Red Dead Redemption 2 Review – Was the Hype Well-Deserved?

Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games

Around this time a year ago, Red Dead Redemption 2 debuted to much fanfare on consoles and it was all well deserved. People were practically doing back-flips in their gushy admiration for this title, which snagged all sorts of awards up—both big and small and everything in-between.

On one hand, console gamers are able to play games without having to worry about graphical issues. On the other, they aren’t able to tap into the power of PC gaming platforms in order to tinker around with graphical settings and get more out of a game’s visuals.

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So, when it was announced that Red Dead Redemption 2 would indeed be coming out on PCs, although excited, I kept a cautious optimism for the PC release and reserved judgment for the final product. So, was the port worth it?

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set in the last days of the Wild West. The sun is also setting on the infamous Van der Linde posse, but they’re not going away quietly. No, they’ve still got a lot to do, such as rob a train or twelve, hunt down people and collect the bounties on their heads, hunt all manner of critters for food and materials, and much, much more. The amount of things that you can do in Red Dead Redemption 2 is simply staggering and sometimes I’d just find myself wrapped up in random events that would transpire organically around me.

You sink yourself into the spurred boots of one, Arthur Morgan, who must use his expert gun-slinging abilities to distribute as much lead as possible into the many adversaries he’ll come across. Many of these foes are lawmen that he’ll eventually run into (and be hunted by) for all manner of crimes, both high and low.

The game’s campaign mode includes quite an expansive storyline filled with some exceptional writing. Combined with the huge open-world that the game provides and I can easily see myself sinking a whole lotta hours into this title. I’m about thirty hours in so far and I still feel that I’ve barely scratched the game’s surface in terms of all of the things I can do.

One of the things I really enjoy about Red Dead Redemption 2 is that its tutorials are woven into the game’s mission structure, seamlessly. What’s also impressive is that once you’re given the basics down, as far as the game’s fundamental mechanics, it turns you lose as if to say “Go on now, git!” and you have to make do with what you learned. In other words, the game strikes a good balance between being helpful without being too hand-holdy.

Another element that I like about the game is that it takes its time. The general pacing of the game is slow and even doing such simple things as skinning game animals that you’ve killed, takes a while. This more relaxed cadence allows those who appreciate a complex game’s minutiae, to take in what Rockstar intended the game to encapsulate—total immersion within its beautifully-crafted game world.

This game is much more of an ambling trot rather than a full-on gallop, which is fine for gamers like me who like to discover all of the little nuances of highly-detailed game environs like this. However, fast-travel is also available for the less patient among us.

Of course, I must touch on all of the hoopla with regards to Red Dead Redemption 2’s rocky launch. As with many ports, the PC version of the game suffered from some bugs upon launch. These included many reported instances of crashes, various graphical issues including stuttering, and other problems.

To Rockstar’s credit, they’ve done a masterful job of mitigating the gaming public’s frustrations by offering not only bug fixes and patches but also information on how to alleviate a lot of the game’s issues. Personally, I’ve noticed a steady improvement with regards to graphical stuttering and haven’t had a crash since the game’s launch.

Visually-speaking, after tinkering around with the multitude of graphical settings that are only available to PC users, this is simply one of the most stunning games that I’ve ever seen. Every pine needle on every tree; every tuft of fur on every animal—the game’s flora and fauna all look spectacular.

In the end, Red Dead Redemption 2 is easily the best game of the year in my humble opinion, as well as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Its combination of challenging missions, fun-to-learn game mechanics, breathtaking visuals, and brilliant writing all synergize to give you an experience that you won’t soon forget. It’s about as close to perfection that a game can get.

SCORE: 96%

Red Dead Redemption 2 has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its science western-based gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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