This post is not a review or a criticism of the game RDR2, but a short summary of a few of the valuable lessons about real life that I have learned from playing this particular video game.
Most of what I have learned involves the in-game representation of honor—I have none, so I am fascinated by it as a general concept. In the game, it’s a crass form of moralizing by the developers in a sad attempt to prevent their time, labor, and money soaked masterpiece from falling victim to SJW #rhetoric of video games and hurt feelings. NPCs are so overtly annoying, but if you shoot them in the face, you become the bad guy. Just like in real life.
Performing an action the developers think is good will gain you honor, while bad things will cost you honor. For example, defending yourself with a firearm from a stranger who is shooting at you for happening upon him, will lose you honor points. Hogtie him and light him on fire by pushing him into an open flame, no honor consequence. Hogtie him and drop him off a cliff, lose honor, but you can regain it by catching and releasing a fish. Just like in real life.
If you search a dead stranger on the side of the road, perhaps attempting to find their ID so that their next of kin can be notified, you lose honor. Murder an old hermit who is defending his property so you can acquire a collectible shotgun—the very definition of a home invasion—no honor lost, and game completion advances by a fraction of a percent. Just like in real life.
If you shoot a horse, you lose honor, but if you shoot the army guy who is riding it, no honor lost. Just like in real life.
- If you “accidentally” shoot someone standing in the street and only wound them, they will run off and report the shooting as a crime, making you a criminal. To prevent them from going to the police, you have to chase them down and beat/threaten them to remain silent. All of this mayhem is honor neutral.
- Shooting a flying bird from a moving train will cost you a $10 bounty, the same as shooting a person in a saloon.
- There are no kids in the game, except for John Marston’s weird kid. We all know what would happen if there were children everywhere.
- Farmers get pretty angry when you kill their livestock for their perfect skins, even after you explain to them you need a new belt.
- Loading a dead stranger on your horse will be reported as a crime, even if they were dead when you found them and you were intending on taking them to the local morgue as a matter of public health.
Just like in real life.
Wolf attacks are far more common than I realized, and if you shoot a grizzly bear in the face with a high powered rifle, you might just make it angry enough to eat you. Just like in real life.
All cougars are assholes, and not just the famous ones like Demi Moore. Horses are afraid of snakes, and GPS navigation will frequently take you on the worst possible route to get to your destination, and if you travel out into water deeper than your armpits, you will drown instantly. Everything, just like in real life.
Speaking of snakes, apparently the cure for a poisonous snake bite is to sleep for a few hours or drinking something with ginseng in it. I would have wasted time going to the hospital, but now I know better. Sleep cures snake bites. Just like in real life.
To make a fashionable vest and a pair of shoes requires two entire bison skins. So, go ahead and kill every animal you see, but only the perfect ones are suitable for clothing. Just like in real life.
If you don’t eat and feed your horse every two minutes, you will both die of starvation. Awkward sentence; I don’t mean you must eat your horse and then feed it, but you have to feed yourself AND your horse on an insanely frequent basis. Just like in real life.
Just as in real life, situations change pretty quickly, and dying can cost you $150, so it’s best to save often.