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Video game review: Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead 2 improves formula of western video games.
Illustration: Thayer Sindelar · The Sentry

Rockstar’s sequel takes gaming community by storm

The American West had all but seemingly died. The John Waynes, Walker Texas Rangers, train heists, hoedowns, noon duels, and saloons had all disappeared in folklore like the ghost town the West is today. That is, until Rockstar’s Red Dead Revolver reached gaming platforms in 2004. With Rockstar’s newest addition to the Red Dead series in eight years, Red Dead Redemption 2, the old icons of the Wild West American mythos have become mainstream once more.

Read Dead 2 includes the return of many select features its fanbase fell in love with in previous installments, and a majestic recreation of the late 19th century American West with nearly endless opportunity to be either the tragic hero or infamous outlaw, depending on what the player chooses to do.

Red Dead 2 takes players to the last gasping breathes of the uncivilized, outlaw-run West of America, just a few short years before the events of the series’ previous installment, Red Dead Redemption (2010).

From saloons to high-end plantation houses, railways to deep forestry, players can follow the main story of Dutch Van der Linde’s fall from grace as he drags the protagonist, Arthur Morgan and Co., down with him, while also being able to hunt, rob, drink, fight, labor, and ride as they please around the fictitious southern counties of New Hanover, Ambarino, and Lemoyne.

With a unique interactive UI (User Interface) system to play against seemingly impersonal NPC’s (non-player characters), vivid and larger-than-life graphics, and a deep lore and story to each town and camp, becoming fully immersed is easy. Reaching above and beyond earlier installments, Red Dead’s improved “Dead Eye” combat system returns, giving the same slow-motion sequences that truly make Arthur the fastest draw in the West, but now with accurate lethal shot highlights and ways to regain Dead Eye quicker before the next encounter.

With thousands of customization options spanning from personalizing Arthur’s steed, upgrading the Van der Linde camp, and dressing Arthur however the player pleases, this open world can be taken on in whatever fashion players choose. The map of Red Dead 2 is much more open than in previous Red Dead installments.

Draw backs upon the launch are still being worked on, such as the occasional glitches in cutscene sequence and random disappearing NPCs. But outside of this, the game runs beautifully on both Xbox One and the PS4.

Clocking in at 45–50 hours, just for the main story alone, Red Dead 2’s nearly endless supply of gameplay is anticipated to get an online mode in 2019. Red Dead 2 is already suspected of getting Game of the Year nominations in the coming months and rightfully so.

For a definitive Western tale, and a sandbox in one of the unruliest eras of American history, lock-on and ride onto the nearest local game store to pick up a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2.

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