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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for side quests in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Hmm.

I kinda expected more from that.

This game has done an ok job of clumping things together of a similar theme. After the Lenny bit, activating a stranger who is black seemed to be an effort to be point/counterpoint/development of point. I was looking forward to that. But, I dunno. Turned into a “shoot the bad, nasty racist” quest (and driving back a VERY slow wagon). I’m having a hard time distilling much from it.

Maybe it was the way I played it. Arthur got jumped, right? On the way back? At one point, he said “Why do you guys want this so much?” I thought, at that point, there would be an answer, a twist where the quest was more than “We’re just taking this to fuck with a black guy,” something where you assume that they were just fucking with a black guy, but it was more complex. That would have been kinda interesting. Thing is, MAYBE that would have happened, but I shot everyone pretty soon after that. Still, Arthur just gives back the wagon without saying anything like “Uhh….so what’s in there? Something else going on?” and it just ends.

So it just came down to “Bad, nasty men took this to be racist, kill bad racist Kevin, move on.”

I expected more. Did I miss something?

Then I magpied cuz I wanted to check out that abandoned village I passed through (Pleasance? I think that was it). Found a cigarette card, a barn that said “Plague, Keep out” and thought “Hmm, nice touch of realism,” then found another house that said “Ill with sin, unclean sinners” and thought “Oh, SNAP maybe there’s something more to this, that is a church there, after all,” so I spent WAY too much time investigating, looking for something interesting, found zilch. Zilch, I say!

Am I missing something?

Anyway, that was it. Two things that I thought would be more interesting than they turned out to be.

Unless I’m missing something. Am I missing something?

Feminina:

Honestly, I was hoping maybe you’d get something out of that that I missed. So…if you’re missing anything, then I am also missing it.

I looked around the plague town, found nothing. Not even a stash of sinful cigarette cards or something.

As for the doctor…yeah. I mean, it was Arthur reminding us again that he’s not racist and has no truck with people who are. Which is a platform I fully support, don’t get me wrong. And, humans being terrible, I don’t even particularly question the premise of “racist people took black doctor’s wagon to mess with him because they’re racist.” There doesn’t HAVE to be some larger plot there.

But there could have been, and it might have been more interesting. On the other hand, who says everything is interesting? A lot of terrible stuff is just boringly awful, with no deeper significance than that people suck and are horrible to each other.

Maybe the point is just that people suck, and Arthur, whatever his many and varied faults, sucks less than some of them.

Point taken, I guess.

Butch:

Bummer. Thought there would be bloggage!

I did find one card! Uh….yay?

But I was so curious I googled. Apparently, if you go at night, there are ghosts, and hints of a larger story. Strange voices. Good thing I missed it. You know how I feel about strange voices.

“First day they come….and they snatch everyone….”

Moving on.

Yeah, but I’m with you on what that doctor story could have been, and that’s weird because this game has been pretty darn good at taking advantage of the opportunities it makes for itself. When it has a point to make, it makes it. This quest was easy pickings theme wise, and they kinda blew it.

Yes, terrible stuff can be boringly awful (said the guy who just got off the treadmill….FITNESS!) but that doesn’t mean they should but it in a narrative. Indeed, it’s a good reason not to put it in a narrative.

Dammit, I was excited for this quest. Ah, well.

I find myself, post magpie, right by Caliga (not Caligula, he was a pervy emperor) hall, so I guess that’s next. I’ll try to distill some themeage.

Feminina:

GHOSTS?! Seriously?

Huh. I’m kind of surprised they went with ghosts. Although maybe it turns out to be a grizzled old prospector trying to scare meddling kids away from his claim.

When you think about it, writing “plague” around is kind of a good way to scare people away from your claim. On…that appealing bit of semi-swampland.

I’ll be sure to look into it if I’m ever in the area at night. Which will almost certainly never happen.

Butch:

Ghosts. There’s some creepy involved, like a woman’s voice saying “lovely weather” and shit like that. Also, if you look on the tombstones, they all died the same day and all, apparently, violently.

Go figure.

But then, they went there on the serial killer aspect, which also seemed a strange choice.

Still haven’t found anything new on that.

Feminina:

Yeah, me either. Not a single additional dismembered body!

It’s probably something you have to actively track down. As are, apparently, every single one of these sidequests about dinosaur bones, taxidermy subjects, cliff paintings, legendary fish, etc. etc. I have never found a single one of any of those things.

And I would KIND of like to complete those stories, to see if there’s any interesting conversation with the paleontologist, and so forth, but I’m not curious enough to spend my game time wandering around aimlessly looking for bones. Or to cheat and look it up online, which would certainly be quicker.

In a development apparently unconnected to anything in the game, I did get a “you talked to all the gunslingers [yeah, about three weeks ago], now go find the author!” message. So I went looking for him in Valentine where the quest marker was and learned that he had moved on to–obviously–the place I JUST LEFT to come look for him. Sigh.

But sooner or later, I’ll go find him.

Butch:

Yes, yes it is. Especially as that map fragment is pretty generic. There doesn’t seem to be a thing that makes you go OOOO! like face rock did when I found it completely by accident. Or the two pillars of rock. If all it is is, like, a field then fuck that noise. There’s fields everywhere!

Yeah. The game seems pretty eager to feed you the side quests that lead to some degree of themeage (last night’s aside, the gunslingers, the slave catcher, those were pretty damn hard to miss and didn’t make you wander around searching for shit), so if it’s not doing that, it’s unlikely we’ll get themeage.

Huh. It just happened? Interesting. I do wonder what’s up with that.

Feminina:

It’s true, they did make pretty damn sure you knew about some of the quests, so the ones they leave completely up to you may not have any major story. (Or maybe they do, just to be jerks. I mean…to reward obsessive completionists!)

And then there’s even that photographer who keeps showing up here and there as a wandering quest marker–he feels like something with about the same level of significance as dinosaur bones, but they make sure you know about him! I guess it would be hard to have dinosaur bones pop up in various locations and then vanish again, but they could have worked out something if they really cared whether or not we found them.

Conclusion: they don’t care. And, in this case, neither do I.

Butch:

Pretty much. Especially as they’ve stuck him way over by Strawberry, and I have no reason to go back there, like, ever.

At least I can afford train tickets now without much worry.

Feminina:

Oh, I can afford everything now. And there’s nothing I want to buy, of course, because by the time you can afford things there’s nothing exciting.

More games should have collectible fish and ship models, like ME2. I would be buying ship models like nobody’s business.

I even bought the camp that chicken coop that I was putting off in favor of the fast travel map. And the hitching post! We’ve got it all, in [current camp location].

Butch:

I got the hitching post. I had a reason though!

I somehow misplaced Roach.

Feminina:

D’oh! That clearly can’t be allowed to stand.

I mean, he’ll turn up eventually, right? Mine always does.

Butch:

I ain’t risking it. That’s my horse, man.

Feminina:

Fair. I will never argue with a man who’s just trying to look after his horse. A good horse is a precious thing.

I like the horse aspect, but think they’re kind of missing opportunities here, honestly. Your horse never seems to get hurt in all those gunfights we’re constantly getting mixed up in–and I appreciate that, because I’d feel bad if my horse got hurt, but also, maybe we SHOULD feel bad. Because in the real world in this time, horses undoubtedly DID get hurt and that was part of life, especially if you live a life of violence, and maybe we should have to deal with that.

I mean, I don’t actually WANT to deal with that, but for a game full of realism, that sure lets us off the hook and saves us from having to think about the logical consequences of bringing animals into combat.

Butch:

Dude Roach gets hurt! I usually need to give him an oatcake and a carrot to heal him up!

And he got bit by a snake last night and got poisoned! Had to give him ginseng.

Maybe it’s cuz I often aim at Kevin’s horse when I’m on foot. Reap what you sow.

Feminina:

Maybe I have my game set on “low horse difficulty” or something. I’ve run my horse straight into wagons (accidentally–my bad!) and it falls over and then scrambles back up like nothing happened. I have sometimes shot Kevin’s horse by accident, but I try to avoid it (even though it’s a commonsense tactic). Perhaps that game is repaying my attempted kindness to horses.

Or perhaps it’s random luck that I’ve now jinxed, and I’ll get my horse killed immediately on loading next time I play.

But the horse medicines…I have never used one. I can’t even figure out how to use them.

Butch:

Oh I have.

While on horseback, gun menu (l1), click over to the horse menu (r1 twice) then select it like you select a gun.

This is also the interface where you pick what to feed it.

Poor Roach.

Feminina:

Ah, OK. I will check. I always just feed my horse the last thing I picked up, whatever that was. She gets a lot of sage and oregano. Probably has very fresh breath.

Butch:

Poor thing. She’s all “can I please have an oatcake? A carrot? I’ll settle for a beet!”

She gave up on sugar cubes long ago.

Feminina:

I don’t feed from horseback, that’s the thing. I always do it from the “brush/feed/pat” menu while standing next to her, and that (apparently) defaults to whatever you last picked up that a horse would eat. Gin and canned vegetables are a no, for some reason.

Picky, picky.