[Possible Story Discussion] Red Dead Redemption 2 First Impressions


Thanks for this! Both guides you posted will be immensely helpful. I usually try to go into everything fresh but there’s so much to learn in this that I’m making an exception.


did the train heist and had literally zero fun. Just fumbled with the controls and then it ended. Cool.

This game is so far up its own ass but nobody stopped to ask if it was actually entertaining. The lumbering meandering and inability to move with any smoothness makes it a pain. Maybe the controls will get easier with more time but the world ends with you felt more intuitive and that game split my brain in half.

Also. Looting takes about four seconds per body/item. I just…immersion =/= realism. I am immersed, game. The snow piles immerse me. The wind immerses me. Making me pick up every individual item does not immerse me. It’s realistic. And it annoys me.

E: also the game crashed when i went to cut a video. My ps4 can’t handle all this AAA.


A moment early on that has been indicative of the game, for me, was after that brief nod to the Native Americans when you are first piloting the carriage with several gang members in tow. Basically how I remember it (been playing pretty nonstop and this was yesterday morning) was as one member of the gang is discussing his background as being from a father who was a former slave and a mother who was indigenous there are several prompts that take up the screen on every minute control scheme for operating the carriage.

Also when it comes to the whole looting post major gunfight, I’ve had it happen twice so far where other members of the gang go “we’re going back to camp, what about you?” and Arthur says he’s gonna stay there to see what he can find. After that cut scene ends, I walk around for maybe ten seconds and suddenly a “Wanted” activity is triggered and I have to get the fuck out of there. Like certainly I’m not worried about getting everything I can, but when you have these written dialogues where the character says “this is what I’m going to do” and then the game says “what do you think you’re doing?” it’s deeply frustrating.


I just got to the drinking scene with Lenny, and that was a very sweet, wholesome moment.

I hope there is more heart in the game like that.


That sounds like my response to the first Uncle mission. Karen, Tilly and Mary-Beth singing on the ride into Valentine really made the gang seem like a family and I loved it.


I feel like these are the things I see in other games that so clearly are fake in those games. Like its so easy to imagine the version of this scene that is so much more robotic, where the characters singing just seems like animatronics rather than humans.


There is a conversation I caught in camp between Abigail and Sadie where (very minor spoiler for something that happens in the first hour) Abigail is consoling her over of the loss of her husband (something most games would have treated as insignificant) and it was such a fucking genuine, uncomfortably real conversation that I’ve heard in real life. . Like I’ve been picking up every hitchhiker on the side of the road and just sitting down at tables of strangers just to hear what they have to say and it all feels genuine. The lengths this game goes to very successfully hide the machinery/algorithms that created this world is really its crowning achievement for me so far. It does not at all have the feel of a stilted, weird theme park where things purely happen for your amusement constantly.


It helps that they, I think, deliberately used a take where one of the actresses flubs a line and they all laugh in response. The chemistry is friggin magic.


I had my first horse die. It was following behind the train I stowed away on, then fell down a cliff or something. I rushed to revive it but then died myself. I don’t know if the body despawned at that point or if I could find it with enough looking, but I couldn’t find it either way, and was greeted by one of my stabled horses when I came to. I’m much more upset than I expected, but at least some of that is because it feels like it shouldn’t have happened. Tomorrow is a new day though, and I’ll just have to learn to love another horse.


The overarching narrative isn’t very interesting, whereas comparatively the game world works tremendously as a vehicle for old western story vignettes. It’s almost RPG-like in the capacity for engaging moments.

It helps that from the word go, most interactions aren’t framed as transactional systems in the same way as various contemporary open-world games. Which encourages just seeing what’s going on with another person, even when you know it won’t directly benefit you.

Also it almost totally avoids the GTA V problem where every interaction or narrative moment was set up like a repetitive skit about people being fake or whatever. RDR2 has more time to show people being mournful, vulnerable, regretful. There are still skit scenes, but they’re generally funnier than GTA V’s because you’re not existing in bizarro ‘They Live glasses’ world and can take the game more seriously.

Stopping off the road in the middle of the night to sit next to a stranger at a campfire and give them a bottle of whiskey, then having them spill their guts about the guilt they feel having participated in the military’s subjugation of Native American peoples, followed by no reward of any kind for participating in this scene, is exactly the kind of intimate mundanity I want to see more in big-budget games.


I decided to visit an actual city for the first time in the game last night (Saint Denis) and I’m not gonna lie I had like a borderline emotional experience there. I don’t think I’ve ever existed in such a well-realized space in a game ever. Loved all the different languages you can hear being spoken on the street. I spent literally 2-3 hours just walking the whole place on foot to see it all and soak it in, it was incredible. Got insulted by a women’s suffrage activist, bought a light jacket better suited for the warm weather, got pickpocketed outside of a gun shop and then tackled the guy and tied him up, it was wonderful.

Anyway, it was getting dark and my next objective was super far away so I decided to find a hotel to bathe in and then sleep for the night (traveling at night is actually pretty tough if there’s not clear skies since it gets super dark and pretty creepy in the wilderness, who knew). As I was walking to the hotel, I stumbled across a cop chasing a black dude who was shouting for help down the street and naturally ran after them both to see what the deal was. By the time I caught up, the cop had just finished knocking the man unconscious after cornering him and was carrying his body. I couldn’t let this go, so I antagonized the officer and called him out. He asked me what the hell I thought I was doing and Arthur says “just minding my own business. Pretty sure that fella was too, before you knocked him out cold.” I didn’t let up, and continued to follow and berate the guy for another block.

Eventually he’d had enough, and threw a punch at me, so I of course swiftly hit him back, leaving him unconscious on the curb, at which point three cops rolled up and opened fire. The next few minutes were a thrilling blur, a frantic street chase through grimy, dimly lit alleys, hopping fences and ducking into buildings (ran into the saloon at one point and caused a huge panic among all the rich folk chilling in there, which was cool) all the while frantically whistling for my horse. The whole town was in a panic at this point, all sounds of broken glass and screaming and gunshots.

I was running out of stamina by the time I got to the outskirts of town and was ready to take my chances swimming in the swamp to escape (had already been attacked by an alligator earlier that day so knew this would probably end poorly) but thankfully my horse somehow found me and scooped me up just as shit got real grim. By the time I got to a distant, safe clearing in the woods to set up a makeshift camp for the night, I was completely caked in dirt and blood, and for the 3rd time that day I’d lost my damn hat. Finished the night by dejectedly eating some crackers huddled next to the fire, followed by brushing my horse and giving them extra oatcakes for saving my life.

Finished the day with a 100 dollar bounty on my head, but felt pretty good about it. Hope that dude ended up alright.


I wonder if the story will follow through on that feeling/theme of the main character not being central to the game universe.


Mods are slep, post horsey

I’m pretty sure this guy was a pre-order bonus, but he’s so beautiful, my god. He’s also a war horse, so he’s my extra special brave boy who doesn’t get spooked when I blow off heads.


My experience with Red Dead 2 is soley from an entire twitter timeline of folks playing it and sharing clips and stories, so maybe yall can clarify something for me:

Everyone’s mechanics-led experiences seem to be either “I accidentally hopped on the wrong horse while [doing something] and I got a bounty” or “I pressed the wrong button and got a bounty”, sometimes the latter several times in a row and usually ending in the former. There are exceptions of course, Foxtrot’s adventures in St Denis sound good and wild, but the ratio of Cop Chases Through Cities to Something Fucked Up is vastly skewed to Fucking Up, as far as I can tell.

So like… is that it? Are all those interlocking mechanics really there mostly to magnify fuckups into comedy skits? Is all this “realism” really just making it funnier when a goat slams into an npc mid-conversation, or you misjudge a jump and your horse plants itself into a ditch? Or does all this stuff go down smoothly outside of all that?

Because the impression that I’m getting is that this game is a ludicrously high-budget Goat Simulator sequel.


When everything starts slamming together, it’s been mostly a mixed bag in my experience. For everytime that an argument escalated into a giant, satisfying, barfight, there’s been equal amount of times that Arthur got stuck in an animation loop trying to help a stranger. The game requires you to be really accurate when interacting with objects and can do a poor job of telegraphing consequences, so the odds of you accidentally punching your horse, or getting the law on you because you ran past an old man too hard, usually feel pretty decent at best.

I’ve had fewer problems in less crowded spaces, but when you’re in the center of a town like Valentine, be prepared to maybe get run out for a stupid reason.

It’s an improvement of GTA V’s Los Santos, whose facade would utterly breakdown with literally the slightest provocation, but yeah…


In my time with it at least (I guess around 15-20 hours at this point), most of the “wacky” “emergent” experiences I’ve had felt pretty grounded and mild compared to like a Far Cry, Just Cause, or even an AC to a lesser extent (Origins I don’t think is necessarily like this) where the game is trying desperately to manufacture wild shit like bears knocking over explosive barrels and subsequently lighting 15 square miles on fire because the game is terrified you might go 14 seconds without saying “whoa, pretty awesome stuff right there”.

Like I’ve accidentally backhanded someone walking by, crashed and landed in the back of some lady’s wagon, and pulled a gun on a shopkeeper by mistake which led to him just insulting me defiantly, and these were accidents for sure, but didn’t really lead to anything wild or out of proportion. For the most part, the shit that I’ve gotten into has been entirely deliberate or a reasonable consequence stemming from an action I took (like assaulting that cop in a public area). Part of this is probably due to what has also been a surprisingly jank-free experience (again I can’t speak for what anyone else has been seeing, I could be lucky), jank being a big factor in amplifying the hijinks you see in other open worlds (the old Skyrim classic of getting clubbed by a giant and flying into space, character models clipping into eachother to from horrifying monstrosities, etc.).

You’re right about the bounty thing though, it is super easy to get one on your head if you’re not a bit careful with your button presses and how you conduct yourself in public. I think the game’s way of compensating for this is just by making it super easy to pay one off in case you do accidentally punch a bartender in the face when you really just wanted to order a beer.


wrt bounties, something I forgot to mention is that the game does provide ample opportunity for de-escalation, like through paying it off, fooling the cops because they don’t know that you specifically committed a crime, or just leaving town because it was only a misdemeanor.


i bumped into a guy and he started throwing swings at me. I was blocking trying to defuse the situation and then another rando shot the dude in the back and I got wanted for murder.

so sometimes you don’t press a wrong button or a right button. you don’t press anything at all and get a bounty.


Had some good fun hunting my first legendary animal. Spent about 20 minutes being all stealthy and eventually it devolved into me chasing my prey down a mountain side spraying my revolver as fast as I could.

Skinned it and made the long trek to the trapper. While I was browsing the trapper’s wares trying to figure out how to get my legendary trinket the he aggros. There’s no explanation; he just starts threatening me and I lose all my options to speak to him. He begins to run away while spewing all sorts of lies about me so I shoot him.

Confused and annoyed that I didn’t get a chance to buy my trinket, I walk over to a nearby train station to buy a ticket out of this place. The guy acts like I’m robbing him and does the same thing the trapper did. I decide to just ride out of this backwards outpost, but suddenly bounty hunters appear and gun me down. I lose my legendary skin and $45.

I wish I understood what happened. Maybe bounty hunters spawned in far away and that caused all the shop NPCs to freak out? Pretty displeased about it.


I use him too. He is called Oatie. I watched the sun go down on top a snowy mountain while a bear ran across an icy lake. We are good friends now.