Red Dead Redemption II (Early Impressions)

So it was with great anticipation that I loaded Rockstar Games latest opus, Red Dead Redemption II. Critic reviews have been overwhelming positive, but I was still a bit nervous if the game would rise above the original, and other games that have come out in the last couple of months.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (1)

These images don’t do justice to the HDR lighting, but you can appreciate the level of detail.

It seems my fears were unfounded because Red Dead Redemption II is an absolute masterpiece, and probably one of the best open world games ever made. For me, it is looking likely to be GOTY.

Firstly, the graphics. Everything has been animated and looks absolutely gorgeous. The variety of outfits and costumes is amazing for decking out Arthur Morgan, the main protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your play style). Clothing is not just cosmetic, but stops you from freezing to death if you wear the appropriate attire. Arthur can also grow a beard, and you can shave it off anytime you like (I chose to have a beard). You also have to wash, and stay clean if you don’t want people to avoid you. Too much blood and gore and it you start to really stink.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (3)

You’ll find yourself not wanting to fast travel, but take the in game forms of transport.

I doubt you’ll find a better looking game on console. Just as in previous Rockstar titles, if you equip multiple weapons they are fully animated and appear on your horse and person. When the sun sets or rises, my jaw dropped. On the Xbox One X, Red Dead Redemption II runs in native 4K and HDR. Simply stunning.

The sound is equally amazing and with a proper surround sound setup (which you can tweak in the in game audio settings) it is completely realistic. My wife came out last night saying I should go check on our dog because he was barking, but the noise was actually a dog barking at my horse in-game. Similarly a gunshot echoing in a valley sounded so realistic I thought I better turn it down for fear of worrying the neighbours. Luckily I have a decent gaming headset as well for the evenings.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (5)

Like the previous game’s John Marston, Arthur Morgan is a complex and fascinating character. Voice acting is top notch too.

The open world is just so alive and so realistic. There hasn’t been a better game world in terms of random encounters and events. The fact that Rockstar Games has also allowed you to completely tweak the HUD as well is an absolute stroke of genius. I love playing with the HUD completely turned off, and certain prompts appear dynamically. You can even use a phone or tablet to bring up the in game map via the companion app, which is great.

It is very easy to get lost in this huge world once you get past the the introduction. I found myself playing poker for two hours, and it is even further refined from the original game. You can also play dominoes, which is also a lot of fun. Blackjack also makes a return as does Five Fingered Fillet. Your horse is a true companion, and you as you build a further bond with your trusty stead you’ll gain more skilled maneuvers, health and stamina for your horse. It is important to feed and care for your horse as well as yourself.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (2)

Just gorgeous.

I am only about 12 hours into the game, but I know based on what I’ve seen so far the game could easily surpass the 100 hour mark. I don’t want to say too much more, for fear of spoiling something that you should experience yourself. This is one game you simply have to play and is true sandbox gaming at its absolute finest.

It might be a while but I’ll post up a full review in the coming weeks.

8 replies »

  1. I’m probably going to wait until the price drops on this before I buy it. I love Westerns, but most Rockstar games, to me, are overrated. I didn’t enjoy GTA V and I’m not a Rockstar fan. I have enjoyed what I’ve seen of the game on Twitter though. I’m glad you’re enjoying you new game :). I’ll probably pick this up on the PS4 during a dry spell. I have so many games to play at the moment that I don’t mind whatsoever missing out on this one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’ll really enjoy this one mate. I agree about having too many games to play, but I couldn’t help myself. I absolutely love the time period. If anything, I think Rockstar Games has undersold RDR II. It is far superior to all of their other games, and a lot more.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have no doubt that I would enjoy it :). I just can’t buy any games until I’m done Christmas shopping and I’m pretty set with new games right now. The only other game I really want to buy this year is Pokemon on the Switch and I might not even be able to do that right away :(. After Christmas though… I’m getting everything I skipped on lol.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I know what you mean Drakulus. I still need to buy God of War, Spiderman and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (eventually). Far too much to play at the moment.


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