Two cowboys having a shootout in the middle of a Wild West town in Red Dead Redemption 2.

10 Things I Hate About Red Dead Redemption 2

My love-hate relationship with the Wild West

It’s been funny seeing people go from “OMFG, I love Red Dead Redemption 2” to “actually, RDR2 sucks because…” to a kind of awkward space in between.

I personally like Red Dead Redemption 2.  I’ve stuck 40+ hours into it and I’m enjoying being a cowboy in the wild west.  But, it’s not perfect and the more I play it, the more things start to frustrate me about Rockstar’s latest hit.

Here are 10 things that I hate about Red Dead Redemption 2:

  1. The controls are clunky. Like, really clunky.  PS2-kind-of-clunky.  What doesn’t help is that they seem to be tied to the character’s animation.  This means, for example, that when you want to stop running you’ll always take two or three additional steps as your character slows down.  Realistic?  Yes.  Fun?  No.  Add to that, I’m bored of holding down a button for several seconds for something to actually happen.  It’s 2018 baby, I want me some instant action!  And as for the shooting mechanics, is it even possible to hit something in free aim?  And don’t get me started on the horse steering.
  2. You can’t run with a gang outside of missions, despite this being hyped up in the build-up to release. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can see this being added in down the line, but I wanted to do it today (and yesterday, and the day before).  Ultimately, I think that Rockstar has held off to see whether they could integrate it with a game mode in Red Dead Online, but it’s something that I was looking forward to from the outset.
  3. The UI is lame.
  4. The terrible lip-syncing outside of cutscenes is immersion breaking. I’ve seen indie games do this better.  It’s like I’m playing a badly dubbed video game half of the time.
  5. Where are all of the friendly camps out in the wild? They seem much more hostile in Red Dead Redemption 2.  I miss sitting down around the campfire and hearing stories from cowboys who have seen some stuff.
  6. The bounty system. Anyone who has played the game will know exactly what I’m talking about.  What should have been a cornerstone to the experience is actually completely stupid and a waste of time.
  7. The story is fine I guess but doesn’t hold a candle to Red Dead Redemption 1. Long before the finale of the original, I was completely immersed in the world and the main characters (and, if anything, the finale just ruined it for me).  Red Dead Redemption 2 can’t come close to it, unfortunately. This is also a cookie-cutter Rockstar game; there’s a cutscene, you have to go somewhere, shoot/collect something, then go somewhere.  Rinse and repeat.  With the lack of releases coming out of Rockstar (other than side-games in GTA Online), I thought that the team would do something really special with RDR2.  I was wrong.
  8. The game world, while pretty, is actually very shallow. Towns are a decent size but by no means huge, so I was expecting to be able to enter any building.  Instead, we’re left standing outside most of the time.  This kills the ability to completely immerse yourself in the world.
  9. Bugs and glitches. We’re not talking about Fallout 76 levels of problems, but they’re still prevalent and should not be ignored just because things look pretty.  Objects and animals clip all of the time and birds fly straight through mountains.  For a game that takes realism to the extreme in cases that only prove to frustrate the player, it would have been nice if they’d paid more attention to these touches.  Also, the weather changes so quickly sometimes that I half-expect a tornado to tear through the game map.
  10. It’s obvious that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been built to cater for Red Dead Online. Many of the points above are no doubt due to Rockstar trying to create a canvas that can be easily integrated into the online facet of the franchise where they no doubt expect to make most of their money.I’d rather that they spent their money creating an incredible Red Dead Redemption experience than making something that works for Red Dead Online then adding to it.  As a result, we’ve got a game that is good but not what it could have been.

So, just to circle back to the beginning of this article, I do like Red Dead Redemption 2.  I recently replayed Red Dead Redemption to get me hyped for the sequel and I’ve been pretty impressed with what Rockstar have been able to deliver.

I just wish they’d concentrated less on shrinking horse balls and more on making a Red Dead Redemption game that would define this era of gaming.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a crappy bounty to complete.