In Depth

Red Dead Redemption 2: first reviews, pre-orders, gameplay trailer and UK release date

Rockstar’s western epic launches in October

Red Dead Redemption 2 is expected to become one of the biggest games of the decade after landing next month. 

Rockstar Games’s new open-world adventure game, set in America’s Wild West in 1899, comes eight years after the launch of the much-acclaimed original version.

The upcoming release will be the first game from the studio to be built specifically to work on the latest generation of consoles. Although Grand Theft Auto 5 and LA Noire have found their way onto the newer consoles in recent years, they were originally designed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Fans only have to wait until the end of October for Red Dead Redemption 2 to arrive on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In the meantime, here’s what we know about the game so far:

Release date

Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced in October 2016 and was due to launch in the autumn of the following year. The game was then postponed until the spring of 2018, before being delayed again to 26 October.

Rockstar Games said in a blog post that it decided to delay the western’s launch because it needs “a little extra time” in development. 

When it launches, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Gamespot reports. There’s no word yet on a PC release, but Rockstar games could announce a version at a later date. 

Pre-orders

Kicking off the pre-order line-up is the digital special edition of Red Dead Redemption 2, which IGN says will grants players a “war horse” that boasts “greater stamina and speed” capabilities than the standard horses in the game. 

This version also comes with the “Outlaw Survival Kit”, containing a range of useful supplies to give players an advantage, the tech site says.

Above that edition sits the digital ultimate version, which adds special costumes and weapons that can be used in the game’s multiplayer modes, says Polygon

To complicate matters, says Gamespot, Rockstar is also launching physical disc copies of the game with even more bonuses than the downloadable versions. 

The physical variants of the special and ultimate editions include all the bonuses of the digital versions, but add a map of the western’s open world and a “fancy” steel case for the disc, the games site says. 

Rockstar is also launching a limited-edition “collector’s box” for £89.99. This version features playing cards, a puzzle, an art book and a metal storage container. The game, however, is sold separately. 

Fans can pre-order disc copies of the game through Rockstar’s website, while downloadable versions can be reserved through either the Xbox or PlayStation online stores. 

First reviews

“Even after just tipping a toe in Red Dead Redemption 2’s swamps, it’s clear this is something very special,” says The Independent

Much of that is down the games vast open world, which alters in response to players actions, the news site says. 

TechRadar agrees that this “unprecedented level of detail” makes the experience feel surprisingly real. 

Arthur Morgan, the game’s lead character, gets dirty when trudging through mud and stays like that until he comes into contact with water, the website says. And other characters in the game treat Morgan “like a bum” when he walks around indirty clothes. 

Polygon also praises the “gorgeous virtual world” of Read Dead Redemption 2, but argues that the setting can feel a little too real at times, which may reduce the fun for some players. 

For instance, says the site, the player can only summon their horse when the animal is in earshot, unlike in the original, where you could “magically make the animal appear at your side with a whistle”. 

All the same, says IGNRed Dead Redemption 2 is clearly “the work of a supremely talented developer with near-limited resources”.

“Rockstar already knows you’re going to play its game, but its work now is to have you play that game for a very, very long time,” the reviews site concludes.

Gameplay trailer

Rockstar Games unveiled an in-depth gameplay trailer last month that gave fans a glimpse of how life in its take on the Wild West will look. 

Only a handful of teaser trailers have been released so far. The latest clip, which has amassed millions of views, is the first to show gameplay footage.

“There’s a lot to examine in Rockstar’s six-minute video,” says Polygon. The game site notes that players are able to interact with other characters in the world by starting a conversation or by antagonising them - which could lead to a fight.

The system is similar to the chat mechanics in open-world role playing games (RPGs) such as Fallout 4 and Mass Effect Andromeda

And it’s not just other people with whom players can bond. The gaming news site says that horses are a “major component” in Red Dead Redemption 2

The game features a variety of different types of horses, each of which can help players in different ways. Workhorses may prove to be tougher in combat, for example, while racehorses will no doubt help players traverse the map faster.  

Meanwhile, the Dead Eye system, which slows down time so that players can pick off enemies, is being carried over from the previous version of the title, says Venture Beat.  

The trailer also confirms that the protagonist from the previous game, John Marston, will be returning, although his exact role is unclear. 

Setting

Much like the last game in the series, Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place around the Rocky Mountains in 1899, says PCGamesN.

Details of the exact location are scarce, but a leaked image of the game’s map posted on Tech Radar suggests players will have a massive open world to explore. 

If the leaked map is from the new title, it appears that Red Dead Redemption 2 will share some locations with the last game, the website says. These areas include the Great Plains and Blackwater, although the game will feature many areas that weren’t present in the previous version.

Tech Radar says the railway in the Great Plains from the old game doesn’t appear in the leaked map. This suggests Red Dead Redemption 2 is set before the events of the first title. 

New features

Online multiplayer is expected to be one of the big new features of Red Dead Redemption 2, The Daily Telegraph says, as Rockstar Games had “massive (and continuing) success with GTA Online”.

It’s not yet known what multiplayer modes will be available, but the newspaper says it would be “no surprise” if Rockstar Games regularly updated the online section with new content in a similar fashion to GTA Online. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 could also feature multiple protagonists in single-player modes, says Digital Trends, another feature borrowed from GTA 5

Initial rumours suggested players would control a descendant of John Marston, the protagonist from the last game, but recent trailers reveal the lead character is an outlaw called Arthur Morgan, the website says.

Morgan is a member of the Van der Linde gang and has “even more questionable morals than most of Rockstar’s previous protagonists”, the site adds. For example, he threatens to kill a boy “who recently lost his father”.

We’ll have to wait until 26 October to find out what Morgan’s true motives are.

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