Saturday, November 23, 2013

Red Dead Redemption: completed?

I'm up to around 70% of the game completed, and it feels like I've reached the end of the main storyline.  A pretty major character's death is a big sign of that.  If you don't know what I mean, and plan on playing the game at some point, don't read on ...

The major character is, of course, John.  The end of the game sees John being executed by the government, evidently to cover up his deeds.  I'm in two minds about this - it's a valid story mechanic of course, and the death of the hero is common in books and film.  It helps to draw things to a close and makes you realise just how emotionally involved with your character you've become.  My John was a good guy to the extent possible, helping people who were being attacked by wolves, capturing fleeing prisoners rather than killing them, not shooting deer or wild horses or rabbits.  The game needs to fit a story in, and to that extent John has killed many people, small animals, and stolen treasure and even a train.  Despite that, he's done everything that the government asked of him, and he was looking forward to settling down with his wife and son.  He didn't deserve that ending.

The game's endings have all been a little anti-climatic.  I wasn't given the choice of capturing Bill Williamson, but I didn't shoot him when I had the chance to - Reyes did.  I was expecting during that carriage chase that he'd have escaped somehow, but I quickly stopped the carriage and he was still there.  I'd realised that there was part of the map which I'd not been to, so I thought that my quest to kill Bill would continue there.  Instead, the government sent me after Dutch instead, with lots of little bitty missions that made me feel used and insignificant.  After Dutch died, again not at my hand, I went home, and the music that played while I rode to the farm at Beecher's Hope (that I'm sure I'd been around a number of times previously) was superb - it felt like a fitting end to the game.

I really appreciated the missions after this, for people around the farm, almost returning to the first few missions of the game where Bonnie wanted help with running her farm.  Going back to see Bonnie, and Abigail's jealousy, made it feel that John was settling back to a life he aspired to.  There were still some elements of the rough gang member, ready to kill those who stole horses or cattle rustlers, but he was ready to settle.  And then came the last mission; an assault by the army and the government.  Really affecting.

And now I'm back in the game, playing as Jack, given the opportunity to go and finish off all the bits and pieces I didn't achieve before.  I can go and try to win some more money at poker, gather the beaver furs and red sage needed for the flying machine (the last stranger mission I found but didn't complete), level up the challenges.  I don't think that I'll be doing everything in the game, but I'll certainly go and help the man with the flying machine because I want to see if he actually manages to fly.

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