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The Caped Crusader

Personal Opinion: While Arthur Morgan is a great character, he is not the best R* protagonist.

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The Caped Crusader

Posted my thoughts on Arthur as a character on Reddit, thought I would post it here too:
 

I absolutely love RDR II, without a doubt my favorite game tied with GTA IV but I think Arthur Morgan as a character didn't impact me as much as Niko Bellic and John Marston when I first experienced their stories.

 

The reason for this is partly because of the incoherence between the honor system and the story cutscenes, dialogue. The case with Niko and John, you knew that they were honorable and good men forced to do things they don't want to and you could tell that they hated the men who made them do it. People say that Niko is a hypocrite but I think he does what he does because he wants to find Darko or because he has to (the government). From the moment I assumed control of Arthur, I've decided that my character was going to be a man of principles with a heart of gold. I had the maximum honor possible in Chapter 2 onwards. While my Arthur was always helping people and being a good person overall, he was being a dick to almost everyone and working with people he hated because.. Dutch needs them? Every mission starts with camp members offering a job to Arthur, and after a bit of complaining and being a dick session he always says SHOAAH, proceeding to kill 50 people.

 

This goes on and after the ''you know what'' storyline, that's the part he becomes interesting and truly reflects the good honor playthrough you're trying to play. The bad news is this only last 20 or so missions and that's not enough for a redemption story, unlike John who has a whole game about redemption. He literally goes from being a dick to almost everyone to absolving debts left and right. While I think Arthur is a great character overall, he is not better than John because he can swim.

Edited by The Caped Crusader
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BretMaverick777

#UnpopularOpinionThread 😂😂

 

 

Yeah, there's always the hypocrisy in the back of everyone's mind, but I think that's par for the course for Rockstar protags.   I really don't see Marston, Niko, or even Michael or Franklin (no need to mention Trevor here) as being "forced" to do bad things, any more than Arthur.   They all had choices, and often made the wrong ones.   But the majority of these characters (again, no need to mention Trevor here) are at least self-aware that what they're doing is wrong.  And to my mind, Arthur moreso than ANY other Rockstar character.  He continuously admits, right up to the bitter end, that he IS a bad man.   He knows what little good he's done at the end of his life does not atone for all the other sins he's committed along the way, so his arc isn't a redemption arc.   But what makes Arthur so ennobling by the end is that, by god, he's gonna make sure he does it on HIS terms. 

 

Honestly, there is nothing I would have liked better for this story than to have steered toward Arthur taking the gang outright from Dutch.  I think, in the end, EVERYONE, including Dutch and Arthur himself, realized that Arthur was the real leader of the gang; the one who got everything done, the one who rescued the lost, the one who put real money in the box and real meat on the table and medicine in the cabinet.  Dutch was a figurehead.   Had Arthur simply taken over, even with what little time he had left, I think his story would have truly been a path to personal redemption and sacrifice for the greater good. 

Edited by BretMaverick777
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simpjkee

I think the aspects of Aurthur that you don't seem to like is exactly what makes him a good character. He's torn between following through with the lifestyle of being an outlaw and reforming his life. Mary's storyline seems to give him a way of leaving behind the outlaw life, but he just can't do it and goes back to his outlaw ways. With John there were external forces that made him act like an outlaw in RDR1. With Aurthur it's all an internal struggle. I don't know your life, but I can relate with the internal struggle of wanting to do good, but being drawn back in to the "outlaw life". The writers and story does a great job laying out this internal struggle. In the mission cut scenes, he hears the plan and internally it doesn't feel right to him, but gets pulled in by greed or just the outlaw lifestyle that he's lived since he was a teen. In the missions with Mary I was wanting so much for him to say "Yeah Mary. Let's move away and start a new life." But he can't. His self image is that he is a bad person and can't change no matter how much the player may be pulling for him to. Ultimately, as is so often the case IRL, the "outlaw life" is his ultimate downfall and he pays the ultimate price without ever changing and making a better more honorable life for himself. He sees that John still has that opportunity and does his best to help him change his life like he was never able to do. It's a tragedy that plays out everyday IRL. I find this story far more believable than the classic "I want to be good, but external forces are making me be bad" that we see in cheesy action movies all the time. Aurthur's internal struggle is way more believable and way more powerful.

 

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SneakyDeaky

The reason Arthur is endearing to me I think is because the sad fact in life is most people don't change. Many people don't even try to change. Or they try and find it too difficult. Arthur knows hes a bad man, has made terrible decisions and has lived a very misguided and sinful life, but at the bitter end he is fully aware of this and wants to change, but he's out of time. So he goes down slow and on his terms. He doesn't have the time to change but he dies knowing he would like to if he had one last chance. It's not redemption but it's something.

John does try to change but perhaps he didn't try hard enough, as his downfall is partly down to revenge. Also his naivety not to see that he truly was the last and the FBI would have to come for him in the end, as Dutch warned him, to "justify their wages."

But he did want to change and he tried and that's something, too.

Edited by SneakyDeaky
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Ya Boy Punk Fan

Lies, deception.

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The FoolYT

In terms of my favourite protagonists, it would probably be a toss up between Arthur Morgan and Niko Bellic. Both of their stories were the most interesting for me.

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CaliMeatWagon

Crazy how GTA IV was the first one to have protagonists...

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The Caped Crusader
1 hour ago, BretMaverick777 said:

#UnpopularOpinionThread 😂😂

 

 

Yeah, there's always the hypocrisy in the back of everyone's mind, but I think that's par for the course for Rockstar protags.   I really don't see Marston, Niko, or even Michael or Franklin (no need to mention Trevor here) as being "forced" to do bad things, any more than Arthur.   They all had choices, and often made the wrong ones.   But the majority of these characters (again, no need to mention Trevor here) are at least self-aware that what they're doing is wrong.  And to my mind, Arthur moreso than ANY other Rockstar character.  He continuously admits, right up to the bitter end, that he IS a bad man.   He knows what little good he's done at the end of his life does not atone for all the other sins he's committed along the way, so his arc isn't a redemption arc.   But what makes Arthur so ennobling by the end is that, by god, he's gonna make sure he does it on HIS terms. 

 

Honestly, there is nothing I would have liked better for this story than to have steered toward Arthur taking the gang outright from Dutch.  I think, in the end, EVERYONE, including Dutch and Arthur himself, realized that Arthur was the real leader of the gang; the one who got everything done, the one who rescued the lost, the one who put real money in the box and real meat on the table and medicine in the cabinet.  Dutch was a figurehead.   Had Arthur simply taken over, even with what little time he had left, I think his story would have truly been a path to personal redemption and sacrifice for the greater good. 

I agree that Arthur was the leader the gang needed but I don't like the fact that he puts up with all of Dutch's sh*t throughout the whole game. It's justified by the fact that he was once a good person and he practically raised Arthur but by the time main story starts, he is completely unlikable and uncharismatic as a leader. Also, I don't buy that a guy like Arthur would tolarate Micah just because Dutch wants him to. He clearly hates him but doesn't do anything about it even in Chapter 6 where we see has no problems kicking Strauss out. It just seems out of character to me.

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BretMaverick777
20 minutes ago, The Caped Crusader said:

I agree that Arthur was the leader the gang needed but I don't like the fact that he puts up with all of Dutch's sh*t throughout the whole game. It's justified by the fact that he was once a good person and he practically raised Arthur but by the time main story starts, he is completely unlikable and uncharismatic as a leader. Also, I don't buy that a guy like Arthur would tolarate Micah just because Dutch wants him to. He clearly hates him but doesn't do anything about it even in Chapter 6 where we see has no problems kicking Strauss out. It just seems out of character to me.

I agree.   While the writing is still excellent, they could have done a better job of reasoning why Dutch was so smitten with a clear sociopath like Micah Bell, and why Arthur and Hosea didn't try to smack some sense into Dutch's head.  Hell, the three of them had been family for over 20 years; all of a sudden, this greasy serial killer in a white hat saves Dutch's life from an angry mob, and Dutch ditches the two of them to get on Micah's d*ck?   Not buying it either

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Tonesta

Personally, I think there is a sharp contrast between Arthur and Niko - and that Arthur is, by some orders of magnitude, the more honorable and decent protagonist.

 

Niko, simplistically, is a lone wolf driven predominantly by anger and vengeance. Yes, the Darko element is there justifying some of his actions - but he also does a lot of bad things for very bad people, almost entirely for the money. Sure, he appreciates that what he is doing is bad, and has a certain amount of self-loathing and a massive amount of cynicism at the world......but most of his killing and destruction is done in the service of the almighty dollar.

 

Arthur, however, is all about the gang, his family. He was raised into it, and it's all he's ever known. Hell, he flat out rejects his chance at love and happiness with Mary, because he feels he can't abandon the gang.

And at the beginning of the game, he believes pretty much unequivocally in Dutch's leadership, and will basically do whatever he's ordered because he believes it's in the best interests of the only group of people he cares about, even if it damns him (legally & spiritually). In the middle stages, the doubts start to emerge - but there's still enough checks and balances (Hosea in particular) that he will continue to toe the line because he's a good soldier. It's only at the end, once those checks and balances are gone, and his own fate is sealed, that he fully comes to appreciate the damage that the gang are doing, and tries to at least partially atone with what little time he has left. And even then, he still believes in the man Dutch used to be ("the best man I ever known") - even if we, the player, are certainly doubting that that individual ever really existed.

 

Basically Arthur is the most selfless and loyal protagonist that R* have created - he does almost nothing for himself, and everything for the greater good of the gang. But the fact is that he's spent his life in thrall to weaker and less noble men, who've pointed him on a course of death and destruction. It's a truly tragic arc.

 

The only thing that might make me question whether he is the 'best', is the comparative simplicity of that arc. You could argue that it's more challenging to create a morally complex and questionable character who does act in self-interest and/or anger to make the player a little more uneasy. Which is maybe where Niko fits in.....or Michael also comes to mind. Even in RDR2, I'd argue that in terms of fascinating characters - Arthur is behind Dutch, even if he is much more likeable.

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PapasHota

Personally i think his voice acting is atrocious, the sh*tty southern accent and the cartoony deep voice get on my nerves every time and its worse when you have Dutch and John Marston with such powerful natural voices he just looks out of place.

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Mac-

I haven't played all of Rock Star games, so I'm not going to get into which one is the best, and even if I did it's all personal preference as you say OP. As for me out of all the games I've played, I have to say Arthur has been the only one that really took me on a journey, and I really loved playing him more so than any other.

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CaliMeatWagon
2 hours ago, PapasHota said:

Personally i think his voice acting is atrocious, the sh*tty southern accent and the cartoony deep voice get on my nerves every time and its worse when you have Dutch and John Marston with such powerful natural voices he just looks out of place.

Really? It sounds like John is yelling all the time.

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Cutter De Blanc

He's up there with Tommy Vercetti

 

Funny how people like playing a bad guy who makes no compunctions about being a bad guy.

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saintsrow

Everyone agrees that Tommy Vercetti is Rockstar's best protag.  👍

 

Doesn't look like that's going to be changing anytime soon.  😛

 

And by "soon," I mean "Rockstar soon." which is now measured in multiple years, tending toward decades.  

 

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Cutter De Blanc

I still think Victor is the worst, shooting hundreds of people while shouting, "Sorry! Look out!" The whole time.

 

I don't want the playable character to be trying to make me feel bad for playing 

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Mac-
5 minutes ago, Cutter De Blanc said:

Funny how people like playing a bad guy who makes no compunctions about being a bad guy.

 

I suppose a little escapism doesn't hurt ;).

9 minutes ago, CaliMeatWagon said:

Really? It sounds like John is yelling all the time.

Or a cork stuck up his arse.

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josephene123

About those of you who say you were annoyed about how much Arthur put up with Dutch's sh*t at the beginning of the game, and how unlikeable Dutch already was at the start - could you elaborate? 

 

I find it interesting because I really liked Dutch at the beginning and definitely followed the same arc as Arthur towards being alienated by him. In that sense I felt even more of a connection. 

 

Does anyone wonder if maybe they should have kept the detail of Dutch shooting the innocent bystander woman on the ferry out of it - and then maybe reveal it later on? Maybe the plot would be that those who witnessed it were ordered to not talk about it. My reasoning being that even though it's left ambiguous it's still pretty obvious Dutch did a shocking thing, and I can imagine some players finding it hard to see what Arthur sees. 

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GTAgamerWyald
18 hours ago, Tonesta said:

Personally, I think there is a sharp contrast between Arthur and Niko - and that Arthur is, by some orders of magnitude, the more honorable and decent protagonist.

 

Niko, simplistically, is a lone wolf driven predominantly by anger and vengeance. Yes, the Darko element is there justifying some of his actions - but he also does a lot of bad things for very bad people, almost entirely for the money. Sure, he appreciates that what he is doing is bad, and has a certain amount of self-loathing and a massive amount of cynicism at the world......but most of his killing and destruction is done in the service of the almighty dollar.

 

Arthur, however, is all about the gang, his family. He was raised into it, and it's all he's ever known. Hell, he flat out rejects his chance at love and happiness with Mary, because he feels he can't abandon the gang.

And at the beginning of the game, he believes pretty much unequivocally in Dutch's leadership, and will basically do whatever he's ordered because he believes it's in the best interests of the only group of people he cares about, even if it damns him (legally & spiritually). In the middle stages, the doubts start to emerge - but there's still enough checks and balances (Hosea in particular) that he will continue to toe the line because he's a good soldier. It's only at the end, once those checks and balances are gone, and his own fate is sealed, that he fully comes to appreciate the damage that the gang are doing, and tries to at least partially atone with what little time he has left. And even then, he still believes in the man Dutch used to be ("the best man I ever known") - even if we, the player, are certainly doubting that that individual ever really existed.

 

Basically Arthur is the most selfless and loyal protagonist that R* have created - he does almost nothing for himself, and everything for the greater good of the gang. But the fact is that he's spent his life in thrall to weaker and less noble men, who've pointed him on a course of death and destruction. It's a truly tragic arc.

 

The only thing that might make me question whether he is the 'best', is the comparative simplicity of that arc. You could argue that it's more challenging to create a morally complex and questionable character who does act in self-interest and/or anger to make the player a little more uneasy. Which is maybe where Niko fits in.....or Michael also comes to mind. Even in RDR2, I'd argue that in terms of fascinating characters - Arthur is behind Dutch, even if he is much more likeable.

Dont think Arthur rejects being with Mary, he seems to want to be with her and form a family but also wants the gang to be alright before he leaves though by how things go it's impossible. So rather in the end he tries to give John and his family a life that he couldn't have due to the poor choices he made. Arthur also seems to have doubts about Dutch since the beginning however he actively tries to suppress them or is in self denial due the respect and love he has for the man and the belief that things will be alright.

 

Also when it comes to Niko while he is well characterized and self aware, he really doesn't have an arc.

Edited by GTAgamerWyald

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TheSantader25

Niko is so overrated anyways. Hypocritical and always moaning. John is good but nothing special. Arthur is the best protagonist I've played hands down. I never thought John's redemption was an honorable one like Arthur. It was mostly just about his own family. 

 

Arthur is funny, deep, badass. The three aspects that make a protagonist awesome. 

Edited by TheSantader25
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Gray-Hand

Out of Arthur Nico and John, Arthur is by far the best written.

Arthur has by far the strongest character arc and his development as a character and his responses to events are believable both intellectually and emotionally.  

He has more facets and layers to his personality than the other two characters and all those different facets fit together and complement each other beautifully - and that is NOT an easy thing to write, particularly over 60 hours of material.

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oCrapaCreeper
9 hours ago, PapasHota said:

John Marston

John yells like 70% of the time in both games like his actor has no idea what the context of his lines are.

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SonOfLiberty

I would rate them on the same level. Niko's journey still captivates me after 10 years and countless times playing GTA IV, but I also enjoy Arthur's journey too. I think they both represent what I like out of a protagonist in their own way. Brilliant characters and definitely two of R*'s best.

 

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Virus..
1 hour ago, Miamivicecity said:

I would rate them on the same level. Niko's journey still captivates me after 10 years and countless times playing GTA IV, but I also enjoy Arthur's journey too. I think they both represent what I like out of a protagonist in their own way. Brilliant characters and definitely two of R*'s best.

 

Tommy vercetti is the best tho. This is my operation! Mine!

Edited by Virus..
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saintsrow
25 minutes ago, Virus.. said:

Tommy vercetti is the best tho. This is my operation! Mine!

The Vice City story arc shows how easy and satisfying it is to take a mishmash of familiar themes, including, and of course ending, with "Scarface," and make the outcome victorious instead of nihilistic or empty, like Scarface.  It's easy for storytellers to make the story go whatever way they want.  Which makes me wonder what TF they were thinking, with RDR2's basic story arc.  I liked a lot of the RDR2 detail and NPC characters, but the story and the screwy gang dynamics were ... WTF.  

 

Tommy is the best, not only because he had a good story ending, but also because he wasn't an incessant whiner throughout the whole story.  

 

Now that Rockstar knows how to design swamps (Lemoyne) and rich, open fields and farmland and deciduous forests and mountains, from RDR2, it should be a no-brainer for them to bring back a modern day Vice City with the Everglades, extending into US southern and eastern forests, farms and Appalachian Mountains, for GTA6.  

 

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Gray-Hand
5 minutes ago, saintsrow said:

The Vice City story arc shows how easy and satisfying it is to take a mishmash of familiar themes, including, and of course ending, with "Scarface," and make the outcome victorious instead of nihilistic or empty, like Scarface.  It's easy for storytellers to make the story go whatever way they want.  Which makes me wonder what TF they were thinking, with RDR2's basic story arc.  I liked a lot of the RDR2 detail and NPC characters, but the story and the screwy gang dynamics were ... WTF.  

 

Tommy is the best, not only because he had a good story ending, but also because he wasn't an incessant whiner throughout the whole story.  

 

Now that Rockstar knows how to design swamps (Lemoyne) and rich, open fields and farmland and deciduous forests and mountains, from RDR2, it should be a no-brainer for them to bring back a modern day Vice City with the Everglades, extending into US southern and eastern forests, farms and Appalachian Mountains, for GTA6.  

 

Surely, you aren’t saying that the ending of RDR2 was nihilistic or empty?

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Virus..
33 minutes ago, saintsrow said:

The Vice City story arc shows how easy and satisfying it is to take a mishmash of familiar themes, including, and of course ending, with "Scarface," and make the outcome victorious instead of nihilistic or empty, like Scarface.  It's easy for storytellers to make the story go whatever way they want.  Which makes me wonder what TF they were thinking, with RDR2's basic story arc.  I liked a lot of the RDR2 detail and NPC characters, but the story and the screwy gang dynamics were ... WTF.  

 

Tommy is the best, not only because he had a good story ending, but also because he wasn't an incessant whiner throughout the whole story.  

 

Now that Rockstar knows how to design swamps (Lemoyne) and rich, open fields and farmland and deciduous forests and mountains, from RDR2, it should be a no-brainer for them to bring back a modern day Vice City with the Everglades, extending into US southern and eastern forests, farms and Appalachian Mountains, for GTA6.  

 

Amen brother. God it will be such a boner kill if rockstar surprise us with a different setting. we need to go back to vice city.

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Guest Guest176525326

Arthur Morgan is definitely one of the greatest Rockstar characters ever created imo, right up there with Niko and Trevor.

 

Too bad we can’t be him in the end :(

 

 

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The Caped Crusader
On 12/18/2018 at 9:28 PM, PapasHota said:

Personally i think his voice acting is atrocious, the sh*tty southern accent and the cartoony deep voice get on my nerves every time and its worse when you have Dutch and John Marston with such powerful natural voices he just looks out of place.

Roger Clark did a great job in my opinion, I prefer John's voice too but Dutch sounds like he's about to burst into tears when he yells lol.

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SonOfLiberty
18 hours ago, O.Z said:

Arthur Morgan is definitely one of the greatest Rockstar characters ever created imo, right up there with Niko and Trevor.

 

Too bad we can’t be him in the end :(

 

 

This post is almost perfect except you had to ruin it by putting Arthur and Niko in the same sentence as bloody Trevor. Since we can't give half likes a full one will have to do.😛

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