Red Dead Redemption: your new life as a shut-in

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Red Dead Redemption: your new life as a shut-in

Jonathan Watt, Reporter

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WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

I have a confession to make: I’ve been living two lives. For the past month, my entire world has been more or less consumed by a Wild West fantasy. My social life? What social life? My rapidly dropping GPA? I’ll deal with it later! My self-worth? Who needs a sense of accomplishment when you can ride across the faux-Heartland, fighting O’Driscolls and getting filthy rich?

Self-loathing set aside, this game is in a whole other realm. The year is 1899 and you play as Arthur Morgan, a cowboy with a loud outer shell but a reluctantly loving personality (at least, depending on how you play the game). You work for the Van Der Linde Gang, a notorious group of outlaws who are constantly on the run from the West. Each gang member is different; they demand more and more of you as the game goes on, and as you do odd jobs to help support the camp you’ll find yourself becoming attached to each one. While you grind through each mission in the beautiful open world, more characters join the gang and the story just becomes deeper and deeper.

However, the art of “complication” seems to be Rockstar’s forte. While I can safely say Red Dead 2 is one of my all-time favorite games, it isn’t without its flaws. Many players argue that its over-realism is actually a detriment. I confess, I sometimes agree. You have the ability to pursue so many different paths and live your in-game life in so many different ways, it’s somewhat overwhelming with your in-game character’s limitations. For example, unlike other games, your character can only carry so many weapons at a time. This is severely limiting and, while it forces you to be more conscious of your looting, it’s honestly more of a bother than anything. There were several occasions where I’d be fighting, only to discover that I had just an old and battered pistol on hand.

Another small disappointment, though there were so few in this epic tale, was the story breakdown after the 4th chapter. The gang’s inner circle of desperados decide to rob a bank, and through a dizzying set of events that I still can’t comprehend, they end up stranded on the fictional island of Guarma just north of Cuba. This section of the game takes up an entire chapter, and after the story just continues to go downhill. By the time the gang makes it back to America, Arthur becomes weak and ragged from sickness. You spend the rest of the game playing as a dead man walking. From this point on, it’s an endless cycle of shooting missions with a somewhat depressing undertone. This is not ideal, but this story turn is certainly not out of character for Rockstar, who introduced a similar turn of events in GTA V.

While it has its flaws, the game is without a doubt a masterpiece. I can see this being Rockstar’s best work. It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely massive with the most vibrant open world I’ve ever seen, and as a result, I may have gained some weight from constant gaming. The story issue and the weapons problem may certainly affect your gaming experience, but you’ll still find yourself engulfed in the lives of these people living in a bad time in US history. Their tale of survival is better than most blockbuster movies, and that is worth the price tag. So close your bedroom door, stock up on snacks, and get ready; you’re not gonna be out for awhile.

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