Red Dead Redemption 2 – How I Rode Towards the Setting Sun

Sonnenaufgang bei Red Dead Redemption

Everyone has at least heard about Red Dead Redemption 2, and there are quite a lot of people who think it is the best game ever made (or at least in recent times). Even though I am not one of those people, I do appreciate the fact that for over 90 hours, I was able to forget where I am and what world is around me. For over 90 beautiful hours, I dreamt about riding my own horse through forests and tall grass. 

Bad Beginnings of Good Things 

But before that happened, I hit a brick wall. Maybe after 3-4 hours of playing for the first time, I  removed it from my drive and said, “How boring, how slow. I don’t understand how people can  play it.” And that was it – that was my first try. Arthur was running too slow; he was walking too  slow(!). I couldn’t shoot a gun properly; there were some weird people chasing me from time to time, and I couldn’t kill them properly. There was no story whatsoever to this game. So I stopped. 

But, living by certain rules (“There are certain books, paintings, and games an eloquent person  must know!”), after a good couple of months, I decided to give Red Dead Redemption 2 another go. I don’t really know how or why – was I that much of a different man? Had my life situation changed so much? Had I grown up in those couple of months? I don’t know, but my oh my, I was  sunk in from the first half-hour somehow.

It is not a game to play in a rush

The author, after 90 in-game hours

Everything was where it should be. Somehow, I  understood now what this game really is, what it requires. It is not a game you can put on 30  minutes before dinner to play a bit. It is not a game to play in a rush. To play it (properly), you  must immerse yourself in the Wild West. You need to forget where you are, in which year you are, and who you are, and you must become a cowboy. Then everything will fall into place.

You slowly  walk through Valentine, sucking snake venom out of some poor lad’s legs in the forest, hunting  bears or deer. And while you’re slowly going through this world, suddenly you’ll notice all those  awful mechanics which are making the game so slow and irritating are here for a purpose. You need to skin an animal before selling the skin; you must clean your revolver once in a while for it  to shoot properly; you need to bond with your horse for it to run better and faster. And more, much  much more, tiny little things which are building this world and your experience in it. 

Grab Your Hat and Start Shooting, Goddamn It! 

The story of the game starts somewhere in the middle of some great failure. No one really shows  you what happened, how it happened, or why. Everything you learn from conversations with your companions. And those companions are probably the most important thing at the beginning. You will talk with them, help them, and with time love/hate them throughout the whole game.

You’ll  build relations with them and with other folks you’re going to meet, and your character – Arthur  Morgan – will become the scariest bastard on this side of the country, or he’ll be the best person to meet when you’re in trouble – it depends only on you.

The morality system in the game works just  fine, showing how easy it is to fall from grace and how fast people can turn on you – one person killed, one shop robbed, and suddenly everyone is afraid. And it is really easy to incidentally get  into a fistfight on the street or even kill someone. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Facts

  • Title: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Prequel: The game is a prequel to Red Dead Redemption and the third game in the Red Dead series overall.
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4
  • Release Date: October 26, 2018 (PS4 and Xbox One), November 5, 2019 (PC)

The story itself is slow; the game treats the player fairly but doesn’t hold your hand through this experience almost at all. It helps, true, but you must remember things on your own if you don’t  want to go to the menu and check how or what every 20 minutes. There were things I was “re discovering” again almost finishing the game in my last 2-3 hours of the game which I managed to forget and which would make my life much easier.

Sit Here, by the Fire, and Tell Me Who You Are? 

The story about Arthur Morgan and Dutch van der Linde and his gang is deep and real. If you’re looking for a nice, fun, short(!) game which will leave you feeling good – just leave now. I am a sucker for a good story. And Red Dead Redemption 2 has a good story. Was it the best story ever  told? No, was it the best story in gaming history? No (the title still belongs to Planescape: Torment in my opinion).

But when you combine the gameplay, the way of narration, the story, and the pure fun of being a cowboy in the last days of the Wild West – it is certainly worth knowing. Maybe I would perceive the story differently if I knew Red Dead Redemption, which I never played sadly, but I think the story in the second part is good enough on its own.

If you’re  looking for a nice, fun, short(!) game which will leave you feeling good – just leave now. I am a sucker for a good story.

The author – after the playthrough

Being honest, I am thinking about those couple things I could still do before riding towards the last missions in the game. About animals to hunt, poker games to win, some new treasure to hunt… Maybe next time I will slow down even more… and play for 130 hours and not “only” 94. But I bet I will still be  thinking that I could do something more – and that’s what I am calling a good game. 

Mateusz Bobinski
About Mateusz Bobiński 2 Articles
When he is not busy dwelling deep into philosophy and axiology he enjoys playing games on his PS5, reading manga and books and spending time with his wife riding motorcycle or walking their dog.

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