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Red Dead Redemption 2 is the perfect imperfect game – A Patient Gamer Review

I just finished Red Dead Redemption 2 after playing close to 400 hours for the last 3 months. I only played the single player campaign but I did go and got all the single player trophies. I experienced a ton of conflicting emotions while playing the game and in the end, I realized that I deeply love it.

A little background, RDR2 came out before I got back into gaming and before I had a PS4. But I was aware of the hype so I watched a complete blind let’s play video of it. This allowed me to experience the story without spoilers when I viewed it. In a sense, when I finally played the game, it was like it was already my second play through. I’m glad that I got to experience the story spoiler-free because the story is special and deserved to be experienced as free of spoilers as possible.

Here are some facts of the game:

FACT: Visually the game world is beautifully detailed and incredibly built. There is just so much details throughout the world that you can just sit back, watch and enjoy all that’s happening. What I love best is that each section of the world is so distinctive, unlike a lot other open world games. And I love the details for each of the wildlife.

FACT: While the game has some rousing music scores (the last missions of the game and the epilogue respectively), it is the vocal songs that were seemingly placed at the perfect moments that elevates the game to another level. I won’t spoil anything more about this as you need to experience these musical moments first hand.

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FACT: The game arguably has one of the best narratives in video games and inarguably has one of the best leading character in Arthur Morgan with a wonderful fully realized supporting cast. After finishing through the game, you will undoubtedly empathize wit Arthur and will feel all his emotions and conflicts. You will shed many tears for the game and for Arthur. You owe it to yourself to see through Arthur’s story. This is the game’s greatest strength.

FACT: The game is incredibly clunky. This was my first Rockstar game and I did read that there’s a lot of gameplay elements that makes gameplay rigorous like feeding/grooming your horse and eating which made me initially apprehensive of playing the game. It turned out these elements didn’t bother me, but it took me a while to get used to the clunky controls. It IS incredibly annoying that some button prompts to do stuff makes you accidentally attack enemies. gunplay is pretty basic with it being a cover shooter, but the deadeye and slow-mo replays are fun and makes you feel like a bad-ass. It is a testament to the other elements of the game that it made me endure the (bad) controls to go through the game.

FACT: While the gameplay is clunky, the exploration aspect of the game is very fun. There are always some location or event hidden away around the world and discovering them is very satisfying fun. The stranger side quests builds upon the narrative of the game and a lot of times adds to Arthur’s characterization. Exploration in this game is Open World done right.

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FACT: For trophy hunters, this game is infuriatingly unfun I am one and since I love most aspects of the game, I had to push myself to get all the single player trophies (and there is a narrative payoff to getting 100% completion). First the fact that multiplayer is required to get platinum is already a cardinal sin. A lot of the other collectibles required though is incredibly tedious and subject to RNG, with some spawn rates coded to have low RNG. You will not only need to grind to get the collectibles but you need to be lucky as well. There are so many things wrong with how the collectibles are designed that it seems like they are either not play-tested or deliberately designed to make you hate the game. The orchid side quest is a tedious bore and almost requires you to use a guide to make it bearable. There are gambling challenges that boiled down to RNG rolls that could waste hours of your time. and animal spawn rates for the hunting sidequest is so low for some animals that it’s infuriating. I really hope that Rockstar fixes this aspect of the game for the next RDR.

All in all, there are aspects of the game, namely the gameplay and the collectibles that makes the game deeply deeply flawed. But its highs – the topnotch graphics and songs and open world and the one of the best narrative and character pulls it out. Objectively the game is a 7 or 8 of 10. But I love the highs so much that I cannot judge the game objectively. I love it so it’s a 10 for me.

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I have never played any GTA game and I'm debating whether I should jump into it or even try Red Dead Online despite disliking most multiplayer games.

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