We’re right on the cusp of Red Dead Redemption 2. First, you might wanna know how long the game actually is. By our estimates, you’ll finish the main story of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 40-50 hours, if you focus on that and ignore side activities for the most part.
Between all the possible side quests, crimes, horse training, weapon customization, and more, that number obviously goes much, much higher. But on the subject of side missions, don’t sleep on them for too long. Red Dead’s side missions can actually expire. Advance too far in the story, and you’ll miss out on some character-specific side quests and story moments. Fortunately, the game makes it clear to you which is which, and non-story quests are marked differently on your map. Going back to that weapon customization, we know a lot more about how the process works now. Visit a gunsmith, and you’ll be able to change your favorite firearm’s look and firepower.
Aesthetically, you can swap out the gun’s metal type, add engravings and inlays, and even varnish the weapon. To soup up its stopping power, you can also add longer barrels for more accuracy, scopes for aiming at long-range targets, and more. You can also load up with different kinds of ammo, and certain types are better when hunting animals versus gunning down other outlaws. Red Dead Redemption 2 finally comes to PS4 and Xbox One on October 26th.
I think Rockstar the studio that makes this game that’s coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and not PC yet, although if it follows the Grand Theft Auto 5 model that will be coming maybe next year but this is kind of Rockstar’s… like, well, before this I would argue this is kind of Rockstar’s other franchise beyond Grand Theft Auto but I get the feeling that this is this is sort of a statement about how this is not the other thing.
Grand Theft Auto seems very interested in the idea of big city centers, right? In the coasts and really sticking it to coastal elites and the American systems that power places like New York and LA. Whereas this game — and really, the Red Dead series taken as a whole — effectively covers 50% of the rest of America in terms of just ground.
It covers effectively Texas, as a franchise. Texas and the American South. It covers a lot of ground in this one. That’s a surprise, actually, I would argue this is a Western, right? I genuinely don’t believe you have to be in the West. Like Firefly was a Western and it took place in outer space. But this is not a game that takes place like, in Montana.
You are not the leader. You’re like a right-hand man and your group which includes John Marston, the star of Red Dead 1, which this is a prequel to is coming off of a botched job in Texas or the game’s equivalent of Texas. A mysterious botched job. And you are being pushed east which means you’re being pushed into the American South.
And the reason I’m not sure it is a Western is it’s not really about the Western things, it’s about what happens, it’s kind of a fish out of water story of what happens when these Cowboys get put in a setting that is so much bigger and more complicated than they are prepared to grapple with.
They’re accustomed to, I think, kind of the simplistic supposed ideals of the American West and suddenly they are in the Gilded Age American South and coming in contact with the politics and the bigotry and violence that is a part of that, and they just seem utterly unequipped to 1) you know compete with these people but 2), to even really understand American history or what’s going on.
A number of times your character Arthur — he’s profoundly naive — comes up against prejudice and is utterly shocked to find out that it exists. So it’s weird and you have the trappings of the Western when you’re not in your missions. When you’re riding your horse and you’re in camp and you’re cooking and doing all those other things. But the story itself it really is almost about the failures of criminal organizations, and cults really.
And part of who he is goes back to that profoundly naive thing where a dude who is checked out, like he has no dog in any hunt and it does come off as mean, maybe a little strange when he appears shocked to find out that like in re-constructionist Southern America there’s racism and stuff. The game kind of presents really serious issues like history lessons and it has Arthur as kind of the— reporter, you want to ask questions to get the answers.
It ends up being that certain characters just have to become the mouthpiece for certain causes. Again, no specific spoilers are here in most of what we talked about, but there are, for example, active plantations that can’t use slavery anymore and they don’t but, they don’t like it either. Rockstar doesn’t treat them as, particularly sympathetic characters. That’s true, but a thing that I do find and I honestly I’m still a grappling with like how do you do this? That’s a credit to the game. That there is grappling.
Sometimes my issue is, it’s a lot of telling and not showing. And it’s not like I want to see awful race crimes or violence in this game. At the same time, it completely betrays history. And an example of this that I think is really clear is, you come across the KKK a number of times in the game. Not in any story mission, so far as I can tell, it’s just part of — and we can transition into something completely different after this — you have these kinds of strange dynamic run-ins with people.
And every single time I run in with the KKK before I can even just obliterate them – SPOILER – an incidental thing — they kill themselves. They’re played as total slapstick morons and that’s not how it worked. Like they were part of a mechanism that was ruthlessly violent and efficient in not only killing innocent black people and other people of color in the south, but also across America, but also just creating an institution where people weren’t allowed places. And that is not portrayed much, as far as I can tell, at all in this game. Where it doesn’t really matter who you are, people just walk through every city and they’re all kind of… NPCs are treated equal.
And it is so refreshing to play this game where it seems like it actually cares about these people. All of them. And it makes for such a more enjoyable experience to spend so many hours in this world even, if it does mean that people like Arthur are a little like, unbelievably angelic for supposed criminals. It makes it more enjoyable. What’s interesting about Arthur to me I think he is good at his core, but also entirely willing to do somewhat gross things.
And then, occasionally he sort of steps back and ruminates on the bad things he’s done. And sometimes that is just presented to you in like 15-second little cut-scenes. Other times you only find out about Arthur and what he’s thinking by taking action, by reading his journal or making a choice to speak to somebody in camp and in a completely optional interaction you find out that Arthur’s been feeling weird and guilty about randomly killing animals.
There are home robbery missions as optional missions and when I saw those I was like, wow, that is a lot.
On the other hand it wastes no opportunity to talk about his ideals about freedom and the promise of America and all of these related things, and neither of those is black and white, like this whole reality, the whole game exists in this shade of grey we’re it does challenge you to think like – am i doing the right thing?
I remember there being enough hype around this game at a certain point where that “Gothic” combat is not brawling of the same quality as the shooting.
Arthur’s default movement speed whether he’s on foot or on his horse is slow, in other words, if you want a jog or run or gallop you have to take deliberate action, you have to hit a button to move and I think that speaks volumes for how the people who made this game want you to play this game, which is that you don’t want to run from place to place because you’ll miss things in the middle.
And there’s an cinematic camera mode which is not a camera mode at all, it is an option button on the controller, it’s the dancing of two buttons and your fingers, it makes it so that they just move on their own so you don’t have to do really anything other hold down that button and the camera cuts around to try to make it a little more dynamic, but it doesn’t look especially cinematic.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is filled with complex systems that change game-play, and revolutionize the open world genre. From the newly refined Wanted System, to the multi-faceted Honor System, and even the stunning, dynamic Weather System, RDR 2 delivers detail and complexity to form an unforgettable journey across the American frontier.
The new and improved Wanted System – Whenever you commit a crime in RDR 2, you’re not going to immediately be hunted. You rob a store, kill the clerk, and steal whatever it is you’re after. Now, the clerk is not going to be around to tell the law about the crime.
But, if you used a gun in town, citizens who heard the gunshot may run to the Sheriff’s Office, and tell him someone may have been killed. In this situation, you’re not in trouble. Rather, you’re a suspect like everyone else. Now of course, if you get inspected, and there’s blood on your clothes, or a gun in your hand, you’re going to be a prime suspect. However, if you’re wearing clean clothes with no gun on your person, the sheriff will probably ignore you as a suspect, and you can get away with the crime. But let’s go back to the situation of robbing the store, and let’s say that instead of killing the clerk, you let him live. Shortly after you leave with the stolen goods, the clerk may run to the sheriff and report you. If you weren’t wearing a mask when committing the crime, then you’re likely going to be hunted down – Wanted Dead or Alive.
However, wear a mask to conceal your identity, and the clerk will be unable to identify you before the Sheriff. In this case, once again, you may be able to get away with the crime. Now, departing from the store robbery situation, let’s say that you commit a ton of atrocious crimes in broad daylight, running through town guns-blazing. In this situation, you’re probably going to build up enough notoriety to where Bounty Hunters will be sent after you, with the intention of killing you.
And since we’re talking about the Wanted System, let’s also talk about the Honor System and how NPCs will treat you. In Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s up to you if Arthur is a cuddly gentlemen, or an arrogant criminal. And your reputation will affect how NPCs treat you throughout the open world. But, it’s not only your moral reputation that will affect how NPCs treat you. It’s also going to be the cleanliness of your clothes, the smell of your body, and whether or not you draw a gun in front of them. For example, you could have a great moral reputation but if you just swam through a river and you’re soaking wet, NPCs are likely to treat you worse than if you were wearing a fresh set of clothes.
Or, if you just carried a smelly deer for miles, and then try to talk to someone, they’re going to react accordingly to the smell of your character. In other words, not only will your actions dictate how NPCs treat you, but your appearance will as well. Speaking of Arthur’s appearance, this depends heavily on RDR2’s dynamic Weather System. For example, you could smell great and be wearing a fresh set of clothes, but a heavy rainstorm could dampen your attire, altering how NPCs treat you. RDR2’s Weather System is truly unique. None of the weather conditions in RDR2 are scripted. Rather, weather just happens, as it does in reality. One day it will be warm and sunny, while other days will consist of fog and rain. In other words, you never know what the weather will be like in RDR2 – each day is different and unique. And it’s this attention to detail that has me absolutely EXCITED for Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Online
Red Dead Online will offer players a unique online experience. And according to Rockstar, the two games will be developed independently of each other – as if they were 2 Different Games!
Starting this November, Rockstar plans to roll-out an open beta for Red Dead Redemption 2’s Online Multiplayer, allowing us to play with our friends, and meet new friends as we explore the American Frontier. And according to RDR2’s Design Director, Imran Sarwar, Rockstar is treating Red Dead Redemption 2 single-player, and multiplayer as two separate products. The single-player and multiplayer components will “grow and evolve independently of each other.” And this is super exciting! It means we’re going to keep getting new content in Red Dead Online, even after we’ve completed Red Dead Redemption 2 Single Player.
Rockstar is treating Red Dead Online very similarly to the way they handled GTA V Online. However, it’s important to remember that GTA V is a last-gen game ported to current-gen consoles. However, Red Dead Online will be a current-gen game on current-gen consoles. This means Rockstar is going to be able to do way more in Red Dead Online than they were ever capable of doing in GTA V Online.