I picked up Red Dead Redemption 2 a couple months ago, but have only really just started playing it this past week, as I’ve had some free time.
Post Breath of the Wild, I really wanted to play more open world games so I picked up Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2. And at E3, when Zelda director Aonuma cited Red Dead Redemption 2 as an inspiration for the Breath of the Wild sequel, I knew I had to start playing it.
The games share many features (hunting, horse riding, compendiums, weather, cooking, crafting, and more), but there’s also plenty that keeps them distinct. I’m loving Red Dead Redemption 2 so far, although I prefer Breath of the Wild (I usually enjoy puzzles more than combat), and there are some features in Rdr2 I’d love to see in Botw2.
The main way Rdr2 beats Botw is in its story. Botw’s memories provided some depth, but most of the story takes place in the past and not in real time like Rdr2’s does. And sure, it was cool that you had the option to go fight Ganon immediately, but in a game like Botw where so much of the enjoyment comes from exploration, I would much rather take the long scenic route than speed through it.
Rdr2 manages to implement a story while keeping the game from feeling too linear. It maintains its open world. Botw2 could definitely take a hint from this with something like Rdr2’s chapters. Botw almost seemed like it was going to do this starting with the initial trips to Kakariko and Hateno Village, but then it stopped. Botw2 could still have memories, but I don’t want it as the main storytelling medium.
Rdr2 is the first game I’ve played that’s not a horse game where you really have to take care of your horse. I’ve wanted something like this for ages. While I don’t necessarily see this making its way to Botw2, it might be neat. You can feed your horse in Botw, but it doesn’t have any effect other than a friendship raise. It would be great to see more interaction with your horses in Zelda, but they aren’t as integral to the game as in Rdr2, so I don’t actually see this being implemented.
In Botw, you’re pretty much on your own for most of the game. But in Rdr2, you have a whole gang of outlaws who you frequently go on missions with. From Botw2’s trailer, it seems like Zelda will be a companion for at least some portion of the game, so it looks like there’s a decent possibility of companion missions. It would be cool to see more of Riju, Sidon, Teba, and Yunobo – I don’t think there was enough interaction with them in Botw. They each had sort of a divine beast mission, but I really want to get to know them more, even with optional missions.
Somewhere I don’t want to see Botw2 taking from Rdr2? Fishing. I love the concept of fishing in games, but there are very few games with fishing mechanics I enjoy (I like Animal Crossing’s – nice and simple). Botw makes fishing as simple as it gets – just grab a fish in the water. I hope it keeps it that way.
I look forward to seeing more news on Botw2, although I don’t see that happening for awhile – maybe not until next year’s E3. So in the meantime, 28 days until Link’s Awakening!