A game of two halves
I’m now onto the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2 and I have to say it finally got me massively invested in it. There wasn’t any one specific thing that got me invested more than the plot and pace picked up significantly from around chapter 4 onwards, to the point where I’ve been pretty much playing as much as possible which is what I thought I’d be doing from the moment I got the game.
I think I’ve found the early part of the game too slow for a couple of reasons. The first of these is that I remember the original game starting at a quicker pace (though I appreciate this could just be nostalgia making me remember it this way), the other is that you go into the game knowing everything is going to go tits up so I think there’s a frustration at not getting to that quicker.
With the benefit of hindsight, I see this for what it is, a way of building up to the point where it all goes wrong and making you care about the characters that are part of the gang that you aren’t familiar with. I have to say it really does start to pay off as the game progresses to the latter stages, there’s a definite attachment to certain characters and a hatred of others which is achieved pretty naturally.
I liked Arthur as a character initially and assumed he would get some interesting character development over the course of the game but I wasn’t prepared for just how much and just how interesting. You get little bits of backstory and some genuine internal conflict which is incredibly well written and amazingly acted. This is to the point where Arthur might be one of my favourite characters of all time.
What really shines the most though are the story and stranger missions, the story where everything starts to unravel is brilliant and is in my opinion some of the best storytelling I’ve seen in a game, it’s incredibly cinematic and there are so many standout moments that I’d want to discuss but won’t to avoid spoilers. Some of the stranger quest chains are amazing too, and I felt a genuine sense of Arthur’s growth as a person with each one I did. I’d urge anyone to seek these out where they can and to keep an eye out for Hamish and Catherine Balfour especially as these were my personal favourites.
It’s not a perfect game, my criticisms of the controls hold true for the entire game (in my opinion) but I found I noticed them less the more I became invested in the story. There are elements of the story that will stay with me like they did for games like Mass Effect, Bioshock and many more besides. To anyone struggling with it I’d recommend bearing with it and pushing through, I’d hope you’d find it as interesting and rewarding as I have.
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