Red Dead Redemption 2 - Thoroughly played & honestly reviewed.

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What can I say? After almost 5 months of playing Red Dead Redemption 2, it has finally come to a close.

I want to make it clear that I never played the original Red Dead Redemption. I mean, I did play it, but I never owned the game and/or completed the main story. For a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, it just didn’t appeal to me at that time. A lot was going on in my life back in 2010, so I completely missed out on the original experience, but when Red Dead Redemption 2 came along in October last year, I was not missing out again!

As with most games I look to play, I do a fair bit of research prior to purchasing it & Red Dead Redemption 2 was no different. I have always been an admirer of Rockstar’s games, so I was quietly confident that this was going to be a great game. After watching a few videos of the gameplay & cinematics, I was excited about what was coming my way. And, since purchasing it, I have not looked back. Well, only as my character in the game, because it’s certainly advisable given the amount of people you.. encounter, shall we say.

One question you’re probably wondering is ‘‘Is this game really 6 month’s worth of someones time?’’, and the answer to that question is ‘‘no’’. It took me as long as it did, due to the fact that I now have to juggle, what could essentially be categorised as, married life. Gisele & I have never tied the knot, but we may as well be, because living with your partner for the first time is a big deal (for most people) & you’re routine completely changes from what was once (back at the folks’ home) a life of luxury. Your washing was done, cleaning, food was always available etc. Whereas, the reality right now is that I share all of those responsibilities, as well as being head-chef, walking Cookie, our Bichon Frise, plus, not to mention all the other grown up stuff, which I will not bore you with.

Playing Red Dead Redemption 2 was like watching/playing a role in a western movie & of course, your character is one of the lead’s. The more I played the game, the more I perceived this game for what I have just described it as being. Sometimes I wondered whether the idea behind Red Dead Redemption 2 was more story/plot driven, then it was about the missions themselves, or maybe even the players experience as a whole. That’s going to sound strange or perhaps even counter intuitive, possibly even ridiculous, but let me just break this down for a second. The very best games to have ever been made that are in direct comparison to this, have had a perfectly weighted balance between what you do, the story you see unraveling before your eyes & the experience you have from start to finish. For e.g., The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim was a masterpiece for me (game bugs/glitches excluded) & this is a prime example of what a AAA game, in this genre (open world), should consist of. Without a doubt, the story needs to be 1st class, then the players involvement, in said story, needs to be utterly engaging & your experience has to be second to none. Read Dead Redemption 2 gives you a great story & your involvement is awesome, yet I can’t help but feel it fell short with the engagement & experience parts.

Perhaps ‘fell short’ is a bit overly critical for a game that has done so much right, offers so much & is a visual delight at times. I felt as though, even with the story being as exciting as it was, it still could have been better (and I don’t mean that in a ‘it could always be better’ type of way, thus making this comment utterly pointless) & it could have had you even more immersed than you were. Whenever I didn’t play it for a few days or a week, I was always looking forward to putting it on, but never did I have this urge/desire to play it whenever I had the tiniest bit of time free. I admit, due to my commitments mentioned above, I did reserve the right to play Red Dead Redemption 2 when I knew I had at least +2 hours free, but if this game really did ‘have me’ where it wanted me, then I’m inclined to believe I would have played it a whole lot more & at any time, no matter if I only had 20 mins to spare.

Overall, though, in the grand scheme of things, Rockstar’s latest release is up there among the ‘big boys’ of the game titles world & there are plenty of pluses to rave about, not to mention the countless fun things there are to do, such as, crafting unusual clothes, owning an array of different guns, customizing weaponry, hunting/legendary hunting, roaming the fields, woods & mountains, never knowing what/who you will find, side missions that appear from nowhere, such as, helping people who are being attacked by a wolf or a bear, having the option to break-out criminals, sleeping/bathing in motels, getting your hair cut or beard trimmed, playing poker, five finger fillet, getting drunk, purchasing expensive breeds of horses that you can then use on your travels, going on train journeys/robbing the train’s passengers & the list goes on.

The characters/your gang are also well developed/written. All are more than believable & as you could expect, moments of brutality are never far away. Red Dead Redemption 2 does take an unexpected turn at one point & I, for one, thoroughly appreciated/enjoyed that part. It was a welcomed diversion that I don’t think I have ever had with a Rockstar game. Not that I can remember, anyway.

The shooting is also, as you would expect, a huge part of a western themed game & it’s satisfying when you do find yourself in a shootout. Stealth kills are also really easy/fun & I like the way you can set up camp wherever you may be, should you fancy a rest or a chill session by the fire. There is a lot to do in this game & the word ‘variety’ does come to mind when explaining what exactly goes on/what you have to do, which is great, because variety is exactly what a game like this needs to be/stay interesting.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed my time with Red Dead Redemption 2 & I’m glad I bought it. It’s clearly made by some top game developers & it’s certainly a game I will remember. I love online gaming, but I also love offline, story driven games, so when I was bored with FIFA, COD or whatever else, I always knew I could count on Rockstar’s western epic to serve me accordingly, should I ever felt the need to indulge in such a story/missions & indulge I did!

As I’m sure you may have guessed, you need to invest a fair chunk of your time in this game in order for it to be worthy of your money & for you to enjoy it as it’s meant to be enjoyed. The side missions are there, but if you don’t want to do them, then you don’t have to. You could very easily stick to the main story & still have a great time without feeling like it’s going nowhere. Of course, if you have all the time in the world, then this is like an all you can eat buffet with the foods you like in every tub & you can fill your belly to your hearts content. Either way, it’s a great game with a solid & entertaining story, an ensemble of an eclectic mix of people, whether in your gang or not, that has nothing but excitement at it’s core & there is lots of fun to be had. There may have even be a lesson to be learnt from it all that the player takes away at the end of it, but I will let you decide that for yourself.

What did you think of Red Dead Redemption 2? Comment down below!