Red Dead Redemption II Review By GamesX




 Red Dead Redemption II was, no, is a big game. We've played it. We've reviewed it. We've talked about it. But now, years later, as the dust has cleared, let's take a look back, shall we? It's always more fun to talk about a game long, long after you, and really the rest of gaming culture has fully digested it. Let's dive into Rockstar's actual last full game release, believe it or not, and talk about what exactly made Red Dead Redemption II a big deal. And please be aware, big fat spoiler alert here. Some of the main points I wanna make about this game have to do with the story, so we're gonna go deep. There's a lot to it. And of course, as you guys know, a lot of it is down to opinion, but let's see here. Rockstar released Red Dead Redemption II October of 2018. And in a lot of ways, it was exactly what people were expecting. A lot of what people were hoping for. A big, dense, open world to explore and a well-acted, well-scripted story to play around in, filled with memorable characters, many returning from the original Red Dead Redemption, as this was a prequel of course, and in the game you ride horses, you shoot dudes, you do story missions, and explore the wilderness. 



 You hunt. You find secrets. You hop on trains. You explore small towns, a really impressive big city, and take care of your character by eating and bathing. Now like, yeah, if you wanna be completely reductive, it is Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West. Wanted levels, robberies, and just open world chaos and freedom to do whatever you want is there. And it's fun to be a dastardly, evil man, or a hunter, or a hero. Rockstar had once again, created, like a fun and almost realistic feeling game, where the shooting, in third or first person, just felt raw and weighty while still being fun. Fist fights had real good hits and character movements were slow and deliberate and realistic, from aiming your gun to climbing up something. Picking up a dead deer you hunted and throwing it on your horse. This game was never in a rush, because it wanted to make it feel like you were really there in this world, actually doing the stuff as the main character Arthur Morgan. And where the game really takes its time is with the story. Like, man, is this like a lengthy and compelling story with deep characters and just an overall uncommon presentation. I'll get into that. Like, the story Red Dead II tells and how it tells it is really unlike anything we've seen in many games before. And it's where I think the game is the biggest deal. Especially looking back years later. Whereas Red Dead Redemption told a story of the Wild West kind of winding down and the modern age cropping up, Red Dead II takes place more, somewhat, in the more root in' toot in' cowboy times. 



 You actually get to see the robbin in' and the steal in' and the travel in' the West. As Arthur Morgan, you're a longtime member of Dutch's gang, a group of rebels who roam the West in search of fortune, often pulling off jobs and heists to make ends meet. But after a daring train heist for the start that's very classic Western, you are quickly slapped in the face with the sense of community. You're not just a group of bad dudes. I mean, well, there are definitely some bad dudes in the gang, but you're a group of all different ages and colors and genders. From the old man to the young lady, to the immigrant. Every person in your gang is from a completely different walk of life and are just trying to make ends meet in this actual Wild West. They're all in search of the, you know, quote, unquote American dream, one way or another, and their own interpretation of it. And they all just kind of ended up together. Traveling by covered wagons, setting up camp with one another. Cooking for one another, washing clothes for one another, and looking for jobs in the towns to pay for necessities. And finding out how all these people came together, slowly through exposition and backstory, is half the fun, at least for me. And the gameplay loop reflects this. You know, it's not just a background story thing I'm reading too much into. A large portion of the game is centered around the loop of waking up at a camp, checking your gear, talking to your mates, and then venturing out to the nearest town. Doing jobs for money or hunting in the woods. So at the end of the day, you come back to the camp and help contribute to your little community. Everybody has their own problems and demons that you can look into, especially John Marston, and you, Arthur Morgan, and Dutch, the leader.



 Now, Arthur Morgan as a main character is really something else, man. I love him. A lot of it is thanks to the incredible voice acting by Roger Clark. He's iconic here. And really, ever since Grand Theft Auto 4, Rockstar has been exploring increasingly complex and unconventional and nuanced main characters. And I think that's where Arthur takes the cake. There's a lot you can read from him, even if some of it is just opportune interpretation. You know, he feels like a real, lived-in character. He's not just a parody or like a symbol of a cowboy that you would imagine from a movie. You know, he's older, he's seen some stuff. And one of my favorite character traits is that he's just tired. He's tired all the time. About everything. That's the main word I'd use to describe him, but like, he's still capable and he's still a total badass. He's not always the first to talk. And despite being the gruff ever man, he's still willing to listen, and seems to have at least some gauge of right versus wrong. And that makes every scenario with him and every encounter with another character really interesting and unpredictable. It's like they took the gruff hearted protagonist and injected a slight bit of levity and humanity to it. And it resulted in, for me, just a really, really memorable character. And overall the game just emphasizes a story of community and also passing things on. Now, like, it sounds corny but a game showcased it in ways we've never seen before. Like how it handles John Marston and Arthur Morgan's longstanding relationship and how it carries over after Arthur dies and the surprisingly long prologue begins. Have you ever heard a story from like an old person you know? Like, oh, when your father moved to this country, or, oh, when I started out, I only had five bucks and then I met so and so, and you know, or this person set me on the path. Or I worked for this. You know, really any kind of life tale like that, the game does a really good job of showing a real example of that. And it only really works out and pays off because it's a game. It's longer than a movie and you spend so much time in these characters' shoes and in this world that the idea of one character passing something on to another character or really helping them, setting them on the path, it actually really pays off. It's tangible. 



 Arthur kind of doing the right thing and setting up John for a better life? It's not just that bullet point. Like I said, it's a full story beat that the game lets breathe and you get it. And although it's surrounded by tragedy at every level, because you know, cowboys and guns, it's still something you can feel from both Arthur and John's perspective. And it makes the epilogue thing that initially on paper, like if you just describe it to someone, it seems like BS fluff. It actually really extends and strengthens everything. From Arthur's whole character arc to John Marston's. And then John Marston's in the original Red Dead Redemption. It's crazy that they pulled it off. And even without that corny stuff, it's also just a badass story with the kind of like, origin of Dutch's conflict. Seeing the cracks start to grow in his whole thing, his whole facade. Micah being an asshole. And the whole Arthur slowly dying of tuberculosis thing. All of it adds up to a really well-told and unique thing. We played a lot of games where the main character, the protagonist, has a death sentence. They're slowly dying. They're a ticking time bomb in one way or another. But we haven't really seen a game handle it like this where it's less about like, uh-oh, you're gonna die, you better hurry up, and more about the character actually contemplating that. And although Arthur doesn't really like whinge or whine on and on about it, you get his processing of it in a way. Just all of it, I keep using the word, but all of it's really unique. And all of this is surrounded of course, by living and playing in this world. Customizing whatever you want. Doing whatever you want, wherever you want in a really, really detailed and varied map filled with like wonder and beauty and sadness, and even spooky stuff to find. All of this, you know, the atmosphere here, helps you get engrossed and wrapped up by this world. Especially thanks to Woody Jackson's composing work. It's all really beautiful and haunting, and I think ties the bow on the whole package. There's more to it. You could say the third person shooting, the combat encounters. 



We can get into the nitty gritty of the video game part, but this is why we think Red Dead Redemption II was a really big deal. It sold a ton of copies. It's like a big, massive, mainstream, top-charting success, but it does a lot of creative things that you would never see in other games that top the charts like a Call of Duty or a Minecraft or a Fortnite, or an NBA 2K. And it should be commended for that. Yeah, Read Dead Online, in more recent months, has disappointed fans and that might be a whole other video. And then there's just Rockstar in 2022, which many fans are frustrated with or losing patience with, which also can be another video. But this thing they created? This product itself? This work of art? Whatever you wanna call it, however you feel about video games. Red Dead Redemption II's adventure? It's something else. And it's a big deal. But that's what we think. We wanna hear from you guys in the comments. What do you think about Red Dead Redemption II? If you've come away from it, maybe you've replayed it a couple of times, wherever your level is, we wanna hear from you. Are we being pretentious here? Are we just kind of being overly rose-colored glasses about this game? I don't know the phrase, but like, let's talk about Red Dead Redemption II, and specifically the story and what it tries to do. A lot of it is very subtle. A lot of people might miss it. But if you got it, let's talk about it. Now, if you enjoyed this video, this trip down memory lane from a couple of years ago, God it feels so long, clicking the like button's all you gotta do, though. It just really helps us. But if you're new, consider subscribing, hitting that notification bell because we put out videos every single day. But as always, thanks for watching. We'll see you guys next time.

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