The eyes of the gaming industry are all presently directed at Rockstar Games, as anticipation for their upcoming title Red Dead Redemption 2 mounts. The Wild West game will come as a sequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, which has set the bar pretty high – however Rockstar’s most recent title set it even higher. GTA 5 has been breaking sales records left and right ever since it released back in 2013, and we’re hoping it taught the developers a few lessons that will make RDR2 an even greater success.
It’s important to note both the similarities and differences between the two franchises in order to determine which parts of GTA 5 we want to see return in the third installment of the Red Dead franchise (many forget Red Dead Revolver). See, both are open-world sandbox action-adventure games with RPG-like elements, a large degree of player freedom and a whole lot of side-activities. While mechanically similar, thematically the differences may as well be fire and ice. While GTA is a satirical, humorous take on the modern world filled with over-the-top set pieces and thoroughly absurd situations, Red Dead is a more serious take on the Wild West setting. While GTA thrives on crass humor and crude jokes, Red Dead is more… thoughtful, though we don’t want it to seem pretentious.
Based on this, it’s clear that if Red Dead Redemption 2 is to fit into the feel of the franchise, it will need to take gameplay and technical pointers from GTA 5, but do its own thing when it comes to narrative style. Luckily, there is a whole lot to improve on GTA 5 mechanically, even if the game is more than deserving of all the praise being thrown at it. While it is an impressive and insanely fun title, it isn’t exactly perfect.
First of all, it is important to remember that Red Dead Redemption 2 will have a multiplayer feature similar to GTA Online. Considering this, we’re really hoping Rockstar invested at least some of those multi-billion dollars of profit that GTA 5 has raked in over the years into pulling up their own in-house server park, and that they will do away with this peer-to-peer nonsense that has caused GTA Online to be plagued with stability issues.
The problem with a peer-to-peer architecture is that all it takes is one weak link – one player with a dodgy internet connection – to mess things up for everyone else. Sometimes you’re lucky and no-one was currently linked with the dude who gets kicked from the session, but at other times someone is downloading from them while someone else is downloading from the second guy and so on and so forth. When the first link in the chain is broken, everyone is booted out of the lobby and forced to sit through those painfully long loading screens.
Speaking of loading screens, we get that there are technical reasons why it takes so long for the game to load, but it would really be awesome of the process was streamlined so players wouldn’t bump into so many. In GTA Online, if someone decides to look for a heist, they’re automatically taken out of the lobby. They’ll be sitting in front of a loading screen instead of the process running in the background. If no open heists are found, or the host decides to quit before starting it, instead of instantly returning to the previous lobby, you have to sit in a loading screen once again before loading back into a session, where you need to start the whole process over again.
The situation isn’t better with anything else either. There are just so many freaking loading screens in this game that players will likely spend about half of their playtime waiting. Waiting isn’t fun, Rockstar, you should know this. We’re really hoping things will be seamless in Red Dead Online, or at least more streamlined with fewer loading screens all around.
Switching to things that GTA 5 did very, very right, let’s see some things we want to see return in Red Dead Redemption 2. Even though it’s almost four years old, GTA 5 has the single best, most lively, most detailed and most vibrant open worlds video games have seen to this day. Unlike other open worlds which try and seem alive (looking at you, Skyrim) but feel very, very scripted, this world genuinely feels like it’s doing its own thing. The random actions of the NPCs, the various animals hunting one another, the tiny details sprinkled across every square centimetre of it all achieve true immersion. This has become a buzzword when it comes to marketing AAA games these days, but really, GTA 5 is more or less the only game that can truly claim to be immersive.
Another feature we’d like to see carried over from GTA 5 to RDR2 is the cheat codes. While they only work in story mode (and for the record we agree they should not be able to be used in multiplayer) cheat codes can add hours and fun onto the story. For example if you need to blow off some steam, there’s nothing better than loading up all the weapons plus invincibility of course and having a blast. The cheats for GTA 5 on PS4 were much-improved over the last-gen console versions of the game, and we suggest they’d be a great starting point for any cheat codes Rockstar might be considering for RDR 2.
In any case, Rockstar Games has a huge amount of experience and many high-quality releases behind them, and if GTA 5 is anything to go by, we know they’ll make something truly amazing with Red Dead Redemption 2.
Written By: James Sterling (pen name)