‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is the game that puts an end to the idea of a ‘GTA’ with horses. Neither makes sense nor is defining what it is really capable of offering. Rockstar is crowned with a work that has it difficult to maintain or exceed the numbers of its other great franchise, but that undoubtedly is a much bigger, ambitious and outstanding game.
The Houser brothers, and the immense team that accompanies them, sign a history of endearing anti-heroes with whom it is very difficult not to end up connecting, a rhythm and mechanics that it is difficult to disengage from and a visual portent that is impossible not to applaud. With it, the name, the polemics or the figures that can reap, do not detract from what is really key in ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’: be one of the most important games in the history of the medium.
What is ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’?
If it does not sound good, do not worry, it’s very likely that you’ll get tired of seeing it on billboards and bus shelters in the next few weeks. If you end up calling your attention, my recommendation is to first go through ‘Red Dead Redemption’, the game that started the story and for which ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ serves as a prequel, but it is not an indispensable requirement to enjoy this delivery.
Here, in an open world based on the last throes of the Wild West, a gang of outlaws reaches the point of suffocation that technology and progress are spreading throughout the United States. What used to be an area without law, is now under the weight of a government that wants to end at all costs with violence, assaults on trains and robberies to banks in which the money that should catapult industrial growth is deposited.
Under the control of Arthur Morgan, one of the most recognized members of the band, we lived those last days of the era of gunmen and the future of a group of misfits who do not know whether to fall into despair or madness. Getting gold and running away seems the only possible way, but it certainly is not going to be an easy task.
Nor is it to address a genre manido ad nauseum, the open world, with a historical era that is not usually synonymous with best sellers. But of course, we are not talking about any company or any videogame. We talk about Rockstar and ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’.
A step forward
Positioning itself as a key title in an industry that generates millions of euros a year, and has some of the most outstanding creative minds in the world of digital entertainment, is no small thing. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ does not do it for fun or beautiful, in spite of being too, but for how it takes a genre loaded with ups and downs and twists it to continue extracting juice.
And it is that open world games we have seen many. Sometimes a pure copy of what was in his day ‘GTA III’. Others feeding the idea based on mergers that go from the RPG in ‘The Witcher 3’ to the driving in ‘Forza Horizon 4’. However it is Rockstar which, in the same way as ‘Uncharted’ and Naughty Dog do with the action titles, marks the way for the rest of the games in the genre.
Now you not only have a huge map with lots of things to do, with an interesting story and some mechanics that manage to offer something more than having you running from here to there. Now you are also in a living world that has everything you need to act on it with every step you take. Talking to a character in a normal situation has a response of animation and dialogue, smelling choto after being several days without washing has another, and drunk another one, and if that character is doing something will also be affected, and If you come to massacre half the city … Just do not finish it.
It is practically impossible to embrace everything that is able to offer at the level of detail. A huge, overwhelming experience, destined to arrive as you get to that point you have the feeling that the world is alive. It is not a question of muscle, it is to create an ecosystem in which everything that surrounds you adapts to that precise moment.
Care to the smallest details
Of course it is not something that any video game studio can aspire to. Not everyone can afford 300,000 different animations, more than 500,000 lines of dialogue for 700 dubbing actors and a recording of 2,200 days. First because it is crazy. Second because nobody else has the ambition or the need to create something that only a tiny part of the players will end up seeing.
Something similar happens with the level of detail it intends. In any other video game, after hunting an animal you would see a generic animation to imply that the character is skinning that piece. Here, each animal has its own animation, be that opening the shell of a duck or skinning a buffalo meticulously.
The challenge of recreating everything that could come out in a western film, from a sunset to the action that a helper performs in the background while the protagonist speaks, is palpable here at every step. Sometimes even causing one of those options is not the most comfortable for the player.
Let’s take the example of going to buy a rifle. You enter the store, the shopkeeper greets you and makes a comment about your condition. You ignore it. You walk around the shelves, you grab something that catches your attention to look at it carefully, you turn it, you approach it to the camera and then you leave it.
After that, you go to the counter to see a catalog. In it, all the options you have at your disposal raised in a menu by pages in which each section has its fake ads, its highlighted price and an illustration. As you have already chosen the rifle that you are going to buy, you take it, study it, see how it looks when you aim it and how it looks in the form of materials or engravings that you want to add.
You can do all that in a matter of seconds, through a menu that would skip most of the steps. But there is the option to go one step further. To remove all hints of menus or messages of help so that this scene can be trimmed and placed in a feature film without anyone missing or it seems strange nothing of what appears in it. The challenge of posing that is crazy. Doing it with the level of quality offered by ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is absolutely insane.
Well, nice and huge
But not only to translate into curiosity code Rockstar lives, also must make a fun game with an interesting story. Here the assessment can always be more subjective, but I will not be the one to get off the donkey to deny its merit.
With ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ I’ve been a hair of tears, more by emotion for the experience than by looking for easy tears. It seems to me, as the first installment achieved, one of the best stories about the Wild West that I have faced.
There is no complaint in the playable beyond a slow start, mainly caused by horseback riding and shooting. This last one pending subject to which Rockstar follows without reaching the excellence in spite of putting desire in which to variety of situations and approach of the confrontations talks about.
I have enjoyed it enormously and, less than 20% of completing it 100%, and after several days playing in more than 10 hours, I still want to be able to count on a time gap to be able to return to it. It is not easy to achieve that. Neither keep you constantly engaged, nor prevent you from getting tired after running the credits.
That beyond the main story there is always something to do, be it helping someone in trouble passing by, going hunting, or just playing cards, it’s part of the secret of a salsa in which to move Arthur Morgan, its protagonist, is the special ingredient. Seldom have I felt such a strong connection with a character and so eager to discover what the future holds for him and all those around him.
The essence is that, to the surprise of no one, Rockstar has done it again. Not that ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ was postulated as one of the great games of the year before his first trailer, is that on arrival is able to exceed all expectations. A game that lands as essential and, in addition, promises new surprises when a month from now publish its online mode. Another circus flip of which we know nothing and, despite this, we know almost certainly that will not disappoint.