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Wanderer of the West

The most mean-spirited game I’ve ever played

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Wanderer of the West

First of all, hello! I'm new here and decided to join because this looks like a really passionate and active forum for R* games. I apologise in advance for my first post appearing so negative but I have to get this off my chest. Hopefully, R* is browsing and listening to us.

Disclaimer: I actually really like Red Dead Redemption 2. As of this moment I would rate it an 8/10 and there are more things I love about this game than hate. But that’s not what this thread is about. This is about the fact that I feel this love is not returned to the player. At all. Also, I’ve been playing for, I guess, 80 hours now? I’m still at the beginning of chapter 3 where Dutch has instructed the gang not to use weapons in Rhodes so please no spoilers should you reply.

There is a nasty, almost sadistic undercurrent running through this game that makes it really unpleasant to play at times. I appreciate the game punishing the player for morally reprehensible or incompetent actions. However, when those actions are forced upon you or when you’re punished for being successful it makes it feel like your choices don’t matter because R* already has a script in mind and you’ve just got to stick to it.

For example, hunting.

Hunting, in theory, is a wonderful system. The idea of having to follow the tracks, identify the animal by studying it, then seeing if it will yield a perfect pelt while making sure you have the right weapon and ammo to get a clean kill is so cathartic and escapist. I could get lost in hunting for hours… if the game wasn’t so hell-bent on you losing the rewards from it.

One incident springs to mind where I made the mistake of… killing a perfect deer in about 10 seconds after spotting it. As I went to skin my reward I noticed the skinning animation wouldn’t play out. At first I thought it was a bug but next thing I knew Arthur was yelling, “oh snap!” (censored version obviously) and moving wildly.   After the animation played out I saw a Muskrat running away guiltily and when I looked back down the perfect deer carcass was suddenly displaying as poor. I don’t even know what happened because it all happened so fast: did the Muskrat bite the dead deer or did it bite Arthur causing him to trample on the once perfect carcass? I suppose it doesn’t matter because the game got what it wanted which was to make the deer lose its value. (I should mention I have literally stood and ran around Muskrats prior to this with none of them paying any mind to me.) The real question is did the game spawn that perfect deer so quickly just so this animation could play out or did it really just set that Muskrat on me because it was surprised I scored perfect game so fast? Either way, this was so obviously scripted that it took me out. Now, some will say, “nature is cruel!” You’re right - nature is cruel but this was not nature. This was a video game being very video gamey in order to stall a player’s progress under the guise of a “dynamic” world.

Another hunting example is when I tracked a perfect deer that went near the gang hideout. I got the clean kill but then out of nowhere a bunch of bounty hunters spawned in front of the hideout. The game told me I had lead the law to the camp… bear in mind, the bounty hunters did not appear on the map at all prior to this and there was no radar indicating their presence like normal. It was clear that because killing the perfect deer so close to the camp meant no risk in getting it back the game obviously did not like that. I killed all of the bounty hunters leaving not a single witness but the game reset as if I failed or died, causing me to lose my pelt and carcass. I still can’t tell you what the in-game explanation for that was.

Look, I don’t mind when I make mistakes that causes me to backtrack but what I do not enjoy is the game blatantly cheating in order to waste the player's time. If the player pulls off something really tricky just let them enjoy the reward. There are systems in place that are punishing enough for actual failure.

Speaking of the bounty system, wow, what a mess lol. Karma systems are always awkward because morals vary from human to human but it really is quite laughable in RDR2. For instance, going up to a camp of civilians out of curiosity and then being told to turn away and then being shot at almost instantly as you get on your horse to go even after defusing the situation... How do you expect the player to deal with that other than shooting back? Of course, I’ve started just hogtieing if something like that happens but it feels silly.

One time I was riding my horse at normal speed and some lawmen carrying a prisoner in their carriage deliberately crashed into me sending Arthur flying face forward to the ground. You would think the damage taken to the horse and Arthur would be punishing enough but no, next thing I heard while my face was still planted in the ground was the lawmen shouting, “Quick, make sure he doesn’t get near the cage!" causing me to become Wanted. WTF?! It was clearly an accident. Nobody died. Why would the law just assume Arthur is trying to break out the prisoner?  While we’re on the subject (because I have freed one of those moving prisoners before) why is it “honourable” to free a felon without knowing the full situation? He could be a rapist for all we know. This game thinks “honourable” is doing anything that doesn’t knowingly reward Arthur and that’s not what honourable means...

The moment I realised that the bounty system was bad was when I accidentally bumped into an NPC while walking and got hit with, “disturbing the peace” lol. Not to mention when a drunk or antagonistic NPC starts hitting you for no reason and Arthur is the one reported for "assault". This game really wants you to experience the bounty system and will do ANYTHING to get you there. Oh, and there’s almost no point in stopping a witness because often they just start shooting at you which instantly causes another travelling witness to report the crime of…not defending yourself? Really weird system.

I also think it’s hilarious that R* really wants you to see everything RDR2 has to offer to the point that they hide camp fast travel behind roughly 600 dollars. They knew that most players would look at the tent demands of that monologing narcissist (Dutch) and go, “yeah, I’ve got other priorities” which is why they made it so that Arthur’s tent upgrade (which includes the fast travel map) doesn’t even show up on the ledger until you upgrade Dutch’s tent. Now, I totally understand why there isn’t much fast travel in the game – R* obviously put a lot of time and effort into those random encounters and shacks full of discoveries. However, because you literally become a walking bullseye when a perfect carcass is on your horse I often end up skipping the stranger encounters or stopping to explore because I cannot take the risk that I’m potentially walking into a fatal trap or that some BS like the Muskrat incident will happen. There I say it, they've made me afraid to explore this beautiful, detailed world they've created and I don't think that was their intention...

I’ve seen a lot of complaints about how "slow" the game is. I actually really like the slow, methodical, almost bumbling nature of it. I like the fact that you have to get off your horse to loot and that there is an entire animation for such activities. I like picking up things one-by-one. I like how in-depth hunting is. I like the pacing of the story so far. This all encourages you to soak everything in but that sense of realism and immersion is broken by the game trying to force other systems on to you whenever it randomly feels like it and often in a very cruel, trollish way.

I understand that the Wild West was a cold, punishing place but it doesn’t feel like the world of Red Dead is punishing me, it feels like the game is.  And that’s a problem in a game that prides itself on "realism and immersion". I would be very interested to hear what you guy's think about the game's fail-state systems in general and whether you feel it's just right or too punishing and why.

 

 

 

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Halal Cyborg

Well I imagine 1899 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and was in fact mean spirited and a fight for survival.

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Satanta
4 hours ago, Halal Cyborg said:

Well I imagine 1899 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and was in fact mean spirited and a fight for survival.

Had it's moments but the old saying "An Armed Society is a Polite Society' is true-true today, truer then as, unlike RDR2 there was not a Witness sitting behind every tree awaiting one to do something wrong so people tended to mind their manners and not be as profane-even the constant being told to 'Piss off' when greeting someone on the trail in the game is a stretch and was not likely to happen in the real 1890's.

 

For the OP-yeah, the bounty system is bad and I agree-the honor system is crap.  What is Honorable to one kind of thing.

 

Was doing the mission in Strawberry where you have to chase the guy who recognizes you-I go galloping after him. he cuts around a wagon on the road and I'm following-the wagon actually sped forward as if to get in the way-which it did-sending Arthur ass-ver-end flying.

 

I have managed to get one Legendary Pelt actually TOO the Traapper-otherwise I've been attacked by wolves, cougars, O'Driscol's and Raiders every.  Single.  Time-usually when I am in Cinematic mode so it tales extra button pushes to get out of it and draw a weapon.

 

Had wolves attack me bringing back a 3* Elk-I hopped off the hosre and told it to flee so I could deal with wolves.   Afterwards horse returns and the pelt is now a 1*

 

Love the game but there are a lot of iissues with the mechanics and I hate the so-called 'Honor' system-it should not even exist in the game.  You do dishinirable stuff, get seen and people talk about it-that should effect how you are treated in the game.  Not if you loot a dead corpse in the middle of nowhere with no one seeing you.

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Wanderer of the West
21 hours ago, Halal Cyborg said:

Well I imagine 1899 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and was in fact mean spirited and a fight for survival.

My point was that it feels incredibly forced and unnatural and therefore unrealistic and immersion breaking.

 

The NPCs are hyper aggressive.

If you take out your gun while hunting a deer and an NPC passes by on horseback they think you're threatening them.

They assume you bumped into them on purpose or that you're following them.

Heaven forbid should you have a road accident and crash into their wagon they assume you're trying to steal it.

 

The entire point of the dialogue system is for the payer to tell the game our intentions so why is it constantly assuming we mean harm? It's trying to force this bounty system on us.

 

Recently I was riding my horse with a legendary fish on the back and got attacked by a cougar which incidentally was the one time I appreciated this since I was in the area because I was previously hunting for cougars. In fact, the only reason why I was riding away on my horse in the first place is because I had given up after spending about 30 minutes waiting for cougars to spawn (wasting predator baits, sleeping until night etc). It only spawned and attacked me when I got on my horse with my legendary fish which just goes to prove my point.

 

But I digress. When I got pounced on by the cougar this sent my horse and I flying into an approaching NPC on horseback. The NPC clearly annoyed at me for inconveniencng him by almost losing my life started shooting at me WHILE THE COUGAR WAS CIRCLING AROUND BOTH OF US. I shot the cougar with a poisoned arrow which sent it running and then dealt with the NPC by killing him. As I went to skin the cougar I got a chain of approaching witnesses reporting murder. When I dealt with them them I stowed the cougar carcass on the back of my horse and then suddenly a bear spawned out of nowhere. This was exhausting.

 

Despite the game doing its tiresome best to make me lose my reward I made it in time to my trapper and sold everything but wow what a miserable experience it was to get there.

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Satanta

@Wanderer of the West-sounds like some of the silly stuff from RDR1.   Tall Trees hunting Bear.  KIll one go to skin and suddenly I am onset by 8 Bears, two Cougars and a pack of Wolves at the same time.

 

You point about the NPC agressiveness-on point.  In an armed society, in areas where people have open carry and CCW's, minor bumps or even fender-benders do not tend to get turned ionto "FU!" moments.  In hunting territory, if you meet someone hunting in the woods you tend to be *nice* to them not start cursing them and drawing your own weapon.

 

While the game has so much visual realism and great mechanics it does have it's Walt Disney moments where the "Village of Idiots" all have bug eyes and horns with pink fur and are agressive to the outsider till the outsider does some miraculous dead and shows them they need to love them so everyone can sing and dance together hapilly ever after.

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Wanderer of the West
On 12/26/2018 at 7:44 PM, Satanta said:

@Satanta Exactly. It feels like I'm playing friggin Far Cry. The world is beautiful but the game just won't allow me to just soak it in before it throws everything at the screen. I read an article about how the game's attempts at being realistic actually works to do the opposite because so many events are so obviously scripted and you start to notice patterns. She described the NPCs as feeling like actors in a theme park that start playing out their scenes the moment you're nearby and the illusion is broken by the fact that you're clearly the star. That's why the moment you put a perfect pelt on your horse all of a sudden the random encounters start popping up.

 

 

@Satanta Exactly. It feels like I'm playing friggin Far Cry. The world is beautiful but the game just won't allow me to just soak it in before it throws everything at the screen. I read an article about how the game's attempts at being realistic actually works to do the opposite because so many events are so obviously scripted and you start to notice patterns. She described the NPCs as feeling like actors in a theme park that start playing out their scenes the moment you're nearby and the illusion is broken by the fact that you're clearly the star. That's why the moment you put a perfect pelt on your horse all of a sudden the random encounters start popping up.

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