Red Dead Redemption 2
Developed by: Rockstar Games
Published by: Take two interactive
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
When I looked at the sunlight as it flickered from the trees in all its subtle fullness, I thought of Vermeer. I never grew up imagining games would look so detailed that they are reminiscent of some of the most exemplary painters of Western art. Such thoughts tickled my brain during my first thirty hours of "Red Dead Redemption 2". Since "Grand Theft Auto IV" (2008) I expect a deep feeling when I start a new Rockstar game. The company that has made open-world game design the most popular makes rabbit holes like no other. How many things can you do? How colorful are the locations? How outstanding is the music? These are the questions that I have always had in the last decade when Rockstar gives up a new game. In the meantime, before the answers come – before I know exactly what my avatar can do before I get more or less used to the audiovisual flowering – I lose myself in a way I rarely do with other mega budget games make. I expected the shock of the new from Rockstar.
In 1899, at dusk in the Old West, "Red Dead Redemption 2" ("RDR2") tells the story of the decaying dissolution of the Van der Linde gang. The fate of the Dutch Van der Linde will be familiar to those who played the first game, but the history of his gang's earlier days is as compelling as anything else in popular gambling. While "Red Dead Redemption" (2010) focused on the wanderings of former Van der Linde gang member John Marston, players in "RDR2" take on the role of Marston gang member Arthur Morgan, a laconic man equally prone to pity Brutality. While the world of "RDR2" provides a great incentive to go solo with your horse – to see, hunt, fish, play, or search for crazy items to interact with – the game is extremely focused on group dynamics. In fact, the key to determining just how committed Arthur and the rest of the cohorts are to the charismatic leadership of the Dutch is to start with.
The Dutchman, prone to madness and melancholy, is a dreamer who admonishes his followers to remain true to his vision of "free life" beyond the turmoil of civilization, with their taxes and sedentary habits. The Dutch consider themselves an outlaw, committed to an ideal of personal authenticity, and a hard-core realist who sees the darkness in all people, including himself. He is a trusted boss, until his unpredictable behavior is the affections of his fellow human beings coagulates. Arthur's journey from the competition for Dutch's approval (he's jealous of John Marston in the beginning) to his verdict is wonderful for his interaction with the other gang members.
The greatest joy of "RDR2" is that you are related to your criminals, whether you are in a mission where you are in trouble or you are experiencing downtime at one of the campsites that are the temporary home of the gang , In the many hours that I have spent playing with the game, I have appreciated the attention that has been paid to the various personalities of the Van de Linde gang. Characters speak suggestively and give the impression that things are left unsaid. You feel the weight of history behind you.
One of the technical innovations of "RDR2" is the dialogue system. Unlike games where the action is paused for quiet moments, in "RDR2", conversations outside of cut scenes or other script moments are initiated by pressing the left-hand button to focus on a person and then select a prompt with one of the controller's buttons. I suspect other developers will implement this system because it gives the player dialog options without turning away from the activities in the environment. Another innovation of the game is the movie camera mode. Set a target on the map Arthur is about to go to, and then watch with one touch as the image on the screen is moved to a wide-angled frame with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Although Rockstar has used cinematographic camera angles in the past, the camera work here is at a different level. No other game feels as natural on the autopilot as if it were a movie.
One of the moments when I knew the game his voodoo had worked on me was when I bounced back a little at the first sight of Saint Denis. Having spent so much time in the countryside and in small towns, I briefly identified with Arthur's distaste for city life. I live in Brooklyn. Do I have to say that in recent weeks I have had to stop myself from playing in the waning hours? My cousin told me that the game would make him happy to be alive. I could not agree anymore. Nevertheless, ignoring the recent controversy over working conditions on "RDR2" is imperative. Kotaku and Eurogamer both reported on the workforce involved in the production of "RDR2". It is a versatile story about different departments that are distributed in different studios in different countries. However, it is clear that there are people who felt overworked. Considering that Rockstar's previous game "Grand Theft Auto V" is the most media-rich media product in history, and "RDR2" is what makes Rockstar Games the most lucrative weekend for any media product in history, with sales of $ 725 million. I hope that the company will use its resources to improve all employees and to inspire the industry as a whole. With enormous fortune comes an enormous responsibility, as they say.
Christopher Byrd is a Brooklyn-based writer. His work has been published in the New York Times Book Review, New Yorker and other countries. Follow him on Twitter @ Chris_Byrd,
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