… it’s boring, the end.
No, but yeah but no, yeah. My brother played this before me and he was like “Eh it was kind of meh” and I just took that to mean it went over his head or he just didn’t get it or it was too slow for him because he’s not the quickest of cats at the best of times and he couldn’t get into kingdom deliverance or the witcher and he would never play something like dark souls. He’s not the kind of guy that likes in depth games that take a lot of skill and patience and grind so I just figured he wasn’t giving it a chance.
Because admittedly the beginning is slow as fuck. I mean it’s tedious and I didn’t know at the time that that pretty much sets the pace for the whole fucking game. You’re like ‘oh it takes a while to get going that’s all, it’s taking it’s time to build it’s world’ but it never gets going, it never gets off the ground, it just rolls around aimlessly the whole game hoping you’ll get distracted by all the side quests and mini games so you don’t notice that the plot and the characters are boring and unoriginal.
It’s like the game is a con artist and you’re asking it “So what’s the end goal? What’s the story about, how do the characters grow and why does this story need to be told in regards to red dead 1?” and the game is like; “Err… you like poker right?? I mean who doesn’t like poker?? Hunt or fish much?”
I usually like a game that takes it’s time and eases you into the game and lets you get to know the characters before everything begins and they start killing them off one by one for fun. But this game just goes on and on and on. And don’t get me wrong it has a lot of content, too much content, the game is almost too full, it gets to the point where it’s almost like filler and it’s why it took me ages to get this review out because the game is so bloated and the story is so filler heavy even without the side stuff it’s way too long.
The first thing I fought back against with my brother was the world, the world is very nice, someone went to a lot of effort to make it really beautiful and engaging so you didn’t mind the hours you’ll spend riding around on your horse to get to missions or just exploring. I found the hunting pretty fun. I didn’t play any poker which is weird because I played a lot in the previous game, the fishing was pointless if you ask me.
The mechanics are pretty similar to the older game, except they changed the dead eye system because in the older game when it gets better you get that terrible tagging system which ruins the fun of shooting people in slow mo if you ask me. Oh wow instead of shooting people you get to put a little ‘x’ on them and then your character shoots them, yay. But in this they reversed that which is a lot better and makes dead eye much more fun and useful. Although if I’m honest the game that did it best is Max Payne always and Call of Juarez let you control each gun individually when you went into slow mo, so you had a stick per gun and you could shoot two people at once, it was awesome. I don’t see why you can’t do that in this or have a trigger for each trigger. It would just make the shooting more immersive.
Of course I went for total immersion, minimal hud, first person all the way but I never really felt immersed, I was always aware I was playing a game despite the attempt at grit and realism in the plot and world. I never really felt like I was in a slice of that time period like I did with Kingdom come deliverance, that game literally feels like a simulation someone put an rpg into.
One of the things that really brought me out of it was just the rockstar humour and also the modern day morality and race politics injected into the game, The game really goes out of it’s way to be anti-racist and it has so many occasions where it’s pointing out race or purposefully ignoring it and Arthur will tell anyone that will listen that he loves all races. It got to a point where it was ridiculous, he encounters a eugenicist the game was basically using as an alt right talking point machine. And Arthur basically comes back with the boiler plate “But I have friends who are mexican/black etc” and I was just like; “Aren’t you and all your friends robbers and killers though???” Scratches head emoji haha. Like huh?
It just makes no sense and totally takes me out of it, the whole morality and legal system of this game is pretty janky and it just kind of reeks of too many cooks in the kitchen. I mean I get that this game is sort of about america becoming less lawless which I’d like to remind you is exactly what the previous red dead was also about. But seriously, if you so much as sneeze in this game you’ll have cops crawling up your ass with a microscope, I’ve had people punch me and shoot me for bumping them with my horse and I get shot at by the cops for defending myself. And the morality system is like “Loot and kill all you want, except not these specific people”.
Why do I not lose honour when I loot a bad guy but I lose it when I loot an innocent person I didn’t even kill, it makes little to no sense. Why is there even an honor system in a game where I’m literally a criminal, it’s like here we are robbing a train, oh I’m losing honour while robbing people, right, and also getting a bounty despite wearing a mask, so what’s the point of the mask then?
Also the honour system seems kind of redundant, it really only unlocks certain outfits and gun customisation. I heard it changes some cutscenes but who gives a shit, does it change the ending? No? Then who gives a shit? So much of this game just seems to be there because it’s in other games and not because it’s good or serves the story.
I get that these are little things but they’re just dumb, these are things I’m getting out of the way because the real kicker of this game, the big problem is I don’t get why it exists. Well I do; money. It exists to make shitloads of money and honestly that seems to be the only reason.
The brass tacks of it is that it’s uninspired and I knew it was just from the title, the first game was just ‘Red dead’ because the main character is called ‘Red’ I think. The sequel is called ‘Red dead redemption’ because the main character who is not called Red is seeking redemption by tracking down the members of his old gang and this game is called ‘Red dead redemption 2’ because the main character is also not called red and is also sort of looking for redemption, towards the end of the game kinda. I’d be tempted to add a tagline ‘Red dead redemption 2 – now with 10% more redemption’.
It’s just an uninspired title and it sums up the entire slog of a game. It’s just more of the same and what’s more it’s a pointless plot line just loaded with filler and uninteresting characters. I think the big problem with this game is the same problem GTA IV had, it’s trying to be taken seriously but also trying to keep that level of rockstar humour and wit and it just falls flat. Because you can’t do both, you can’t try to tell an engaging serious story about life and death and have stupid jokes and wacky characters it just ruins the whole tone. It’s totally inconsistent. It’s why GTAV was so successful, it got its tone down, the story and characters worked with in it and it was had a satirical message that resonated. There’s no satire in red dead really, it’s just sort of played straight.
Also the missions all feel really flat and kind of like they’re on rails, and there really aren’t any that stand out. There isn’t that one mission that you remember. It’s just white noise really. The story sort of meanders and goes nowhere and then it ends and then it carries on for like ten hours with a pointless epilogue about how John built his house.
This is what pissed me off about this game because its a prequel so the story really isn’t necessary. It’s what building on the world or the lore, it’s just wallowing and retreading. And the whole time I don’t understand why because the characters that you chase in the first game barely get any lines or do anything at all. In fact there are parts of the game where they just seem like idiot flunkies so it almost makes the previous game seem kind of dumb and pointless.
And obviously we already know what’s going to happen and who can die and who can’t so we’re expected to care about all these people we know are probably going to die or leave and it takes the sting out. Also none of them really get any character development or time spent on them. Unless you spend loads of time in camp reading their mail or just engaging in pointless pleasantries. Maybe that’s what the game expected you to do but I barely even went to camp because there’s a whole fucking world to explore, I’m not gonna spend my time pissing about talking to characters who are just gonna die anyway.
So my major gripe is that the games story is pointless, it adds nothing to the previous game, in fact it probably takes away from it. It’s like the Solo movie, we didn’t need to know where he got his blaster from or whatever, it added nothing, it’s just shameless money spinning. You could have just made a new game and instead you just made another one. I thought this game originally was going to be the most ambitious game ever and like how in GTAV you played three characters, I thought you’d get to spend time being all seven gang members and that would have been a fantastic way of getting to know them by being them and dressing them and giving them their guns. But no, none of that happens, you just play a guy was invented for this game just to *spoilers* get sick and die pointlessly.
Ok I think I’m done ranting about the shitty boring nothing burger of a story and now I’m gonna talk about the shitty boring nothing burger of an epilogue.
I don’t think I’ve ever wished a part of a game were chopped off and resold as dlc before. It’s an additional like 10 hours of literal filler just so you can kill this one guy and have a satisfying conclusion when you could have killed him 10 hours ago and saved me doing all those cow milking and horse shit picking up mini games.
It’s so pointless, and it’s just about John remarrying Abigail and building a house, and serves as like literal filler between the second game and the first. Why do we need to know how he built the house? And it brings in another gang to fight purely as filler combat to make the filler less boring. “Oh you’re trying to build a house but they kidnapped this guy or stole your tools, go shooty shooty bang bang them to make them stop”.
But also it makes me wonder why you didn’t just play John again and then the story could have been about his romance with Abigail and actually interesting. And some of the major plot points are about his son and Abigail getting captured or whatever and I think it would have carried more emotional weight if you were playing as John instead of just going to help out. The only reason you play another character is because they could kill him off and try to pluck at your heart strings really feebly.
In the first game you really feel like you go on a journey, and I wish games would go back to locking off parts of the map because it really takes the fun of going to new places when you can just randomly go there early and ruin it. The first game you travel to mexico and all over and it feels like you went somewhere, in this game you feel like you’re just kinda moving around the map not doing anything. It’s not a journey, it’s just you go over here now, now you’re over here, yaaaaay.
Don’t get me wrong, Arthur is hands down the best character in the game but there isn’t a lot of competition. The game has zero interesting characters and no villains whatsoever. I get that it’s not trying to be a game with moustache twirling villains but anything is better than just having no villains.
I know people are gonna say “But Dutch is the villain” but is he though? Everyone is telling me that but honestly he just seems more like an idiot to me. Like someone who was just coasting on luck and charm and one or both ran out. I just kinda felt sorry for him for being dumb and optimistic.
Like it’s trying to be like ‘He’s a three dimensional likeable villain.” But what does he do that’s villainous really?
I dunno, this game just felt like a slog, even cutting out the side stuff, it’s too long, it’s bloated, there’s just too much going on and yes you can have too much of a good thing, that’s what this is. It’s content for contents sake, how much can we stuff into this one game.
This is basically the summer block buster game we all have to love and it’s just a big boring mess. But it’s come out after a couple of big publishers just shit the bed, bethesda and EA just completely fell flat on their face and despite being beaten by Black ops Red dead looks great in comparison to those massive failures. But honestly its emperors new clothes, it’s a soul less cash grab and I can’t help thinking it’s because they’ve been going to ubisoft route in terms of how they do crunch. I think the without a union the games industry is going to crash from people being overworked and underpaid to churn out empty lifeless sequels that eventually wont sell. Ultimately red dead 2 did well but I think people won’t be talking about in a month or two just like no one is really talking about spiderman anymore despite paying youtubers to tell people how great it is and giving away a free suit at christmas which should have been in the base game anyway. It’s still a really disappointing game.
But it really put me in the mood to play the Mad Max game which surprised me with how awesome it is despite getting no love whatsoever haha.
So final thoughts, this game isn’t worth your money or your time, wait til it drops in price or don’t buy it at all, it has nothing to add to the red dead lore or your life in any way, it’s just spinning its wheels for 300+ hours with nothing to say, if you value your time, do something else.