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Red Dead Redemption Day#18: Into the Sunset

The final session of Red Dead is basically all narrative. The game continues to make interesting twists and have quite good character interaction. There’s one quite long fight that is very good. Overall, the ending of the game is excellent and a key of interactive experience. And the conclusion is a fascinating step up from GTA type narrative. Spoilers within.

I begin back on the farm. Wow, there is nothing I can do until morning – it’s 8pm and both the Jack and Abigail missions start at 5am. I guess that’s in theme but it kind of sucks. I sleep a couple times and then do the Abigail mission, titled Pestilence. John CS enters the kitchen to see Abigail cooking and talks about her cooking as poison, but he then tells her that she’s a good wife. They talk about how they’ve been blessed to have Jack and how Jack’s not going to be in a gang. This is followed by some good flirting between them, which is interrupted when she freaks out about crows getting the corn. I get control and have to shoot them away from the silo. I fail once to shoot fast enough to keep them away.  Hmm,  after several tries, I don’t seem to be stopping them from the corn even though I’m shooting them. I eventually use the auto-aim functionality more and scare the crows off to end the mission.

The next mission is an Uncle one, By Sweat and Toil. There’s a CS of John approaching the old man as he’s asleep. John wakes him and calls him Uncle. He thinks John’s mean and John thinks he’s lazy. They have to take the cows out to pasture. I get control to lead the cattle out. There are a few strays but I’m keeping them together. As we ride, I pass by a train being attacked. I try to get back to my herd, but the game tells me to deal with the outlaws instead. I kill them all and then go talk to the engineer (at the game’s request). He thanks me for saving them. I return to Uncle who berates me for helping the train and taking chances with my life. I get the herd to pasture. John CS asks Uncle to stay with the herd, but he leaves saying John got his pound of flesh from him. I guess the mission is over even though herd is still here, so I start riding back.

As I head back, a guy I pass asks for help to save his friend who’s being wrongly hanged. I ride to the location and kill the perps, but I didn’t realize until the game told me that I also had to shoot the rope and I’m too late to keep the victim from choking to death. I get back to the farm and hit the next Uncle mission: Continual Feast. In CS, the old man sees mustangs in his telescope and wants to get them.  John and Uncle fight because Uncle isn’t going fast enough to report these kinds of things.  John reveals the farm is in trouble and the mustangs could bring some needed cash. I get control and go wrangle horses. I get three with a little bit of effort. I go back to the farm to the end of mission.

I’m continuing to plow through my domestic missions. I go to Jack for his next mission: Wolves Fathers  and Sons. There’s a CS of Jack shooting targets.  John tells him he’s tense.  Jack says he wants to teach himself because John’s going to run off. John charms him down and then invites Jack along to scare off wolves. He agrees. I get control and ride to the wolves. We have to follow our dog to find the wolves and then shoot them. This is an easy mission. Along the way, John tells Jack that Uncle is not his literal uncle. Once we’ve shot several wolves, the hunt is over and we ride back. Jack wants to go out hunting alone.  John says he’s not ready to go by himself yet and shouldn’t leave the farm without getting permission. Jack and John talk about killing and murder (John differentiates, Jack doesn’t).  Jack muses about the idea of them being outlaws together (as a joke?). John tells him it’s not like it is in books and that Jack shouldn’t waste his life. The ride back ends with a CS of them arriving, and John telling Jack he’s a decent hunter.

On to the next mission, an Abigail one titled Old Friends New something (I miss it while I’m typing). In CS Abigail comes out of the house with a letter from Bonnie. She’s jealous and John defends himself saying that nothing happened between them. Abigail can’t read so John reads the letter to her. Bonnie needs corn sacs. Abigail says he has to help the McFarlands, but she asks what Bonnie’s like. John says she’s a woman in a man’s world just like Abigail. I get control to ride wagon over, but then Abigail runs up and gets in too.  As we ride, she probes about Bonnie.

(For the sake of full disclosure, an internet problem to caused me to lose a bunch of saved stuff at this point, so I’ll try to reconstruct from memory. Apologies about mistakes.)

I talk about Bill and Dutch a bit on the ride as well. We get to the farm on time.  In CS Bonnie and Abigail talk. A porter compliments John’s crop. Again, credit to Rockstar’s writers here – this is very nice realistic banter. The goods unloaded, the wagon CS starts going back.  Bonnie lingers outside for a while forlornly watching the wagon go. I get control of the wagon for the ride back, and Abigail talks about Bill and Dutch on the way. I  get back to end the mission.

Next up is another Jack mission. It starts with a CS of John smoking. Uncle comes up and says Jack went to hunt a bear. John curses Uncle for not taking better care of Jack. I get control and follow the dog a long ways up into the mountains back where I got that bounty last session. Once we get to the top, there’s a CS of John studying tracks then seeing the bear. Jack appears behind a rock; he’s wounded. I get control and kill the charging bear with one sniper shot. I skin it and then get on the horse with Jack.  Jack is sullen when he gets on the horse and is complaining about being treated like a child.  On the ride, Jack says that John is the only hero of the family and that John plays by different rules than everyone else. He also says he knows what John used to do with Bill and Dutch.  John says he’s just trying to make a better life for Jack. We get back to the farm. In CS Jack apologizes, and John says he’ll take Jack to hunt bears when he’s old enough.

There’s another immediate Jack mission and it’s the only mission left, so I do it. It starts with a CS of Jack planing something in the barn. John complements him on his handiness and tells him that he could make a great farm someday.  John talks about looking forward to quail season. Jack jokes that there’s nothing John doesn’t like to shoot. John agrees. John mentions flying machines, and Jack says they make men into angels. John reflects on that image. Suddenly, Uncle calls them outside. We cut to him, and he’s looking through telescope. John looks through the scope and then tells Jack to go back inside and to lock all the doors and windows. He hugs Jack and repeats his command. I get control to fight off army guys that are now rushing the farm. I die twice because of bad cover, but then kill them. I run back to house. Arriving, there’s a CS of John talking to Abigail and Jack. They hear more army guys are coming and Jack and John run back out. In control again, I shoot the first set of enemies. In CS, Uncle gets shot and wounded. Jack goes to check on him for a moment. The next wave of enemies is HUGE. I die once and respawn. The next time I use my autopistol and kill them all. There’s another CS as Uncle tells them to go on without him and then dies.  John gets Abigail.  As she leaves, she pays tribute to Uncle and then the family leaves the house.

The next step is to get Abigail and Jack to the barn safely. I have to kill one wave of army guys who are at the barn already, and then have to shoot enemies coming from all sides as my family tries to cross to the barn.  I lose the first time because it’s chaotic with army guys everyone and I miss an enemy who shoots Abigail. I win the second time when I’m attentive. It’s a very fun fight. There’s a CS when we get to the barn. John puts the Abigail and Jack on a horse and tells them to ride away. He says he’ll catch up, but the kiss he and Abigail exchange makes it clear that he won’t. Abigail and Jack ride off. John CS stares at them (close-up on John’s face) then he slowly walks to the door of the barn. He peeks out and sees LOTS of guys aiming at the door. He inhales and walks out. I get a control with dead-eye active to fight back against a ring of enemies, and I do shoot a bunch of them, but there are way too many. I take down a few,  but then John is CS shot like ten times. John falls to his knees as Ross casually smokes a cigar from behind the army circle. John wheezes and then dies, and Ross and the remaining army men walk away.

I get control as Jack rides away with Abigail. Abigail  heard the shots and tells me to ride back. I do and we arrive to see John’s body. CS Abigail cries over John and Jack hugs her. We cut to John’s grave with Abigail and Jack hugging over it. The grave reads “blessed are the peacemakers.” We zoom in on grave, and zoom out to two graves (one more for Abigail) and an older Jack looking over them. I get control as Jack, and as I walk away from the graves, I get the “Into the Sunset” achievement.

There are no missions on the map for Jack, but my best guess is that I’m supposed to get revenge. I have no problem with that — Ross deserves to die. I go back to the city where the Ross missions happened and see a stranger mission there. I ride up to it. This starts a CS where Jack asks a guy at the train station if he’s a federal agent. He is. Jack asks about Ross. The guy says that Ross retired with his wife to a cabin by a lake. The CS ends and I get ready to ride out there. As I’m leaving town, I catch a robber and play some poker for old time’s sake; I bust out horribly (my pocket queens to someone’s poker aces). It’s a long ride to a cabin. There I find an old woman. When I approach her, a CS starts where she tells Jack that Ross isn’t here. The government calls him back even though he’s retired. Right now, Ross and his brother are hunting on the south side of the river.

I get control and start heading to the hunting location on my map. As i head there, I see a soldier outside Fort Mercer. He ask for help to break into the fort. I climb in and start fighting the hordes of enemies inside. I die the first time after lots of fighting. I respawn,  go back to the fort and this time slowly kill the whole gang by sticking to cover and circling the inside of the fort. When all the enemies are dead, I get a message on the screen telling me that Fort Mercer is complete. I keep riding and get to the hunting location on the map. I find a man sitting by a fire. The guy is Ross’s brother. He says his brother is hunting closer to the river. He also tells Jack not to get on Ross’s bad side. I get control back and run down to the river to find Ross. In CS he asks if he knows me. Jack gives Ross his name. Ross  says he remembers Jack’s father. Jack says he’s come for Ross.  Jack says Ross sent John to do his dirty work then betrayed him. Ross tells Jack he’ll kill him too. Jack’s says he’s not going anywhere. This triggers a duel, and in that duel, I  kill Ross. It’s fascinating how anti-climactic and how wrong this feels, especially since I used Ross’s wife and brother to get to him. Anyway, Jack looks at his gun, and walks away from the river to end the story part of the game. A  Red Dead Redemption title card appears and credits scroll. When the credits are finished, we return to the game with me in control of Jack, but with the story mode done, I’m saying goodbye to this game. Well done.

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