BEST WESTERN
PC Gamer US Edition|February 2020
The old west is brand new again in RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2.
James Davenport

Oh Jesus Christ, what have you done?” ThomasChen978 wants to know why a dozen bodies and a couple horse corpses are piled onto the train tracks bordering St Denis. “You just murdered half the village.” “No,” I reply, “These are our bodies.” We’re on round two of growing the recursive corpse pile. My posse got the idea to jump in front of the train after a few rounds of ‘Lasso Your Friends And Toss Them Into The Sea’.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has its own bowling minigame, we explain to Chen in a roundabout way, his horror inverting into blissful awareness. Die in Red Dead Redemption 2’s shared open world, and you’ll respawn fast enough to carry your own corpse around.

The guy lines up with us. As the train comes around again, another posse tries to take us out. Chen defends us, but doesn’t make it back to the tracks. He falls a few paces away, screaming. It’s a scene.

Red Dead Redemption 2 can be the biggest, dumbest videogame ball pit for impulsive children, a story about the forced dissolution of community, or a hiking simulator. It’s whatever you need it to be, and good at it too.

The mind-boggling detail making up the massive world of RDR2 speaks to an obsessive dedication to realism. Like how my friends’ characters flinch when I fire a gun near them, how animal carcasses decompose over time, how NPCs react to a muddy or bloody outfit accordingly, how busting through a doorway scares everyone on the other side.

It’s hard to believe RDR2 is so deep and wide, and is also a cohesive thing. But for every unrehearsed multiplayer adventure, a couple of disconnects or crashes to desktop.

Rockstar’s best story yet is intermittently filtered through a slideshow of frame hitches and freezes. It took a week following launch for any of this to be addressed.

RDR2 is the best western game and one of the best open-world games I’ve ever played. But I’d still have to advise you to wait until it’s completely patched up.

MORGAN TRAIL

Red Dead Redemption 2’s story mode follows the dying days of the Wild West. Capitalism is reducing humans to resources. Indigenous Americans are driven from the plains. Forests are brought down for lumber, the hills gutted for coal, and Arthur Morgan’s chosen family is caught in the middle of it all, forced to run, assimilate, or respond with violent protest. They do all three.

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