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– by David Kozlowski

Video game fans are a pretty diverse bunch, and its rare to find consensus regarding favorite games or pivotal moments in the medium. However, if there’s one thing that just about every gamer can agree: Red Dead Redemption was one of the best games ever made. Rockstar Games, creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, shocked the industry back in 2010 when it released an open-world Western on Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

Players were thrust into the role of John Marsten, an antihero who bared a striking resemblance to both Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name and Charles Bronson’s Harmonica characters from classic Hollywood Westerns. In fact, Red Dead Redemption shared a lot more DNA with film than with its videogame predecessors. Players could choose to pursue careers as lawman, villain, bounty hunter, gambler, rancher, or even hunter/trader — each role, setting, and event in the game ripped from any of a dozen classic Western movies.

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One of the true joys in Red Dead Redemption was simply jumping onto your horse’s back and riding across the countryside, which transitioned from dawn to day to dusk to night, complete with blistering heat, freezing blizzards, and sudden downpours. Players felt completely immersed in Rockstar’s world, which spanned every possible eco-system and locale one could imagine across the legendary Old West.

Now, nearly a decade later (and a new generation of videogame technology), Rockstar is preparing to release Red Dead Redemption 2, and it looks absolutely stunning. The increased power of the PS4 and XBox One is enabling dense, authentic-looking saloons, stables, military outposts, and a truly sprawling countryside, which Rockstar claims is about one third larger than the original.

In this trailer we’re introduced to Morgan, a surprisingly nondescript white guy, who is apparently a full-on villain. Given the wide range of role-playing possibilities from the original, it’s likely players will have the chance to pursue the outlaw’s path or seek redemption as a lawman… and probably everything else in-between. I definitely appreciate the shift toward the outlaw, however, as Marsten spent way too much time deciding who he was, in RDR2 it seems we’re dropping all pretenses and just plain shooting folks while robbing trains, banks, and what have you.

The footage, characters, and action expressed in this trailer looks absolutely epic. Fans of the original (pretty much all gamers) are undoubtedly drooling over this trailer. In fact, the only people upset by this trailer are PC gamers, who are still waiting for a PC conversion of the first game!

Where do you rank the original Red Dead Redemption on your list of favorite games? Let us know in the comments down below!

Red Dead Redemption 2 hits PS4 and XBox One in 2018 (TBD).

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SOURCE: Rockstar Games

  • Victor Roa

    I really should give the last game a second shot, but I prefer Spagetti Westerns like Django or Death Rides a Horse…. I’d rather have Lee Van Cleef than Clint Eastwood, he defined the word “Bad guys wear black.”

    • I initially skipped the story entirely in the first game because I just wanted to explore. Honestly, that’s the best way to play RDR… and then go back later to experience the story (the story is good, but not great). Also, the guns and gunplay were just OK in RDR — a problem that plagued a lot of Rockstar games until GTA 5. So, I’m really, really hoping for a better story and better guns… and a PC version in RDR2!!!

      And Lee Van Cleef is the best, no question.

      • Victor Roa

        I think Rockstar’s art style has gotten worse since the PS2 days, like they are in a ditch in the Uncanny Valley. And each review seems to be “we fixed the shooting, almost” But in reality what was charming about Vice City was how Cartoonish it was and should have had the art style of the box art instead of where they are now….. robbing Mocap artists from proper residuals.
        I would love it if it was stylized like an Spaghetti Western where it’s not real but this stylized take on their idea of what the time was. Like Django didn’t have the KKK but had these guys in hoods to hide the extras for the Mexican revolutionary extras.

        • Glad you mentioned this, I agree. I haven’t upgraded to the new consoles yet, largely because I’m a PC guy, but also because the games don’t look that much better than previous gen consoles; none of the upcoming games this holiday season are convincing me otherwise.

          Speaking of Spaghetti Westerns, LucasArts made a Western game years ago that I dearly loved: Outlaws, which was 100% modeled on Sergio Leone’s films — it was awesome, some of the best pure shooting gameplay since Doom II (now I sound old).

          • Victor Roa

            I know that feeling too, considering how cool some indie games are like Hotline Miami are really what everyone imagined GTA was going to end up being instead of this weird cold virtual reality where everything is slightly off. Like the Rick and Morty Shaym Aliens low powered VR world.
            Yeah, I love that game. Do you know why the Lucasarts FPS games stood out compared to Redneck Rampage or Blood, they hired architects to design the levels. I replay Doom a lot, but like that’s the worst design mazes. And Outlaws was an excellent test of this take on reality while having these stylized cartoon design of famous western trope characters.

  • Kronx

    RDR had a great twist at the end. But I confess I like the GTA series more. A lot more fun getting into trouble in a big city than riding endlessly on the plains.

    • Yeah, I’ll agree with you that after the horse riding novelty wore off moving around the map got a little tedious. But man, riding into the sunset or out of the dawn, so beautiful!

  • WTFITBS

    Can he swim though? John Marston died if he was submerged in water up to his ankles.

    • The new map has a LOT of water in it, so I gotta believe they’ll address this.

  • andrew

    RDR had a great twist at the end. But I confess I like the GTA series more. A lot more fun getting into trouble in a big city than riding endlessly on the plains.

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Film and Media Studies.