Updated: Jan 5, 2019
With all of the buzz behind Red Dead Redemption 2 (here by known as RDR2), both of the positive and negative variety, I thought that I would get my final thoughts out on what could be potentially considered the greatest (or most overrated) game of all time.
WARNING!!!! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!!!!!
The first thing that is obvious about this game as you make your way through and down the mountain is that the graphics are amazing. From the footprints in the snow to the sun peaking out from behind the mountain tops, you just know that you're in for a visual treat. With things having taken a turn for the worse in Blackwater, you just know that you're in for a rough time.
Making your way down the mountain and in to "civilization" you start to see the world open up in front of you, having no idea just how massive that it is. What is very noticeable is the stark differential between the snow covered mountain range you were just in and the more so prairie that you are now a part of. This in where the bonding between you and your crew begins and the world really opens up. You gain the ability to start exploring the world and soon you learn of the legendary bear that resides near by. The world just continues to open up and there is more to explore and more to partake in. The stranger quests draw you in with the personalities that are involved, and the antics that they are up to, you just can't say no when you see them.
All of the activities and challenges open up shortly there after and you discover just how much that there is to do in this open world setting. From herb gathering to gambling, the world is your oyster. As you traverse the wilderness, you start to come across random strangers who need your help or want to harm you and take you loot. How you deal with them is entirely up to you. And the animals...they are everywhere. You can kill and harvest them using their pelts for cash, or if in good enough shape take them back to camp and turn them in to satchels. It's a world that as you ride around on your horse, you begin to feel as though it could exist without you there. Everything about it feels so organic that you know that it just continues even without you there.
As we learn, Micah had been playing us all as fools. Dutch continued to buy in to his shtick and soon the final battle was on. Having attempted to help the Native Americans as much as I could, and everybody else that needed anything that I stumbled across while traversing it was time to see how Arthur's story played out. It ended with a bang, with you and John Marston essentially being arm in arm through the finale. When Peanut Bubbles went down during the epic shootout, it took a lot of restrain to not let an actual tear fall. It was as much my journey as it was his. I never would have fathomed that the bond with an "imaginary" horse such as him would be as strong as it was, but it turns out that it very much was the case. When he fell, it was one of the most impact filled moments of any game that I have every laid my hands upon. Then came the conclusion of Arthur's story...I'll let you play that out for yourself.
The epilogue(s) then start and you find yourself in John Martson's shoes. A little disappointed at first, as it went on, I enjoyed it more. Most of your weapons and equipment carry over from Arthur, and all of the challenges remained. You get to see the beginning of his story (see Red Dead Redemption 1) play a whole new map, find new plants, animals, and fish. As you traverse the wilderness you'll find new gangs, run in to old friends, and learn what happened to them. This again adds to the feeling that the world exists, even without you. You do eventually get to the climax of Marston's story (which ends with a stand off with Dutch and Micah) and the whole story of RDR2 comes to a conclusion. Luckily you can keep going if you desire and progress further in the challenge ranks.
This game engrossed me like few others have. I have heard the complaints of "it's too slow" "it's to realistic" "there are too many things that you need to do to keep up". To that I say, I did maybe 10 chores at camp during my 172 hours of play, shaved twice, and only ate when i needed to refill my cores, you don't need to do all of the "tedious" activities to be successful or keep high charisma in the game. Don't get distracted by the things that you don't need to do and just do the things that you enjoy doing in the game, and it will take you though a story that blows 99% of most Hollywood stories out of the water.