Surviving in the old west frontiers of Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to be tough

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2010’s Red Dead Redemption may have been many ideas in very sandy box, but at the heart of that game was a cowboy power fantasy that was second to none. Slapping leather, filling your hand with iron and activating your ability to see the seconds between moments of time as you zoomed in on a high noon headshot made for some thrilling action.

Where does Red Redemption 2 go from there then? How does Rockstar Games improve on that particular formula to offer something new to consumers? By looking back at its past and taking those influences to craft a game for the future. Previews went live yesterday for Red Dead Redemption 2, with plenty of press having had the opportunity to go spend a few hours with the game in New York. We weren’t cool enough to get invited (sniff), but there were plenty of new details revealed.

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First up, GameSpot detailed how Red Dead Redemption 2 is returning to San Andreas. Or more specifically, how elements from that classic Grand Theft Auto game have survived for a retooling in the sequel. As Arthur Morgan, players will need to actually take care of the character and ensure that he remains well-fed, has a regular change of clothes and even takes the occasional bath so that shop owners don’t chase him out their shops.

There’s plenty of other details as well, such as Morgan being capable of losing his hat in a fight (don’t worry you can always retrieve it later), his facial hair is able to grow to full-on mountain man length and staying active to keep Morgan in good enough shape for him to have some rough ‘n tough tumbles with the law.

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Over on VG247, those survival elements were revealed to go hand in hand with new weapon handling systems. If players fail to maintain their weapons, their six-shooters will cock up on them at the worst possible time. Even firing a gun now requires players to manually fan a hammer or load another round in, slowing down the infamous gunfights of the old west and giving them a harder edge instead of the usual run ‘n gun action.

Here’s the big kicker though: Red Dead Redemption 2 is entirely playable in first-person. Much like the definitive version of Grand Theft Auto V, players can switch to the first-person perspective for a more visceral viewpoint, which might come in handy when you’re looking to hit a vital organ or blow an arm off of an NPC. The reworked Dead Eye system allows players to upgrade their talent for murder to an insane degree, specialising in maiming their way across the frontier, highlighted by a new killcam that glorifies your impressive murder.

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There’s a lot more that was revealed, but the gist of Red Dead Redemption 2 is that this is a game that wants to emphasise the struggle of surviving in the wild west. This is a game where players will be forced into a slower pace of life, that asks them to step back and admire the world that they’re in before they embark on a great train robbery or hold up a bank.

It remains to be seen just how much of an impact these new health systems have on the pace of the game and if they’re a case of genius design or annoying micro-management obtrusiveness, but one thing is for certain: Red Dead Redemption 2 certainly sounds…different.

 

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Last Updated: September 21, 2018

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