Red Dead Re­demp­tion II

XBox: The Official Magazine - - GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS -

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.

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