The Online Beta for Red Dead Redemption 2 is now out for players who played the game during its launch weekend. Having purchased the Ultimate Edition myself, I have been playing since late Tuesday evening. The reason why wasn’t able to play any sooner was due to me owning the game on Xbox One, which had some server issues initially.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a spectacular game that is not just a Game of the Year contender but possibly even one of the best games to release this generation (you can check out our review here). Now that I’ve played a few hours of its online mode, I can give you some of my first impressions.
When I got into the prologue (I’ll explain that in a bit), I was tasked with creating my online character for Red Dead Redemption 2. Before we go any further, there will be many comparisons between Red Dead Online and GTA Online. I can’t help it. Both of these modes are so similar that it’s hard to keep GTA V’s online out of my mind.
Character creation for Red Dead Redemption 2 Online is so much better than the one present in GTA Online. I’m sure many of you have seen the memes and articles detailing how ugly some of these character models are and while you can definitely create a protagonist with a face only his/her mother could love, the creator is far more detailed than I expected. If you take your time with this aspect, you can craft a respectable looking outlaw in the Wild West.
That being said, I do wish there were more customization options for my character. There are only a select few choices when it comes to your hair and facial hair, which is a sharp contrast from the game’s single player.
So, I took my time and looking back, I think I actually did a decent job at creating my outlaw (well, somewhat decent). Anyway, it was time to delve head-first into the mode itself.
I was pleasantly surprised that the mode included a story. Like GTA Online, your character is a mute and due to this, most of the dialogue comes off as a little awkward. Funny, but awkward. I do appreciate the effort though and for what it is, the story mode works.
After finishing up the prologue, I was free to do whatever I wanted in the vast open world. I immediately rushed into the general store in Valentine to get out of my raggedy clothes. Then, I took my character to the saloon, ready to clean out the poker table there.
This was my first disappointment with Red Dead Redemption 2 Online. Not just because of the lack of poker but it was when I realized that the online aspect of the game didn’t feature any of the mini-games that helped immerse you in the amazing world Rockstar created.
Now, with a lot of my problems that you’ll hear about in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online (which aren’t many), it is likely that Rockstar will add these features into the online mode later down the road. But they aren’t present now and this is an article telling you about my first impressions so…yeah.
Another thing that plagues Red Dead Online is the economic system. I’ve seen tons of posts on Reddit discussing this aspect of the game. Here’s my opinion. We need to have something to drive us to continue playing. Having fun with friends and completing the same formulaic missions isn’t enough. For proof, take a look at Sea of Thieves or Fallout 76.
I have no problem with the cost of high-level horses or entire outfits. Those are endgame goals that I want from this game. And honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with the cost of any of the other obtainable items in the game if we received more money for completing missions.
Yesterday I played for about 6 hours. I accumulated about $230.00 playing Red Dead Online during that time. You’re probably thinking “It’s the Wild West, that’s a lot for that time period”. True, but it costs $75 for a decent jacket, over $100 for a bow, about $10 to refill your provisions, and I’m not even counting the gunsmith prices or items for your horse.
If we received more than $5 for completing a 10-minute mission, these issues would most likely dissipate. I would have no problems with the looming microtransactions if this issue was fixed. Honestly, I would probably buy more gold bars (the expected currency for microtransactions) if they changed this.
Gameplay wise, Red Dead Online is just as fun as you would expect it to be. If you loved Red Dead Redemption’s online and/or Red Dead Redemption 2, you are going to love it. If you found Red Dead Redemption 2 to be more tedious than it should have been, you’ll probably be done with it after a few hours. It all comes down to your personal opinion on the game.
Personally, I haven’t been able to really put the game down and I’m chomping at the bit to get back on after I’m done writing this. Getting your friends together to complete missions, take on bounties, hunt, and get sidetracked with good old-fashioned shenanigans makes hours go by like minutes. I’m dreading going to work tomorrow because of this mode. It’s been a long time since a multiplayer game has made me feel this way.
Verdict: I don’t know if Red Dead Redemption 2 Online is great yet. This is a game as a service product and at launch, the game is a blast to play. What remains to be seen if the game will continue to demand my time and effort over the next few months. There are important things that Rockstar has to address in my opinion so it doesn’t feel too much like GTA Online. What’s also important to remember that this is a beta. There will be problems. There will be glitches. As long as we stay honest with Rockstar regarding our concerns and the developer continues to provide new content for us to dig our teeth into (that is if your character has any teeth), I see no reason why Red Dead Online won’t be an amazing multiplayer experience for years to come.