Red Dead Redemption 2 is out on October 26 and in the run up to that developer Rockstar has been teasing us with trailers about the game. And while they look great, with the game running on a standard PS4, they also hint at what you can expect when the game is finally out for the PS4 and Xbox One later this year. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel
The game takes place 12 years before Red Dead Redemption. You won’t be playing as John Marston in Red Dead Redemption 2— instead, you are Arthur Morgan, the right-hand man of Dutch, the leader of the Van der Linde gang. It takes place during an era when the Wild West was being tamed, making it tougher to be an outlaw with every passing day. It seems to begin with a bank robbery gone wrong, not too dissimilar to GTA V. Unlike GTA V however, you’re only controlling one character - Morgan, so you won’t be switching between characters unlike in that game.
2. John Marston makes a return in Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston seems to play a role in the game, showing up in a headlock with his trademark scars. Will we see how he got them? Only time will tell. Considering how pivotal Marston was to the gang, and the gruesome events of the first Red Dead Redemption, it will be interesting to see how he evolved into the anti-hero he was known to be.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2 borrows from Mass Effect and Dragon Age
As you can tell from the trailers, your gang is important. So much so that Rockstar claims the gang “has to rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur [Morgan] must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.” You can take on missions for the gang or share your loot with them or simply hang around for some added exposition. Not all gang interactions are mandatory though, so if you prefer doing your own thing, you can go ahead and do that too.
Furthermore, as the game progresses, you can recruit gang members. They aren’t generic non-playable characters but are crucial additions that take the plot forward as they allow for deeper interactions and conversations. All of this seems akin to your ship in the Mass Effect games, or camps in Dragon Age. It’s unknown to what degree this aspect of the game could impact its ending, as it did in the aforementioned titles.
4. Red Dead Redemption 2 honour system
Much like the first game, the honour system makes a comeback. The original game’s Honor System affected how settlements, merchants and other non-playable characters (NPCs) treat you, depending on their standing - be it Honourable or Outlaw. This will in fact be making a return in the sequel.
The world’s perception of, and its reaction to, Morgan is in your hands - but you’ll also have control of a dozen other little details that help establish the image you want the NPCs to have of you. You could go through a camp and steal all you see, and when asked to stop you could either shoot the NPC you’re robbing or even threaten him with violence.
The way Morgan is perceived affects how much shop keepers charge for their wares. This extends to your gang, which itself can perceive Arthur differently depending on whether or not they’re well-fed and stocked up on supplies.
5. Red Dead Redemption 2 HUD and mini-map
A few recent open-world games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Far Cry 5, all ditched the mini-map in favour of a compass system with less emphasis on map icons, to invite more exploration. Rockstar is not taking the same approach. Instead Red Dead Redemption 2’s heads up display (HUD) will be customisable. All in-game icons can be turned off, including the signature Rockstar mini-map.
6. Red Dead Redemption 2 heists
Much like GTA V, there are heists in Red Dead Redemption 2. Each gang member can perform a specific task like being a distraction, providing the muscle for a robbery, and so on. In fact the latest trailer shows off a heist gone wrong. The full game will have more of these sections and they aren’t limited to main story missions too. Similar to robbing gas stations in GTA V, you can take on robberies as side activities.
7. Red Dead Redemption 2 cities
Aside from sparse towns in the Wild West, some of the trailers hint at something a lot more grand. Looking carefully at the footage and you’ll notice cities with cable cars. This could suggest that the game would go beyond the locales seen in its pre-release videos such as Blackwater, perhaps even teasing something a lot more ambitious.
8. Red Dead Redemption 2 gunplay explained
Expect gunplay to evolve in Red Dead Redemption 2. Since this is the Wild West, a lot of it has you using a revolver and this time around Rockstar is intent on making it feel involved. Holding the trigger on the controller raises your revolver’s hammer and letting it go allows you to fire a shot. Mashing it fans the hammer allowing for multiple shots. You can also fire an entire magazine without Dead Eye — the series’ take on slow-mo shooting. Weapons can be customised and upgraded and while you carry a few guns on your person accessible via a weapon wheel, a bulk of your heavy arsenal is stored on your horse.
9. Red Dead Redemption 2 horse bond system
Your horse is a big deal in Red Dead Redemption 2. The more time you spend on your horse the greater your bond is with it. This means it would be less likely to frighten in tense scenarios and can hear you whistle for it over larger distances. And if your horse dies, you’ll have to build that bond all over again with its replacement, giving you enough of a reason to treat your equine sidekick with care.
10. Red Dead Redemption 2 map size and progression of time
Rockstar claims this is the biggest and densest map in any of its games, ever. Each and every element in Red Dead Redemption 2 appears hand crafted and laboured over instead of being procedurally generated. Furthermore, as time passes by in-game, there seems to be a real progression of events. What this means is, you could see a house being built early on in the game and when you pass by later, it could very well be fully constructed and lived in. This will apply to railways and settlements too.
11. Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting
Hunting in Red Dead Redemption 2 is deeper this time around. You can choose to kill your prey with a bow and arrow or a gun. The former allow for a cleaner kill and nets you more money when you sell its skin at a store, as its pelt takes less damage. The latter is more messy, albeit more effective and less time-consuming, but will get you less cash when you turn it in at a merchant’s. Regardless the method you choose, rotting is a mechanic in Red Dead Redemption 2, which means you won’t have long before it turns stale and loses its value.
12. Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay trailer
After three trailers that delved almost exclusively on the game’s plot, setting, and characters, Rockstar says we can expect gameplay footage by late June or early July. Perhaps information on its special editions may be made public around the same time.
13. Red Dead Redemption 2 PC and price
So far, Rockstar hasn’t confirmed a PC version of RDR 2. Safe to say we could see one after the PS4 and Xbox One versions, perhaps a year or two down the line. If you want to play RDR 2 at launch, you’ll want a PS4 or Xbox One and be prepared to pay Rs. 4,000 (or $60 in the US) for the privilege as well.
Are you looking forward to RDR 2? Let us know via the comments.
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