Will Red Dead Redemption 2 turn out to be a better game than God of War? This is a question I’ve seen pop up on the internet a few times.
When the latest entry into the much-loved God of War series was announced, many gamers were both excited for Kratos’ return but also concerned mainly due to the new direction the franchise was taking. Fast-forward a few months later and all those fears have been wiped out as God of War has turned out to be everything fans could have hoped and dreamed for. Kratos was back with a bang with many already touting the game as their own personal game of the year. So, what could topple the Greek giant from his throne? Well, let’s just say that a new contender has galloped onto the field donning a ten-gallon hat.
While there is little doubt that God of War is one of the best current-gen games out there and in the eyes of many, including myself, a masterpiece of gaming mechanics, narrative and visuals, there is one game that many suspect could put up a good fight and even land the knock-out blow when it comes to being the game of the year and that is Red Dead Redemption 2. So, what makes it such a danger to God of War? We’ve put together a few reasons the western-inspired tale of revenge could hang the Greek god killer. Now granted we are aware that the two games are vastly different in many aspects, but there is little doubt that they will be facing off against each other in many minds as their best game of the year, and yes, this is mostly based on speculation and what news Rockstar has revealed about the final game, of which much could still change. So, without further ado, here are a few things to keep in mind about Red Dead Redemption 2, and why it might topple God of War.
It’s got cowboys (and cowgirls)
While God of War lets us explore the spectacular snow-covered landscapes of Norse mythology, which happens to be one of my favourite subjects, there are those that tend to want less snow and more six-shooters in their games. Let’s be honest, there are probably way more gamers out there who would prefer donning a ten-gallon hat and hunting down some outlaws rather than chopping a mythical creature in half. It’s just easier for most people out there to get immersed in a game that feels more grounded in reality than in fantasy or myth. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be better because it has cowboys in it (although it’s a good start; now if they would only add ninjas as well) but rather that it might find a broader appeal than God of War did. Where God of War was a blood-soaked and emotional roller-coaster journey through Norse mythology, Red Dead Redemption 2 (based on the first game) will probably be more of a slow burn, getting the player invested in both the characters and the world before all hell breaks loose.
As a PlayStation 4 owner, I truly feel for those that had to miss out on God of War because they did not own the console. But let’s face it, in this era of gaming, it just doesn’t make as much sense to own both a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console as it did during previous generations. With Red Dead Redemption 2 set to release on multiple platforms, this means that it will inevitably have a much wider reach than God of War had. Now, I am aware that a great reach (and, in effect, sales) does not make a great game, but the more gamers have access to a game, the more gamers will include that game on their own personal best of the year list. There have already been loads of speculation that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the best-selling game of 2018, according to analysts.
A great track record
Let’s face it, Rockstar has one amazing track record when it comes to delivering great games that tend to change the gaming landscape. Again, Sony Santa Monica, the team behind God of War, did the impossible by in effect rebooting a franchise and thereby making it even better than the already great originals, yet chances are good that Rockstar will once again change the face of gaming as we know it. These words come directly from the developer as they recently stated that Red Dead Redemption 2 will “redefine the industry”. Now those are big aspirations to live up to but if anybody can deliver on this it would be Rockstar. Sure, this could just be the hype machine doing its thing, but many will point out that GTA V did just that by not only selling the most copies in gaming history but also trying to reinvent its multiplayer with each new update. It is the game that many believe just keeps on giving and chances are that Red Dead Redemption 2 will do the same.
Grab your six-shooter and get immersed
Again, I want to state that God of War is one of the few games I found myself so immersed in that I basically finished it in one sitting, I have also returned to the game on numerous occasions to try and beat many of the remaining side quests and find each collectable. Having said this, Rockstar games are known for having players dump an enormous number of hours into them. Where God of War has started to take the franchise into a more open-world direction the game tended to still be very linear (which helped keep the action and narrative more focused). Red Dead Redemption 2 will most probably see you getting lost in its world for hours on end as you explore every nook and cranny and slowly forget that you actually have a main story mission to complete. Expect to find numerous side missions, go hunting exotic and wild animals and just staring at the game’s breath-taking open world when the game releases. Where God of War might see you returning a few times to replay the game, Red Dead Redemption 2 will most probably offer much more replayability. Judging by the amount of things Rockstar usually populates their open-worlds with, there is little doubt that we’ll be losing countless hours while playing the game. The new gameplay trailer already reveals glimpses of a world that feels alive and whose citizens are far removed from the yellow exclamation mark donning NPCs of days gone by. Rockstar is truly aiming to make this a living breathing world.
It has multiplayer
God of War is a solely single player experience, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Yet Red Dead Redemption 2 is revealed to have some sort of multiplayer aspect to it. While it hasn’t been fully confirmed many expect the game to include a Battle Royale mode of some sort similar to the wildly popular Fortnite and PUBG games. With GTA V online being a huge success, it has paved the way for Red Dead Redemption 2 to try something similar. While Rockstar still believes that offering players an engrossing single-player experience is paramount, they also acknowledge the value of what multiplayer experiences can bring to a game. With it being released on multiple platforms, adding some sort of multiplayer mode to the game (especially if it’s a Battle Royale mode) could see the game having an even broader reach as there are gamers out there who are mainly concerned with getting together with friends and playing a game rather than playing something on their own.
Relationships are the new black
When God of War was first announced a lot of emphases was placed on the relationship between Kratos and his son. Throughout the game, the relationship between father and son evolved, making us care for both of these characters and this formed a big part of the narrative. Red Dead Redemption 2 is setting out to expand on the idea of relationships. The first gameplay trailer revealed how players will be able to build relationships with their fellow outlaws by making sure there is enough food and supplies at camp. Thus, keeping morale high (and making sure they don’t slit your throat while you sleep) and building trust by completing the various quests. Apparently, depending on how your relationship with each character evolves will affect the game and possibly gameplay. This idea of building relationships even extends to a cowboy’s best friend (and no, I’m not talking about a bottle of whiskey) as horses are now much more than just a four-legged way to go from point A to B. Each horse will have their own personality, including likes and dislikes, so building a strong bond with your horse will increase their various stats and make them more efficient in specific situations. I just hope the game allows me to name my horse Mr Fluffyhooves.
And the winner will be…
See, here’s the catch, it all depends on the individual. While God of War is an amazing game, which sucked me and many others in from the get-go, there is little doubt that Red Dead Redemption 2 will for the most part probably do the same. Granted, both games vastly differ from each other, but there are a few touch points such as a story-driven narrative, and engrossing world, solid gameplay mechanics and of course stunning visuals. Red Dead Redemption 2 has a lot going for it by releasing on multiple platforms and possibly adding some sort of multiplayer component. While I’m not saying that it will turn out to be the (cue booming voice) BEST GAME OF THE YEAR, it definitely will be battling it out with the great God of War for the top spot. Who knows maybe Red Dead Redemption 2 turns out to be a bad game and we are all left disappointed; we’ll only know for certain once the game releases this October. Until then I’m content with smashing in some more monster skulls as Kratos.