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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minimal spoilers for the gunslingers sidequest in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, got bit by the magpie last night, so spent a lot of time playing but didn’t do much. Did Billy Midnight, so we have that. Decided to ride towards the last guy (the one that vortexed you into St. Denis), and then saw, on the map, little pictures of animals. Thought “Dude! Maybe I’ll hunt me a legendary animal! Get one of those talismans!” (And, thank you spell check, I just learned that “talismen” isn’t a word. It should be. I digress.) So I magpied after that, and it took me FOREVER to learn that filled in animals on the map mean “regular old animals of this type here” whereas BETTER drawings mean “legendary” and there wasn’t a legendary bison there at all.

But after figuring this out, I thought (I might have been wrong cuz the maps aren’t great) that I was STILL near a legendary something or other, and it was getting late and god damn it I spent all this time looking for a fucking animal and I wanted to find a fucking animal. So I magpied over to where I thought it was. I failed to find it, but I did find a stranger who gave me something else to do!

Guess what he wants me to do?

He wants me to catch legendary fish, and gave me a map showing me where they are that’s even more vague than the legendary animals map.

That, Feminina, is irony.

Oh, and I found the guy who had washed up on the beach! Did you find him?

But Billy Midnight.

Yeah, pretty stark contrast to Black Belle, huh? Besides the fact that here we have a man who dies, again, we have a man who isn’t half as cool as the woman. He’s a drunken dweeb! And, he’s likely not a cool gunslinger at all, what with his “I didn’t shoot him in his sleep! Really! REALLY!” Sure, dude. Sure, you didn’t. Flacco was a bit of a dweeb, too, really. Kinda fat and unglamorous, for sure. I am not expecting Granger to be as cool as Belle, either.

But I think maybe the game is going to make a broader point about this. The quest is called “The Noblest of Men and a woman.” The woman in the quest is a throwaway “….and a woman.” The title is obviously playing. These aren’t noble men at all, even in the romanticized gunslinger sense. They’re cowards and dweebs. The woman is the cool one. I think there’s going to be a point there when the quest continues. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of Belle.

But here’s a mechanical thing that’s annoying: Flacco’s a fat dweeb, Midnight is a drunken, cowardly dweeb…..until they try to shoot you and then they’re damn robocop. They both killed me LOTS of times. Now, maybe that’s because I still haven’t really figured out the nuances of this drawing stuff, but still. It’s kind of jarring to have the narrative part of all this paint these guys as anything BUT cool gunslingers, then have them beat you on the draw a million times.

I’ll do Granger tonight. Or John. But if I do John before Micah can I not do Micah? I need the money.

Feminina:

I still haven’t caught any legendary animals. I think my Arthur is just not into sport hunting. Or talismans. Or talismen, if it comes to that.

That is a good point, that these guys are at best well past their prime as gunslingers, and yet they manage to take down Arthur (who practices regularly!) with no problem. I guess they weren’t COMPLETE frauds.

But no question, Belle was the coolest. Or not even “the coolest,” which implies that there was some amount of coolness among the others: she was the ONLY cool one. The others are a bunch of unnecessarily violent doofuses. They had no particular reason to try to kill you–you only wanted to talk to them, and they could have just said no. Or demanded that you help them with something (like the shoveling manure! I was perfectly willing to be helpful!) and then agreed to the interview instead of being a jerk about it.

It does seem rather pointed, with the whole “noble men and a woman,” that all the men are bloviating losers and the woman is blunt and charming and competent AND readily agrees to be interviewed. I also liked that you could suggest different dramatic poses for her picture. That’s someone who knows how to take advantage of media attention.

John’s train robbery does net some money. I forget exactly how much, but yeah, do that and see if you still need more. You can always do Micah’s thing later if you have to, and skip it if you don’t need the cash.

Oh, speaking of cash, I did finally buy the fast travel map! And then it was bedtime, so I didn’t actually use it. But I have it, and I bet it’s awesome.

Butch:

Well, I sure am not into the idea of legendary fish. The guy basically offers a whole lot of money for each fish (he sells wall mounted stuffed fish, which leads to an amusing instance of Arthur, once again, wondering about the intelligence of people as a whole), and will give you a cut for every good fish you get. The talismen (I’m gonna coin it!) give you actual gameplay perks, sort of like skills would be. Perks I might be willing to go after. If they were just collectibles, yeah, fuck that, but they aren’t. That makes the whole hunting thing at least a little tempting.

And I do rather like fishing. It’s relaxing. And fish are really powerful healing things if you eat them.

I stumbled onto the legendary wolf when I was treasure hunting one time. It was that day I rode all to hell and gone cuz I thought I had an idea and it was wrong and you remember. So I’m at the place I finally get to, and I’m eagle eyeing or whatever and I see this big orange spark fountain (like the herbs), and I say “What is this?” and it’s, like, wolf prints and Arthur’s all “I’m on to you now….” and Roach is freaking and I just said “Arthur? You are not on to that. If we rode out here, wasted all this time to get killed BEFORE we find the treasure, then it’s white hot rage time.”

So I let the wolf be.

I think, though, that making the gunslingers hard to shoot wasn’t a narrative thing so much as a gameplay thing. Billy basically implies that he got his reputation as a gunslinger because he shot a guy in his sleep and lied about it, embellishing the story. That said, if the end of the mission was just you shooting a dweeb who couldn’t do anything, that would be a bit of a let down in terms of gameplay. I still think he’s a fraud, but that’s why the gameplay jars.

Except did you notice that she is kind of confused about the camera, keeps asking if poses are ok, and looks slightly uncomfortable in every one? She looks kinda like a third grader at picture day, trying to get the pose right so people like it, but not exactly knowing how.

Good touch.

Yeah, I’m not feeling as poor of late. I’m usually right around a hundred bucks, and renting rooms and buying canned salmon no longer feels like a sting. That and the expensive things, guns and horses, have no draw (no pun intended). I got cool pistols from the gunslingers, and robbing that gunsmith’s side business netted me (SPOILER ALERT!) a cool gun (a very nice one, at that. Worth doing). And no way would I want to ride any horse but Roach.

Basically, I’m saving up for the fast travel.

Can’t wait.

Speaking of money, one thing they should’ve done is make gambling actually matter. The stakes are so low that it’s really just there to be a waste of time. If you could make serious money, then there’d actually be a reason to do it. Considering it would be in Arthur’s nature TO do it, it was a missed opportunity.

Feminina:

I would like perks. Perks are nice. But I’m not sure I care enough about them to hunt (or fish) legendary animals. We’ll see.

Black Belle was the best, though. I want to play another game where she’s the protagonist. I mean, how awesome would that be? It could be the exact same world, only you’d be this tough, no-nonsense lady who shoots people who bother her. I don’t see her having much patience with Dutch, so that particular storyline wouldn’t work, but I’m sure they could come up with something for her to do.

I second “gambling is a waste of time.” I played a couple of hands of poker with those guys when I was looking for the Reverend, and then I bailed. I glanced at dominos and five-finger fillet or whatever at camp and said “nope.” I just don’t load up video games so I can pretend to play analog games, you know?

Butch:

I’ll hunt one of them (at some point…maybe…) and let you know how annoying it is. Now I want to kill one just cuz I’m mad at it.

I’d play that game! It would be great as a prequel. She’s got a mighty backstory: six husbands, a life of crime and robbery, all during the golden age of the west. Make it happen, Rockstar!

Gambling really is. I haven’t played dominoes, five finger filet is dumb, I played poker cuz I had to. I saw the blackjack table at the saloon in Rhodes, and it had “Blackjack: $4.00.” I thought “I’m good at blackjack. Four bucks a hand? I could clear some real cash if I get hot!” So I sit down, and it becomes clear that no, it isn’t four bucks a hand, it’s four dollars TOTAL that you sit down with, so you can only win or lose four dollars. That’s, what, two cans of corn and some biscuits. Big deal.

I shall happily skip it.

There’s a challenge for “win five hands of poker,” and I know from doing another one of those “challenges” (to wit, catching three bluegill. Told you I thought fishing was kinda relaxing) you can unlock new gear, so maybe if you win some hands the stakes get real, but I don’t care enough to find out.

At least it’s better than the Horseman 1 challenge. If you haven’t got that, I’ll spoil. I ran over a rabbit while riding Roach the other day. Total accident. But it unlocked a challenge, and it said “1 out of 6 rabbit horse kills.” For real. Run over six rabbits with your horse.

Can you imagine? You’d have to run around like you’re drunk.

Maybe I’ll do it by accident. I got one that way, after all.

Feminina:

Mr. O’ was actively pursuing the running-over-rabbits challenge! He takes such care for the fine details, and enjoys them so much. Which is why it is so super tragic that I erased his entire game and not my own.

Sigh. I still feel bad about that.

He doesn’t even like AC Odyssey that much, so it’s not like he’s playing that instead. I basically just destroyed his entire video game practice.

[Hanging head in shame]

But I would still come back for “The Ballad of Black Belle.”

Butch:

Selfishly, I’m glad you kept your own. This has led to good bloggage. And I’m liking it more and more.

We have to leave this tragedy in the past!

ACO was supposed to be good.

You COULD make a duplicate save slot at this point (or three, just to be safe) and let him pick it back up. He’d just have to make a couple outfits and run over a rabbit or two and he’d be right back to it!

Just DO NOT DELETE YOUR OWN.

You HAVE made a few back ups, RIGHT?????

Feminina:

I suggested that–he could certainly take one of my (three!) save slots and go forward with it. He wasn’t enthused, but maybe now that I’m getting pretty close to where he was, percentage-wise, he’ll be more interested.

I mean, I haven’t done any of the trophy things like running over rabbits, or gotten myself any tailored clothing or anything, but the story’s the story, and that’s going to be the same.

We’ll see.

He said AC: Odyssey is pretty and he likes the characters, but it’s almost exactly the same as AC: Origins in terms of gameplay, and he JUST finished Origins, so Odyssey feels too much like “more of the same” to be exciting.

Butch:

He’s just moping. He’ll come around.

Plus, he’s still milking the guilt thing. I would be.

Feminina:

Well, who wouldn’t? It’s a prime opportunity.

Butch:

Yeah. You’ll be all “Dude, you’re at the same place as you were. C’mon, we’re square.” And he’ll be all “Uh….you’re short a squished rabbit. So continue to make it up to me.”

I know him well.

Feminina:

He’d be a fool not to.

Butch:

Whatever. At least you’re playing everyday.

He said, with shameless selfishness.

Feminina:

I’m actually only managing a couple of times a week lately. At this point I’m mostly coasting on the fact that I was ahead of you early on.

Butch:

Yes, but you seem to make more progress each time than I’m able to manage.

What’s keeping you so busy?

Feminina:

I don’t know, the usual…kids won’t sleep, making lunches for kids, talking about kids acting up at school. So in short: I blame kids.

I did get in a good 2-3 hours on the weekend, which helps advance things.

Butch:

Yeah. I have the same issues. That I do. BOY do I.

That weekend time is it. That’s a huge jump on me.

Feminina:

Yeah, the weekend is half my game hours these days. Missing out on that would set me back big time. It’s the only reason I manage to stay ahead of you!

Butch:

I tell you, you gotta get Mr. O to get off his ass and help with the kids during the week! So you can play!

Or….too soon?

Feminina:

Maybe a little too soon.

But soon! Once he gets engaged in a game of his own again.

Butch:

Bedtime sucks. Wait until Grigio is all “but Blasto stayed up!” Or vice versa.

A common theme here:

Junior: I get to stay up an extra forty minutes cuz nugget did!
Me: he stayed up forty minutes past bedtime cuz he was misbehaving! Yelling, screaming etc.
junior: meatball stayed up too!
Me: cuz nugget was screaming!
Junior: I don’t care. I’m staying up.
Mrs McP: I’m home!
Me: shit.
Nugget: I want a mommy hug!
Mrs: ok!
Me: no don’t…
Nugget: thanks mom!
Junior: mommy mommy mommy
Mrs: I have to use the treadmill junior. Go to bed.
Junior: but nugget got a hug!
Me: please go to bed.
Junior: not until mommy’s done.
Me: that’ll be an hour.
Junior: I don’t care!
Me: I hate my life.

And then there’s half an hour of me being all “junior, leave mommy alone.”

Then I have to cook dinner.

It’s cool. Only happens in days that end in y.

It’s amazing I play at all.

Feminina:

Ah, but we all get home at more or less the same time, so they aren’t excited to see either of us. Limit the novelty! (Well, Mr. O’ gets home first, and starts dinner or whatever. Then he gets the kids, then I get home 10-15 minutes later. But basically we’re all coming in at the same time.)

Butch:

All the same, the unequal bedtime bites us all.

Junior fell asleep on the easy chair last night cuz he was trying to get to the end of Mrs mcp’s workout and I had said “fuck it” and started drinking.

As one does.

Feminina:

Outlook suggests:

“Sounds like a great night.”
“Glad you had a good night.”
“Sounds like a good day.”

Need some work on picking up the subtle gradations of meaning, there.

Time to start drinking!

Butch:

Fuck you, outlook. That’s just mean.

Unless we’ve taught it sarcasm.

Rest easy femmy. I ain’t gonna catch you.

I’ll be lucky if everyone is put away before the first intermission of the hockey game.

Then I’ll cook dinner.

Feminina:

Oh, maybe we HAVE taught it sarcasm!

We certainly provide plenty of examples on a regular basis.

Also, hockey has intermissions? That’s so classy! Like opera!

Butch:

Yeah, man! Two! And they’re called that!

Feminina:

Man, I’ve underestimated the style and sophistication of hockey. My bad.

Butch:

Hey man, besides the fact that half of them have classy French names, a lot of hockey players are SMART. The captain of the Bruins is fluent in nine languages, and his goal is to play Hamlet in all of them. He’s done five so far. Seriously.

Take that Tom Brady.

Feminina:

Hockey rules!

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