Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Assistant Graphics Editor
“Red Dead Redemption 2” is nothing short of a beautifully crafted narrative complemented by an expansive world filled to the brim with things to do. Whether you stumble upon a rival gang camp that needs disposing of, find a legendary animal to hunt or help a stranger with a snake bite, this game world consistently surprises the player.
You play as Arthur Morgan, a tough and loyal right hand man to Dutch van der Linde, leader of the Van Der Linde gang. The characters all start the game trying to survive from their previously botched heist in the town of Blackwater, which resulted in a few deaths before the game begins.
As much as Arthur is the protagonist, following Dutch and his descent to madness, which serves as a prequel to the original “Red Dead Redemption,” is incredibly captivating. Witnessing someone in control gradually breakdown while trying to escape the law and their past was devastating. Not only was it sad to watch, but the rest of the gang slowly fell apart, as Arthur realizes that Dutch and the life of being an outlaw are over.
Arthur Morgan is one of the most human characters that has been brought to my screen in recent memory. His gradual change of heart made me bond with this character so much, as you watch him battle with himself and others regarding the life they all live. All throughout the game, there are several instances where you are given choices to play honorable or dishonorable. Most of the decisions Arthur makes should lead the character to be more honorable as the game progresses, especially nearing the game’s finale.
Throughout these missions, Arthur truly shows his hope for a world where people can be together and live freely, without having to result in the tired life of an outlaw like himself. The truth about Arthur is the reality that he is irredeemable despite his efforts to be a good man. His push to do the right thing makes his character more depressing as his past catches up with him and he is unable run from the mistakes he made.
While the narrative is intense, the gameplay takes a bit to get used to. For example, there is no way any player of this game will not immediately smash their horse into a tree. After getting used to the “Dead Eye” system, combat is more fun and feels a lot more fluid and rewarding. This alone creates a love for the shooting gallery missions, where you are pitted against legions of bandits and gunmen, all the while gaining more weapons and upgrading your “Dead Eye” abilities.
Finally, in addition to its incredible world and fun gameplay, the most important thing in this game is its story. It captures so many emotions, and catches the player’s sympathies for the characters.
Combine the masterful storytelling with an incredible soundtrack featuring work from Willie Nelson, Josh Homme and even Nas, and Rockstar Games has easily produced one of the best games of the year, if not the decade.