It’s been nearly a 12 months since Pink Lifeless Redemption 2 was launched — and it nonetheless stands head and shoulders above many of the video games launched this 12 months. To not pre-emptively jinx my opinion of any of the video games popping out between now and the top of the 12 months, however I feel, if I had the choice, I’d put RDR2 on the high of my Recreation of the 12 months record over again.
This time final 12 months, I’d gotten my advance copy of RDR2 and was making an attempt to write down up the story assessment (my colleague Nino wrote the nuts-and-bolts assessment that got here out earlier within the week). I felt I needed to end the story, given how the primary recreation ended. I’ll admit that I left a big portion of the sport‘s sidequests and common aimless sandbox wandering behind me in a race to the end — these of you who’ve completed it understand it’s an extended haul, and an emotional gauntlet on high of it.
Now, I don’t remorse that have, because it meant I received to play RDR2 to the top earlier than most individuals would have gotten to play it in any respect, however I’m not going to lie: it practically wrecked me. I’m speaking sleepless nights and occasional binges the likes of which I haven’t had since school, and I’m manner too outdated for that now. I not too long ago began taking part in RDR2 once more, not with the intention of writing something about it — I simply wished to truly decelerate and revel in it this time, no strain.
However experiencing it once more, with a 12 months in between playthroughs, has jogged my memory simply how absorbing this recreation‘s story is. The story of the Van der Linde gang’s fall, as advised by means of the eyes of Arthur Miller, was a darned effective yarn, and one thing that, even after I was taking part in particularly to understand the story, I didn’t totally anticipate. Pink Lifeless Redemption was a wonderful recreation, however its sequel (prequel, moderately) was clearly aiming to inform a very completely different form of story — assume extra of a Wild Bunch or a Tombstone story of gangs versus the lonesome, John Ford-ish, revenge-driven story of the primary. And with out which means to throw shade to the nice John Ford, the previous has all the time been my most well-liked kind of Western, so I suppose it’s no shock that this clicked with me.
The sport creates its tragedy by offsetting it at first with tales concerning the bonds inside the gang, which can also be one thing I dig in a recreation. One good level of comparability is the likes of the Bioware RPG. In Mass Impact or Dragon Age, each squadmate is given ample display time to disclose their character, historical past, and relationship with the primary character — so after some time it’s very tough to not get connected to every of them. RDR2 did the identical factor for me, particularly almost about the brand new characters like Lenny or Charles.
And I’m not gonna lie: I haven’t actually felt as into a recreation this 12 months as I used to be into RDR2 this time final 12 months.
2019 hasn’t been a wash for me by any stretch– I’ve performed a dozen nice video games for the reason that begin of the 12 months. However one thing concerning the general expertise of taking part in RDR2 hasn’t been duplicated by any of them. I’ll admit, Satan Might Cry V comes very shut, however even I’ll admit that that recreation‘s unimaginative design within the last ranges kneecaps it considerably (I additionally should acknowledge that, as an enormous DMC fangirl, I’m working from the drawback of bias).
Additionally, that’s to not say it’s been made good within the retelling. I’m nonetheless iffy on how precisely the cores work — I’m a easy lady, so give me an easy-to-read meter and I’ll be glad. Additionally, whereas time has softened my opinion of Roger Clark’s efficiency as Arthur Morgan, particularly his pathos through the quieter scenes, there’s nonetheless the occasional second the place his unnatural accent hits just like the unsuitable piano key.
However nonetheless, if I had the choice to call RDR2 my Recreation of the 12 months once more, I in all probability would. No, I gained’t cheat — when the time is available in a few months to publish the record, I’ll study the video games of 2019 on their very own deserves. However one 12 months later, RDR2 nonetheless holds a particular place in my coronary heart.