Red Thread Redemption

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by AureliusofPhoenix, May 23, 2019.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I much prefer John to Arthur but the problem is the John section of the game (which should have been a DLC) is pretty much boring as hell.
     
  2. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    The John section was wholesome as shit. I felt warm and fuzzy up until the finale.

    And @Norzan perhaps shamelessly exploitative multiplayer shouldn’t exist, but the point I’m making is that the multiplayer isn’t the focus of the game. There’s no use getting upset over something we can’t change. But the campaign really is masterfully crafted.
     
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  3. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 26, 2016
    It would have been interesting if they did what GTAV did and allowed you to switch between the two. The prequel to RDR1 is just as much John's story as it is Arthur's.
     
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  4. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    Perhaps. But I think having it more centered on Arthur allowed more emotional involvement in his story, like there was for John in RDR1.
     
  5. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    Well, in response to this thread and discussions I bought and played the game. I attach a review I wrote below. It contains total spoilers if anyone has not played it.
    Hope you enjoy, sorry if it is a bit long (and bad if you think that.)
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    @TheOtherManInTheRoom I’ll compile my responses as we go along, but first off you did fantastic with this analysis. Second, I’m gonna talk about how I saw Dutch.

    Many characters throughout the game, John and Arthur in particular, see Dutch not as a changed man but as one who became more who he really is. The way I see it is that “psycho Dutch” was always there, beneath the surface (think Punisher: BORN-style shit), it just took the stress of Guarma to bring him out. The entire game, we see a man literally falling apart at the seams with the sheer, unmitigated weight of a world on his shoulders, and rather than a transformation, what occurs in Dutch’s mind is more of an adaptation. He changes not into another man, but what he sees as a better one; the kind of man the Van DerLinde gang needs to survive.

    On Guarma, with the unnecessary murder of the creepy old crone, we finally see the emergence not of an evil man, but one who is tired as Hell and not gonna take it anymore. Dutch sees the death of the Old West as clearly as Hamlet saw ghosts. He and his breed, the “idealistic outlaws”, are dying with it. Loyalty becomes so important to him because it’s all Dutch has to “ground” him, to keep him at something resembling sane.

    By justifying his actions through the lens of doubters being disloyal, Dutch deliberately and some might say maliciously creates the persona of an “enemy”, a nameless, faceless entity that nonetheless is well known to the gang, that they can rally against. He does what he does to keep the gang together, as he says. And as you said, he uses fear. He manipulates the paranoia of people like Bill to keep them in line, and does so seemingly without a second thought.

    All in all, I don’t think Dutch Van DerLinde is evil, or even necessarily bad. I think he’s a man with the lives of the people he loves and cares about on his shoulders, who adapts to a changing world in a way that some (again, mainly John and Arthur) consider unnecessary and unwarranted. Dutch’s is the classic tale of the idealist becoming a realist, of a man becoming as brutal as the forces he fights, and in doing so becoming more of who he truly was; a violent criminal.
     
  7. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    That is a certain way of seeing it of course, but there is another angle on it if you wish to be more negative. Dutch's circle of people he claims to fight for becomes more and more insular as the game goes on. We switch jarringly from protecting a way of life, which we have both pointed out he sees as collapsing, to identifying that way of life with the gang, and nobody else. See the way he discards the Indians from such a worldview, whereas the Dutch we see in the early chapters would see them as natural allies perhaps. The O'driscolls are only enemies to to a personal rivalry Dutch has with his opposite number, not over their ways of life in any specific detail. This can also feed into the 'idealist becoming realist' narrative you identify the character with it.

    However, I think in some ways Dutch becomes more idealistic as the game goes on, in that he effectively worships himself and his power to lead the gang to deliverance. At the beginning of the game to Guarma, there is a certain humility to Dutch, a desire to bring people with him, he is a leader but only by charisma and lets his men speak for him when the Pinkertons ask them to betray him. However, Dutch later on needs or wants nobody's permission to do anything, that is why the 'I insist' scene with Arthur is so significant. Hosiah signified the consensus policy with Dutch- he was the one connecting him to reality. Arthur has no such sway, especially after his constant moaning:clap:. In addition, like those worshipping a false idol, Dutch has his fawners in Micah telling him not only is he right in being less respecting of others in the gang's wishes, but so superior to those who oppose him within the gang that do so. Therefore, you can also say Dutch is not more realistic, but in fact more idealistic. This would also explain his holding to a plan that clearly will not work, and to call everyone traitors who leaves (perhaps they are the real realists, no?) Look at the way he talks to Cornwall, Dutch holds to his ideals, which are plain false, both men destroy pretty much everything they come into contact with. Both are equally deluded about it in different ways.

    Let me know if you have more points about that or anything else!
     
  8. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    I understand what you’re saying about Dutch, and honestly, it makes sense. As for Cornwall’s delusions, I think Cornwall and post-Guarma Dutch are two sides of the same 4-sided die. Or, in D&D terms, Dutch is Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Evil after Guarma, and Leviticus Cornwall is Lawful Evil. Deluded about the philosophy though Dutch might be (though it seems to be mainly to justify his killing of Cornwall in blatant revenge), he has somewhat of a point. Cornwall hurts people, but in the confines of the law. The lives Leviticus destroys, he destroys within societal and lawful confines. Society recognizes the legitimacy of one killer, but not another. In a way, Dutch sees the truth, but doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to enunciate it.

    As for the Rhodes chapter, I think that the “Braithwaite treasure” was just that; an heirloom or two. I got the impression that what Penelope gave Arthur was all there was; the last remaining bit of gold out of a squandered family fortune.
     
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  9. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    I see what you say, and I agree with your D&D alignments about the two characters. Of course, there is a point to be made that there is a comparison to be made that looks badly upon Cornwall's brand of capitalism, a kind that especially resonates today. Of course, society thinks that sort of killing is ok, because they don't have to see it, in the same way Amazon workers in crap conditions are not seen and easily ignored (not to get political.)

    As for Rhodes, the treasure functions as a Maltese Falcon, you never see it, but everyone wants it. It was, in retrospect, a nice way to explore control of towns by established families. I think the main weakness was that by the end, you must have killed over 100 'cousins' of Penelope, which broke immersion just slightly. I also wish they had gone more into the racial politics being different to in the West, which while spoken of was more a case of telling rather than showing. But again, this would have required Rockstar to make the world less sanitised and enjoyable for all. It is both a weakness and a strength of the game as a whole that it manages to deal with some concepts very seriously, and others it barely mentions at all as I've mentioned. Perhaps that's cause Rockstar's directors are not American (definitely why the game is so good:aiee:)

    You said you got 3 different endings. Was your preferred one the same as mine? If so, why did you feel the others did not add up as well, and if not, why was another better? (if you have a burning point do that first)
     
  10. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    I’d say my favorite ending was to go back for the money with good Karma. In it, you maim Micah in a knife fight and Dutch becomes demoralized seeing Arthur and Micah squabble, and Arthur is allowed to die peacefully. I like it because it’s the best sort of revenge for Arthur against Micah and Dutch; and while Arthur isn’t big on revenge, the ending shows him inadvertently obtaining it by dominating Micah in a fight and breaking Dutch mentally. The ending is most satisfying for someone like me, who by the end of the game wanted to see the people who hurt Arthur get hurt themselves; seeing Dutch lose his hope and walk away, and taking Micah’s eye, then proceeding to overpower him even while sick, is the best ending in my opinion, or at the very least the most gratifying. It allows Arthur to die knowing he did his best to stop Micah and Dutch, rather than the “good” ending in which he dies and Micah fucks off with nary a scratch, or the “bad” ending in which Arthur gets stabbed to death with no satisfaction whatsoever.
     
  11. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    It's a good argument. But the reasons Arthur would go back for the money are more selfish than moral, given that he leaves John to fend for himself against the enemy. Granted what comes after seems good, but John will take down Micah (indirectly) in the end anyways, which allows the satisfaction of Micah's defeat to be delayed by some time yes, but delayed gratification is almost always better than instant. I suppose I could go on about the greatness in Arthur not caring whether Micah gets away or not, knowing he has done far more than simply kill him- he has defeated him by proving there are more important things-and that makes him far the better man, but I guess the satisfaction in watching that play out physically with a knife replacing the symbolism is very good too.

    You said you had other points?
     
  12. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 26, 2016
    Guarma was a metaphorical Hell for the group - in particular Arthur. At a cursory glance the acts are Hell (Guarma) -> Purgatory (Annesburg) -> Heaven (Final Act). It's no coincidence that the game actually gives you the choice to collect or forgive debts in Annesburg sequence. Or how they have to pay the ferry's toll (what ever they had from the bank heist) to cross the River Styx. It's too on the nose to not be the case.

    Hosea was the group's guide by proxy. The moment he died Dutch steered the group into Hell, and Arthur has to drag them out of it even though just about everyone is fractured from the experience.
     
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  13. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    Hosea was certainly a Vergil figure. The way I see it, Hosea is the voice of reason, and Dutch is the emotional voice of anger and primal action.

    Another point I had was my meaning to ask you all; how did you feel about Dutch wanting to use the Indians as a smokescreen to escape? Cruel is it is, the Machiavellian in me (the Machiavellian that is me) sees the logic of it. But practically I question it; Dutch’s execution of the plan leaves much to be desired, considering he shows himself as an ally to the Native Americans constantly and thus forces the army to divert attention to the Van DerLindes as well. I see less problem with the method personally, and more with Dutch’s carrying out of the plan.
     
  14. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    If you go back to the ruined mansion you find the last bit of the treasure hidden under the floorboards. There is also a chest out on an island north of Saint Denis that has something to do with happened to the treasure.
     
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  15. AureliusofPhoenix

    AureliusofPhoenix King of Wessex

    Jun 25, 2018
    Well shit, I didn’t know that. I’ll have to check that out.
     
  16. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 26, 2016
    It felt right.

    People will say Dutch is very much so pro-native and that he resented it when Williamson referred to them as savages. But that was just Dutch virtue signaling to a redneck like Williamson. Everyone was an end to some mean in Dutch's eyes and the whole family bit was a con to string everyone along.
     
  17. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    There is a certain logic behind it, the aims of the plan could theoretically lead to deliverance, but the player already knows how its going to end somewhere down the line, the game (and the existence of RDR1) does not make any secret of the general direction of the plot even though the specifics are fun to discover. Thus, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the player. I'm all for Machiavellian means to achieve goals, but to justify them you must 1. Believe in the goal so that the ends do justify the means, and 2. Have enough perspective that the plans do not have an unrealistic chance of success. Dutch's plan does not really satisfy these criteria, and thus it just leads to him hurting these people for little reason, which is why Arthur dislikes it, and often to players it will lead to discomfort, which is the intention.

    I dunno so much about that. I do think Dutch believed in the family at one point. Its when he begins to believe his own propaganda about himself and the gang, that leads to his downfall.
     
  18. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Oct 26, 2016
    That's fair. Within the family at one point I can see it. But anyone outside of it was typically an ends to some mean.
     
  19. TheOtherManInTheRoom

    TheOtherManInTheRoom Watchman

    Mar 28, 2018
    I'll agree with that. It's a shame because despite talking a good game about the ideology the gang perpetuates, anyone sharing that ideology is an enemy as well. The greatest magic trick the game pulls perhaps is making you believe it.