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Red Dead Redemption 2 Spoiler-free Review (PC) : : Revolver West-a-lot

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Two men stand outside the saloon, their skin reeking of dirt, mud and sweat under the scorching sun. No one dares to blink lest he would pay with his blood, eyes transfixed on each other’s colt revolver. In an instant, there’s a lightning-fast draw of weapons and rapid gunshots in succession. The horse’s final neigh puts an exclamation as one of the men drops down to his knees gasping.

But, sorry to burst your tiny little bubble, this is just a trope used in Hollywood movies ever since the exaggeration of ‘western gunslingers’ in those old dime novels (as told in Call of Juarez: Gunslinger). In actual scenario, you won’t be facing one opponent but the entire gang as you scurry for cover behind wooden barrels and horse-drawn carriages to get a drop on their leader before they get a drop on you. And this is before the US Marshals intervene, shooting any outlaw on sight. In this regard, the closest you can get to the actual feel of the Wild West is not by watching hit classics such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but by hitting New Game in Red Dead Redemption 2, now for PC!

Story and Narrative

Dutch van der Linde’s gang is on the run from the Pinkertons National Detective Agency after a failed heist in the small town of Blackwater. Heading North through blinding snowy blizzards in the middle of spring, the gang searches for any shelter that’s available and stumbles upon the abandoned town of Colter. After finding some breathing room, they try to plant their roots into the ground until the next light of hope shines. This is where you, Arthur Morgan, come in, as you try to support Dutch’s outtakes by learning hunting, killing a bunch of no-gooders from a rival gang, and even robbing a train laden with pricey bond papers. Once your ragtag group of outlaws, prostitutes, a butcher, a red Indian, and a real estate agent see the snow melting, the gang sets out to more greener pastures and hence begins a harrowing tale comradeship, survival, betrayal, and eventual redemption.

Just like its predecessor, Red Dead Redemption 2 shines with a colorful cast of characters in its fold. Everyone, even the scripted NPCs you encounter randomly, feel like a real person with a backstory rather than a bunch of programs executed to fill the world. God bless Rockstar, who took into account all the possible variables to make NPC reactions as realistic as possible. For example, I tried to hijack this random guy on a random horse in a random town. He instantly drew out his revolver and started taking potshots at me. I sprinted, with him on the tail and hid inside a wooden toilet booth. Smelling my scent he came inside only to be ambushed by my knife. On looting him I found a letter addressed to him by his former lover in which she wrote that she was eloping with another ‘less violent’ guy and was sorry for her disloyalty. It doesn’t stop there. There’s this mission where you go to a saloon with your buddy Lenny to drink your woes out. Five shots down and you’re both drunk as hell. The actions that follow next could be well into the list of  ‘Top 10 videogame plot twists of 2019’. And this is all part of the narrative! All in all, Red Dead Redemption’s campaign will carve out a lasting memory in your brain.

Gameplay and Mechanics

At the core, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a third-person shooter with some cover elements and some limited time slowing. But classifying it as such would be nothing short of blasphemy because the game well surpasses the benchmark set by Grand Theft Auto VCall it Grand Theft Horsey if you might, but the level of detailing that Rockstar put forth in terms of gameplay and world progression would make you doubt that whether you’re playing a videogame or a Wild West simulator. You have to eat regularly lest you’ll lose weight and become weak, change clothes when they are wet, clean your guns to keep it at its peak performance, clean and feed your horse to increase the bond, shave regularly unless you want a dirty lumberjack beard adorning your jawline, pay your bounty unless you want those greedy bounty hunters on your trail, donate to your camp because you don’t want to be an ungrateful burden to the gang and most importantly, wear your goddamn bandanna when you’re out there rootin’ tootin’ shootin’!


What more? You could watch a movie, play poker or domino, get drunk again, become a bounty hunter yourself, hunt legendary animals, craft tonics, cook tasty food, harvest plants, apply hair-gel, greet and antagonize people, heck even rob them and even get to derive voyeuristic pleasure out of the quarrels between John Marston (yes he’s in the game too) and his prostitute wife. Do you know that you’ve got a camera too, besides the much needed Photomode that won’t ever make you run out of desktop wallpapers? And all of these is possible at just the press of a single button! This is why everyone likes it; you can do all that you do in real life sans any physical effort.

But it has its downside. You see, with so many options of interactions, comes the possibility of performing a wrong action at the wrong time. Case in point, I accidentally smothered a police officer while trying to ‘greet’ him because the moment I went closer to him than the game allows, the button prompt vanished. So when I pressed the button, which was by default set to close attack, well….things happened. The next thing I knew, I was on the run out of Saint Dennis with the law in hot pursuit. By the time I had ridden far enough for my wanted level to cool down, there was already a huge bounty on my head. So be it! This is the Wild West, the land where laws take a back seat.

Graphics, Performance, and Sound

The PC version for Red Dead Redemption 2 came with a complete graphical overhaul to make it look even better. An updated version of the RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) was used for Red Dead Redemption 2 PC. The game’s environment design is what makes it so unique and lively – quite unlike any other game. The story takes the protagonist across a large variety of landscapes and through a wide range of different environmental conditions, allowing the player to witness the glory of overhauled graphics with their own eyes. Snowy mountains, mushy swamps, sprawling grasslands, arid deserts – you get to experience everything.Environment effects like snow and rain are particularly well-rendered to make it seem as life-like as possible. Volumetric effects, as well as depth-of-field, adds an extra layer of detail to the visuals. Particle effects are a huge improvement over Grand Theft Auto 5, which used low-poly textures for reducing the impact on the framerate – you can practically see the sparks go off when you blow up explosive barrels or when you fire your flintlocks.

Cities and towns, particularly the city of Saint Dennis – the meeting point of people from a  multitude of backgrounds – look gorgeous and welcoming. Towns were designed keeping in mind the people living in them and their occupation – Annesburg is home to miners, Rhodes reflects the style of plantation farmers while Strawberry is made for loggers. The use of models for NPCs reflects Rockstar’s attention to detail – making the game truly seem like a seamless hike along the Wild West, with a lasso in one hand and a revolver in the other.

One thing which sadly looks bad is vegetation details. While grass and leaf textures do not seem awkward at the range – they do seem low-poly when you move up close. This happens with the ground as well – likely a measure to prevent framerate drops while rendering the scene while giving an illusion of life-like visuals. So here’s to say, Red Dead Redemption 2 is graphically intensive, and it comes with a host of problems too. The game had troubles pulling a constant 60 fps at 4k on the RTX 2080 at launch – one of the best graphics cards available at the moment. This meant that the game runs like a nightmare with the FPS tanking occasionally without a reason. The game also faced issues with crashes as well as moderate to severe graphical glitches. What was weird was that this occurred on a range of different PC configurations. It took quite a few weeks before fixes started rolling out.


Red Dead Redemption 2 has such a brilliant assortment of ambient tracks that quite a number of times you’ll feel like just walking through the world as you take in the vista. They trigger at certain scripted regions of the map but Rockstar has blended it so well that you’ll feel as if they are being triggered randomly. This, plus the Hollywood level voice-acting makes it more than enough in the sound department. Adding a cherry on top of the cake is the accurate sound effects. You’re walking on mud, riding your horse through water, breaking glass with your guns, skinning an animal, etc, all the sound effects associated with these actions perfectly complete the jigsaw puzzle. Not once you’ll feel any sound effect that is out of place like I’ve observed in many games, especially the sound effect associated with sprinting.


Red Dead Redemption 2, one of the best console games is out now for PC, need I say more? Though a little bit unoptimized for Nvidia series graphics cards for time being, you can expect improvements once the game comes to steam in a few months. Red Dead Redemption 2 will no doubt be purchase worthy of your time.

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