Red Dead Redemption 2 released to critical praise

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been released and, judging by reviews and feedback, it’s just as good as everyone expected.

The game sits at a score of 97 of Metacritic, with perfect or near-perfect reviews from every publication. Other than a review by Slant Magazine, which gave the game a score of 70, the reviews are all rated ‘positive’ by the aggregate website.

Reviewers praised the range of activities available to the player, as well as the graphics and world design. Not everyone was too keen on the gameplay, however, as Rockstar games have typically had quite sluggish controls. In addition, several reviewers mentioned the story was less impressive than that of Red Dead Redemption.

Audience reviews on Metacritic weren’t as positive, with an overall score of 8.6 (from 110 reviews) at time of writing. However many of these scores are ‘0’ ratings from people who admit to not having played the game, expressing their chagrin at the lack of a PC version of the game, and so feedback from people who have played the game is likely a lot higher.

Red Dead Redemption 2: Everything you need to know

Red Dead Redemption 2 online: What is Red Dead Online?

Rockstar recently announced that Red Dead Online will be the multiplayer experience of Red Dead Redemption 2, just as GTA Online  was the multiplayer component of Grand Theft Auto V.

If you’ve been looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2‘s release, and can’t wait to play it with all your friends, you’re in luck. Red Dead Online promises to not only be a fun multiplayer experience as it was in the original Red Dead Redemption, but will combine narrative, competitive and co-operative elements to create a great addition to the game.

If GTA Online is anything to go by (and it likely is), the online mode will allow players to roam the open world of the game while enjoying in social activities, like racing or shootouts.

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Rockstar has the mode pegged for a launch in November 28 as a public beta for all who own a copy of the game, only shortly after the game’s 26 October release date. After GTA Online’s rocky launch, Rockstar have stated they are aware there will likely be teething problems, but hope to make Red Dead Online into a fantastic game mode.

Seeing as GTA V was released five years ago and GTA Online is still receiving regular updates, we hope Red Dead Online is something we can continue playing for years to come.

Red Dead Redemption 2 release date: When’s it out?

Red Dead Redemption 2 was released on 26 October 2018. It was initially expected to arrive in “Fall” 2017 but those plans were scuppered by delays that knocked it back to spring 2018. As you can tell, that didn’t come to fruition and instead it was pushed back to 26 October, where it remained since.

We don’t foresee Rockstar changing the date to anything else this close to release.

Red Dead Redemption 2 price and special editions: How much will it cost?

Red Dead Redemption 2 will come in three separate editions because, 2018. Alongside the standard vanilla edition of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar is also releasing a “Collector’s Box Edition” and an “Ultimate Edition”. Amusingly, the Ultimate Edition doesn’t come with most of the things found in the collector’s box and so really isn’t that ultimate.

In the Ultimate Edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 you’ll find:

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  • Talisman and medallion gameplay bonuses

  • Gameplay boosts, cash bonuses and discounts

  • The Nuevo Paraiso Gunslinger outfit

  • Free access to additional weapons: the Volcanic Pistol, a Pump Action Shotgun and the Lancaster Varmint Rifle

  • Two bonus outfits for online

  • Black chestnut thoroughbred horse for online

  • Free access to the Survivor Camp theme for online

  • The same free weapons as in single player

  • Rank bonuses

The Collector’s Box Edition contains:

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  • Metal tithing box with lock and key

  • Collectable challenge coin

  • Double-sided, 100-piece jigsaw puzzle

  • Six shooter bandana

  • Treasure map for in-game goodies

  • Pin set

  • Playing cards

  • Wheeler, Rawson and Co. catalogue

  • 12 cigarette cards

The game will also be available in PS4 bundles, which will be available to American and European players. As of now, official EU/UK prices have not been anounced for either bundle.

The first PS4 Pro bundle includes a Jet Black 1TB PS4 Pro and a Dual Shock 4 Wireless Controller in addition to the physical coy of Red Dead Redemption 2.

The second bundle is EU exclusive and includes a physical copy of the game, as well a Dual Shock 4 Wireless Controller and either a 500 GB or 1TB Jet Black PS4 Slim. 

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Gameplay features: What can you do?

The first Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay footage was released in August, and the second in October. Between them we’ve had our first glimpse into just how the open world of Red Dead Redemption 2 looks like in motion, alongside a glimpse of the many new features and side activities we’ll be able to participate in alongside blazing a trail across the Wild West.

Obviously, you’d rather spend time watching the trailers than reading these words. I understand that, I’m stopping you from enjoying the deliciousness that is unadulterated Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay footage. But let it be known, there will be several gameplay videos coming from Rockstar to cover Red Dead Redemption 2 ahead of its 26 October release date.

Now you’ve seen the video – or just scrolled right past it as you prefer to get your information via text than through video – it’s time to break down what we just saw and share everything we already know about Red Dead Redemption 2. So, without further ado…

There are many illegal (and legal) activities to entertain you

As you’d expect for a game in which you play a cowboy, Red Dead Redemption 2 presents you with many illegal activities to enjoy. These include train robberies, bank heists (likely similar to those in GTA V), store hold-ups, coach robberies, extortion rackets or house burglaries, to name a few. There are lots of ways to earn money and have a good time – but watch out, sometimes the NPCs can try and rob you…

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Of course if breaking the law isn’t your thing, there are loads of other activities to enjoy. You can visit the theatre, find some company at a bar, engage in various kinds of gambling, or simply explore. This is, after all, a Rockstar game, and so finding secrets, stories and impressive vistas around the world are part of the fun. Many diversions from Red Dead Redemption are back including bounties, duels and running as fast as you can from the murderous wildlife.

Hand-to-hand combat is a big gameplay element

A lot of the footage in the first gameplay reveal video of Red Dead Redemption 2 showcased how hand-to-hand combat is really important this time around. Guns certainly still play a part – and we’ll get to them later – it’s clear that you’ll be using your feet and fists to resolve most situations.

In the trailer we see game protagonist Arthur Morgan tackle a man to the ground from behind, only to flip him over and punch him in the face repeatedly as a means of interrogation. Later we see him have a skirmish in a bar, another on top of a hill and another in some rural farmland. Contextual instructions are also listed on-screen during these scuffles with controls like “choke”, “dismiss” and “beat” outlined alongside corresponding button presses.

Dead-eye helps you with your gunplay

A returning gameplay mechanic from Red Dead Redemption, dead-eye lets you slow time to shoot at opponents more accurately and line up targets to pull off quick combos. Red Dead Redemption 2 gives the system more functionality.

You can now shoot non-human targets like wagon wheels to hinder your opponent, and can sense enemies’ weak points to hit. You can also duel-wield guns when doing so, letting you pull of cooler combos than before.

An advancement of the Red Dead Redemption moral system returns

Red Dead Redemption 2 brings back the moral system of its predecessor, but this time around it’s not as clear what your actions mean and the repercussions they’ll have.

In the trailer, we can see that you’re able to “defuse” situations by walking away or engaging in conversations. Conversely, you can “antagonise” others and find yourself in sticker situations than you were previously. There’s an opportunity to gain a bounty on your head, but instead of kill your way out of it, you can talk it out or pay it off. There are chances to help other characters too, with one scene showing Morgan assisting an older man ensnared by a bear trap.

It’s not clear how these individual decisions add up to a whole, but it’s clearly there for character building and opening up new opportunities for gameplay avenues.

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You need to care for your horses

Taking notes from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Red Dead Redemption 2 requires you to form a lasting bond with your trusty steed if you want to get the most from them during your journey through the Wild West.

In the original Red Dead Redemption, you could just grab a horse and go, tame a wild one or buy your own for your travels. This time around, however, you need to build their trust. The trailer outlines how spending time caring for your horse, feeding it regularly and calming it in stressful situations can all improve your bond. The better your bond, the better the horse performs during combat or when galloping across the wide open land.

There are also varying breeds of horses too and it’s important to pick the right type of horse for the job if you want it to do well. For instance, your horse’s saddle bag is an important part of your inventory as it can hold larger weapons and resources. If you’d rather use it as a pack horse than a speedy steed for travelling long distances, you’re better off going for a larger horse breed that’d satisfy that need.

Hunting makes a return

Hunting has come back in Red Dead Redemption 2 and while there are no details yet on the legendary hunts that made John Marston’s adventure an enjoyable challenge, it looks like it’s had some nice quality-of-life improvements.

Now when hunting you’ll have to follow signs of the animals you’ve wounded to help finish them off. It’s unlikely you’ll just be able to pump an animal full of lead like before and then run over to it to harvest some skin or meat – especially as it appears Morgan prefers to use a bow while hunting. Think of it more like The Witcher 3 or Tomb Raider than what came before.

First person mode is back, as well as cinematic modes

The GTA V remastered introduced first-person gameplay into Rockstar games, which since GTA III had been third-person. This perspective is available in Red Dead Redemption 2, meaning more intense gunplay and horse riding.

However another new perspective is also available through cinematic cameras, which provides a zoomed-out view of you and your surroundings. The world is beautiful already, and some of the examples of the cinematic shots shown in the trailer are breathtaking. You wouldn’t believe they weren’t pre-rendered or from a cutscene – or from the real world itself.

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You need to dress to impress

In Rockstar games you’ve always been able to choose how you present yourself and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception – you can choose what clothes you wear, what horse you ride, and what weapons you use.

However the second gameplay trailer makes it clear that you’ll be judged depending on what you wear. If you don’t shave and don’t wash, the inhabitants of the world might want to keep their distance!

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You may only be able to carry two or three weapons

Specific details on how many weapons you can carry haven’t been clearly outlined but, going from trailer footage, it doesn’t appear like you’ll be able to carry an entire arsenal in your pocket. One reason this seems to be the case is that you’ll be using your horse to carry a lot of your items.

Another clue into your weapon limitations is shown during a firefight where Morgan is only holding a shotgun and a revolver and switches between the two. No weapon wheel is shown during the process and the shotgun is clasped in his left hand while he fires with the revolver, suggesting you can’t really even carry two large weapons at once.

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There are many other things to see and do in the game:

  • There will be over 50 weapons in the game – double that of the original Red Dead Redemption. In addition, there will be elements of weapon modification, different types of ammunition, and weapon degradation.
  • The game’s story will take around 60 hours to complete.
  • If you turn off the mini-map in gameplay, the characters respond. Instead of a trail or icons on the mini-map guiding you to your destionation or objective, characters will describe the route you must take, or provide you with a general direction to travel in.
  • Dutch games website Inside Gamer, reported the inclusion of the original Red Dead Redemption map stating that a Rockstar team member confirmed that “the whole part of the old map is accessible during the game” alongside “a lot of new areas as well.”

Red Dead Redemption 2 story: A prequel, rather than a sequel

Red Dead Redemption 2 revolves around the tale of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw running with the Van der Linde gang in 1899. After a bank heist goes wrong you’re sent on the run as the FBI and bounty hunters come after you and the der Linde gang.

It seems like you may even well be given a choice as a player to keep running with the der Linde gang that’s raised you, or splinter off and go your own way, sticking to your own ideals. Rockstar hasn’t outlined exactly how the two games are connected but it doesn’t take long to work out that the Van der Linde gang Morgan runs with is the same gang that John Marston becomes caught up in – presumably after Morgan’s departure. We’re certain this is the case because in Red Dead Redemption you’re tasked with tracking down “Dutch’s Gang”, led by Duch van der Linde.

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC release: It’s not coming to PC, yet…

Red Dead Redemption 2 publisher Take-Two Interactive refuses to confirm if the game will be released on PC. As reported by Gamespot, a recent earnings call saw company president Karl Slatoff claim that PC is a “very important, very exciting” medium for the publisher, but wouldn’t say if its upcoming open-world western is destined for the platform.

“It really depends on the title,” Slatoff said. “Some titles are actually heavily weighted to PC, for example, Civilization and XCOM, [but] some titles are less weighted to PC. The great news is that the PC market is vibrant for us. It’s a great market. It’s a big market. It’s a core market.

“It’s a predominantly digital market, which also removes friction in terms of ongoing engagement with the consumer,” he added. “So for us, the PC market as a company is very important, very exciting, and something we focus on.”

Asked about Red Dead Redemption 2 specifically, CEO Strauss Zelnick batted away the question with an assertion that: “Any updates about any of our titles will come from our labels.” That means it’s on Rockstar to make the announcement about platforms – in the latest Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer, Rockstar made no mention of PC.

Red Dead Redemption wasn’t released for PC at all, while Grand Theft Auto V was eventually released on PC after initially coming to consoles. If Rockstar is planning a PC version, it’s possible that it will follow a similar pattern – coming a year or two after the console release.

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