Cowboys and Video Games

So this is mostly a sports blog for the wonderful city of Cincinnati, but every now and then I dabble in non-sports related topics. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the game of the year, hands down.

I’m no video game expert, I’ll be the first to say. In fact, I’ve realized lately that I’m at the age that, even if I was good at pwning noobs, I’m not sure too many people are lining up to pat me on the back. So I play for the mere enjoyment of the game. I don’t try to beat something quickly, I don’t try to climb the online leaderboards, I just play to have fun. Red Dead Redemption 2 (heretofore referred to as RDR2) is a heck of a lot of fun, and in a mostly laidback way.

Fans of western movies should own it yesterday. The story starts off that you are a badass named Arthur who is a member of this gang that completed a big score at the cost of topping the wanted lists of every law enforcement agency and bounty hunters in the west. In response, they’ve tucked tail and run north, into the Dakotas, and are hiding in some snow covered mountains. Your job, quickly, becomes to help rebuild the gang’s reputation, while also building your own.

Just as in the first game, you can choose to do good, do bad, or be a bit of a neutral. Something that has been added, though, that I love is the system they developed of creating a bond with your horse. The more you bond with your horse, the better it becomes and the more it helps you out.

Another thing that is vastly improved from the first game is the hunting system. There are legendary animals that you have to track, find clues as to where they are, and then, somehow, find a way to kill. When you do manage to kill the legendary animal, or any animal, for that matter, you can then use all of the things you collect from skinning that animal to craft items that improve your gameplay. You still gain food, like in the first, but RDR2 has added something to the gameplay that makes it essential.

In RDR2, you have to remember survival. It’s not like other games where you get into a gun fight, run and hide, and replenish health and stamina. In this game, you must focus on what food, drink, and “tonics” you have on you to replenish the necessary skills to go on. I really enjoy the nuances of this game, and have barely advanced in the story, for focusing on the nuances.

The antagonist of the game is actually group. The easy explanation is: any gang that isn’t your own. It’s not as if you have to do something to antagonize a rival gang member. Your character is already well established within his own gang (as the backstory says Arthur has been in the gang for more than 20 years) so when you just see a rival gang member, they’re already aggressively postured against you. This adds an interesting wrinkle when you explore the vast gameplay area that Rockstar Games created, because you don’t know exactly where you will run into baddies.

I just started playing this game, and will probably write a bit more about it, but I know it’s one of my favorite games, ever, and may rise to the top. I’ll keep you posted.

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