Red Dead Redemption 2 Gameplay Trailer: What We Learned

Yep. Yep. Yep. Or, more appropriately, yeeeeehaaaaaaaa!

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 is only a mere couple of months away, and if you weren’t already hyped enough, Rockstar has released a six-minute video using only footage captured in-game.

The lady who narrated GTA V‘s gameplay trailer returns to provide all the scintillating detail of the game’s setting and improvements made upon its predecessor. It’s all very exciting.

So let’s begin with the setting. As a prequel to Red Dead Redemption, RDR2 is set in the late 1800s, at the turn of the century, when civilisation is beginning to make its way West but gangs still roam the lawless lands. With America’s heartland and frontier open to explore at the player’s behest, it appears as though RDR2 will be significantly larger than the previous title, and maybe even Los Santos, with a much wider variation in terrain.

From the expected harsh deserts, leafy forests, dusty towns and glowing cities, there are now gator-infested swamps, rocky mountain paths and a lot more water in the form of idyllic winding rivers. Maybe they’ll be more interaction with water this time rather just instant death? Either way, the expanded open world with it’s higher range of environments is undoubtedly going to be fun to trail through.

Also, although the trailer doesn’t give much away, it does seem pretty certain that the long line of interesting, strange and downright deranged characters that populated the land of Red Dead Redemption will be returning, as we get a brief look at some oddballs here. Which is great news as some of RDR‘s best moments where the small, self-contained stories of the people who lived in the dangerous, rugged world and how they coped with it.

Another interesting thing to take away from the trailer is that it appears that there will only be the one playable character, Arthur Morgan. Many had speculated that after the success of GTA V‘s three characters and the ability to swap between them at will that this mechanic would find its way to the Wild West, but it seems not to be the case. This may not be a negative, however, as GTA V‘s story did seem to ramble and become convoluted towards the end, so perhaps a more focuses tale on a single character will lead to a more emotionally satisfying story. Something that RDR2 certainly has to live up to after the exploits of John Marston.

While a lot of this first gameplay trailer explores what’s been improved on the previous game, we do get a glimpse at the gang system that will take centre stage in RDR2. Your camp is your base, and while it’s a home that’s constantly on the move as your forced to flee, it’s home all the same. The members of your posse will be stationed here, eating, sleeping, working, while you’re out in the big bad world providing for them. But there does appear that you’ll be able to interact with them by playing games and listening to their stories around the campfire – a shot where we see certain Martson family.

The trailer says we’ll get to know each member of the gang during the game, so it may even appear that each member will have their own name, story and life to live and not just be a mindless NPC.

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Spending time with different gang members will open up new opportunities. It sounds like a really organic way for missions to be given, which is one of the aspects of RDR2 I’m most intrigued about. As it seems as if not every mission will just be open to you from the offset, you have to earn it and that I imagine will make the game feel more authentic.

Which, just from watching this short trailer, seems to be Rockstar‘s main aim with this new open world. To make it feel truly alive as it reacts to what you do, which in turn has led to the morality meter of RDR being developed further. We see a woman abuse Morgan for killing her cousin and we see him befriend someone who he saves from a bear trap. It seems as though you can talk to anyone in the world, even if it’s just complimenting them on their horse, to defusing hostile situations, saving people, or worming your way out of trouble. Or the complete opposites to all those things. It’s the player’s choice and the world looks as though it will change depending on your actions.

Elsewhere we’re told that vast improvements have been made to the shooting and hand-to-hand combat, while horse riding and hunting — two of RDR‘s greatest features — have been expanded upon.

The guns now have unique characteristics with realistic reload and recoil, this should go along way in improving the sometimes hollow shooting from RDR and make it more satisfying. Don’t worry, dead eye is still a thing! The fighting also looks a great deal better, as the mechanics look a lot more fleshed out, with meatier hits that actually connect with an enemy and don’t swing wildly into the air.

In regards to horse riding, you can now grow a bond with your horse which will improve its performance over time and different breeds or horse are better suited to different jobs. You imagine this will lead to a better connection with your horse in-game and make you less likely to run willy-nilly off a cliff while on the poor thing’s back.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - Riding through a winter landscape.

With the hunting, it appears that it will play a much bigger role this time around and not just to upgrade your clothes or get money. Hunting animals provides food for your gang, and the rest of the bits can then be sold on after. There’s also a Witcher 3-esque tracking system which you can follow wounded prey with. Not to mention that the eco-system appears to be much more interactive now, as animals will go about their lives and kill other animals. As they do. And there’s bow and arrows now, yay!

The trailer claims that this is world “rich in depth and detail” and it certainly does appear to be. In fact, my only complaint about RDR2 from what we’ve seen so far is that Arthur Morgan himself looks like a bit of a generic, dull protagonist but we’ll wait and see before we cast full judgement.

With another game play video to come which will show off a lot of the new additions to Red Dead with the mission types, activities, rival gangs and robberies, which we hope are of a similar vein to GTA V‘s heists. So there’s plenty to be excited for!

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