Why You Shouldn’t Play Red Dead Redemption 2 Online Until You Complete the Story
After years of anticipation and excitement, Rockstar’s massively ambitious open world western Red Dead Redemption 2 has now been in the possession of potentially 17 million gamers for almost a full month. Receiving monumental praise from critics and fans alike for its jaw-dropping graphics, meticulous game design, vibrant open world, and masterful storytelling (praise which we, too, share), it’s no surprise that it’s being hailed as one of the best game of this generation.
RDR2 has even more to offer players when the equally anticipated Online mode is released, with the Beta expected to arrive by the end of this month. Given the runaway success of Rockstar’s last multiplayer endeavour in Grand Theft Auto V, which continues to generate millions in revenue for the development team and still sees frequent updates, there are undoubtedly many who are eager to roam Saint Denis with friends to share their own cowboy adventures.
Now that we have finally made it to the ending of the game’s massive 60 hour story (don’t worry, there will be no spoilers here), we are just as eager to delve into the online component to see what new journeys await us. However, according to achievement statistics at time of writing, only 15.66% of players have reached the Epilogue with significantly less making it to the end credits. While this means that a massive majority of players are taking their time by savouring the narrative and completing various other missions and hunting activities the game encourages you to do, this could also mean that many players may jump straight into online play when it releases without seeing Arthur’s story to the end, and that would be a mistake.
Every facet about Rockstar’s open world encourages players to fully immerse themselves in it; maintaining and bonding with your horse, seeking out animals with pristine pelts to craft new gear and camp upgrades, companion quests and stranger missions that flesh out established characters and introduce interesting new ones along the way, and a carefully paced narrative that isn’t afraid to take its time to explore complex motivations and straining relationships. In short, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that requires players to take their time in order to get the most out of the narrative (trust us, do every stranger mission and side quest you can) and experience all the contextual events and hidden secrets the game has to offer. Take a moment out of your travels to a legendary animal location to help someone in need by the road side because they just might point you in the direction of where to find one of these hidden treasures.
As was 2010’s Red Dead Redemption’s plight of John Marston fighting for his redemption, the prequel is likewise a deeply personal story of Arthur witnessing his world change and collapse around him. Moreover, with the amount of time you’ll be spending customising Arthur and his mount coupled with the sheer amount of variation of contextual elements that can occur during your gameplay, this Arthur will become distinctly your Arthur who will have experiences different from many other players. Consequently, the more time you spend as Arthur, the more you become enveloped in his hopes and struggles and the more you’ll be caught up in the momentum that carries you through the game.
“Momentum” is the key word here. All the aforementioned aspects comprise RDR2 are dictated by a steady and deliberate pace that gradually moves from a trot into a heart-pounding gallop as everything the game carefully established comes to a head into a fitting and cathartic climax – which, again, we won’t spoil for you here.
The concern here is that making the switch to online before the credits roll is certain to disrupt the momentum that’s been building as your immersion grows during however long you’ve spent exploring the world. As enticing as the idea of exploring this friends is, however, RDR2 is primarily a single player experience where you get out what you put in to it. Playing hours of multiplayer may not ruin your experience of the story mode, but it will certainly hamper it. And for that, we urge that you see it through before committing to any bank heists or train robberies in the (hopefully) near future. You won’t regret it.