RDR2 is slow. Infuriatingly slow. Purposefully slow.
I’m down from the mountains and the snow, which is essentially the tutorial section of the game. I’m now in the town of Valentine, which is where the game proper opens up. Pieces of the game are still opening up to me. Bounties, the concept of snitches, bar fights, sub-missions, general stores, stealing horses, exploratory events… It’s starting to feel like a never ending list of things to do.
But they always seem tempered by game speed.
The bar fight is a good example, where in many games it’s more about offense and active dodging. Here, it’s about methodically taking apart your opponent with strikes, chokes, blocks, and movement. God of War may have a 10 hit combo chain, here you have starts and stops of fisticuffs. It’s both jarring and oddly realistic.
Even the time spent between the various events is slow. The distance from town to camp is a solid 3 minutes of just following a road/trail. The farther a task takes you away from a hub, the longer it takes for you to get back to said hub. You know this is a factor since when you complete a task it actually has timed targets in order to increase your rank in said task (e.g. getting a bronze medal).
Yet I am in no way motivated to do any of these things faster. I’m in no rush to complete anything faster than the game projects the options. And in an immersive sense, this works wonderfully. If you can find the time to sit down, play through, and just enjoy the experience. It doesn’t work at all if life is pulling you in a dozen directions, or if you have but a moment to spare. It doesn’t work if you are playing any other game and jumping between. It is the antithesis to real life.
But good golly is it rewarding when you take it in. When you consider the effort put into each little detail. The fact that your hair grows and you need to keep it clean/trim is an insane detail that someone must have dreamt of. The mo-cap details for some of the interactions (and there are seemingly infinite interactions) are spot on. Even things we take for granted, like camera angles, are in nearly all cases put in the perfect spot to capture what’s going on.
The purposeful slow approach to this game really makes you take in all the pieces. I am continually amazed at what pops around the corner.