...And Arthur Morgan May Be The Greatest Hero
RDR2, ot Red Dead Redemption 2 was finally released back on October 26th, 2018 after eight long years of waiting. Rockstar took its first dip into the wild west with Red Dead Revolver in 2004 and the result was a memorable game and one of the best for the PS2 ever.
That success made fans want something bigger to explore in the days of the old west, so Rockstar went all in and gave us Red Dead Redemption in 2010. History was made with not just one of the best games ever, but a bar was set for the future of games in storytelling, amazing landscapes, compelling characters, and an iconic protagonist in John Marston.
RDR was a true open world experience that gave players the feeling of what the last days of the wild west were like with beautiful graphics that still hold today. It also gave us a movie-like story that follows an old outlaw who is tasked with finding the remaining members of his old gang by law officials. The end left us with one of the most emotional moments in a video game ever.
Enter Red Dead Redemption 2 and now the bar is set to a standard that I don't think can ever be surpassed. The eight-year wait for what would be a prequel was well worth it for the end result. Rockstar clearly put everything they had into making a masterpiece of a game that would make an everlasting impact.
When I first turned on RDR2 I have to admit I wasn't impressed. The long installation was one thing, but then I felt the first few chapters of the game was slow, the missions were boring and the traveling between locations took too long. Then the end of the third chapter happened.
That's when the game really picked up the pace. Each mission was more exciting than the last and I figured out why the early missions were necessary. It was all about setting the tone. Telling the story of the main protagonist Arthur Morgan and his relationship with the Van Der Linde gang.
The story starts out as a group moving from place to place as you rob, kill, and look for land to settle so you can provide for your adoptive family and give them a place to call home. As the story continues, Arthur finds out he is sick with Tuberculosis and doesn't have long to live. That's when he starts to reflect on the man he is and the man he wants to be at the same time questioning the decisions made by the gang leader and father figure, Dutch.
Arthurs climax is one of the most emotional moments in video game history as he literally fights to his last breathe to ensure the safety and survival of the members of his gang. You spend the last half of the game trying to absolve Arthur of all his sins as he engages in a final battle with gang member Micah Bell and Dutch himself. In the end, as Arthur lays in his dying moment you can't help but feel like shedding a tear.
That's not where the game ends though. We then pick up as another character, John Marston. Marston was a member of the gang and Arthur did everything he could to ensure John and his family would get out alive.
Your journey as John starts about six years after Arthurs death as he is in search of a new life with honest work. You find work on a ranch trying to figure out the future when John's wife leaves with his son after she feels he can't escape his past. John then buys a ranch and builds his own home in an effort to get back his family.
But then he finds out where Micah is and decides to avenge Arthur and finish it once and for all. This leads us into a final battle on top of a mountain that shows us why John is the badass that we saw in RDR1.
RDR2 in my opinion is the best video game ever made. It is the perfect combination of graphics, story, gameplay, and characters that a video game needs to have to be good, and I didn't even get into all the side characters you meet along the way. But this one is not just good, it really is a masterpiece. What makes it even more memorable and emotional is the soundtrack. The chosen songs make the experience mean that much more as you can feel the moment as if it was happening to you. Just relive the moment Arthur is riding into his final mission to the song "That's the way it is". The sadness you feel as you ride with Arthur knowing this is the end is what good storytelling is all about.
Now I know what some people would say..."Video games are for kids, grow up and get a job". My argument to that would be that video games have evolved into legit art forms that can rival any movie made and any novel ever written. Don't believe me? Just play Red Dead Redemption 2.