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You can play all of Red Dead Redemption 2 in first-person mode

Step right up, into Arthur Morgan’s cowboy boots

Red Dead Redemption 2 - Javier Escuella smoking a cigarette indoors
There were no laws against smoking indoors in 1899, and Javier Escuella seems like the kind of guy who would ignore them anyway.
Rockstar Games
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Red Dead Redemption 2 includes a first-person mode that extends through the whole game, allowing players to get up close and personal with the twilight of the Wild West.

We played Red Dead Redemption 2 at publisher Rockstar Games’ headquarters in New York City earlier this month, and briefly tried out the first-person mode. It’s dead simple to enter: On the PlayStation 4, you can press the controller’s touchpad in order to cycle between three perspectives at any time: third-person, first-person and cinematic cameras.

Rockstar says it’s possible to play the entire game in first-person — gunfights, fisticuffs, horse riding, on-foot exploration, conversations with other characters, you name it. Obviously, cutscenes won’t change, but aside from that, the choice between first-person and third-person views is yours.

The middle segment of our demo began with Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2’s main character, hanging out on the prairie with his horse. Building a bond with your steed is a key element of the game, and that includes riding your horse as well as taking care of it. For instance, your equine companion’s coat will gradually accumulate dust, dirt and other grime, and it’ll be up to you to clean it, because a soiled horse will have reduced stats.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - GIF of Arthur grooming his horse Rockstar Games/YouTube

You can clean off your horse by riding through a body of water, or by using a built-in option (and one that will let you stay dry): If you’re standing next to your steed, you can press a button to “study” it and another button to brush its coat. We tried this in first-person mode, and the perspective really shows off just how much detail Rockstar has put into the world of Red Dead Redemption 2. We could see dust particles coming off the horse as Arthur pulled the brush across its coat, as well as individual hairs in the animal’s mane.

Of course, this isn’t the first Rockstar game to incorporate a first-person view. Most famously, Grand Theft Auto 5’s developers added a first-person mode to the game for its port to PS4, Windows PC and Xbox One. But the more meditative world of Red Dead may be better suited to that perspective than the high-speed car chases of Grand Theft Auto, where the fast-paced action of modern life can have the tendency to overwhelm the senses.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set for release Oct. 26 on PS4 and Xbox One. For more, check out our in-depth hands-on impressions.

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