Having finished RDR2 I'm just baffled how such a poorly designed game can get so high praise. So I just felt like I had to write a little post about it (which I pretty much never do). The biggest issue is that the game just isn't fun to play. Here are the reasons why imo (trying to keep it short :) ).
Every game designer has understood since forever that:
- Standing still behind cover taking pot shots = boring
- Moving around the stage = fun
When I say everyone, I mean everyone but R*. To achieve this you need to give the player the right tools and design levels/enemies to support it. Example of tools could be to run smoothly, climb objects quickly, slide down slopes, swing with ropes, zip-lines etc. R* just doesn't give a shit. You can sloooowly climb ladders in RDR2, that's it. When it comes to enemy design you need them to punish you for standing still, but aim poorly when you move. Again R* doesn't care. Levels should have more powerful stuff if you push forward to incentivize movement. And be designed for a more expanded movement set. But no.
For a shooter to feel good a couple of things are important when it comes to controls. First you don't want to lock the player into overly long tedious animations. Secondly you want common inputs to be just a tap away. R* violates both. Looting... wtf were they thinking? Every action just feels like you are moving through syrup. Why do you have to go to the weapon wheel to access melee weapons and "grenades"? Are they serious? These things need to be at your finger tips.
Gameplay is very one note
It's tedious when a game, especially a massive OW, is just one note. It's way more fun when you can go between modes of gameplay like say combat and stealth. I understand RDR2 technically has stealth, but it is embarrassing how poorly executed it is. We have a bow, throwing knives and stealth kills. But we never get to use it freely. Only when R* wants us to and then they decide how we tackle the situation kill by kill. No chance for planning or creativity, the things which makes stealth fun.
No room for creativity in the missions
Mission design is like what games like Assassin's Creed used to be back in 2012. You do what R* wants you to do at every turn, or you get punished by "desynchronization".
In most games you start out weak. Then as you progress you become stronger which allows you to take on tougher foes/or situations. In RDR2 this loop is completely broken. You can beat everything the games throw at you with the starting load out. All these tedious, tedious ways you have to level up are ultimately completely pointless because the challenge never ramps up. Why can't there be some things that are too hard to tackle in the beginning so you have actual goals? But no.
So what do you think? Did you have fun with RDR2? For me this is the last R* game I will get in a loooong time.