One month after Red Dead Redemption 2 first released, the online multiplayer part is now in beta. Red Dead Online borrows from both the GTA Online and the multiplayer parts of the original Red Dead Redemption, incorporating RDR 2's massive open world with all its fine details and mechanics. But Red Dead Online lacks what did the great, slow and thorough world work, and as a result, leaving the weakest parts of it painful.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – the singleplayer experience – is not concerned with your priorities. There are many side disturbances, and some details will change here and there depending on your honor, but there are some missions you just can not play ̵
Red Dead Online Beta Gameplay Live
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Everything that is to say Red Dead Redemption 2 is not what I would call "fun." In singleplayer it's good. But in Red Dead Online, those things that do not always feel good to play – the need to eat and sleep, the limited fast travel possibilities, the often lumpy gunplay – have nothing to anchore them. There is a small amount of history content at the moment, but nothing as engaging and personal as giving you a purpose in this world. The purpose seems to kill or be killed, and often, although there seems to be no reason to kill another player apart from creating chaos.
Currently, it's hard to get anything or get anywhere without being killed, disconnected from the server, or both. But even when you're going to play the game, it feels dated. Your character is understandably silent, and NPCs recognize it yourself, often commenting on your reticence. But the connection between your character and the rest of the world is pronounced. A solo task given by Red Dead Redemption's Bonnie MacFarlane, for example, involves a short cutscene to provide context, and then you have the task of searching and returning a shopping cart. When you come back with the trolley, there is nothing – no cutscene, no confirmation from Bonnie at all. Just a pop-up with your thin reward.
Competitive multiplayer is a little better. The nice auto goal is useful and gives some modes a looser, more enjoyable feeling, despite the lumpy gunplay, and getting headshots still takes on skill. But the movement is also lumpy and it draws his head to his head. Unfortunately, ambling over rocks or struggling to mantle over a wall during a war field, grinder everything, and frustration is hard to shake.
Red Dead Redemption 2 as a whole is a lonely game filled with things to do. In single players, riding alone through the plains and looking up at a huge open sky is powerful. In Red Dead Online, your emotional connection to the world and its inhabitants is completely lacking. There is also a lack of content in general – you can complete the story's assignments in a matter of hours, and after that, you're left to go for money and go without goals. In its current form, there is nothing about Red Dead Online that makes me want to continue playing. It just makes me want to go back to Arthur's story.
As much as I like Red Dead Redemption 2, I would be more forced to play Red Dead Online if it threw the single player's more challenging mechanics and chose a faster, looser approach to the wild west. The multiplayer experience would be better as a Western playground seriously, instead of the blend of slow, lonely activities with potentially fun multiplayer chaos as it currently is. If GTA Online is any indication, Rockstar's potential for recognizing and expanding Red Dead Online, both in the amount of available content and content content, is great. But for now, I'll hold on with Arthur and the gang.