The original Red Dead Redemption is the best game Rockstar ever put out, in our opinion. It is also one of those games that you can’t find any flaw with. Everything from the story, the characters, the mission design, the writing, the progression etc. comes together perfectly. It’s such a satisfying, rewarding and fully fleshed out title, that by the end you’re let completely fulfilled and happily exhausted. Put it simply, it’s a game that meets its full potential on it’s first go. There is no way you can ‘improve’ or ‘fix’ Read Dead Redemption. There is just no need to.
Still, Rockstar has decided to make a sequel. And since they don’t do things by accident – it’s clear that they have another brand new vision that they want to unveil to the world. In fact, if it’s anything close to being as focused as the first instalment, we feel pretty clear in saying that it might as well turn out to be the company’s crown jewel so far. Announcing a game like that means that you have to put out a product that is going against impossible expectations – and Rockstar is fully aware of that.
Rockstar is a company known for taking big leaps. When GTA 4 was released in 2008, it brought an unprecedented level of detail and immersion into the open world formula—which Rockstar itself had pioneered—but had gotten stale due to an influx of copycats. Liberty City felt ground-breaking in 2008, and to this day feels more alive than 99% of other game worlds. Rockstar continued to polish the formula in both RDR and GTA 5, where they, by all accounts and measures created open worlds far beyond whatever their contemporaries were up to.
Since Red Dead Redemption marks the company’s first foray into the 8th generation, expectations on pushing the open world gameplay are expected. And judging by of the recently revealed gameplay video, Rockstar has done just that. The game seems all set to bring in a new era of interactivity and dynamism to the open world format. Although the Wild West felt incredibly alive in the first game – now they seem to be taking it up a whole another notch. From what it seems, the world in RDR 2 might just be the most dynamic open world that we’ve ever seen so far. And judging by the fact that Rockstar only keeps on improving on its technology with time – it will be mind boggling to imagine what they can achieve by the time GTA 6 rolls around.
RDR also seems like it will be exploring its western settings even more so than its predecessor. Which is surprising, given that the original RDR was pretty much an epic western classic that can go toe to toe with any Sam Peckinpah, John Ford or Sergio Leone classic. The wild west was the edge of civilization, and a brutal barbaric place. The original did such a fantastic job of melding the ‘Lone wolf gunman’ stereotype of the Spaghetti western, with the more thoughtful, harrowing westerns of 50’s Hollywood, with the same dash of occasional savage violence of something like The Wild Bunch.
RDR 2 seems to repeat the trend of its cinematic influences once again, and that’s a good thing. The train heist from the original trailer was most reminiscent of more recent classics like The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford, and the whole group dynamics regarding the outlaws can be attributed to being like The Wild Bunch itself. Considering how sharp the writing, music, atmosphere and story was in the original game—we’re sure that Rockstar has come up with another classic western that is all set to defy expectations and put both movies and literature to shame.
All in all, it’s good to have Rockstar games back doing what they do best. Their winning streak has never really stopped since 2001, when Grand Theft Auto 3 was unveiled on the Playstation 2, and judging by how RDR 2 is shaping up to be— isn’t going to anytime soon either.