My life as a (not) real cowboy

Arthur Morgan, also known as Coast Report staffer Trevor Michaels, shows off his virtual gun skills in the newly released wild west video game Red Dead Redemption 2. The game was released last week.

So far my week has consisted of robbing a train, breaking my friend out of jail, being run out of town, fishing, being killed by a bear, gambling and drinking, all while also maintaining a healthy balanced diet, getting enough rest and keeping up on my personal hygiene.

No, I’m not talking about real life.

I’m talking about Red Dead Redemption 2, the first video game Rockstar has released since the record-breaking Grand Theft Auto V in 2013.

Bringing in $725 million in its opening weekend sales, RDR2  set records for the highest ever number of preorders, highest day one sales, and highest sales for the first three days on the Playstation Network Marketplace.

Reclaiming the throne as the best creators of open-world sandbox video games, Rockstar has managed to create the closest thing to life in the Wild West that we have ever seen. Taking up over 100 gigabytes of hard drive space and requiring two physical discs to install, this is a beast of a video game

A prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption, gamers follow Arthur Morgan, a fellow gang member of the main character from the original game, John Marston. The game takes place before Marston’s wife and son were taken hostage by the government and ransomed for his services as a hired gun. In the second iteration gamers follow the gang’s escapades before everything fell apart.

Most people who play Rockstar’s games have been waiting more than eight years for RDR2. In the original, audiences developed such close relationships with Marston and fell so in love with the story that interest in a second edition began days after the original game came out, and speculation about its release never ended.

Immediately after beginning this game I began to feel the nostalgia that comes from playing any Rockstar game. Each game it releases is vastly different from the last, yet they are still similar in terms of controls and feel. This is because Rockstar’s formula works better than any other open-world video game company out there.

Already emotionally attached to first edition, I had extremely high hopes for the second. The story mode is 60-plus hours long, so I have still only begun to scratch the surface of this masterpiece. I can already say that the same emotional connection is still there, and this version has just managed to find other ways to get to you.

For example, after about a whole day of gameplay, I finally began to develop a good relationship with my horse.

Then my dad decided to try the game, and shortly after, my dad managed to jump off a high ledge and killed my horse. Yes, I am talking about my virtual horse in a video game, and yes, believe it or not, when that horse died it actually really hurt.

I had to go through the five stages of grief, because I put a considerable amount of work into developing a relationship with that horse.

This video game makes you consider every aspect of the life you’re living.

Everything you do has consequences and the better you take care of yourself and the things around you, the better you are treated and the better things like your horse perform.

In this game I have found that the more often I shave and bathe, the better I am treated by friends and strangers. If I get into a bar fight, the saloon will remember my face and remind me of it for many visits to come.

Funny enough, I even got fat at one point after making my character eat too much.

The aesthetics are not the only things. The graphics in this game are breathtaking and the detail is flawless. The game also has more than 200 different species animals and plants.

Everything I do has me fully immersed, and the gameplay is seamless. This means no loading screens and that cinematic scenes merge right into gameplay making it all one.

Combat has been slightly improved upon since the last game but stays true to its roots with things like the legendary dead-eye capability.

The hunting mechanics to the game have been massively improved upon, making it a much more significant portion of the game. You can also interact with anything and anybody you choose to with the simple push of a button.

This game has managed to make me feel like I am living a second life, and better yet, I’m a cowboy. Aside from just daily activities, the story mode to this game is incredible.

I’m only at the 30 percent mark but I have already experienced enough to say this is the most fun game to come out in years.

I don’t wish to spoil anything but the adventures it takes gamers on are incredible. They consist of murdering 30-plus people to get out of a sticky situation, or fishing with friends, or even helping two people find love.

This game is more than a game, it’s a lifestyle, and if you ain’t livin’ it, you ain’t livin’.

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