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Red Dead Redemption Day#17: End of Outlaws

This session is a striking departure for the rest of the game in a totally interesting and positive way. It begins with a nice resolution to one of the main plots with some decent if repetitive combat and some quite good characterizations. Then the game makes a striking turn that I never would have expected from Rockstar. There is some genuinely emotionally moving stuff in this game and I can honestly say that I have no idea where it’s going next. Bravo for his session, Red Dead. Spoilers within.

Stuck in my routine now, I start by playing poker and come out ahead by quite a bit. I go to the next Ross mission titled And You Will Know the Truth. There’s a CS of John going into Ross’s office. John wants his family.  Ross says he’s failed to save his family and that they should have killed him. Ross tells John he’s scum.  He says Dutch is charismatic, but a killer despite his nature loving stance and argues that rules ultimately aren’t so bad. John challenges him about how his rule-loving squares with the kidnapping of his family, and Ross says that there are always contradictions.  They want to get Dutch once and for all and John has to join them. That conversation was a good scene. The CS continues as the three walk outside and get into a car with a Gatling gun in the back. Marston mans the Gatling, and we drive to the location.  I start minigunning guys running at us on the horizon. It’s hard to hit them that far away, and I die once from a guy throwing bombs.

I get through the first round of enemies. We start driving and have to shoot more guys as we work our way up a hill. I die from explosives thrown from behind a rock. I die again at same point. There are lots of enemies on all sides and it’s hard to get them all. I finally get through it and get into a forest. We drive a short distance and then an explosion causes the car to flip over. We cut to a CS of people getting out of the wreckage. Everyone’s alive but Ross is hurt.  The agents say Dutch is insane. John thinks about saying no to continuing in the operation, but Ross explains that they’ll use John’s wife to get Dutch if he doesn’t cooperate. John tells everyone to mount up. It’s a long ride to the camp, and when we arrive, in CS an army guy sends a man forward to blow the camp’s large wooden gate. The gate blows and I  get control. We kill guys as we charge the open gate and up the hill. I die a short time after getting through the gate  because it’s kind of dark in this scene and I can’t see who I’m fighting. I use my repeater instead of my sniper rifle and make it the second time to the top of the hill. We get into the village and there’s another Gatling gun for me to man. I clear the enemies advancing at us with sprays of bullets and keep moving. There’s a CS as we approach the fort.  We’re provide cover for a couple of soldiers blowing the gate. I’m killed once because my cover is bad, and then I lose a second time because the soldiers planting the bomb go down. I then seem to die for no reason; I’m behind cover –who is shooting me? I die one more time the same way before I realize there’s a guy behind me that on my minimap looks like he’s in front of me. Once I know that, I take him down and we successfully blow the gate.

We cut to a CS where John tells the soldiers to look after the wounded — he’s got to take Dutch alone. Dutch CS mans his own Gatling gun. I get control and get behind cover to avoid getting killed. I just shoot randomly around the Gatling, but my shots cause explosions that set the platform on fire and make Dutch run. It’s anticlimactic but I’ll take it. There’s a CS of Dutch running and John beginning to follow. I get control for the chase. It starts with a run up several wooden stairs to a short CS of him shooting at me and then running again. I climb up to find a cave and then have to chase him up ladders in cave as he CS shouts about how neither of us can change and we can’t erase the past. When I reach the top of the last ladder, there’s a CS of Dutch exiting the cave and facing a cliff.  John aims at him, and we see that Dutch is wounded.  Dutch says he has a plan and throws away his gun. Dutch says they can’t fight change or gravity. John tells him to give up, but Dutch says he can’t escape his own nature.  John says he’ll shoot, but Dutch says another monster will come along. John says that’s the government’s business, but Dutch says that time has passed and jumps off the cliff.

There’s a CS at the base of the mountain looking at Dutch’s body.  Ross says I didn’t have the guts to kill him. John says he’s dead and that’s what matters.  Ross asks to see John’s gun then shoots Dutch with it, claiming it looks better in the report.  John asks about his family, and Ross says John’s wife was killed in a prison riot — oh, he’s kidding. The cops thank him and leave. I get control to ride back to the Abigail mission, a country song playing in the background. After a short ride, I get to a farm and a new mission: The Outlaw’s Return. John is shouting for his family in CS. No one answering but then Abigail exits the house. She’s furious and slaps him. She asks where he’s been, and then if he would have joined Bill and Dutch.  He says they both left that life behind. They talk about how life isn’t fair, but John says that’s all over now. Jack comes up and hugs John. Jack explains that coyotes took the chicken and poaching took the cattle. An old man comes up and makes excuses that John has no patience for.  John says they are going to have to round up some cattle. The old man and Jack leave, and John asks Abigail what she had to do while he was gone. She says she learned to cook rather than go to prison. We cut to a CS of her in bed and John sitting next to her. He touches her, but she slaps him away in sleep.  He finishes getting dressed and walks out the door.

And then I get control. Huh? The game isn’t over? Isn’t this the happy ending? I’m genuinely surprised the game isn’t over yet. I have to accompany Jack to the McFarlane farm to buy some cattle. Jack asks him a bunch of questions on a ride about what he was doing. John demures, but does say he did work for the government. There’s quite good dialogue here — it feels very genuinely father and son. Jack says he might want to work for the government or in politics. John says he should get an honest profession. We arrive in a CS of Mr. McFarland.  They will sell John cattle. Mr. McFarlane ask to go to pick them up from Bonnie. I ride a little and see Bonnie CS. She’s happy to see John and offers John some cattle.  I get control and have to move the cattle back to the farm. It takes a long time. Poachers show up as we’re riding. I fight them off and die fighting — there’s a LOT of them. I respawn and use my autopistol. I kill them all but lose one cattle somehow in the fight. I get back to the farm and get cattle into pen. I hitch my horse to end the mission.

There’s another Jack and another Abigail mission? It’s just fascinating to me that the game is not over yet. I do the Jake mission called John Marston and Son mission. There’s a CS of Jack reading as John approaches.  Jack says he’s reading about the West. John wants them to hunt elk. Jack wants to keep reading but John convinces him to come along by being funny.  Jack is obviously hurt because John disappeared and doesn’t trust him not to disappear again. We follow our dog to the elk, and when we find one, I snipe that fucker and then skin it. We follow two more and lose them, but then we catch the next two. This time, John tells Jack to skin them, and I watch Jack do it from the perspective I usually see my character do it. It’s a nice touch to reinforce the parenting. We then have to take the meat to the post to sell. It’s a short ride and then we get there. When we do, I go in and sell it. I return to Jack outside and we ride back together. In CS, Jack is very happy and John seems more relaxed. Wow there’s a lot to do on the farm. Since the game isn’t ending any time soon, I’m going to call it a night.

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  1. Eric S. Collado says

    This to me cemented this game as the best one I played in 2010. No game’s ending ever gave me a better sense of satisfaction than playing Marston’s effort to regain the trust and confidence of his family while setting things right (financially, teaching son skills, etc). The name of the game is Red Dead Redemption, and if you think about it the whole game prior to the reunion of the family was done under duress. Rather than being some plot contrivance to justify the grisly violence you just waded through, it feels as if this is the “redemption” you have to earn to “win.” This was the closest a game has ever gotten me to really empathize with a character since Cloud and his friends mourned Aeris’ death in Final Fantasy 7, and from then on you really wanted to kill Sephiroth.

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