A few months ago I wrote about how I just couldn’t get into Red Dead Redemption. My main reasoning for not being able to get into it was that it was a bit slow, and a lot of these open world games seem super repetitive. The fact that you have to drive, or in this case ride, from one place to another, kill a few dudes, then ride to somewhere else to get a new quest… which just has you ride somewhere else and kill a few dudes, got boring really fast. It also doesn’t help that it takes a decent amount of time at the beginning to actually get into the game. You’re wrangling cows and breaking-in horses, shooting rabbits, stuff like that… that’s not what I want to do. I understand that it’s part of the overall experience of the game, but that’s not what I want to do in a game. It’s a western, I want to rob, steal and kill things… that’s it.
I originally bought the game the day it was released in May of 2010, way before my daughter was born, so I had a lot of time to kill. I popped it in and was immediately kind of bored, which tends to happen with these types of games. It happens with sports games too. One day I feel like maybe I’d like to get back into them and after buying one, I instantly regret it. So Red Dead Redemption was no different.
I played through it for a while, getting to the Mexico portion of the game, but after that I started getting bored when everything was almost the same, in terms of mission gameplay, and the riding from one place to another was getting super boring. So after less than a week of owning it, I sold it on eBay and moved on. Figured the quicker I sold it, the more money I’d be able to recoup from it.
Fast forward to a few months ago and Microsoft messes up and Red Dead Redemption is all of a sudden backwards compatible before it should have officially been made so. The blogs and forums blow up with the information so I decide that maybe it’s time to give it another chance. It was on sale for like $7 that week, so I grabbed it, and sure enough, a few hours later, Microsoft fixed their mistake and it was no longer backward compatible, but we all knew it would be at some point. A couple months after that, it officially became backwards compatible and my copy was there and waiting for me.
I made a promise when I started playing that I wouldn’t give up on it until I completed it this time. So many people have told me that it’s one of their favorite games, and how excited they were when Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced, that I figured I had to at least play it through to the end to see what the fuss was about; maybe I gave up on it too early on in the story or something.
After playing it for a while, and not even making it as far as I did in my original play through, I got super bored again and wrote about how I just couldn’t get back into the game, and how I didn’t get the appeal. I figured, at this point, that I would just chalk it up to a $7 loss and move on, I had other games to play anyways.
After completing the Titanfall 2 campaign, and the finishing the backwards compatible Forza Horizon, I decided to give RDR another shot with every intention of finishing it through to the end. And that’s exactly what I did.
As of last night, I completed the game through to the end, without doing any side missions, and I will say that after playing completely through the game, it’s not as bad as I originally made it out to be.
The story is pretty strong and I grew to like most of the characters, however I still feel that the gameplay itself is very repetitive and grinding through the missions gets a little old. I eventually discovered that you can fast travel through campsites to waypoints you’ve selected on your map, so that kind of alleviated the issues I had with the riding back and forth to complete missions, but it doesn’t help the missions themselves.
After a while I found myself kind of bored with the cut scenes and started skipping them all together. And even though I skipped most of them, I was still able to keep a grasp on the storyline and understand what was going on. I don’t think I would have felt differently about the game had I made it a point to watch all of the cut scenes either, but overall I’m glad I finished it.
I could have done with all the bullshit at the beginning, in terms of hunting and cattle wrangling and horse breaking… in fact, I could have done without all of that garbage that repeats at the end of the story as well, but I get why it’s there. And as far as the ending of the story goes, I liked it. I thought that it was the way things had to end, and it was the only way to truly close that story based on everything that had happened. It’s a little unfortunate that I had the ending spoiled just a couple weeks ago when I was watching a live stream from some gaming thing, but it’s all good. I’m honestly surprised that the ending hadn’t been spoiled in the last six years since the game came out… I guess I just didn’t care enough to find out how it ended.
In the end I’m glad I completed the game. It’s still super slow at the beginning (and end), and the missions become super repetitive, but the storyline is solid, the gameplay is pretty good, and some of the middle missions are actually kind of fun. I’m still not super excited for Red Dead Redemption 2, and I probably won’t purchase it unless it’s on sale at some point, but I wouldn’t rule out me picking up the Undead Nightmare expansion if it’s cheap enough.