Red Dead Redemption II
It's a game about a man, his friends, and their quest for humanity in a 19s century America that looses touch with nature. Red Dead Redemption II isn't GTA in the far west.
WHY SOULD YOU PLAY IT?
For its ode to humanity that shines through its main character Arthur Morgan, who questions himself about the meaning of his life as an outlaw.
For its NPCs, all busy at something, ready to answer back and shine in a unique way as you call them out. For it's nature : wild, dense, beautiful, and most of all, full of life.
Finally, for its story, which has left me speachless at one particular moment. Red Dead Redemption II prooves that big budget games can carry a deep message, and can keep players engaged even with bold choices.
If the use of motion capture during cinematics and scripted events can give a feel of "raw realism", gameplay animations have been crafted carefully and are a pure joy to look at. Think of one signature action that an outlaw during the 19s century could perform : Red Dead Redemption II probably has it animated. From Arthur equipping his bow on his horse, to his arm grabbing a door's handle when he's entering a room, or to his way of readjusting an animal before skinning it, the attention to detail is unmatched.
My favorite thing? Ride my horse in town and pull on the reins to watch it slowly blend from a triple gallop to a stop, with a double gallop and a simple trot in between. When I attach it to the horse relay, it shakes its mane and sniffs the air while I light myself a cigarette, triggering a layered animation on the character's right arm that blends seemlessly with its current motion. I call it game animation porn.
Player character and horse animation are outstanding, with a sens of realism never seen elsewhere. The game's animation relies heavily on the sens of role play, putting you (literally) in the boots of a cowboy to experience what it was like to live in the old west. And boy, was that life slow paced.
Animators, your most favorite request has been adressed by designers : animations are often non-interruptible. So take your time, it's part of the game's beauty. Be warned however : you'll probably spend your playthrough analyzing every detail trying to uncover which kind of witchcraft made it happen.
And if you're an animation geek like me, you'll double tap the equip/unequip button to watch Arthur spin its gun and holster it, selling perfectly its character.
Red Dead Redemption II is unique. It's slow. But if you're patient, you're in for a succulent animation buffet, with one of the most human characters a game has ever brought to life.
I hope you liked this game/animation review. If summarizing Red Dead Redemption II is quite a challenge, both because the game is dense and that readers tend to like it short in such a modern age, I sincerely hope I interested you in playing the game. This exercise also helps me improve my english (my mother tongue being french) as well as my communication skills. Feel free to share it if you feel like it, or to say hi directly on Twitter or with the contact form.
Thank you, PA.