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Red Dead Redemption Day#10:New Country, Old Problems

The game has definitely gone down in this new section. The core play is the same, but the story has gotten very annoying with alternately condescending and boring NPCs, missions are frustratingly available only in certain time windows, and there are classic Rockstar problems such as having to drive all over the map to get to missions and have stupid, stupid save points that force me to replay huge sections when I die. It’s just not cool.  I’m at a point now where I’m just playing in the hopes that this section will end quickly. Spoilers within.

I start again in Mexico back in my little village. I can’t do the immediate gunslinger mission in town, so instead I play poker. I come up ahead thanks to a flush on the river of one hand — a gamble but it paid off. I still can’t do the mission in the town so I ride out. On my way out, I hit a guy with my horse as I ride and get a bounty.  How exactly am I supposed to avoid that in these small streets? FUCK YOU GAME. I find another house on the ride and I buy it to have an additional place to save out in Mexico. Before I leave, I also buy a new auto-pistol. I save a guy’s horse, capturing a robber and bringing him back to victim. After more riding, I get to a mission marked with a D and a new chapter: Civilization, at any Price.

It starts with a CS of Marston taking to a revolutionary. The revolutionary starts threatening me about how I think I’m bigger than him. Oh he’s joking – he’s friendly after all. His name is Capitan DeSanta. He tells me rebels have seized the people and that the colonel (his boss) is trying to preserve a way of life. He creepily adds that the people are easily swayed. Interestingly, there’s a homoerotic subtext between capitan and his servant in the body language they have. Anyway, John mentions Bill and Capitan says Bill is with Reyes. He doesn’t know where Reyes is, but they are trying to set up a trap to draw him out.  John agrees to go with them to make nice with the colonel.

I get control and have to follow Capitan. Dear god they talk A LOT about the Mexican government. Freedom vs authority, whether the leader’s a tyrant, what a revolutionary is –  isn’t this a western? Why do I give a shit about this? And it just doesn’t stop. It’s like five minutes of this riding and talking. Good god SHUT UP. We finally arrive, and the mission is we’re going to escort a fake service train and kill the rebels that try to rob it. We ride along side the train and have to shoot the rebels that appear. The auto pistol I bought is pretty sick, but man does it waste ammo. The train arrives safely. There’s a CS of us walking into the building. I cut to a CS of two guys approaching the train and assassinating the guards around it. Capitan tells Marston he has to stop the train before it reaches the bridge. I chase the train on horseback and shoot the rebels off of it. The game tells me to jump on the train but I don’t know how, and despite hitting every button in the game, I can’t seem to get on it. I then see a CS of the bridge exploding and the train falling into river, which is a pretty dramatic fail.  Damn it — I then fail again because I don’t know the controls to jump on a train. The third time I get it; I have to get alongside the front of the train to get the control option (square) to jump on the train. That could have been clearer. In CS, I stop the train before the exploded bridge.  John looks down the canyon and walks away as the mission completes.

I get control back and start riding again. I kill some wolves and take their skin. I ride to town and play some more poker and break about even. I find a bounty station – oh, I hit a police officer earlier, which doesn’t make me feel any better about the random bounty. I then ride off to an I Know You mission. There’s CS of John approaching the same guy from before at a fire.  The guy says that I’m a man who knows right from wrong. He’s impressed that I kill but I respect marriage and that I chose between god and my wife. When John replies that appropriate  judges will judge him, the guy agrees. He mentions a nun who is carrying money, and that John has a chance to save her or rob her. I ride off and find the nun.  I chose to donate money to her rather than robbing her. In CS, the nun says she needs a few dollars to help others.  John wonders why God doesn’t help them himself, and she says a few dollars will help them find faith.  I donate $10, she thanks me, and I get control back to ride off. Given how big Mexico is and how much riding I have to get anywhere, I change my mind and take a stage back to the gunslinger mission. It’s still too late at night for the mission, so I do a nightwatch mission instead. I try to dead eye shoot a bunch of robbers, but only one shot fires for some reason and then I get killed. I respawn at in the town, and it’s still night, so I ride out to find a stranger mission. In CS, there’s a guy that’s happy that I am American. The guy thinks this place is savage because they don’t speak English.  He wants me to get package for money. I ride back to the town and I STILL can’t do gunslinger mission. I give up and I just sleep to advance the clock.

I go back when I wake up, and it’s finally the day time so I can start the mission/new chapter: Landon Ricketts Rides Again. In CS Ricketts tells John that the Mexicans he’s talking to know where Esquela is.  Esquela has one of the mexcian guy’s sisters. Ricketts wants me to get the sister, but John is weirdly “not my problem” about it. I say weirdly given that I’ve helped about a hundred people in this game. Ricketts lamely attacks John for reluctance – man, this Ricketts guy is a jerk. John fires back that Ricketts ran away to Mexico.  They both decide to go to save the sister.  I get control and follow him to a train to get where we need to go. Thank Heavens I don’t have to ride there and listen to someone talk about cellular metabolism or Romantic poetry or something. I sleep on the train and we arrive at town. We then ride to meet the butcher (a merchant not a murderer) Carlos. In CS, Carlos tells us the sister is up in a cave. He’ll distract the guards so we can enter. We walk to cave and wait behind rock for Carlos’s distraction. He leads them off, and we run in and kill a bunch of people as we work our way into the cave.  We have to dynamite a cell door open, and I have to hold off guards and Ricketts sets up the dynamite. I’m pretty low on ammo since no one is dropping bullets for my good weapons, and I can’t see a way to go back to my old guns even though I have a ton of ammo for them. I  die once from a small wave of approaching enemies when I think I’m behind cover.  And when I die, I restart ALL THE WAY BACK AT THE WALK TO THE CAVE. OH COME ON.  DIDN’T YOU LEARN THIS LESSON ROCKSTAR? What happened? The game had such good save points and now they totally suck.

Anyway, when I respawn, I take a minute to figure out the weapon controls. Oh it was the interface that was confusing.  I can get my old guns back by selecting them on the weapon menu page. This time I just shoot the guards at the mouth of the cave so as to not wait for the distraction. We have to fight our way in, but it’s not significantly harder. When we get back to the door, I kill guards and defend Ricketts.  He blows the door and goes in the cell. Ricketts carries the sister out barely alive.  We have to leave with her, and so I ride through the ravine killing guys. I try to take it quickly and get shot because I’m out in the open on horseback. I try again more cautiously and get through it smoothly. We reach a camp and Ricketts says Carlos should have been here but something is wrong.  Carlos then arrives (well, guess nothing was wrong – what has happened to the writing of this game?) and we cut to a CS where the rescued sister tells us that Esquela didn’t capture her but that she heard about him in prison. Mission complete, I get control and ride to a new stranger. He’s a guy with a flying machine and he needs some adhesive to make wings work. Specifically, he needs feathers, beaver pelts,  and sage, all of which John agrees to gather. I ride off and as I do, some random guys kill me. I start again from Perdito and ride again, this time to get that package mission out of the way. The location I’m heading towards is all the way on the other side of Mexico. I ride up to the place where I’m supposed to get the package and there’s a huge fight going on. I have to help the general, and as I’m running around, I get a bunch of firebombs. I die as I run into town, because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to shoot guys or burn things to win the mission. Wow again I went ALL THE WAY BACK TO PERDITO, like 10 minutes of riding away. I guess all the warts are still there, Rockstar. Fuck this. Goodnight.

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