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Feature Article

Red Dead Redemption 2: Review, Cheats, Release Date, Tips, And More

Here's everything you need to know about Red Dead Redemption 2.

Rockstar's next game is finally here. Set 12 years before the events of the previous game, Red Dead Redemption 2 for PS4 and Xbox One explores an expansive region of the American wilderness, with Dutch Van der Linde's gang on the run from lawmen during the last years of the wild west. Experiencing Rockstar's take on the open-world western from a new perspective, you'll uncover the history of the Van Der Linde gang, which has a young John Marston--the protagonist of the first RDR--in its thralls.

We've already gotten to try Red Dead Redemption 2, and it's looking as if it may be one of the most detailed open-world games we've ever played. You can find out more in our preview below along with a breakdown of all the essential details (release date, platforms, etc.), gameplay trailers, and more. Expect to hear plenty more once the review embargo lifts; you can expect to see the first RDR 2 reviews begin to drop at 4 AM PT (7 AM ET / 12 PM BST) on October 25.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Review

"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." Read our full review here.

When Does RDR2 Release? What Time Does It Unlock?

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set for release on October 26 for PS4 and Xbox One; you can begin pre-loading digital copies now. In terms of RDR 2's file size, Red Dead Redemption 2 is about 99 GB on PS4. You'll need to have even more room if you're going digital, as the installation process will require an additional 50 GB on top of that. Xbox One owners, meanwhile, will need to have 107 GB to install the game. Bear in mind, that can and likely will grow over time, but that's what you'll absolutely need for launch day. An optional but highly recommended day-one update will also be available.

Red Dead 2 unlocks at 12 AM local time on October 26, though in the US, that will be 9 PM PT for those on that side of the country.

What Special Editions And Pre-Order Bonuses Are Available?

More expensive editions of RDR2 will be available, starting with the Special Edition. Priced at $80, the package includes a copy of the game along with special missions, weapons and a physical map of the game world for players to own. There are also two additional packs for Red Dead Redemption 2 for premium prices, The Ultimate Edition and The Collector's Box--both priced at $100. While The Ultimate Edition has all items from the special edition--including additional DLC items to acquire--The Collector's Box does not include any digital items. Instead, it offers special playing cards, artwork, a bandit's bandana, a physical map of the game world, and a collector's coin in the set.

What Are The Differences Between The PS4 And Xbox One Versions?

RDR2 is the same game on both PS4 and Xbox One, though there may be some differences in terms of visuals and performance (particularly depending on whether you have a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X). That said, there is one key difference: The PS4 version will have special content that's exclusive for 30 days. This includes the Grizzlies Outlaw Outfit and a special horse; you can read about all of this in our breakdown of the PS4 exclusives.

Is Red Dead Redemption 2 Coming To PC?

Though the original Red Dead Redemption never found its way to the PC, there's been some rumors that its sequel might. A mention of Red Dead Redemption 2's appearance on PC found its way online, but it has since been scrubbed.

Where Is RDR2 Set, And Is It A Prequel?

Set 12 years before the main events of the original game, the prequel focuses on the outlaw life of the Van der Linde gang, led by Red Dead Redemption's main antagonists. After a robbery in Blackwater (one of the original game's major towns) goes bad--the gang finds themselves on the run. Dutch, his right-hand man Arthur Morgan, and several members of the gang have to contend with a life on-the-run while confrontations with rival gangs and the law make their situation grow more desperate.

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Rockstar also released a description of the plot:

America, 1899. The end of the wild west era has begun as lawmen hunt down the last remaining outlaw gangs. Those who will not surrender or succumb are killed. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.

The First Reveal

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Debuting on October 20, 2016, the first trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 was a bit of a mood piece that showcased many locales in the game, while also portraying the somber tone of the main narrative. In this trailer, we saw several towns and locales, many of which are teeming with life and activity--such as ranchers rustling up some cattle, huntsmen bringing back their haul, and a group of citizens hanging out in the general store.

Who Are You Playing As?

Though the central character of Red Dead Redemption, John Marston, plays some role in the story--the main protagonist of the prequel is Arthur Morgan. As Dutch's right-hand man and enforcer for the gang, he'll handle much of the daily duties of keeping the gang in-check--which includes a young and less-experienced John Marston. When it comes to keeping the gang and its community afloat, Morgan is quite handy with picking up various jobs to ensure everyone is well fed and in good spirits. But as the story progresses, he'll begin to question his own resolve for Dutch's way of life, and whether he still has a place in the gang.

The Second Trailer

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On September 28, 2017, the second trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 debuted. In the new footage, we got to see more of Arthur Morgan and how ruthless he can be while on the job. During some of the story cutscenes, Morgan will use coercion and physical threats to collect money and information, all for the "benefit" of the community. For more info on this particular trailer, check out our detailed breakdown.

Who's In Dutch's Gang?

In Red Dead Redemption 2, we'll see Dutch's gang and its key players in their prime. While the original game had John hunt down and kill the remaining members of the gang, we'll see many of the familiar faces in relatively happier times. From the most recent trailer, we see Dutch Van der Linde, Arthur Morgan, Bill Williamson, Javier Esquela, Sadie Adler, Charles Smith, Micah Bell, Hosea Matthews, and of course John Marston in the roster. We'll also interact with other characters who would have a key role in the gang and in the lives of both Arthur Morgan and John Marston.

The Third Trailer

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In the new footage released on May 2, we saw a deeper look into the game's narrative and how the gang functions. Along with the familiar activities like hunting, heists, and side-quests with the region's citizens, rob trains and banks, and take in shows at theaters. For the most part, the trailer focuses on the many connections you'll have with the members of the gang, as well as how your choices will affect them. For more info on the third trailer, check out our detailed breakdown.

First Gameplay Trailer

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On August 9, Rockstar unveiled Red Dead Redemption 2's first gameplay trailer. The new footage revealed that the core mechanics from the original game were still intact, but almost everything had received a facelift. Wildlife is smarter and lives within its own ecosystem. Arthur Morgan can interact with the people around him in ways John Marston never could.

Second Gameplay Trailer

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On October 2, Rockstar finally showcased the second round of gameplay footage it promised. It dives more deeply into the game's side-activities, as well as the nature of the world and its varying systems. In addition, there's an in-depth look at how the sequel's dead eye system works.

Drunken Bar Fight Gameplay

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What's New In Red Dead Redemption 2?

While the sequel is largely in the same vein as its predecessor, focusing on exploration, hunting, shoot-outs, heists, and other side-activities where you'll interact with a number of unique characters--Red Dead Redemption 2 features a far more expansive world to dive into. There are a ton of new mechanics in Red Dead Redemption 2. Below you can find a bulleted list of many of the new features in the game, but for all the details on everything new, check out our comprehensive list of all the new features we've discovered so far.

  • You can play the whole game in first-person
  • You can disable the HUD
  • A new cinematic camera is utilized during missions where you're traveling across the world during missions
  • You can inspect nearly all items in the world
  • Your weapons are always visible on your person
  • There's a killcam that changes depending on your honor
  • You can break enemy weapons
  • Dead Eye has five levels now
  • Your guns can degrade and jam
  • You need to maintain and clean Arthur or else you'll get dirty and disgust people around you
  • You can gain and lose weight

How It Plays: Our In-Depth Preview

We recently got a hands-on with a near final-build of Red Dead Redemption 2. It plays much like its predecessor, but with a bevy of new features and systems that enhance its storytelling, combat, and overall progression. We got to experience two story missions, as well as a chance to goof around freely in the open world. There's a lot to unpack about how the upcoming sequel looks and feels, so be sure to read our in-depth preview detailing our impressions about how it plays.

How Will Online Multiplayer Work?

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Currently, Rockstar hasn't shared any info on how the online play will function. The original Red Dead Redemption featured online free-for-all and team deathmatch style gameplay in the open world, along with several co-op themed missions. While it's safe to assume that these sorts of missions will return, another long-lingering rumor is the appearance of a battle royale mode. Rockstar has recently confirmed that a public beta for the online mode is scheduled for a month after the game's launch.

Launch Trailer

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Rockstar released the game's launch trailer, which shows Dutch and Arthur talking about one more big score, before life can improve for their gang. Soon there's scenes of explosions, gunfire, and internal strife, set against talk of loyalty. It's a fairly short, but very sweet trailer.

PS4 Pro Bundle

Although the system itself doesn't sport a unique design, there will be a Red Dead Redemption 2 PS4 Pro bundle. Priced at $400 in the US, you're essentially getting a copy of the game for free. However, this doesn't include any of the aforementioned special editions; it's just a standard edition version of the game. The bundle is available for pre-order now.

Essential Red Dead Redemption 2 Tips You Should Know Before Starting

To help you hit the ground running we've put together a number of tips that that'll help you get along better earlier in the game. These should serve as a primer to jumping into the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, so we've included a bunch of some of smaller things that, once we realised them, made for smoother play sessions. Alongside those, there's information that the game tells you, but perhaps doesn't stress upon as much as it should. You can read our essential Red Dead Redemption 2 tips guide or watch a video version of it.

Full Train Heist Gameplay

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Can You Play Red Dead Redemption 2 If You Missed The First One?

As with most games that have a "2" attached to it, newcomers may be wondering if they'll understand what's going on in Red Dead Redemption 2 if they haven't played the first game. Since numerous GameSpot editors have spent considerable time with Red Dead Redemption 2 we thought we'd answer that question for you.

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Best Cheats For Some Extra Fun

To start messing around with these codes, you'll need to input the key phrases into the Cheats menu--which is accessible in the Settings option in the pause menu. While many of these codes can be used at any time, many of these options will require some extra effort to unlock. As of now, we haven't discovered all of them, and several of them will needed to be unlocked after acquiring specific newspapers from the various towns throughout the game. However, before you activate these cheats, you'll need to know that doing so will deactivate all Achievements and Trophies for your save game after the initial use. So before you go crazy with these codes, be sure to make a separate save file.

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