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Review: Red Dead Redemption II

I mean, it's kind of a review.

Hello folks. Welcome to my review of Red Dead Redemption II. It’s made by Rockstar Games – the studio that brought you “Grand Theft Auto” and “Rockstar Games Present Table Tennis.”

My daughter got first crack at the game. It’s a reward for good grades. House rules state that if she gets good grades, I leave her alone. I don’t check homework. I don’t nag her about school. Oh, I’ll ask. “How was your day.” You know the answer already.


Well, she got amazing grades. I offered up anything she wanted as a reward. Red Dead Redemption was her hearts desire. Really? Seriously? It’s a horse thing I guess.

Red Dead Redemption II is totally in my wheelhouse. I like RPGs. I like westerns. I liked the original Red Dead Redemption. So, volume 2 has been on my list since it came out. I mean really, this is a gift for me. I’m buying her a gift for me. This is the best reward ever.

I’m only going to talk about the first two hours – two amazing hours.

There my daughter sat in the living room. She laughed and she smiled. We just hung out. My teenager just hung out with me – at home. We were just two gamers exploring a new world.

There was a time when I was everything to her. Daddy play with me! Daddy watch me! We spent hours doing puzzles, having tea parties and riding around on video game ponies. Do you remember that time with your kids? I was warmth, love, protection, a sense of self-worth. I was Maslow. And now, well…

“Bruh, I just shot that bear and I was about to take it back to the camp and then I was murdered by that guy behind the tree. Did you see that?!?”

“Yes, I saw it. Next time, keep your gun drawn.” She is a sweet, beautiful, wild, little vicious brute, 90 pounds of love and destructive force.

I just, I, well, look, I could write a graphic account of the how Red Dead Redemption II plays. I could start with a description of the first few hours, the flow, any glitches – that sort of thing. I can’t. I haven’t played Red Dead Redemption II yet. I spent almost no time looking at the game. It was on, I paid no mind.

Instead, I watched her. I watched my little girl – now a teenager. She teeters on the edge of adulthood. I wonder when I lost my little girl. When did she get so big? When did she leave ponies behind? How did I not notice? Maybe I didn’t want to. I know she struggles so much to find herself. I have so many answers she doesn’t want to hear yet. Today, questions were asked of me, like I was the expert. My answers as the gospel. “Open your inventory. You have a shotgun and a six-shooter.”

“Thanks Dad.”

I’m a gamer. I cut my teeth on Pong. I moved from Pitfall to Bard’s Tale to Tecmo Bowl to Tetris to Diablo to Everquest to Dragon Age to ESO. There were a hundred games in between. Those were my favorites though. She’s a stone cold gamer. She once cracked my Play store and bought $500 worth of online ponies. She’s a clever girl. After an initial mystery, I explained to the google rep over the sound of sobbing that the charges did indeed belong to me. She went from Ponies to Pokemon to this. I never saw it coming.

I don’t want her to grow up. I want to be the one that she comes to for skinned knees and brownies. I want to be the finder of her butterflies and the teller of her story. Those days are gone. She’s been replaced.

Hell, but there she sat – beautiful and mostly grown. There she was 2 feet away, asking me how to aim. I know it’s weird. For a moment, I regained my little girl in the midst of robbing a train. She was only there for a moment. As soon as I saw her, she grew up. It happened right before my eyes.

The best games take you to unexpected places. She’s not my little girl any more, and she’s wonderful.

So, Red Dead Redemption II, you are now my favorite game of all-time. Five stars.

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