Arthur Morgan plays a role much larger than he knows. His actions set a momentous pace for the player; every step forward becomes a considerable time investment. Arthur’s journey in Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) begins and ends with a willingness to operate at his speed, and he’s in no rush.

Items are picked up individually. You cannot sprint through camp. Food is cooked one meal at a time. There’s a general weight to movement. From narrative delivery to character movement, the game’s most inconvenient moments are what affords its world such authenticity. The slower the pace, the more time you have to recognize detail—the better you can remember the adventure.

RDR2 succeeds on many levels, but it demands a lot of patience from players in the process. Despite the autonomy granted by roaming the wild, and the painstaking detail that builds it, progress is impeded by linear mission structures, restrictive animations, and capricious controls. And, somehow, it all works together to craft an enduring experience developed around player action and input.

 

Red Dead Redemption 2's best moments come from restrictions screenshot

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Red Dead Redemption 2’s best moments come from restrictions