We are crawling, meandering and giddy-up-ing ever closer to that magical date. On October 26th, our pre-orders will arrive and we common ilk will be able to get our hands on Rockstar’s promising new hit which I can comfortably say will do as well (if not better) as GTA V. As expressed briefly in the title, I’m extremely excited to play the game in a way I haven’t felt for a good few years. From the other journalists I know that have managed to get a sneak preview, and the information published by various outlets, it seems to be very much living up to the hype.
In order to understand my enthusiasm for the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, you need to accept several unalienable truths. First, that cowboys are just incredibly cool. Second, that Rockstar easily have some of the best writers in the industry. That’s evidenced by the huge success of GTA V, the great plot to the first two Red Dead titles, and the way that despite drab glumness in the style and gameplay – GTA 4 had a story that was paced well and full of dramatic turns. Third truth is that I am in fact the gaming equivalent of a big shaggy labrador, excited by the prospect of massive open fields and plentiful birds to chase.
According to a recent Q&A, the map is going to be impressively epic – even for a Rockstar title. Large enough to encompass the original map of the first Red Dead Redemption and then some; we’ve seen rolling green hills, sprawling cityscapes, frontier shanty towns, vast plains and rugged snow-capped mountains. Those all featured in the first map, but this time round they’re just bigger. They all look incredible, from gameplay trailers and screenshots at least. Size matters a lot more here than it does in Grand Theft Auto, because there weren’t any planes or helicopters in 1899 [Citation needed]. You’re traversing this landscape by horse, by carriage or by train.
Other details have been plentiful as well. Red Dead hole in the Head will follow our protagonist Arthur, Dutch, and the rest of the Van Der Linde gang as they flee from the law after a botched train robbery. Right away, it’s a little different to what I was anticipating. Playing bad guys on the run from the man? Not knowing who to trust? Unsure of whether or not the kindly stranger offering you a bed for the night is happy to harbor a fugitive, or is actually a huge goody-two-shoes? It’s a much more different feel to the previous titles in that your outlaw main character is actually still an outlaw, rather than just a retired outlaw on a quest for… Well, redemption.
In this Kotaku article, Zack has a blast with the online component of RDR1. I had a lot of fun with it at the time, and now that I cast my mind back; his comments of it ‘feeling like a prototype for GTA Online’ are absolutely bang on. If that was the complimentary pre-meal breadsticks, and GTA Online was the appetizer – then we cowboy fans ought to prepare for a fucking Beef Wellington when this lands. Unfortunately, most of my friends have aged alongside me and are far too busy to play multiplayer with; so I’m not as excited for that. I’ll hopefully manage to snag a friend or two now and then to do some heisting, rooting, tooting, shooting, looting and so on. That will be enough, seeing as I don’t tend to care a lot about multiplayer these days. So long as the main story is a joy, and I get to keep roaming the world once it’s over, I’ll be a happy labrador.
Fortunately, I actually booked a week away from my very demanding and busy job to play the game upon release. Unfortunately, I botched the dates entirely so the week will most likely be spent just tuning up my new PC. That, and watching The Magnificent Seven on repeat until I have to rejoin society.
I’ve got my pre-order in, and would be highly surprised if anybody reading this hasn’t ordered theirs yet. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought and enjoyed a big game like this on a console, and I’ll be playing on Xbox One X. I wasn’t expecting to find myself so excited and ready for a title to be released, and it’s good. Come October 26th, I’ll be all spurs and stetsons – irritating my SO and 100% hogging the big TV until I’ve at least completed all the story that RDR2 has to offer. If you don’t hear from me again, just assume I’ve ridden into the sunset with a plastic Smith & Weston strapped to my side and the world’s daftest grin on my face.