As a heads up, if you stumble across this blog on a google search or something and haven't played through the whole game yet, it's probably best not to read it as I will spoil it..
Anyway, yes, my summer has become so boring that I've resorted to blogging about a video game. 12 days. In 12 days I leave for Oregon. I'm sure I'll be busy enough once I get there that video games won't be a significant part of my day, but until then.. heh..
So my friend Joe let me borrow his copy of Red Dead Redemption. It's a game where you are a cowboy and in Grand Theft Auto style you roam across the old west doing pretty much whatever you want to do and going and visiting acquaintances for missions if you so choose. I had been playing it for about three weeks now (I don't game that hardcore, I can't beat a game in 2 days like some of you probably can) and had become rather attached to the protagonist, John Marsden. It was a great story, a cool character and the worst video game ending ever.
The guy was an outlaw who had given up the gangster life to settle down on a ranch with his wife and son. After a few years of this peaceful life of a good guy, the FBI then came and kidnapped his family and sent him on a mission to go find his old posse in the old west and kill them. This is where the game starts. You play around in the old west helping people out and you get a choice to be good or bad, I typically chose to do the good and finally you kill the other 3 guys you were in the gang with. Then the FBI agents let your family go and you're reunited. Everything is happy, your family is okay, your character is okay and you have a ranch to begin a new life on. This is where the game should end and any intelligent story writer would have had this story end, but no.
Next you play a few dull missions working on the farm getting attached to the characters of your family doing farm stuff before the final mission where the US Army shows up at your ranch to kill you for no apparent reason. You fight them off and escort your family to the barn. On the way the old man on your farm gets shot and dies. Here John puts his family on the horse and tells them to leave. They get away fine. John then peeks out the door and sees about 15 soldiers standing around, which, any other time in this game would have been cause to flee or possibly even bunker in and kill them all (yes, he's that much of a bad ass.) Instead the cut scene shows him shove the door open and then it takes you into the slow-mo targeting mode where you can shoot them. I targeted about 6 of them and then he shoots them all and they die. The following cut scene shows the remaining soldiers all shooting John and the dick of an FBI agent who blackmailed you throughout the whole game lighting a cigar and smiling.
I have honestly never been more pissed off at a video game in my life other than maybe the time I played FFX the first time. The next scene takes you to his son and wife on a horse and her saying "Did you hear that? We have to go back." I then returned and they run over to see John in a pool of blood, obviously dead.
X-box achievement 100 points.
Wait? Seriously? That's it? Pissed off I pause the game, go switch on the computer and search the internet to see if I screwed up and got the "bad" ending, but there is only one ending to the game. I unpause the game and a cutscene then takes you to a rainy day with John's son, Jack, now aged a few years, admiring his grave. It pans over to his mom's grave too.
Great, as if they didn't ruin the game enough they inexplicably had his mother die for unknown causes. You then take control of Jack for a free roam with no missions to do. Pissed off I head to the town with the FBI headquarters thinking that I'm just going to kill everyone in it, but I get there and there is a question mark on the minimap, so I go to it.
Some guy tells me that the FBI agent who killed John is at some cabin living a peaceful retired life now. I go there and after a series of meeting people who tell me to go somewhere else find the guy. Jack then tells the guy that he's John's son and the FBI man tells Jack to leave before he kills him too. Jack insults him and the duel screen is brought up. I won the duel and Jack kills the bad guy and the credits roll.
Xbox achievement 50 points.
I wish I'd have never played this game.
You go throughout the whole game searching out your friends to kill them in order to save your family. Each time the story makes it sad for you to kill your friends, but you know you're doing it for the greater good of your family and the society of the whole west (your friends are pretty bad dudes). Then at the end you finally settle down and life is good. You've shown the whole west that you're not the gangster outlaw you once were and that you're there for good. Until for no reason at all the makers at Rockstar thought it would be a good idea to have John die in the most dramatic fashion and have his wife end up dead for no reason. Then they have the nerve to think that the character that you just spent 20-30 hours of your life getting to know and admire can be avenged with his stupid son, who did nothing but complain about him during the time you knew him, and you'll be happy. Fail Rockstar.
I guess the idea they had was probably something along the lines of showing just how much John had changed. That in the face of certain death to save his family he didn't hesitate giving his life at all, proving that his selfish nature as an outlaw was done for, but I felt this had been shown again and again throughout the game as the story progressed. There was no question that the character was a good person.
It was a brilliant story about a heroic character, probably more heroic than most story, movie and video game characters I've ever read/watched/played, and then Rockstar ruined it with a bad ending. I honestly don't know that I'll ever play another Rockstar game again. I play video games for the story more than the gameplay and I don't care how much fun the game was to play, if the story sucks, I don't want to bother again.