‘Red Dead II’ presents a world you’ll never want to leave

The+Van+Der+Linde+gang+riding+together+with+Dutch+and+Arthur+leading+the+charge.+Image+from+amazon.com
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‘Red Dead II’ presents a world you’ll never want to leave

The Van Der Linde gang riding together with Dutch and Arthur leading the charge. Image from amazon.com

The Van Der Linde gang riding together with Dutch and Arthur leading the charge. Image from amazon.com

The Van Der Linde gang riding together with Dutch and Arthur leading the charge. Image from amazon.com

The Van Der Linde gang riding together with Dutch and Arthur leading the charge. Image from amazon.com

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The wait is finally over. “Red Dead Redemption II” is here and everyone has been digging into it, to their heart’s content. A game this big is bound to have some problems. While it definitely is not without its flaws, it’s already proven to be one of the best open-world games ever made.

The amount of detail and care that Rockstar put into this game is obvious from the very start. They have gone above and beyond in creating a world that feels alive. The best way to play this is by acting like it’s real. If it seems like there’s nothing to do, talk to strangers or go adventuring into the woods, don’t give in to murderous tendencies, unless you’re prepared to be hunted down by the law and bounty hunters.

The biggest issue the game has so far is that the beginning is pretty slow, especially for a Rockstar game. The first couple of hours offload a lot of tutorials onto the player and, while you are able to roam the area, the amount of things to do is very slim. Once things open up, you’re able to play how you want, but there are still a lot of mechanics that the game will introduce over time.

It’s hard to think of a game that’s more immersive than this. The level of immersion is so deep that it can be a problem sometimes. Waking up in the gang’s camp and being able to chat with the other members while you sip your coffee is nice. Having to sleep, bathe and eat regularly can turn into an annoyance. I’m happy that those mechanics are all in the game, but they can become a checklist of chores to take care of before heading off for a long adventure.

As expected, the writing and voice acting are at the very top of industry standards. Arthur Morgan is a good contrast to John Marston as a protagonist. His relationship with the gang leader, Dutch Van Der Linde, is complicated as he has to balance loyalty with morality. Players of the first game know the eventual fate of the gang, so seeing the seeds of doubt start to take hold in Arthur is fascinating. The writers have done a great job of showing the family aspects of the gang and why they’re so close-knit.

It’s not a surprise that it’s really easy to get distracted from the main story in this game. Optional activities and encounters can easily take up hours of your time before you remember to do another main mission. Hunting has been expanded on greatly. Bounty hunting now has more cinematic moments and, causing wide-spread mayhem, is more fun than ever. There’s also a new crafting system that lets you make medicine, bait, ammo and special meals, that adds a lot to the immersion.

This game does it all, except disappoint. The best thing it manages to pull off is in creating a world that players can get lost in easily. It’s a world that’s as brutal as it is beautiful. Even with all the great games that have come out this year, “Red Dead Redemption II” is poised to be the crown jewel of 2018.

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.

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