The release day of Red Dead Redemption 2 has arrived and brings a Day 1 update. Although not technically required, Rockstar recommends that you download the patch to get "a bunch of tweaks, last-minute bugs, and fixes." Because the game is so extensive, we've started putting together instructions and tips to help you make the most of your experience. There are also cheats that will be uncovered along with other secrets in the coming days and weeks. Read on for our full review of Red Dead 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game of consequences in which you have only the illusion of choice. Yes, there are some decisions that need to be made, and those choices will shape your character and the world around you. But some of the most fateful decisions were made for you before the game even starts, and you have to deal with the fallout. And because it's a prequel to Red Dead Redemption, you (probably) also know how the story ends. All that's left is to discover what's going on in between and make the most of it. To this end, you are fighting against the repetitive nature of missions, frequent moral dilemmas, and the inconvenience of doing the right thing. For the most part, the frustration that can cause tension is also the effect of the story, and when all comes together, your effort is not wasted.
At the beginning of Red Dead Redemption 2, the Van der Linde gang is already on the decline, as we know from the previous game. After a robbery run in Blackwater they are on the run, a few members and on the brink of capture, hunger and succumbing to a blizzard. There are familiar faces – Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston boss among them – as well as new ones. As Senior Member Arthur Morgan, you are in the privileged position of being the right hand of Dutchman Van der Linde, privy to his machinations and key games. Once the gang escapes the storm and settles on a temporary campsite, you are also held responsible for the camp's finances, which means that you select all upgrades and supplies. When Dutch is the center of the gang, Artus borders on all its vital parts at the same time, and that gives you a lot of power.
With this power you are encouraged to do whatever you think is right and to keep pace. A long series of story missions will give you some insight into some of the ways you can spend your time, including hunting, fishing, horse breeding and robbery. There are many systems, and covering the basics takes several hours. Although they are not so well-camouflaged that they do not feel like tutorials, the actual learning is well fitted into the integration with the story and the missions familiarize you with the characters and the environment. For example, the Fishing "Tutorial" has you young Jack Marston for the day, since John is not great at paternity. Jack is pure and sweet – and incredibly vulnerable to the misconduct of all gangs – and the mission is memorable.
In addition to the mechanisms of the various activities, you will also be presented with some elements of semi-realism you must struggle with. Basically, you have to eat to replenish your health, stamina, and dead-eye skills that are consumed over time. Eating too much or too little will result in weight changes and debilitating spells. The food itself is not a problem, nor is it that you generally get the kernels, but enough to eat to maintain an average weight is intrusive; Although I experimented with what and how often I ate, I could not get Arthur out of the underweight area, and eating more often would be too time consuming. You do not have to sleep (although you can pass the time and fill up your cores), and the survival of hot or cold temperatures depends on choosing the right outfit from your article wheel so that your weight is superfluous and not conducive to immersion ,
Limited fast travel options are the better-implemented side of Red Dead 2 realism, perhaps counterintuitive. There are almost no quick trips at the beginning and few methods in general, so you need to rely on your horse to get around. It may be slow, but there is no shortage of things to do and see along the way. Chance encounters are numerous and often interesting; You could find a stranger who needs a ride into town or a snakebite victim who needs someone to suck the poison out of their wounds. You can find a grotesque murder scene that gets you completely out of control, or you can ignore someone in danger and just drive on. And just as you can choose to rob or kill anyone, you will also meet people who do the same to you. Even the longest rides are not wasted time, and it's hard not to feel like missing out on a quick trip.
Red Dead Redemption 2's version of America is wide and wide open, stretching from snow-capped mountains and the Great Plains down to the original game of New Austin in the southwest. Further east is the Louisiana-inspired Deep South, which still feels the effects of the Civil War after almost 40 years. There is a clear shift when traveling from region to region; Just as grassy slopes become alligator-filled swamps, Union veterans give way to the Confederate's angry ally, and good intentions and casual racism become despair and utter bigotry. Diversity makes the world rich, and it responds to you and changes regardless of your involvement; New buildings will grow in size over time, and some of the people you talk to will remember long after you first meet them (for the better or worse).
Random moments that you discover make up a large part of life's morale system in which you gain and lose honor due to your actions. "Good" morality is relative – after all, you're a gang member – but in general it's more honorable to beat down than down. To help an outsider, even if it is an escaped convict, and even if you have to kill some policemen or robbers, you can earn good points. In these situations, it is easier to be nobler than a true outlaw. To commit a dishonorable crime is difficult to decipher, even in remote places, and usually you have to locate and threaten a witness, run and hide from the law, or pay a premium across the board. While you make quicker money, doing "bad" things, you get a great discount in stores with high honors, and you'll make good money either through story missions.
In many ways, you are led to play a "good" Arthur. The gang members he is closest to from the beginning are the righteous, principled, motivated by loyalty and the desire to help others while offending, quarreling, and generally negatively responding to those who are hot-headed and vicious. The lazy of them is Micah, who is so easy to hate that it is hard not to follow Arthur's lead and take the higher road. Unlocking camp upgrades like One-Way Fast Travel and better deliveries also forces you to be honorable; Although everyone donates, you have to invest hundreds of dollars if you want to afford something, and that will automatically earn you a ton of honor points, whether you like it or not.
One of the best, understated details in the game is Arthur's Diary, in which he recounts big events, as well as random people you've met and more everyday things. He sketches places to go, scribbles the plants and animals you find, and writes out thoughts that he barely pronounces. The magazine changes with your honor, but at least for a relatively honorable Arthur, the pages are full of worries and existential crises – inner turmoil, for example, being either good or evil – that make you want to see him a better one Person.
Like any good prequel, there is unbelievable tension when you know what happens without knowing exactly how.
However, it is much harder to feel like a good guy on the missions of the main story. Arthur, along with almost everyone else, is first and foremost true to the gait. This means getting the Dutch into trouble, banishing friends from jail, and committing a series of robberies to raise money for the gang. Even if you try your best to be good, you will inevitably slaughter entire cities in prescribed story missions – stealth and non-lethal takedowns are not always an option, and the fast auto-lock target makes shooting much easier Option anyway. The dissonance is frustrating at the moment, but it's incredibly important to Arthur's story arc and understanding of the gang as a whole. To say more would venture into spoiler territory.
This extends to the structure of story missions, which become predictable at about halfway through the game. It's not that they are boring – in fact, the opposite is true and you see a lot of action from beat to beat. But after a while a pattern emerges and it's easy to figure out how a given robbery or raid will unfold. This also becomes frustrating, in part because you are often unable to influence the outcome, despite the decision-making power you might have. But your tiredness is also Arthur's, and that's crucial. The middle game drags itself into the service of the narrative, which only becomes visible much later. There is also enough variety between missions and free roam exploration to prevent it from becoming a tedious task.
Like any good prequel, there is an unbelievable amount of excitement to know what's going on without knowing exactly how. If you've played Red Dead Redemption, you know who will survive and probably will not come to the end of the game. Even during the slower parts, you wait for treachery and injuries and other events that you have only vaguely heard of. You wait for characters to reveal their true selves, and watch as everything unravels is captivating and heartbreaking, if you know what's coming.
You can still enjoy the story without this background knowledge. Some of the best moments of Red Dead Redemption 2 have almost no relation to their predecessor. A mission leads you to a campaign rally for women, and a painful side mission sees you facing a woman whose husband you killed and ruined your life. The new characters are also among the best; Sadie Adler is a personal favorite for reasons I will not spoil. Another, a young black man in the gang called Lenny, mentions how the Southerners treat him a little differently; Arthur says he did not notice anything strange, to which Lenny replies, "All respect, Mr. Morgan, you would not notice."
In general, Red Dead 2 treats relevant topics of the era with caution. Instead of defining each of its characters through the bigotry they experience, it allows them the space to be well-rounded individuals, while still not ignoring the fact that things like racism and sexism exist. A story arc focuses entirely on a very serious issue, and here, the lack of real choice in the direction of the story – and your resulting involvement in what is going on – is likely to distress you in a mighty way.
While Red Dead Redemption was primarily focused on John Marston's story, Red Dead 2 is about the entire Van der Linde gang – as a community, an idea, and the raging death rattle of the Wild West. It is also about Arthur, but as the lens through which you look at the gang, its very personal, very untidy story supports a larger story. Some frustrating systems and a predictable mission structure are good for this story, though it requires patience to see through it and understand why. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it's also an emotional, thought-provoking story, and it's a difficult world to leave when it's done.