I thought it had been a long time since my last post on here, it turns out the last week of October is quite big in terms of games being released I like!
Almost a year to the day I last posted about AC Origins, but I haven’t followed it up. You must forgive me, with my other writing commitments my dedication to gaming has been reserved purely for playing, rather than writing about.
This morning, I’ve been moved to change all of that and talk a little about my excitement for tomorrow’s release of the eagerly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2. Do remember when reading this I am a man of 39 (for at least three more weeks) and I did use the word ‘excited’ in context of a video game release.
I’ve been waiting for this game for most of my thirties. I first stumbled across Red Dead Redemption shortly after it’s release in 2010. I’d played Red Dead Revolver prior to that and been marginally impressed, but nothing quite prepared me for the adventures of John Marsden.
Quite what appealed to me in the first game I’m not sure. As a kid my Dad always used to have westerns on, so perhaps there was an element of nostalgia. I also like a game that effectively creates a world you can’t see or experience normally, but represents a real time. To explain, I like worlds like those depicted in Mass Effect, but they’re fantasy worlds. Red Dead created a specific time in history, as did the Assassins Creed games. That truly appeals to me as well, where imagination is entwined with methodical research and accuracy.
I sound like a barrel of laughs at parties, right?
The story of John Marsden was engrossing and endearing, twisting through the Wild West with strong characters, none more so than the protagonist. I played it through twice in 2010 and again in 2015. All three times it felt fresh and immersive.
As console power increased I became incredibly excited at the thought of what the new game might bring to my life. RDR had been a revelation, a game than stood out amongst it’s peers, but it wasn’t without problems. There was a lot of riding between towns and villages and with little to interact with and outside of the quests, the game dated. Online play is now an integral feature of any game and RDR obviously couldn’t offer that.
Eight years I’ve pondered on the possibilities, on the visual impact of a new game, the way that it could improve and add to the excellent precedent set by John Marsden’s adventure. Tomorrow, after almost a decade of anticipation, it finally arrives.
Of course, I’ve got it on pre-order and expect it to land as early as possible. there’s so many question to be asked, answers I’m desperate to meet with my strict expectations. The focus on online play is all well and good, but Rockstar of all people know how to spin a yarn. GTA5 might have exploded into this massive online beast, but who can forget the first time they saw Trevor taking a dump behind a trash can, or lived every moment of Michael unravelling and chaotic home life?
Their games tell stories and at the heart of RDR 2 there has to be a story, one that asks you the questions of morality and treads a fine line between righteous and wicked. Gaming characters these days have to be ambiguous, not holier-than-though nor detestable bad guys. More to the point, you should have a choice in how they act. it’s your game.
I’m desperate to see the Wild West in HDR, beautifully rendered on the latest technology, stretching the limits of the little black box to beyond what is reasonable to expect. I want to see a world brimming with life, bursting with opportunity and choice. I want a reason to put down my latest Ian Rankin novel and just become immersed. I want to feel 16 again, with nothing to do but play computer games and marvel at how far technology has come.
Of course, I’m also keen to just sit on my sofa for hours playing poker with the boys, whoever they may be.
Once I’m good at it, I want to opportunity to play with my brother, 35 miles away, on a nightly basis. I want RDR 2 to bring me closer to people, but only after a suitably exciting single player campaign. I want it to be Grand Theft Auto but without the flying cars, rap music and explosions.
Most of all, I want Red Dead Redemption 2 to be the game I’ve imagined in my mind. I want it to be a suitable sequel to what is still one of the best games of all time.
I know Rockstar won’t let me down.