Red Dead Redemption 2 Review

By: Brayden Young and Sam Giacobello | Media Team and Writer

In a world so dense and rich with details, Rockstar Games have produced yet another cinematic gaming experience that will last generations in Red Dead Redemption II.


Red Dead Redemption 2 story is incredible in the amount of depth and attention to detail in the game. The game begins in 1899, twelve years before the original Red Dead Redemption. Players follow the story of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw and member of the Van der Linde gang, on his quest through the West – riddled with confrontations with rival gangs, heists, and shootouts. However, one thing that makes RDR2 stand out is that it doesn’t focus solely on these action-packed fights. Players are not only introduced to many characters throughout their quests, but spend time learning about their stories deeper than many games that have been popular recently.

Throughout the story, we meet a wide variety of characters and learn all about their lives. While the game gives a lot of information about the playable protagonist Arthur Morgan, it also introduces players to the rest of his gang. There’s Dutch Van der Linde, the idealistic leader of the gang, and his older and wiser right hand man Hosea Matthews. Players also meet hothead Bill Williamson and Sadie Adler, a widowed woman who transforms into a merciless gunslinger. The long list also includes Uncle, loving Ms. Grimshaw, Tilly, Abigail, Jack, Strauss, Charles, Karen, Pearson, Javier, Reverend, Micah and plenty of other characters. But one character fans of the series especially love to see in the game is John Marstead, the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption who looks far different than the younger character gamers played as in the first game. You spend time with these characters at your numerous hideouts where you learn all about their lives and their connections to the story. You begin to care about each character after you constantly see them chatting, singing, playing games, arguing, dancing, and going on multiple quests with them. The characters and connections you feel towards them are easily the strongest aspect of Red Dead Redemption 2.

If you are looking for a game with nonstop action similar to Fortnite or Call of Duty, I wouldn’t recommend playing RDR2. But if you’re looking for an immersive experience that tells a meaningful story with fun gameplay, this game is undoubtedly for you.  The story alone contains 60 hours of gameplay, not including the roaming, adventuring, and side-questing that you will do.


Another aspect of the RDR2 that Rockstar boasts about is the gameplay and the realistic aspects of life. While certain small details in the game can become annoying and tiring to pay attention to while playing, I find the depth to be an interesting and a refreshing change to the way video games are played. Players must remember to clean their weapons and even themselves when they get dirty, make sure to eats in order to keep up health, and sleep or else they will get tired. Failure to do any of these things has negative effects on Arthur Morgan’s health, so it is important to pay attention to the little details. Horse riding and gunplay also help to create a fun gaming experience. Horses can be used to travel quickly along the map and are essential to carrying materials, weapons, and hunting spoils. However, just like real life, players must take care of their horses in order to make sure that they are clean, well fed, groomed, and at their best so that, with time, the horse will get stronger. Horses must be brushed, patted, and treated decently in order to upgrade and have greater speed, stamina, and even unlock special abilities that can speed up the story and roam the gigantic landscape of the west.

Eliminating enemies is satisfying with the new version of Dead Eye. This special slow-motion effect occurs when Arthur focuses on multiple targets and allows him to be completely accurate. Whenever you kill someone with dead eye, there is a cinematic of the bullet flying through the air and decimating the enemy. Gunplay in this game has been greatly altered for the better. Bullets that hit the leg might break the leg of the enemy and they will stumble away. If you get shot in the hand, you drop your weapon. You can get your hat blown off by bullets nearly missing your head (happens all too often). And, as gruesome as it is, using a shotgun within point-blank range will completely shred body parts off – all with vivid detail.

This gunplay combined with the graphics and story of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the reason it has had so much more success than previous titles Rockstar has released. The amazing gameplay in RDR2 is something I believe will solidify it as one of the greatest games of this time and is the reason, in my opinion, that ratings have been generally positive so far.

Graphics and Soundtrack

Rockstar Games has created a true graphical masterpiece. The realism of this game at face value is already fantastic, but the real credit must be awarded to the designers who placed small details in the game that push the realistic nature past simple scenery.

Ranging across multiple biomes (snowy, desert, grasslands, and swamps), RDR2 is absolutely breathtaking in its depiction of landscapes and the elements of weather. Rain and clouds move across the world, occasionally striking up a storm with lightning that actually strikes the ground. The sun and bloom the game produces is really jaw dropping when seeing the rays of light beam through trees or glow up a vista from a mountain. Shadows in the game are all dynamic and change with the different weather conditions.

The most impressive aspect I have noted is that this game pays attention to the permanency of a player’s actions on the game. When your character or horse gets wet, they will look wet until you can dry off (the same principle applies with getting muddy or covered in blood from carrying a body). When Arthur Morgan robs a store owner and beats them, upon entering the store the next time that character will have appropriate bandages and injuries based on the nature of the robbery. When Morgan walks in the snow on foot or on horse, the prints will match exactly where each step was taken and they will stay there permanently instead of disappearing after a fixed number of steps. On the sadder side for animal lovers, a horse that catches fire will keep the burn scars forever.

The audio in the game is also unrivaled as the amount of time put into each track, effect, dialog line is clearly shown throughout the entire game. Red Dead has over 700 different voice actors with a reported 80 page script for each. The actors in this game bring characters to life while maintaining the attitude and tone that you would expect for the time period. The soundtrack helps, too. You hear sounds of nature, long ambient notes in the wilderness, or the stringing banjo from a nearby campfire. Every interaction in the game has a unique sound and it all sounds realistic and enveloping to the ear.

Finally, the music in this game is absolutely incredible. With 192 interactive scores in this game, all composed over the span of 8 years – each song played within the game is matched perfectly with the exact task that you are doing. Whether you are riding in the night, or in an intense shootout with the law – the music will strike chords according to your every action.

Final Review – 10/10

To make this brief: Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece. It has earned the record for the biggest opening-weekend launch in entertainment history, earning $750 million in its first three days of release because of how great the game is. Red dead has been critically acclaimed by everyone that has played it. So, I would have to agree with the majority census of players: this game is a solid 10/10 – and i can recommend it to anyone that is willing to invest their time into a story driven, cinematic experience that will last months just to finish the story along. Not only is this game a great deal of fun alone, Rockstar Games have also announced a ‘Red Dead Online’ service that will be available to play before the end of this year. Rockstar Games have produced yet another classic that is intriguing, interesting, enjoyable, and just down right beautiful – and a game that will stand the test of time.

This is my opinion of the game and is not applicable to everyone.

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