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Red Dead Redeption 2 raises the bar for open world games

Rockstar Games released Red Dead Redemption 2 on Oct. 26th, and the game couldn’t be more perfect. 

The gameplay, the sounds, like the people screeching in pain after they get their legs shot off with a double barrel, the wildlife that is always ripe for slaughter, and the interaction with either innocent townfolks or fellow grizzly outlaws, are amazing elements of the game. But it’s the story that takes the show.

You play as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, and the right hand man of its leaders, Dutch and Hosea. The game is set in 1899, a time where the age of outlaws was fading away, and the taming of the Wild West was beginning.

As soon as the game starts you are dropped into a deadly blizzard trying to escape the law after a botched heist in Blackwater, a familiar location for those who’ve played the franchise. Arthur, Dutch, and Hosea are trying to find a location for the gang to lay low.

In that first instance, you can see how close the gang is. it really feels more like a family than a group of cowboys with a lust for money. They look out for each other, and are always ready to have your back during criminal hijinks.

The communication you can have with your partners in crime can be quite the show. You can either treat them with, or irritate everyone, either making them shove you or simply walk away.

The gang sets up camps in several locations as the story goes on. There are various activities you can partake in, from doing chores around camp, providing food for the gang by hunting, or interacting with other members that open fun side missions.

Be careful about how you treat them at camp. There’s a chance that someone in the gang will come up behind you and put you to sleep if you’re too mean.

Red Dead Redemption

It isn’t until after you beat the first chapter, an overly stretched out tutorial that can be incredibly tedious, that you can explore what the game has to offer.

The map is breathtakingly huge, and there’s so much to do and get distracted by. Every single town or village you stumble upon can fully take your time away from the main story.

There’s just something always happening, from accidentally bumping into a not so friendly group of people in the bar and causing a full-fledged gang beating or getting pulled over and getting robbed by the O’Driscolls, one of the first rival gangs you encounter.

The map design is somewhat familiar to the first Red Dead Redemption. It follows the same concept, with a map featuring small towns, filled with farmers, harlots, and drunks, a stretch of untamed frontier, and a huge city chock-full of civilization surrounded by murky swamps and other dastardly terrain.

One of the most impressive and talked about parts of RDR2 is the interconnectivity of the choices Arthur can make. The honor system that was in the first game is still around, but it’s more important, and can affect gameplay in a positive or negative way.

Each action Arthur does carries weight. If you rob a store, and harm the owner, he’ll come back in a few days with bandages and bruises on his body and cuss you out.

If you terrorize a town and sink to a low honor level, the townsfolk will remember you and call you out for being the murderous gunslinger that you have become.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has raised the bar for open world games in a way that only few can compete with. With its compelling narrative story, interactive world that makes you think first and react later, and a beautiful map filled to the brim with wildlife and sinful activities, this game has made history, and proves that Rockstar Games is still the king of open world games.

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