Arthur Morgan rides his horse through the fields of late nineeenth century southwest United States of America.

Blake Gee

Whether you’re hijacking a train, hunting a deer, or just sitting by a campfire, Red Dead Redemption 2 evokes the spirit of the Western era and brilliantly captures one of America’s largest transitional periods.

Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 released last month on Oct. 26 2018, and has exceeded every expectation set by the industry. Grossing more than $725 million, Red Dead Redemption 2 boasts the biggest opening weekend of all time, beating out even Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars, which raked out a respectable $640 million.

These metrics are not unusual for Rockstar Games. Their last released game, Grand Theft Auto V, grossed over $1 billion its first three days, and has earned over $6 billion in the six years that have passed since its original release in 2012.

The game is both a prequel and companion piece to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, which itself was a soft successor to Rockstar’s 2004 game titled Red Dead Revolver. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 sets off in the snowy north as Dutch Van Der Linde and his gang of bandits trudge through waist-high snow and howling wind, escaping from the law after a heist in a nearby town goes awry. Our protagonist is Arthur Morgan, a grizzled but soft hearted outlaw with a penchant for murder.

The story’s presentation is stunningly lifelike, with realistic facial and body animations, incredibly detailed character and environment models, and weather so fierce you can nearly feel the windchill. 

Some of the finest and most grand details rise in the minutiae of the world: Arthur’s facial hair grows in real time and must be groomed; his clothes and body get dirty and if he doesn’t bathe, characters will remark upon his hygiene and may even run away in disgust. Clothes must be appropriately fitted for the weather. Heavy clothes in warm weather will slow Arthur down and wear him out faster, while light clothes in the colder sections will cause him to freeze. Arthur must eat and sleep, while also practicing moderation: too much or too little of either can seriously impact player’s statistics. 

The attention to craft goes beyond just Arthur. Towns will grow or decay as time progresses, and buildings will gradually be erected or damaged walls will be repaired. Characters around the world will learn to recognize you, whether that’s for better or worse. 

For example, if you get into too many drunken brawls at the local bar, that town’s stores may refuse to serve you and the townsfolk will flee in terror. If you get into a gunfight and die in the city, you’ll respawn with a few lost dollars – indicating that someone looted your body. 

The player’s horse must be named and lovingly attended to as the player must feed and groom their steed to build their relationship. A malnourished or neglected horse will be distrusting or even violent towards Arthur. Unlike most games, the horses are not invincible – if they die, whether that be from combat, neglect, or a steep drop, the horse is lost permanently. 

Further, weapons are fully customizable, from the thickness of stock’s wood grain to the type of metal used on the rifling. They must be regularly cleaned and oiled, or else they will jam when the player most needs them. There is a wide assortment of weapons available, each with different types of ammunition to choose from.

Wildlife is a huge part of Red Dead Redemption 2’s dynamics, and Rockstar Games did not compromise in this department either. There are over two hundred unique species of animals, birds, and fish in the game world. Wolves will strategically close around 

“The game is so much fun. Teh graphics look like something out of a movie,” Florida Southern Colege Junior Benjamin Sund said. 

This all comes together to create one of the most impressively crafted worlds ever experienced, in any medium. 

Read Dead Redemption 2’s marquee features lie just under the hood. The game boasts a 2000-page script for the main storyline alone, as well as 2200 days of motion capture, 300,000 animations, and over 500,000 lines of dialogue.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s multiplayer mode, titled “Red Dead Online,” launched in beta this week. Made available first to Ultimate Edition owners on Tuesday, Nov 27, the Online beta is available to all owners of the game starting today, Nov 30. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on both Playstation 4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One and Xbox One X. 


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