The problem with James Dean and Red Dead Redemption

It comes right down to the ending(s)

SPOILER ALERT!!  SPOILER ALERT!!

That “s” in parentheses isn’t by accident. I literally thought this game was over on four separate occasions, before I actually finished it.

And I’m still not sure I’m done!

I loved Red Dead Redemption. The storyline, side missions, games, character design, voice acting, soundtrack and atmosphere all come together (almost) flawlessly. The reviews didn’t lie.

But I didn’t know when I was supposed to put down the controller. I fell for the same trick four times!

1. Bill Williamson

Initially, my main objective was to hunt down Bill Williamson; general bad-ass, crap-for-brains outlaw and former friend. So I got used to the controls, explored the world and found a few goodies that Rockstar had in store for me.

After 10 hrs of game play, I was a little restless and wanted to move the story forward.Okay, let’s go.

I found Bill Williamson and killed him in a slightly anti-climactic manner. Game over?  Nope. We’re really after this guy called Dutch. News to me.

2. Dutch

By this time I’m really trying to motor through the storyline. Not because the gameplay isn’t fun enough to blow months on this hog, but I’ve got five games in the queue sitting on my shelf and I’ve already dropped 28 hrs on Mr. Marston’s heart of gold – at least the way I played it.

So I kill Dutch. Game over? Nope. We have chores to do at home.

3. The Marston Ranch

After I kill Dutch, the agents tell me to go home to my family. Wonderful! I ride off into the sunset towards my wife, my son and my ranch. There’s beautiful, acoustic music in the background and all I can think is, “I can’t wait to get off this goddamn horse!”

After 27 hrs of overall gameplay, the tyrannical beauty of Red Dead Redemption is, to borrow an analogy from Russell Brand, a bit like being beaten over the head with a rainbow. I get it, you’re beautiful! When do you end?!

4. The death of John Marston

Okay… now we’re getting somewhere – a dramatic shootout with the agents I helped at the beginning. The ones who promised I’d see my family and find redemption.

After the smoke clears, I fall to the ground covered in a bloody mess. I’m pretty sure this is it!

We move to a shot of my son, standing over my grave, all grown up and looking just like daddy.

Beautiful…epic…stunning.

Also, not quite over. (Ahhh, c’mon!!)

It’s not until I find the agent that shot my father and defeat him in a dual that the credits finally role. But if you press the ‘x’ button… you’re still just standing there, waiting.

A rebel without a cause.

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