Red Dead Redemption 2: 14 Pointless Details That’ll Blow Your Mind –
It’s hard to believe that Red Dead Redemption 2 is only three weeks away from release, and yet, that’s very much the case. Rockstar have barely shown off their latest title, producing a select few trailers and releasing just over a dozen screenshots, and it’s been very refreshing to actually approach a new release with minimal knowledge of the game’s most intricate mechanics.
Still, it’s not as though the studio have left us all completely in the dark. Hands-on previews have emerged since the beginning of last week, as well as another gameplay episode, and together they help paint a picture of an immaculately detailed, sprawling environment where players are given a full license to live in the Old West.
With so much detail packed in, this new Red Dead Redemption seems guaranteed to blow a few minds, as players are given the opportunity to taylor their western experience down to the most acute thing imaginable. Here are the most pointlessly good ones we’ve come across so far.
14. Eating Meals
Eating food in RPGs is never usually an essential task. In Skyrim, for instance, you can prepare a selection of classic recipes, but there’s nothing really out there that says you should eat a cooked meal and not, say, 40 wheels of cheese in a panic.
For Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar are attempting to make the art of cooking (and eating) a pillar of gameplay. If protagonist Arthur Morgan goes a day or two without food, he’ll get thinner; overindulge in the culinary delights of your nearest saloon, and he’ll put on weight.
It’s a similar mechanic to the one seen in GTA: San Andreas, but the big difference this time around (at the moment), is that the food looks genuinely appetising. Not Final Fantasy XV appetising, but scrumptious looking all the same.
13. Each Part Of Your Revolver Is Interactive
In what can only be described as the western equivalent of being able to activate and deactivate your lightsaber on a whim, or even being able to retract or open your claws as Wolverine, players in Red Dead will now be given the option to interact fully with their weapons – whether they wish to fan their revolver, spin the cylinder, or throw it around Doc Holliday style.
This will also factor into gameplay, as players have will have to pull back the hammer before they let off a shot. This in turn should slow the pace of gunfights right down, and though it remains to be seen if the same principles will apply to rifles and shotguns, this is still a neat feature for western fans to soak up.
12. Horse Shrinkage (And Customisation)
Horses are synonymous with the Old West, and though emphasis was never really placed on your stallion in the last Red Dead, Rockstar are looking to change that this time around.
Now, players will be able to customise their horse from top to bottom. There are dozens of breeds to tame, and with saddles, bags, horseshoes and more all to apply at your choosing, it appears as though Rockstar are making a genuine effort to foster a relationship between the player and their steed.
Slightly more pointless, perhaps, is the attention being paid to horse testicles. In Redemption 2, your horse’s gonads will shrink or expand depending on the weather. Detail, everyone. HORSE. TESTES. BEST GAME.
11. The Way Terrain Transforms
Judging from what we’ve seen so far, Red Dead Redemption 2 has to be the most stunning game on current-gen consoles. The world map boasts a stunning array of different environments, all of which boast their own unique challenges.
Take the snowtopped mountains found in the northernly region of the game – they look gorgeous, with snow blanketing paths, hills and more. Said snow has been rendered immaculately, melting in some spots, but several inches deep in others. These deeper areas slow the player and their horse down, providing another challenge to traversal.
So far, we’ve seen several locations in Red Dead’s map, including the urbanised districts of the east coast, the aforementioned wintery areas of the north, the great plains of the midwest, and the swampy marshes of the bayou located down south. The arid, baking heat of Mexico is also set to feature at one point, providing players with a veritable troff of different locales to sit back and admire, as opposed to just one colour pallet all the time.
10. NPCs React To Events, And Interactions Are More Unique Than Ever
In an effort to make Red Dead’s world feel genuinely lived in, Rockstar have spent a great deal of time ensuring every interaction is worthwhile. NPCs will react to current events, your past escapades and even your cleanliness, and with so many variables to take into account, it’s likely players will have to play quite a bit before getting a repeat piece of dialogue.
Kotaku Australia’s writeup of the game’s preview build used the example of a saloon to highlight the various interactions players could have with townsfolk. In it, they describe upsetting a superstitious woman, antagonising some rowdy patrons and even taking another path where they ended up deescalating a conflict.
These were all organic interactions apparently, and players can expect to get similarly unique experiences from doing missions, whether they be bounties, heists, or something different altogether.
9. You Purchase Items By Browsing An Actual Catalogue
To further hammer home the realistic nature of the Red Dead Redemption prequel, when players look to barter with traders and shopkeepers, they’ll actually consult an in-game catalogue. There aren’t any menus this time around – you just walk in, find the catalogue, and choose from there.
It’s a great change to the UI, and players looking for the ultimate Old West experience will also be happy to note that hud elements can be nixed altogether. It adds more depth and potentially even challenge to the game, and further highlights the confidence Rockstar have in the world they’ve built.
8. You Can Brush And Feed Your Horse
Players who are particularly fond of animals may wish to sit Red Dead’s hunting sequences out, but at least they’ll be able to look after their horse instead.
Players can brush, feed and of course customise their steed, and while these are all pointless to a degree, they point towards an underlying goal from Rockstar.
This horse is meant to be your horse, rather than just a simple means of transportation, and while it remains to be seen if they manage to impart a change in attitude from players towards their steed, it’s a great idea all the same.
7. There’s A Cinematic Camera
Cinematic cameras have never really worked in other Rockstar games. Unless you’re in the passenger seat of your friend’s car in GTA Online – in which case the feature is safe to use – you’ll find yourself crashing into obstacles left, right and centre, should you accidentally hit the button that switches perspective your car’s front right tyre.
In any case, it’s great that Rockstar haven’t abandoned the camera, especially now that they’ve got the perfect setting in which to use it. Westerns have long been famed for their stunning vistas, experimental cinematic techniques and superb cinematography, so what better way to pay tribute to that than by giving players the option to frame the Old West just the way they want to?
Rockstar’s games have always been uniquely cinematic, particularly with regards to storytelling and cutscenes, but giving players control over the camera in a title of relatively slower pace is sure to garner plaudits come October 26th.
6. Trains Come With All The Bells And Whistles
Although Red Dead Redemption was itself a stellar game, it wasn’t without its flaws. For starters, the morality system felt under-baked, and despite there being a brilliant open world and story, it often felt as though there wasn’t that much to do in it. This became particularly apparent whenever players wished to have John Marston rekindle his outlaw days, as the only places that could be robbed were banks.
Trains too were similarly underused, acting more as a go-between to get to different destinations rather than as an opportunity to let players stage a Great Train Robbery of their own. Sure, the driver could be shot, and those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end of Marston’s lasso could be placed on the tracks, but trains were never quite as interactive as players had initially hoped.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is looking to address this issue, thankfully, with players now able to hop aboard a train whenever they wish, rob the occupiers inside, or even take control in order to make a quick getaway.
Handcars can also be used, but by far the biggest takeaway is that Arthur Morgan will be able to evade capture by hopping on a train, and pulling the whistle to let off some steam. Delightful.
5. You Have To Take Care Of Your Firearms
Although an emphasis was placed on firearms in the somewhat underrated Max Payne 3, weapons have all handled very similarly in Rockstar’s games. There’s the trademark weapon wheel, the auto-aim that lets players snap to targets, and the smorgasbord of firearms ranging from pistols, to rifles, and even explosives.
Such an approach has been scrapped for Red Dead Redemption’s prequel. Now, players will genuinely have to think about what weapons they carry (you can only use what you wear, and bigger weapons must be stored on your horse), but there’s more too; starting from October 26th, any player embarking into Red Dead’s world will have to look after their weapon, as anything from mud to water can seriously affect its stats.
Much like Rockstar are seemingly attempting to add value to the relationship between Morgan and his horse, so too do they seem to be applying the same mantra to his firearms. This added element of ownership should, in theory, enable players to develop their own play style, while also giving the studio an excuse to highlight all the effort that has gone into the design of these weapons in-game.
4. Your Hair Grows Gradually Overtime
A new mechanic for Rockstar’s games, and a departure from the previous template used to customise characters, players in Red Dead 2 will now have to contend with a growing head of hair and facial hair too. In order to ensure Arthur doesn’t look too scruffy, they’ll have to head to a barber and get a cut, trim and/or shave, but they won’t be able to magically sprout hair once in the shop.
Whereas before players in GTA could hop into their nearest salon and instantly change a buzz-cut into a long-flowing mullet-esque mane, they’ll have to actually grow it themselves this time. The same goes for a beard, which can only be stylised and trimmed once it’s at a certain length.
Again, it’s yet another minor detail, but one that ups the immersion factor just enough to make Red Dead feel all that more lived in.
3. Layered Clothing Is Back, And You Can Roll Up Your Sleeves
Red Dead Redemption had a number of outfits to use, but player customisation was never really a priority. You had Marston’s normal denim jacket to wear, and then a few other outfits to pick up as the story progressed. You couldn’t alter individual items of clothing like the previously released GTA IV, and the layering of GTA V wouldn’t come until 2013.
Red Dead 2 (obviously) is making an effort to go one step further. Layering from GTA V is back, and though playable characters will be given specific clothing templates based on the weather, players can pick and choose what they want to wear, craft clothing, and even roll up their sleeves or tuck their trousers into their boots, should they wish to.
It’s already clear that players will be given the opportunity to build their own character in the upcoming Red Dead Online, so expect customisation to be taken to another step altogether when it releases.
2. You Can Have A Bath
As was shown during Red Dead’s latest gameplay video, players can (and preferably should) make Arthur Morgan take a bath. If he doesn’t then he’ll start to smell, and you’ll find it mighty difficult to get anyone to talk to you if you’re not looking after him.
Either way, the brief snippet of footage showing Arthur in the tub with a nice glass of red certainly looked relaxing, and will likely make for a nice pause as players move from location to location, avoiding the law with Dutch’s gang.
1. All The Depth To Stranger Encounters
Red Dead Redemption 2 has a heavy emphasis on exploration, and one of the things you’ll find while exploring the frontier are strangers. With this being the Old West, you’ll find characters both good and bad – and there’s a surprising amount of depth to each encounter.
Rockstar have made a big deal of the fact that you can interact with any character, but more importantly that you can choose how you interact with them too. Arthur can antagonise or calmly approach a given NPC, and some will even challenge him to specific battles. Gamespot noted how one encounter saw them enter a bet with a Mexican gunfighter – one they subsequently lost. The true depth of this encounter, however, is best shown by the fact that the game doesn’t force you to hand over your dough – it has to be a voluntary transaction.
One can only speculate as to what would happen if you refused to fork over the cash, but exemplifies perfectly just how Red Dead’s gameplay encourages players to make their own stories. Of course there’s an overarching narrative to invest in, but as players explore the Old West, they’re going to make their own adventures. That, more than anything, is what’s so exciting about this prequel.