Red Dead Redemption 2 review round-up: Not just one of the best games ever, but plenty more besides

It's perhaps not surprising that critics adore the new game. But it's notable just how and why they do

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 25 October 2018 20:14
Red Dead Redemption 2: Official gameplay video

Red Dead Redemption 2 has arrived – and, don't worry, reviewers are agreed that it is precisely as good as you'd expect.

Critics didn't say it was a great game. In fact it has been hailed as one of the best game's of this generation, a masterpiece of both narrative and worldbuilding, and perhaps the best title of its kind ever.

That the game is universally loved is perhaps not surprising, given the critical acclaim of both its predecessor and Rockstar's most recent GTA 5 – as well as the reports of the intense work that was put into it by its team. But the sheer enthusiasm and commitment of critical responses suggest that it has become an instant classic, and a landmark in the history of gaming already.

The game is about to start arriving in the hands of those who bought it. But here are the opinions of those lucky enough to play it ahead of the release.

The Independent, Christopher Hooton

"I could spend hours detailing all the tiny details that make RDR2 sing, from the well-thumbed catalogues in the gun stores that replace the wheels of weapon choices nonsensically hovering in mid-air, to the way Morgan loops a dead snake like a length of rope before stowing it on the saddle of his horse, from which it swings all the way home. But it’s the overall sense of escapism to the game that has most impacted me.

"Maybe I’m atypical/peculiar/incredibly sad for getting immense satisfaction from simply chopping wood back at camp, picking up a cup of joe and reflecting on the past week’s misadventures with other gang members around the campfire. But if you value this kind of minutiae, some really absorbing moments await you. RDR2can still be played as a shooter, and not wishing to obsessively braid your horse or source leather upholstery for your camp’s table won’t hold you back, but the game rewards patience and the appreciation of the little things.

"Fraught and frenetic, video games can often stress you out and leave you wired and edgy. But Red Dead Redemption II has had a calming effect, and been a place to unwind rather than get wound up. It’s a window from our complex and often dysfunctional world into a more pastoral and simple one. Early death from gangrene or shotgun slug shrapnel aside, it really starts to look quite appealing."

Digital Spy, Laurence Mozafari

"Red Dead Redemption 2 is great. Don't worry, don't even sweat. It's really great. We'll save you scrolling down. It's a solid five stars. Relax. Now we've got that out of the way, take a ride with Digital Spy, partner, as we recount why exactly RDR2is one of the best games of this generation."

Kotaku, Kirk Hamilton

"From tip to tail, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a profound, glorious downer. It is the rare blockbuster video game that seeks to move players not through empowering gameplay and jubilant heroics, but by relentlessly forcing them to confront decay and despair. It has no heroes, only flawed men and women fighting viciously to survive in a world that seems destined to destroy them.

"It is both an exhilarating glimpse into the future of entertainment and a stubborn torch bearer for an old-fashioned kind of video game design. It is a remarkable work of game development and, possibly, a turning point in how we remark upon the work of game development. It is amazing; it is overwhelming. It is a lot, and also, it is a whole, whole lot."

IGN, Luke Reilly

"Red Dead Redemption 2 stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Grand Theft Auto V as one of the greatest games of the modern age. It’s a gorgeous depiction of an ugly period that’s patient, polished, and a huge amount of fun to play, and it’s combined with Rockstar’s best storytelling to date. Even after finishing the lengthy story I can’t wait to go back and play more. This is a game of rare quality; a meticulously polished open world ode to the outlaw era. Looking for one of this generation’s very best single-player action experiences? Here’s your huckleberry."

Destructoid, Chris Carter

"Red Dead Redemption 2 is the epitome of ambition and like most things Rockstar, will meet the expectations associated with it. With all of the advancements since the last Red Dead and everything they've learned from Grand Theft Auto V under their belt, the series is in a better place, able to provide a more natural and less gamey world to explore."

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