Red Dead Redemption may only have two entries in its eight year existence, but it is already one of gaming’s most iconic franchises. Given the rate at which Rockstar releases games, the world will probably not see a third title for at least a decade, but why dwell on future titles now? The recently released prequel is still fresh on everyone’s minds, sparking intense discussion about its story, game play, and characters. Both entries offer a lot to dwell on, and with that comes a plethora of varying opinions and conclusions, many of which are up for debate. The following 20 entries hope to set the record straight on some of these. Obviously, when it comes to opinions, it is disrespectful to flat out call somebody wrong, but personal thoughts still have to be backed up with evidence.
Some of the entries may not change people’s minds on certain issues, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, mostly everybody is here because they love Red Dead Redemption enough to scrutinize it so deeply with an intense critical lens. After all, people wouldn’t spend more than 80 hours of their life beating two mammoth-sized games if they weren’t fans. So, get ready to walk unreasonably slow through the gang hideout, because here are 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Red Dead Redemption:
20 It’s Not Just GTA With Horses
The comparison is not wholly inappropriate, considering many of the same people worked on both franchises, but simplifying this magnificent series to a Wild West clone of Grand Theft Auto does it a great disrespect. Some parts of their respective experiences feel familiar, but both series do vastly different things with a similar tool set.
GTA, even when telling its darkest stories, tends to be a black comedy, while Red Dead Redemption always relies on hard-hitting, character-driven drama. The former draws players in with its spectacular, almost extraordinary missions, and Red Dead‘s lure is how it immerses players into the setting and feels more meditative, like the many westerns from which it draws inspiration.
19 It’s Not Perfect
People who love the series tend to proclaim it from up high, and it’s good when people feel so passionately about something. However, even the most diehard fans have to admit the games are not perfect. They come pretty close at times, but come up just shy of flawlessness.
Shooting has never been the developer’s strong suit, save for Max Payne 3’s immaculate gun play, and Red Dead Redemption 2 did not do a lot to improve upon it. The first game has its faults too, like the extended stay in Mexico that added little to John Marston’s story. All this being said, they are still two of the best games on the market.
18 Being Slowly Paced Isn’t A Bad Thing
A common complaint about Red Dead Redemption 2 is its pacing. People say it takes too long for game play to become interesting, and even longer for the story to pick up. This definitely is true, but it’s also not an entirely negative statement. A good payoff requires patience, and it takes time for the player to become attached to all the characters.
It is understandable that not everyone has a lot of time dedicated to gaming, and they would prefer the excitement to start immediately, but not every game can offer this. Even so, its structure perhaps lends itself better to being slowly digested over a few months, rather than two weeks of non-stop playing.
17 There Aren’t Too Many Gunfights
People have said too many of the missions end with a massive gunfight. Adversely, others have griped about too many of the missions revolving around chores and mundane tasks. So, which one is it? Does the game shove violence into the player’s face at every opportunity or is there not enough of it?
The second game has gotten more flack for this, and it is probably due to the sheer size of it. There are over one hundred story missions, and numerous side quests stacked on top of that, meaning there are tons of shootouts. No one complains that Grand Theft Auto has too much shooting, so why does Red Dead get criticized harshly for this?
16 Red Dead Redemption 1 Should Be Played First
It may be clear from Red Dead Redemption 2‘s title, but some may play Arthur Morgan’s story first because it is a prequel. While the newer title does lead up to the events of Red Dead Redemption, it is ultimately better to play the 2010 game first. Prequels are generally made knowing fans have already experienced the prior entries, and certain moments are easier to appreciate with knowledge of the future in mind.
At the same time, people will still have a blast with Red Dead Redemption 2 if they had never heard of the series beforehand. The story still stands on its own, but hits so much harder for those who have played Red Dead Redemption.
15 The Epilogue Is Not Too Long
Following in its predecessor’s steps, Red Dead Redemption 2 concludes with an emotional epilogue. Unlike the first title, this part rivals the length of an average video game. Gamers have since bemoaned the number of missions in this concluding chapter, especially the slower ones detailing everyday frontier life.
It is lengthy for sure, but every moment of it is pure bliss. It shows the impact of the first ending, and shakes things up from the past thirty-plus hours of the story. One way complaints could have been alleviated was by perhaps rolling the credits before the epilogue started, signaling to players they could take a break before diving into this meaty portion of unexpected content.
14 Red Dead Redemption Is Not Red Dead Revolver 2
Red Dead Revolver hit shelves in 2010. This over-the-top Western went through a troubled production when Capcom was funding and publishing it. It was cancelled in 2003 before Rockstar swooped in and saved the day. The developer went on to become Rockstar San Diego and created Red Dead Redemption, but this does not mean that the 2010 title is a sequel to Red Dead Revolver.
The two are not canonically connected, with the only similarities being the setting and the first two words of the title. The words “Red Dead” are more of an homage to the studios origins than the name of a franchise. With this being said, Red Dead Revolver is still worth playing
13 Red Dead Online Is Still In Beta
The multiplayer component to Red Dead Redemption 2 is taking a lot of heat for several reasons. Perhaps justifiably, people are gawking at the inclusion of microtransactions. Less rationally, players are decrying the rest of the multiplayer suite, from the competitive modes to the stranger missions.
One should remember that Red Dead Online is still in a beta state. On top of that, the game is immensely popular, meaning servers are probably being hit hard, even with the controlled rollout they did by granting access to only certain players at first. All in all, it is running smoother than GTA Online did in its beginning months, and with time, the online mode is sure to become incredible.
12 RDR2 Not An RPG
This question has been thrown around a few times because of the heavy simulation elements, but it should be clarified that Red Dead Redemption 2 is not a role playing game. Sure, there are stats and upgrades, but those are par for the course in most contemporary games. Just because there is a progression system does not make it kin to Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. After all, just about every game involves players taking on a role.
Ultimately, it feels more like an open world action adventure game, with its emphasis on traveling long distances. It is a more appropriate moniker, considering The Legend of Zelda has been noted by the Housers as a huge influence.
11 Red Dead Redemption 2’s Story Is Just As Good As The First One
People have a soft spot for Red Dead Redemption and John Marston’s tragic tale. It’s definitely worthy of its place in the gaming landscape, but it is bothersome when people compare it to the prequel and say the second part is not up to snuff. Red Dead Redemption 2’s story certainly meets the storytelling standards of Red Dead Redemption, and perhaps surpasses it.
Arthur Morgan’s journey is more nuanced with a longer build up. Because of its focus on character development and significantly larger cast, people perceive it as being slower than the first one. Some of the character arcs, and particularly Morgan’s personal journey, showcase themes and situations that gaming has rarely, if ever, seen.
10 There Are Boring Parts, But It’s Not The Parts Everyone Says
There are bound to be lulls in an adventure that takes more than 40 hours to complete. For many, these boring sections come in the form of mundane missions involving fishing, cattle rustling, and hunting. These objectives by themselves would probably be boring, but they are always accompanied by interesting dialogue that deepens the player’s understanding of the characters.
What can really be tedious are the long distances one must traverse several times over, or picking up herbs and crafting supplies. It is all done in the name of immersion, but it can start to feel like a chore from all the repetition. Tracking down animals on one’s own is also dull because it takes little skill to accomplish.
9 RDR2 Is Not As Realistic As It Could Be
There are two sides to this argument; some say its realism is a standout feature that puts it a cut above the rest, while others say that it is too realistic for its own good. One thing they both can agree on is that it is not nearly as realistic as it could be.
There are several elements that could have been added in order to really turn it into a simulator, but these would have made it no fun. It is a game first and foremost, and still needs to be entertaining. At the end of the day, Red Dead Redemption 2 is just as realistic as it should be without getting in the way of the story.
8 Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Better Than The First One
The game is barely three months old, so the dust has yet to settle, but there is a large camp that stands by the first one as the superior title. If one fancies it over the new game, that is fine; but remember, not everything about Red Dead Redemption was all roses. Marston’s exploits in Mexico are not important to the plot, but take up a huge chunk of the play time, and the supporting characters still feel like cartoons instead of real people.
The game has a truly surprising finale, followed by a quick, impactful epilogue, and this tends to cloud people’s memory of the preceding journey. Whichever one is liked more, everyone can agree that they are both phenomenal.
7 Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Not As Polished As Everyone Says It Is
Rockstar’s open worlds are noted for possessing a polish that other large-scale titles cannot claim to have. One won’t find the save file erasing bugs, random crashes, or stuttering frame rates. Part of the effort poured into these titles makes sure the world runs smoothly. Despite their best efforts, the Old West is not as seamless as it could be.
There are plenty of glitches for Arthur Morgan to encounter. Thankfully, it is nothing game breaking, but some hilarious reminders that one is playing a video game. One will find everything from Arthur and the horse flying hundreds of feet in the air, to invisible characters in cinematics and people putting their hands through their faces.
6 The Writing Is Great, But Not Perfect
Red Dead Redemption 2 is often compared to the greatest television shows, and justifiably so. The game is dozens of hours long, with a script that rivals that of a six-season series. On top of that, players get to see many of the characters develop and drastically change over the numerous hours and missions.
While the script is definitely worth the praise, it should be noted that there is room for improvement. The dialogue tends to knock the player over the head with its themes, instead of subtly showing them. Take a drink every time Dutch says “we just need more money” and the issue becomes clear after passing out a couple of hours in.
5 Sadie Is Absent In The First Half Of RDR2 For A Reason
Sadie Adler has quickly become a fan favorite with her no-nonsense attitude and insistence on doing what she wants. Because of this, people are wondering why she is absent through a large portion of the beginning chapters. If she is so beloved, surely Rockstar would see this and utilize her whenever possible.
Seeing more of the heroine would have been nice, but keep in mind that she just starts the game going through a traumatic experience. Her husband and livelihood were violently taken from her, something that would take anybody time to grieve through and process. Her slow transformation into who she is by the end makes her arc all the more powerful.
4 The Controls Aren’t Always Great
Red Dead Redemption 2 attempts to simulate the Wild West experience through modern gaming. The player’s access to the world is granted solely through the controller, and there are only so many buttons on these gadgets. Because of the sheer amount of activities, certain functions are mapped to the same button. Considering the complexity of the game, it rarely gets confused, but issues do occur.
There are times when the player may mash triangle to mount their horse, but instead tackle an innocent bystander. Other times, Arthur may accidentally board the wrong horse, triggering a wanted level. The world is so dynamic that issues like this are bound to happen, but it doesn’t make them any less frustrating.
3 Red Dead Redemption Was A Huge Risk In 2010
These days, it may have seemed like it was a sure thing – the studio famous for innovating the open world genre tackling the Old West – but those who vividly remember events from over a decade ago can relay a different story. Rockstar’s epic Western was quietly in development for half a decade, and the little news that did trickle out always spoke of a troubled production.
Once Red Dead Redemption hit store shelves, all worries were laid to rest, but this was no guarantee back in 2010. Despite some design similarities, the game was drastically different from Grand Theft Auto to the point where fans of the series may have felt alienated in the historical backdrop.
2 Dutch Was Always A Bad Person
One of the saddest parts of this tragic tale is seeing Arthur Morgan’s father figure, Dutch van der Linde, descend into madness. He starts the game as an honorable criminal, claiming to only steal from those that deserve it. However, right from the outset, one can see cracks in his philosophy.
The game opens in the aftermath of a botched bank robbery. The events of the robbery are called into question as Arthur hears of Dutch needlessly mowing down an innocent hostage (it is the first of several red flags early on). Really, the biggest change is Dutch becoming more selfish and considering the gang expendable. He was always doing bad things, just for the sake of his so-called family.
1 Red Dead Redemption 2 Does Play Like The First One, And That’s Fine
When discussing the newest entry, people will often say “they spend eight years making it and it controls exactly the same!” This is true, but what exactly is wrong with that? Just because it is the second part does not mean they have to completely flip the control scheme.
There are arguments to be made for changing up the layout in general for Rockstar games, but this title adds more to the formula than GTA V did after GTA IV, and few people complained about the fifth entry in that series. It’s fine if people have a problem with the controls in general, but if somebody liked it in 2010, it is still functional today.
What are your favorite things about the Red Dead Redemption series? Let us know in the comments!