Red Dead Redemption 2 review – a peerless open world, and a story in the shadow of its predecessor

November 5, 2019
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As Rockstar gives Red Dead Redemption 2 a belated release on PC, we’re republishing our original review of its grand western adventure. We’ll have more on the PC version in the coming days from Digital Foundry, and if you’re playing and need a hand head to our extensive Red Dead Redemption 2 walkthrough.

It’s one of those cute ironies that Rockstar Games, most famous for the virtual cityscapes of the Grand Theft Auto series, would create what many consider its masterpiece when working with the dust and dirt of the wilds. When it launched in 2010, the open-world western Red Dead Redemption was as refreshing as a chill blast of mountain air: a bucolic, melancholy counterpoint to the madcap urban caricature of GTA. And so it’s fitting that the sequel, Red Dead Redemption 2, makes its greatest strides in its world.

This is a vast, staggeringly detailed open world. You could get out a virtual ruler to proclaim it Rockstar’s biggest yet, or count every single NPC, line of dialogue, rock, tree and outhouse and say it’s the developer’s densest, but I’ll leave all that for someone else. What I will say is that this is Rockstar’s broadest canvas since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, quite possibly even more so, with what no longer feels like a take on a single city or state but practically an entire country.

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