The grittiest and most authentic depictment of what the Southern US was/is and heck of a game while immersed in it.

User Rating: 10 | Red Dead Redemption 2 PS4

Coming virtually out of thin nowhere with this huge slice of wish fulfillment, Rockstar delivers the goods and more with this excellent prequel to the hit PS3 Red Dead Redemption. This is easily the biggest game of the year 2018, and the approach the developers undertook is quite an achievement in and of itself. Shrouded in mystery and little with little released to the public, when this game was announced, fans began their raging about the choice to tell a prequel instead of going the obvious route with a follow up on John Marston's story from the beloved RDR. But, now that it is here, I must say that this prequel makes the original a forgotten title, forever to be overlooked now by its greatness this prequel offers.

  • Story

Ok, so allow me to begin with how the game begins. You are a charming and rough around the edges rambler/outlaw by the name of Arthur Morgan. This also proved to be one of the biggest doubts and fears from fans after hearing that John Marston, who was gonna be in the game only as NPC and not the protagonist, was a concern many ppl had myself included. I can say with great joy that Arthur Morgan delivers on every aspect that John Marston did, and will appeal to any player. He is excellently voiced, and is the everything John was and more. Arthur Morgan is a loyal and devout member of the Van Der Linde Gang, headed by the charismatic and also excellently voiced Dutch Van Der Linde. Dutch leads a group of pioneers who at the beginning of the game are struggling to stay united, after a massive shootout in a town called Blackwater went very sour for the group and now has them all listed and wanted for many crimes. Outlaws on the run to a place they can call home and be free of the fears of the outlaw life. This is not your typical group of thugs who have no charm or wit. Each member from the elder and wise swindling Hosea, to the noble and brave soul of Charles, an Indian native also in their ranks, these guys and gals will grow on you quick. If you are overcome with the intros to so many new faces, it is quickly subsided with their respective and honest personalities shine and you begin to figure out each and every ones reasons for joining Dutch's gang. This team is in dire straits as the game kicks off, and their is dissent and despair in the atmosphere as the group plot their next move, all the while avoiding drawing any unwanted attention from bounty hunters or local law enforcement. You will immediately feel the desperation and rough perils of their journey and can feel the struggles thus far they have undergone must have been tough, and Arthur is the perfect leading star for the players to begin to explore this new life for the many mouths that are needing to be fed. At the games introduction, you will be traveling in the snowy blizzard capped mountains of Lemoyne, making their way south to a hopeful place of resting where they hope to keep a low profile. This journey is one of the best depicted on PS4 in a while in my opinion, and is so much more detailed than any other game Rockstar has ever done, and that is saying quite the amount after their massive hits such as GTAV & LA Noire etc.. But RDR2 delivers a huge world filled with treasures to uncover, game to be hunted, and people in need of some outlaw ingenuity. The main story will take 10-20 hrs if you play non stop straight thru, but I assure you this is a campaign that you will no doubt be poring in 100 hours plus in, as the landscapes and locales beg you to explore them. And there are genuine and real life locales that all differ & stun in their own ways, from the muddy and gator filled swamps such as Lagras, to the coal mining community of deep woods town Annesburg, this is a world filled with events and people you will want to meet and take part in before devouring the superb main story bits.

  • Huge Open World that rewards and encourages explorarion

To call Lemoyne a huge diverse and differing sandbox is an understatement. Rockstar truly does an outstanding job depicting a true and honest take on the beautiful and vivid lands you will travel by horse, train, or boat. You do get the mid game option of purchasing an upgrade to your camp (or hub area for your gang to lay low at) that will allow you to fast travel, but with so much going on as you traverse these woods, lakes, and mountain countryside's, its not required. You will stumble across settlers who you can sell stolen goods to and buy things such as dynamite & items you will not be able to find in the local towns shops. The towns are filled with npcs and citizens who will parlay wit players in a numerous amount of activities, everything from Poker to Blackjack, or barber shops and even tailor shops for the bigger towns, local gunsmiths who offer detailed catalogues depicting their wares and describing them. It is such an easy world to immerse yourself in, because the level of detail and attention that got put into this vastly creative IP is amazing and authentic. The townsfolk will give u the option to greet them and raise your Honor Level or if you prefer, lowering it by sticking them up and robbing valuables. Killing innocents and robbing people in RDR2 will not only raise your bounty price on your head, which can be paid off of course, but it will also affect how the locals treat Arthur based on his Honor rating. Greeting folk and doing courteous deeds for strangers could involve you helping a lady who had an accident a ride to town or helping a snake bit traveler by giving him one of your own Health Cures, and these deeds can be recognized and sometimes greatly rewarded. One of the local gangs that Arthurs group is a rival and enemy was in the midst of killing this guy whom I saved and who later on rewarded me with informing the gunsmith to allow me to choose one type of firearm on his credit. Its these happenings and consequential factors that makes RDR2 a journey that could be experienced a many number of different ways. Your version of Arthur Morgan can be whoever you want him to be and this is quickly evident in the games presentation. You will have to do your part for your posse by hunting game and providing the food to be cooked for your fellow members, or you can craft and customize your camp base by gathering materials and pelts from downed game. The game blasts you with its creative and open sense of adventuring.

  • Final Note Summary

This is a story of some characters who you become attached to and feel like you may have known someone just like, albeit maybe not the killing & criminal aspects, but the game depicts this group of settlers in such a way that you can't help but feel for them in their struggles in what is a gritty and dirty business. The world can be cruel and inevitably, players from the original RDR will know what fate awaits most of the characters involved. But what this game does in spades that RDR failed to do is reach an emotional & real life like bond with these characters. You can't help but grow to love your posse, and what transpires is what most will expect. It is not the end you should concern yourself with while playing this game, but taking it all in as you immerse yourself in this detailed and exciting world and allowing yourself to be in Arthur's shoes as he fights to keep the gang afloat and out of the laws hands is a touching and honest tale. And it's one of the best action/adventure games of the last decade and in my opinion is the BEST Rockstar game yet... An amazing adventure that assures your time will be well spent!!!!