The Glaring Issue in Red Dead Online
Red Dead Online was released by Rockstar Games in November and was viewed as, not a spectacular, but a semi-good addition to Red Dead Redemption 2. Of course, as it is in beta, people gave the game a free pass, but after 6 months of constant beta updates and additions, it has become pretty clear that this game suffers from a considerable issue that everyone seems to overlook.
The issue stands with a simple question. What is Red Dead Online trying to make its players feel? It is, to some extent, an identity problem.
Red Dead Redemption 2 made you feel like a thug and an outlaw running for your life. If indulged in the plethora of mini games and activities, you might even feel like a legendary Wild Westerner at heart. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey nails it perfectly to make you feel like a mercenary for hire. Horizon: Zero Dawn made you feel like an outcast in its huge world. But what does Red Dead Online make us feel?
Red Dead Online drops you in its huge and extremely detailed world, but this world is going to waste with its lack of direction. The constant weekly updates do add constant, albeit boring content, with its showdown modes and its huge range of clothing pieces, but I don't think the darned stockings is going to pull me and other players in once again.
I don't feel like a cowboy when playing Red Dead Online, and that's a problem. I don't care if I'm a cowboy or not, I just want to feel like something when playing the game. The game has many options to choose which path it could take. It could make us feel like a farmer or a cowboy having ownership of a farm, or a businessman in the West with properties, or a crime lord that undertakes heists with its posse.
This lack of direction ultimately destroys the goal of the player. At the end of the day, I want to know what am I grinding for, what do I need money for. At this point, I don't see myself playing anymore as I'm not even sure what am I going to be gaining by playing.
Take GTA Online, the monumental cash cow of Rockstar Games, it does not have this problem. The game has many identities the player can choose from , from creating a crime syndicate with your friends, or being the most famous racer on the streets of Los Santos. Its own story makes you feel like a crime lord to the point that it continues its effects till you put down your controller.
Sadly, the Online story of Red Dead Online, the "A Land of Opportunities", doesn't do much to fix this problem. It does give a choice whether to become a gunslinger or an outlaw, but that decision always leads to the same conclusion. It doesn't change the reason why you're playing. For me, whatever I choose, it doesn't affect my choices as, in the end, I'm still grinding for nothing.
Showdown modes are great. Some have proven to be fun, some boring, and some completely broken. But they shouldn't be the main focus for the game. The potential Red Dead Online has is exceptional, and it should embrace its open world instead of adding online modes that take you out of its unique grounded experience.
There are many ways to revive this game. Don't believe the naysayers that say that the game is dead, and it will remain dead. If Fortnite gained recognition after 3 years of first going into the public in alpha stage, than any game could. It's the decisions that Rockstar takes that will determine its revival.
Instead of adding NPC bounty hunters, make the bounties PvP. Instead of focusing on microtransactions, focus on fixing the darn economy. Add long term projects for players to look forward to, like properties and businesses. Create a new system of jobs, where you choose to make money either by being a hunter, a sheriff, or even a fisherman. The list is endless.
But most importantly, add an identity to the game. Red Dead Online is desperately clinging to the formula of other online games' successes that it's forgetting it can be its own, phenomenal game alone.
Unless Rockstar finally decides to give a proper identity to Red Dead Online, this game will forever be remembered as Rockstar's colossal failure. Now excuse me, while I wait for the Spring update while walking around Saint Denis with my darned stockings.
What do you think about this problem? Do you agree with my view on the matter or not? Post your opinion down on the comment section and let's start a discussion.!