The biggest game of 2018, "Red Dead Redemption 2," may be the most detailed game I've ever played.
It's certainly the most detailed game I've played since the last project from Rockstar Games, "Grand Theft Auto 5."
The simple act of walking through mud in "Red Dead 2" becomes a sight to behold. Fighting in it — during a light rain, no less — can be downright distracting:
Each individual footstep shows up in the mud, quickly filled by nearby puddles and topped-up by the rain.
I spent more time than I'm willing to admit simply staring at the mud. How could it be so detailed? How could there possibly have been this much attention lavished on the ground?
Those stop and gawk moments were frequent while playing through "Red Dead Redemption 2" over the last week. It's a game that, even after dozens of hours, continues to surprise me.
Here's just some of the craziest, most impressive stuff I've seen:
1. Let's start with the bear head hat.
There are quite a few hats in "Red Dead Redemption 2," and even more outfit combinations. That's to be expected in any blockbuster, character-driven game in 2018. Who doesn't want to play dress up?
What's not so expected is this outrageous bear head hat, which is a bear's head — a bear you'll kill in a relatively early mission. This hat is almost certain to become yours.
After taking the bear skin to a trapper, he'll offer to buy your legendary bear skin. In an instant, he turns that skin into a handful of different clothing items. The one I purchased immediately, of course, was the bear head hat you see above. It looks exactly like the bear I shotgunned in a panic.
2. Your outfit, including the bear head hat, shows up in every cutscene.
No matter how serious the moment, whatever silly outfit you're wearing is the outfit your character will wear in cutscenes. This is no small thing — most games don't bother with this level of consistency.
And that's just the beginning.
3. If you're muddy from riding through mud, you'll appear dirty and people will react accordingly.
The main character, and the one you'll control throughout "Red Dead 2," is Arthur Morgan. If you get into a fight in the mud as Arthur, he'll get extremely muddy. When he walks into a bar, people will comment on his smell and demeanor. When he appears in a cutscene, he'll appear as a mud-covered maniac.
There's a level of detail consistency throughout the game that's subtle at first, and becomes almost overwhelming as the game goes on.
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Credit: Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive