Read dead redemption 2 is all about the world it encapsulates and the consequences to your doings, where you have an innuendo of choices. Though there are enough choices to shape your character and the environment around it most of the dire choices are made even before your game starts. Most of the story then is mostly the consequences of these choices.
Since the game is a prequel, you would most probably know how it is going to end, but that journey to the end is where the game shines the brightest. All of that comes from a range of somewhat repetitive story and side missions that are going to make you away towards the wild. Resultantly, the frustration and the tension that it will cause will be impactful.
The game begins with the fact that the Van der Linde gang is already falling to the depths of the grave after a heist gone wrong on the Blackwater. The whole gang is on the run some of the men are dead, and the inevitable death due to starvation or the extreme snowy weather is imminent. You are now in the boots of Arthur Morgan, a senior member who happens to be the right hand of the Dutch Van Der Linde.
Being such an important member gives you many responsibilities, choices and your presence are important in all of the important events in the gang. There are familiar faces from the previous game too most important of them is the protagonist John Marston.
Right after dealing with the crises of the huge blizzard and the gang sets up a camp your responsibilities start to show up you, you are appointed as the head of finances of the camp. You choose and pick everything that is right for the gang which includes the upgrades and supplies for the gang. If Dutch is the center of the gang, then you are the most vital individual of the gang. With the power, you are encouraged to do anything that pleases you.
At the start of the game, a lengthy series of missions introduce you to a variety of ways of how to spend time in the game. The way game does this is very unique and satisfying because it does not impose anything, you learn everything that you can do in a very subtle way. The learning is very well paced, and these missions also get you acquainted with many characters and the surrounding area. The fishing tutorial, for example, requires you to take Jack Marston to catch fish who is the son of John Marston. It seems our previous protagonist is not a great father. Jack is young and sweet, and all the wrongdoings of the gang are impacting him, and it makes the mission memorable.
There are many activities for you to take part in, these include hunting, fishing, poker, etc. Alongside these activities, the game tries to incorporate realism as much as it can. Mainly you would need to eat to refill your health, stamina and the dead eye ability “cores” that deplete over time.
Eating too much and too little effect differently on the stats if Arthur, if you eat less, you will always be malnourished, on the other hand, if you eat a lot you will get weight. I have noticed for once no matter how considerate you are about your weight you will always be underweight or overweight. You do not have to sleep in the game, but sleeping helps if you want to pass some time and it increases your health and stamina.
The Wild West (Open world)
The Dawn of America shown in the Red Dead Redemption 2 contains regions from snowy mountains to plain open fields which stretch to a crocodile filled dumps. The great plains look similar to the New Austin’s southwest from the original game; the further eastern region resembles Louisiana that is still suffering from the aftershocks of the Civil War which predates 40 years before the events of the game.
Whenever you are region to region, you can see there is a distinct shift from the snowy mountains to grassy lands. The grassy hillsides then convert into slumps, in some areas you can witness the acts of racism. While in other areas there are union leaders who are collecting the mob due to their radical views.
The world is huge and dense, even bigger than the GTA V, but the fast travel options are limited. You have to spend enough money on the camp so that the gang can set up another camp in another region. Which gives limited fast travel option. Limitation of fast travel seems like a deliberate decision from Rockstar and shows their confidence in their world.
Most of the traveling occurs on foot or the Horseback, it can be slow, but there is no shortage of things to do and see around you. You may find a stranger on the way who needs a ride to the town, or snake bitten person would require your help to suck the venom out of the wound. You can decide to rob or kill any person during traveling, on the other hand, the same can happen to you as well.
Rockstar has employed a unique “mortality system” in the game, it basically tracks all your doings in the game and on the basis of how good or how bad a person you are in the game. Now being good is relative you are an outlaw gang member after all.
However, generally, it would count as “good” mortality if you punch a person rather than sparing him. Everything that you do for the gang counts as a moral at even if you have to kill half a city for it. Freeing a gang underdog from the cops even if you have to kill all the cops in the area will give you a huge honor boost. The perks of having a high “honor” rank are that you have more respect in the gang and most of the items that you would buy will cost less.
The main missions are the way to quickly gain more honor and money, investing in the camp also gives you a huge boost. Committing a crime never goes undetected even in remote locations. The cops and bounty hunters will be in your pursuit even if you think you did not commit a crime. Bailing out requires you to either intimidate the witnesses, kill your bounty hunter or pay for your bail.
No matter what you want to be the main story focuses to be a “good” Arthur who cares for the gang and will do anything for the family. At the start even if he did not want to look for John Marston when Marston’s wife asks him to look for her husband, he goes out in the blizzard to look for her husband.
Arthur is a self motivated member of the gang who mainly agrees with the righteous, principled and motivated members of the gang. If Arthur resents the presence of a person in the gang as the story moves forward, you will also hate that member. As mentioned earlier investing in the gang will force Arthur in becoming honorable, although everyone donates.
Arthur will decide the number of supplies and upgrades are required in the camp and may invest hundreds for this but the added bonus of being honorable balances that.
When the story progresses, and the heists start its a lot harder to feel like a “good” person, you are doing it for the gang of course but you may half to kill half of the town’s population while robbing a certain bank. Along with heists, there are several other missions too such as following Dutch to the trouble, busting friends out of the jail, committing random crimes for different people and most importantly robbing money.
As the story progresses the structure of the missions starts to unfold, the missions are not repetitive, but the main goal of every other mission is to get money for the gang. However, the action set pieces in each mission set them apart from other games.
When you have figured out the pattern in the missions, it is very easy to guess how this mission will get its shape. This too becomes frustrating and boring as you can not change the fate of any mission despite having a lot of choices. The only good thing that you can get from these “repetitive” missions is that the bond you make with your protagonist will be everlasting. (I can’t stop thinking about the game even after 70 hours of gameplay).
Like any good prequel, you will enjoy the game even if you know what will the end of the game be, you may already know who is going to survive, but the beauty of the game is you will know how these characters survived. Even at the slower parts of the game you will be waiting for the betrayals and trying to figure out how that particular character will turn out to be.
Before conclusion a general remark of how the game handles the general issues that we face in our daily life, it’s mostly the Rockstar’s thing as they have these innuendos that relate to our daily problems. There’s is a mission in the game in which you side with the women so that they have a right to vote and choose for themselves, at some other time you will be facing a person who has encapsulated people due to his radicle views.
If we are comparing Red dead redemption 2 to its predecessor than in a very simple way, the game is about the whole gang not just a single person of the gang who is running for his life. It makes the game beautiful and shows the credence of having a family at your back.
If you love Rockstar games, this game will make you love infinite times better as the open world that they have created cannot be matched, and I’m saying this with authority. The story element of the game is so touching that it will make players come back even if they have completed the story a dozen times.