Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

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Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:24 am

Hello and welcome to words with Friday, age 37 (my real age!) again. This time we're gonna talk about my favorite game of all time that doesn't have furries in it.

So, some of you (literally none) may remember that my second favorite game on my top ten list was Red Dead Redemption, starring everyone's favorite grumpy cowboy, John Marston. My top ten has changed a bit since then, thanks to games I played after I made it, like Bloodborne, but RDR still stands the test of time.

So I got a ps4 basically for three games: Bloodborne, RDR2, and KH3. Everything else is just icing on that trinity cake. Then the camp fire burned down my house and everything I owned except my computer and the clothes on my back. Whoops!

Then I borrowed my friend's ps4 and copy of RDR2 and have been playing that again from the start. Yay!

So, this thread is being written at the halfway mark of the game. I'm not done with it yet, and I'm writing this now as an "in the moment" review, which I think is just as valuable as a "looking back at the whole experience" for a game this large, with this level of scope.

So RDR2 is a lot like RDR1. It's a prequel and you play as Arthur Morgan, a man who is, if it's even possible, more grumpy (though slightly less bloodthirsty) than John. Since it's a prequel John is around and in the game, but he hardly resembles the man he'll become later.

Dutch is there, too, of course, and some of you (literally none) may remember my couple of paragraphs trying to describe his character from rdr1 as the primary (de facto) villain of the game. Here, he's literally the gang leader and father figure to Arthur, who was raised by him and another older gentleman by the name of Hosea, the two patriarchs of the gang.

Right. The Gang. The Gang is the best part of the game. Everyone who has played the game says so and they're not wrong. The characters are compelling, interesting, flawed. Human. Except Micah, who I can already tell is a piece of shit who is going to ruin everything. You interact with them in a really organic, integrated way, and although at first you have no idea who any of these people are (despite Arthur acting like they're his family) after awhile you will find yourself talking to everyone in the camp when you ride in just to see what they're up to. The different characters also interact with each other constantly, revealing more and more about themselves and how they live in this world. They'll play cards with you, they'll ride on missions with you, they'll go fishing and hunting with you, they'll take you along to rob homesteads (populated by bandits) and the whole time you're doing this you'll find yourself caring more and more about them. The voice acting is, if I may so, probably the best I've ever heard in a videogame. Each character is brought to life in a fully rendered, amazing way, and unless you have no soul you'll fall in love with all of them, or at least take an interest. Except Micah, who is a piece of shit.

The World is the last and greatest character. Just like in RDR1, the landscape itself is a persona. I thought my days of mounting up and riding out into a fully rendered western landscape straight out of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly were over, and it feels so good to be able to do it again. It's a bright, beautiful world (filled to the fucking brim with deer, deer everywhere, oh god why are there so many deer) that feels so real you could reach into the screen and grab a handful of dirt. I love exploring and this game gives you a million dusty roads to go down.

Actually, you know what, fuck this. You know what RDR2 is? It's a fucking Cowboy Simulator.

Remember when you were 7 and you played Cowboys and Indians with your playmates? And then you grew up and you put away childish things but part of you always wanted to go back to playing Cowboys and Indians? This game lets you do that and it is fucking amazing. Ignore the rest of this review, that's all you need to know.

Right.

Still with me?

RDR2 has what critics are calling an "indulgent" level of realism. You have to eat, feed your horse, brush your horse, oil your guns, blah blah blah. I don't mind it but I guess it can be sort of a chore sometimes. Don't care, Cowboy Simulator.

The controls are complex and take a lot of getting used to. Don't care, Cowboy Simulator.

The missions make you ride with someone and talk to them for awhile and then a gunfight breaks out. Don't care, I like the conversations and Cowboy Simulator.

The Multiplayer sucks and has problems and exists only to make micro-transactions possible so Rockstar can milk money from their userbasefucking idiots. Don't care, Cowboy Simulator.

Micah is a piece of shit and I want to shoot him and the game won't let me. (Yet.) Don't care, Cowboy Simulator.

Should you play this game?

Welllllllll, that's up to you. I like pretending to be a cowboy and fishing and taming horses and wasting a bunch of time just riding around and having random shit happen to me, then I do a mission or two, then I explore some more. Then I am attacked by a bear. AAAAAAAAAAAAA Then I rob a train and kill a bunch of bandits with a stick of dynamite tossed right on their campfire. Then I painstakingly research the best weapon and ammo to hunt a specific animal with and spend 5 minutes lining up a headshot to get a perfect hide so I can make a better satchel. Then I play some cards in camp and some blackjack and some dominoes with Tilly. Then I am attacked by another bear AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Does that sound fun? No? Cool. As I stated in my whole "Undertale fans don't know what the fuck they're doing" diatribe, each individual is the best barometer of their own taste. RDR1 and RDR2 are some of my favorite all time games, but they don't have universal appeal. (What game does? Stardew Valley maybe?) I feel like the "correct" way to play RDR2 (and 1, for that matter) is to "roleplay" it. If that kind of thing seems stupid to you, then you're probably better off skipping the experience, which will just bore and frustrate you.

One final note, regardless of how you feel about the gameplay and game, the fucking gameworld is A++++ amazing beyond words. I cannot overstate enough how floored I am by the open plains, the forests, the valleys, the snowy mountains, the frozen lakes, the shallow streams, the rushing rivers, the swamps filled with fucking alligators, everything. The way the light of the sun filters through the fog that rolls in at dawn, the way the mud sticks to my boots as I slush through it.

It's still a videogame, of course. There are glitches and contrivances and tropes and you can murder 100 people and then pay off your bounty and all is forgiven. It's not actually real life, as hard as it tries to be. But it's probably the closest a game has ever gotten that wasn't just an actual train or airplane simulator.

I'll update this thread when I finish the game with a spoiler post on my thoughts of the story and rest of the game. Don't hold your breath, it'll be awhile. I'm taking my time with this one, because god damn it I don't know how long it's going to be before I can pretend to be a Cowboy again in RDR3, or if that day will ever come.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:19 pm

I love Westerns. The best way I can explain that love is to say it's the... mythological character of them. A modern genre which distills very ancient storytelling.

My dream game for a while has been a functioning Pirate Simulator, though funny enough, I'm not much of a fan of pirate movies - piracy is something that more fun to DO. But no one seems to be able to make one.

There have been soooo many horrifically failed attempts by game companies of all stripes at this over the past five years, that I'm not sure whether to be hopeful or discouraged. But anyway, so far there exists no real Pirate Simulator (except, arguably, Sid Meier's Pirates, or Wing Commander Privateer, which may have been and technically still are excellent games but are still very much of their eras. THEY OLD. WE CAN DO MORE NOW. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. And okay there's Assassin's Creed: Be A Pirate, but that's still an AC game).

Anyway, in the absence of a proper Pirate Simulator, Cowboy Simulator has really sounded awesome from everything I've heard and would do very nicely as an alternative form of fantasy outlawry. My computer doesn't have a hope in hell of running R2D2, but it's something I'm eager to try when I can run it.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby beatbandito » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:24 pm

Mongrel wrote:My computer doesn't have a hope in hell of running R2D2

For more reasons than you may be aware!

I'm in the same boat that this does look like a ton of fun and I would definitely be playing it if it were on PC, but right now it's a casualty of my faith in my ps4 after sony decided to release a 4.5 and make games my console stands no chance of running properly.

All I can add is that it's weird that it's a game that my cousins that never play videogames will gush to each other about, and when aunts and uncles that only know the name mention it to me I can explain how the most notable feature is dynamic horse Rocky Mountain Oysters.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby nosimpleway » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:51 pm

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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:14 pm

A lot of the random events involve choice. Some of them I just ignore because I am roleplaying a "good" Arthur, or at least, I don't kill the innocent. Except when I do storyline required missions with Micah, because Micah's missions always end up killing a shitload of innocent people for no good reason, because he is a piece of shit.

You can steal bounties from legit bounty hunters, kill lawmen and free their captives for rewards, beat up or kill drunk assholes in bars, etc. I ignore all of that shit.

My favorite so far has been when I was doing a horse-riding challenge (ride from Valentine to Rhodes within X minutes) and a bunch of road agents blocked off a bridge with a wagon and demanded my money.

I was in a hurry, obviously, so I didn't let the scenario play out (you can pretend like you're gonna give them money and then surprise them at the last second) and instead just activated deadeye with my shotgun and put a slug into all of them, bang bang bang bang bang.

As I navigated my horse around the wagon and back onto the road, Arthur dryly commented "Good plan, fellers."
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:20 pm

Friday wrote:Arthur dryly commented "Good plan, fellers."


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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:13 pm

Sid Meier's Pirates


Oh right I wanted to talk about this. This is actually a really good comparison despite the difference in age/tech levels. See, Sid Meier's Pirates is actually kind of a shitty "game" when you compare it to, I don't know, Mario. There are no real goals or anything, it's just... go be a pirate. And that's really fun if you're into that kind of thing!

that's what RDR2 is. Go be an outlaw cowboy.

And yeah, a Pirate Simulator with RDR2's level of tech and detail would be fucking amazing.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:03 am

Friday wrote:And yeah, a Pirate Simulator with RDR2's level of tech and detail would be fucking amazing.


It's been my dream game for a few years now (space pirates would be even better, but regular pirates would still be more than good enough).

It seems like everyone has been, or is trying to make this, but literally every attempt has been royally fucked up in some way. Like I said, I don't know whether to feel depressed that no one seems to be able to make this work, or hopeful that so many people are trying to work on the problem.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:13 am

My most recent favorite occurrence:

Sat down to listen to a random mexican who invited me to sit next to his fire, he's mid-story about his best friend betraying him when an Elk comes running full bore into me, knocking me off a nearby cliff.

I barely survive (the elk did not) and I look up and whistle for my horse since the path back up is quite a ways. Instead of coming around and down the trail, my horse just jumps off the cliff and lands on me, killing me instantly.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:34 am

"I'm fine Arthur, stop bothering me"

*teleports from a sitting position to a standing position atop bench for 10 frames*

*teleports from standing position atop bench to stuck inside table for 10 frames*

*begins walking in place for 2 seconds*

*teleports 20 feet to the left, torso detaches and floats at high speed back toward table, legs continue walking away*

*torso turns to me*

"I'm fine, get out of here"

*both legs and torso vanish*
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Romosome » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:42 am

I followed a link here from chat and when I started reading Friday's post I thought she was just talking about her real life.

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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:54 am

listen while it's true that a deer did try to actually kill me in real life

uh

there was no mexican involved
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby nosimpleway » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:52 am

An elk and a horse teaming up to kill Friday is probably the most plausible RDR2 story I've heard.

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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:54 am

Alright, here we go. I finished the game's story (including the epilogue) two days ago, and want to go over my thoughts while it's still fresh in my head.

From this point onward I will be spoiling the story of RDR2. You should only be reading this now if:

1. You've already beaten the story
2. You don't care about having the story spoiled.

You've been warned.

The plot of RDR2 is almost entirely character driven. I briefly went over before how the Gang is the best part of the game, and to talk about the story you have to get to know the gang's principle characters. We'll start with the big ones and move on to the supporting roles.



Arthur Morgan
The protagonist and principle character. Arthur is the Senior Gun in the gang, third in line in the loose chain of command the gang employs under Dutch and Hosea. Arthur is a fairly dour man, blessed and cursed with a sardonic nature and a dry wit. I played Arthur with High Honor (more on that later) which I firmly believe is the "intended" way to play the character. In any case, intended or not, I will be examining his character arc (which is the main arc of the plot) from a High Honor perspective.

The theme of RDR2 is Redemption and Hope. This is in a stark contrast to RDR1, where the theme was "everyone pays for their sins, and death (change) comes for us all." These two themes are in fairly stark opposition to each other, though both are of course equally valid. I always found it interesting that a game called "Red Dead Redemption so violently rejected the concept, so it was nice to see that idea examined in the sequel.

Well, prequel. For those of you who don't know, RDR2 is a prequel to RDR1, set in 1899 while RDR1 was set in 1911.

Anyway. Back to Arthur.

As you can probably imagine, given the stated theme of the game of Redemption, Arthur has a bad past. He's a killer and a thief. Though the gang has "rules" that separate their behavior from the "bad guys", this is just a thin veneer that serves as a justification for their selfish and destructive actions. Arthur is starting to realize this. Numerous times through the game, Arthur will perform good deeds and help people, and be told by them he is a "good man." There is not a single instance where Arthur fails to reject this compliment, usually stating "you don't know me, I'm really not." Notably, near the end of the game, when Sadie tells Arthur he's the "best man I ever knew, next to my husband" Arthur admits he might be, but "he's seen the people she spends time with, and that's a low bar to clear."

The early chapters of the game are spent doing crime. Robbing banks, freeing Micah from jail and murdering the whole fucking town to do it, robbing trains and beating innocent people to intimidate them into giving up their cash and jewelry, stuff like that. This is in contrast to RDR1, where you (apart from a tutorial mission to teach you how the bounty system works where you steal a horse) can go through the whole game without doing any crime at all. In RDR2, crime and evil acts are mandatory to progress through the story. Now, these acts are never so heinous to turn the player against Arthur and the gang entirely, but they are very definitely evil acts. This is intentional, as, after all, just stating "Arthur has a bad past" is not enough to set up a Redemption arc. You, as the player, need to experience first hand beating a woman in the face so she will give up her money. But no evil acts stand out as much as the missions Strauss gives you.

Strauss is a minor supporting character, an Austrian elderly man who operates a money lending service for the gang. He occasionally needs a loan shark to collect on debts from debtors who are overdue in payment, and asks Arthur to collect. At first, these missions are morally palatable. An early collection mission involves beating up a drunkard who is hitting his girl, an explicitly morally bankrupt man who took out the loan and never intended to repay it. But quickly these missions become darker in tone. You help a man repay his debt by hunting a rare mountain lion to get its pelt so he can use it to pay you, the man dies in the hunt. Then you are sent to a homestead where a man dying of TB is working his field. You beat him within an inch of his life and then rob his house of everything of value while his helpless wife and son look on.

But this isn't enough for Strauss. In a later chapter you are sent back to the same homestead because the debt is still not paid in full. Strauss knows that the husband has died and doesn't care, in his view, the debt simply passes to the wife and son. After taking what little money they have left, the son looks you straight in the eye and tells you that perhaps one day you will pay for your actions. Arthur cynically informs him that "this is the way the world works" and that revenge is a fools game.

However the event leaves a mark on Arthur. (In more ways than one.) In an even later chapter, Strauss sends you to collect another debt from a drunken, child beating black man who lives in a small house near the river. The man attempts to murder you with a kitchen knife while the son flees to his room to hide under the bed. After disabling (or killing) the man, Arthur asks the son (a boy of perhaps 14 or 15) for the debt and the son tells you he has been saving some money on his own and hiding it from his father. You rob the boy and take the paltry sum back to Strauss.

However, when Strauss thanks you and offers you more work, Arthur questions him: "Is this tiny amount of money even worth it? What are we doing?" He declines any further work from Strauss and the mission marker vanishes off the map.

Meanwhile, the schemes and criminal activities of the gang have resulted in Jack Marston, son of John and Abigail (a 5 year old) being kidnapped, the death of Sean (the first gang member to die, and other than Jack the most boyish and innocent), and the death of Keiran in a abrupt and shocking scene where he is sent back to the gang decapitated, holding his own head in his hands lashed to his horse before a massive ambush by a rival gang.

Suffice to say, the gang is deteriorating. We'll get back to the overall plot.

Dutch van der Linde
The secondary main character with the most screen time other than Arthur, Dutch is the leader of the Van der Linde gang. Some of you may remember my write up of his complicated villainous character from RDR1 years ago, when I claimed he was one of the best video game villains, second only to Delita from FFT. Dutch is even more thoroughly explored in this game.

As a mentor to not only Arthur but the whole gang, Dutch is the father figure of the family. Shown to be equally ruthless and kind, Dutch is a silver tongued master manipulator, which the gang thinks is a skill only used for manipulating those outside the family. (Hint: It's not.) Dutch's arc is the exact opposite of Arthur's. He begins as a relatively good person (for a gang leader who murders and robs) and deteriorates into a cold blooded killer, a paranoid madman who lashes out at the only enemy he can find: Civilization itself. Yes, that piece of shit Micah is whispering into his ear and contributes to this, but in the end it's Dutch who "truly becomes who he always was."

But that being said, Dutch is not a cartoon villain. His final act in the game could be considered a good one. Arthur's refusal to leave the gang due to being so loyal to Dutch despite everything going to shit makes sense, because Arthur was right: Somewhere in there, buried under all the paranoia and crime, is a good person who fights for the little guy. But in the end its our actions that make up our character, and Dutch's actions become increasingly erratic and deranged, abandoning his family, hurting and killing people for little to no reason, and just generally being a shithead.

Hosea Matthews
Hosea is second in command and one of my personal favorites. If Dutch is the father of the gang than Hosea is the grandpa. A con man and trickster, Hosea isn't above using violence when required but infinitely prefers to use his voice and his wits. Hosea is the "good side" of Dutch literally made manifest. An older voice of wisdom, he constantly advises Dutch to "lay low" and stop drawing so much attention to the gang with constant criminal activities. (Advice which is consistently ignored.) Hosea's death marks the beginning of the end for the gang and is symbolically the death of the "good" in Dutch. From his death we go from an idyllic family existence to a blood soaked, murderous band of criminals intent only on getting as much money as possible so they can escape the country.

Oh, and you hunt a huge bear with him.

Micah Bell
Micah Bell is a piece of shit.

The primary antagonist of the game, Micah is a fucking psychopath that Arthur hates. Where Hosea was Dutch's good side, Micah is Arthur's bad side in physical form. A self proclaimed "survivor", Micah will not hesitate to use excessive force whenever possible. Arthur despises him (because Micah is a representation of what he despises in himself) but it should be noted that when Arthur asks Strauss to get someone else to do his dirty work, Strauss says that even Micah won't work debt collection, considering it "beneath him."

After Hosea's death, Micah comes to the forefront of the plot, whispering in Dutch's ear poison. The game becomes a struggle for the soul of Dutch, with Arthur on one side, and Micah on the other. As the gang starts to abandon Dutch, Micah brings in new guns that he used to ride with, outsiders of a different brand of criminal.

In the end Micah is revealed to be the rat who was informing on the gang to the Pinkertons. But at this point Dutch is too far gone to believe Arthur when he tells him, resulting in the splitting of the gang against you and John.

John Marston
The protagonist of the first game, John is a gun in the gang and a shadow of his character we know. Arthur begins the game disliking John (because John left the gang for a year, an act Arthur views as disloyal) but at the end gives everything he has for John to escape the swirling vortex of madness that the gang has become. John is the main character of the epilogue, set in 1907. In the eilogue we see him purchases Beecher's Hope, his ranch in the first game, and building it up from nothing. His marriage to Abigail is explored as well as his fatherhood of Jack (something he rejects in the early game). In the end, it's him, Sadie, and Charles who track down Micah and finally put a fucking bullet (or six) into his traitorous skull.

Sadie Adler
Sadie is first encountered early on when you find a house a rival gang has attacked. Her husband is murdered and it's strongly implied she was raped. She spends the entire second chapter in grief and recovery, hardly saying anything. It's not until chapter 3 when she complains about having nothing to do other than chop vegetables that you take her into town, she switches out her dress for a shirt and pants and picks up her guns.

Sadie's way of coping is to become incredibly violent. Her morals keep her from using that violence against the innocent, but apart from Micah she's the most bloodthirsty character in the entire game, reveling in the fight as a way to bury her feelings. Despite this, she is a valued friend and towards the end one of the only people who Arthur can rely on.

There is no redemption for Sadie. In the epilogue she works as a Bounty Hunter for the state, forced to find a legal means to continue her acts of violence having already (with Arthur's help) wiped out the gang who destroyed her life. She will continue her fight forever because she has resigned herself to it. Even if she wishes she could stop, she does not wish to face the black beast inside her and will instead continue to inflict violence onto those who she considers deserve it.

Though most people think Sadie is a "super cool badass" (and I mean, she is) I see her for what she really is: A pitiable creature. Sadie is perhaps the saddest character in the game, and that's saying something. Near the end of the game she mentions she wants to leave and go to South America, just to "do something different with her life." I hope she found peace, but I doubt it.

Strauss
Strauss is a minor but very important character to Arthur's development. He is loyal to the gang to a fault (it's mentioned in the epilogue that when the Pinks caught him and tortured him, he never said a word) but has no sympathy for outsiders.

In the final chapter, despite Arthur telling him he won't work for him previously, more debt collection missions become available. Arthur expresses extreme distaste but eventually relents when Strauss tells him he can't get anyone else to do the work, even Micah. The first mission to collect is from an army deserter who is with his pregnant Native American wife. After the army shows up to kill him (and you kill them) his wagon of supplies is burned down in the fight and he has nothing left to give you. Arthur refuses his last item of value (a silver locket) and tells him to take care of his family as best he can. He then goes to collect from a debtor's son and widow whose husband died working in the mines. When she berates Arthur that there is nothing left to take from them except "what little food is in our bellies", Arthur gives them money and tells them the debt is forgiven.

The mission objective then changes to "confront Strauss".

Arthur returns to Strauss and kicks him out of the camp in dramatic fashion, telling him to "get a real job" and that he dishonors "if that's even possible" the gang. Strauss is flabbergasted, telling Arthur they were friends, but leaves.

Okay. That should mostly cover it. There are other supporting characters with important roles, but I'll leave them out for another post maybe.

Back to Arthur and the main plot
In the final chapter Arthur is on his way to talk to Sadie when he suddenly coughs and falls off his horse. You stumble to a nearby doctor his examines you and informs you that you have TB and not long to live.

Yes, that's right, beating that sick man way back in chapter 2 got some blood in your eye. His son's prophecy of you getting what you deserve has come true.

But, instead, this turns out to be a good thing. Arthur decides that he's going to what he can with the time he has left to save as many people as he can. Having a death sentence finally clarifies Arthur's mind and breaks the endless stalemate between his darker and better natures.

His goal becomes simple: Get as many people out of the gang as possible before Dutch inevitably gets everyone killed. His primary focus is on John and his family, but he also saves a bunch of the others too. In addition he tries to help a nearby Native American tribe (lead by a another major character who deserves his own write up, Rains Fall) which goes about as well as you might think in the face of industrial interests on their land.

The final confrontation arrives, John and Arthur face off against the remaining gang still loyal to Dutch (including Micah and his hired guns) but is interrupted by the Pinkertons showing up. You and John escape, but Arthur, knowing he hasn't much time, tells John to "go and be a goddamn man!" before staying behind to fend off the pursuing lawmen.

You are ambushed by Micah and engage in a brutal fistfight. Micah tells you that you've lost as you crawl slowly toward your gun, but Arthur, ever the sardonic humor, informs him that "despite my best efforts to the contrary, it turns out I've won."

And he has. Arthur has redeemed himself by saving the good parts of his family and rejecting the darkness inside him. Whether or not you believe that you can wipe out bad deeds with good is irrelevant, because Arthur is a changed man. He has "won" because he has become better than he was. And in life, that's the only thing that matters in the end. He doesn't need to kill Micah because that's not the point. In the end, he tried to be a better man, and he did.

He dies facing the sunrise as he always hoped he would.

There's a lot more to talk about in RDR2's story and themes, but that's the primary arc in a nutshell. That redemption isn't about "wiping out the bad" but instead becoming a better person than your previous self. It's a powerful message and a true one, and whatever you believe about the nature of people, "take a gamble that love exists and do a loving act."

I'll leave you the source of that quote and the most important scene in the story. It takes place near the end, just a few missions before the last one. The nun is a character you have met previously, helping her out in the city.

(Also featuring a truly mighty beard. I kept Arthur clean shaven the whole game, but man, that is a powerful beard.)

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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:50 pm

So, what do you think the effect would be playing the story out chronologically, versus the published order of RDR1 -> RDR2?
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:35 pm

I've been thinking about that, and I think 2-1 is better.

Play 1 first (like I did) and you'll get the world fleshed out and John's background and motivation for his actions in 1 (doing a shitload of murder to get his family back) will have a lot more weight. But you can play it second and still have that.

On the other hand, play 2 first and you'll have a more, uh, dynamic experience. For example, going into 2 I knew John, Jack, Abigail, Dutch, Bill Williamson, and Javier had to survive because they're all in the first game. If you play 2 first (and are ignorant of the story of 1) then you can experience more dynamic tension because you won't know which characters have plot armor.

It's better to play 2 first. I am a big believer in experiencing things in chronological order, just because it eliminates that "oh, this character who I know survives is in danger, thereby draining all tension from the scene."

RDR2 did not hesitate to kill off its characters, so there was real tension in the scenes where characters you liked were being held hostage or whatever. But I mean, when Jack was kidnapped I wasn't afraid for him, because I knew he survived.

2 is a character driven story, 1 is more about the nature of change and how everything ends. I mean, there's a good bit of that in 2 also, as well as 1's themes of civilization and law (and the corruption inherent to those systems) versus the lawlessness and wildness of the west.

2 is probably mechanically a worse game than 1. The controls are clunkier, the "realism" stuff like having to brush and feed your horse are cool at first but quickly become tiresome chores. But 2 blows 1 out of the water entirely with the character-centric plot. I really cared about these people. I was glad that the ones who survived and went on to have good lives did.

So yeah, I think 2-1 is a bit better, assuming you don't know 1's story. Though if you play 2 first, you're gonna be real depressed about what happens to John, Abigail, Jack, and even Dutch.
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Mongrel
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:05 pm

If I can enjoy Peckinpah westerns, I think I'll be alright with a depressing outcome in RDR1. I love the genre too much and that's simply a part of it sometimes. Besides which, if 1 has a depressing end, I don't think a prequel with a positive ending changes that that's the eventual outcome.

Of course, having read your post (but not your review of RDR1! At least, I don't remember it if I have...), I know which characters have plot armour in RDR2. But I suppose that's simply another argument for playing RDR2 first now!

RDR is definitely pushing its way to the top of the list for games I would like to play once I have an upgraded computer. COWBOY SIMULATORRRR.

As for the "realism" stuff. Man, that's such a hard thing to get right, isn't it? There's a ton of Skyrim mods that require you to actually care about your own survival in a harsh environment, from making sure you don't starve to death to staying warm in what's a pretty generally cold place... and wow is it hard to find a balance between "tension of having to simply survive, without even getting into combat" and "tedious daily chores which make you resent them".

I really wonder if someone will figure out a good system, which isn't too complicated but isn't so simple that it's basically another HP bar.
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Friday
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Friday » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:08 pm

I think the key is to have it feel organic instead of chorelike. How to accomplish that, I have no idea.

I firmly maintain that if you have the option of adding a chore to a game or not adding a chore to the game, don't add the chore. It's fine that eating refills your cores. It's even fine that you gain and lose weight based on how much you eat. But having to brush your horse or oil your guns every so often or else their stats deteriorate is a chore and dumb.
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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:42 am

Hey Mongrel, meant to mention this when you mentioned Peckinpah but I forgot:

Rabin is doing a series called The Peckinpals Project where he reviews every Peckinpah movie. Might be up your alley. He's up through The Wild Bunch at this point.

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Re: Crimson Deceased Absolution Also

Postby Mongrel » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:51 am

Haha, neat.

Any review of Iron Cross is usually guaranteed to be fascinating, no matter the reviewers' point of view. That comes a bit later tho.
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