[Possible Story Discussion] Red Dead Redemption 2 First Impressions


Oh, so literally every single Irish character ever written by those asshats? Just wonderful.


the wanted mechanic would only be realstic if you were a minority

it’s the only way bumping into somebody would lead to a $10 fine and make sense


And it’s the GTA IV problem all over again, where you have these genuine moments of thoughtful writing and then you get backhanded by the hackiest stereotype humor this side of Jeff Dunham. I’ll grant them that Sean hasn’t done anything, like, supremely obnoxious yet, he’s not the ABSOLUTE WORST CHARACTER like Irish was, but I still resent his presence. It bugs the shit out of me that he apparently has to exist alongside, imo, great stuff like Bill Williamson’s insecurity (Jesus, talk about a character I didn’t expect to love), The very sick Hosea trying to educate Jack, because his parents sure as hell can’t or Swanson’s pretty heartbreaking addiction


Last night, I did the mission where I saved Micah… You spring him from jail and then proceed to shoot up the entire town. Micah goes to get his guns from a house and murders everyone inside including a woman in this protracted sequence. Arthur just kind of stands there calling Micah crazy but shooting up the town all the same. I must have shot Micah three times which results in mission failure, but it felt good. Can’t remember who Marston put in the ground in the first game, but I’m hoping I’ll get to do that in this game

On the plus side there is a collectible side quest in which you help a paleontologist find dinosaur bones! So, that’s more up my street.

Also saved Sean and I agree with the sentiment with the rest of the thread.


I’m loving the game but that mission had me feeling like I was playing GTA and I don’t want to feel like that. I really wish you could’ve had the option to let him die. I don’t want to save him and I don’t want to shoot up the town.


Especially being that I’d just discovered this new town in the mountains, and it’s probably the first settlement I’ve discovered since Valentine and has a completely different vibe - and I’ve just shot it up.


Here’s a big bummer of a mission I did. It’s not much of a narrative spoiler but it is still a main mission: You get a tip from Uncle about a carriage to rob. It’ll be totally unguarded. I’m already thinking yeah sure okay video game. You get there, rob them, some guys show up and chase you, and you’re just supposed to flee not fight. We hide in a barn, wait til night, then see the folks we pissed off snooping around. It looks like this is gonna be a mission with no violence. The guards get to the barn, and in my head I’m like “WOW I WISH I COULD LIKE MOVE AROUND OR TAKE THIS GUY OUT STEALTHILY” but the game is like nah son. Just as they’re about to leave, it seems, Bill fucking Williamson shoots one of them and we have a big ass firefight in this barn. It sucks because we’ve just gotten to a new area, we’re laying low, but then we cause a huge gunfight with some people who really don’t like us. It felt like “oh yeah, we’re playing this, huh,” where so much of the game has felt like something new and genuine. Then we go back to “yup, shooting up stuff and getting the law on us and we’re probably fucked again.” It had to happen eventually, that’s how this goes, but it felt early, it felt sudden. It also feels like they won’t write a main mission without a gunfight. It feels insecure.


Doing the stranger missions? Fine, so far. The scripted scenes that set up the missions? Bad.

It’s all just so generically R*, you meet an eccentric dude and Arthur’s personality flies out the window, becoming a total dope who snarks about how kooky they are. This happens. Every. Time.

Arthur Morgan is a good character, he deserves better.


So, I’ve played a lot more, and Arthur keeps repeating this dumb ass line. "We’re thieves, in a world that don’t want us no more."

The FUCK are you talking about, my dude? When does any community like thieves? Of course they don’t want you. Now, what I think the Housers intended interpretation of this line is, “We’re a romanticized image of the outlaw, a staple of the old west that have been immortalized like Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill.” But you don’t convey THAT with that dumb ass line they’re using. Instead, Arthur is confused why normal people don’t want to be robbed anymore??? It’s a stupid line that the Housers think sounds cool.

I also got a bit of gender politics from the mission, “He’s British, Of Course.” This mission was peak Rockstar cynicism, and I hated it. Basically, the idea is a huckster who shows off ‘wild animals from around the world’ needs his stock back after they escape. They’re a tiger, a lion, and a zebra. Sort of… That part of the mission is pretty cute, but the way it’s set up is baffling. Basically, the huckster takes a woman’s name and is wearing a dress, and identifying as a woman to be, ‘The world’s best woman animal wrangler!’ The shitty joke is that he has a female assistant that only aspires to be the world’s second best animal wrangler.


So, throughout the whole mission, Arthur is picking on Margaret for claiming to be a woman, saying shit like, “That man will never be a woman!” And it was just so shitty… So mean spirited. This mission alone reminded me of old Rockstar games, and not in a good way.

Thankfully, this has been the one of the only times I have been reminded of old Houser writing, and it just sucks that this is in the game.

Also, I am getting real sick of Arthur’s ‘enlightened centrist’ POV.

"Man Arthur, these people hate black people, native Americans, Chinese, and the Irish!

"Well I hate everybody equally!"

Fuck off Arthur.


Really? That whole mission, I felt, was punching up. It was kind of refreshing and pretty clever.

It was about a capitalist exploiting identity for spectacle and is so ingrained in the system doesn’t see that there was a woman suitable for the job working for him. Or he simply didn’t because he doesn’t think much of women in the first place.

I noticed this in a few missions that they don’t beat you over the head with the point and just let you come to the conclusion by yourself. That one was a little less subtle but there are a few out there that are pretty great in that regard.


I guess that was the read they were going for, but I think what bothered me was Arthur’s commitment to the, 'You are not a woman." It felt more like Houser was trying to say something than being reflective of what perception to transgendered individuals was back during that time, despite it being abundantly clear the huckster was exploiting the gender identity he was giving for profit.

Granted, I have not finished the mission yet. And also granted, identity politics was not really a thing back then, save for the call for suffrage, but I dunno. I have a feeling there’s not going to be a resolution or comfortable ending to these two. If the woman takes over the huckster’s business and says, “Stop exploiting my identity for profit.” Then maybe I’ll have a more positive read on it.


Arthur’s actually been really working for me as a character mostly because his vibe of being a sulky, angry, apathetic centrist seems like a facade he’s desperately trying to keep up, unlike John in the first game, who actually is just kinda like that (I like John too for the most part, but for different reasons). John has no one around depending on him that he needs to put on a performance for in the other story, but Arthur has a whole camp of people who he needs to remind he’s a rough and tough outlaw who “hates everyone equally”, people who already tease him occasionally for getting soft as he gets older. He’s hiding his disillusionment from pretty early on.

And this facade cracks regularly. He’s openly uncomfortable and upset about doing the debt collecting jobs (there’s one later on where he’s trying to be extra intimidating and ends up slinging dumb, nonsensical threats at a guy because he can’t think of anything sufficiently scary to say), he gets increasingly fed up with his crew’s callous disregard for collateral damage every time he accompanies them on a job (dialogue with Uncle, Micah, and Sean long after their disastrous missions end showing how much of a grudge he has against them for being put in a spot where he has to kill excessively), and his journal proves a general curiosity and admiration of the world that a lot of his peers lack (there’s multiple great entries in there for me where he just sketches something with a note mentioning that he’s not sure why but this spot struck him as particularly beautiful and worth remembering). His anger isn’t targeted at society, people and civilization as a whole like Dutch’s is, which I think is where they’ll always be at odds. He feels like this was the only path for him, and he felt forced to choose it.

He’s actually been reminding me a lot of BJ from the new Wolfensteins weirdly enough, terrible upbringings and propensity for violence and all. Both people who desperately wish they were good at something else, anything else. They don’t really talk about what they do with any pride, but with a sort of exhausted resignation.


I’m going to start with what is probably a stupid question and I’ll feel like an idiot when somebody shows me the blindingly obvious answer, but: is there no save/load menu in the game? I played through the opening chapter, then dicked around the camp a little. I wanted to manually save or at least see how long it had been since it autosaved, but I couldn’t find any save/load/exit to main menu option. (Playing on PS4.)

A bit off topic but I wonder if that has to do with Imax? I know some films will change aspect ratio for the parts filmed on Imax cameras (The Dark Knight comes to mind). Not sure I’ve ever seen those changes carry over to the home version, though.


Yeah, go to story in the pause menu. It has a save and load option there.

And Kong is like that whether you’re in front of a TV or in a theater. It’s distracting for both.


That MAY be what the Housers are going for, but I feel like there’s a theme for ALL of the characters Rockstar creates, and it’s hypocrisy. Niko is a hypocrite for calling Darko out for being a paid killer like him, John Marston is a hypocrite for being the government’s errand boy when he’s just as bad as the criminals he’s putting down, the characters in GTA V are hypocrites for all sorts of reasons. They love the idea of challenging the player and the story with that hypocrisy, but I always feel like they never ever nail it. That reinforcement of, "You cause the violence you criticize,’ doesn’t mean shit when player choice comes into it. And the story itself encourages you to match the violence other characters commit with your own. And that’s part of the reason that the GTA V characters are such deplorable people, because they want to counter that ludonarrative dissonance critique. They’re scumbags on the onset and have no pretensions of being any better.

I can see the writing of RDR1 and GTA IV coming forth here. This is almost, I wanna say, a beat for beat remake of The Lost & the Damned. Billy is Dutch, Arthur is Johnny, and while I haven’t got far enough to make this call, it seems in the story that Arthur is going to be the counter to Dutch, much like Johnny was to Billy in Lost & Damned. The problem is that the game is right. Yes, these characters are hypocrites, so what are you actually trying to say to the player? What’s the punishment/reward for being a hypocrite? Why do you keep making games with the EXACT same messaging?

These beats are just so similar and boring… I’m enjoying the story, I like that we’re not taking a nose dive into cynical attitudes, but the way that Arthur is IMMEDIATELY critical of Dutch in the opening of the story, much like Johnny was of Billy, and how he continues to berate others for their, while willingly participating in it himself, overwhelming violence… Ugh. you SHOULD be able to leave Micah in his cell. You SHOULD be able to make a choice to shoot him in the back when he starts gunning down civilians. You SHOULD be able to say no to Dutch when he offers plans. The character WANTS to say no, so let him!

Of course, these are my early reactions. It’s just so familiar right now that I can’t be super hopeful of how it’s all going to wrap up. Having played the first one, we know how this story ends, but if it’s going to be satisfying? I don’t know.


I can not tell you how many times I went through that menu and skipped right past Story because I figured it was just a journal. Thanks!


I totally see where you’re coming from, and I absolutely don’t think they’ve broken completely free from their old habits when it comes to writing characters, but I’m finding this one much more grounded and believable because of one major variable to shake things up, and that’s Dutch. The presence of a manipulative cult leader like him who very deliberately picks vulnerable people of all kinds who’ve been cast aside (often shamelessly bringing troubled young people into the fold: John, Arthur, Lenny, Sean, others I assume) and feeds them a constant stream of lies and bullshit for years on end allows me to buy into character’s internal conflicts and ethical dilemmas much more, and sympathize just a bit. Niko and the GTA V goons I presume (didn’t play much of it) aren’t guided by a father figure who justifies and encourages their horrible behavior at every turn, I’m just supposed to believe they have some sort of good reason for acting the way they do.

In most stories about bad people, I just kinda roll my eyes at emotional moments where I’m supposed to feel bad for pieces of murderous garbage who occasionally feel pangs of remorse, but something about a man telling a group of misfits for decades that they are the last bastion of hope against a corrupt system that wants to destroy the lives of poor folks, and that lashing out against law and order at every opportunity is the only way to secure a free way of life for disenfranchised people turns this whole story into this pathetic sort of tragedy that I’m curious to see unfold.


I was thinking the same thing about TLAD, to the point where I was wondering: “Oh, is Micah the Brian equivalent? The shitty bootlicker that no one likes but is inexplicably in the boss’s ear?” and “Geez, is Danny-boy cannibalizing himself now?”

Buuuuuuut, I’m not sure I mind so much as The Lost & Damned is my favorite part of the best Rockstar open world game (Ask me how I feel about Trevor’s intro mission in GTA V sometime), and I still really really like RDR2, mostly, I just can’t put my finger on why yet.


Chapter 3’s started out really strong. Fishing with Dutch, getting deputized, blowing up a moonshine distillery, killing a bunch of hardline confederate assholes and working to rob two weathly families that undoubtedly owned slaves is exactly the kind of adventure I needed.


I make it a point to gun down every raider I see.