I’m still playing Red Dead Redemption 2, even though I completed it several months ago, and it’s not just because nobody wants to play Red Dead Online with me. I just really like the world that Rockstar built.
RPG-aligned games usually let you continue playing after the official story line is complete, regardless of there being anything to actually do besides rehash old missions and decimate the population of peaceful cities for the lulz (Skyrim, Fallout 3 and 4). The first Red Dead Redemption had an epilogue set a few years after the end of the game, and then also let you keep playing after you wrapped everything up, but there wasn’t much to do besides a few hunting quests, because ol’ Jim Bob’s been waiting yeeears for them beaver pelts your dad promised him. So RDR2 obviously did the same thing, except, after the extra four hours of Epilogue, I actually still had a bunch of stuff to do.
If you haven’t completed the Epilogue:
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
After the ending of RDR2, I begrudgingly went into the Epilogue, heart-broken, and a little annoyed that I had to play through John’s attempts at leading a normal life, devoid of badassery, but now with added judgement from Abigail. It sounds stupid, but I missed Arthur. So, I was rather sulky, until John donned his outfit from the original Red Dead, I realised he was wearing Arthur’s hat, and Meat Loaf started blaring in my head (you know the one). This game made me feel things, man. The Epilogue was pretty much made for people that loved the original Red Dead.
Even so, I didn’t think I’d keep playing much after that was over and, yet, here I am, because I’ve still got like 16 dream catchers to find, and I haven’t gotten that Bigfoot thing to trigger, and I need to go back and check that pagan ritual site, but, most of all, because I love John’s journal entries.
It took me a while to remember there even was a journal when I first started playing, but it became a little obsession once I figured out that Arthur would sketch the animals he studied.
So obviously I had to sketch my horse. RIP, Brolga.
Turns out, John takes up the journaling habit once he inherits Arthur’s belongings, and I am easily amused, because John’s artistic skill and penmanship are considerably lacking, by comparison. Much like his ability to swim.
These are the sort of details I always wished games could include and, for that, Rockstar has my thanks. They’ll never make up for the clunky controls and half-arsed survival system, but I’m going to keep playing for now, in this sweet limbo world where time is frozen and John Marsten’s inevitable future is kept at bay. I mean, until Tarryn helps me with that initial quest in Red Dead Online.