Editors’ Choice 2018: Why Red Dead Redemption 2 is One of 2018’s Best Games

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Editors’ Choice 2018: Why Red Dead Redemption 2 is One of 2018’s Best Games

Rockstar Games tells one of 2018’s most compelling tales.

Video game prequels are tricky. These games are tasked with simultaneously advancing the gameplay experience while rewinding the narrative. Sometimes we get gameplay mechanics that don’t gel within the world established by the original, or new stories that are about as impactful as dynamite without a fuse.

Rockstar Games’ latest opus, Red Dead Redemption 2, not only avoids all these prequel pitfalls, it also pulls off the moonshot of enhancing John Marston’s original genre-defining adventure from the previous game.

Like Marston before him, anti-hero Arthur Morgan comes across as a typical cowboy at first, then opens up to reveal surprising depth. The stoic protagonist has a wry wit, refreshing self-awareness, and general nuance that makes him feel believable and relatable. He’s the kind of guy that won’t flinch when busting a fellow outlaw out of jail, but still takes the time to teach a young boy to fish. Arthur’s fellow gang members — like the charismatic leader Dutch and revenge-driven Sadie — offer a colorful, morally fluid contrast to our hero’s development.

While John Marston has an important supporting role in Arthur’s tale, this game connects to the original Red Dead with impressive elegance. We won’t spoil specifics for you here, but every moment with John in Red Dead Redemption 2 adds valuable context and weight to the events of the previous game. Don’t be surprised if you feel like firing up PlayStation Now to relive John’s remarkable tale.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s trail splits off from the original with its unprecedented attention to detail. The talented Rockstar devs have crafted animations for everything from simply picking up a can of beans to skinning a deer with unnerving realism. Even shop catalogues are elaborate, in-universe ads rather than basic menus. The experience is less traditionally “video gamey” than the original and more of a cowboy life simulation.

Adjusting to Rockstar’s new focus on meticulous detail takes some time, but eventually the deliberate nature of the game pulls you deeper into the gang’s hard living. For example, money is scant early on, so you’re encouraged to hunt for game to earn money. You’ll need to track your prey, shoot it, follow its bloody trail through the woods, finish it off, and then either skin it on site or stow the whole corpse on your horse to sell it later. Be careful though, because your meat will spoil if you don’t get it to a butcher in time. This grounded gameplay forces players to be deliberate, and strongly reinforces the vibe of frontier living .

Speaking of the frontier, Rockstar’s Wild West is a postcard-worthy spectacle. Beautiful locales like snowy mountain peaks, green-splotched prairies, and swamps canopied with cypress trees offer so many stunning landscapes that Bob Ross himself would blush. These locations are brought to life with realistic weather effects and convincing animal life. Fleeing a pack of snarling wolves snapping at your spurs while a thunderstorm rolls across the planes is just one memorable example of how this world seems so uniquely alive.

Rockstar’s interpretation of the Wild West offers more fun beyond the solitary cowboy tale. Posse up with friends in Red Dead Online to take on narrative-driven missions, sometimes featuring characters from the main game. Additional activities like stealing horses or hijacking wagons become more intense when fending off rival players looking to steal your haul. Rockstar has already started refining the economy and overall experience of Red Dead Online, and if GTA Online is any indication, gunslingers everywhere have a lot to look forward to.

The gaming world stops to pay attention when Rockstar releases a new game, and it’s for good reason. The uncanny realism of Red Dead Redemption 2’s world, along with its top-in-class narrative, make it one of 2018’s must-plays.

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  • Orionsangel

    and why Sadie is one of the best female characters of the year.

  • shadowmordorland

    Yeah that was nice but it wasnt that much nice proplem in story telling the game doesnt know that it want to be reall sad or funny it isnt gta v its a reall story mu vote is 9.5 from 10

  • SuperGoatGuy

    One of the best games I’ve ever played

  • RyantheTNTGamerB

    Best game I ever played for now

  • GoDzGiaMMa-

    Who hasn’ t played this game, can’ t understand how much it is fantastic.

  • silentsniper1220

    It was very good and impactful on the narrative of the story, it was so impactful that I teared up at the end before prologue. This game deserves a lot of praise although of some things that weren’t that great like the forcefulness of mission like on where to park. But not all games are perfect and a great game.

  • LiL_kermit28

    This was the best game I played all year 2nd is Black Ops 4

  • coolrunnings516

    Fortnite is best Game

  • Nyafetello95

    I played a lot of games, but this one is the best. I loved it in every shape. A story that leaves you something really beautiful. Once again, thanks to Rockstar Games for this masterpiece. Every person should play it

  • iBlackChiken

    Well I played this game on the launch version of the ps4 and let me tell you the graphics are awesome

  • Loved every minute of it…!

  • MilSpecSniper1

    So far its pretty cool.. I have never been a Red Dead fan but after playing RDR2 I am beginning to come around. Very nice !

  • Great game so far, I just got it last week, only on chapter 2 though, but this game has still managed to be number three so far. Coming behind Spider-Man and Detroit: Become Human. It may be better than Detroit but I don’t see it beating Spider-Man to me.

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