How else does 0UTPUT 1NPUT start their blog without speaking on one of our favorite games of all time?
From running, gunning, and antagonizing everyone between, I have loved my time with Rockstar Games' third installment in the Red Dead storyline. Whether it be supporting woman's suffrage, imitating the sheriff, or sucking venom off a bystander's leg after just robbing the person before them, Red Dead Redemption 2 's storytelling is second to none, adding the rich history of the Wild West along with Rockstar Games' satire blends into a package that left me at the edge of my seat... three times.
Now, why are we talking about Red Dead Redemption 2 five years after its release? Well for one, we just started 0UTPUT 1NPUT and to make a staple organization that talks about gaming, I believe it is best to talk about what I think is not just game of the year, but game of the decade.
Rockstar San Diego (formerly known as Angel Studios) started the Red Dead trilogy off with Red Dead Revolver, coming out on Xbox and Playstation 2 in 2004, selling over 920,000 sales as of 2010, according to Alexander Sliwinski at Engadget. Once they built the foundation to a compelling Wild West world and a few revolvers, they started to create the sequel, Red Dead Redemption, which came out in 2010 on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. As a spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption revitalized the cowboy shooter by adding an open-world aspect that allowed for more freedom. Having further develop the series with new mechanics and a sprawling world, the reception of it almost doubled, selling over 5 million copies in its first three weeks, according to EuroGamer.
As Red Dead became a household name, Rockstar Games had captured the third person storytelling market by storm, making the Grand Theft Auto series, L.A Noire, and Max Payne to name a few. They knew what their niche was, and they stuck to their guns (or revolvers). That R logo with the star became a logo that resonated with satire, storytelling, and a damn good time.
Red Dead Redemption 2, first announced in the fall of 2016, showing a release date of Fall 2017. However, sometimes great things take time, and Rockstar Games did have a great thing on their hands looking hindsight. Unfortunately, the release date was pushed to almost a year later, releasing in October 2018.
Wild, Wild, West - World Building
Read Dead Redemption 2's world is second to none. Rockstar San Diego has truly outdone themselves when they came up with making the world feel.... real.
From being able to interact with every NPC, dealing with mini-games in sprawling cities or rural areas, or even seeing a horse have a bathroom cycle, Red Dead's attention to detail in the game design's mechanics are utterly breathtaking (especially the the horse details).
Jumping into the Wild West is a very different time compared to Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series, switching combustable engine cars with carrot-fueled horses, and huge metropolitan areas with a saloon and if you're lucky, a barbershop. However, Red Dead Redemption 2's world mechanics keep you entertained through the side stories involving Arthur Morgan, the main protagonist, meeting many individuals throughout his journey in getting the "big heist" to finally retire being a crooked cowboy. While you are traveling from town to town, the world keeps players engaged by giving random events happening on the side of the road. Whether it is a group of bandits trying to rob Arthur, a person being bit from a venomous snake, or a rural family getting their house robbed, it seems as the player has to keep their guards up through every hill and around every corner, making the world feel wild like it really is 1899.
Good People Do Bad Things - Storyline
Red Dead Redemption 2's storyline is compelling, heartwarming, and cold-blooded. Now that might seem like a mixed bag of emotions, and that's because it is.
As players partake in Arthur Morgan's journey for monetary freedom and the chase for the next big heist, we start to understand both sides of Arthur. He does a countless amount of crimes, due to the central character, Dutch Van der Linde's, decisions. As Dutch is the leader of a treacherous group of misfits and thieves, he hopes of finding a big cash-out for the whole so that they may all live in peace and gold.
Dutch's decisions make Arthur rob from the rich, kill many, many people, and lie and swindle his way into pockets, Arthur's image is nothing short of a murderous thief. While he engages in a life of crime, he does have a code of ethics that he adheres to. He recognizes that stealing from the poor and killing innocent people are morally wrong, and avoids doing so. However, he doesn't hesitate to harm or kill those he deems deserving, including innocent individuals if necessary. Despite his violent tendencies, Arthur often helps others during his missions, showing a willingness to go out of his way for those in need. It's worth noting that his actions have resulted in many women being left widowed. While this doesn't excuse his criminal behavior, it's important to consider that the story paints a picture of a man that is stained with bad decisions trying to wash it off, trying for a clean slate with stains that bleed deeper than the fabric it is on.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been an all-time favorite in my book. Having played it three times, once on Playstation 4, again but in first-person, and lastly on my trusty Steam Deck, I have felt compelled with the game since its origins of the predecessor, Red Dead Redemption.
With it's dynamic and stunning world, giving a new journey with every gallop of my horse, there is not a dull moment exploring the five fictional states the game presents. With sprawling meadows with deer grazing the field, hustling and bustling city of Saint Denis, to the chilling high mountaintops of Ambarino, players would not think twice to smell the flowers... or gunpowder depending on the play style.
The storytelling explains a story of a tainted soul from blood and dynamite, but with a heart of gold. The story brings players into a character that has a willingness to be good, but cannot escape the life of crime that has been developing for too long. It also compels players to see that good people have to do bad things sometimes, and that life is dynamic, throwing in good and bad and trying to find the grey in the black and white.
That being said, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece in storytelling, world building, and a damn good time. I have revisited it time and time again, expecting that I am going to find a flaw. As Arthur Morgan says "Vengeance is an idiot's game."
- Marcus Garcia aka "Marchiatt0"