The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
(This is a discussion of the ending and aftermath of Red Dead Redemption. If you haven't finished the game and intend to do so, then you may want to stop and read this later. I really do want to know what you think when you're done, though)
I finished the story part of Red Dead Redemption this afternoon, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it, separate from the game review itself (which will be coming at some point). I'd also like to hear your thoughts on it.
As the ending came upon me, especially that last mission, I began to wonder just how the game was going to continue on, since I knew that I would be able to continue playing after it was over. As John gets his wife and child away from the ranch, I figured there would be some kind of massive shootout but then everything would be good.
Of course, in hindsight, that would make the roaming that you're able to do after the fact a little strange if John managed to survive the final mission. Everything in the game is built toward either making John a better man or moving the plot forward so that he can be with his family again. Why would he be going off completing stranger missions, getting into bar room brawls in all of the saloons (in order to get that achievement) or doing Nightwatch missions on the McFarlane ranch?
Within the story, though, it all makes sense. Those final "family" missions are you grooming your son to take over for you, as well as tying up loose ends, like having Abigail meet Bonnie and stuff like that. Everything has been driving the story toward John's redemption, of getting back what the government agents took away from him. It wouldn't seem right to have the game end with that final fight.
While those final missions make sense in terms of the story (in fact, they fit the theme perfectly), they are dreadfully dull and bring the game to a screeching halt. Oh joy! More cattle herding, hunting, and breaking wild horses! Woohoo!! Getting your wagon to the McFarlane ranch in time! Yeah, they try to add a few things, like the cattle rustlers and the outlaws attacking the train, but I can't say I was too excited to do them.
Of course, that all leads into a kicker of a final mission, though the logic of it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Why would they send an entire army unit after you (I think you kill about 30 of them, so that's at least a couple of squads, and you military readers can correct me if I'm wrong). Has Ross shown any honor or scruples in this game at all? Why wouldn't he just send one or two men to just kill John outright. A couple of men coming to the ranch isn't going to raise a lot of eyebrows. The US Army? That's kind of tipping his hand.
So you end up playing as 19-year-old Jack after the murder of your father and the death of your mother 3 years later. It's an interesting twist, and one I didn't see coming (I thought there would be some miracle rescue, but again it makes sense that there wasn't). It does make the roaming after the fact a bit strange at times, though. You still have all the fame and honour that your father had. If you're in the middle of the California stranger mission (like I was), you've got this guy wandering the wilderness for 3 years (I met him as John and finished him as Jack). You've got the exact same horse and the exact same ammo as your dad did 3 years ago. All the same possessions.
This is not really a complaint, as I know it's just a game. It's just something that I briefly thought about before going on to finish some of the achievements and other stuff.
One more interesting thought is the final Stranger mission, "Remember My Family," which is Jack's mission and you only get it if you go back to Blackwater. I did kind of wonder why the credits didn't roll after the final mission, but I didn't think a lot about it. I wanted to get all the Stranger missions done, so I looked them up to see which ones I was missing, and that's when I saw this one. I completed it and the credits popping up almost startled me. Interesting how they end the Story part of the game on a Stranger mission instead of a regular one.
Don't get me wrong. While this post does point out some weirdness regarding the story, it in no way affects my opinion of this game (other than the family missions being a bit tedious). It's still a stellar game, and I'm going to give it a glowing review.
It's just something to ponder for those of you who have completed it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.