Riding into the Sunset

As I predicted, Red Dead Redemption was the 1st game I completed in the rather large haul of games I collected in that short period of time.  My one sentence review would read as follows: Wow, what a ride.  I’m sure I had other gripes with the game, but the one I the stands out to me the most happens towards the end.  I’ll be venturing into spoiler territory here so be forewarned.

I love the ending to this game, my only problem with it is I couldn’t tell when it actually happened.  The mission leading up to the final encounter with Dutch reminded me a lot of the final mission of Grand Theft Auto IV, in that it was broken into several parts but wasn’t nearly as challenging.  And after you kill Dutch (or rather he kills himself) you are presented with a strange cowboy song about following your compass back to your love or something just as cheesy and an icon representing your wife on the map.  This is when my confusion set in.  Was I done with the story?  Would I just meet my wife and son and then the credits would roll?  With so many questions, I hopped on my horse the game decided to give me after so many of mine had been eaten by wolves and rode as fast as I could to the giant A on my map.  What was I presented with a hero’s welcome and a grand finale with epic music and long ass credits?  No, it was a herding mission.  I hate herding those stupid cows.  After gritting my teeth and getting through that ordeal, my ranch opened up with more missions from Abigail, Jack (my son) and the old man who everyone just call Uncle.

Was this taking place after the story?  What was I doing?  I wasn’t quite sure since all the missions seemed to be more like missions that were in the tutorial.  Was I living the life of a rancher now and these missions would never end?  With heavy confusion setting in I looked to the internet for answers.  I was trying to avoid any spoilers should there still be any that would come up.  With this in mind I looked up Abigail on the Red Dead Wiki and whats the first thing that caught my eye?

“Abigail Marston dies in 1914 from causes unknown”

Dammit!  That’s something I didn’t want to find out from reading the Red Dead Wiki.  But my mission was a success, I found out that the story was indeed not over.  I soldiered on doing rancher things such as scaring crows from the corn silo, wrangling wild mustangs and teaching my boy how to hunt and be a man.  It wasn’t too long before I wasn’t confronted with the real final battle of the game, the United States Army and the government agent I had been working for the entire game Edgar Ross.  They attacked my ranch from all angles and killed John’s uncle.

Things were looking quite grim from John and his family.  Having sent his wife and son off to safety, John stood outside the door of his barn while the rest of the army and Ross gathered outside.  He open the door, took a few steps, fired off 6 shots to six army man heads and promptly got shot countless times by the men outside his barn.  John Marston was dead.  His family rode back to investigate after hearing the shots and found their loved one lying in a pool of his own blood.  Jack and Abigail buried John on a hill overlooking his ranch.

A couple of achievement notifications and a fade out later, I found myself playing as Jack Marston a few years older after burying his mother next to his father.  Was that the end of the game?  Was this the open world “go finish the stuff you didn’t finish” endless part of the game?  Why couldn’t I kill Edgar Ross?  I hated that dude the moment I heard him talk and knew that he would have a bullet in the head before the credits rolled.  Well I hadn’t seen any credits yet so something still must be lingering.  I headed to Blackwater for some unfinished business.

Sure enough I found a well dressed man who had a stranger mission and told me about Edgar Ross’ life after working for the government.  He was living in a cabin by Lake Don Julio.  It was on now, Edgar Ross must die.  I headed down to Lake Don Julio to find his wife and she told me that he was out hunting in Mexico with his brother.  Now I was off to Mexico and found his brother who told me he was down river.  Now I was starting to question when I was going to find him.  Each person I came across was telling me he was somewhere else.  I headed down river and sure enough there he was.  There wasn’t much discussion before the duel was initiated.  I didn’t hesitate to pump that bastard full of as many bullets as the game would allow.  Afterwards Jack turns to the camera,  screen flashes red with the Red Dead logo and the credits roll.

Finally I had reached the end without question.  I was a few hours off what I thought was the original ending and was a bit annoyed when it wasn’t and I still had to herd cattle.  But in the end I appreciated the ending much more after having spent time with John’s family.  It definitely meant more when John died after having seen him as a father and a husband just trying to fix his life.  His son picking up his gun and exacting revenge of Ross only made the ending that much more sweeter.  I would have to put it up as one of the best endings I have ever seen in a game.

But what will be next I wonder?  Super Mario Galaxy 2 more than likely.  I have enough stars to finish the game, but I still want to get as many as I can before then.  I doubt I’ll get the 240 that are in the game (or even the 120 for that matter).  I got all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 and I was in middle school then.  I must not have the same level of masochism as I did when I was 11.

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