Eight years have passed between the two entries in Rockstar's big western franchise, Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2 - almost a decade, but more than just a chronological difference. In those eight years, the face of the gaming industry has changed significantly.
Firstly, the two games saw the light of day on two different generations of game consoles, and secondly, in addition to the technical capabilities of the developers, there was a change in the taste of players and the preference of development teams. This is, of course, a completely natural flow of progress in any sphere of human entrepreneurship, and even art and games are right at the point where these two creative expressions meet.
Superficially, the two games are extremely similar, of course, if we ignore the obvious difference in the quality of textures and the number of visual details. The visual style, on the other hand, is very consistent between the two Red Dead games. Both games rely on the striking views of the Old West, that majestic place over white fences in the minds of Americans, but also of all users of a culture that originated in a geographical-historical area. The same goes for the narrative, look, and voice of the characters in this world that Rockstar San Diego evoked with a computer brush.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has the advantage of the more powerful hardware for
which the game was developed. However, selected moments of the original game,
such as night riding through the hinterland of the fictional state of New
Austin under indigo and star-studded skies, while the outlines of cacti,
trees, and distant buildings alternate on the distant horizon, can still evoke
admiration in the player.
Interconnected in a very close way, the stories (or one story) of the two games are dedicated to the latter days of the Old West, when this historical area long ago changed its epithet from "wild" to "old", although many residents are our main characters and their companions, unable or at least unwilling to accept that fact. In both games, Rockstar decided to address the central themes of the western - the life of outlaws and law enforcers, the American dream of a free life away from the grip of organized social elements.
The thematic vein that runs through both games, as can be inferred from the franchise title itself, is redemption. True, redemption in Red Dead Redemption 2 is accompanied by a commentary on revenge and the futile fruits of those who take the path of revenge.
Following the closeness of the story and the characters between the two games, there is also a gameplay element that further connects them. The original game and sequel, if we cut them vertically, can be briefly described as third-person shooters with simple but robust mechanics of using the shelter, located in the open world. In addition, we also have gameplay "from the saddle," so to speak, which nicely separates Red Dead Redemption games from their counterparts in the catalog of Rockstar games, but also other open-world games in general.
So where is the essential difference between Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2?
The difference is in the domain of details, and not necessarily the graphic ones. With much more potent hardware, Rockstar was available in the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 to expand not only the graphics fidelity of the game but also deepen many elements of gameplay with a series of activities aimed at enhancing the immersion of players in the game world.
The focus from taming horses from RDR1 to RDR2 shifts to rapprochement with our four-legged companion, who needs to be fed, groomed, and maintained in a state capable of long marches from the Grizzly Mountains to the Lemoyne Swamp and everything in between. In addition to maintaining horses, we must also maintain our peacemaker, that is, our arsenal with which we will create peace in the fictional states of Rockstar Western.
Finally, we will have to support our hero as well. Unlike John Marston, who knew neither winter nor heat, Arthur Morgan must wear appropriate clothing for the temperature and conditions at the end of the map where he currently operates and must occasionally snack and then take a sip of coffee. Here, RDR2 differs significantly from the original game, in which we could only choose pre-determined costumes for the main character. Further, John Marston’s hairstyle and bristly beard were unchanging features of his face, but Arthur can change his hair and beard styles at will.
A step forward, of course, when it comes to giving players the ability to customize the look of their version of Arthur Morgan. But don’t be surprised if your long flaps and horseshoe-shaped mustache disappear into the bearded thicket after a couple of missions. If you think you will run away from razors and shaving foam in the game, you are grossly mistaken. As it turns out, even zealous outlaws have to shave at dawn, before a long day of looting, looting of treasures and honest residents of surrounding settlements, and long nightly gambling debauchery.
Similar, but more important in terms of gameplay, can be found in the extended attitude of the player towards his horse, which obliges strict care for the horse towards or even above exploring the world, participating in random events, or playing the main narrative sequences. known as the development team.
In a narrow sense, the presentation is more realistic, which was undeniably the goal of Rockstar, judging by the team's tendency to "revive" the world of all its games, which means - to make that world as similar as ours. This tendency brings RDR2 into the realm of simulation, which in turn, from today's perspective, pushes RDR1 into the realm of fulfilling a fantasy.
True, you can ignore these maintenance measures for a while, but after a while, it will have a cumulatively bad impact on your in-game performance. Over time, rusty weapons will begin to be less effective, and the health of players will suffer more in the exchange of fire if enemy fire finds you in the open. Finally, there are the visual warnings that the game overwhelms you with if you find yourself reluctant to go through all the little steps that Rockstar has put in front of you, ironically, for better immersion.
Participating in random events that the game can generate on horseback or in the wild, in RDR1 is more affordable because a couple of such events will eat up your ammunition at worst, while a similar rampage around in RDR2 could make it harder for a player to it begins after half an hour to an hour of hunting, either on the game or fellow outlaws, alien tasks or carriage robberies.
If the player played the first game today, having only RDR2 as an introduction
to the series, he would surely be surprised how much easier RDR1 is. The
inventory is pretty grounded, more like something from the PS2 era of gaming.
After taming a horse and putting on the first saddle, the only care you need
to keep in mind for your faithful father is to keep him away from abysses and
wildlife. The same goes for your peacemaker, who you will only take care of
with ammunition and targets.
Red Dead Redemption 1 is also a faster-timed game than its successor. On the other hand, Red Dead Redemption 2 can be ranked side by side with Cyberpunk 2077 in the company of games with the longest introductory sequences. Along with real-time cut-scenes and dialogic exchanges, the tutorial on the slopes of the Grizzly Mountains takes an average of three to five hours, after which Arthur, Dutch, and the rest of the merry company move their camp in front of Valentine's Town. he unties his hands and gives us the reins and allows us to move away from the immediate vicinity of the camp.
In contrast, the introductory cutscene, a couple of basic tasks, and one ride to the Armadillo separate the player from wandering through New Austin, both in gameplay and narrative. But RDR1 is also a faster game in terms of animation, which can be seen in the example of searching the body of the player's defeated enemies.
At the touch of a button, RDR1 selects one of several animations in which we see John Marston from an oblique angle depriving a defeated enemy of ammunition, money, or something in a few movements and a few seconds, while in RDR2 Arthur Morgan will have to approach an opponent. grab him by the arms and sleeves, search his pockets and only then place the contents in his own. True, this is a difference of only a few seconds in length, but since you will search the bodies of defeated opponents, at least early in RDR2, very often, this difference is very obvious.
From a technological standpoint, RDR1 cannot compete with its successor.
However, the succession and the range of differences (whether small or large)
between the two games gave the original Red Dead Redemption the retroactive
charm of a simpler game to play, and we could say a freer experience despite
or because of the lack of features that Rockstar included in Red Dead
Redemption 2 for deeper player immersion.
Undoubtedly, the immersion of the player is the desire of every developer, but the smoothness of the gameplay should not suffer just because of that desire. Inconsistencies can disrupt immersion, perhaps easily and very quickly, but frustrations can disrupt the experience as a whole. On that track, between fantasy fulfillment and simulation, the original Red Dead Redemption leans more towards the former from today’s perspective, giving the game a different character, perhaps even significantly different from the one the game had in 2010 and when Rockstar developers worked on the front lines main document design.