Howdy y’all. It’s been about a month since I started playing the massive, gorgeous, and insanely detailed Red Dead Redemption II, and I reckon it’s going to be the only game I play for a mighty long while. There’s so much to see and do in the game’s beautiful, sprawling, and dynamic open world that it’s easy to stray away from the main story. In fact, I’ve logged near 25 hours of playtime and just started chapter three out of six.
That being said, I haven’t played enough of Red Dead Redemption II to write up a full assessment, but I already know its my favorite game of this year. I highly recommend that anyone whom loves gaming play it. Once again, Rockstar Games has raised the bar, releasing a game more innovative and detailed than any I’ve played before. It’s a marvelous, magnificent masterpiece.
Here’s what I like most about Red Dead Redemption II:
- Weapons Need to Be Cleaned to Keep Their Condition
Many people may not be a fan of this one, but I’m a huge sucker for detail. I love the fact that if your gun is used and abused, its stats are affected. Every time I’m gearing up for a big fight, I make sure I stop by a general store to pick up some gun oil so I can clean my weapons back to full strength. It’s such a minor detail, but it does so much to increase the immersion.
- You Actually Search Through Pockets When Looting
Another small detail, but a really cool one at that. Every time you loot someone, Arthur actually pats down the body and searches through pockets. Whether you find extra ammo, a couple of dollars, or medicine for your horse, it’s always worth looting a body just to see the cool animations.
- There Are a Ton of Weapons, and You Can Customize Them
Apparently there are over 50 weapons in Red Dead Redemption II, but I’ve only acquired about 20 of them. Nevertheless, out of the 20 that I’ve found, all of them are vastly different. Best of all, you can customize them with engravings, varnishes, grips, sights, and more. Thus far, I’ve modified all of my weapons – from my rifles and revolvers to my knife.
- You Can Build a Bond with Your Horses
Horses are a major point of emphasis, and they should be considering how much time you spend riding them. That being said, you actually build a relationship with your horses throughout the game. A stronger bond with your horse means increased stamina and health for it, the ability to call it from longer distances, and the ability to travel through rougher terrains and deeper waters. Also, the stronger the relationship with your horse, the more tricks you unlock, such as rearing, skidding, and drifting.
- Hunting and Fishing
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent more time hunting than doing anything else in Red Dead Redemption II. Tracking down, stalking, and slaying legendary animals is a thrilling and methodical process that keeps me coming back for more. I also love that the pelts you acquire from legendary animals go towards fashioning some incredible gear.
- Arthur’s Physical Attributes and Appearance Are Dynamic and Customizable
Similar to CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Arthur has certain attributes that can be improved throughout the game. Want a higher stamina rating? Try running to closer locations instead of taking your horse. Want Arthur to gain a little weight? Chow down on a healthy portion of baked beans or assorted biscuits until you see his belly grow.
Sometimes Arthur’s stamina will be drastically depleted because he is tired and hungry, forcing you to set up camp to eat and rest. His facial will grow to the point of being unkempt if not shaved regularly. He also gets smelly if he doesn’t bathe often, so it’s never a bad idea to stop by a hotel and purchase a bath when you’re in a town. Additionally, there is a variety of clothing options and hairstyles you can choose from to make Arthur in your image. Currently, my version of Arthur looks like a Wild West H.H. Holmes.
- Arthur Morgan
I was a little bummed when Rockstar Games announced that John Marston wouldn’t be the main protagonist of Red Dead Redemption II, but I never doubted it would introduce a great new character; just look at its track record. However, I didn’t expect to like Arthur Morgan more than John Marston. He’s gruff, tough, and cold like the former protagonist, but he’s much more relatable and multi-dimensional. I’ve enjoyed seeing his character development, and I look forward to peeling off more layers and learning more about him as I progress further.
- You Can Interact with Almost Anyone and Anything
Whether you want to say hi, tell someone to get lost, or rob them at gunpoint, you can do it to nearly anyone in Red Dead Redemption II’s massive open world. Feel like robbing a general store to get a few extra bucks? Do it to your heart’s desire. How about stopping a train dead in its tracks and stealing from it and its passengers. Go right on ahead. I haven’t encountered one NPC that I couldn’t interact with, and buildings you can’t enter are few and far between. It’s the most interactive open world I’ve ever seen.
- Realistic and Exhilarating Combat
From fist fights to shootouts, the combat is as real as it gets. Unlike most other games, reloading your weapon doesn’t take a split second. Arthur actually has to fumble around with his ammunition to load his guns, which takes a couple of seconds. The result is slowed down combat that feels more realistic than anything I’ve played before. Additionally, excellent recoil mechanics add to the realism by forcing you to take your time when shooting. You can’t just rapid fire; you need to steady your aim and fire if you want to hit your target.
- Your Choices Matter
Perhaps what I love most about Red Dead Redemption II is that violence isn’t the only option. Sure, I’ve chosen the path of the outlaw and have been playing very violently, but I like that the game gives you the option to handle certain situations in a more peaceful manner. For instance, I’ve already encountered a handful of scenarios where I had the option to either kill someone or set them free. Some I’ve killed and others I have spared. At completely random points in the game, I’ve encountered some of those people and they’ve rewarded me for my kindness. Makes me wonder about the ones I wasn’t so kind to…
Additionally, the honor system actually affects how people treat you. If you have high honor, people will respect you, you’ll unlock new outfits, and you’ll receive discounts at shops. If you’re like me and have next to no honor, people will fear you and you’ll score more loot off of bodies. I will say that it’s pretty lame that there are way more benefits to having good honor. I would like to see Rockstar Games release an update that gives you more perks for being a dirty, rotten scoundrel.
Have you played Red Dead Redemption II yet? What are your thoughts? Do you share the same appreciation for it that I do? Are there other things that you appreciate about it? Share your thoughts in the comments!