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No real spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2


Well, I did play, and I have a lot to say, but I think I did things that you haven’t done, and I don’t want to ruin them because they are worth doing.

I went up and talked to Arthur’s estranged lady love. This is a good storyline that’s gonna be full of themes. Do it. I also have some gameplay things to talk about regarding it.

And then I did another debt mission because it was there. It….was different than the last one. Quite different. And I, once again, have things to say.

You do any of that?


Alas, no. I did nothing. I have nothing to contribute.

So…how about…them…uh…walruses?

The insanity comes on quickly.


What is this? I’M the one who says “I got nothing.” That’s my thing. Mine!


Yeah, well, you’re not doing it, so I had to step up.

SOMEBODY’S got to be responsible for doing nothing around here!

Otherwise, all that nothing will never get done.



Why ain’t you playing?


Kids. Kids being sleepless and twitchy until 9pm, making noise, getting up to ask for milk, etc. (Grigio accounts for roughly half of every gallon of milk we go through in our house.)

Fingers crossed he’ll go to sleep tonight.

We could talk idly about what we heard about this game before we started, and how that matches our experience.

For instance, I read that you really can’t go racing all over the countryside, you should stay on the roads. I haven’t really found that to be completely true…I do mostly stick close to roads, but I also cut across country if it’s mostly fields and haven’t run into any real problems.

Trying to ride through thick forests is probably iffy, though. I read that some people complain you can ride your horse into a tree and kill it, which I haven’t done, but again, I don’t really ride into the thick forest that much.

I kind of like the mechanic of the horse…in practical game terms it’s basically like a car, but a little more interesting because it has a bit of personality and you can develop a relationship with it. Lincoln would have cared more about his car if he could bond with it by giving it fuel and taking it to the car wash!

And I’ll steal Mr. O’s contribution to the discussion: his theory is that everything intentionally takes longer than it has to (no fast travel, so many screens to flip through for inventory, having to hold down X instead of just tap it to do certain actions, etc.) because they really want you to slow down while playing this game, as a way of kind of enhancing the realism. The game is set in a literally slower time, when things (mail, travel, communication) took longer to do, and that was just the mindset. He thinks they’re trying to force the player into that mindset by making you spend a lot of time on things that could be accomplished more quickly.

You’re supposed to just kind of mosey through it, enjoying the scenery or whatever.

I can see this.

And in theory, the quicker action bits, when they come up, are more tense and kind of shocking than they are in a game where EVERYTHING is fast-paced and dramatic.


Silly kids. Silly families.

You think they drink milk now…..HA!

Benadryl. He has a sniffle.

Yeah, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the offroad options. I was sticking to roads, but last night wandered and it wasn’t hard and I got into a shootout and got loot. Plus, there seem to be roads, or at least trails, pretty much everywhere, so it’s hard to get too lost.

But the whole “Drop off behind a tree” trick has killed Roach a couple of times.

Lincoln so would have cared about his car if he’d bonded with it!

And had named it Roach.

Intentionally slow…Hmmm. I can see that. Shit, even eating has a little animation. You can’t just open your menu, click click click, all set. Makes you feel like you’re eating. And I agree: the shootout last night was the first in a while, and it was tense. I think the slow adds to the tense more than just because all of a sudden everything is quick. You get used to Arthur doing everything slowly, like healing, or, in this case, reloading. When I shoot a few shots, I REALLY get a sense of “Oh SHIT make these count” because I know reloading takes more than the split second it usually takes in games. I can’t recall a “Oh SHIT make these count” feeling in just random Kevin fights before. That’s cool.

Nice pick up, Mr. O!


Yeah, reloading is brutal! And you can’t really run effectively while doing it, either. I’ll be shuffling along, trying to get behind something while also preparing to get back into the gunfight. It’s all very tense and awkward.

Arguably more realistic. But then we have to ask: is realism in gunfights really what I want from a video game?

I’m not sure it is.


I’m not sure  it is, either. But this game has far fewer gunfights than I feared it would have. I go many sessions without drawing a gun at all. It’s nice. There’s only been two real shooty missions, Colm and the train robbery in the first act. Maybe they’re saving Kevin for the final acts, like Shadow did, but I don’t think so. And I’m ok with that.


It’s true. It’s not all shooting, not even close. Again no doubt an intentional choice to remind us that the ‘wild west’ wasn’t all gunfights and poker games and poker games that ended in gunfights. Mostly it was eating, camping, brushing your horse, whatever.

I can appreciate that point.

But again: is realism is day-to-day 1890s life really what I want from a video game? I’m not sure it is.

(What AM I sure I want? I think we know the answer. Group hugs, fancy dress balls, heist scenes, romance, MALE NUDITY, shotguns, and setting things on fire. IS THAT REALLY SO DIFFICULT?)

But anyway…I mean, I respect what the game is doing. And in a sense it’s even educational, a sort of immersive history lesson (although of doubtful accuracy given the odd alternate version of the country) that can maybe give people a sense of what it must have been like to live in a particular place and time. And the pacing encourages us to really reflect on this, and settle into the experience, and take our time with it, and that’s an interesting approach.

I just don’t know that I’m particularly enjoying it. I’m playing it, it’s very pretty, it has themes, I don’t hate it…but I’m not especially excited about it either. Perhaps tellingly, I’m not even particularly bothered about missing two nights in a row of game time. “Enh, I’ll play another night.”

Not like it’s going anywhere. Not like there’s anything I urgently need to do.

I’m more bothered about not having anything to report for the blog, than I am about not having done anything.


Well, I can say that last night was the first time I really did some real stuff that was themey and didn’t feel at all like tutorial. Little romance, little theme, couple new missions that promise theme.

I, too, am not crazy in love with it yet, but I do promise great bloggage if you play. Shit that first debt discussion was great.

And dude, you’re still five percent ahead of me. I still haven’t gotten down to reverend Swanson.


It’s nothing but a nonstop gunfight.

Ha, just kidding.

Although come to think of it the first time I went over there I did run into some people who chased me and I got in a gunfight and then I couldn’t do the Reverend bit because he’d been scared off or something and I had to wait for that area to reset.

So tip: if anyone attacks you on the way there, fight them AWAY from the railroad station so as not to spook the people you’ll need to talk to. Otherwise, it could wind up taking longer than I said and being more annoying.

I think the people I got in a fight with were just randits, so you may not see them at all. But just in case!