Red Dead Redemption 2 Xbox One X Review
Available on PS4 and Xbox One.
Version Tested: Xbox One X
So the wait is finally over and Rockstar have released one of the most anticipated games in a very long time. Asking if RDR 2 is actually any good isn’t even worth asking! Is it the best game Rockstar have ever achieved, maybe….
Red Dead Redemption 2 is set back in 1899 and follows the story of Arthur Morgan. As an outlaw and member of the Dutch Van Der Linde gang Arthur ans his gang are forced to flee the town Blackwater with bounty hunters and the towns authorities close behind after a robbery went wrong! With the game being set all the way back in 1899 uses a Western theme and has a massive open world environment to explore. Arthur is the main character and is very likeable and a fun character to play, he was raised by Dutch, the leader of the Dutch Van Der Linde gang but sadly for Arthur it’s not always been on the innocent side of life!
From the minute the game starts it’s clear that the wait has been worthwhile with some of the visuals on offer! The cinematics from the start were also fantastic really pulling you into the game straight away, the weather effects is something that really stands out, the snow and blizzard from the start really add to the immersion and you can feel the struggle that Arthur and his gang are going through just to survive and find shelter!
Without going into detail about the games story and giving away any spoilers the first hour or so is a little like a tutorial and the way Red Dead presents it to the player is one of the best I have seen in a while. Everything is presented clear and gives the player all the time and tools needed to get started while also giving players a great insight into some of the other characters in the game such as Red Dead Redemption original main character John Marston. Arthur is definitely the most interesting character of the group and does take the limelight in the story as expected compared to the others, this is good considering how well Rockstar has written in Marston without him taking over the story and being the main focus. As we come to expect with anything from Rockstar the Story is superbly written and with over 60 hours worth of story there is plenty to keep players entertained! As well as the main story mode though there is plenty on things to do and places to explore on this huge open map that Rockstar has created. As with GTA there is just so much to do, things like poker can be played and it is a really good experience, I have played actual poker games that don’t even play as well as they do on RDR2!
Towns have many different shops and places to visit, the gunsmith will allow you to look through the catalogue of guns to invest in new guns as well as upgrading and customising previous guns that you already have.
One of my other favourite things to do in Red Deads beautiful world has to be the hunting! Rockstar really has achieved something special with the hunting, after playing TheHunter: Call Of The Wild it makes you really appreciate the work that goes into these games, TheHunter being a standalone hunting experience is great but I actually prefer RDR2’s hunting and that really is saying something! Rockstar have always managed to somehow get everything right and in Red Dead it’s no different! Hunting, fishing, card games, this just has everything and as usual it just all works! It’s amazing the amount of different things that are packed all into one game and having them all work as well as they do really is impressive!
The animals will decompose over time so getting the animal back to camp or sold needs to be done fast before it degrades too much.
While the world isn’t as busy and as full as GTA’s lively streets there is still loads to see and explore. The wildlife is absolutely everywhere and as well as just hunting the animals for food they can be scanned to show info on the animal itself. Once the animal has been hunted though the game can be a little graphic, putting the animal down will have Arthur lean down next to it and thrust his knife in the animal to kill it if you didn’t manage to when you was hunting it down. After this it’s up to you if you are going to stow it straight on your horse or if you want to skin it first which also shows Arthur fully skinning the animal with his knife, certainly not for anyone who doesn’t like to see that sort of stuff!
Back at camp supplies such as ammo, food and the camp can be upgraded, Arthur has his own money but so too does the camp in which you can contribute to by donating some of Arthur’s money and then upgrades can be purchased through the ledger. Aside from usual money earning through bounties and stealing, debt collection will come into play, Arthur will need to track down the person who owes the money and force them to pay, if they can’t pay he may need to take whatever valuables they do have to cover the debt.
Aside from animals there is always people around that can be shouted at to make them stop and then it’s your choice if you just say hi or decide to start a wild west gunfight! Much like in GTA where I think just about everyone has done it you can spend hours just mucking around with the law after you although it’s much harder to shake them or even survive on a horse compared to some of the arsenal that could be acquired in GTA. If you do something against the law and someone sees it you will need to act fast to stop the witness, either shut them up by threatening them or do what you have to do but always bare in mind there will likely be another person close by that could them report the crime and you will have a bounty on your head! As well as shouting people down and hijacking them this can also happen to you and sometimes rival gangs will just appear and confront you usually leading into a gunfight! This is the beauty of this whole game world though, you can quite happily be riding through the fields minding your own business and then suddenly you are fighting for you life or helping a complete stranger.
The towns are full with life and stories can constantly be heard between the people talking to each other. The pub always a good place for a decent brawl and would be wrong not to in an old western setting like this! The fighting while fairly basic is really fun and packs a real punch! Dodging, punching and grabbing are the main things involved, getting a block to then unload a combo will soon floor your poor drunken opponent, just don’t loot them after because it is generally frowned upon and will lead to you being chased out of the town with a bounty on your head! With a bounty on your head you will have the local lawmen after you but if you commit more and more murders eventually you will have the US marshals on your case and it will be alot harder to shake them off, you can help yourself a bit by wearing a mask before you commit the crime or after by changing your appearance like shaving or changing clothes. Bounties can also be cleared by paying them off or handing yourself in to the sheriff which will lose you money once you are finally released.
Bounties are available from the sheriff in town and prove to be a fun way to make money honestly on the right side of the law.
People throughout the gameworld will also respond to the way Arthur looks after himself, after killing and skinning a deer Arthur was covered in blood and people will comment asking why he’s covered in blood? People will also avoid him if hes dirty, hasn’t washed or changed his clothes in a while so making sure Arthur is actually presentable makes a difference to the way people will treat him. His facial hair and hair on his head will also grow over time and will require a visit to either the barber or doing it himself at camp but either way this all contributes to his overall appearance and just shows how realistic some of the systems are in the game!
Changing clothing for cleanliness is the only reason either, Arthur will need the correct clothing for the weather around him, wearing clothing that makes him too hot when it’s sunny will slowly decrease the core health and the same goes for being too cold so clothing selection is also a key factor in survival.
Arthur has three main cores to improve over time and as mentioned already with the clothing this all affects how Arthur will survive. Health, Stamina and Dead Eye are affected by certain conditions and hitting one thing may damage something else like being overweight will improve health but be negative on stamina. The game also features perks that can be added and will contribute to Arthur with an upgrade.
Aside from keeping Arthur happy and well there is the horses, these can be brought at stables but you will be given one to either sell or keep not long after starting. Each horse has it’s own strengths such as some are faster than others but then others might have better stamina. Arthur will also need to bond with the horse and this can be improved by feeding, grooming and riding the horse. As well as obviously giving a better bind between Arthur and his horse these things also impact the horse in the same sort ways that it does Arthur, being unclean the horse will have it’s health negatively impacted so it’s as important to make sure the horse is well groomed and looked after. Aside from actually buying a horse from the stable different items for the horse can also be brought such as new saddles or stirrups which adds some customisation. The other thing that is a nice feature is the ability to actually name the horse whatever you want this is also good to know which one is which if you have a few. I tend to use a normal horse if i think the mission is risky because if they die you will lose them, they can also get injured and unless you are carrying a horse revival you will be force to put it out of it’s misery sadly so always remember to take one with you if you are using your favourite horse!
At times you could confuse Arthur for Kratos from God Of War with one of his lines, boy is used alot when talking to his horse!
Apart from the constant boy remarks Arthur makes, I have to say the voice acting throughout is brilliant! Arthur is voice acted so well and everyone around him is also the same, their personality can really be heard through how well they are voice acted, Arthur uses a a very deep low tone but constantly comes out with one liners that just fit his character so well. The facial animations are very strong and believable as well with the whole experience a joy to watch and listen too! The soundtrack is also perfect for the game and everything fits really well when looking at the game from a sound point of view. Rockstar really hit the nail on the head with it all and the strong story and the way it’s told really goes from strength to strength and people will see that as they progress through it.
Slow motion kills show off some of your best shots!
Lastly onto the combat, some may find things a little frustrating in this department with guns all being slow to reload and everytime a shot is fired you will need to wait for Arthur to cock the gun before he can take his next shot, I didn’t mind it too much as it adds to the realism of what guns would have been like back then. Shooting does take a bit of practice and it would probably be a good idea to have the aim assist on especially when your on a horse as it can be pretty difficult to get a shot off anywhere near your target without it! Dead eye when it’s used is really effective and feels better than I remember it, there’s not much better than slowing time and marking three headshots to a group that was about to take Arthur down! The Dead Eye system can also be used to help hunt animals and it will allow Arthur to follow a track or show items like plants that can be picked up.
Throughout all the hours I have already put into the game I really am struggling to see anything that I would class as a problem, the whole world that has been built is just full with stuff to do and places to see! Once it is all over though there is an option to go back through and play the chapters again but this time trying to achieve certain things to complete the checklist. Everything included really makes RDR2 a steal and honestly one of the best games I have ever had the pleasure of playing, this is all without the fact that Rockstar will be releasing Red Dead’s online mode next month, it’s a shame it wasn’t included from the start but it does give everyone a good chance to get to grips with the gameplay and all it’s systems!
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been worth the wait! Outstanding graphics, story, sound, content, polished game world and gameplay make it a must have for any gamer! Red Dead Online will only strengthen it’s position at the top in my opinion and I honestly can’t wait to get playing online! The game world is worth exploring and constantly throws new things to do at Arthur which will keep players busy for a very long time. Towns are full with life and have great characters with constant chatter between them as well as loads of different areas around the game world with loads of wildlife to be found and hunted. Voice acting is some of the best around and facial animations are also very strong.
9.6 / 10
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This game code was sent to us free of charge for our honest review and has in no way influenced our rating of the game.