You step into a rundown spit and sawdust saloon, an old favourite is playing on the piano, all you’ve got for company is the bartender and the whiskey you ordered, and it’s there, propped up against the bar, that you think just how good your day’s been in the virtual Wild West. You gunned down your rival and took particular satisfaction fleeing town before he could come get you. You laugh at the thought of just how furious his real world counterpart must have been having vengeance denied. Just as you’re so happy with yourself and decide to order another whiskey, you don’t have time to react as a gunslinger walks into the bar, aims, and sprays you’re virtual brains all over the counter. Welcome to the world of Red Dead Online!
The online version of Rockstar’s latest game has arrived and it’s drifted onto our games consoles with all the brutality and venom you can shake a six-shooter at. From the open plains of the frontier, to the border towns of the new land, Red Dead Online (RDO) offers a fun experience that is as entertaining as the single player experience. Launching the game, the player is presented with a character creation screen not too dissimilar to what fans of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fallout series have come to enjoy. Here the player gets to choose their sex and then tailor the appearance of their RDO counterpart. The player is then launched into the tutorial missions, becoming a mercenary rescued from the wagon taking them to hang for a crime they didn’t commit. Pretty common stuff for tutorial missions, but the polish RDO offers is unlike anything experienced before and offers the same kind of immersive experience players indulge in the single player game.
The game offers a wide variety of experiences, from enjoying a drink in the local saloon, to picking up odd jobs to earn a living, the game offers a great time, especially when gamers posse up and ride out to live a life between shadows and valleys. Whether it’s on the back of an old nag or riding on the back of a fine Arabic steed, that’s the beauty of RDO is that it allows a complete customisation to represent whatever the player wants to put in. Of course there’s a monetization part that can be seen in the beta, those servers don’t pay for themselves after all, but RDO is a game of opportunity, allowing players to live the Western life they’ve only dreamt of.
For fans of the original Red Dead Redemption, there’s plenty of Easter eggs littered throughout, from the familiar saloon of Armadillo, to the MacFarlane ranch, where Bonnie herself lovingly cameos to dish out the occasional jobs to the player.
Though the beta is in its infancy, the world offers a lot to enjoy as an experience. Even if a player only dipped in for a few hours, they would come away satisfied that it was time well spent indulging in the Western fantasy everyone holds inside of them.