The cow­boy-’em-up has (r)evolved

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTEST -

We form a posse and round up the lat­est de­tails on the wildest western.

Like a vet­eran prospec­tor try­ing to hide their lat­est dis­cov­ery to hold off a sec­ond gold rush, Rock­star has been hard at work in its game dev mines, eas­ing out the trea­sure that is the ex­tremely an­tic­i­pated se­quel to its 2010 Wild West open worlder. With its re­lease on the hori­zon, the now-steady drip of info has made it clear that Rock­star has in­deed struck gold with Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2.

It’s al­most not fair it has that lit­tle num­ber ‘2’ af­ter its ti­tle. Yes, it’s a se­quel that shares a lot of its DNA with its pre­de­ces­sor. But Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 is a brand-new thing – Rock­star Stu­dios build­ing on ev­ery­thing it’s learned. A new fron­tier. A com­bi­na­tion of the sheer fi­delity and at­ten­tion to de­tail present in GTA V, and the ex­cit­ing pulp ad­ven­ture and sense of free­dom in the first RDR.

Set in the late 1800s, it’s a pre­quel to the first game, and takes place dur­ing a pe­riod of cul­tural spread­ing across un­touched lands, on the cusp of Western civil­i­sa­tion, but still fresh for the set­tlers. The days of law­less­ness are com­ing to an end, but the Dutch Gang (which your player char­ac­ter Arthur Mor­gan is a mem­ber of) still have a few tricks up their sleeves, and they’ll camp up as you go with them from area to area over the course of the story.


The world of Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 is a huge one. The sprawl­ing vis­tas re­ally cap­ture that



feel­ing of a young Amer­ica, still teem­ing with new things to see. Arthur Mor­gan’s out­law jour­ney will see him trav­el­ling through some very var­ied en­vi­ron­ments. We’ve been shown glimpses of moun­tain trails, forests, deserts, and swamp­lands, as well as a com­bi­na­tion of smaller fron­tier towns and young ver­sions of big­ger Amer­i­can cities. Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 is re­ally ex­plor­ing the breadth of what Amer­ica had to of­fer be­fore the ar­rival of Euro­pean set­tlers, and the taste of free­dom that is so in­sep­a­ra­ble from those early Amer­i­can dreams.

Yes, it’s an open world. A damn big one at that, where you can fol­low your own trails wher­ever they lead. But it’s a liv­ing world too. Na­ture still has a big hold on Amer­ica at this time, so ex­pect to en­counter a lot of wildlife na­tive to dif­fer­ent re­gions – moose, al­li­ga­tors, bears, and of course, wolves (what game with the out­doors doesn’t have wolves?). Hunt them down – Mor­gan even has a sort of ‘tracker vi­sion’ – and you can hon­our ev­ery part of the an­i­mal. Whack your prey onto your horse, and you can trade meat and hide at towns, or bring it back to the Dutch Gang’s camp to boost mo­rale.


You can go on your own way, of course, but Mor­gan feels like part of some­thing much big­ger, and the way you choose to in­ter­act with the world has con­se­quences. Peo­ple will re­act dif­fer­ently to Mor­gan de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances in which they meet him, whether that’s cross­ing paths on a lonely track, Mor­gan com­ing across some­one in a sus­pi­cious sit­u­a­tion, or you call­ing on them at their house.

A whole new in­ter­ac­tion sys­tem comes into play for this, with you fo­cus­ing on the char­ac­ter with p, and al­ways hav­ing the op­tion to draw your weapon with i (though you’d bet­ter be quick on the draw, cow­boy). De­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion you can use the face but­tons for dif­fer­ent in­ter­ac­tions. That stranger rid­ing by? You can greet them with r, or an­tag­o­nise them with e. Be­ing in­ter­ro­gated by a sher­iff? Maybe try reach­ing for the r in your hol­ster to defuse the sit­u­a­tion rather than your gun. Get in a scuf­fle? You can hit e to beat your tar­get, and then w to threaten them, or dis­miss them with r.

Your horse is your con­stant com­pan­ion. As well as haul­ing around your fresh kills and larger in­ven­tory items like big guns, you need to give a lit­tle some­thing back by keep­ing the beastie happy and well groomed. Do so, and your trusty side­kick will be much less likely to get scared in horse­back en­coun­ters such as shootouts, giv­ing you the edge with deft ma­noeu­vring.

Com­bat has also been im­proved dramatically, even though the gun­play in the first game was al­ready pretty stel­lar. It’s the guns them­selves that have re­ceived a lot of love, with much more re­al­is­tic recoil and reloads – each weapon feels unique. Of course, dead-eye slow mo­tion makes its wel­come re­turn. And what’s a western with­out a few brawls? Rockin’ ’em and sockin’ ’em feels bru­tal and solid, mean­ing your fists can be just as deadly. With such a big game, there’s al­ways so much more to see, and so much more to do. Luck­ily our itchy trig­ger fin­gers are in for a treat, as we’ll be get­ting hands-on next is­sue just ahead of RDR2’s re­lease. Yee­haw.

Above We haven’t seen much of him, but al­ready we’re not sure we can trust gang mem­ber Micah Bell. “Broth­ers make mis­takes,” eh, Micah?

Above Is Mor­gan a peo­ple per­son or not? The power of in­ter­ac­tion is in your rough wran­gler hands.

Above Ex­pect the out­law life to take some queues from GTA V, es­pe­cially with things like bank heists.

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