I personally haven’t seen a prequel game so emphatically well received by critics since, well, ever.
Red Dead Redemption II has come riding into town on a horse laden high with praise; with gaming journalists the world over treating it as a rare and highly accomplished ‘masterpiece’.
Game Informer’s Matt Bertz gave it a perfect 10/10; describing it as ‘a game that redefines the open-world experience’:
Red Dead Redemption II is a triumph that every gamer should experience for themselves.
Tom Hoggins from The Telegraph gave the game five shining stars, praising it as ‘a seismic achievement’.
Meanwhile, Keza MacDonald’s review in The Guardian hailed the prequel as a ‘landmark game’:
It is a new high water-mark for lifelike video game worlds, certainly, but that world is also home to a narrative portrait of the wild west that is unexpectedly sombre and not afraid to take its time.
— Red Dead 2 Vibes (@RedDeadVibes) October 25, 2018
Gaming critics have praised the vast, detailed expanse of the game, which allows for an epic 100 hours of playing time; with visually stunning graphics which easily transport the player back to the end days of the lawless west.
The immersive quality of the game means players are quite happy to explore the gorgeously imagined wilderness at their leisure, in between moments of high octane action; herding cattle and even visiting the barbers (beards actually grow in real time in this game).
Critics also enjoyed the careful characterisation of the Van der Linde gang, whose motivations and vulnerabilities are layered into the plot with a light subtlety during campfire conversations.
The main protagonist of Arthur Morgan has proved particularly popular, with VG24/7 describing him as ‘much more fleshed out’ than Red Dead Redemption’s John Marston:
Arthur’s story is underpinned by a bittersweet irony, and it really feels like a tale of redemption this time. When the credits roll, you will appreciate Arthur as a character far more than you ever did of Red Dead protagonist John Marston.
Saying that, this prequel does an incredible job of adding depth to the characters you know from the first game as well.
Embargo has been lifted! Here's the scores Red Dead Redemption 2 received:
– IGN: 10/10
– GameSpot: 9/10
– Game Informer: 10/10
– The Guardian: 5/5
– PlayStation Lifestyle: 10/10
"Among the most ambitious open world games ever" – CNET pic.twitter.com/tw1ha7AqbI
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) October 25, 2018
This is a game which has beauty as well as brains. Lauded as ‘the best looking console game there’s ever been’ by GamesRadar+, the writing has been widely praised for its literary quality; with the spirit of the great American novel indelible in both the plot and dialogue.
However, it is the realism which gaming writers have praised again and again; allowing them to feel a real connection with Arthur and those he interacts with.
According to GQ, it is this sense of realism that is the games defining quality:
Be it a random line of dialogue from a pedestrian, or a witness seeing your crimes and forcing you to chase them down to threaten them into silence.
It’s a constant cog-turn of actions and reactions, all of which play out convincingly and believably on screen, and which haven’t yet repeated on me.
No doubt these glowing early reviews will have stoked yet more excitement as the game hits the shelves.
Red Dead Redemption 2 launches October 26, 2018, for Xbox One and PS4.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.