One thing that Red Dead Redemption had was a beautiful and large map, yet it was mostly desert with a small section of forest. Red Dead Redemption 2 fixes this and then some. It has dense forests, deserts, rocky areas, rivers which feel like a river, and very snowy parts. This is not just for looks either, a nice touch with the snow is that when walking or riding through it your feet actually sink into it, making it harder to explore – just like in real life. Other games have attempted this, like Assassin’s Creed III, but they were not very successful as they didn’t really change how you approached it.
Something not new to games, but new to Rockstar, are the good guy/bad guy mechanics in Red Dead Redemption 2. You can now choose how you want to behave in a lot of the story, and with random NPC encounters. A nice touch is that the game rewards you pretty well later on for doing good deeds, which is fantastic as normally being a ‘good guy’ leads you to having a harder experience.
Red Dead Redemption 2 gives you so much to do as well, without ever being overwhelming. If we take Fallout 4, for example, there were so many side missions to do you frankly fatigued quickly and fed up with it. However, in Red Dead Redemption 2 you are constantly excited about what to do next and find yourself actively going out looking for side missions.
The other thing Red Dead Redemption 2 has is some of the best writing Rockstar have ever done, not to mention in gaming generally – along with the story going places many games don’t as well. For that, Read Dead Redemption 2 earns the 3rd spot on the ETNL GotY list.
Note: This was written alongside ETNL Podcast co-host Rach.