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Thought I’d give red dead 2 a try before it leaves game pass. There’s a great game buried in it, but it has many problems.

Content of the article: "Thought I’d give red dead 2 a try before it leaves game pass. There’s a great game buried in it, but it has many problems."

I was never going to finish it, but I thought I'd give it a try this week before it leaves game pass. mostly just to know what I'm criticizing if I'm honest.

Visually, it's gorgeous. god damn, the nature, the sunsets through the trees, wow. the problem with this is it wears off though. Visuals are only impressive for so long, and frankly the slave-drivingly massive amount of work doesn't seem worth it to me. I mostly stay away from modern AAA, and when I see a game that looks this exactingly beautiful I can only think of how much unpaid overtime it must have taken to make this. like, how many parents missed their kid's school play that they put a lot of heart into?

I was surprised to find myself not nearly as annoyed with the slow animations as I thought I would be. It actually had a kind of charm to it. every item being a physical thing Arthur picks up, and even items another npc gives you don't just teleport into your inventory like in other games. It makes things feel more solid. the survival mechanics aren't really much bother either, you don't metabolize faster than a jet engine like survival focused games. you can usually just shlorp down a can of beans every now and then. This is all there to make arthur feel alive. These do have some annoying bits that don't work though. Do you really want me to press a button to take each individual bite of stew? And mash a button to wash each limb?

It seems to me that excessive realism in games is a bad thing, because you run into a sort of uncanny valley effect where all it accomplishes for me is to draw attention to the unrealistic bits. What happens when you've finished spoon feeding Arthur each bite of stew? he throws the bowl and spoon on the ground like a fucking animal. And Arthur's delicately placing every can of beans he finds in his bag just makes it stand out more when that can dematerializes as soon as it enters his bag of holding. It gets much worse when the game actually glitches out, like seeing NPCs twitch and pop into existence as I approach sometimes, or the time I got in a fight with a ranch hand, scaring a horse who was being brushed at the time, while the person brushing continued to brush an invisible horse. I enjoy funny glitches, but things like this mess up the weighty realism aesthetic they're going for.

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The restrictive mission design gave me many headaches. You have to follow the script exactly or it fails you and starts over. One early mission after clearing out a camp of whichever group it is today, you search the cabin for valuables. hanging over the fireplace is a double barreled shotgun. it gives me the option to switch my repeater for it. give up a better gun for a worse one? Eww, I think, I'm not doing that. (later I found out that you apparently can never get rid of a gun you pick up) I try to leave, but the game fails me and won't let me continue until I've taken it. turns out it wants to tutorial how to clean a gun. (Couldn't you have done that when I actually had a dirty gun?) when you do, he just wipes the surface, instead of actually taking it apart, which somehow makes it shoot better. (There's the unrealism valley again.)

Well, at least I can sell it. Head to the gunsmith, nope you cannot sell weapons. every weapon the game gives you is just one more garbage you scroll past to get to the actually good ones. Here, have a shotgun you won't use. have a sniper you won't use because it doesn't have the Rockstar auto aim so if anything it's less accurate. have another repeater with slightly higher numbers even though headshots are easy and everything goes down in at most two shots anway.

this has happened several times. I break a guy out of jail in strawberry, and he starts stupidly killing everyone in town instead of escaping. I don't want to help this asshole, fuck him. No, you have to go exactly where the script says or he dies quickly.

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The biggest problem to me is the story, though. Apparently it's 60 hours? just why? 60 hours of one more jobs, commuting while listening to people who hate each other, and shitty situations getting shittier? And I'm certain Arthur dies at the end, you can tell from a thousand miles away. It's the only reason he exists, so he can die tragically to try to match the tragic ending of red dead 1. I can only imagine the mental gymnastics people are doing to justify why he isn't mentioned a single time in 1.

Overall, there are some good ideas, but a story that is bloated and depressing, mission design that is overly restrictive, and some strange ui design hold it back. If I played it any longer I'm certain I'd be tearing my hair out at having to hold a button for several seconds and fill a bar to do absolutely anything.


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