Please welcome back fellow I Am Geek contributor and all around awesome guy, Eric Landro. Thanks for giving me the night off Eric!
The recent excitement shown from Star Wars fans over the new teaser released for The Last Jedi was exactly what I experienced in October when Rockstar released their teaser trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2. Two trailers, both giving little to no real spoilers to the story, yielded massive repeated views and sustained excitement for weeks to come. I had been praying for some sort of sequel to the franchise, and when it finally came, I was ecstatic.
Rockstar released Red Dead Redemption seven years ago, and at the time, I knew very little about it. I don’t remember any sort of advertising for the game, but from my friends, it was Grand Theft Auto set in the Wild West, and truthfully, that was enough for me to give it a try. But within five minutes of playing, I knew the game was so much more.
Now, I may not be the best person to make such a statement because I never really could appreciate Grand Theft Auto. The reasoning behind that was when the games came out, my buddies and I would just take turns causing the most chaos as possible, which would last hours and hours and I never really sat and played the campaign for Grand Theft Auto III or GTA: Vice City. So really, Red Dead Redemption was my first real dip into open-world gaming. And folks, it blew me away.
First and foremost, is there a better time than the Wild West for an open-world format? The American Frontier was basically built upon vigilantes, criminals and shady law enforcement, roaming the open land at will and taking whatever they wanted. Open-world games give you the freedom to choose the type of character you want to be. The Wild West wasn’t structured with laws, but with power.
Rockstar created a fictitious America split into three main territories: New Austin, Nuevo Paraiso and the Great Plains. You are John Marston, a former gang member hired by the government to retrieve his old best friend and bring him back to justice. He is a flawed man, looking to do the right thing, but his dark past continually creeps into his path for redemption. The dark, sinister plot is masked by the beautiful world Rockstar created. It is visually stunning, and makes you want to explore every inch before continuing in the story.
One of the best features of this game is the actual gameplay. The shooting while on horseback, on a moving train, or carriages is smooth and swift, being able to control the crosshairs almost effortlessly. The storyline is also very character driven. John Marston is an extremely complex character, fighting his past while trying to tie up loose ends. We control his honor and fame, another fun perk Rockstar made, allowing us to become either the Good, the Bad or the Ugly. You have characters like Bonnie MacFarlane, U.S. Marshal Leigh Johnson, Nigel Dickens and Landon Ricketts, all of which have their own deep backstory and characteristics. The voice acting is extraordinary, and really feels like you’re inserted into a story.
Red Dead Redemption is filled with things to do and discover. You can play in games like poker or liar’s dice, collect treasure, become a hunting master, collect herbs, collect bounties, herd animals, help random strangers in route to the next mission and fight through gang hideouts to collect rewards. The option to skip travel to far away destinations is there, but I always found myself wanting to ride my horse across the expansive American Frontier and allow the open world control what I did or didn’t do. You never know what will show up on the dusty trail, which just adds so much realism to the gameplay. The score was also something to marvel at. It further accentuated the feeling of the Old West, like you were inserted in the mind of Sergio Leone or Clint Eastwood.
So, to say the least, I fell in love with the game and was instantly obsessed. I have beaten it on more than one occasion, and that is saying a lot because to 100% beat the game you’re looking at upwards of 30 hours of gameplay. Sports games like NBA 2K and NHL eat up most of my gaming time, creating my own player or playing fantasy drafts. But Red Dead Redemption opened me up to a new world, and showed me how deep and strong the stories can be in games, and as a lover of stories, that really peaked my interest. It led me to completing games like Uncharted 4, Last of Us, The Wicker III, Batman: Arkham Knight and Destiny. But throughout the years, and the more games I beat, I kept falling back to Red Dead Redemption, the game I hold higher than any other. And then, out of nowhere, Rockstar released this:
This trailer showed absolutely no gameplay or storyline, and I still think it’s going to be the greatest game of all time. Already, there are so many little things to get Red Dead Redemption fans so excited for. One major improvement was seeing two people on a rowboat on a riverbank. If you recall, water was literally death for John Marston. So, you can deduce that fish will be made available and a different way for travelling.
I also can’t help but feel this will be a prequel to Red Dead Redemption. John Marston met his demise at the end of the first one, so many are speculating you will continue as his son and go for revenge, since you played as his son through the very end of the story. However, since there are seven people rising horses in the teaser, I am thinking we are going to be playing as a young Joh Marston, who is part of the Duchess gang. Bill Williamson, John’s former best friend and ex-gang affiliate, also looks like he makes a quick appearance in the teaser as well, further proving this notion. And not only that, it really feels like it takes place years earlier than Red Dead Redemption. John Marston entered a world where the West was dying and advancement was happening, which was a big theme in the story. This trailer, however, seems to have an older feel to it, especially with the grocery store looking extremely old and banged up.
But all that is speculation, which happens all the time with teasers. But one, undeniably fact that came from this trailer, is how incredibly beautiful this game is going to be. The night sky, the vast plains, the forests, trees, and the water, are all accents on the natural beauty of the American Frontier. The next gen graphics elevated this world so much higher, and I can’t imagine what the next trailer will show us. I am deeply excited for this game, and I implore anyone who hasn’t played Red Dead Redemption to do so before this one drops, because it is absolutely a classic.