Would You Shut Up?

Today, I beat Red Dead Redemption. Like, into the ground. Here's how I did it: I had bought RDR several months back with a coupon I had got from Best Buy, but seeing as I was in the middle of Final Fantasy XIII, I never started it up. When I finally did, the expansion pack known as Undead Nightmare was just on the horizon. It was released on Halloween, 2010, and I bought it same day, packaged on the Playstation Network with all the other DLC for RDR (don't you love acronyms?) at a discounted price. But I wanted to finish RDR proper before attempting Undead Nightmare, I knew it had recurring characters and I didn't want to spoil or miss anything.

Then a guy at work went and spoiled the crucial point of RDR. If you haven't played it through and want to, avert your reading attention: John Marston dies! But, John Marston is the main character of Undead Nightmare. So, I postulated, I would get to the best possible point in the main game, then play through Undead Nightmare, then continue the original storyline to make one, cohesive experience. And it worked, too!

If you've played, you're aware you finally get back to your family which you've been fighting for all this time. I did just a few missions for each individual of my family, then started Undead Nightmare. It blended perfectly from there on. I do wish I could have made the transition back into the main game more easily, as the last mission forces you into the future where John is already dead and then becomes a zombie. If I could have cut it off after John is back with his healthy family and then went on to die and THEN become a zombie it would have been totally rad. But I know that's how it works in my head, so, whatev.

RDR is simply amazing. It's one of the better stories I've ever seen in a video game, it's so easy to identify and connect to John, and the choices that are made are often heart and gut-wrenching, and to those who complain John is just an errand boy who doesn't seem too concerned with getting things done in any sort of hurry...they pointed that out within the game, multiple times. John hated it, but rather than upset any sort of chances at getting home, he went along with it. And for all the time wasted on poker and horseshoes, even despite the urgency of his mission, haven't you put off important things before? Then he goes and dies anyway, because he's too dangerous when he's not being dangerous.

My idea is that them federal boys had hoped John would die on his quest, and nearly he did! But when he survived and they had to keep their promise, it made them look soft on hard criminals, which John had been, and the lives he took in the process of getting the fed's work done, made him even more dangerous, because he was a vigilante hero, justice without order incarnate. Getting the work done the government couldn't, so they put him down, "like a dog" as Ross puts it facing down John's grown son, Jack, in the closing scene of the game. I put all six bullets right in Ross's face. His face. And the red and white splash screen at the end had me fist pump and cry "yes!" I hope if a movie gets made based on this excellent narrative, that one scene is replicated shot for shot.

Undead Nightmare is schlocky, cheestastic fun, with a few really annoying errands to run, and challenges testing the strength of a controller and my patience and desire for that "100%." I think 100% was way harder in Undead Nightmare, despite the shorter amount of time versus RDR proper to actually attain it. But I did it, in both. I saw most of what there is to see in the game, except for being chased by US Marshals. There's a trophy associated with that, but I've poured so much time into the game already, I may save that for another snowbound weekend.

Next up? I dunno...I had started Metroid: Prime: Echoes a while back, I might be able to jump back in and beat that. Or there's the games I got for the Toot with the intention of playing along together, Metroid: Other M and Super Mario Galaxy 2. There's the completionist in me that wants to get those last few trophies for God of War 3 and Final Fantasy XIII, though I may cheat my way through those...oh, and GTAIV which glitched out on me and I have to start over again, yeesh! I also picked up Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood on the cheap right after Christmas. I hear that one's a pretty solid continuation of the story there, I do dig them assassins!

But RDR...wow. Stellar piece of work.

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