Red Dead Redemption II
Publisher Rockstar Games / Developer Rockstar Games Another cowboy classic from Rockstar Games Rockstar has done it again, delivering in spades despite the sky-high expectations on a follow-up to its still brilliant 2010 Western game. While nods to classic Westerns are still in evidence, the narrative and setting somehow manage to avoid the obvious, while mining a fertile mythology of the old West and placing you convincingly in a world that is authentic and genuinely immersive. Arthur Morgan’s outlaw persona is yours to play around with, as you choose to play as a bad-ass or a big softie at heart, caught up in the evolving history of America and finding his place within a gang of likeable outlaws. There are so many great characters, from the members of Dutch’s gang to random strangers you meet out in the world, that playing the game is never short of a joy. The pithy dialogue and sharp scripting that arises from these encounters lives up to expectations of a Rockstar game, while just from a purely sandbox perspective, there’s so much to do in Arthur’s world that hours and hours of rewarding gameplay can be had without even touching the main story missions. Those story missions themselves are brilliantly paced – as our reviewer noted, “When it comes to stellar triple-A storytelling, Red Dead Redemption II sets scintillating new standards.”
Every part of the gameplay mechanics impresses too – from the detailed horse physics and behaviour to the wealth of guns and superb combat, with crafting and customisation and the meta-game of camp management merely the icing on the cake.
Truly a once-in-a-console-generation game, this is videogames as culturally significant art. But more than that, it’s a whole heap of cowboy-caper fun.