Red Dead Redemption 2, the sequel that fans have eagerly anticipated for the past eight years, is finally on the horizon. Though fans still have to wait a bit to get their hands on the game, the critical consensus is clear: Red Dead Redemption 2 is stunning, though not without its faults.
Our own Jeff Bakalar, who has been heads-down in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 for more than 40 hours, declared it to be a "marvelous achievement in every sense, and a shoo-in for one of the best games of this generation."
"I've been pouring hours upon hours into what I can confidently describe as one the most fully realized and explorable fictional worlds I've ever come across. As a whole, it's an astonishing work of art and arguably the most realistic Western simulation ever conceived. Put it this way: Red Dead 2 makes Westworld look like City Slickers," Bakalar said.
Now playing: Watch this: Let's discuss Red Dead Redemption 2 after 40 hours
Our friends over at Gamespot have some extensive coverage of the game's ins and outs, ultimately giving it a 9 of 10, with reviewer Kallie Plagge concluding: "Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it's also an emotional, thought-provoking story in its own right, and it's a world that is hard to leave when it's done."
But she did have some criticism amid her high praise.
"That extends to the structure of story missions, which start to get predictable around halfway through the game. It's not that they're boring — the opposite is true, actually, and you see a lot of action from beat to beat," Plagge added. "But after a while, a pattern emerges, and it's easy to figure out how any given heist or raid is going to unfold. This too becomes frustrating, partially because you often have no way of significantly affecting the outcome, despite any decision-making power you thought you might have had.
Comicbook.com's review praised the game for its sheer breadth of content, which is likely to keep players invested well beyond the calendar year.
"I've spent a good, long week plowing through what it has to offer and I'm still digging, just to see what surprise will come my way next," reviewer Robert Workman said in his 5/5 review. "The amount of replayability is through the roof, whether you want to create a business enterprise for yourself or your "family," or just seek getting into trouble with a few shootouts and wagon takeovers. We'll still be playing for months and finding something — and that's not even counting the promise that comes with Red Dead Online.
So far, the game has a score of 97 on Metacritic, which makes it the No. 1 highest-rated game of the year on the PlayStation 4. That's particularly noteworthy in a year that featured standouts like God of War and Spider-Man. Here are some of the standout reviews that have highlighted what makes Rockstar's latest open world opus worthy of such high marks.
"The obsessive detail on show here (and the determination to immerse the player in it) recalls Cormac McCarthy's border trilogy, those long, sparsely punctuated passages where he would spend pages describing a landscape and you'd realise, at the end, that you hadn't exhaled for minutes."
"Red Dead Redemption 2 tests the boundaries of interactive immersion. Few games look this good, play this well, and have this much to offer. It begs you to slow down, turn every page of its dramatic tale, and savor every last breathtaking detail. It challenges you to be prepared for anything and make the right decisions when your choices matter most."
"Red Dead Redemption 2 is big, unwieldy and ill-equipped to be boiled down to a number. Both its triumphs and its failures live at grand extremes: maddening, beautiful and awesome. The game hits each every one of its moments with grace and force, whether they're bombastic gunfights or a small moment on a boat in a lake outside Blackwater. I'm leaving my playtime overwhelmed, emotional and drained in a way that I haven't quite felt since the original Red Dead Redemption."