It’s High Noon… Almost. Red Dead 2 is coming

It’s Almost Here

The next step in the evolution of open-world action adventure gaming, Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR 2), arrives in just over a week. If you don’t already have the date marked on your calendar you either don’t like this genre or, more likely, have been held prisoner for the past year and a half.

Rockstar’s RDR 2 is set to hit stores for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One on October 26, 2018. And in November (in their word’s “to give us time to beat the single player game”, but in reality, probably to iron out bugs in gameplay), the company plans to release the online mode of the game, Red Dead Online.

Put simply…

bart scott can't wait gif

A Proven Developer

Rockstar’s resume is quite exhaustive. While I haven’t played the Midnight Club or Max Payne series, I have owned the following entries from Grand Theft Auto – 3, Vice City, San Andreas, IV and V and RDR 2’s prequel, Red Dead Redemption, and it’s expansion, Undead Nightmare. I even owned Smuggler’s Run.

All of these games were great to play and ahead of their respective time. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would not rate a single game below a 9. Critics haven’t either. Rockstar really has a knack for making enormous levels with nonlinear gameplay options for those that like to discover hidden items or jumps, side missions like pizza delivery or ambulance driving, and tracking down various easter eggs.

The story and character development are both engaging and enthralling, often mimicking or parodying famous movie scenes or plots. Grand Theft Auto Vice City in particular had many parallels to Scarface. These games have been so good they’ve spawned the development of copycats, most notably the Saints Row series.

So naturally, when I heard first heard about Red Dead Redemption 2’s development, I set aside my 60 or so dollars because I knew another masterpiece was on its way.

Large Shoes to Fill

Red Dead Redemption 1 (AKA Red Dead Redemption, AKA RDR), in my opinion, was nothing short of spectacular. Having played the Grand Theft Auto series prior, making a similar game but adding the setting of the frontier, horses, revolvers, and everything else cowboy, made it that much better.

Many games focus on the present and future with over-the-top weaponry and vehicles. Red Dead was a great blast to the past. I believe my previous experience with a cowboy game would take you all the way back to 1991 with Sunset Riders on SNES (also with a Genesis and arcade port).

RDR had the patented, great storyline and side characters you’d expect from Rockstar but added things to make it more than just Grand Theft Auto + horses. It had an Honor and Fame system that looked at your actions as being good or evil, it had a dueling system, the “Deadeye” skill, catching wanted outlaws, wildlife (more on this later), poker and other minigames. Even though this game was released almost a decade ago, it’s gameplay options and diversity would compete with some of today’s best titles.

Game of the Year?

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Rockstar is about to bless us with.

And a few pictures

red dead redemption 2 - great frontierred dead redemption 2 - gang preview 1red dead redemption 2 - hunting with bowred dead redemption 2 - american buffalored dead redemption 2 - grizzly bear

Even though at the time of this writing it has yet to be released, there is a consensus that RDR 2 will compete for Game of the Year with Black Ops 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Spiderman (PS4 exclusive), God of War (another PS4 exclusive, sorry Xbox fans), and the yet released Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Expectations and Wishlist

Outside of virtual (and, frankly, literal) flawlessness, I wanted to discuss some things that I know are in the game and some that I hope are in the game.

For the single-player mode, a good amount has been revealed.

First, an outlaw-horse relationship which will affect the horse’s obedience and performance. Caring for and tending to your horse adds a great level of detail that can make missions that much harder if you skimped on your due diligence. Additionally, having horses which specialize in different areas (speed for fights or strength for hunting, etc.) will make an already ultra-cool element of gaming that much more fun and diverse.

The “Deadeye” system has been brought over and I expect it has improved nuances. I won’t spoil it but the end of RDR was one of the best endings to a video game I’ve ever played in large part to this system being developed throughout the story.

The expanded roster of wildlife will be one of the most underrated improvements between the first and second entry. Outside of the ending of RDR, two encounters with wildlife were among my most memorable moments in playing Red Dead which I’m sure everyone who has played it can relate.

My initial encounter (in chronological order) was the first time a mountain lion killed me. The sunset had begun to set and I was off my horse collecting flowers, when all of a sudden a mass flashed across my screen…and I was dead. I heard noises but I never saw it coming. Thankfully in video game world you get a bird’s eye view of your death scene to evaluate your final moments before respawning and I got to see (after my heart rate began to normalize) that it was indeed a mountain lion.

The second moment involved the revered grizzly bear. Fortunately, the game warned me about the bear so I wasn’t sideswiped but even still, after approaching my first grizzly, I got close enough that it eventually took notice and charged at me and my trusty steed.

Rather than shoot at the beat I turned and galloped away. Or at least tried.

Having a greater than normal interest in animals, I should have known that that bear could hold its own in pace with a horse (at least for a short stretch) with me and as I pressed the button to check behind me I noticed that the bear was not done with me yet.

I turned my horse around in time for it to tackle me off of the saddle and send my fingers into a frantic mess trying to decide if I should switch from flight to fight. The bear didn’t give me an opportunity to prepare arguments for either side as it had turned back around and finished me off as I got to my feet.

Both of these examples are also why I don’t like camping. I’m chomping at the bit for my first alligator death roll death.

red dead redemption 2 - crocodile

Moving into elements that may carry into some of the online game mode as well, the addition of gangs and camps is probably my most anticipated aspect of RDR2. Building a NPC (for single player) or friend filled (for online) gang to compete against rivals in open world and defined mission or arena play will probably keep this game in regular rotation for years to come.

Maintaining the health and security of your group through hunting/gathering missions and building up the skills through training exercises or other experience boosting methods is what I expect. Creating a character(s) who can specialize in different traits will be fun. I just hope you have to make a decision on what to develop them in and not allow you to max out all traits.

I’m sure a gang ranking system will also make an appearance. It’ll be interesting to see what squads climb to the top and what kind of bounty system the game adds to encourage serious competition.

Rockstar has spent years brainstorming and developing to make this experience unlike any other. I expect high 9’s and 10’s across the critic board.

We’ll see you and your gang out on the frontier in the next month!

What did I miss, what do you want to see? Leave a comment below, partner.

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