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Red Dead Redemption 2 review round-up

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most anticipated games ever made. But is it any good?

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Red Dead Redemption 2 - Arthur Morgan

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most anticipated video games ever made. It’s the latest game from the makers of Grand Theft Auto V, it’s a sequel to a much-loved classic, and it’s a game that thousands of people have dedicated years of work (and then some) to make happen. But is it any good? Here’s what the reviews say.

The latest open world blockbuster from Rockstar Games has been met with near universal acclaim. A positive response was expected, but recent stories regarding the game’s production have given many critics and fans pause for thought. It’s a discussion that will surely continue, but ultimately the end product is another success for Rockstar.

Reviews across the board praise the game’s characters, story, attention to detail, its interplay of systems, and its stunning recreation of 1899 America.

Keza MacDonald’s review for The Guardian finds much to admire in the hand-crafted world created by Rockstar:

“Were it not so astonishing to look at, the amount of time that Red Dead Redemption 2 expects you to spend enjoying the scenery might be intolerably boring. But the Old West that Rockstar has conjured here is close to miraculous. Its world is a collage of capsule versions of real American landscapes: the crisp cold of the mountains; mesa-studded plains that offer views for miles; foggy, humid mornings in the bayou in the fictional Southern state of Lemoyne.”

IGN‘s Luke Reilly also appreciates how Red Dead Redemption 2 feels alive, and populated by characters with small but real concerns.

“While the largely rural world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is far less dense than the likes of Grand Theft Auto V, it’s absolutely brimming with wildlife to discover, people to interact with (and potentially help), and places to scrutinise. The best kind of open worlds are those that seem almost indifferent to your presence in them; like life goes on whether you stick your nose into proceedings or not. I’ve sat and watched lumberjacks felling trees at a bustling logging camp and curiously tailed a perturbed Englishman wandering around town looking for his mate “Gav.” None of this is crucial to the progression of Arthur’s story; it just helps build a world around him that made me feel like a visitor rather than the centre of the universe”

Several reviews note of the lack of a fast-travel system. Although some consider the design choice to be a negative, Mike Williams at US Gamer finds pleasure in the slower pace.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game where sometimes it feels good just to space out and ride. Not doing any missions or robbing anybody… just riding. It feels like that’s what Rockstar wants you to do, and it’s why the studio throws in the back and forth riding. Because goddamn is the world beautiful. At points, it almost feels like Red Dead Redemption 2 is a simulation, not a game.”

With John Marston taking a back seat for this prequel, the player wears the hat of Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang. Martin Robinson, in his Eurogamer review, finds the character lacking in focus:

“Morgan is a less fleshed-out creation than John Marston, though that’s possibly by design – those small choices you’re afforded enable you to build your own reading of him. Whether you push him towards sainthood or villainy, he’s never quite as compelling, either, and as a result it’s hard to get a grasp on what exactly Red Dead Redemption 2 is about.”

The game’s story is well-received on the whole, as is the way its geographic canvas opens up once the main narrative thread concludes. There are a some common points of criticism, however. Chris Plante, writing for Polygon, says:

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“At its best, the story breaks away from the Western genre and plays like a cross between a heist movie, a domestic drama and a political thriller. At its worst, it’s a buddy action comedy. Mercifully, it manages to be more of the former than the latter.”

Gamespot‘s Kallie Plagge also appreciates how Rockstar has tackled some of the era’s social ills.

“Generally, Red Dead 2 tackles pertinent issues of the era with care. Rather than defining any of its characters by the bigotry they may experience, it allows them the room to be well-rounded individuals while still not ignoring that things like racism and sexism exist. One arc focuses squarely on a very serious issue, and here, the lack of real choice in the story’s direction–and your resulting involvement in what transpires–will likely make you uncomfortable in a powerful way.”

We’ll leave the last words to Kotaku, a publication that has done much to shine a light on how this ambitious project was created. In his review, Kirk Hamilton explores the game within the context of its development, saying:

“It is a stirring tribute to our world’s natural beauty, and a grim acknowledgment of our own starring role in its destruction. It tells a worthy and affecting story that weaves dozens of character-driven narrative threads into an epic tapestry across many miles and almost as many months. When the sun sets and the tale has been told, it leaves players with a virtual wild-west playground so convincingly rendered and filled with surprises that it seems boundless.”

Red Dead Redemption 2 is released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 26, 2018.


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Sony does the right thing, postpones PlayStation 5 game reveal

This week’s PlayStation 5 event, which promised to showcase PS5 games for the first time, has been postponed.

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Sony

This week’s PlayStation 5 event, which promised to showcase PS5 games for the first time, has been postponed.

In a simple statement on Twitter, the official PlayStation account announced that this week’s event – scheduled for June 4 – is postponed.

“While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games,” begins the statement, “we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.”

Black Lives Matter protests have been taking place across the United States after a Black Minnesota man, George Floyd, was killed by a police officer on May 25, 2020. That police officer knelt on his neck and back for almost nine minutes, while Floyd called out that he couldn’t breathe and three other officers stood and watched. The killing was filmed and widely shared, which led to protests; first in Minnesota, then nationwide.

In the days of protest since, police forces and national guard have responded with force, pelting protesters and press alike with tear gas and batons and rubber bullets.

We know you all love video games. So do we. And let’s be honest: when it all gets too much, having something to escape to, for the sake of your own mental health, is important.

But there are more important things going on than the next generation of video game console. So while there have been negative responses to Sony’s decision from the usual suspects, the positive responses have been the overwhelming majority. It’s absolutely the right thing to do.

Video games will still be here tomorrow. The PlayStation 5 and PS5 games can still be revealed when this is all over. But people are irreplaceable, and fighting for them is more important.


If you’re looking for ways to help, this Black Lives Matter Carrd site features a wealth of information on ways to help, funds you can donate to, and resources covering everything from protesting to mental health.

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Save up to 90% with this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold

Save up 90% on some Xbox One favourites with this week’s new Deals with Gold and Spotlight discounts.

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Xbox Deal with Gold
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Save up 90% on some Xbox One favourites with this week’s new Deals with Gold and Spotlight discounts.

There’s a modest selection of Xbox One titles on offer this week, but a few classics and hidden gems to catch the eye.

Among the Deals with Gold, you can find 75% discounts on Deck13’s pair of acclaimed action-RPGs, The Surge and The Surge 2. The mighty Divinity: Original Sin 2 is also reduced by 30%.

This week’s Spotlight selection is dominated by games and bundles from Ubisoft’s Far Cry and Ghost Recon franchises. Deeper cuts we recommend include Stellaris, Mugsters, and Mable & The Wood.

Both sales run through to June 8 via the Xbox Digital Games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the full lineup of discounted titles.

Deals with Gold Highlights

  • Digerati Mixer Bundle Vol.1 – 67% off
  • Disco Dodgeball – REMIX – 70% off
  • Doughlings: Invasion – 35% off
  • Gaijin Charenji 1 : Kiss or Kill – 50% off
  • Let’s Sing 2020 – 35% off
  • Let’s Sing Country – 35% off
  • Mugsters – 70% off
  • Nefarious – 75% off
  • Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition – 30% off
  • Not A Hero: Super Snazzy Edition – 80% off
  • Shape of the World – 70% off
  • Stellaris: Console Edition – 60% off
  • Terminator: Resistance – 33% off
  • The Forbidden Arts – 50% off
  • The Journey Down Trilogy – 40% off
  • The Surge – 75% off
  • The Surge 2 – 75% off
  • Think of the Children – 85% off
  • Weakless – 50% off

Spotlight Sale Highlights

  • 99Vidas – 90% off
  • Bedlam – 50% off
  • Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers – 75% off
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition – 50% off
  • Far Cry 3 Classic Edition – 50% off
  • Far Cry 4 – 67% off
  • Far Cry 4 + Far Cry Primal Bundle – 65% off
  • Far Cry 5 – 75% off
  • Far Cry 5 + Far Cry New Dawn Deluxe Edition Bundle – 70% off
  • Far Cry Insanity Bundle – 60% off
  • Far Cry New Dawn – 60% off
  • Far Cry Primal – 67% off
  • Feudal Alloy – 80% off
  • Gnomes Garden: Lost King – 50% off
  • Hexologic – 40% off
  • It’s Quiz Time – 30% off
  • Mable & The Wood – 75% off
  • Override: Mech City Brawl – 75% off
  • Pumped BMX Pro – 70% off
  • Rapala Fishing: Pro Series – 75% off
  • Super Night Riders – 75% off
  • Tango Fiesta – 85% off
  • The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition – 80% off
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint – 70% off
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint – Gold Edition – 65% off
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – Standard Edition – 65% off
  • Troll & I – 80% off
  • VASARA Collection – 90% off

Get news on the latest video game deals via our regularly updated sales page. And check out our new releases section for the latest PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition tops the UK charts

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition tops the UK software charts in its launch week.

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Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition UK chart
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It’s a welcome return for Shulk and friends as Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition tops the UK software charts in its launch week.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition has taken the top spot on the UK chart, some nine years after the original version debuted at No.7. According to reports, the game has sold twice as many copies in its first week as the Wii edition. As a result, Animal Crossing: New Horizons falls one place to No.2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare camps at No.3 for a second week.

Elsewhere in the Top Ten, a crop of PlayStation 4 games benefit from recent price promotions. The Last of Us Remastered re-enters the chart at No.9, and less discerning post-apocalyptic fans propel Days Gone back to No. 6. PlayStation VR Worlds also sneaks in at No.10.

Skyrim VR, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and Everbody’s Golf VR also benefit, returning to the lower reaches of the chart.

Finally, 2K’s Nintendo Switch ports of Bioshock: The Collection and Borderlands: The Legendary Collection land at No.18 and No.22 respectively.

Here’s the full UK Top 10. Visit the Ukie website for the complete Top Forty rundwon.

UK Top Software Chart -W/E 30th May

  1. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (NE)
  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. FIFA 20
  6. Days Gone
  7. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (RE)
  8. Minecraft
  9. The Last of Us: Remastered (RE)
  10. Playstation VR Worlds

Visit our new releases page for regular Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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This week’s new Xbox One releases (June 1-5, 2020)

Here is this week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One releases. One title is quite literally awesome.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Here’s the full lowdown on this week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One video game releases. One title is quite literally awesome.

There isn’t a huge amount to be excited about on Xbox One this week, but we promised you an awesome game, so let’s talk about one.

Awesome Pea 2 is the follow-up to Sometimes You’s enjoyable 2018 retro-platformer. The original was a slight, but occasionally tricky game starring a heroic vegetable. The peaquel promises a larger serving of everything, including dungeons, enemies, and loot. The pea-souper visuals also return, beautifully recalling the dingy display of the Nintendo Game Boy.

Other new releases include Strawberry Vinegar, a quirky visual novel about making food to save your soul, and We Were Here Together, a mysterious puzzle adventure set in the wastes of Antarctica.

The latest addition to the Thumbsticks ‘Big Book of Bland Game Names’ is called Cyber Protocol. It’s a fun retro-style puzzler. Finally, the long-awaited Eco Lifestyle expansion comes to The Sims 4.

Each new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the full lineup at the time of writing. We’ll keep this page updated throughout the week.

New Xbox One releases: June 1-5, 2020

Monday, June 1, 2020

  •  No releases

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • No releases

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Strawberry Vinegar
  • Depth of Extinction
  • Awesome Pea 2

Thursday, June 4, 2020

  • Pro Cycling Manager 2020
  • Tour de France 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio
  • Outbuddies DX
  • The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle (Expansion)
  • We Were Here Together
  • Rigid Force Redux

If you’re looking for some video game bargains, read our roundup of last week’s rockin’ Xbox One sales.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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New Nintendo Switch releases (June 1-6, 2020)

The Outer Worlds and Clubhouse Games headline this week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch releases.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

The Outer Worlds and Clubhouse Games headline this week’s lineup of new Nintendo Switch releases.

For all of Nintendo’s innovations, the company is always happy to revisit and reinvent past glories. Ring Fit Adventure is this generation’s Wii Fit. 1-2 Switch is Wii Play. And Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training is, erm, Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training.

Nintendo DS owners may recall Clubhouse Games/42 All-Time Classics, a delightful collection of parlour and board games released back in 2006. The Switch gets its own version this week with Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics (or 51 Worldwide Games in Europe). It’s another elegantly presented collection of low-key pastimes that are perfect to play with friends and family.

After a short delay in orbit, The Outer Worlds also lands on Switch this week. Obsidian Entertainment’s sci-fi RPG was well-received on its original release late last year, conjuring up some of that Fallout: New Vegas magic for many players. Virtuous, the company behind the recent Switch versions of Bioshock and XCOM-2, is handling the port. We’ll have a review for you on Thursday.

Other new games include retro-platformer sequel Awesome Pea 2 and the dungeon-crawling Knight Squad. WayForward’s Shantae and the Seven Sirens also get its European release.

We’ll keep this page updated throughout the week with any late changes. In the meantime, here’s the full lineup of new Nintendo eShop releases as it stands.

New Nintendo Switch releases: June 1-6, 2020

Monday, June 1, 2020

  • Do Not Feed The Monkeys

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • Liberated

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Awesome Pea 2

Thursday, June 4, 2020

  • Aqua Lungers
  • Depth of Extinction
  • The TakeOver
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens (EU)

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Bridge Strike
  • Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics/51 Worldwide Games
  • Knight Squad
  • Outbuddies DX
  • Pinball Lockdown
  • The Outer Worlds
  • They Came From the Sky
  • Strawberry Vinegar

Saturday, June 6, 2020

  • Potata: Fairy Flower
  • Super Holobunnies

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Visit our new releases page for regular Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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