On October 20, 2016 Rockstar Games debuted the trailer for a new game: Red Dead Redemption 2. The third entry in the publisher’s Red Dead series, the game was marked as a prequel to 2010’s best seller Red Dead Redemption, whose story follows outlaw and gang member Arthur Morgan through the Wild West.
The Western-themed adventure was an instant hit, and the second-biggest launch in the history of entertainment; the game shipped over 24 million copies in retail and generating $725 million in sales from its opening weekend.
But is Red Dead Redemption 2 one of the best games in history — at least, in the last decade?
Read on to find out more.
Reception & Accolades
The excitement for Red Dead Redemption 2 began to build from the moment it was announced. A year after the release of its debut trailer, a second trailer was released; a third followed on May 2, 2018 which showcased characters and storyline. The success of Red Dead Redemption increased the anticipation for the game.
After years of development, social media teasers and trailers the game was released on October 26 2018 to critical acclaim. It remains the second highest-grossing entertainment launch and has set several records including largest first-day sales and largest ever preorders for a game on the Playstation Network. Since its initial release, the game has sold more than 24 million copies worldwide.
The game has also won a multitude of accolades. At The Game Awards 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2 was nominated for eight awards, and won four, including Best Score / Music, Best Performance, Best Narrative and Best Audio Design. It continued to receive nominations and awards during 2019, which included Trending Game of the Year at the SXSW Gaming Awards.
Critics raved about the game, too. Video game and entertainment website IGN commented that Red Dead Redemption 2 “stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Grand Theft Auto V as one of the greatest games in the modern age” and a “gorgeous depiction of an ugly period that’s patient, polished, and a huge amount of fun to play, and it’s combined with Rockstar’s best storytelling to date.”
Gameplay, storyline and the incredible attention to detail
Like other games in the series, Red Dead Redemption 2 was a master work of gameplay and storyline. Players enter a world that’s been so immaculately designed it almost feels real; the map is massive, the landscape detailed and the non-player characters (NPCs) are all available to interact with as you encounter them.
The writing is well crafted; each character feels unique, and the storyline convincing — with the added benefit of different missions to complete as the player progresses through the game. The sound quality, as well as the incredible level of voice acting has been admired by fans and critics alike (American voice actor Roger Clark won Best Performance for his portrayal of protagonist Arthur Morgan). Game Informer said of the game: “From pitch-perfect gunshots to the daunting rumble of prairie thunderstorms, the remarkable attention to audio detail brings the world to life.”
Of course, the years put into creating the incredibly realistic graphics and animations in the game have paid off. Hunting for animals, like beavers by rivers, alligators in swamps and bears in the mountains feels close enough to the real thing; and a great bonus as a game in itself. This game is made to be played slowly — so slow in fact, you can watch as the main protagonist’s beard grows over time. All actions, including minigames, lead back to the main storyline.
It’s all this attention to detail that really puts Red Dead Redemption 2 in the running for being the top game of the decade — if not all of gaming history.
You can even play poker!
With the extensive map and compelling storyline, it can be easy for players to overlook or miss the added features and bonuses of the game — one of which is the opportunity to play poker!
Once a player has beaten Chapter 2’s main mission, “Who is Not without Sin”, a minigame of poker is available to play over five locations on the map. These include the Saloon of Valentine, Flatneck Station, the Saloon of Saint Denis, the Saloon of Blackwater and the Saloon of Tumbleweed. Poker is also played automatically as part of Chapter 4’s mission, “A Fine Night of Debauchery”.
Some prior experience with poker will really help you beat opponents in the game. It’s advisable when playing poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 to be aggressive with your play; opponents in the game often overvalue their poker hands — betting them down with a good hand is a great tactic to use during the game.
Unlike poker in real life, you can restart the game. Go all in until you get the results you want. Take a step further and cheat the game; it’s just for fun, after all. You can cheat the game properly with the Liars and Cheats pack, available as downloadable content through Xbox LIVE and the Playstation Network. Using the Elegant Suit is a big advantage over your opponents, letting you cheat by storing an extra card. Be careful not to get caught, as you’ll be challenged by your opponent to a dual.