Some are “just” video games, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an experience.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is out after years of development work at Rockstar’s offices around the world. Tens of thousands of some of the most grueling game development in the industry have yielded a product that has taken up much time from many game players around the world. What will it be that keeps people coming back for more? What is it exactly that gives the Red Dead series its esteemed reputation – what are the traits that makes these games so appealing?
In Rockstar’s depiction of Wild West America, the value proposition from the development team is not just a set of button presses that move along a story, but something of an alternate reality experience that continually invites more from players and gives back as they make time investments. While the main story of Arthur Morgan and the Van Der Linde Gang drives the game, there are many other compelling reasons to play Red Dead Redemption 2. Here are 15 Reasons Why I May Never Complete Red Dead Redemption 2.
The attractive world that sucks you right in.
Rockstar Games, in making Red Dead Redemption 2, aimed for a specifically high standard of realism in world crafting that they wanted players of this game to experience. Nature scenes rife with details and several dozens of ways that everything can reflect light or cast shadows. Changing of the seasons. Varying depictions of water. Animals, both savage and friendly. A world map much larger than that of the first game, and with it, new locations to explore. If the sheer sense of scale of the world isn’t impressed upon you simply by walking around and admiring the game environments, then it may just be the map that does the trick as you continue to explore the world around you. As you acclimate yourself to the complex and bustling environment within the early parts of the game, know that you’ll have the opportunity to do just that many more times later on in other locations.
The feeling of sitting idle in your tent whilst the rain falls
What’s better than visiting a YouTube video of the sound of rain falling for one hour? One of your better options would be playing Red Dead Redemption 2! More specifically, hanging out in your personal tent through rainfall. Arthur Morgan has his own tent that he sleeps in when the gang camps. For those of us who don’t happen to live in a forest or don’t live nearby a sports store, this is certainly a more attractive option. You’re certainly less likely to track mud, at the very least. It may be the case that many of us will not experience camping in our lifetime, and that may apply to some of those who are watching the video. If directly experiencing the Great Outdoors is too much of a difficult sell, then this may suffice for providing that “sitting alone on a rainy day in a coffee shop” experience. But with the added feeling of being able to be at home and alone in one’s thoughts!
The many random encounters that can occur anytime / anywhere and have long term consequences
Outside of the Van Der Linde gang, Red Dead Redemption 2 is full of people with their own struggles, priorities, and life stories. Some of them may ask for help, some of them may be asking for trouble (as can be expected in a time of outlaws, even if at this point in history the Wild West was in its twilight.) How you decide for Arthur Morgan to interact with other people in the world affects the in-game Honor system, returning from the first Red Dead Redemption game. “Honor” reflects the social standing of the player’s actions thus far; in essence, to do well by society and act appropriately engenders trust and yields a specific set of benefits, while acting outside the bounds of civilized behavior, or behaving “dishonorably”, earns opportunities of another sort.
Arthur Morgan is obviously not the only human being in the game; as such, with all of the other people that he will inevitably deal with, consistently choosing to be abrasive will yield more consequences, both direct and indirect. It’s most readily reflected in losing store discounts and losing increased drop percentages for looted items like food and jewelry, but can also be seen through how others will treat you, and even in how likely others may be to start fights with the player. As Arthur Morgan acts, the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 gives back!
The camp system in Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sophisticated system that behooves players to invest in it. Not too long into the game, players will unlock a base camp and a little afterwards, an accompanying ledger system that reflects a separate money account pooling the contributions of the Van Der Linde gang (that Arthur himself can contribute to out of his own pocket.) This account is to be used for varying aspects of the camp itself; the camp starts out as basic enough of a place to eat and sleep, but as you choose to purchase supplies or upgrade functions, the camp improves too. It takes a village, and it also takes the direction of Arthur Morgan to keep the society within the Van Der Linde gang satisfied and able to fulfill their roles within the group. And with a little direction, that village becomes something more akin to a self-contained social vigilante.
Being a rootin’ tootin’ gunslinger is an art form in itself in Red Dead Redemption 2. There are side quests that revolve around your sharpshooting skills, and there are more dimensions to using a firearm that go beyond “ready, aim, and fire.” The Dead Eye system and engaging in Duels with other characters are important aspects of being an outlaw with a weapon.
Duels are inevitable in the story itself. But besides these mechanics, you’ll be able to buy different firearms including sniper rifles, shotguns, and pistols, with similarly varying offensive properties. It will also be important to maintain your gun, as well, as opting not to do so will lead to a less operational weapon – more recoil, less damage, faults you don’t want to deal with. And let’s not forget that weapons in the game allow for some aesthetic touches through engravings and color choices!
Wasting time talking to NPCs and making them go crazy
The talents of more than 1,000 voice actors and actresses were used in order to populate the world of Red Dead Redemption 2. That’s a lot of people for Arthur Morgan to talk to, and that’s a lot of people to talk back to you. Those conversations can either go well, or poorly as you so choose. Everyone has their own personality and life circumstances. The most basic, generally non-disastrous choices of “Greeting” or “Antagonizing” the NPCs can yield all sorts of conversation paths. Being antagonistic is the path of choice for those looking for a little “spice” in Arthur Morgan’s social life. Eventually, with enough prodding your target will probably want to duel with you, so be prepared for what you sign up for when having “too much fun.”
Trying to kill every random bandit because I want to
As mentioned, at the point in history that Red Dead Redemption 2 reflects, the age of the American outlaw is on its way out. It could be the case that your direction for Arthur Morgan is such that you facilitate the future by culling the population of outlaws of your own volition. Whatever your purpose, the game allows you to shoot down fellow outlaws as you wish. You may want to keep in mind some of the aforementioned ways in which you can get lost playing the game if you opt to scrub the land clean of other vigilantes – particularly, wantonly killing other people within eyesight of civilians may lead to attracting unnecessary attention from law enforcement. Who else will they go after if there aren’t any other miscreants to place behind bars?
Having a wanted level in every town
For an outlaw, reputation is as important a currency as money itself. The people in Red Dead Redemption 2 are sensitive to the actions you take. You are “wanted” if you are noticed committing a crime in-game. The severity of being wanted correlates to the type of crime committed and whether a witness pegs Arthur Morgan as the perpetrator (and whether or not you as the player maintain the same look as when he performed a nefarious misdeed.) Once identified, a witness will then notify local law enforcement, thus solidifying Morgan as “wanted” and earning a bounty for him within a region of the map.
It may take some time playing through the main scenario of the game, but with enough plot progression and willingness to let the do-gooders of the world tattle on you to the sheriffs of the area, you can achieve the goal of being on the bad side of the law all throughout the map. Perhaps a separate question is whether or not paying off those bounties is of any interest.
Camp stories never get old
The Van Der Linde gang is full of colorful personalities who can be fun for a good chat. Aside from the ledger system and the responsibility of maintaining the camp, it’s relaxing to simply kick back and converse with your fellow outlaws. You can do so as you choose, and the freeform nature of the activity adds a comfortable sense of camaraderie, a sense that the camp is the home of the group and that there’s a real sense of shared identity connecting what might otherwise be a haphazard collection of individuals. Get to know your fellow outlaw; it’s an essential aspect of the world-building of the Red Dead Redemption 2.
Standing and enjoying the insane visuals and attention to graphics
A realistic aesthetic direction necessitates attention to detail and puts game hardware to work. It’s a vibrant world that players are greeted with whenever Red Dead Redemption 2 loads up, and Rockstar has expressly worked to make it so. It’s a technological marvel in terms of sheer ambition amongst other titles currently on the market – whether it be through the number of objects rendered, the overwhelming scale of everything contained in the game, or the fineness of the rendering assigned to everything that populates Red Dead Redemption 2.
Arthur Morgan is one outlaw in a vast world. It’s absolutely easy to get carried away with appreciating what Red Dead Redemption 2 has to offer. For a rough and tumble setting of lawbreakers, it’s certainly and ironically busy in a serene way.
Follow a proper schedule of eating, sleeping, and bathing
Arthur Morgan can be a badass outlaw, but he requires the attention of the player in order to bring the best out of him. Treat him as you would treat yourself; if you so choose to follow a regimented schedule of health and hygiene, you’ll find that Arthur Morgan won’t lack for stamina, and as a clean outlaw he’ll be slightly more appreciated amongst the people in Red Dead Redemption 2. Being well-groomed has its own benefits. It’s not as if players don’t have other options for Arthur Morgan’s lifestyle besides treating him as if he’s a grade-schooler, and it may seem odd for an outlaw to be so proper, but it is helpful in-game.
Hunt animals so that unique outfits can be crafted
Between alligators, deer, bears and other prey, Arthur Morgan has a lot of wildlife that he can pick fights with and win against. Besides acquiring meat, players can also use animal body parts to craft equipment that will enhance stats once in use. When not taking the time to appreciate the wildlife, attacking the many creatures throughout the game world will certainly prove useful. For the purpose of acquiring crafting goods, you’re much better off using cleaner methods of killing – bows are particularly useful in this regard. There are many factors that determine the quality of animal material, including the health of the prey and the way in which the animal is killed.
Solve the murder mystery
In Red Dead Redemption 2, there are several side quests that have more prominent arcs or require more involvement than simply fetching an item, talking to people, or dispatching a target. One such arc involves tracking a serial killer, pinning his location by finding clues scattered in locations across the game’s world map. Pursuing this side quest will treat players to some rather graphic depictions of dismembered bodies, so be warned. It is however one such way of handing out some old-fashioned vigilante justice in a world setting where the reach of organized law is still quite limited.
Just lay back and watch Arthur riding a horse in cinematic mode
New to Red Dead Redemption 2 is the introduction of a Cinematic Mode. Set a target destination for your house on the world map, and it will take Arthur to that location without the player having to manually navigate the horse. The experience adds two black bars to the screen, as if the player is watching the horse riding experience in a movie theatre. This is an attractive option when fast travel is not available, or when wanting to simply enjoy the scenery as Arthur traverses the Wild West. It is worth noting that Cinematic Mode works via setting a general target, and the “autopilot” nature of using Cinematic Mode doesn’t entail automatically navigating around obstacles, nor does it guarantee safe arrival to any set target. Best used for the easier and more straightforward journeys.
Just as Arthur Morgan must be taken care of by the player, so too must your equine companion of choice be cared for. In Red Dead Redemption 2, horses can die permanently. You will depend on your horse and interact with them more than you will consistently spend time with townsfolk or even the other members of the Van Der Linde gang. Arthur Morgan is a Wild Western outlaw, one that is meant to be a master of the land. This will only be possible by maintaining your horse’s health: feeding them, putting them at ease when agitated.
That is a live creature that carries not only one human being, but any of the other items that you place on their backside. Those animal carcasses can get heavy. Additionally, horses can be “upgraded” by equipping them with saddles and stirrups that will boost stats such as speed and stamina, and buying bags for your horse will allow them to carry more. The horse is on an adventure as are you!
What makes Red Dead Redemption 2, as a piece of artwork and as a game, so amazing is inextricably tied to the sheer amount of “stuff” in it. The mass collective of “everything” is all so real and so complicated, and it rewards the same adventurous and frontiering spirit that is essential to being a vagabond on the outer edges of society. Really, with the density of content in the game, and in consideration of all of the sheer development workhours and the difficulty that the thousands of development staff went through to produce the game, the greatest compliment that can be paid to Red Dead Redemption 2 is to spend time with it. It’s meant to be a game wherein even the familiar can be made to feel new again. It’s such that a repetitive cycle of discovery can stick people in a loop wherein they will possibly never complete the game.
…but you certainly want to do so! Since Red Dead Redemption 2 does have a story to tell. Perhaps, try to take the journey one horse gallop at a time.