Red Dead Redemption 2

A new prequel of Rockstar game breaks records for release

Cody Bennett, Assistant Striv Producer

Rockstar San Diego, most commonly known as “Rockstar Games” began developing Red Dead Redemption (RDR1) in 2005, an 800 men and women project released on May 18th, 2010. With a 100 million dollar budget, RDR1 is one of the most expensive games ever created.

In RDR1, players play as John Marston, an American outlaw on the run, turned against his original gang to help the American law and frontier to find his family. The players go on different missions around the openworld of the old American West and the Mexican Revolution helping out different primary and secondary characters to find all of John’s former gang mates. John gets shot in the abdomen by confronting an old gang member, Bill Williamson and another main character, Bonnie McFarlane, nurses you back to health for you to go on to make acquaintances to raid a fort where the supposed “killers” are housed in. The player finds out that part of the gang moved out of the fort and went beyond the border into Mexico.
After killing Dutch and hunting
John’s gang across the border, the player finally returns to John’s family in the states. The American government, realizing that John is the last living member of the gang, target him, raiding his ranch. John unselfishly sacrifices his life for his wife and son, Jack Marston, and later goes on to fulfill revenge on the commander of the attack. After a high noon type of faceoff with the commander, Jack can finally believe his dad can rest easy.

After a seven-year development cycle and two delays, Red Dead Redemption 2 was finally released with months of teasers and gameplay reviews. According to, fifteen million game copies were sold and a total of 900 million dollars, making RDR2 an absolute boom on release markets.

Over the first 24 hours, the game made an astounding $724 million on the game market, making the release the best in Rockstar’s history, even beating the release of the blockbuster game of GTA V.  

First impressions of this game are astounding.

A slideshow of old late 19th century pictures fades until a cutscene starts setting up main characters in the game. The player’s character, Arthur Morgan, goes ahead and scouts out the surrounding land with no other than gang leader, Dutch van der Linde. Stories told from Dutch say that the gang is on a run from the law after a failed ferry robbery, after most of the gang is stranded or deserted, the player goes on a mission with a new member and go to find the ever so infamous, John Marston, who was the main character for the first game.

By finishing the entire 60-hour story in a week and a half, I can safely say this story is one of the best of the decade.

The entire storyline for RDR2 consists of six main chapters and two epilogues. The first chapter mainly consists of hiding in the snowy mountains with really boring exposition and character development immediately following setting up a camp outside of the main town Valentine in chapter 2.

With a shootout ending the chapter, Arthur and the gang pack up and try to find a better-disclosed location in the deep south in Chapter 3. Arthur and the gang find themselves playing both sides of a family feud makes the gang flee once again.

They travel along to a “modernized” city, Saint Denis, the only modern city filled with factories and paved roads. The gang needs a little more money and one more “score” to leave America.

In order to not spoil the plot, the cops show up to the robbery a lot earlier than planned, which sparks a huge shootout.

It is later learned that a rat is amongst the group. Micah Bell.

A huge bombshell, my jaw dropped during the reveal. I didn’t expect that. The game hinted at a snitch before the bank robbery and it is finally revealed.

There are three main endings, a good, bad and a moderate. Which all ends with bombshell after bombshell.

During the campaign side missions and exploring, I saw a lot of positives.

Rockstar did some of their own research that shows off on their game.

As I proceeded into the deep depths of the story, Rockstar did a solid job on historical similarities. They brought up the suppression and racism of freed African Americans after the Civil War and during the Reconstruction period. Also, with the suffrage movement of women, and actually dedicating a mission to the women’s rights movement and the struggle of voting rights in 1899.

They also brought up certain illnesses and causes of death in RDR2. I rode into Saint-Denis, trying to start up another mission and Arthur started coughing relentlessly. The screen blackens and a man helps you to a hospital. The doctor diagnoses Arthur with Tuberculosis, a very common and deadly disease in the 19th century. With no cure and barely any rest, during the cutscenes, I saw that Arthur was dying slowly. Rashes and blisters started to appear on his neck and face.

Rockstar even went as far as to code horse testicles to shrink and grow according to the warmth of the weather in the enviornment.

The gameplay and physical differences from the first game are astounding. Buying a horse from the stables gains different attributes to each horse and bonding with the horse actually matters. The longer the player rides, brushes and feeds the horse, the more speed and stamina it has as well as unlocking new abilities and tricks to pull off while riding the horse.

If robbing and shooting isn’t the player’s speed, Rockstar implemented new fishing and hunting mechanics. The player can go down to any creek or pond, equip a fishing rod and put bait on and cast away. Its mechanics seem very dull, but can be a very useful money maker if you catch the right fish. Same goes with hunting, people say of a legendary buck and bear in the deep, freezing mountains. Bring back the skin of the massive animal and the player is paid very well.

With a refugee camp setup for the gang, the player and the people need to raise funds for different upgrades for the camp. Different upgrades, like housing for the population of the camp, encourage more donations to the fund and lets you access “fast travel” maps to travel to a town quickly without any cost.

However, with every game, there are flaws. I felt that the gunplay and the third person “free camera” was very stiff as well as it was hard to learn to control, even after playing for hours.

The first couple missions of the game are very slow, I didn’t feel like an outlaw in the Wild West, just a poor, freezing middle-aged man that went hunting and fishing with my gang. Some of those moments, sure, they were really fun, but when the game requires the player to do it to progress even after doing it for a while, it gets very stale and bitter.

But deeper into the chapters, I finally felt like I was a gunslinger in the dying Wild West. Our gang was robbing banks, stagecoaches and pretty much everything we could get our hands on.

Digital Trends
RDR2 Multiplayer is set to release in a month, with the success of GTA V’s multiplayer, if
Rockstar really wants to push Game of the Year, this multiplayer needs to be refined and polished. Connection issues need to be limited, joining and leaving a friend should be very simple and content should be plentiful. The player should be able to rob banks, go on missions and stop trains for the maximum amount of fun and feel like friends are just the player’s posse.

This game could definitely win Game of the Year for 2018 despite being delayed twice and a very long development cycle, the story, cinematics, physics and game mechanisms make this game one if not the best of the decade.