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The Wolf Man

John Marston is a greater protagonist than Arthur Morgan

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The Wolf Man

John Marston is the face of Red Dead Redemption... he was truly something else in 2010.

 

Arthur is also good, but John is legendary. 

 

EDIT - Two things I'd like to add to my opinion:

 

- John vs Arthur is also a 2010 x 2018 battle. In 2010 we didn't have games like The Last Of Us (2013), games like these raised the bar for gaming writing. John was an outstanding protagonist for a 2010 game, and I see now that he was way ahead of his time.

 

- John is young and dumb in RDR2, just like he is supposed to be. He is still growing. He only reaches he's fully developed persona in RDR1. There is also the case of John being "downgraded" as a character so he wouldn't overshadow Arthur. I don't know if this actually happened, but it is something I considered.

Edited by The Wolf Man
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Dan390

ok

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Typhus

Ehh...I'm more of a Red Harlow guy.

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  • YEE 3

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Abel Tesfaye

Yes u are right,literally everybody knows this fact since rdr2's story trailer dropped back in 2017.

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Cutter De Blanc

Not in this game he's not

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The Wolf Man
20 minutes ago, Abel Tesfaye said:

Yes u are right,literally everybody knows this fact since rdr2's story trailer dropped back in 2017.

You're a good boah.

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volta2001

Other than Jack you mean. He’s everyone’s favorite. Damn nag

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Mac-

I think Arthur summed John Marston up nicely for me at the start of RDR II, dumb as rocks and dull as rusted iron.

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Dudu RDRII
On 2/2/2020 at 10:33 PM, Cutter De Blanc said:

Not in this game he's not

I second this.

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LeonVegaSuarez

I really like both. Loved John in RDR1 and was heartbroken when I saw how it all ended for him. 

 

In RDR2 I definitely prefer Arthur. His story is so emotional, it really sucked me in. 

John is too much of a dumbass for most of RDR2's story and seems too "green" to be a badass. Same reason why I hated playing as John in RDR1.

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The Shakermaker

RDR John > Arthur > RDR2 John

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Xerukal

Love both for different reasons, but Arthur connected with me way more because of the time Rockstar took to really get you into his head. Not just through the story missions. But through basically anything you do.

 

The way he'll randomly sing to his horse while trotting along, his endearing dialogue (with himself) when fishing. Incredibly small, seemingly insignificant things like that, they slowly warm you up to the character. Of course, you have the bigger character moments for him that really win people over. But all of the deliberate design decisions they made to really get you to understand and like Arthur... every single one paid off. Big time. 

 

John is still John, though. Arthur didn't suddenly make him obsolete. I mean, he spends the last days of his life making sure John & his family survive and thrive. I'll never get tired of playing as him. 

Edited by Xerukal
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racecar73

Arthur is a King.

 

John is a Peasant. 

Edited by racecar73
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areyouchappin

I personally thought Arthur was better than John but then John became who he was in RDR1 because of Arthur.

 

The one thing I didn't like about Arthur was that he wasn't very smart, he blindly followed Dutch for whatever reason.. he gave up on a good chance at a normal life with Mary whom he loved(and possibly a second woman earlier in his life).. he killed people and regretted it but continued to do so purely because of the gang? or Dutch? Then after all the signs and warnings telling him Dutch never cared about him or the gang he finally starts having doubts, but it was far too late. In my opinion. Arthur was never suppose to be a good man. He was suppose to be mean and evil, just like Dutch... killing anyone who crossed him or stood in the way of the mission. Until the gang life eventually catches up with him.

 

It never made sense to me that Arthur just blows up randomly on Strauss.. like motherfker... you are the Enforcer of the gang.... you WANTED to do this lol now you're having a change of heart after 20 something years and hundreds of dead corpses on your conscious? lmao

Oh, so now it's Strauss's fault because you caught Tuberculosis from a man you didn't have to beat to death in front of his wife and child? lol sorry.. but I just couldn't feel bad for Arthur... he asked for the suffering he received in his final moments of life.

 

But that's what the game's overall story was about.... you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.. but if you do the right thing, then maybe... just maybe.. the world will reward you for it.

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Failed Again

It's Uncle man Uncle..

 

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The Wolf Man

.

Edited by The Wolf Man
Moved to the OP.
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Failed Again

I prefer Arthur, BUT

we know so much more of John's life from RDD1

we pretty much have John in full

 

Arthurs story in Time comparison to John is short, Yet Arthur, lives Large in our minds

 

Both are great and together make one of the best games Yet

Edited by Failed Again
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Dan_1983

Like both as they're good in their own way, but prefer Arthur.

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7th Ward Charizard

is it me or does NPC John look a little... empty in the eyes? I think they made him too much of an idiot in this game if ya ask me. 

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JB1982

Arthur for me. The "ok" protaganist did save the "legendary" protaganist no less than three times after all. Without Arthur, there would be no John. But teasing aside, Arthur as a character just connects with me more for some reason. Previously I would have listed GTA IV as my favourite Rockstar, now I am torn between that and RDR2, and a lot of that is down to the journey I go on with the proganists in both. Niko's story feels legendary. So does Arthur's. At least for me it does.

 

20 hours ago, areyouchappin said:

The one thing I didn't like about Arthur was that he wasn't very smart, he blindly followed Dutch for whatever reason.. he gave up on a good chance at a normal life with Mary whom he loved(and possibly a second woman earlier in his life).. he killed people and regretted it but continued to do so purely because of the gang? or Dutch? Then after all the signs and warnings telling him Dutch never cared about him or the gang he finally starts having doubts, but it was far too late. In my opinion. Arthur was never suppose to be a good man. He was suppose to be mean and evil, just like Dutch... killing anyone who crossed him or stood in the way of the mission. Until the gang life eventually catches up with him.

This poses an interesting question really. You are absolutely right that Arthur doesn't seem very smart to blindly follow Dutch. But you can say the same for the rest of the gang. In fact you could say that Arthur is smarter than the rest of them because he's the one that sees the changes occuring, the one who starts to have doubts and questions about Dutch. Others might escape by the end but the ones that do largely do this because Arthur has helped open their eyes. But it's the two who can see the changing of the tide, Arthur and Hosea, who don't make it out alive. Why don't Arthur and Hosea do more when they see things are changing earlier on? Because they are loyal to Dutch. They're the two who have been with him the longest abd are the most loyal to him. Arthur even sees Dutch as a father figure.

 

That for me goes a long way to explaining why Arthur passes up a chance of a normal life. Because Arthur was still in his teens when he met Dutch. He was young and impressionable and needed someone to take him under their wing and guide him. Dutch did that for him. So that has to be taken into account when trying to make sense of Arthur's decisons in RDR2 and in the whole time he has known Dutch which is over 20 years. He'll have been constantly torn between his father'/family and others such as Mary. You can see that when he meets Mary in the game. You can see that he always wanted to be with her, that he still wants to be with her. But then there's Dutch and the gang and all that history. Is that smart? Maybe not but Dutch clearly has a hold over Arthur. He has a hold over them all. That's not easy to break. The problem from a player perspective is that we don't see Dutch at his peak. Nor the gang. We're seeing them at the end as it all unravels. So we're on the outside looking in and we just don't see the Dutch that they have seen and known. So we question it. You'd need to be playing further back to fully understand how Dutch had them all under his spell so much. Maybe that's what RDR3 will be about. Who knows.

 

20 hours ago, areyouchappin said:

It never made sense to me that Arthur just blows up randomly on Strauss.. like motherfker... you are the Enforcer of the gang.... you WANTED to do this lol now you're having a change of heart after 20 something years and hundreds of dead corpses on your conscious? lmao

Oh, so now it's Strauss's fault because you caught Tuberculosis from a man you didn't have to beat to death in front of his wife and child? lol sorry.. but I just couldn't feel bad for Arthur... he asked for the suffering he received in his final moments of life.

The way I see this is different to your own view. But I don't think for one minute Arthur blames Strauss for his TB. He's been confronted with his own mortality at this point but he doesn't just question what he has been doing with his life, he's questioning what those around him do and the suffering it causes. So when he goes for Strauss, he's not blaming him for causing Arthur to be sick, he's attacking Strauss for preying on people who need help and making them worse off for it. He sees Strauss as a sickness, one he can do something about. Also, Arthur doesn't kill Thomas Downes. He beats him up but Thomas Downes dies later on. Whether that is a result of the injuries Arthur gives him or he just succumbed to his own TB is a matter of conjecture. As is the number of people that Arthur has killed over the years. That's not to say Arthur is a saint, he clearly isn't and he ultimately pays for his sins. But I doubt he's a mass murderer either. Hosea even says at one point that the gang have become a bunch of killers, suggesting that wasn't always the way.

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areyouchappin
3 hours ago, JB1982 said:

This poses an interesting question really. You are absolutely right that Arthur doesn't seem very smart to blindly follow Dutch. But you can say the same for the rest of the gang. In fact you could say that Arthur is smarter than the rest of them because he's the one that sees the changes occuring, the one who starts to have doubts and questions about Dutch. Others might escape by the end but the ones that do largely do this because Arthur has helped open their eyes. But it's the two who can see the changing of the tide, Arthur and Hosea, who don't make it out alive. Why don't Arthur and Hosea do more when they see things are changing earlier on? Because they are loyal to Dutch. They're the two who have been with him the longest abd are the most loyal to him. Arthur even sees Dutch as a father figure.

 

That for me goes a long way to explaining why Arthur passes up a chance of a normal life. Because Arthur was still in his teens when he met Dutch. He was young and impressionable and needed someone to take him under their wing and guide him. Dutch did that for him. So that has to be taken into account when trying to make sense of Arthur's decisons in RDR2 and in the whole time he has known Dutch which is over 20 years. He'll have been constantly torn between his father'/family and others such as Mary. You can see that when he meets Mary in the game. You can see that he always wanted to be with her, that he still wants to be with her. But then there's Dutch and the gang and all that history. Is that smart? Maybe not but Dutch clearly has a hold over Arthur. He has a hold over them all. That's not easy to break. The problem from a player perspective is that we don't see Dutch at his peak. Nor the gang. We're seeing them at the end as it all unravels. So we're on the outside looking in and we just don't see the Dutch that they have seen and known. So we question it. You'd need to be playing further back to fully understand how Dutch had them all under his spell so much. Maybe that's what RDR3 will be about. Who knows.

Honestly, the whole gang was pretty dumb except for Dutch, Hosea, Micah and Trelawny, just because Arthur was a little bit less dumb doesn't mean he was smart. And I don't think it was Arthur alone who figured out Dutch was up to no good either.. it took several other gang members' opinions to result in Arthur's final decision come end game. Many gang members including Mary Beth expressed their displeasure with how the gang has been going since like Chapter 1.. and Reverend Swanson gets out the moment he finds a safe opportunity without telling anyone(unless Arthur catches him and if you have High Honor, you won't even see the Reverend leave, The Nun will be there instead). Several other gang member's deaths further pushed more and more gang members away from Dutch, Javier, Bill and Micah.

 

I can understand that Arthur was picked up as a young boy, that's the only thing that justifies this father-son type story line with Arthur and Dutch.. but Arthur is 30+ years old now lol how dumb do you have to be to continue breaking the law after policemen and agents are chasing you across the country... or even if it's just being chased out of one or two towns in the beginning of the gang's creation, that wouldn't strike you as odd? If you can't realize that what you're doing is wrong and immoral, than you are unfortunately stupid as rocks.. whether someone trained you that way or not is irrelevant to the laws of man.

 

Hosea and Dutch knew what they were doing was illegal, they knew it. And they tricked and lied to people so they'd fall for this "better life for criminals" philosophy that Dutch was spewing out. Hosea wanted no part of that crap. All he wanted was the cash with little to no work effort and no death or very little violence. But once Dutch fully embraced his own philosophy, he realized himself that there would be no way to complete this philosophy without some sort of bloodshed because Government was coming to the "wild west" no matter what.

 

Quote

The way I see this is different to your own view. But I don't think for one minute Arthur blames Strauss for his TB. He's been confronted with his own mortality at this point but he doesn't just question what he has been doing with his life, he's questioning what those around him do and the suffering it causes. So when he goes for Strauss, he's not blaming him for causing Arthur to be sick, he's attacking Strauss for preying on people who need help and making them worse off for it. He sees Strauss as a sickness, one he can do something about. Also, Arthur doesn't kill Thomas Downes. He beats him up but Thomas Downes dies later on. Whether that is a result of the injuries Arthur gives him or he just succumbed to his own TB is a matter of conjecture. As is the number of people that Arthur has killed over the years. That's not to say Arthur is a saint, he clearly isn't and he ultimately pays for his sins. But I doubt he's a mass murderer either. Hosea even says at one point that the gang have become a bunch of killers, suggesting that wasn't always the way.

Arthur beats Thomas Downes up to scare him into giving the money because that's what probably worked best for Arthur in his role as enforcer for the gang, and Thomas's son later on in a Stranger mission, specifically states Thomas died sooner rather than later because Arthur assaulted him so badly.. if Arthur has high honor he will give Mrs. Downes and her son some cash and try to apologize. Low Honor he just restates that Thomas was a degenerate who had it coming anyways..

 

But why pick on weak little old Strauss... was it because Arthur was too weak at this point to fight with a younger, more healthy gang member? Why didn't Arthur just shoot himself, or Dutch, or why not MICAH(who was OBVIOUSLY causing problems for the entire gang)? Besides, Arthur and a few others have done far more harm than Strauss has. Strauss offered people cash and they took it because of human nature's greed and the need to survive, but he didn't force them to do it... then a guy like Arthur shows up, beats another man to death named Algie Davison leaving a black child(Nate Davison) to fend for himself in the most racist parts of the country at the time.... Yeah, Arthur is not suppose to be a good dude... That's why it does not make sense to me to choose High Honor in this game.. The gang has obviously been doing shady sh*t like this for a long time now if Arthur has no problem doing this type of work. He may question it in his journal or outwardly towards characters, but all in all a few of these missions must be completed to continue on with the game.. so it's definitely a part of the gang's routines.

 

Years before the events of the game, I'd like to imagine the gang was a bunch of con artists and tricksters.. appearing kind of like a travelling circus band but by the time the show was over.. all the visitor's pockets would have been picked.

And as the years went on, towns/states caught wind of the Van Der Linde gang, so they had to adapt and change accordingly. Unfortunately, a vast majority of people who lived this kind of life during this time period were outlaws, undesirables, and people who didn't want to be found or children who were raised this way(gypsies). So unfortunately for the gang, they started picking up outlaws... no more travelling Reverends or pretty girls that can write books, clean or cook.. only Mac, Davey, Micah, Bill, Javier etc... So after picking up a bunch of outlaws, the gang's reputation quickly started plummeting due to increased violence and death...

 

But the fact that Arthur is supposedly the "best gunman" of the gang clearly indicates he is the best killer(at least during the events of the game).. he may not be a mass murderer in the lore.. but he definitely has a body count when the player has to control him....

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JB1982

I guess ultimately it depends on how you view Arthur's honour. You mentioned that low honour Arthur makes the most sense to you. And a lot of what you say are valid points for that view.

 

I personally see Arthur as high honour. That's how I played it. That's what made the most sense to me. I feel that my points fit that view.

 

It's one of the benefits of the honour system. And Roger Clark even said that he played Arthur ambiguously. Which allows the player to choose their own path for Arthur and read into things and interpret them differently. My Arthur is different to your Arthur who is different to someone else's Arthur. That's the beauty of it.

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The Wolf Man

The game makes a strong point of Arthur being a "good man" deep inside, and that people don't change but instead become more of who they really are.

Arthur will do whatever it takes for the gang to survive, so he closes his heart to all the harm he is causing to other innocent people along the way (like the Downes family). If you read his journal you will see that he is a much more sensitive and kind man than he appears to be on sight. Like Sadie said: "he acts all cold and bad, but he is not".

But why? Because he is loyal. Loyalty is everything for Arthur, it's his code. He is loyal to Dutch and he feels like he owes him. That's why he can't run away with Mary. 

After being diagnosed with TB and betrayed by Dutch, Arthur gives up on loyalty. If you want to be loyal, "be loyal to what matters" he says.

Since he is dying, there is no much more Arthur can do for himself. The best he can now do is make sure that John won't repeat the same mistake that he did.

 

Also... we need to remember that Arthur wasn't in Blackwater (unlike John). Blackwater was the first time Dutch showed his true colors. 

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Spadge

Not saying I disagree, Marston is a badass motherf*cker, but this is a discussion forum, if you create a thread you could atleast argue for your point, or atleast pretend to, anything that gets the OP over 2 lines.

 

But yeah, John is more of a badass I agree. He's also able to think for himself and does everything to support his family. That alone makes him more of a man. I like Arthur, but he's a bit of a fool at the same time. It works well for his tragic arc troughout the game, which is one of the strenghts of the narrative, but ultimately this glorious fool is not as cunning and sophisticated as John Marston.

Edited by Spadge
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The Wolf Man
2 hours ago, Spadge said:

Not saying I disagree, Marston is a badass motherf*cker, but this is a discussion forum, if you create a thread you could atleast argue for your point, or atleast pretend to, anything that gets the OP over 2 lines.

Fixed 👍

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areyouchappin
5 hours ago, JB1982 said:

I guess ultimately it depends on how you view Arthur's honour. You mentioned that low honour Arthur makes the most sense to you. And a lot of what you say are valid points for that view.

 

I personally see Arthur as high honour. That's how I played it. That's what made the most sense to me. I feel that my points fit that view.

 

It's one of the benefits of the honour system. And Roger Clark even said that he played Arthur ambiguously. Which allows the player to choose their own path for Arthur and read into things and interpret them differently. My Arthur is different to your Arthur who is different to someone else's Arthur. That's the beauty of it.

Oh most definitely, and I know it was only my opinion and that the game purposely left Arthur up in the air for all players to ultimately decide how his Honor is affected.

I can totally respect an Arthur that is trying to do good, but it just seems a little weird to me.. for me the story feels more genuine and original with Arthur being a bad guy who gets caught up in the gang life and murdered, but just before he dies.. he saves his best friend and his best friend's girl and child(the only people left he owes loyalty to). Now that's a god damn Western! lol 

 

On a random side note lol, my favorite ending is High Honor + Go back for the money... Arthur tells John to go on without him, and that Arthur will catch up once he retrieves the cash from the cave. Well.. Arthur gets jumped by Micah and a knife fight ensues... Arthur slashes Micah's eye, permanently scarring him far into the future when John finally confronts Micah in the True Ending.. Arthur still dies peacefully, staring up at the sun rise as the camp slowly burns to the ground around him..

 

If you ask me, Arthur was a good man who was taught the bad ways of life. And just when he started realizing that things should have been different all along.. Dutch, the Agents, the O'Driscols, and every damn thing goes straight to hell before anyone can even react.

 

4 hours ago, The Wolf Man said:

The game makes a strong point of Arthur being a "good man" deep inside, and that people don't change but instead become more of who they really are.

Arthur will do whatever it takes for the gang to survive, so he closes his heart to all the harm he is causing to other innocent people along the way (like the Downes family). If you read his journal you will see that he is a much more sensitive and kind man than he appears to be on sight. Like Sadie said: "he acts all cold and bad, but he is not".

But why? Because he is loyal. Loyalty is everything for Arthur, it's his code. He is loyal to Dutch and he feels like he owes him. That's why he can't run away with Mary. 

After being diagnosed with TB and betrayed by Dutch, Arthur gives up on loyalty. If you want to be loyal, "be loyal to what matters" he says.

Since he is dying, there is no much more Arthur can do for himself. The best he can now do is make sure that John won't repeat the same mistake that he did.

 

Also... we need to remember that Arthur wasn't in Blackwater (unlike John). Blackwater was the first time Dutch showed his true colors. 

Reading Arthur's journal literally gives you an entirely different viewpoint on certain situations and missions, if players haven't been reading it, then they really need to start ASAP

That journal is Arthur's vacation. It's the only place in camp, in the entire RDR2 universe, where he can be himself without any repercussions. If the gang heard him talking this way, they wouldn't think he was so big and bad at all.

 

Also, another random side note, when and where in the hell did Arthur learn to write and draw so damn well? For a back water outlaw on the run, he's got great penmanship.

John on the other hand.... draws stick figures.. lol

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Don Maximus Meridius

I think John Marston is the most passive, weak and boring protagonist of all Rockstar games. Even Jack and Abigail are more intense and tough than him.

 

Talking about protagonists (main series):  Tommy Vercetti > Red Harlow > CJ > Arthur Morgan > Michael de Santa > Trevor Phillips > James Earl Cash > Max Payne > Franklin Clinton > Niko Bellic > Claude Speed > Jimmy Hopkins > John Marston

 

I hate the way he deals passively with situations, especially with the end of "American Venom", even in that situation Micah humiliates him, offends his wife and son, and everything he says sounds like "uh yes, I came here for revenge, I think". And later a "uhh thank you Dutch" even after all Dutch did to him. In both RDR1 and RDR2, he acts like a side character taking place of protagonist.

 

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HOW'S ANNIE?

I'm very conflicted on how I feel about John in RDR2. 1899 John, to me, feels like a younger version of RDR1 John. You feel him grow from Chapter One being this real gun-ho young man without a care in the world that he's got Jack to raise, to Chapter Six where he's taking more responsibility over Jack and Abigails wellbeing. 

 

Then the moment the epilogue hits and you take control of John, his brain just instantly melts. You find out he's been f*cking up left, right and centre for the whole last eight years. Then you go through another 30 or so missions where he seems to do nothing but f*ck up. 1907 John just doesn't really mesh well at all with 1911 John.

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Xerukal
8 hours ago, HOW'S ANNIE? said:

I'm very conflicted on how I feel about John in RDR2. 1899 John, to me, feels like a younger version of RDR1 John. You feel him grow from Chapter One being this real gun-ho young man without a care in the world that he's got Jack to raise, to Chapter Six where he's taking more responsibility over Jack and Abigails wellbeing. 

 

Then the moment the epilogue hits and you take control of John, his brain just instantly melts. You find out he's been f*cking up left, right and centre for the whole last eight years. Then you go through another 30 or so missions where he seems to do nothing but f*ck up. 1907 John just doesn't really mesh well at all with 1911 John.

I get what you're saying, but I think John f*cking up in-between Chapter 6 and Epilogue 1 is meant to show that he just isn't able to let go of that gunslinger/outlaw lifestyle. Losing his cool, shooting a dude and not staying low profile. I feel like it was done well, especially with him not being able to resist going after Micah in the end, which was sadly the biggest and most severe f*ck-up he made after Arthur's passing. 

 

He's a man torn. Wants to be a good father and husband, but feels he only knows how to do one thing. Beecher's Hope was his big chance at going straight, but even that had to be paid for with blood money. I don't think he screws up too bad up until American Venom, where he picks revenge over not looking back (like Arthur tried to tell him, so many times). 

 

I can see him mellowing out and slowly becoming 1911 John over the 4 years spent in (relative) peace after Micah has been dealt with. Most likely not too happy about Ross showing up, though. :p 

Edited by Xerukal
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racecar73

The conflict of Arthur is what makes him great. 

 

 

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