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Red Dead Redemption 2 Early Exclusive First Impressions Review *SPOILER FREE*

By In RDR2 On October 25, 2018

As a member of the Rockstar Games community, I’ve been lucky enough to be sent a digital copy of Red Dead Redemption 2’s Ultimate Edition with an early access code to play the game before October 26th. Whether you’re walking through the thick snow, overlooking the horizon or having a bar fight with some silly drunken fool, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played.Here is my first impressions review of what I’ve played so far with some minor SPOILER FREE details to get you ready for the official launch tomorrow!


I’ll start of by talking about the graphics, because lets face it… it’s one of the things most gamers are interested in. Red Dead Redemotion 2 runs at 1080p on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and in 4K for the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. Now I only have an Xbox One S and so playing in just 1080p the game is gorgeous. I mean, stunning! The sheer level of detail that is in the game is crazy. I was walking alongside my horse up in the mountains where it’s snowing and you can see how it’s settled on the ground. It seemed thicker on the grass and rocks whereas in some parts on the path it was thinner. If you switch into First Person View you can see the crystal-looking glimmer too which really enhances the look of the textures. Rocks, paths, mountains, mud, grass, trees etc all look amazing too, the 3D element to make textures come to life really brings the environment to life.

As from the previews we had beforehand, we already know that when walking through snow and mud we leave footprint marks, but when actually playing the game it really adds that extra details. I think when I was up in the mountains and I was walking, when I came back my footprints were still there, so it’s not like they disappear after 10 seconds. This applies to things like eating stew or eating a can of fruit. I was in camp talking to my fellow camp friends and Arthur had his dinner and when he’d finished he just threw his bowl on the floor. Even after doing some activities in the camp, it was still there. 

The visuals in Red Dead Redemption 2 are breathtaking. Draw distance is incredible and allows you to see for miles. I don’t actually think I saw any pop-ins either (this is where objects appear from nowhere due to slow environment loading). The world feels alive, colourful and beautiful, even on the Xbox One S in 1080p… so in 4K… you’re in for an even better looking game!


I always thought the melee combat system in Grand Theft Auto V felt a little sluggish, however Rockstar Games seems to have completely revamped the combat system with Red Dead Redemption 2 which makes it feel more life like. It’s not so easy to throw a punch and win a fight now. When having a melee fight with someone, you can choose to punch them as you would expect, or press Y/Triangle when prompted to grapple them. From here you can throw them, beat them or even finish them off my choking them.

The fight in the bar I got into felt really life like. Other people in the bar surrounding us and chanted and continued drinking whilst I tried to knock my opponents teeth out, which unfortunately went wrong as I got thrown through the front window outside into the mud! I continued to beat my opponent when the fight was intervened and stopped by a local resident. When I came back later on into one of the shops, the store owner mentioned that Arthur was the one who had that fight before, and he didn’t want any trouble. It’s a great touch because it feels like the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t just disappear once you’ve encountered a situation. 

Weapons on the other hand feels rather strange. You can only carry limited gear, not like in Grand Theft Auto where characters pull out assault rifles and RPGs from their back pockets… you can holster a pistol (or dual wield if you choose to) and two sidearms. When playing I had a carbine rifle in my inventory accompanied by my revolver and double barreled shotgun. These weapons can either be left on Arthur or left on your horse, but the thing I kept forgetting was… if both my rifle and shotgun was on my horse (which I’ve named Bullet) and it wasn’t near me or was too far away from me to call… then I wouldn’t be able to use them. I have to manually go up to my horse and take the weapons I want and put them in my possession to keep them.

Shooting feels good, it’s fluid. Enemies react well to being shot too. When equipped with a weapon, if you run and press X/Square and move Arthur in a direction he’ll dive onto the floor, like you would roll in Grand Theft Auto V. The combat system is great and very well improved. It’s definitely got a feeling of Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto added into it. It’s nice having the realism of carrying weapons too, especially when games in 2018 are becoming increasingly detailed.


With Red Dead Redemption 2, you have player stats and horse stats (statistics). With Arthur, above the radar (of which you can choose THREE different sizes) there is his health and stamina bar. There are a variety of things which can affect Arthur’s health. Injury by fighting, shooting, falling off your horse, not eating enough, not sleeping enough are just a few things. This applies to your horse too… make sure you feed it and groom it! Your stamina will decrease as you run more, however you’ll increase you Stamina Level at the same time. This also applies to your horse. You can buy tonics for yourself and horse which will fully restore health, stamina and dead eye. 

If you head to the pause menu you’ll see a PLAYER tab, proceeding to this will then give you an Arthur or Horse option. This is where you can access and view your general statistics and conditions including how healthy Arthur’s weight is or view his core health and stamina. I personally like the way the health system works in Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s easy to understand, health regeneration doesn’t take too long and the detail of being too hot or too cold is clever as it alters how Arthur reacts to the environment


Above are just a few first impressions of a tiny proportion of the game. Here at Rockstar Universe we believe spoilers shouldn’t exists, but unfortunately they do. As I have wrote this I have tried to keep details to a minimum so that you can all experience Red Dead Redemption 2 in your own way and uncover the absolute awesomeness it delivers. Overall the game is a fantastic piece of work with a MASSIVE environment. The game world is full of life and interactions and there’s always something you can be doing.

Playing Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t just feel like a game, but it feels like you’re truly living the story of Arthur Morgan. If this isn’t Game of The Year then something is seriously wrong. Red Dead Redemption 2 brings all of the past Rockstar Games titles together and feels like one game with different games involved. With everything mentioned, with what we’ve played so far and from everything I know about the game, Rockstar Univrse give Red Dead Redemption 2:

OVERALL RATING: 10/10 “Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just a game, it’s a work of art that’s been crafted from the ground up to deliver a dynamic story which puts the player right at the heart of it”.

About the Author

Lewis - Owner

I'm the owner and founder of Rockstar Universe, but also a huge Rockstar fan. I love gaming, music (particularly the 80s), photography and computing.

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