If you don’t live in a cave, you might have heard some talk about Red Dead Redemption 2. And if you’ve been watching my Fallout series, you know where this is going. We’re going to compare the guns of Red Dead Redemption 2 to the real world and attempt to answer whether the gunplay seen in the game is in any way realistic.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a Western themed prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption from Rockstar games. Think of it like Grand Theft Auto in the old West. Like the GTA series, it takes place in fictional locales that are intended to be reminiscent of real-world places. To say that it is an open world game is a bit of an understatement. The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is staggeringly large. Open world games don’t typically have a linear plot or defined levels. You don’t race to the end of a level and rescue a princess.
Instead, the purpose of the game is to explore the world and the story of Arthur Morgan, the game’s protagonist. That’s not to say that it’s a simple sandbox. There are multiple, interdependent plot lines and the actions of the character influence the events of the game. The writing and voice acting are top notch and it is easy to immerse yourself in the stunningly rendered world. Rockstar has always excelled at this compared to most other studios, but this game plays like a well written movie. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Westerns is they tend to have the best dialogue. Movies like Open Range and True Grit employ complex, powerful, and beautifully expressive prose. Red Dead Redemption follows this tradition with dialogue that makes you not only invested in what the characters have to say, but how they say it.
And the sound design is insanely detailed and convincing. There is a creak in a wooden floor as your weight shifts when you begin walking, before your foot strikes the floor. People and animals breathe, and you can hear them breathing harder when they’ve been walking quickly. Skin looks real, it’s even slightly translucent like real skin, such that you can see the sunlight shining through a character’s ear or nose.
I can’t possibly point out all the little details that add up to an incredibly immersive experience, but you don’t so much play this game as escape to another world that manages to convincingly straddle the border between Hollywood Westerns and American history.
Red Dead Redemption carries over many of the same game mechanics and themes from the original. While it doesn’t pretend to be historical simulation, it gets a lot of details right and the world really FEELS real. Especially the guns.
Everything in this game is beautiful and visually faithful to the real world and the guns are no exception. Rockstar chose to continue the perplexing video game tradition of making up names for some of the guns in the game as if they are uncomfortable with the name of actual manufacturers. For example, the Colt Single Action Army is called the “Cattleman Revolver”. But the Schofield revolver is correctly named.
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