Red Dead Redemption 2 had a lot to live up to when it comes to reviews. Rockstar’s previous game, GTA 5, has a 97 on Metacritic. The original Red Dead Redemption has a 95, and GTA 4 has a 98. The review embargo lifted today, and it doesn’t look like this absurd winning streak is ending any time soon. Red Dead Redemption 2 on PS4 currently stands at a 97 on Metacritic, and with 72 critics currently reporting in it doesn’t look like that’s going anywhere fast. The Xbox One version is actually one point higher, at 98.
This means that Red Dead Redemption 2 on PS4 ties with GTA 5 and GTA 3 for Rockstar’s second-best reviewed game yet, losing out only to GTA 4. Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One, however, is tied for Rockstar’s best game ever. Note: it’s the same game.
Critics praise the game’s expansive world full of impeccable detail, as well as it’s involved and lengthy storyline. There’s a bunch of perfect scores in there inflating the number, and my review is actually one of the lowest ones by a longshot, coming in at a 9/10. I just got frustrated by the long, hopeless story mode. Here’s what critics are saying.
Forbes, 9/10, me: Red Dead Redemption 2 is big, unwieldy and ill-equipped to be boiled down to a number. Both its triumphs and its failures live at grand extremes: maddening, beautiful and awesome. The game hits each every one of its moments with grace and force, whether they’re bombastic gunfights or a small moment on a boat in a lake outside Blackwater. I’m leaving my playtime overwhelmed, emotional and drained in a way that I haven’t quite felt since the original Red Dead Redemption.
The Guardian, 5/5, Keza MacDonald: There can be no doubt that this is a landmark game. It is a new high water-mark for lifelike video game worlds, certainly, but that world is also home to a narrative portrait of the wild west that is unexpectedly sombre and not afraid to take its time. With very few exceptions, the many stories that Rockstar’s writers have set out to tell about this group of outlaws land perfectly, the enjoyable twists and turns of individual missions and chapters feeding into an exciting, sophisticated and absorbing larger narrative – and the stories that you discover yourself within its world are no less compelling. Around 2,000 people worked very hard (probably too hard, in some cases) to make this game possible. Every last one of them should be proud of their contribution.
IGN, 10/10, Luke Reilly: Red Dead Redemption 2 stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Grand Theft Auto V as one of the greatest games of the modern age. It’s a gorgeous depiction of an ugly period that’s patient, polished, and a huge amount of fun to play, and it’s combined with Rockstar’s best storytelling to date. Even after finishing the lengthy story I can’t wait to go back and play more. This is a game of rare quality; a meticulously polished open world ode to the outlaw era. Looking for one of this generation’s very best single-player action experiences? Here’s your huckleberry.
Destructoid, 95/100, Chris Carter: Red Dead Redemption 2 is the epitome of ambition and like most things Rockstar, will meet the expectations associated with it. With all of the advancements since the last Red Dead and everything they’ve learned from Grand Theft Auto V under their belt, the series is in a better place, able to provide a more natural and less gamey world to explore.
USGamer, 4.5/5: Mike Williams: It’s hard to sum up everything Red Dead Redemption 2 is in a single review. So I’ll follow with two statements that may seem antithetical to some folks. Is Red Dead Redemption 2 better than the first game? Very much so. Is Red Dead Redemption 2 perfect? No. Rockstar Games has crafted this huge, beautiful world with an attention to detail that’s astounding. There’s a high level of craft here, but that’s also why some of those small annoyances or more obtuse systems stick out more. Despite those small issues, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a fantastic game that should keep players satisfied for another eight years.
Polygon, no score, Chris Plante: even with the tonal messiness, the game routinely centers itself around a valuable philosophy: The golden myths of the Wild West era, the stories of dime-store Westerns, are just that — myths. And that allows for it to be something for everybody, even when that something isn’t always for me. At its best, the story breaks away from the Western genre and plays like a cross between a heist movie, a domestic drama and a political thriller. At its worst, it’s a buddy action comedy. Mercifully, it manages to be more of the former than the latter.