Through the fog, the figure on horseback of Arthur Morgan emerges. A hostile man, in a hostile land. The dried blood splashes his boots; the hunger, the cold and a sorrow in the heart that can not be put words. The night in the mountains threatens to bring death and oblivion to all those who have entrusted their lives to Dutch. The band has seen better days, but luck can become propitious as soon as before it turned its back. A land without rules.
Once, the Wild West was a nightmare.
Now, it's legend.
In the collective imaginary of adventure and mystery, the end of the 19th century in the United States, a turbulent time of rapid firing and expansion of the railway, occupies a special place. On the one hand, for the magnificent western cinema with which many grew up; on the other, for some outstanding works such as comics Blueberry (1963, Jean-Michel Charlie and Jean Giraud), and especially in Spain, where the tradition of western film decorator and the works of authors such as Marcial Lafuente Estefanía, a factory of authors who have been writing short novels set at that time for more than two decades. Something fascinates us in the gunmen, the assaults on the train, the duels at dawn and the revolver as the only companion. Perhaps it is the mixture between the wild and the civilized; the expansion of technology in a changing and giant world, threatening as a newly colonized planet.
Be that as it may, Rockstar Games, authors of video games as remarkable as Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne or LA Noire, decided in 2004 to risk continuing a project started by Capcom: a third person shooter set in the Wild West, in 1880, with an adult history of revenge, although with questionable results. Red Dead Revolver it happened without more: good sales, good criticism, but not a remarkable piece of the history of the game. However, in 2010, Rockstar Games would recover this game to convert it into a franchise with the launch of Red Dead Redemption. And this, as they say, was another matter.
Company: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release date: 10/26/2018
Price: € 69.95
Even though Red Dead Redemption it was not a direct sequel, we went back to the West; we returned to naked violence from the hand of a sandbox (open world) that seemed to have it all: graphics of heart attack, exploration, a magnificent story, an enviable duration and different game modes for all tastes. A kind of GTA but with horses instead of cars, a success. A sequel was guaranteed; What nobody expected is that it would take almost a decade and it would appear when the desktop console cycle (if we ignore Nintendo's policies, which set their own pace), seems to be coming to an end.
The launch of Red Dead Redemption II it has held the breath of more than one. It is no coincidence that video game releases have been avoiding, in a more or less subtle, the release date of this giant. It's been eight years and Rockstar Games has shown that they are experts in one thing: take things easy to do it well. And, honestly, I do not think they could have done it better.
Any attempt to define Red Dead Redemption II in a few (or many) words, is doomed to failure. This is something that you have to live. Written by Dan Houser, Michael Unsworth and Rupert Humphries, this new adventure takes us back to the past of John Marston (protagonist of the first game) and puts us in the shoes of one of his fellow outlaws, Arthur Morgan, in the fight against the cold, hunger and the search for fortune. A band of outlaws and nomads trying to find their place in a world that changes by leaps and bounds. Any other word, would fall on revealing a superb script. This should suffice.
At the end of the console cycle (marked, we will not deny it, by Sony and Microsoft) tend to appear some works that go a step further. They give us a glimpse of the future; what awaits us in the next generation, what the industry is capable of. It happened in the jump from Playstation 3 to Playstation 4 with The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013); with Grand Theft Auto V and in his day Final Fantasy IX, to name a few.
It has come back to happen, now with Red Dead Redemption II.
The America established in the tradition of magical realism that we explore in this work of Rockstar Games is with few rivals that face him as a live scenario and rich in details. I'm not talking about a string of non-playable characters, events, icons on a map and hours of travel to see the same missions with changed names and similar situations. Here, the world lives and breathes regardless of what the player decides to do. And is that the amount of detail included in the field is absurd and impossible: not only at a playable level, where exploring and discovering secrets, coincidences or behaviors that motivate our style of play can make us lose track of the mission we were following; but also with a graphic engine that makes each horse ride or each hunt really different. The magnificent use of light to paint some dreamy landscapes that have reminded me of the magnificent photography of The Reborn (Alejandro González Iñarritu, 2015) or to Courbet's paintings, he leaves the player speechless while, with the same ease, we are presented with a moral decision; a shooting or a nice game of cards.
In the same way, Red Dead Redemption II It expands the variety of things to do with quantity and quality in equal parts. Now we need the search for resources to keep our clan united; to share while stealing; to defend while attacking. It is this dichotomy, so present in life, and so often absent in video games, which makes this work an exercise in profound realism, chronic, without losing a bit of magic that brings it closer to the realism tradition magical. A work full of edges, bifurcations and recesses, as happens to large. As I said before, this video game is lived. And although the script has a more or less conventional structure of parallel and main missions; a beginning and an end as such, the narrative that emerges as the player interacts with the world, discovers its possibilities and learns the best way to adapt the game to its own style, evidences something that we are already beginning to understand: excellence of the video game goes through the freedom of choice and the narrative.
Knowing that sometimes the video game sins explicitly and condescendingly towards the player, Rockstar is committed to minimalism. The game begins slowly, in the fog; a lot of dialogue, little action. The loneliness and fear surrounding the main characters comes out of the screen and envelops the player. We will discover this beautiful world in the most stepped way possible, suffering many surprises even when we have invested a good amount of hours. Following the same policy, we are given the possibility of removing the screen interface and playing the nude; following the directions of the missions by the comments of the characters and our own intuition; trying to remember the roads and letting us get lost. Surprising at all times, but also in tension. Something optional, but highly recommended to live the full gaming experience.
In this world there is no perfection, in it lies the true beauty, but Red Dead Redemption II he is very close A work arrived from the future to close one stage and open another; a careful allegory to the past, to realism, but also to the future: the chronicle of a world to which we can return thanks to the magic of this art. Probably, a video game that will make history.