthur Morgan, is trapped along with all the members of the Dutch Van der Linde band. The change that American society is experiencing begins to leave behind anarchy to make way for the organized society, with laws to respect and where the band has to integrate since their work as bandits starts to be increasingly complicated. At the same time aspects such as the birth of the search for rights by women, the growth of democracy, government and the move to industrialization place us on a quite convulsive plane.
Under this scenario, Rockstar introduces one of the main axes of this release, the Dutch band. Virtually the entire title revolves around the loyalty and survival of all members of the group. A narrative level of the band already has a significant weight, in what represents the game set is also a key factor. We can define our camp as the operations center to connect missions, rest areas, and many other activities. Although in constant evolution, the loyalty between the group is one of the pillars in the ideology of all the members of the band, for that reason we will have to improve the camp making donations to the group as a whole.
Rockstar has known how to use this camp to integrate the player with both the narrative and the environment. The members of the band interact with us in a way that they hold transcendent or inconsequential conversations about the events that take place in the course of history, they propose alternative missions, mini-games and they continuously try to convey that we are part of that whole, that family that struggles to survive and overcome difficulties at all costs.
The narrative offers us a story that constantly evolves. In that beautiful interest that Rockstar has in making us part of the game, integrate and endow realism with every detail, as we will explain later, the story develops from less to more. Red Dead Redemption 2 is introducing us progressively in this vast world, so that we need a slow start that presents us well to the protagonists, that makes us know them, glimpse their goals, motivations and other aspects of their personality, then go developing the whole story.
We hardly find another comparable title at the level of character development. Both Arthur Morgan and the rest of the band evolve as the events that give rise to the story take place. Each of the characters shows “life” and evolution to their environment, which is reflected in many dialogues and behaviors. The characters show tremendous personal growth, and Arthur Morgan does not correspond at all from the beginning to the one they present us at the end, and this also applies to Dutch, Marston or many of the other members.
In this way and without entering spoilers, the game takes us to a story where the argument is linked to the evolution of exquisite characters and who manages to form an outstanding cocktail. But if the narrative already borders on extraordinary levels, it is the unit that Rockstar has been able to give to the entire product, creating a living world, some primary and secondary missions and allowing each player to investigate all this to the point he considers necessary. All this brings that magic point to the game as a whole and elevates it to excellence.
The open world and its environment
If until now we have talked about the interior of the work, now we are going to direct our lines to explain everything that surrounds the title. Let’s be clear, the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is possibly the most beautiful graphics level we’ve ever seen. After more than a week with the title, we continue to ask how it is possible that Rockstar has created a world of such magnitude and at the same time get so detailed. We had never seen, at least in a console, a drawn distance of such characteristics. Never has a landscape been recreated so beautifully, nor has it ever been seen to look the way it does.
The words fall short to explain what you feel when you appreciate the landscapes that this world has to offer you. Also, many other aspects stand out. The lighting creates amazing effects, since seeing a sunset, the brightness of the moon or viewing how light filters through the leaves of a dense forest are visual sensations that are complicated to explain but incredible. But it is also worth noting the technical solidity because if graphically it is a delight for our eyes, there is no sacrifice of other aspects or offering a bad optimization. Red Dead Redemption 2 is undoubtedly a graphic diamond to be considered as the highest quality standard concerning current technology.
The soundtrack is also a participant without a doubt in the creation of such excellent work. In addition to accompanying in a great way during our journeys, it also perfectly adorns every moment of action, stress or celebration. A total of 192 original pieces of interactive music composed by Woody Jackson and that has had Jeff Silverman, Matt Sweeney, David Ferguson, Colin Stetson, Mario Batkovich and Senyawa + Rabi as additional producers.
Rockstar’s effort is always felt for every detail in the game. The map is extensive and shows very diverse areas, we have very different color ranges between the different parts of the game, each city is made to be different from any other, and the interiors of buildings are recreated practically object by object to a point almost sickly.
But the best part is that this beautiful and worked world has a lot of life. We will find a lot of actions to perform. In our trips we will live random events of all kinds, we can do missions to earn money such as berthing banks or trains, stop other wanted fugitives or even relax in an inn. In the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 events happen that affect us and provide a package with all the other elements to make us feel, once again, part of the game.
Regarding the missions that the title proposes, we note a special dedication in trying to provide variety. There are not two same missions, and although sometimes the transport from one point to another can be done something extensive, the final playable reward is always something worthwhile. These main missions advance the story and also explain and introduce other elements that we have been able to perform or do at another time.
It is very likely that if we have chosen to carry out a secondary mission or some extra activity, in the mission we are told about it, insisting on the idea of Rockstar to link all aspects of the title. Emphasize in this sense, without a doubt, the complexity of some secondary missions, since it would be difficult to know if it is the primary objective or not if someone gave us the command at that time without knowing anything else about it.
Hunting, collecting and buying materials will also be quite crucial in our progress. With hunting, we can obtain skins that will be used to create improvements for Arthur to carry better equipment. The meat of the animal will be useful to be known and save it for the moments that we want to recover our health, energy or Dead Eye. And collecting herbs will also allow us to create tonics that can be especially effective in battles when things get tough. For many of these actions, we must deploy a camp where we will be given these options in addition to being able to sleep if the body asks us to do so.
Horses are also very protagonists in the game, and not only are our usual means of transport but also serve as inventory, to carry more objects. We have to create a bond with the animal so that it is more obedient or less scary, and we have to worry about taking care of it, feeding it, cleaning it and caressing it from time to time. Beware that his death is permanent, something that we think is a great idea, because it forces you to play with more care.
Wild action and its weapons
The action scenes of Red Dead Redemption 2 have reminded us of the latest Rockstar games, as if it took a little bit of each one, although the most positive reference is that of Max Payne 3, which has reminded us a lot. Some very funny and wild shootings, for the forcefulness of the weapons, many and very varied, and violence and even gore, and of course the excellent physics and animations of the enemies.
There are many, many shootings, it is a game with tons of action, but at the same time, it is quite affordable. As we said at the beginning, the narrative is the main protagonist, they want the game to flow and what they pose playfully is never a great challenge, something that can disappoint the most experienced players looking for a challenge, something they already complained about GTA V.
Rockstar has got the gunplay to be one of the most comforting aspects of the title. The work in the recreation of weapons has made it essential to emphasize the configuration of the shootings. Each type of weapon has its weight and infers in the mobility that the character presents with the same in the hands, the time of reloading and firing, up to the impact capacity of the bullet.
The greatest effort has also been put into introducing as many weapons as possible into the game, and we, therefore, have a great variety of classes and types. Also, each of them has the option to customize the ammunition, further increasing the possibilities. Having the choice of facing the missions in stealth, we have instruments that facilitate this task, because in addition to the bow we can also use thrown or tomahawk knives among others. Although we may eventually end up tied to some combat style or formula, the fact is that Rockstar does not limit us and presents us with a considerable variety.
Red Dead Redemption 2 as a new masterpiece of Rockstar and one of the best games of the present generation. The title has been able to present and give us an excellent piece in narrative, evolution, gameplay, technique, and graphics. It is incredible the work behind every aspect of the game to find a title that tries to be realistic from its first minute to the last. Arthur Morgan and his band will be remembered for many years in what becomes a must have for any player.