Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Thoughts on "Red Dead Redemption", pt1

            "Red Dead Redemption" is an odd game.  It has glitches which detract, its controls are ass for many situations but can be mastered if you are of the temperament to master video game controls.  Simply put: it is playable.
            BUT, I have some issues with the story.

Once Upon a Time in the West
            You are John Marsden, an ex-criminal who has been found by government men.  You have been taken into custody and your wife and son have been shipped off to somewhere safe.  The government men make you a deal, "Help us catch/kill your old gang and you get to go back to your family.  Refuse to help and we will just hang you for the murders you committed."  Honestly, it is a pretty good deal when you think about it, especially when you consider what would have happened if Django and Schultz had found him first.

            John then gets shot immediately.  Mostly this wound is born of stupidity having approached the situation with all the tactical wit of a drunken Santa Anna.  He is then helped by the kindness of strangers and has to set into motion a posse to take out the psycho who shot him.  And the psycho has a fort and an army.

            The first third of the game is excellent.  Everything builds toward one goal: attacking the fort, and killing Bill, the goon whose reign of terror you have been sent to end.  You meet a series of strong and interesting characters, you talk straight with people, and in the end gather up a collection of lawmen, rogues, and criminals to raid the fort that Bill is hold up in.  If the game had ended with the raid on the fort I would have thought, "That was a very well paced game.  Bit short I guess."  But I would have been happy with the ultimate conclusion.
            It doesn't end there.

Not exactly the Justice League.  But each is good in their own way and they make the Fort siege interesting .
I Have Sand in my Everywhere
            No, instead Bill escapes to Mexico and hook ups with a previously unnamed fellow member of the gang, Javier.  This is clunky.  I had up to this point thought Bill was the only guy I was after, now there is another, and they allude to a third.  I  mostly just roll with it.  They did a good job of building the first act, so I anticipated the second act moving at the same strong clip.

            Then a Mexican Revolution happens, and the pacing turns to molasses.

            I'm not kidding.  John gets dragged into political horse shit in Mexico, a war between a hedonistic governor and a hedonistic revolutionary.  I imagine this was to illustrate the old phrase, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," but in the end it mostly just had me feeling tired and frustrated.  I just could not understand why John would have gotten involved at all, but he ends up working for both sides and kills more people than the rest of the revolution combined.  John's in game body count must be in triple digits at this point.  And the fact that John has no substantive remorse about this, seeing the end goal of getting his family back as a clear and justifiable goal makes him into an absolute monster when you get down to it.

"But, it's so pretty.  Just look at those graphics."  I am not wowed by graphics.  it I wanted to look at something pretty there are better uses for my eyes.

Continued in Part 2...

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