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Beaver Tales

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Beaver Tales

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A Journey of ‘Redemption’

The masterpiece that is ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’
A+Journey+of+Redemption

I’m not necessarily a so called “gamer,” but I’ve played my fair share of video games before; and never have I played a better game in my life than “Red Dead Redemption 2.” And on top of that, it is one of the greatest stories between all the ones I have watched in movies and read in books. It is a fun, memorable, and emotional ride that changed the way I look at life. I highly recommend it, as it is one of the most realistic, human-like adventures I have ever seen. It is a prequel to the first “Red Dead Redemption,” which means you don’t need to play the first one to know what’s going on. The game has its funny moments, its dramatic moments, its sad moments, and really every other kind of emotion. It deals with loss, hardship, and redemption, and all of that combined helped me personally get through hard times of my own. I’m not usually someone who gets emotional, but at the end of this game I was genuinely sad and even got a little teary eyed.

THE GAME’S PLOT:

Before I get into my general opinions and thoughts about the game, here is a quick run-through of the game’s plot, which will be really hard to do without spoiling the game and giving too much of the plot away. In the beginning, we find ourselves in 1899. The Van Der Linde gang (led by Dutch Van Der Linde) is on the run from the law, after a big failed robbery in the town Blackwater, which resulted in some gang members dying, and others getting captured by the law. They lie low in the snowy mountains for a while before heading South to rescue some of their missing gang members, and acquire enough money to move to a new city or even country/island, as the price on their heads is too big to stick around. After attempting many robberies, the law begins to catch on quickly causing Dutch to think there is someone in the gang ratting them out. Eventually they plan a bank robbery in the big city of Saint Denis, but again, the law shows up too soon causing their plan to go down the drain.  The city goes on lock down, and the only way out is by boat. They use the boat to escape, and decide to take the opportunity to try to find an island that is suitable for them to live on, but they end up stranded on the island of Guarma where they only encounter more enemies, and more problems. This leaves Dutch down a slow path of insanity trusting the wrong people, making illogical decisions, and killing needlessly even by an outlaw’s standards. It is up to Arthur Morgan (the game’s protagonist) to make the right decisions, and find his true self in a journey of redemption.

CHARACTERS:

The characters in this game are so believable, and so interesting. In a weird way I could even relate and connect to some of them. There are about 25 (give or take) main members in your gang, and all of them had character development. Without giving too much away, you can kind of see the strong intelligent leader Dutch is turning into a crazy man who struggles to find the right path. We see some characters who are close to each other in the beginning of the game betray one another, and others who don’t like each other become friends. I won’t say who because it is a big spoiler, but one of the characters really has you feeling a lot of things. At first he’s kind of a cool rebel who goes his own way, and does his own thing, and eventually he becomes a suck-up to Dutch, and kind of manipulates and sways him into making wrong decisions… and I hated him by the end of the game with a passion.

Arthur Morgan the protagonist you play as starts off kind of cold hearted and angry. But as the game goes on he really starts to show all sides of his character, and it really makes him an enjoyable character to play as. He also has some goofy, kind, heartfelt, and curious moments that bring out a child-like feel to him, which is really fun to see with a cool hardcore character such as Arthur. There is also a part of the game’s story where Arthur gets a little emotional and says the words, “I guess I’m afraid…” and it was so deep to take in after playing as him the entire game and having him be such a fierce and strong character. He is such a unique character that can be seen in many people. Like I said, I felt like I could relate to him. In some of Arthur’s moments where he was helping people in need and hanging out with some of his fellow gang members, it reminded me of how my father acted.

One of my favorite characters in the game (besides Arthur Morgan) would have to be Mary Beth. She is an underrated character who isn’t too much of an outlaw, but she kind of got adopted by the Van Der Linde gang from a young age. She is probably the purest and nicest character in the gang, and Arthur and her have sort of a father-daughter bond which leads to a lot of wholesome moments between the two. I really felt like she helped add a lot of humanity to the story and kept things real in a way.

In between missions, or in between your free roam adventures, you can hang out at camp and get to know your gang members. You can also do things in the game like upgrade the camp or bring in animals for food that improve your relationships. There is always some conversation between the characters, which is kind of fun to witness. They talk among themselves whether your a part of the conversation or not, which is cool. Plus if for some reason nothing at camp is going on you always have the option to either “greet” or “antagonize” an NPC, in or out of camp.

THE GAME’S ATTENTION TO DETAIL:

What’s really unique and cool to me about this game is that it is both a free roam and a story game. I know that’s probably a common thing especially in Rockstar’s games like in the GTA franchise, but in this game it almost makes sense the more you free roam. Time is a very important thing about this game, and it kind of acknowledges the fact that your character is going to leave camp and explore the world around him for weeks on end. Another thing about how time works in this game is hair growth. This is one of the few games I know that has a detail like this. The longer your character goes without going to the barber the longer his hair gets. In a weird way that detail makes me feel a stronger connection to the character as if I’m experiencing the same thing he is.

The graphics are so incredibly good. Sometimes its worth just riding horseback and exploring the world. The map is nicely sized, and there are so many environments depending on where you go. For example, if you go North, you’ll end up in the snowy mountains, if you go East, you’ll end up in the pretty and colorful forest areas, and if you go Southeast, you’ll end up in the deadly gator covered swamps.

FREE ROAM:

Free roam is special in this game because of how much there is to do. There are so many side missions you can do, just by simply running into a random NPC stranger on your free roam travels. You can also go hunting and collect animal pelts to take to a trapper; there he will make you really cool looking clothes and saddles. Not only that, but hunting feels like a real challenge. It is really fun and sometimes even scary when you have the danger of being attacked by a grizzly bear or a panther. You can also collect herbs which really seems like a nerdy thing to look forward to, but in actuality it is really cool because the game allows you to make cool things with them. You can make medicine for your horse, and you can make explosive, fire, and poison arrows, bullets, and throwing knives. You can also upgrade your tomahawks by plucking birds, and acquiring their feathers. You have constant encounters with enemy gangs like the O’Driscoll boys and the Lemoyne Raiders. You even get chased by bounty hunters if you commit enough crimes. Not only do you get chased by bounty hunters… you can actually be a bounty hunter too by finding bounty posters!

There are also side quests you can do that are really intense. I remember one in particular where you find bodies spread out on the map, and each one contains a piece of a map. Once you collect all the pieces of the map, you can find the serial killer who did it and take him to the law. It is really creepy, and great for horror fans. Another thing the game has is elements of science fiction. There is a mountain where you can actually see a flying alien craft at night. And I personally think a few added in genres sprinkled in here and there make the game a lot more interesting.

SOUNDTRACK:

The soundtrack is amazing, and criminally underrated. It really has a western vibe to it. I especially love the Native American tribe kind of vibe themes. When you’re on the island of Guarma, the theme is really cool and tropical, while maintaining a western feel. I love it! Again, I don’t want to give anything away, but there is one theme at the end of the story that really brings everything together in an emotional way. It is spectacular.

ADVICE:

The first thing I would recommend is to watch your honor level. Your honor is what measures how nice you are in the game. The more you kill and rob innocent civilians, the more your honor goes down. This isn’t to say you can’t go around having fun like you would in the GTA games, I just think that when you get near the end of the game, it is really important to get that honor up. This is important because honor can actually affect the story. If you’re bad, then scenes will play out differently, and the story’s ending won’t be as spiritual and meaningful. There are six chapters in the game, and I say around chapter five, or early six, it is a good idea to get your honor up. But that is just what I personally think. One good thing is the honor meter isn’t drastically impacted by one crime, so if you decide to do a few, then you could just do a few nice deeds to keep it even.

Stalk up on medicine for you and your horse. If your horse gets injured badly you need horse reviver to keep it alive. If you work hard finding or buying a horse, having it die is very frustrating. Also stalk up on medicine for yourself so you can throw down a health cure when your health runs low.

Play with caution, as there are many NPCs in this game that try to rob you. Some pretend to be an innocent person in need of help, and then they’ll try taking your horse. Also, when you enter towns beware of pick-pocketers, they are sneaky especially in the city of Saint Denis. Also, beware of your surroundings. Some predator animals hunt YOU, like the panthers. They will stalk you from the trees before you even see them, and they can kill you with a single pounce.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS:

It is a very detailed game with very talented voice / motion capture actors. You can tell just by looking at the graphics how high quality and realistic they are. It is an excellent game with an excellent story, and there are so many options when it comes to customizing Arthur Morgan’s look along with his horse’s look. There are a lot of cool places to discover hidden all over the map making every time you play the game an exciting one. Five years after its release it still holds up well, and people are still discovering new things about the game. If it were released today it would still be called a near perfect game.

As I said earlier, the game changed the way I looked at life. There is good in everyone, even the most evil people in the world. The game was more than a quick history lesson where I got to ride around on a horse and play cowboy, it was a lesson in humanity, and as it says in the title, “redemption.” It taught me some more that I didn’t know about patience, and as ridiculous as it might sound, one of the characters in the game (Charles Smith) said something along the lines of, “you’re lucky to know when you’re dying, because it gives you an opportunity to be a better person while you can.” It’s not a direct quote, but the meaning of what Charles said stood out to me in a positive way. And though there are some dark themes in the game, I think that anyone would see the positive meaning that the game really has once you finish the story.

So that’s what I think of the game. If you are any kind of gamer, I would highly recommend you give this one a try. I did hear that some people think the game takes too long to build up… but, I personally think it’s entertaining from start to finish. But, if you decide to try the game out, don’t make any assumptions right off the bat because there are so many unexpected twists and turns making the story unpredictable. After you finish the game, the fun continues through hilarious memes, and videos on YouTube of Arthur Morgan singing. This is one of my favorite franchises, and I hope they make a third one… possibly another prequel telling the story of the beginning of the Van Der Linde gang. But regardless of what happens, “Red Dead Redemption 2” will always be a classic. 5/5 stars for me!

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About the Contributor
Aiden Williams, Reporter
Aiden Williams is a tenth grader who enjoys listening to music. In his free time he enjoys writing books, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, and filming YouTube videos.