Red Dead Redemption 2 reviews round up: cowboy epic rated by the critics

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The wait is finally over – and you guessed it, it's been worth it. Seven years in the making, it's time to saddle up for Red Dead Redemption 2.

Out on Friday October 26, its been in the hands of reviewers for just over a week now and, as expected, the verdict is overwhelmingly positive.

From its depiction of a fading Wild West dream to its beautiful rendering of American wilderness, it's being hailed as a classic of the generation, and one of the most ambitious of all time.

While we've not had enough time with the game yet to give it the thorough, comprehensive test that you'd expect from a TechRadar review, we've rounded up the verdicts of those ready to share their opinions for your reading pleasure below, along with a link to each publication's full review. If you weren't already excited, now's the time to let rip.

Red Dead Redemption 2 review verdicts

GamesRadar+

David Meikelham - * * * * * -

Just how good is Red Dead Redemption 2? Over the past few years, I’d argue the only games that deserve to be considered at this same ultra elite level are GTA 5, Metal Gear Solid 5, and The Witcher 3. This is a stone cold 5/5 classic that combines brilliant writing – Rockstar’s Houser brothers deliver another affecting, scythe-sharp script – amazing tech, and one of the most boldly structured plots to ever grace a triple-A title. The story is so well told, you’ll emotionally invest more in a horse during one crucial scene than you did even for Kratos in this year’s stellar God of War revival. If you only buy one game this year, it absolutely has to be this wondrous Wild West quest. 

Kotaku

Kirk Hamilton - (No score, but incredibly positive review)

This game has heart; the kind of heart that is difficult to pin down but impossible to deny. It is a wonderful story about terrible people, and a vivacious, tremendously sad tribute to nature itself. There is so much beauty and joy in this expensive, exhausting thing. Somehow that makes it even more perfect – a breathtaking eulogy for a ruined world, created by, about, and for a society that ruined it.

The Guardian

Keza McDonald - * * * * *  -

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. 

IGN

Luke Reilly - 10/10 - 

Set in Rockstar’s most authentic and lived-in open world ever, there are so many things to do, so many people to meet, and so many places to explore it’s giddily overwhelming. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just Rockstar’s greatest achievement to date; it’s a game so lacking in compromise it’s tough to know where best to start discussing it.

GameInformer

Matt Bertz - 10/10 -

Rockstar Games has outdone itself again with Red Dead Redemption II. The up-close portrayal of the outlaw Van der Linde gang’s unraveling is a compelling companion story that blends seamlessly with the original game, and depth and breadth of the open world is a technical triumph that every gamer should experience.

Eurogamer

Martin Robinson - Recommended

It's been eight years since the last Red Dead Redemption, and five since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 - time that you can see and feel in every delicately crafted inch of a game of this scope and scale, yet time in which we've been spoilt by the likes of The Witcher 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Rockstar's writers can't quite match the humanity and purpose of the former, nor can its designers match the integrity of the latter.

It offers something else besides, though: a richness, detail and technical prowess that is breathtaking, and peerless. Is this Rockstar's greatest game, a new masterpiece alongside the original? There are one too many caveats, and one too many flaws at its heart, to leave me totally convinced. Is this its richest, most beautiful open world? Of that there's not a single doubt.

Gamespot

Kallie Plagge - 9 out 10 -

While Red Dead Redemption was mostly focused on John Marston's story, Red Dead 2 is about the entire Van der Linde gang--as a community, as an idea, and as the death rattle of the Wild West. It is about Arthur, too, but as the lens through which you view the gang, his very personal, very messy story supports a larger tale. Some frustrating systems and a predictable mission structure end up serving that story well, though it does take patience to get through them and understand why. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it's also an emotional, thought-provoking story in its own right, and it's a world that is hard to leave when it's done.