Spoilers for Tilly quest in Red Dead Redemption 2
So today’s topic: Is it fair to direct white hot rage at a game when, really, the rage stems from the fact that you just suck at something the game has made you practice a million times?
So yesterday, decided to go find 100 gallons of moonshine cuz you told me it was interesting. Took the train to Rhodes, talked to the guy. Noticed strangers, and found two convicts, Black and White. Did you find them? I did. Took down their posters, burned them, I have a feeling I’ll see them again. We’ll talk then.
Then I realized I was closer to camp than usual so I put the shine on the back burner and went to talk to Mary Beth. Of course, that quest was also a switcheroo, and instead of continuing the vaguely flirty conversation with Mary Beth (who I like!) off I went to save Tilly.
Grimshaw’s a badass! I want to know where that scar comes from. The fact that Arthur mentioned she, too, had been “involved with kidnapping.” I want to know more!
Anyway, everything was going swimmingly until (you probably guessed by now) I had to lasso the guy.
I really, really suck at lassoing guys.
I chased that dude…..I don’t even know. Far. Very, very, VEEEERRRRRY far.
By the time I finally got the guy, I was so far away from anywhere that it took me twenty five minutes of real time to get him back to where he was supposed to be. Twenty five minutes. Of course, there were no horses to be found, as Grimshaw was all “Well, shit, if he’s going to run to another state on foot, then he’ll never come back here,” and, of course, my stamina kept running out as I was carrying a dude across a whole fucking STATE, so it took twenty five damn minutes of real time. Did I mention it took twenty five minutes of real time?
Ergo the rage.
Now, I can hear the game saying to us “Guys. Seriously. Guys. It is not my fault that, despite being such awesome game bloggers, you’re morons. Please do not be mad at me because you are morons.” And really, the game is right, right? The game has taught me to lasso. The game has made me practice lassoing multiple times. Really, it’s not a bad mechanic. It’s not mushy, it’s not unfair, it’s not even, objectively, all that difficult. I just suck at it. This isn’t some hard, weird, icky mechanic they just plopped in this quest and expected me to do. Some games do that. This isn’t that. This is just that I suck at it.
And ordinarily I would have this post be about how I’m terrible at stuff sometimes and sometimes you just don’t have your hands and silly me but ‘the fact that this is not the first, nor the second time that we’ve gotten white hot rage at this game for something that isn’t, objectively, the game’s fault.
And while each of these instances could, maybe should, be blamed on us, it’s so weird that one game has so many such instances that I’m starting to get suspect that maybe it’s the game. It’s like when your kid “accidentally” does stupid shit all weekend, you start thinking “Ok, first time, accident. Second time, ok, but twenty eighth time maybe it’s time to say ‘Kid?'”
But it’s frustrating because I genuinely can’t find anything that the game really IS doing wrong. I can’t find proof it broke that toy on purpose. Or that toy. Or my coffee cup. But man….
You know what I mean?
Point: Grimshawe is SUCH a badass. I kind of love her. She takes no nonsense, that’s for sure. This bit was also an interesting take on ‘belonging,’ kind of at the edge of that’s-not-right with the “she belongs to ME” given we’re talking about a black woman not that long after the end of slavery. But in context not completely offensive because it was clearly meant as belonging in a family sense rather than a property sense? And there was the idea that maybe this ownership language was all that these men would really listen to, as if their own ideas of relationships have been warped by a long history of being viewed as property so that’s the only way they can look at someone they–in a twisted way–actually value?
I don’t know. It felt awkward to me, but maybe not a complete mess. And damn, was Grimshawe a stone-cold badass.
That out of the way, second point: the chasing and lassoing was a drag. It was. It wasn’t quite as much a drag for me, in that I probably only spent 10 minutes of real time hauling the dude back to the house after Grimshawe decided to stop following me because I was going to wind up halfway across the state. So I was filled with mild annoyance rather than white-hot rage. But it was enough that I do feel you on the white-hot rage, for sure.
And you’re right, lassoing is not, objectively, a terrible mechanic. There’s no reason it should be that awful. And yet, it’s always annoying and kind of awful, and I always miss several times, and frequently even once I catch something I hit the wrong button and let it go by mistake and have to start over. It’s annoying.
And winding up on the other side of the state with no horse and having to walk all the way back, THAT is maddening. That is exactly where I rage-quit after that bounty so many ages ago! Facing the fact that I was going to have to spend 25 minutes of real time hauling a (in my case dead) dude cross-country! I’m actually kind of impressed that you did it instead of just rage-quitting.
And as you say, is it FAIR to blame the game for this? I don’t know! But it’s certainly understandable to feel a mite BITTER towards the game. That I will say. And it does seem like there have been an awful lot of these not-the-game’s-fault bitterness-inducing incidents, doesn’t it? And yeah, it does make one wonder if there’s a pattern there, and whether the pattern can REALLY be entirely explained by us being morons (which I won’t argue!), or if maybe, somehow, in some inexplicable and subtle way, it’s the game’s damn fault after all.
I’m right there with you, man. Right there.
Hmm. I didn’t even register that implication. I, too, found it more about family, and where you belong, but I can see the read on that. I guess we’re supposed to see it in parallel with Jack’s kidnapping, in that Jack belongs to Abigail, but that would reduce Tilly to the level of a child, which isn’t much better.
It is, but I can hear the game saying “Guys. Seriously. This is not that hard. It’s really, really similar to shooting and you do that all the damn time.” Also, the game is saying “Dudes. If I didn’t have something a little different, you’d be all over your blog all ‘every mission is the damn same.'” The game is also saying “Dudes. I taught you this.” And saying “Seriously, you really can’t complain that anything in me is hard. I am an easy game. This ain’t Dark souls, people. Git gud.”
And the game is right on all counts! It is! And yet, I can’t get the hang of it and it annoys me.
Dude, yellow mission. Had to do it eventually. There was no reason to believe that had I rage quit without saving that tonight I’d be looking at an even longer way to trudge. A bounty? Sure. Quit. Ignore it later. This? One does not rage quit in main story missions.
But the thing is, I’m actively trying to find reasons to blame the game for all of these incidents, and I just plain can’t. We both are very, very good at finding things wrong with games. We are goddam master PhD elite ninjas at finding things wrong with games. If there are things wrong with games, we’re gonna find them. And here, I’m desperately trying to use all these well honed skills to find something wrong here and I can’t. Shit, every time I try to find a way to blame the game for everything, I wind up finding reasons it’s NOT the game’s fault.
While I am willing to admit that maybe hand holdy games, my age and my general level of soul crushing real life has eroded my skills at playing games, ain’t nothing has eroded my skills at criticizing games, which means maybe this is all my fault.
Even feeling bitter isn’t fair! You shouldn’t feel bitter towards something if it is blameless.
I didn’t say it was fair, I just said it was understandable. The heart knows not the language of logic! And the heart is really damn annoyed sometimes.
But you’re right, this is not, objectively, a hard game. There aren’t that many fights, the fights there are are generally not that tough, you’re not ambushed on the road that often and when you are, if you die they take some money and don’t bother you again, there aren’t a lot of tricky QTEs or weird mechanics quirks. It’s not a hard game. It just…finds ways to be annoying.
And you would have no reason to know this since you actually caught him eventually, but the first time I chased the dude I LOST him and failed the mission, and all that happened was that I reloaded at the beginning of the chase. So that’s probably the checkpoint you would have reloaded at if you’d rage-quit, and it was annoying to do the chase again, but perhaps not that much more annoying than spending 25 minutes of real time walking across the state.
Uh…I mean, that would have been WAY more annoying, so good thing you persevered! Not trying to rub salt in the wounds here. Ahem.
Oh, and speaking of way back when, when we were talking about the slave catcher and whether or not it was Arthur’s place to decide whether he lived or died–how about that decision at the end of this mission, of whether to kill…that dude (the gang had a name, but I can’t remember it) or not?
I didn’t kill him. Tilly said she didn’t want him dead, so I didn’t kill him. Grimshawe also had a solid argument that it was probably safer to kill him! But Tilly was the most-wronged person there, so I figured it was her call. I don’t know if that will come back to haunt me or not. It hasn’t yet, but there’s game still to go. I may still live to regret it.
You’re getting curmudgeonly in your old age. It’s like you had kids or bought a house or something.
Does it find ways to annoy, though? Or it is us?
I mean, it’s EASY. Even TR and UC and games like that have bigger, badder more frustrating fights. “Reaper Moment” is from one of our favorite franchises. This game is a damn cakewalk. Even the end chapter fights, there isn’t much dying. I think that’s why the damn bounty from hell was so damn weird.
And I dunno, man. I’m always wary of relying on “checkpoints.” I’m fearful that those are more “Look, dude, we’ll cut you a break and not make you do the whole thing again, but we’re not actually SAVING in the sense of, you know, saving the game. So don’t rage quit, m’kay?”
Maybe I’m wrong, but why risk it?
I, too, let the guy live, but I was rather surprised at being given the choice. This game is odd in when it does that. Like, you also had to affirmatively choose (or not) to take the monk’s mission to free the slaves, which, of course, led to the Mrs. Downes bit in a later mission. You could choose to burn the wanted posters for Black and White, or not (I think not meant take them in yourself), and you wouldn’t have gotten the mission hey wait.
I think the pattern is the game lets you choose when there’s a LATER mission that will either happen or not based on your choice. I think. I haven’t met a mission that came after the “rescue Mary’s brother” (yet) which was the first accept/decline mission, but the other accept/decline mission have (so far) had sequels.
But on the slaver….
It’s true you didn’t have an explicit choice, but you kinda did. Remember I looked it up and it said if you had just shot him you got honor? So that was more than the idea that you could, theoretically shoot anyone just for the fun of it. It had in game effects (albeit small ones).
Good point about the odd places where you have choices…and the potential sequels. Hm. Something to watch for.