In terms of scale, scope, gameplay systems, and interactivity, Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like it’s shaping up to be more of an in-depth role-playing game than the open-world action game than we expected. As in most RPGs, there are a whole bunch of stats to consider when thinking about your character’s progression in single-player (Red Dead Online remains more of a mystery). In addition to a traditional health meter, Red Dead Redemption 2 protagonist Arthur Morgan’s well being is governed by Cores, which take some explaining to get your head around.
Although health, stamina, and Deadeye meters are separate from Cores, how they perform depends on the state of a corresponding Core. For example, the health Core dictates how quickly health regenerates, and likewise for stamina. If you’re low on health but the corresponding health Core is has been maintained well, the rate at which you generate health will be increased.
To keep your individual cores in good shape, you’ll need to level up the strength, grit, dexterity, and instinct attributes. Leveling up Cores is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which reflected the way CJ behaved on the character itself; if you ate too much junk food, you’d gain weight, or if you spent a lot of time sprinting around the city, you’d have better stamina. Similarly, in Red Dead Redemption 2 there are activities that you’ll do simply by playing the game which, over time, will improve your Core. Running, for example, once again improves your stamina, while taking damage and then restoring health will build your Health core.
This is one of the many ways that Red Dead Redemption 2 aims to provide a more compelling role-playing gameplay experience. Another is affording players the opportunity to interact with people in more meaningful ways. As Arthur Morgan, you’ll be able to speak to the various inhabitants and pick the manner you approach a situation. You can choose to be courteous and upstanding, or threatening and confrontational. The way you conduct yourself will have consequence, Rockstar says, and the reputation you build could impact how future events play out.
You can read see more Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay in the two gameplay trailers. The first is a broad look at the overall experience, while the second is a showcase of some of the action you can get into. If you want to know more about the horses and the benefit of building your bond with them, we’ve got a breakdown of that too. You can also check out our conversation above about the game’s opening hours.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has a confirmed release date of October 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The online mode, called Red Dead Online, will launch in November 2018–one month after Redemption 2 itself releases–as a public beta.