If you’re not familiar with the series, this is actually the third game in the Red Dead series that started with Red Dead Revolver, which I’ve never played. It was followed up by the very successful and great Red Dead Redemption, which I now intend to replay to piece the two games together. Basically RDR is like GTA, but a Western version of it, so horses instead of cars. I really loved the horses. I only ever had an Arabian breed as my main horse for a long period of time, but there are lots of other breeds you can get. I found out early on what the best horses were and how to get them. There’s a white Arabian you can tame near the bigger frozen lake up North. In this game, you’re pretty much a gunslinger named Arthur, who’s in a gang. I personally think the story is fantastic and emotionally moving. I won’t give away spoilers, but even when I discovered a spoiler, I was still quite affected by some of the events of the game. It’s interesting that I love this game so much, because I’m not into guns, hunting, and thieving, but this game puts them together and does a really great job of it.
Unfortunately the game is not without it’s flaws. The majority of issues I saw were minor, but visual as some object didn’t render properly. I visited one character who had a floating candle in front of him. I decided to share that with Rockstar tech support/customer service and it seems to have been fixed. However, this wasn’t the only bug I spotted and shared with Rockstar and about half the time I found their representatives to be quite unhelpful as though they hadn’t even read my ticket. Eventually, I pretty much gave up on reporting these issues as I had a few bad experiences with them. This I find to be unique as most other companies have excellent tech support customer service representatives. The game did not always do well with the Steam overlay, so I disabled that after a while. Sometimes, after using the overlay’s web browser, the overlay/web browser would stay on screen even though I had told it to close or tried to close it with TAB and SHIFT. This in turn made me rely on ALT-TAB to look up things on the Internet and keep track of that 100% completion checklist I was working on. Unfortunately, sometimes this caused the game to crash. Sometimes the game would stutter for a few seconds, but this was uncommon and didn’t last very long. I think perhaps something else was going on with my PC, but perhaps I’m wrong. Still, it was uncommon enough to live with. Other than that, the game ran smoothly, extremely well. I was impressed! In fact, the game’s benchmarking tool ran a lot smoother than GTAV’s, which made me think about how they’ve optimized the engine. I thought RDR2 ran better than GTAV, but after playing the latter again for a bit, I noticed that it doesn’t render the same way in-game as it does in the benchmark. In the benchmark, things pop in on screen instead of naturally gradually, maybe it’s that the view distance is short, but I didn’t see this in RDR2, except in one area later in the game.
There is a lot to do in RDR2. The story is set in chapters. Chapter 1 gives you an introduction to the game’s controls and mechanics. There are only a couple of missions, before it moves on. Once you’re in Chapter 2, the world opens up, but not completely. There is one area you cannot go until much later in the game. Even if you avoid the law, you will be killed by “invisible snipers.” In a way, this is disappointing that a big part of the game is locked, because it prevents you from completing some tasks, such as studying all the plants in the game. In Chapter 2, it’s a good idea to do some of the story missions to get you started. One will open up a fence, which is someone you can sell stolen goods to, who also accepts wagons. Another will take you on a hunt for a Legendary animals. These are rare single animals in the wild you can track, kill, and trade in their carcass or pelt to the trapper and get another material you can take to the fence to create a trinket. Trinkets give you a permanent bonus, so it’s a good idea get these as soon as possible. Otherwise this is a perfect time to go exploring and doing a lot of non-story things. The game will tell you about some of these things, for instance there are Challenges where you need to do something to complete and when you do, you’ll rank up and eventually complete it. When you complete Challenges, the trapper will have new improved equipment unlocked that you can buy. This equipment often does things like increase ammo capacity and reduce maintenance needed for your guns. Having a completed set of this equipment will unlock a bonus to one of your stats, depending on the equipment. Stats in the game include health, stamina, and Dead Eye. The latter is kind of like V.A.T.S. in Fallout, it slows down time and allows you to aim and shoot. It can even highlight the areas on the animal or person you want to shoot for a critical hit. Although the full part of this feature isn’t unlocked until later in the game. It’s a very handy skill, one of the most important indeed. You’ll want to keep your Dead Eye bar filled as you may be wanting to use this often. You can replenish it with food, tonics, or getting kills without using it.
Hunting and fishing is an activity you can do, which I enjoyed even though I don’t hunt or like hunting in real life. Non-Legendary animals come in three qualities; poor, good, and perfect. If you kill a perfect animal with a critical shot that doesn’t damage the pelt, then you can get a perfect pelt from it. These are often needed for crafting different materials and also an optional hunting quest you can do. You use your Dead Eye ability to slow time and it will show you trails of animals that you can track and follow. No matter what animal you kill, you’ll get some meat from skinning it. You’ll want to set up camp often as sleeping restores your stats and it allows you to cook and craft items. You can then later eat the food you’ve cooked or found while you’re in a gun fight. There are herbs you can use as seasoning that will give the meat you cook certain advantages; like one will give you a bonus to health. However, I very rarely used any of the meat I cooked nor any of the food items I picked up in the world. Still, I enjoyed looting everything.
When you complete a story mission, you’ll be given a bronze, silver, or gold reward for it. These pertain to hidden objectives within the mission. If you complete all of them, you get a gold reward. I’m not sure if there’s anything related to getting gold in every mission, but it seems like a lot to do. This isn’t that different than GTAV’s missions.
There is really a lot about this game to talk about and it’s kind of hard not to find spoilers if you’re looking for information on something. I wanted to work on the 100% completion achievement, but by finding out what I had to do for it, I ended up meeting some spoilers. Although that didn’t change the game for me, I still enjoyed it very much.
I definitely recommend playing this if you’re into this kind of game or if it sounds like something you’d be interested in. It’s not too incredibly flawed and I got really attached to the characters and my horses. This is a game that will keep making you want to come back for more and play it all that you can, or at least that was my experience with it.
Oh, I also recommend using the keyboard and mouse controls instead of a controller. Even though this game was born on consoles, it translated quite perfectly to the PC’s keyboard and mouse. The mouse aids in aiming and guiding your horse or looking around. My only recommendation would be to change the Dead Eye key from the mouse scroll wheel button to CAPS LOCK as it can be tricky to trigger in it’s default setting.
So, what do you think about this? Have you played this game or RDR? Does Red Dead Online appeal to you? What did you think about it? Let me know what you think. If you want to talk about spoilers, I could create another post so we can do that.