Rating: 5 stars

“Red Dead Redemption 2” is Rockstar Games’ long-awaited prequel to “Red Dead Redemption.” The game was released Oct. 26, 2018 for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

The game takes place in 1899 and you play as outlaw Arthur Morgan, who is part of the “Van Der Linde” gang. The gang consists of outlaws with different views on society and various stories from their past lives. Throughout the game, your gang is fleeing from federal agents and bounty hunters.

The graphics and cinematics of the game are some of the best I have ever seen. Every town, person, animal and landscape is well designed and doesn’t look like it was rushed at all—it is all very neat and professional.

You can play the game in first person which is through the eyes of the character, or you can play in third person, which is where you can see your character as you play. Both points of view look just as good as the other. I haven’t really run into any glitches with either perspective, besides a few small bugs here and there.

The different missions in this game are truly amazing and very unique. In each mission, you learn more about the characters, learn about your past, assist your gang, and sometimes, all three at the same time. Each mission is exciting and has its own purpose in the game, which is something I like because most games have boring missions that feel like the developers ran out of ideas while creating them. These missions keep you on the edge of your chair and make you want to keep playing until your eyes burn.

Compared to the original game, “Red Dead Redemption 2” has added a new feature called “cores.” They are split into three groups —health, stamina and dead eye. Dead eye, specifically, gives players the ability to slow time down and mark targets on enemies and shoot. How full each core is determines how fast it regenerates and deteriorates if it’s overused. The cores get increased the more you use them in the game, but it will take time to fully upgrade a core. Corescan be filled up with food, drinks, or sleep. I am a fan of the cores because they help people pay attention to what is going on in the game at all times.

While having fun, your character will need to watch what they eat, how often they bathe, and will need to change clothes throughout the game. If your character doesn’t eat, he will become underweight, causing his health core to decrease and stamina core to increase. If your character eats too much, he will become overweight and his health will increase while his stamina increases. Aside from your character’s health, as you play in dirty areas, your clothing will start to get dirty and you will need to take a bath or go to a body of water to clean your clothes. When going to cold places, you will need to put on more clothing, and less clothing for warm areas. If your character is too hot or cold, their health core will drain dramatically fast. I like that you need to watch what your character wears and eats, because it helps players stay focused and in a way, it teaches responsibility while still having fun playing the game.

Your character isn’t alone though throughout the game, though—your horse is your No. 1 companion! Horses can be bonded with, cleaned and even customized. Like your character, your horse also has health and stamina cores. Bonding with your horse increases its cores and how far away you can call it to your location. You can bond with your horse by feeding, grooming, riding and calming it. Be careful though, because your horse can get scared by predators and gunshots, so you will need to calm it down before it kicks you off and runs away. In addition, you can customize your horse’s hairstyle, color and saddle. If your horse is dirty, its health core will go down. To clean your horse, all you need to do is run through a river or brush it, but you will need to play for awhile in order to gain access to a brush.

You can have up to four horses at a time, but once your horse dies, it’s gone forever. This is really frustrating because after you’ve spent all that time bonding with your horse and training it, it all goes to waste once it dies.

Oh yeah, shooting and gun mechanics in the game are very realistic. While shooting, most weapons are capable of taking two shots to the body and one to the head. If you aim too high, you will only shoot off the person’s hat, completely missing their head. With every shot, you will need to cock your gun before firing. Over time of firing your gun, it will become dirty and its qualities will decrease. You will need gun oil to clean your gun and to restore the gun to its normal qualities. I like that cleaning your gun isn’t a consistent task—it’s only needed after playing for a long period of time, otherwise it might get a bit annoying.

Shopping for food and weapons also takes a more realistic approach. While buying food, you can browse around a store and find the items you’re looking for or go to the shop owner and receive a menu of all the items. When buying weapons and ammo, you’re given an actual catalog to buy from. I actually feel like I’m shopping in real life when looking for food or guns to buy. This aspect definitely gives the game more of a realistic touch.

Like most other games, the characters in the game interact with you as well as each other. People in the town will often greet you, talk to you, and if you get into a fight, they will bring it up to you while you talk to them. If you have a bandana on to conceal your identity, people will be hostile to you and sometimes even pull out a gun if you stare at them, thinking you are a criminal. There are also random events that occur that usually consist of helping people out and getting a small reward. Although interacting with all of the characters in the game is fun, it sometimes does get very repetitive and somewhat annoying, as it is time consuming.

In the story, your gang has a camp to live at and also to hide from law enforcement. As the story progresses, the camp will occasionally change location due to threats of law enforcement or other outlaws discovering your camps location. You can donate money or sell items that go towards upgrading the camp such as the medicine it has, the food, and ammunition. As they are upgraded over time, there becomes more of a variety to choose from, but it costs more to refill them. At first, it was hard to upgrade my camp, but as I progressed through the game, it was easier because of the money earned from completing different heists and missions. The people watching over the camp will switch watching shifts over time, so always beware of your surroundings. During their free time, you can find your gang surrounding a campfire at night singing songs or just talking to each other about the day. Once you complete a mission with a  character, they will talk to you about it at the camp or while you are completing another mission for them.

Respectfully, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is an amazing single-player experience that is like no other. With the main focus being realism, it is easy to get immersed into the virtual world after playing for awhile. That being said, the overall goal of the game is very unclear other than to get away from the federal agents and the bounty hunters that are after you. To add, the missions were all amazing and never bored me, I truly enjoyed every single one. I recommend “Red Dead Redemption 2” to any gamer because of its ambition and realistic setting, both in which make a game great.


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