Red Dead Redemption 2 was released in 2018, 8 years after its critically acclaimed predecessor Red Dead Redemption and is available this month on PS NOW. A key ingredient in an open world RPG is the story and Rockstar delivers another one of their story masterpieces. The story is deep and complex and really focuses on the relationships that our protagonist Arthur Morgan builds and how those relationships change as the game progresses.
An important in game event happens around 3/4 into Red Dead Redemption 2 which really changes the way that the story feels and our own outlook on it. I won’t say what happened for those that haven’t played it yet but it’s a really unique concept. A synopsis of the plot is basically that a gang of outlaws struggle to accept and adapt to the changing and newly civilized world and you really feel that as you simply don’t fit in.
The world is growing around you and you genuinely feel hunted from beginning to end and it’s a roller coaster, complete with a flash forward epilogue chapter to add the final cherry on this amazing game. Rockstar frequently makes you shed a tear for their characters in their previous titles and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception. Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in 1899 in a fictionalized USA featuring western areas, grizzly mountains and the racist deep South.
As per the time, the world is on the cusp of civilization and the time of the wild west is no more where the government wants to eradicate gangs and outlaws. So much works in this world and it’s massive which makes exploring it an absolute dream. Also, it’s really diverse as there are so many activities happening in each city and the wilderness areas are so fun to explore.
You get to the point where you stop each time you see a cabin or shack in the woods. In typical Rockstar fashion there are several Easter eggs and nods to other games or pieces of fiction and a huge amount of humor and weirdness. Overall, the setting is beautiful and grizzly. The characters in Red Dead Redemption 2 are also one of this games highlights as there are so many and unlike most games in this genre, they’re all kind of main characters or certainly contribute hugely to the plot.
For those who have played Red Dead Redemption, some characters will be familiar but as this is a prequel it’s really interesting to see them many years before. You also learn more about certain characters and even leading you to like some of those who you may have disliked in the first game. When Red Dead Redemption 2’s details were first released and I found out we weren’t going to be playing as our old friend John Marston from the first game I was slightly disappointed but that’s credit to Rockstar’s character developments.
In truth, Arthur Morgan is everything I could have wanted. Funny, witty, angry, moody and a hell of a shot as there’s hours of hilarious dialogue from him which is wonderfully voiced and in fact every voice actor is superb in Red Dead Redemption 2. With the camp exploration mechanic, you can learn so much more about your gang via conversations and eavesdropping in a totally non subtle manner of other members of the camp as they have deep private conversations or even arguments.
This helps you to understand these characters more and see their behavior change as the game and scenario progresses. It also makes you care for the smaller characters of the gang. The gameplay in Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best around as you would expect from Rockstar and if you like to explore, you’re going to be doing quite a lot of it. Red Dead Redemption 2 has one of the best horse-riding mechanics in a video game.
Every motion is seamless from rearing your horse, skidding across a patch of mud or even galloping into a rock and flying off your mount. Shooting is fine and it doesn’t massively develop on the previous game but it really didn’t need to. It’s certainly satisfying especially popping into Deadeye and firing a couple of shots of in slow motion. The best elements of gameplay in my opinion are the hunting as I found myself hooked. You can use animal skins for camp upgrades and clothing and adds an extra incentive.
The ability to rob a store is really cool and you can also rob shady looking characters on your journey. Finally, conversations are brilliant and you don’t have dialogue choices which is something I love in Bethesda and Bioware games. You do however have the choice to simply greet or antagonize NPC’s or even your own camp members. This can lead to some hilarious lines particularly if you follow up a friendly greet with an antagonize.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 being this long and large, the gameplay has to hold your interest as much as the story does and it definitely does. With a game of this size and budget the visuals are great. If you’re someone who likes to take in-game photos when you play then you’re going to be able to grab some really nice ones especially up in the snowy mountains which boasts some lovely views.
The immersive world adds to the visuals, for example fighting in the muddy street will lead to Arthur’s face and clothes becoming dirty and it will remain so until you get a bath. You’ll also have no problem noticing the temperature as you will see Arthur’s frosty breath emit from his mouth. Is it as stunning as Horizon Zero Dawn, no but it can still hold its own. The multiplayer in this game is called Red Dead Online and is very similar to the GTA multiplayer.
You have your character creator, story missions and different roles such as Bounty Hunter, Collector, Moonshiner, Naturalist and the Trader. You can hunt down bounties or join PVP lobbies to gain Xp and level up your character for better weapons and a lot of customization options. There’s also daily and weekly challenges to complete so there is an abundance of things to do in this mode if you ever finish the single player or just want a break for some reason and Rockstar frequently updates this mode.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is super clean and there is the odd glitch such as an animal carcass spawning in as you ride through the world or your horse glitching out when in a camp but these are tiny occurrences and nothing breaks the immersion or mission progress. Red Dead Redemption 2 consists of 6 chapters and 2 epilogue chapters and officially its around 60 hours but I think I put in around 90 hours into this game as I completed almost all of the side content.
There’s so much to do from animal hunting, plant collecting and a humongous amount of side quests and stranger interactions. The main story feels long but I think it’s supposed to as I believe Rockstar wants you to feel how Arthur felt, drained, tired and sick of being on the run so weirdly that’s a positive thing. Never once did I get bored of the game and if the main story isn’t quite doing it for you, you can just do one of the hundred or so side quests.
Because this game is so huge you can play Red Dead Redemption 2 however you want to and sometimes the most fun thing to do is just to load up the game and do a bit of hunting or just go around killing everyone in sight. if you’ve never played Red Dead Redemption 2 before it’s 100 percent worth the time to put in and one of the best games of the last generation.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on PS NOW until November 1, 2021 exclusively via PS4/PS5 download.
*Requires an active PS NOW subscription to play this game.
The story and characters in Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best in any media format. This coupled with an amazing vast open world with plenty of quests, side quests, bounty hunting, fishing, hunting and a load of Easter eggs will keep you busy for a very long time. The multiplayer is also quite fun and Rockstar regularly updates this game mode so there is plenty to do after you are done with the single player. A must play for anyone with a PS NOW subscription.