Read Dead Redemption Wins Plenty of Awards While Shattering Expectations


Griffin Schmoyer, Social Media Editor

After much anticipation, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is finally here, and it lives up to the hype. Rockstar Studios’ prequel to the first “Red Dead Redemption” delivers a Game of the Year quality experience that will make you want to grab some boots and spurs and ride your horse off into the sunset.

At the Video Game Awards on December 7, Red Dead Redemption 2 came home with 4 awards and plenty of nominations. The game won the award for Best Narrative, Best Score, and Best Audio. It was nominated in categories such as Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Action/Adventure Game.

The story takes place in 1899, and after a botched heist in the town of Blackwater, the main character Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. To survive in the heartland of America, the crew must rob, steal, and fight to escape the federal agents and bounty hunters on their tail. At the Video Game Awards, Roger Clarke won the award for best performance as the character of Arthur Morgan.

Right from the start, the player is thrown right into action engaging with the rival gang known as the O’Driscolls. As you try to come to grips with the game, the opening scenes are very cinematic. One of the first things I noticed were how stunning the graphics were. The game looks unbelievably realistic, with every step in the snow, the sound of the crunching snow and howling winds, it made me actually feel cold. From the majestic landscapes, all the way down to the wool lining your jacket, the graphics look as close to real life as you can get.

The gameplay is also extremely enjoyable, and at times realistic. You actively have to manage your hunger to keep up stamina and health regeneration. The gun combat feels much like GTA V, where you essentially auto-lock to enemy AI. However, the enemy AI is actually well scaled to not be like a Star Wars Stormtrooper. They land their hits and en masse can provide a tough challenge to the player. AI gave me game overs a little bit more than I’d like to admit.

There is also a mechanic in the game known as “Red Eye,” where you slow down time and can aim at multiple enemies and fire off multiple rounds, very similar to the RADS system from the Fallout series of games, except for the fact that you can’t target certain body parts like in the Fallout games. It is difficult to master, but pulling it off successfully is very rewarding. Like stamina and regeneration, Red Eye is also managed by items.

Most importantly, seeing as they are your mode of transportation, horse mechanics were very solid, but at times could be a bit wonky. Like the player, horses have stamina and health that must be managed. Over the course of the game, you get to bond with your horse, and it’s a very heartwarming touch to an otherwise ruthless game.

The hub of the game is whatever town or settlement your group of outlaws happen to be terrorizing. The group acts as a community, and everyone has a job. One guy is the butcher, one guy is the stableman, and so on. As the main character, you have to help provide for your group. One major aspect of that that I got to experience was hunting. Hunting was taken very seriously in this game, as you have to track your prey extremely carefully and quietly. My first hunt was for deer, and by using the “Eagle Eye” tracking mechanic, it made the hunt easier, and kept me from wandering around like a fool. It doesn’t direct you right to the animal, which I appreciate, as the player still needs to scan the area to find their prey.

Adding to the community feel, you can talk to anyone in the settlement at any time, and especially coming back from missions, these little tidbits add a lot to the story and development of the main characters in the group. Having thrown you right into the middle of the game, it helps to provide a backstory of how the whole group came together. Conversations like these influence your morale, you play either the law-abiding citizen or the rowdy, no holds barred outlaw. Like in most story-driven games, the choices you make in the dialogue tree affect this meter, and the world around you. You can make your money by selling pelts or learn the train patterns and become an infamous train robber.

After taking part in one of those missions, I think I’d choose the train robber path. Robbing the train is a really exciting gameplay sequence, as you catch up to the locomotive, hop on, and work your way to the front, taking out anyone that stands in the way of the riches that await. It was definitely my favorite mission from what I was able to play.

Overall, the game is top quality. The storytelling, the fine details, and enjoyable gameplay create an extremely cinematic and action packed experience. The only problems I could find in the game were a significant amount of unplayable cutscenes all across my playtime with the game, and some dynamic cutscenes glitched out and actually got me stuck. During the first train heist, you have to get into the train after you’ve stopped it to collect the loot. The AI of one of my allies pushed me off of the train and it treated me like I was in the train car, but it was rare that there were issues with these dynamic cutscenes in the game. This is a must-buy for players who enjoy shooters, who have enjoyed games like GTA in the past, and who are looking for an exciting adventure of a game. Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.