Red Dead Review Part One: Too Much Fun in the “Lawless West”

I’ve had to stop myself from writing a Red Dead Redemption 2 post before this.

‘Amanda, stop and think about this. You haven’t even completed the game yet. What gives you the right to write a post about it before playing the game all the way through?’

Then I remembered a couple of things.

I’m a self-admitted Below Average reviewer. My reviews suck eggs. No one is expecting excellent critiquing from me. Who is even reading this? I am definitely not held to the same standards as official video game critics.

Also, what I really want to write about right now is not a review of RDR2. I kind of just want to write a gush-a-thon about how much fun I’m having with it.

There is a good reason why I haven’t finished Red Dead Redemption 2. The game is huge. It’s freaking massive. And every inch of the open-world is filled with different activities to do. You can go hunting. You can go fishing. You can go shopping. You can go horse-racing (with random strangers who seem to want to test their horse against yours). You can rob stagecoaches. You can rob trains. You can practice being a cowboy loan shark. You can chop wood. You can eat soup. You can take a bath. You can play dominoes. You can play poker. You can collect cigarette cards. You can go on treasure hunts. You can become a part-time bounty hunter. You can get drunk in a saloon. 

And I haven’t even scratched the surface of all that the game offers.

As you can probably guess by now, I’m extremely fond of this game. Games like RDR2 remind me of the artistry that goes into making them. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by it all. 

Judging from how many hours I’ve already poured into this game, I can’t even imagine how many hours went into making it. 

So, even though I haven’t finished it yet, I thought I would give you a truly Below Average, half-assed review of it. I want to be upfront with whoever reads this though. I HAVE NOT FINISHED THE GAME YET.

When I am eventually done with the game, I’ll give it a more critiqued overview in a “Red Dead Review Part 2.” 

For now, let me just tell you all the reasons I’m having so much fun with it.

1. It’s a Gosh-darned Beautiful World

I don’t normally hype up video game graphics. If a game looks great, that’s fine, but I mostly care about whether a game plays well. That said, RDR2 makes me appreciate graphics. You spend a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time) riding through countryside on your horse. And it looks beautiful. At the beginning of the game, I honestly would stop riding to just stare and look at the horizon as the sun sets. On my television screen. While I’m sitting in a chair with a bathrobe on. Looking at a fake horizon. And the weather feels so dynamic. Sometimes, it’s foggy and rainy. Other times, it’s a bright, clear day. Plus, the surroundings change depending on where you’re at. You can be in town, in the snowy mountains, or lost in a forest. 

2. Horse Riding

I love horse-riding in video games. I, unfortunately, have never owned a horse or ridden a horse regularly. As such, I have a healthy obsession with horse-riding in video games. And in RDR2, you do more horse-riding than breathing. ‘Nuff said.

3. The Impression You Leave

Video games will often extol how much player choice their games have, and believe you me, they sometime stretch the truth a bit. In Red Dead Redemption 2, however, player agency is no lie. You have so much freedom. And  you actually feel like what you do in the world leaves a lasting impression. People notice if you bathe. They mention events that happened prior to you meeting them. I’d say the one thing that doesn’t appear to have a lasting effect is a massive town slaughter. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to engage in a gunfight in the middle of town, and I accidentally/on purpose shot a lot of people dead. Afterwards, I paid my $80 bounty and no one seemed to mind the next time I strolled through town. 

4. “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up”

Okay, I know I’ve been extolling how perfect this game is, but even the best video games have some side-splitting flaws. In between serious story moments, there are downright hilarious parts that have gotten me giggling up a storm. Some of these moments are intentional. For example, main character Arthur Morgan goes in town to get drunk with friend Lenny. What ensues is nothing short of a drunken masterpiece. Other moments are unintentionally funny. Arthur isn’t always a graceful athlete. I’ll just be walking toward a deer carcass I need to pick up, and a short drop will have him spread-eagled on the ground. 

5. Just Need a New Plan

I hate to start praising the story when I haven’t finished the game (kind of, sort of, not really), but here we go. From what I’ve seen so far, the story of RDR2 is phenomenal. You follow the Van der Linde Gang as they struggle to maintain the outlaw lifestyle they’ve always had as the law closes in around them. You play as Arthur Morgan, one of the founding members of the Gang. If you know what happens in the first game, you already know that this gang is doomed. So every happy moment this band of outlaws shares is kind of shadowed by what you know will happen in the end. I’m still in semi-okay parts, so I get the feeling it’s only downhill from here. But I just know this game is going to hit me in the feels. In a good way.

6. The Music

The soundtrack is fantastic. I pay attention to video game music, don’t think that I don’t. It’s instrumental stuff, for the most part, but every so often, right when the story could use it, some vocals and lyrics show their heads, and it perfectly compliments the moment. The songs heighten your experience. I’d like this soundtrack even if it didn’t come with the game. But the soundtrack and the game perfectly complement each other.

Welp, that’s all for now. If you’re playing Red Dead Redemption 2 right now, feel free to let me know where you’re at and if anything cool has happened to you. Or if anything silly has happened to you. That too.

11 thoughts on “Red Dead Review Part One: Too Much Fun in the “Lawless West””

      1. Hi Amanda. Great post! Yeah, Red Dead Redemption 2 is undeniably visually stunning despite the fact that a 5-year-old hardware runs it. It raises the bar for all future games. I also like how it lets Arthur ride a horse. It’s getting boring riding super cars in GTA games. I have no complaints with its music and story. Thanks for sharing your insight about RDR2. Anyway, where is your part two review of Red Dead Redemption 2?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. i’m going to take issue with your assertion that you don’t give great review – i think they’re awesome. the books, the shows, the games – all good. i’m not a gamer, at all, but your reviews tempt me to give them a try.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Before I got into video games, I was too. It felt like a giant piece of hardware that I had no clue how to work. And I always worried that I’d publicly suck at a game. But I learned to use my console as simply as I use a computer and I adore single-player games.

        Liked by 1 person

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