Red Dead Redemption 2, the sprawling epic from Rockstar Games, was a landmark achievement in gaming when it was released in 2018. With its masterful storytelling, incredible world-building, and memorable characters, it was a game that many players couldn’t put down.
Even though I finished the game, the allure of starting it again has finally broken me and it is currently installed on my Series X, ready to begin again.
But why? What’s wrong with the hundreds of other games on Gamepass that I haven’t played? What is it about RDR2?
Is it Arthur Morgan, the main character? Despite you being able to mould him as you see fit, he’s not as much of a mirror on the player as you think.
Arthur Morgan is a complex character with a rich backstory and a complicated moral compass. He is a member of a gang of outlaws, but he also has a sense of honour and loyalty that guides his actions.
Over the course of the game, Arthur undergoes a significant character arc as he questions his loyalty to the gang and begins to question Dutch’s leadership. This growth can make Arthur feel like a more dynamic and interesting character, and players may identify with his journey of self-discovery and personal growth as they struggle with authority in their own lives.
Is it the wonderfully alive and recreated game world? Like a modern-day Westworld, is it somewhere you just want to go to let off steam and explore?
The attention to detail in this game is unparalleled, and there are so many little touches that make the world feel alive. Whether it’s the way the weather changes over time, the way characters interact with each other, or the way the wildlife behaves, there’s always something to appreciate. By starting the game over again, you can take the time to really appreciate all of these little details and fully immerse yourself in the world.
There are so many hidden secrets and easter eggs scattered throughout the world that you’re almost guaranteed to discover something new every time you play. Whether it’s stumbling across a hidden cabin in the woods, finding a unique weapon or outfit, or stumbling across a stranger’s questline that you didn’t notice before, there’s always something to discover.
Is it FOMO? TikTok and social media were around when RDR2 came out, but short video sharing was in its infancy. Is the desire to replay RDR2 coming from seeing other people do it better than you remember doing it yourself?
Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a wide variety of random encounters, ranging from chance meetings with friendly travellers to dangerous ambushes by bandits or predators. This variety ensures that players never know what to expect when exploring the game world.
However, when you look online, people have used this randomness to create their own amusing events that push the physics of the game to their limit.
Stand on a train and lasso a passing bandit from their horse, flying them like a kite for miles. You can do that? Hogtie someone and set them in a canoe that’s going over the falls? Easy. Get butted off a cliff by a goat. Funny.
The thing about these examples is that you may not have experienced them when you played the game in your own vanilla style making you feel like you’ve missed out years later.
There’s nothing better out there.
Take the Saints Row reboot. A game that has had four years on RDR2 to innovate. It’s not even in the same league.
RDR2’s narrative is a masterpiece, with complex characters and themes that are worth exploring again. By replaying the game, you may pick up on details and nuances that you missed the first time around, and you may find that your perspective on the story and characters has changed as a result.
Until Rockstar decides to release GTA 6 or RDR3, there just isn’t going to be anything out there that can compare to this in an open World setting. God of War, Elden Ring and others are in the same class, but they aren’t building a living world.
It’s all of these and more
I may drop off after a couple of hours, or I may just live in Act 2 in my next playthrough, who knows, but for the reasons above, more and more people are returning to the games that are still to be bettered, now where’s Resident Evil 4 at?