Red Dead Redemption II Review: Red Dead Perfection

In 2011, the game studio Rockstar released “Red Dead Redemption” to the world. “Red Dead Redemption” took the world by storm, infusing the open-world sandbox of Rockstar’s other franchise, “Grand Theft Auto,” with an engaging Wild West setting and plot. People loved it and for most people it remains a classic gem. On Oct. 26, Rockstar gifted the world with their follow-up, “Red Dead Redemption II”.

A sequel’s responsibility is to recapture what made the original work great and improve on it. Fortunately, “Red Dead Redemption II” avoids the usual pitfalls that sequels suffer and manages to do just that. Like the first game, the sequel has a wonderful world to explore, plenty of engaging side activities to do and interesting characters to meet.

The world that players are allowed to explore in “Red Dead Redemption II” is huge. It makes the first game’s map look like a closet compared to a nice, new mansion. There isn’t just a lot of land to travel through, but it is also all very well designed and fun to look at. Players can take their horse around a Texas-inspired landscape or travel down to the Louisiana-like bayou region.

However, having a huge map to travel across doesn’t necessarily make a game fun. What “Red Dead Redemption II” does right is that it provides plenty of things to do in the world. From hunting animals or bounties to gambling and dueling, there are a ton of things to keep players busy when not playing through the primary story. Aside from the games and activities that the game offers, there are plenty of dynamic experiences to find around the world. People may need help defending themselves out in the wild, wild animals may attack or bandits might try to ambush the player.

Players assume control of Arthur Morgan, a member of the outlaw gang that the first game’s protagonist, John Marston was in. Along the way, Arthur meets plenty of people throughout the lawless land. There are also other members of the gang. Dutch, the charismatic leader, leads the way despite doubts from veteran members of the gang. Marston makes his appearances, assuming the golden child position that creates tension between him and Arthur. Other members, like Bill Williamson and Micah have violent tendencies that make them fit right into the outlaw life. The most impressive feat that this game pulls off is how it impacts the original game. With “Red Dead Redemption II” set before the original, it uses the interactions between characters to enhance the image the player has of them in the first game. That makes the events of that game even more impactful.

The aspect that pushes “Red Dead Redemption II” over the top is its presentation. First off, the graphics are top notch, matching those of other blockbuster games like “God of War” and “Uncharted 4.” It also presents everything in a seamless way. Whether it is entering and exiting buildings, browsing the inventory or playing a cutscene, “Red Dead Redemption II” manages to always provide seamless transitions between everything. This creates one of the most immersive gameplay experiences out there, perfect for engaging a player for hours at a time.

“Red Dead Redemption II” is not only a great game, but is a perfect sequel as well. It is definitely worth everybody’s time and may even be the best game of the year.