Red Dead Redemption 2 is turning into a real slog, you guys. My best times with the game were back in that last post when I was just roaming around the world, exploring all there was to explore, drinking in that lovely environmental storytelling. This game has an absolutely gorgeous, fantastically-designed world, where you can feel every last cent of the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent making it. Rockstar's essentially infinite money has let them craft dozens of bespoke encounters that they can throw at you to make the world feel wonderfully alive, and I had a solid 20 hours of pure exploring bliss with it.
Now, though, I'm back to the story missions, and, boy oh boy, I'm starting to getting sick of it. It's not that the story is bad, or the writing doesn't hold up, because it isn't, and it does. The character building here is excellent, and the story deals with some uncommonly mature subject matter for this medium we call video games. And that's not "mature" as in "swearing", but "mature" as in "an exploration of the relationships between emotionally distant and morally dubious men at a turning point in the culture of a young country". I think Arthur is probably the best character Rockstar has ever written, and I love the way he's animated and voiced. This game is right there on par with the best of Naughty Dog in terms of subtle but incredibly expressive animations, and Arthur's dry, world-weary smirks and line reads have made me chuckle more than a few times.
Buuuuut, every mission in this game goes like this:
1) Watch cutscene with mission giver
2) Slow walk next to, or ride your horse behind, said mission giver for 5-10 minutes as they deliver further exposition
3) Follow the text prompts at the bottom of the screen. You'll either fail the mission and have to restart if you stray too far from the script, or you literally won't be able to stray from the script because the game will disable your buttons
4) Most probably, kill a bunch of guys
I'm at the point now where I'm just fast-travelling as often as I can, because knowing that what awaits me after ten minutes of riding to a mission start point is another ten minutes of riding is just grating on me. This game is an absolutely beautiful spectacle, an opulent, magnificent sight that must be seen because nobody else out there makes games like this, but in terms of actual mechanical gameplay design it's surprisingly subpar. The attention to detail and majesty of it all dazzles, but the game goes on long enough that your eyes will inevitably adjust to it.
On the plus side, at least you can have your fun playing with Arthur's hair. The man's got good beard genes, and he'll hair up day by day over the course of the game. I've experimented with a lot of different looks during my playthrough, but I've eventually settled on my one true canon Arthur Morgan. You might not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like: