Be the biggest, baddest, fastest gun in the whole wide west.
It’s not a stretch to say that Red Dead Redemption 2 may be one of the most anticipated games of all time. The original game is widely heralded as one of the greatest of its generation, but the sequel arrives on the heel of Grand Theft Auto 5, the highest selling game ever, and the most profitable piece of entertainment media. It represents Rockstar, the pioneers and masters of the open world, bringing their craft into the next generation for the first time. With the power of the Xbox One and the PS4, they can craft a fleshed out world with well-realized mechanics better than ever before. We’re giddy just imagining the possibilities of what the game might let us do. So giddy, in fact, that we want to share some of the things we most want to try in the upcoming game with you all. So let’s get to it.
RE-ENACT THE “DASTARDLY” ACHIEVEMENT/TROPHY
One of my favourite Achievements/Trophies of all time is “Dastardly” from the first Red Dead Redemption. It’s awesome because the game’s very much aware of the kind of wild west-themed outlaw some players might want to be, to the point of being weirdly specific about it. Lasso and hogtie an NPC and leave them on the train tracks, only to witness them being crushed to death by an oncoming train- here, have a trophy. And I can’t wait to do it once again in Red Dead Redemption 2, even if I don’t get a trophy for it.
Also, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. Actually, don’t try any of this stuff at home.
SHOOT OFF JOHN MARSTON’S HAT
There’s one tiny bit of information on Red Dead Redemption 2 that has excited me way more than it should- the fact that you can shoot people’s hats off. It’s such a tiny thing, but ever since I’ve heard that it’s going to be possible, it’s all I’ve been craving to do. And do you know who I want to do it to the most? To John Marston. Sure, I want to do it to Javier Escuella as well, and Dutch van der Linde, and basically every other NPC who I see wearing a hat, but I definitely want to do it to John Marston. I was John Marston! As soon as I see him with a hat on, I’m going to activate Dead Eye and shoot it clean off his head. And then maybe steal it later, if the game lets me do that.
RUN AROUND IN THE SNOW
Speaking of snow- let me go off-topic here for just a second. God of War (the 2018 one) is an amazing game, with so many excellent mechanics and sections to speak of. But one of my favourite things in the game was walking around in knee-deep snow, and watching the snow deformation, watching it react to Kratos and Atreus walking around. Not since God of War (which was admittedly not that long ago) have I been this excited to see snow in a game. Red Dead Redemption 2’s snow looks beautiful, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the second I see snow in the game, I’m going to spend a good fifteen minutes just walking around to see how long it takes for my footprints to disappear.
LASSO PEOPLE AND DRAG THEM BEHIND OUR HORSE
Ah, the simple pleasures of playing Red Dead Redemption and being a carefree outlaw in the old American Frontier. As anyone who’s played the 2010 classic would tell you, lassoing people and then dragging them behind you as your horse gallops across the map was one of the most enjoyable things you could do in the entire game, and it’s going to be even more so in RDR2. Why? Because RDR2 has beautiful looking mud and snow and dirt and water, and watching people get dragged through all that at breakneck speeds (well, breakneck by 1899 standards, at any rate), is going to be just amazing.
BE AN ASS TO EVERYONE IN GENERAL
If you enjoy games that let you be an all-around asshat to every character you run into, you know that Rockstar delivers the goods with each of its titles. Red Dead Redemption 2 also looks quite promising in that area. Some of the things we’ve spoken of already fall under this category, but Red Dead Redemption 2’s dynamic NPC interactions present even more opportunities for you to be an absolute degenerate- and when is being an absolute degenerate ever not fun?
SPEND HOURS HUNTING ANIMALS
Hunting seems to be a huge focus in Red Dead Redemption 2, which becomes even more obvious when you consider that there’s almost two hundred (two hundred!) species of wildlife in the game. Players can spend dozens upon dozens of hours hunting and tracking animals, and from all the footage that we’ve seen of it so far and all the details that Rockstar have spoken about, it looks like the game’s hunting mechanics are going to be pretty deep. Just as an example, the animations for skinning animals are going to be much more detailed this time around- Arthur will physically pill the hide off each animal, roll it up, and bring it back with him to his horse. Will that ever get old? Well, I mean to find out.
SPEND HOURS PLAYING MINI-GAMES
I spent way too many hours playing poker in the original Red Dead Redemption. Much, much longer than I should have. And not just poker- other mini games as well. And I can’t wait to waste dozens of hours doing the same in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well. Poker, blackjack, horse racing, and so many more are going to be featured in the game once more. Sitting around a table with your fellow gang members at your camp and spending some time just playing a few hands of poker sounds rather enticing.
WATCH BODIES DECAY
When you kill animals in Red Dead Redemption 2, their bodies won’t just disappear after a period of time like they would in most (if not all) other games. No, they stay where they fall, and slowly decay and rot over time. As they decay continuously, they attract flies, and scavengers like vultures, who slowly pick the rotting meat of their bones. As weird as this might sound, one of the first things I’m going to do in Red Dead Redemption 2 is kill an animal, put my controller down, and just witness the decaying process. No, I’m not messed up. You’re messed up.
OVERUSE DEAD EYE
Dead Eye was a very cool mechanic in Red Dead Redemption, but some people felt that it maybe got a bit repetitive as the game went on. Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption 2, though, is looking much better, and will progress through a total of five levels, with each level allowing players to do newer and (presumably) cooler stuff. Honestly, I’d have been happy just having the old Dead Eye system back in the game, given how much I spammed it in the original Red Dead Redemption, but I’m even more excited to play around with the new and improved system.
The number one reason why a Wild West setting is as appealing as it is in any game, book, or movie: Mexican standoffs. Staring at your opponent dead in the eye, standing face to face, hand hovering just above the butt of your gun, fingers twitching in anticipation, with just one rule to dictate what comes next- the quickest draw gets to keep his life. Duels in Red Dead Redemption were incredible, and were some of the moments that I looked forward to the most. As such, they’re also some of the moments I’m looking forward to the most in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Of course, heists have to be at the top of many lists like this one for a great many people. Rockstar have built a solid reputation for themselves with heists in their games over the last few years, with them being a prevalent mechanic in Red Dead Redemption, and an even more of a focus in Grand Theft Auto V. Red Dead Redemption 2’s heists also plan to be suitably thrilling and exciting, whether it be trains you’re robbing, or banks. Being an outlaw in the wild west, you’d expect no less from Arthur Morgan.
NOT TAKE A BATH FOR WEEKS AND STINK UP THE WHOLE PLACE (…NOT IN REAL LIFE)
One of my favourite tinier details in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was how Venom Snake would start to literally stink if he ever went too long without taking a bath. Soldiers on Mother Base would react to him differently, and there was even a mini cutscene where Ocelot splashed him with a bucket of water. In Red Dead Redemption 2, you have to manually make sure that Arthur takes regular baths- he gets dirty constantly, rolling around in mud has visual affects on his clothes, killing people leaves blood spatter on his skin, and NPCs will behave differently around him if he ever goes too long without cleaning up. So of course, I’m going to spend weeks just being a pig and stinking up the entire Wild West.
Don’t try this at home either.
EXPERIENCE THE WEATHER MECHANICS
Open world games with changing weather mechanics are among the top 5 things in the entire world (this is not an exaggeration). Being caught in the middle of a thunderstorm in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, being out at sea during a furious storm in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, infiltrating an enemy base in the middle of a sandstorm in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain– these are some of my favourite memories from open world experiences. I’m not saying I’m expecting something along the same lines in Red Dead Redemption 2– even watching a swathe of clouds roll in from the distance, only for them to turn into a heavy downpour would be amazing, especially when you consider just how beautiful the game looks as it is.
DRESS UP ARTHUR MORGAN IN THE MST BADASS WAYS POSSIBLE
Red Dead Redemption 2 might not allow you to dress up Arthur Morgan in the ridiculous manner that GTA games allow you to do with their protagonists, which makes sense, given its tone and setting, but it’s going to have plenty of customization options nonetheless- from tinier details such as rolling up your sleeves, to the kind of stuff that you’d expect, like buying new hats or bandanas. And I’m sure I’m far from being the only person who’s looking forward to outfitting Arthur Morgan as the most badass and fearsome looking outlaw in the whole wide west.
PEACEFULLY RIDE AROUND ON HORSEBACK AND BASK IN THE BEAUTY OF THE WILD WEST
And finally, the thing that most of us are gonna be doing anyway. Rockstar has always excelled at making large, expansive, immersive, and varied open world environments, and Red Dead Redemption in 2010 has to be among their very best efforts ever. Red Dead Redemption 2 looks bigger, more varied, more detailed, and more beautiful. I’m sure I’ll be spending hours upon hours just walking around or riding around on horseback and soaking in the wild and rugged beauty of the American Frontier, watching sunsets of rolling hills arid deserts, and I’m sure most of you will be, too.