I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption lately. A bit late, yes, but I borrowed it off a friend after he was done with it. I wasn’t the biggest fan of GTA4, but all the reviews of Red Dead Redemption were pretty positive, so I figured why not give it a shot? Anyway, I don’t think I’m close to finish the game, but I’m pretty much done with it too.
You know how in TV shows like Supernatural, it’s episodic but there’s still some kinda over-arching storyline that each episode contributes a bit to? Like, in an episode the two brothers would fight some random demon and win, and then get rewarded with a clue to help them get to the big boss demon, right? Now imagine if there still was a major story arc, but every episode has nothing to do with it whatsoever. In fact, entire seasons go past where the major story is left untouched. This is the essence of Red Dead Redemption.
Here’s a standard section of RDR:
1) You meet a Quest-Giver. He says he can help you with information about your major quest, but you gotta do him a favor first.
2) You do him that favor, which is a boring-assed mission (most of the time).
3) You go back to him, and then he says he couldn’t dig up anything, but check back later and he might have more.
Repeat 9 times.
4) At the end of the 10th mission, he says “Sorry, dude. Can’t help you at all. But go see this other guy, and maybe he can help.”
You go see the other guy, and the vicious cycle starts again. If I wanted to put in a lot of effort to go nowhere, I’d have stayed at that magazine where the management Plays more than they Work. And the worst part is, you’re supposed to be a real bad-assed cowboy! Almost every single time, your character will threaten the NPC with violence if they don’t cough up the information, but he never does anything to them. He just gets used, and crawls back to them every time. Talk about Battered Cowboy Syndrome!
Now maybe this would work if the missions were particularly exciting, but mostly they’re not. The first two quest-giving NPCs were interesting, but after that you get really fucking pissed off that the story is not progressing along at all. You go to this town, you cross the border into Mexico, but ultimately you may as well have just planted your ass down because the plot goes nowhere. The NPCs (especially that old fuck in the screenshot above) are really, really annoying, cougars (the killer-cats, not the Courtney Cox variety) randomly pop out of nowhere to ambush you and kill your really expensive horse, and you have the swimming ability of Altair.
Which is a real shame, because the gaming world is really awesome. The flora and fauna is awesome. Hunting animals is really cool and awesome, but because it’s so realistic I have a really hard time shooting deer because I feel guilty. One time I accidentally shot a raccoon, and I felt like loading a game because of the guilt. So I found myself mostly doing the side quests like the hunting and survival tasks, but even those get repetitive after a while (not to mention ridiculously hard).
So yeah. Red Dead Redemption. Fucking boring.