While playing the first handful of hours of Red Dead Redemption 2, I was coming to terms with kinda sorta … hating it. Rockstar's sprawling western just was not for me. It was too plodding, too deliberate, too time-consuming, and too dull. So many of the game's systems were designed intentionally to keep you from having fun while playing it. Lots of how much I liked the original Red Dead Redemption – a game I'd fully completed in 2010, despite a lot of the same kinds of issues – I was getting ready to let the sequel ride off into the sunset that was deleting It's off my PS4 hard drive.
Then I hit one of the game's best scenes (at least, so far), and it changed my mind.
It's not exactly an easy task to get to that scene if you is already at odds with the game's pace. It comes in Chapter 2, efter at du har gått gjennom ganske få tutorials, lærer om børstehest, sporing og hunting, spillet gennem vildmarken, og bedre camp. Red Dead 2's story is not in any particular hurry to pull you along, but eventually you spend time with all of Van der Linde's characters, and hanging around with them starts to become the story in itself. One mission sees you and your comrades mounting a rescue mission to save Sean, an outlaw pal who was captured by bounty hunters off-screen in the earlier Blackwater job that happens before the game's start.
It's not The mission to save Sean that turned the corner for Red Dead 2. That's another of those "fight a bunch of guys" missions common to video games, where you gun down Fire. Red Dead 2's gunplay is not particularly engaging most of the time; leaving the game's sticky aim assists basically does the work for you, but turning it off makes picking out goals finicky and difficult.
One evening not long after rescuing Sean, I returned to camp to find everyone in good spirits. Dutch, the gang's leader, declared Sean's return a major victory, and before long, a full-blown party started. Scattered groups of people started the pounding whiskey, singing, dancing, and conversing.
The party scene is, so far, my favorite thing that's happened in Red Dead 2. You can wander around, sitting at campfires and joining in as Andre medlemmer af gangen sang sanger, til hvilken protagonist Arthur ikke altid kender alle ordene. Du kan spørre en av kvinnene om gangen for en dans, og litt klumsily svinge med henne, eller tilbud om en rask dukkert. You can listen to a variety of interactions, including Sean drunkenly trying to convince one of the camp's women, Karen, that he is in love with her – and then to their tryst in a tent, where both break down in whiskey driven tears.
The party lasts through the night, and while there is not a particularly big amount of money. To actually do from a gameplay standpoint, it's one of the better moments in Red Dead 2 because it takes advantage of what's great about the game: its characters. You spend the party just about the people who make up the time, and time spent with them deepens the story moments and conversations that come later.
It's nice, too, that for as much shooting and stabbing as you do in Red Dead 2, there are ways to interact with its world that does not come at the end of a gun barrel. The games industry is full of triple-A titles that have huge, beautiful, imaginative worlds, but your only way of taking part in these worlds is to kill the stuff within them. For all that imagination, the reality of what games offer is usually pretty narrow: kill, or be killed. In Red Dead 2, there are at least these other opportunities, where interacting with characters is as rewarding as sticking them up or gunning them down.
Video games as a medium often still struggle in trying to tell compelling stories, specifically focusing on plot en actie terwijl relegatie karakterontwikkeling en wereldbouw naar collectible notes en audio logs. Spillene ofte føles som deres skapere fryder at hvis spillerne ikke er konstant løber fra en kamp til den næste, de vil stoppe med at spille altogether – der er ikke tid til at spilde på befolkning mange spil med mennesker, selvom folk i dem er hvad make people so interested in stories in the first place.
Red Dead 2 is not afraid to let you stop and just spend time with its characters. The party scene has no real gameplay running, there's no achievement or trophy tied to it, and you can basically put your controller down for most of it. Red Dead 2's confidence in its characters is such that the game is okay with you not playing for a bit, but instead just being there, in that moment it's trying to create for you. Rockstar's willingness to try to leave you in moments like that is refreshing, because so many games and developers are not. When other developers are looking at Red Dead 2's success, I hope that's the lesson they take from it.