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Just Passing Through….

November 1st, 2018 by

red dead 001***Editors Note – Every once in a while, normally between three and five times a generation game comes along that not only rides the hype train for almost a year, whilst there are a couple of these titles that crash into flames there are also some that complete the journey to become a masterpiece.

One thing that is standard in these titles is their sheer size, often boasting 70+ hours of gameplay in the main story alone with an additional 30-50 hours in side stories and collectables to distract you. What is certain is these games are simply too huge for many publications and sites to give an honest and fully accountable review of every aspect of the game in little under a week from the release date.

That’s why there will be no scored review of Red Dead Remption 2 here at Midlife Gamer, instead I pass you to Community Manager Adamski for his take on his first week and first impressions in New Hanover.

When I started my working life as an engineer in the mid nineties, emails and mobile phones were just beginning to emerge. The office was made up of rows of drawing boards. One of my first jobs was to deliver these drawings, by hand, to our customers. As technology has moved on a pace, we now produce everything as 3D models,send emails by the dozen, hold international conference calls which means the lead times are vastly reduced. With these leaps and bounds in technology, quality has improved, efficiency and productivity is at an all time high and the pace runs at an ever increasing velocity.

I often wish for the simpler times and this is what Rockstar Games latest offering of Red Dead Redemption 2 delivers.

This is my first impression of the game after playing; no, experiencing the first 10% of the game.
I’ve cast aside large open world games (Horizon Zero Dawn, Assassins Creed etcetera) because the sheer scale is something that my limited gaming windows just does not afford me, but with this, I already know I will be in it for the long haul. I can’t pin it down, but it has me hooked.

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So where to start? Well, how about I tell you that I’ve started the game twice already. I’d messed up my saving of screen shots on the PlayStation 4 and I knew that I wanted to keep a record of my journey through this game to reflect on.

Compared to Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto titles, where players are thrust into a fast paced world filled to the brim with lights, sounds and action, Red Dead Redemption offers a much more sedate pace, which has drawn criticism from some corners. Criticism perhaps from Generation Z who have been born with a ‘digital bond to the internet’, through no fault of their own, and as such crave instant gratification. The smart phone generation that connect to their peers instantly through the likes of Snapchat and social media looking for the next squirt of dopamine, maintaining the cycle of ‘likes’.

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The start of this adventure perfectly cocoons the player in its winter setting, limiting the grand vistas and scale that is to come. This gives us chance to focus on the games lead character set and initial control scheme. Deep snow has been employed to acclimatise the player to the purposely reigned in pace of what is to come. This is not the instant gratification and reward that some players may be looking to experience. The highs are there, but you’ll have to work for them.

I grew up watching westerns and one of my heroes during childhood was The Man With No Name. Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza and The High Chaparral, to name a few, were all influential TV programs and its refreshing to be transported to this time and place in Read Dead. Yes the first game in the series did this, but thanks to technology and ambition, this latest offering surpasses the immersion of the original.

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As the environments and gameplay have begun to open up, I have managed to maintain the sedate pacing, taking my time to explore this grand world that has been lovingly created. Unlike the recent large open world titles like Horizon Zero Dawn and Assasins Creed’s recent offerings, this is grounded in a time and place that is familiar to us and not too far in our history for it be be difficult to imagine (Ptolemaic Egypt and the Peloponnesian War of the recent Creed games is too ancient for me to connect with). Buildings, transport, weapons, clothing and music of the late 19th century is still on our doorstep.

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Of course, the score and sounds of Red Dead Redemption 2 are also worthy of note. Drawing inspiration from Ennio Morricone, the games composer Woody Jackson returns to offer us almost 200 pieces of music during our journey. With contributions from over 100 musicians including Arca (frequent Bjork and Kanye West collaborator), Duane Eddy (remember that Art of Noise track, Peter Gunn?) and Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore. I for one will be hunting down a copy of the official soundtrack on vinyl when its released!

Not sure if it’s down to the improved audio design, but I’ve yet to fall foul of the hypnotic, sleep inducing, trotting of horses hooves that plagued me in the first Red Dead Redemption, or perhaps its the rich diversity of surrounding sounds that keep my focus?

I look forward to what else is on offer as I don Arthur Morgans hat and saddle up.

This is a rich and evolving world that deserves your attention. I’ve already taken up too much of your time.

“When a man’s got money in his pocket he begins to appreciate peace.”
Clint Eastwood, A Fistful Of Dollars

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Well you’ve heard Adamski’s first thoughts of Red Dead Redemption 2, what are yours? Let us know in the comments, we want to know everything about your journey to Blackwater; Good, bad or even ugly or maybe you have been blown away by a visual that you want to share to our Midlife Gamer Shoots…Red Dead Redemption 2 Facebook photo album.

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