5 Ways Red Dead Redemption 2 Redefines Gaming

Rockstar's latest open world shooter sets some exceptional precedents for the genre.

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5 Ways Red Dead Redemption 2 Redefines Gaming

Zack, Writer

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Rockstar Games’ latest opus, Red Dead Redemption 2, is a force to be reckoned with in the open world gaming genre. Breaking UK sales records in its first week and receiving widespread critical acclaim, this open world Western shooter has shaken the industry, mainly because of the precedents the game is setting for future releases in the ubiquitous genre. Listed below are the 5 ways Red Dead Redemption 2 redefines gaming!

5. Revival of Westerns

The Western genre’s had its ups and downs in popularity over the past couple of decades, with only some standouts maintaining people’s interest throughout the years. 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, for example, brought new life to the genre with its unique portrayal of the Wild West and its downfall at the hands of civilization in the early 1900s. Rockstar not only managed to create a revolutionary open world with inventive storytelling, but they reinvigorated a decidedly stale pop culture genre. This year’s prequel, Red Dead Redemption 2, has accomplished just that, with a refreshing spin on the done-to-death outlaw tale that brings new life to the genre. Westerns are back, and they’re back strong!

Rockstar Games has brought Westerns back into the spotlight with a unique narrative that flips the genre on its head.

4. Everything’s an Interaction

Getting lost in the dense, elaborate world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is an experience to behold, thanks in part to the mesmerizing interactions scattered all across the varied landscape. From unlucky hunters asking for medicine after getting snake bites to explosive ambushes by rival gangs, there’s no shortage of intricacy and variety within the interactions you’ll come across in the game’s massive world. Civilians aren’t just walking props for the scenery; you can greet them, antagonize them, and even threaten them. But you can’t expect a friendly response to all of your hello’s, as civilian interactions turn out differently based on a number of factors, like your cleanliness and outfit. People will become uncomfortable if you’re wearing a bandana, carrying a gun, or running around like a maniac, and interacting with certain people might unlock secret side quests. The concept is nothing new, but the masterfully-executed scope of these interactions has never before been this grand.

The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is effectively brought to life with deep interactions, whether it be antagonizing civilians or petting horses.

3. The Immense Map

Two particular aspects of open world games, with which developers are always trying to outdo each other, are the size of the map and the attention to detail within. Rockstar Games is a ground-breaker in crafting revolutionary open worlds, arguably pioneering the genre and shaping it into what it is today. With Red Dead Redemption 2, the developer has not only created an astoundingly vast stretch of America’s heartlands, but over half of the map of the original Red Dead Redemption is remastered. This makes for Rockstar’s largest map to date, and easily one of the largest in gaming. The world’s environments range from snow-drenched mountains to glistening forests, all-jam packed with wildlife and interactions. Sweeping deserts, gator-infested swamps, industrialized towns; you name it. These different environments pull the world together to make one of the most detailed, expansive maps in gaming.

Deserts, snow-capped mountains, gator-ridden swamps; the intricate map of Red Dead Redemption 2 features it all, and not one detail is omitted.

2. Depth in Dialogue

In addition to over 300,000 animations, Red Dead Redemption 2 features over 500,000 lines of dialogue. Even taking into consideration the scale of the world they’ve crafted, it’s impossible not to be taken off-guard by that amount. For comparison, 2015’s triple-A role-playing epic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, has just over 450,000 lines of dialogue. And that’s an RPG, a genre that’s known for its bountiful scripts. Not all of this Western’s dialogue compliments the story (which happens to be 60 hours long); much of it is distributed throughout the immense world. Side missions, random encounters, and miscellaneous activities are all jam-packed with dialogue, making for a constantly fresh experience not bogged down by repetitive exchanges.

What you choose to do in the open world impacts the outcome of the story in unimaginable ways, making for a smooth transition between narrative and open-ended gameplay.

1. Meaningful Actions

A common criticism of open world games is the dissonance between the story and free-roam excursions. You can spend hours murdering and stealing in the open world environment, but once a story quest starts, you’re rescuing animals and saving the world. With Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar Games has addressed this issue with its refined honor mechanic, present in the first game but more fine-tuned here. Robbing, murdering, and acting selfishly lower your character’s honor, reshaping the story and resulting in a different outcome. Every action you take is judged upon as being honorable or dishonorable, and it’s indicated by a bar on the display. It’s more than just a gameplay system; it affects the protagonist’s journey through the narrative in significant ways. This makes for a unique spin on the ludonarrative dissonance frequently criticized in these types of open world shooters, and it helps to distinguish Red Dead Redemption 2 from other games in the genre.

Rockstar Games is no stranger to revolutionizing the way games are played, and with Red Dead Redemption 2, they’ve managed to create an open world adventure that sets a new precedent for games to come.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is available for PS4 and Xbox One, and follows the notorious Dutch Van Der Linde gang as they fight their way across America’s unrelenting heartland, in the dawn of a new era where people like them are no longer welcome.

PlayStation 4

Xbox One

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