Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now and, as expected, reviews have been overwhelmingly positive – with some calling it one of the best games of 2018.
The sequel to one of the Xbox 360 and PS3’s best games is gigantic, gun-toting open-world romp through the Wild West which pits you against rival gangs, authority figures and the elements of a brutal world.
Ready to saddle up and ride out on Rockstar’s latest western adventure? Here’s what you need to know before you hit the dusty trail.
[Update: Red Dead Redemption 2 reviews have been rounded up.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to the Wild West Rockstar hit, Red Dead Redemption
- When can I play it? Out now
- What can I play it on? PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (so far)
- How much is it? Here are the best Red Dead Redemption 2 prices
Red Dead Redemption 2 reviews
We haven’t had enough time with Red Dead Redemption 2 to give it the comprehensive TechRadar review treatment, however we’ve rounded up the verdicts of those who have below:
David Meikelham – * * * * * –
Just how good is Red Dead Redemption 2? Over the past few years, I’d argue the only games that deserve to be considered at this same ultra elite level are GTA 5, Metal Gear Solid 5, and The Witcher 3. This is a stone cold 5/5 classic that combines brilliant writing – Rockstar’s Houser brothers deliver another affecting, scythe-sharp script – amazing tech, and one of the most boldly structured plots to ever grace a triple-A title. The story is so well told, you’ll emotionally invest more in a horse during one crucial scene than you did even for Kratos in this year’s stellar God of War revival. If you only buy one game this year, it absolutely has to be this wondrous Wild West quest.
Kirk Hamilton – (No score, but incredibly positive review)
This game has heart; the kind of heart that is difficult to pin down but impossible to deny. It is a wonderful story about terrible people, and a vivacious, tremendously sad tribute to nature itself. There is so much beauty and joy in this expensive, exhausting thing. Somehow that makes it even more perfect – a breathtaking eulogy for a ruined world, created by, about, and for a society that ruined it.
Keza McDonald – * * * * * -
There can be no doubt that this is a landmark game. It is a new high water-mark for lifelike video game worlds, certainly, but that world is also home to a narrative portrait of the wild west that is unexpectedly sombre and not afraid to take its time. With very few exceptions, the many stories that Rockstar’s writers have set out to tell about this group of outlaws land perfectly, the enjoyable twists and turns of individual missions and chapters feeding into an exciting, sophisticated and absorbing larger narrative – and the stories that you discover yourself within its world are no less compelling.
Luke Reilly – 10/10 -
Set in Rockstar’s most authentic and lived-in open world ever, there are so many things to do, so many people to meet, and so many places to explore it’s giddily overwhelming. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just Rockstar’s greatest achievement to date; it’s a game so lacking in compromise it’s tough to know where best to start discussing it.
Matt Bertz – 10/10 –
Rockstar Games has outdone itself again with Red Dead Redemption II. The up-close portrayal of the outlaw Van der Linde gang’s unraveling is a compelling companion story that blends seamlessly with the original game, and depth and breadth of the open world is a technical triumph that every gamer should experience.
Martin Robinson – Recommended
It’s been eight years since the last Red Dead Redemption, and five since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 – time that you can see and feel in every delicately crafted inch of a game of this scope and scale, yet time in which we’ve been spoilt by the likes of The Witcher 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Rockstar’s writers can’t quite match the humanity and purpose of the former, nor can its designers match the integrity of the latter.
It offers something else besides, though: a richness, detail and technical prowess that is breathtaking, and peerless. Is this Rockstar’s greatest game, a new masterpiece alongside the original? There are one too many caveats, and one too many flaws at its heart, to leave me totally convinced. Is this its richest, most beautiful open world? Of that there’s not a single doubt.
Kallie Plagge – 9 out 10 –
While Red Dead Redemption was mostly focused on John Marston’s story, Red Dead 2 is about the entire Van der Linde gang–as a community, as an idea, and as the death rattle of the Wild West. It is about Arthur, too, but as the lens through which you view the gang, his very personal, very messy story supports a larger tale. Some frustrating systems and a predictable mission structure end up serving that story well, though it does take patience to get through them and understand why. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it’s also an emotional, thought-provoking story in its own right, and it’s a world that is hard to leave when it’s done.
Red Dead Redemption 2 release date
Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
But what about a PC version? So far, there’s been no official word from Rockstar on a Red Dead Redemption 2 PC outing, with only the console versions so far announced.
However, we saw a similar story with the release of Grand Theft Auto V. A roaring success on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it was several years before it made the jump to the PC, and eventually even crossed console generations with a remastered version of the game turning up on PS4 and Xbox One.
Could it be a similar story for Red Dead 2? It’s looking likely – the LinkedIn profile of a programmer with previous experience at RockStar shows that the employee has been working on the game from a PC standpoint, with the profile verified by several sources.
We’d say a PC version is incredibly likely at some point: indeed, a retail listing has leaked out early suggesting a 2019 PC launch is on the cards.
Red Dead Online release date
Rockstar has confirmed its plans to launch the Red Dead Redemption 2 online beta in November 2018 and will be free for anyone who purchased the game on Xbox One or PS4. According to Rockstar, Red Dead Online will be “an evolution of the classic multiplayer experience in the original Red Dead Redemption, blending narrative with competitive and cooperative gameplay in fun new ways.” However Rockstar warns there will “be some turbulence at launch”.
Access to Red Dead Online is free but you’ll need a PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live subscription to play it online, however.
Red Dead Redemption 2 features
It’s a’65-hour’ game with a 2,000-page script
In an interview with Vulture, Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser estimated that Red Dead Redemption 2 will take player 65 hours to finish. In addition, Houser revealed the title spans 2,000 pages of script, makes use of 300,000 animations and 500,000 lines of dialogue, and Rockstar employed 1,200 actors for motion-capture work – 700 of whom also recorded dialogue.
Interactions are deeper
You can now interact with citizens in a way you couldn’t before. From calling out to fellow riders to talking your way out of trouble with the sheriff, your actions have consequences. It’s up to you whether you choose to escalate or diffuse volatile situations, but negative actions could result in making enemies.
Camp life is important
Due to the Van Der Linde gang not being the friendliest neighbors, you’ll often be forced out of an area and have to set up camp somewhere new. Camp serves as your gang’s base, it’s where you eat, sleep, play games, and perform chores. You need to pull your weight, fetching food and supplies to keep morale high. You can also take part in activities for fellow gang members which improve your relationship with them.
Variety of terrain
With the open world deeper than ever before, there are plenty of different regions for you to explore including sprawling forests, scorching deserts, bustling cities, sheer mountains and mucky swamps. These areas are inhabited by appropriate wildlife, with alligators roaming the swamps and eagles circling mountain tops.
Weapons are more realistic and unique
Each weapon has a unique characteristic and is valuable in different situations. You can customize each weapon down to the material used to craft the weapon and what type of ammunition each gun holds. You also need to keep your weapons maintained, but if you use the same weapon long enough you’ll become more efficient and effective with it.
Before heading into combat, you need to stock up on the right weapons – your mobile arsenal will be carried around by your horse but you can only hold so many weapons at one time. Choices include the Cattleman Revolver and Springfield Rifle, as well as the more potent Sawed-off Shotgun and Volcanic Pistol that you’ll need for close quarters combat. For hunting, you’ll want to use the Varmint Rifle to keep hides free from big bullet holes, and the Double-Action Revolver makes a good riding companion due to its quick firing speeds.
Speaking of quick firing speeds, Dead Eye mode is back and more brutal than ever.
Befriending your horse is beneficial
As you progress, your relationship with your valiant steed will blossom. The stronger the bond, the easier the horse is to control. There are also a wider variety of horses than before, with each horse having a specific purpose (such as racing).
There’s a new protagonist
John Marston is no more. Red Dead Redemption 2 brings players a brand new protagonist called Arthur Morgan and the game will follow this outlaw and the Van der Linde gang as they rob and fight their way across America.
That doesn’t mean that John is entirely absent. From trailer number three we’ve learnt that John is in the game, although how major a player he’s going to be we’re yet to see.
Dutch is back
The main antagonist from Red Dead Redemption showed his face in this game’s second trailer which confirms he’ll be back. Whether or not he’ll be the same antagonistic force is unclear but we think it’s highly unlikely he’s going to be a force for good.
There’s mention of “the sons of Dutch” in the third trailer, and while this is more than likely a reference to the familial nature of the Van Der Linde gang, is there a possibility Arthur Morgan could be Dutch’s progeny?
It has single player right now but multiplayer is on the way
As you’d expect of a Rockstar game, Red Dead Redemption 2’s vast open game world is the backdrop to a thrilling single-player campaign.
Though the first game followed the story of one man, that’s not the the case with Red Dead Redemption 2.
One similarity we do know Red Dead Redemption 2 will have to Grand Theft Auto 5 is its huge online multiplayer world. On the game’s website, Rockstar has stated that the world of the single player campaign will “also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience.”
Considering Grand Theft Auto 5’s online world is still growing and thriving 4 years after the game’s initial release this is an exciting prospect. We imagine the cooperative missions that involve heists, races, gangs and money making will transfer neatly over to the Wild West world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Online
The game’s online portion (called Red Dead Online) will, apparently, have three different modes: ‘Revive and Survive’ ‘Battle Royale’ and ‘Money Grab.’ Given the wild popularity of games such as PUBG and Fortnite, it doesn’t seem unlikely that Rockstar would be interested in turning its hand to this kind of gameplay and seizing on the popularity.
‘Revive and Survive’ will set two teams against one another in an all out battle where teams will have to fight to stay alive, risking their own necks to revive team members and keep the game going.
Finally, ‘Money Grab’ will be a heist-style mode where two teams will go head-to-head in order to collect money from a central location and return it safely to their hideout.
The report also says that, like Grand Theft Auto’s online mode, Red Dead Redemption 2 will allow players to explore the game’s open world, with rewards for completing tasks, activities to take part in, and upgradeable tents instead of apartments. It even suggests that there’ll be a companion app launched with social features and a poker minigame (a great way for players to increase their in-game funds without having to sit down and play the game).
A public beta for Red Dead Online will launch in November 2018 and will be free to anyone who owns a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Just be warned, however, Rockstar promises warns there will “be some turbulence at launch”.
Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers
The first trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 which was released shortly after the game’s announcement. It doesn’t reveal much other than that we’re going to be returning to the Wild West. The game locations in the trailer are diverse and beautiful and it looks highly likely that the game will be open world.
The game’s second trailer came on September 28, after Rockstar teased some new information would be coming in a tweet earlier that week. This time around we got to see a bit more about the game, including a glimpse of its new protagonist Arthur Morgan.
Watch the trailer for yourself below and take a gander at all the screenshots we’ve collected as well as see some of the new theories this trailer has dragged up:
The third trailer rode into town on May 2, all guns blazing. We thought we were ready for it thanks to a tip-off from Rockstar’s twitter feed, but it still hit us right in the feels.
This trailer puts us right in the middle of the action and confirms (spoiler) that John Marston, the hero of Red Dead Redemption will feature in the game. There’s only a fleeting glimpse of him, the wounds that will become his distinctive scars still fresh on his face.
We’ll stop now, you just check it out for yourself below:
Rockstar released the first gameplay trailer on August 9 (well, the first part), giving us a closer look at the highly-anticipated sequel in action.
The trailer gives us a look at the new richly-detailed world which Arthur Morgan inhabits, complete with sprawling deserts, mucky swaps, winding mountain road, and bustling cities. We also get to see some of the wildlife which live in these areas, and that you will no doubt hunt down for a bit of money.
As part of the notorious Van Der Linde gang, Arthur is an outlaw. The gang are constantly forced to leave areas, setting up a new camp somewhere. This camp is your base, it’s where gang members eat, sleep, play, games, and do chores. And you’ll have to pull your weight to keep morale high and your your comrades friendly.
It’s not just your camp mates who are effected by your actions. All your interactions have consequences, allowing you to interact with citizens on a deeper level. But if your moral compass isn’t pointing straight, you could pick up some enemies along the way.
You can check out the gameplay trailer below:
Last but certainly not least, the second gameplay trailer dropped on October 1 2018, just a few weeks shy of the game’s release. In it, we got to see the expanded Dead Eye system that allows Arthur to not only slow down time to take out enemies but see vital weak spots or tag enemies for quick, rapid-fire executions.
In addition to gameplay details, we also got a chance to see some of the seamless transitions between cutscenes and gameplay with Arthur in combat one second before transitioning straight into a dialogue sequence. This cinematic storytelling approach was something Rockstar tackled in Grand Theft Auto V and has taken to a new level in its open-world Western.
Finally the trailer shows us what we’ll be doing when we’re not robbing, shooting, hustling and bandit-ing and, from the looks of things there’ll be plenty to see and do when we’re not on a crime spree. Check it out for yourself below:
Rockstar released the official launch trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 18. Check it out below:
In September 2018, Rockstar revealed character cards which introduced us to a selection of gang members we will be encountering in Red Dead Redemption 2. While there were some familiar faces, such as Dutch Van Der Linde, there were also some brand new characters we haven’t met previously.
We’ve rounded up the posse so you can take a look:
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