Red dead re­demp­tion 2

Rock­star’s sand­box se­quel looks West in class

Games Master - - Contents - Dave Meik­le­ham

Who’s the hero? When’s it set? Is it a pre­quel, or a se­quel? All th­ese ques­tions and more an­swered within.

The most as­ton­ish­ing chunk of Wild West real es­tate you’ve ever seen. A dev­il­ish new out­law who comes across as part Jesse James, part Boba Fett. A fi­nal (fingers crossed!) re­lease date of Spring 2018. Rock­star’s epic old-timey sand­box is al­most upon us, and our trig­ger fingers are itchy for fron­tier fun. The cow­boy Clif­fNotes from Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2’s lat­est footage? It looks in­creas­ingly cer­tain it’s a pre­quel to 2010’s melan­choly ad­ven­ture. Train rob­beries ap­pear to play a big role. The open world is the most vis­ually var­ied and spec­tac­u­lar sand­box Rock­star’s ever de­signed. Oh, and you won’t be play­ing as a young John Marston, de­spite months of ex­cited in­ter­net spec­u­la­tion.

Out­law and or­der

In­stead, you’ll step into the so­cio­pathic spurs of one Arthur Mor­gan: a mean, driven out­law who uses a ledger to track down un­lucky souls who owe him and his as­so­ciates money. Mor­gan’s most note­wor­thy ally? That’d be Dutch van der Linde. Yup, the psycho who Marston helped bump off in the last game.

This con­firms at least some of RDR2 will be set be­fore its pre­de­ces­sor, though the pres­ence of an early tele­phone in a scene where Arthur holds up a bank sug­gests there may only be a few years be­tween the two games. After all, those wacky speak­ing con­trap­tions didn’t pop up in wide cir­cu­la­tion un­til the 1890s, while the last game takes place in 1911. Also, there’s nary a sight of the last game’s au­to­mo­biles; just horse-drawn car­riages and the odd steam train.

Though the lat­est footage re­veals lit­tle in game­play terms, sev­eral tan­ta­lis­ing

“You step into the spurs of Arthur Mor­gan, a mean, driven out­law who’s chas­ing debts”

scenes mean we can make some (semi) in­formed spec­u­la­tion. Sev­eral shots of Mor­gan and other gang mem­bers hold­ing up a lo­co­mo­tive sug­gest train rob­beries could ri­val the com­plex­ity of GTA V’s crack­ing heists. A few later shots also con­firm hunt­ing re­turns, seem­ingly deeper than ever. Not only is Mor­gan the proud owner of a bow – Marston could only kill crit­ters with guns – but you bet­ter hope he’s a cow­boy Robin Hood with it, be­cause that ram­pag­ing griz­zly looks both beau­ti­fully de­tailed and might­ily miffed.

Western world

As for up­dated glimpses at the game’s world, it looks so vividly de­tailed and star­tlingly pretty, even Clint East­wood would be drool­ing over his poncho. Rock­star has reaf­firmed the game takes place in Amer­ica’s heart­land, and a few scenes give us clues to the sort of real-life Amer­i­can states its map could ape. Shots of a moody bayou give off a Louisiana vibe, while sev­eral fig­ures are seen dash­ing through a moun­tain pass, knee-high snow crunch­ing un­der their horses’ hooves. Such a lo­ca­tion could eas­ily have been pulled from the frosty peaks of Wy­oming.

Other points of in­ter­est? Money seems to be the mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for Mor­gan as he chases down debts. The last game’s wicked cow­boy Bill Wil­liamson is back. Du­elling pis­tols make the cut. With its evoca­tive out­law ac­tion, we’ll be amazed if Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 isn’t one of 2018’s finest ti­tles.

Mor­gan may have a moose locked in his sights here, but al­li­ga­tors should prove tougher prey.

The world al­ready looks more vis­ually var­ied than the last game. Hot damn is that ever a sun­rise.

The gun­smith store on the left of this street says they buy all weapons. It seems like times are tough – un­less you’re a pur­veyor of pis­tols, when you’ll be rak­ing it in.

This Na­tive Amer­i­can has al­ready fea­tured in the game’s art­work. We’re bet­ting he’s an im­por­tant ally.

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