You are Arthur Morgan.
A lone ranger in the old west who is a member of a small group of misfit ‘cowboys’. Neither good or bad, forging your way, your life through the increasingly shrinking untamed wild west.
The game players had waited eight years for. The sequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption from Rockstar Games is the most sought after and coveted title this year.
Some time has passed since the first Red Dead and America has changed. A lot.
Western rebel pockets of old skool days were dissolving as the western parts of the U.S. became more industrial, commercial, advanced in industry and overall, more civilized.
The game is bigger than big – exactly what Red Dead Redemption 2 fans had hoped for, spanning across five fictitious states of the US; New Hanover, Lemoyne, Ambarino being the new ones and New Austin and West Elizabeth having been dramatically expanded from the first Red Dead.
Gameplay, third and at times a first person perspective, ushers you in. The first chapter is slow going as you get to grips with the game, it’s mechanics and you’re enveloped in to the story.
Dutch van der Linde and John Marston return from the original Red Dead, Van der Linde having his own gang which you are the Lieutenant of.
But being an ole west gang of horse riding outlaws is not as easy as it used to be. It’s the turn of the century, 1899. Law enforcement is cracking down on the small pockets of west gangs and after a ferry heist goes wrong, yourself and the rest of the Van der Linde group are hiding out in a ‘safe’ area known as Blackwater.
This mountain top hideout is scarce on resources so you must pilfer what you can from any small dwellings and settlements that you find.
It is while being here that it is discovered a rival gang are close by. They have a train robbery plot in the works. Van der Linde wants in.
A few shoot outs and a bit of interrogation sees the Van der Linde group with you at the forefront instigate the last big windfall. The heist that will produce enough wealth for the rest of their lives.
But the riches on the train belonged to an oil magnate called Leviticus. He is not one to be taken advantage of and he hires Detectives to track down and take out all of the Van der Linde members, including you.
While on the run from the fuzz you come across two warring families over Yankee Gold – and guess what, yup, you want that gold. But again, not all goes to plan for our guys and eventually they are embroiled in a civil war.
Being a bunch of rebellious blokes, each with their eyes on the prize it also doesn’t take much for a bit of tension within the ranks and there are moments where you’re not too sure who to trust.
But trust is not Arthur’s main concern as the game progresses onwards and there becomes a time of much needed reflection…
For the most part Red Dead Redemption 2 will see you either on horseback or running about expansive and crucially detailed landscapes, from snowy mountains through to dusty towns and everything inbetween.
Pistols, shotguns explosives and more are your arsenal, selectable via a weapon wheel which you can swap out on the fly. You even have a rope for that cowboy-esque lasso – and hog-tying foes that you either choose not to kill, or shouldn’t kill as they might have info that you need.
Red Dead Redemption 2 successfully combines adventure, action and RPG in to one – without a too heavier focus on RPG.
You’ll collect up items, food and essential always seems to be paramount but scarce.
Red Dead Redemption 2 ultimately engrosses you into the story. And it’s an ever evolving narrative with so many twists, turns and surprises that you are compelled to play on.
A huge game – a game that keeps on giving, you’ll be looking at around 40+ hours to get through the story.
Best played on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X to really allow your senses to feast on the sheer detail put in to this game.
Rockstar Games absolutely put their heart and soul in to the development of their titles. The once rebels themselves who bought us GTA (Grand Theft Auto) series have the highest quality control of any video game developers and it shows within each frame, every action, all dialogue of the film-esque narrative.
If you missed the first Red Dead redemption in 2010 Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent start. And while there is a backstory it is only really familiar to those that played the first one.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a standalone for newcomers to the series.
Fans cried out for it, all gamers rejoiced when it was first announced, and all of us, the players waited for Red Dead Day.
This IS the game for 2018.
Released: October 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Rockstar Games
Publisher: Rockstar Games