Rockstar is a juggernaut. An unstoppable gaming behemoth that pours so much money into its games that they practically can’t fail. Everything about Red Dead Redemption 2 screams big budget, from the sprawling open-world world to the jaw-dropping score and sizzling Western action. Red Dead Redemption 2 may lack the monumental global appeal of GTA, but it’s no less of a game.
Red Dead Revolution may have been a more apt name for Rockstar’s latest, such is its groundbreaking approach to open-world design. Systemic and immersive are words that get bandied about every day, but in Red Dead Redemption 2 we finally have a world that feels like it’s responding to every one of the player’s actions. In this sense, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the polar opposite of most open-world games, offering absolute freedom at the cost of potentially devastating consequences.
Rockstar has ably demonstrated its writing chops over the years but Red Dead Redemption 2 is undoubtedly a high point. Not along is a grand tale of revenge, betrayal, patriarchal tyranny, and the downfall of free will, but RDR2 is also packed with unique text and conversations for every occasion. Red Dead 2 is a massive game and yet it rarely, if ever, repeats itself across its entire, huge world. It’s a gargantuan achievement in story-telling, feeling truly bespoke at all times.
Red Dead Redemption 2 features an awe-inspiring dynamic score composed by Woody Jackson, a long-time Rockstar collaborator. In total, Red Dead 2 features 192 separate pieces of music that are dynamically integrated on-the-fly based on the player’s actions behaviour, changes in the environment, and specific story-beats, delivering a soundtrack that practically doesn’t repeat itself for an entire 60-hour playthrough.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the product of years of work and millions of man-hours, and it shows. Rockstar’s greatest game to date features the single most well-realised open-world we’ve ever seen, stretching across the entirety of America from the gloomy bayous of the east right through to the dusty planes and sky-scraping rocks of the west. It’s capped off by one of the most herculean efforts in motion capture ever committed to a disc.