‘Red Dead Redemption 2’: 7 Ways to Improve on a Classic

Developer Rockstar Games doesn’t mess around with its major game franchises. The makers of Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, and Table Tennis (yes, Table Tennis) goes all in on its properties, to incredible results. For instance, Grand Theft Auto V maintains a stunning 97 on Metacritic, and it still regularly shows up near the top of the bestselling games lists each month — a full three years after it debuted.

That’s unprecedented, but not all that surprising. It goes to show how much care the developer puts into its games, and how dedicated players are to those games. Now Rockstar has announced one of the most anticipated games in recent years, a sequel (or prequel) to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption.

There’s no doubt that game was brilliant. It’s one of the highest-rated games of the console generation, and it absolutely holds up today. Still, there are a few tweaks that could make it even better, tweaks we’re hoping to see included in the Red Dead Redemption 2.

1. Improved shooting and cover mechanics

John Marston aiming a gun at the camera.

‘Red Dead Redemption’ | Rockstar Games

In today’s world, there’s no excuse for a AAA game to have less than stellar gameplay. You should be able to pick up a controller and feel how expensive the game was to make. The original Red Dead Redemption plays fine, but it doesn’t feel as tight as other top-tier games today feel. There’s something a little fussy about the shooting and cover-based gameplay mechanics.

With the new installment, Rockstar should kick it up a notch, making the combat mechanics feel just as good as Gears of War 4 or Destiny. That’s no small task, but if the developers can nail it, all the inevitable Wild West gunfights packed into the game will be that much more enjoyable.

2. Bring it to PC

A gaming PC with a soldier popping out of the monitor

Gaming PC | AVA Direct

For years, Red Dead Redemption was only available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Thanks to backwards compatibility, you can now play it on Xbox One. And thanks to a re-release, PlayStation 4 owners can have a go at it as well. The one platform it’s never been on (and probably never will be) is PC.

That can change for Red Dead Redemption 2. Although Rockstar has only announced it for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, there’s a good chance it will come to PC. Rockstar seems to have had great success with Grand Theft Auto V on PC, which makes it all the more likely that a new Red Dead will find its way there. The only catch is that it took Rockstar a year and a half to port GTA V to PC, so a similar wait is likely for the new Red Dead.

3. Smooth out the pacing

John Marston pulls a six-shooter from his hip holster in Red Dead Redemption.

‘Red Dead Redemption’ | Rockstar Games

The storyline in Red Dead Redemption is engrossing as ever, but many gamers would agree that certain parts dragged on longer than they needed to. The scenes that take place in Mexico come to mind, as well as some of the missions given by the more annoying side characters. Also, some of its misdirection toward the end seemed to stretch the pacing on an initial play-through — though it paid off in the end.

If the new game can tell an equally compelling story, but without padding and without feeling repetitive, gamers will be in for a treat.

4. Fewer overly quirky characters

The folks at Rockstar are masters of satire, as proven by the whole alternate modern America they’ve created in the Grand Theft Auto games. Red Dead Redemption isn’t meant to be ironic or biting in its humor, which makes characters like the drunken Irishman seem out of place. He comes off as a little too drunk and too stereotypically Irish. The game goes for a much more measured sort of realism in almost all other aspects, making the points where it steps over the line seem out of place.

Humor is good, so they shouldn’t stop trying to be funny. But they should be careful not to break the game’s tone when presenting silly or stupid characters.

5. More convenient saves

'Red Dead Redemption' | Rockstar Games

‘Red Dead Redemption’ | Rockstar Games

To save your game in Red Dead Redemption, you either have to go to a bed that belongs to you, or wander out into the wilderness and start a campfire. Those options don’t sound all that inconvenient in theory, but they can be annoying in practice. Modern life is full of distractions, meaning you might have to stop playing at any time. So Rockstar, this time around please just let us quick-save anywhere at any time. We’d be eternally grateful.

6. Add a “wait” feature

Man checking his watch | Source: iStock

Man checking his watch | Source: iStock

Many of the missions you can take on in Red Dead Redemption require you to talk to someone at a designated time and place. If you go to the right place at the wrong time, the game tells you something like, “Come back between 6 and 10 a.m.” Which, while realistic, isn’t exactly player-friendly.

This is a simple problem to solve: just add a “wait” feature. Let players open the menu, press “wait,” and select what time they’d like to resume. Boom, problem solved.

7. Don’t worry

Teaser for a new 'Red Dead Redemption' game

Teaser for a new ‘Red Dead Redemption’ game | Rockstar Games

It’s important to remember that Red Dead Redemption instantly became one of Rockstar’s most important franchises, only trailing behind GTA. The team at Rockstar San Diego has presumably been working on this new installment ever since it shipped Undead Nightmare — which, by the way, turned out to be one of the best DLC expansions ever released for any game.

The years that have elapsed since the game originally launched have not dimmed its reputation among gamers one iota. It’s as fondly remembered as ever, and its many brilliant aspects are entrenched in the gaming zeitgeist. There’s no way Rockstar would release a follow-up if it wasn’t fully convinced it had another hit on its hands.

So don’t worry, in all likelihood Red Dead Redemption 2 will be just fine.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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