Red Dead Redemption 2 is arguably 2018’s most anticipated video game.
In this article, we explore why Red Dead Redemption 2 could be Rockstar’s best story yet, look at how to survive in its harsh world and, here, take a deep-dive into the map.
And the most arresting thing I see as I explore Red Dead Redemption 2’s vast western wilderness is the bright neon lights of St Denis. As outlaw Arthur Morgan, I have rode south from the snows of the Grizzly mountains, through the lush greenery of the Cumberland Forest, over the plains of the Heartlands and into the rolling fog and swamps of the Bayou Nwa taking in as much as I can during my extended wander through Rockstar’s biggest ever map.
Each area has stunned in its own way, with the decadence of Red Dead Redemption 2’s development reflected in a land that feels grounded, dirty and real.
But St Denis, Rockstar’s interpretation of Old West New Orleans, is something else. Emerging from the fog next to the ‘gator ridden bayou, a brightly lit arch flashes the city’s name in a cluster of golden bulbs.
Crossing over, the wilderness dissipates into a bustling, brightly lit industrialised city. Having spent the previous few hours isolated in nature with just my horse, or with a couple of compadres in ramshackle towns that appear to have sprung out of nowhere, the transformation is startling.
Rockstar tell a story of whole swathes of the map needing to be altered because they wanted a mountain to face a different way, meaning a redo of every tree, rock and river in its shadow.
The attention to detail is clear, particularly as you travel across the map. The game begins in the Grizzly mountains, rock swathed in snow. Horses and cowboys are both slowed in the terrain, carving thick tracks as you move.
Towns and settlements are entirely unique. After the rundown, classic old-west of Valentine, I head south towards St. Denis before coming across the town of Rhodes. A slightly richer area complete with a cotton mill, painted wood-slat houses and a bank decked out in roman stylings.
Perfect for a robbery, then, at least until I get into a scuffle with the locals and have to get out of dodge. A dead man is hoisted onto the rump of my horse, taken out of town to hide in the treeline to avoid the law finding and chasing me across the state.
Flashpoints and areas of interest are everywhere. I come across a vast lake, where a man has set up camp and becomes aggravated by my presence. I try to leave him be but as it’s a free country, decide to hang around. No deal, he takes potshots at me before I take him out with an arrow and nick his stuff. His own fault really. I then spend the next twenty minutes enjoying my peaceful lake and ill-gotten gains, washing my horse and doing a spot of fishing before I am interrupted again.
My opinion is that this game will be in the list of the best games of all time ,cant wait to explore more of the western wilderness.