Red Dead Redemption (RDR2)

Character comparison. John vs Arthur

I commented this on a post over on the sub RDR2, thought it would make a good post in itself so will copy over onto the other subs regarding red dead, as I'm curious for others opinions.

I've been on Reddit for a while as in had an account, but have rarely actually been on or posted/commented. So apologies if the layout or format isn't great. I'm just not really an internet or tech kinda guy.

To avoid any, accusations of bias let me start by saying. I played both upon release, so played rdr1 first and I love both games for exactly what they are. Obviously RDR2 is the better "game" just through advances in the field. But I played both upon release and judge them both by the time and contemporaries.

This is purely about the characters as people.

Tbh, I never really liked John as a character. I could/can empathize with his situation, just not him as a character. I actually much prefer his character in rdr2.

Arthur on the other hand, speaks to me on so many levels. I see alot of myself in him, and what I don't see in myself, I want to.

I don't think the games limitations make much of a difference either. I mean Niko Belic (gta4) is from the same generation and is a far more relatable character than John. It comes down to writing really and John is just very unappealing to me. (Other than being half scottish, I'm Scottish so to see a character of a major title share atleast some heritage was really nice)

John, I just don't find him believable as a man who wants to settle down and live a normal life, or as a man who loves his wife and child. Everything just seems forced and faked. It's almost like, he is actually playing a character rather than being himself. He constantly makes stupid decisions (often of the same sort, in similar situations) despite the outcome being very obvious. You can argue that that's the duplicity of his character, but no-one is so black and white. He has no nuance, no shades of gray, no complexity. He comes across as very childish imho, someone who knowingly does wrong then acts all offended and shocked when he gets called out on it or things don't go his way. Easy seen he is the younger "brother" He always had Dutch, Hosea and of course Arthur to pick up his slack and save his ass. He's very "woe is me". Does what he wants, then feels all sorry for himself, when he has to face the consequences, even when they were clear to see beforehand. He lacks real self awareness and an ability to see other perspectives, just believing folk should and indeed do see it his way. he expects to be empathized with, but is doesn't or can't empathize with others.

Arthur is all nuance and shades of gray. His complexity is genuinely human, he thinks, he feels. You can see him tearing himself apart internally, his heart(what he wants) Vs his head(what he knows he needs to do) constantly searching within himself and fighting against not only his demons but his very nature, aswell as his learned behaviour, in order to be a better man. And he's just that, a man. Struggling to to deal with the hand he's been dealt, but he does. No whining, no passing the buck. He takes responsibility for not only himself and his actions, but his loved ones and their struggles aswell. He does what he knows he can live with conscience wise, even at the expense of himself and his own needs and desires. He understands not only himself but others and the bigger picture. he can put himself in others shoes and see the world through their eyes


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