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    Red Dead Redemption II 
  • 8.8:
    • Gamespot's video review has a 2:1 dislike-to-like ratio. Why? Because they scored it a 9/10, and the reviewer didn't sound enthusiastic enough.
    • Jim Sterling, despite generally liking the game and admitting the graphics are a great technical achievement, had quite a few qualms about the game's more realistic aspects detracting from the gameplay experience. Unsurprisingly, Jim got backlash for falling short of worshipping the game. Inverted with Jim's review of the Red Dead Online beta, where most commenters generally agreed with his disdain for the gold nugget system and the lack of decent money making options in-game.
    • Joe.ie's first review of the game caught so much flak that they got another member of staff to write up a second review after two weeks.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Dutch is a more complex character than you might think. Is he truly a good man turned bad because of the constant misery he has been through over the course of the game, or has he always been a bad person who only reveals his darker side once things no longer work out for him? Did he see his fellow gang members as family, or merely indoctrinated pawns he could discard if it suits him? Characters who have been with Dutch for a long time like John and Arthur believe that it's the latter, while newer members like Sadie and Charles think that it's the former.
      • Did Dutch truly want to help Rain Falls' tribe, believing it to be a mutually beneficial relationship, or did he just want to use them as cannon fodder so that he could rob Cornwall one last time? Dutch not giving a damn about the Native casualties and refusing to cover their escape seems to point toward the latter interpretation. It also brings up questions as to his intentions with the Native gang from the first game.
      • When Dutch shoots Micah in the epilogue, is it because he is deeply regretful of Arthur's death and kills Micah in revenge regardless of whether he's a rat or not, or is it because he now truly believes Micah to be a rat and kills him to correct the mistake years ago? Dutch just wordlessly wandering off and leaving Marston to loot all his gold doesn't help the matter.
      • It's entirely possible that Dutch did indeed start off a good man with high ideals but in the years since the gang's first robbery in 1887 he was progressively worn down by the rise of civilization and the pursuit of the law until he finally snapped. The botched Blackwater heist, a possible concussion from the failed trolley station robbery, the death of Hosea, all of it contributed to the destruction of of his ideals in favor of simply lashing out at a world that continually (from his perspective) had it in for him.
    • It's surprisingly easy to interpret Bill Williamson as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. See Cry for the Devil and Jerkass Woobie for more details.
    • Was Arthur's choice to become a better person after his diagnosis with tuberculosis a case of a genuine Heel–Face Turn or was it more of a case of Villain's Dying Grace? The multiple alignment-based endings actually play on this, with his high-honor ending leaning towards the former while the low-honor one leaning towards the latter.
    • Javier and Bill choosing to stay with Dutch even as the rest of the gang members left. Was it out of Undying Loyalty, or was it because both of them were afraid of being left without a purpose by abandoning the man who saved them at their lowest point?
    • Speaking of Javier, his lack of a Love Interest and fondness of Marston in both games (to the point of yelling "I always loved you!" when John chases after him in 1) could be seen as a one-sided crush on John.
  • Acceptable Targets:
    • The Klan stand-in you can meet is both incompetent and, judging by the note found on their leader, extremely petty. They manage to kill their own in their random encounters and say a firm no to Spanish food being served in their initiation ceremony.
    • Racists and other bigots in general such as the Eugenics advocate you meet in Saint Denis are generally portrayed as unpleasantly as possible, and can be treated by the players in kind with little repercussions. It’s especially notable that the Lemoyne Raiders, a group of racist former Confederate soldiers, are something of a Butt-Monkey among the gangs, even being the first to be effectively wiped out.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The final showdown with Micah can be this. You're supposed to use dynamite to flush him out so Sadie can get the drop on him but nothing in-game tells you this, but, likely as an Anti-Frustration Feature, he eventually moves into position on his own without you having to do anything.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The honor mechanic of the last game was considered somewhat out-of place, as John was such a Nice Guy that negative-honor actions felt Out of Character for him Note (Spoilers for RDR 1) , and that it was included only so people could role-play as a desperado. Morgan's character fits both low and high honor playthroughs, as he is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Also tying in with the honor system, here the honor system actually plays a role in the story beyond being a gameplay mechanic, influencing the ending of the game depending on whether Arthur has high or low honor.
    • IGN's first look implies that the single-player experience has been a heavy focus, mitigating the fears that it will be overshadowed by the multiplayer mode. Of course, it's still possible that MP will take over some day, but the confirmation that the single-player campaign has been a priority is still very good news.
    • Some consider Sadie Adler this, being an Action Girl and her relationship with Arthur is seen as genuinely sweet. Since Rockstar's track record when it comes to female characters is somewhat of a Broken Base, a female character who is more than Fanservice and participates in the action is seen as a breath of fresh air.
    • Previews have confirmed that Arthur can swim. While he is apparently bad at it, he can still fall into deep water without drowning, and just swim to the shore (unlike Marston who sank like a sack of bricks the moment his nose touched the water). The system is similar to the one in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, and that Arthur will still drown if he spends too much time in the water (conveniently preventing players from reaching unplayable areas in the progress).
    • It took 8 years, but (a living) John Marston is finally playable in the epilogue of a Red Dead game.
  • Award Snub: Inverted. Many people were not happy that RDR2 won a whole bunch of awards during the 2018 Game Awards, feeling that other games should have won them instead.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Unshaken", sung by D'Angelo is absolutely beautiful. A haunting, stripped down, vocal heavy, guitar-backed tune that plays during the gang’s lowest point. Perfectly encapsulating Arthur's thoughts to remain strong after losing so much while making the long trek back to Shady Belle.
    • Robin Koninsky (who along with her band is played by Postmodern Jukebox), a singer who works in Saint Denis' theater is quite a good singer and has a number of songs if you visit the theater, including a cover of "Hello! Ma Baby".
    • "Cruel, Cruel World", sang by Willie Nelson, which kicks off the start of the return to the open world in John Marston's storyline in the post-game chapters, as John decides to try and officially quit the gunslinger life.
    • "My Last Son", the theme as Arthur and his allies charge down the hill to take on the US Army to save Eagle Flies, which is considered by many to be one of the most memorable scenes in the game.
    • "That's The Way It Is" manages to make Arthur's last ride an even bigger tear jerker than it already was.
    • "American Venom", which plays in the final mission of the story where John Marston leads an assault alongside Charles and Sadie on Micah's gang to get revenge for Arthur's death.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Colm's status as a Cutscene Boss is mitigated by his facial expression when he realizes that his escape plan has been foiled and that he is going to die.
    • Former gunslinger Emmett Granger spent his entire appearance bragging of all the people he's killed, being an unpleasant Jerkass towards Arthur and making the latter shovel up pig manure for him. It's extremely satisfying once Arthur has had enough and showers Granger with said pig manure before proceeding to unload his gun into the asshole's body.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Micah Bell, the true Big Bad, is the Token Evil Teammate of the Van der Linde gang and an informant for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. At first appearing to be nothing more than a cruel thug, Micah displays just how evil he is after he's arrested for murder in Strawberry. Once broken out of jail, Micah forgoes a clean getaway to go on a killing spree, culminating in the murder of an old friend and the man's wife, all so he could retrieve his favorite gun. By the time his rampage is over, half the town is dead, and Arthur Morgan is enraged they caused so much death and destruction for such a petty reason. Throughout the game, Micah takes advantage of Dutch's eroding sanity to act as the devil on his shoulder, spurring him on to commit more immoral and destructive acts. Far from viewing the rest of the gang as his surrogate family, Micah sells them out to the Pinkertons, nearly resulting in the deaths of everyone in the gang, including the non-combatants. When his treachery is exposed, Micah casually kills Miss Grimshaw and, depending on the player's actions, may personally murder Arthur Morgan as well. The epilogue shows Micah has gone even crazier, as he's murdered an entire family, tried to kill one of his henchmen when he objected to Micah killing a little girl, and promises to kill John Marston's wife and child. A bloodthirsty maniac who only cares about winning and losing or living and dying, Micah is every negative stereotype of the savagery of the Van der Linde gang given life.
    • Colonel Henry Favours, chapter 6's Arc Villain, is an elderly colonel facing retirement at the end of a long and completely undistinguished career. Seeking to erase his deserved reputation for cowardice and incompetence, Favours realizes a way to win glory. Stationed as the liaison to the Wapiti Lakota tribe, Favours begins to attempt to antagonize the tribe by having them assaulted, sending their children to reform schools, burning down their sacred shrines and taking their horses so they cannot hunt, dooming them to starvation. Favours even withholds vital vaccines and medicine to kill their children and infirm, hoping to provoke them into a war so he can gain the "glory" of wiping them out and taking their oil-rich lands. Favours even provokes an attack at supposed peace talks and frames the good-hearted Colonel Monroe for treason to execute him, willing to stop at nothing to murder an innocent tribe of natives simply to enjoy his undeserved glory.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Micah is a murderous maniac with an erratic, explosive behavior. Quite simple, he's Trevor Philips without redeeming features.
    • Micah is also Waingro from Heat in The Wild West. They're both creepy long-haired sexual predators with scratchy facial hair who are the excessively violent, sadistic, and mean-spirited Token Evil Teammate of a badass gang of Anti-Hero outlaws, and thus The Friend Nobody Likes. They also both sell out the gang to the Big Bad, become the Big Bad themselves after he's dealt with, and are satisfyingly shot in the head during a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that ultimately gets the protagonist caught and killed. Where's Couch Tomato when you need him?
    • A gang of demented hillbillies with delusional beliefs who roam the forest killing and cannibalizing people? Are we talking about Murfree Brood or the Altruist Cult?
    • Marko Dragic is clearly an analogue for Nikola Tesla. Both are Serbian eccentric geniuses who are experts with electricity and radio waves. Marko Dragic's laboratory also looks exactly like Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower.
  • Cry for the Devil: Surprisingly of all people, this game reveals that Bill Williamson had one hell of a Trauma Conga Line before he went all Ax-Crazy in 1911. From the bits and pieces of his backstory that we hear, he is a Shell-Shocked Veteran who had to experience some awful shit while fighting the Native Americans, for his troubles he he was discharged from the army by his supposedly corrupt superior. He had a rough 2 years before Dutch came along and gave him a reason to keep going. Then in a botched robbery he has to witness a at least 3 of his gang members die (if none had already died up until that point). The gang also constantly reminds him of his failures despite his best efforts to pull his own weight. His father lost his mind to dementia and he fears that he's inherited that from, so he's basically aware that he's going crazy due to a genetic disease. Finally he witnesses Dutch's decent into madness and the deaths of most of his most of his gang members, including Lenny and Sean who where at that point in their early 20's at most. Bill may be an absolute monster of a man in the first game, but after everything the guy has been through it's hard not consider his death in the first game as a Mercy Kill.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Since it's a prequel, we know something terrible happens to most of the gang, since only 4 of them appear in the original game. Since Ross was pretty adamant in ensuring every member of the gang died and wasn't above breaking his own promises, the chances of survival for any member of the gang is pretty low. Even if they managed to find a hiding place, they are still hunted by the entire country's law enforcement.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Your cougars, bears, and wolves are back only this time, they can be encountered as early as Chapter 2. Have fun being overpowered by packs of wolves, sneaky cougars, and a giant bear that can practically oneshot you.
    • Introducing this game are the alligators, which combines the sneakiness of cougars if you are in the swamp waters, the power of bears, and can be as numerous as wolves. They don’t move on land which may seem like an upside but if you are on a horse and there are a lot of them, it will buck you down, allowing the alligators to slowly come over to you and one shot you.
  • Die for Our Ship: Hoo boy, is Mary Linton a victim of this, given how fans prefer to ship Arthur with many other characters. It doesn’t help that fans saw the relationship itself as manipulative on Mary’s part, with Mary continuously asking Arthur for favours to help her with her family troubles and leads him on with hopes of restoring their relationship.
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • Many players have criticized Chapters 5 and 6 for being the point where the game starts to bog down. The former for mostly taking place on Guarma where you're deprived of most of your equipment, meaning that players would try to rush it ASAP, while the latter is criticized for its's story missions for being repetitive in nature.
    • Arthur also becomes terminally ill in chapter 5 and you're forced to spend the remainder of his story (which could take up to a whopping 10-15 more hours or so) with both a large permanent hit to your stat recovery and having to watch this formerly proud man slowly and painfully waste away and inch towards death. As at least one critic has pointed out, while this may make for a very griping narrative, it really does kill the desire to further explore the world and arguably makes you just want to end the story already. Who wants to hunt legendary animals or start stranger missions while Arthur is visibly emaciated and dying?
  • Ending Fatigue: The game has two epilogue chapters from John's perspective after Arthur dies, containing perhaps 10 to 15 hours of more story content, longer than the entire story of many games. The epilogue covers John's attempts to lead a peaceful life and build the ranch at Beecher's Hope after an eight year Time Skip, but - while it does have some touching moments between John, his family, and several surviving gang members - feels like largely filler that spends way too long having nothing particularly interesting happen. The early epilogue missions in particular can be extremely frustrating because of how slow and uneventful they are. Arthur's story ends ends with a great deal of action and emotion, and almost immediately afterward, the player is essentially required to sit quietly and complete errands that feel far more like a tutorial than the last 20% of a story. Even when John has to fight, it's only against generic thugs, gangs, and bounty hunters until the final mission, when the story finally focuses on an enemy the player cares about.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Sadie Adler has gained several pre-release fans for being an Action Girl who is One of the Boys, and her interactions with Morgan are seen as Heartwarming Moments.
    • Charles Smith is also beloved by fans for his Nice Guy personality and loyalty to Arthur, while at the same time being badass.
    • Sean Mac Guire is also pretty popular, especially among Irish fans, for his role as Big Fun in the gang. Players were left devastated when his death comes out of left field.
    • The lion you encounter in the side mission "He’s British, of Course" for being such an unexpected twist that many were upset that there was no way you could save the lion or at least skin it to create an outfit.
    • Mr. Bullard is probably the best example, since he's only seen in a single mission yet is universally beloved by the fandom due to his charming wit. Even Arthur admits he "kinda liked him" and is a bit torn up by his unfortunate death.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • There's a popular theory that John Marston becomes the Player Character at some point of the story, likely after Morgan... disappears. Depending on the timing, John may or may not have started his path to redeeming himself yet and he canonically didn't spend much time with his family before the first game so both karmic paths could still fit his characternote . Further evidence for this comes in the form of an otherwise accurate leak from 2016 that had info which later proved out to be true, the fact that Marston in some screenshots holds his gear in the exact same place as Morgan doesnote  and the fact that many people wanted to keep playing as John in the epilogue of RDR1. Some theories go as far to claim that the previous game is included, but the evidence for this is fairly low. This was proven partially correct; while there's no remake of the first game, John becomes the protagonist in the Playable Epilogue following Morgan's death. A large portion of the world from the first game is included as well, with playable areas in West Elizabeth.
    • Many believe that the playable area of the first game is part of this game's map as well. This stems from the fact that the leaked map ends at Thieves Landing. In the previous game, there was no natural boundary there (except for water) and Rockstar has avoided invisible walls since GTAIII. The various previews have also claimed that the map is Rockstar's biggest yetnote  which simply isn't possible if the leaked map is real & complete. The various references to Nuevo Paraiso are also considered to be some sort of evidence for this, and Armadillo was also mentioned in the above-mentioned leak. The main evidence against this is that John stated in 1 that the gang never went as far as New Austin, but that also doesn't mean that Morgan couldn't have visited it alone. This theory picked up steam after the name "New Austin" was spotted in the description of some merch. This is considered at least partially confirmed as of the second gameplay trailer, as one scene clearly takes place in Armadillo. Whether or not Mexico returns as well is still unclear.
    • The gameplay trailer has a brief clip of Morgan saving a stranger from a bear trap. The guy looks suspiciously like Theodore Roosevelt, who once (supposedly) stepped into a bear trap while hunting. This has raised some interesting theories.
      • It turns out he's just a random hunter. There is a Theodore Roosevelt analogue in the Red Dead Redemption universe named Thaddeus Waxman who is referenced in several newspaper articles and even appears on a cigarette card, but other than that he has no role in the game.
    • It's a common theory that Mexico will return as a playable area in future DLC, either in both SP and MP or only in Red Dead Online. Glitching into Mexico shows that with the exception of most settlements and buildings, the landmass itself has been recreated to a surprisingly accurate degree; even in the areas the player could not possible see from New Austin.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Pre-release, Arthur and Sadie, due to their close relationship. Even the discovery of a (wedding?) ring on her hand didn't stop this, since she doesn't have it in every screenshot leading many to speculate she becomes Sadie Morgan at some point in the story.note 
    • Arthur and Mary-Beth Gaskill also gained traction upon post-release, given to the occasional Ship Tease the two would have with each other. They even share a dance together while the gang celebrates Sean's return.
    • Arthur and Charlotte the widow (seeing a trend here?) as well. Much like with Sadie, fans like to ship them together due to their interactions being seen as one of the most heartwarming moments of the game, especially once Arthur comes down with tuberculosis. She even gives Arthur a kiss on the cheek at the end of her stranger Mission.
  • Fountain of Memes: A lot of Dutch’s lines in the game have become a source of jokes that players like to repeatedly quote in just about every forum and video related to him.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Eavesdropping dialogue from Uncle in the gang’s camp at chapter three has him mentioning the United States going to war with the Phillipines. This nod is a reference to a fairly obscure conflict known as the Phillipine-American War, or Phillipine Insurrection.
    • During the mission "Arcadia for Amateurs IV", wildlife photographer Albert Mason explains his motivation for wanting to take pictures of alligators is because they're in danger of going extinct, and that he hopes his photographs will inspire people to support conservation acts. For players who live in states where alligators are common (or those familiar with their near ubiquity in the misadventures of Florida Man) this might sound preposterous. But alligators were critically endangered, and were listed as such in 1967 under a precursor law to the Endangered Species Act. It was only through such conservation efforts that alligators were brought Back from the Brink.
    • John uses the alias "Rip Van Winkle" to avoid revealing his name to Agent Milton. It just so happens that the character whose name he is borrowing is Dutch-American.
    • You can hunt Carolina Parakeets in this game and there is a limited amount. Around the early 1900s is where the real life species were extinct in the wild due to excessive hunting.
    • Arthur's Welsh heritage is only mentioned in passing and he doesn't seem to be in touch with it at all (understandable considering he was orphaned young), however its possible his parents named him after King Arthur who is a beloved figure in Wales but is usually thought of as English.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The duel against Emmett Granger is actually easier than against any of the other Legendary Gunslingers or any regular gun-wielding Joe Schmoe that challenge you to one because of a bug. For one, he makes no effort to throw off your aim (Flaco quickly sidesteps as he draws while Billy takes a knee when he draws). Secondly, he attacks by throwing a knife, which obviously has a longer travel time than a bullet. The bug part is that, as long as he is killed before his knife connects, even if an inch away from hitting Arthur, it will not result in a Mutual Kill as the knife is seemingly tied to Granger's model and will veer off-track as his body falls to the ground. This is NOT the case with any of the gun-wielding duelists. Once their gun fires, Arthur is as good as dead, even if it results in a Mutual Kill.
    • There is a glitch in a loot box hidden in the Sheriff's office in the town of Limpany, whereby if the player follows the correct instructions, they can get an infinite number of gold bars as their inventory would allow. Not only that, it's located extremely close to your first camp, meaning that you can exploit this and get rich early on in the game. This glitch is patched by the time of the 1.03 update patch.
      • Similar to this is a glitched loot box hidden in a tree stump in Mattock Pond, which contains a stack of bills worth $20 that can be looted infinitely.
    • The game has a profanity checker when naming horses, meaning you can't give your horse a swear word as a name, though leaving the name blank also causes the profanity checker to stop you with a generic "You can't leave the name blank" error message. One player found that the game's profanity checker recognises the name of Larry Cook, a notorious anti vaccine advocate, as profanity.
    • The mission "Angelo Bronte, a Man of Honor" has a glitch that, if exploited correctly, actually allows Arthur to travel to Blackwater and New Austin, something that never happens in-game.
    • Another bug that players tend to run into is at the end of Jeremiah Compton's Stranger questline, where Arthur has the option of killing them, causing said person to fall into the fire in front of them and their corpse to catch alight. Which will continuously relight even after the corpse has been charred.
    • If you toss several molotov cocktails next to a bath tub, then have a bath until you die of burning, your character will respawn without wearing any cloth. Have fun doing a Full-Frontal Assault.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The game's portrayal of the Dutch van der Linde gang as a cult-like group who are torn because of paranoia and suspicions of internal betrayal become uncomfortable following the reveal that Rockstar Games have a work atmosphere that its own employees describe as a cult, and that employees are uncomfortable going on record with their complaints because they fear retribution for "betraying" the group by complaining about their exploitation. The game's entire Capitalism Is Bad message also becomes hard to take seriously with Rockstar Games being outed as just another cut-throat multi-national corporation that underpays and overworks its staff.
    • The van der Linde gang's portrayal here can be a lot harsher, especially for those who have played the first game. A tightly-knit group that you work, fight and celebrate together here become a mere shell of its former self years later is quite painful to see. This is quite so for Dutch himself; the charismatic and well-dressed leader of his gang reduced to a shrivelled wreck by the first game.
    • Marston's interactions with Javier and Bill in this game acting all chummy with each other becomes this for those familiar with what happens between them in the first game. One conversation between John and Javier particularly stands out, where John wishes to one day visit Mexico and Javier hopes that he will. Years later, John will visit Mexico, only that he would be there to hunt down Javier dead or alive.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Red Dead Redemption 2 aspires to be a highly realistic, immersive Western-world where the world keeps going on around your character even if you remain idle as NPCs are given distinct behaviour to simulate actual life. Sound familiar?
    • Not to mention that Steven Ogg, who played Trevor Philips in Rockstar's previous game, is on the aforementioned show.
  • Ho Yay: Among other moments, Hosea explicitly refers to himself and Dutch as being Arthur's parents by calling themselves and Arthur "the curious couple and their unruly son." Dutch doesn't object to Hosea implying, even jokingly, that they're a couple.
    • If the player chooses to have Arthur antagonize Dutch in camp, one of the lines he can pull is "Everyone sees you and Hosea 'reading'."
    • During Sean's return party, the player can find Dutch and Hosea conversing away from the others, and Dutch can be seen resting his hand on Hosea's several times.
    • The wholesome bromance between Arthur and Albert Mason is undeniable and adorable. Or between John and Albert.
    • And then there's of course the scene where Châtenay, the French painter, makes out with Arthur in public. Arthur...is indifferent towards it.
  • Iron Woobie: Poor Arthur Morgan just can't catch a break. He sacrificed the chance to live a normal life and have a family with Mary, having already lost a lover and son before. He loses more and more of his friends (including his mentor and best friend), and discovers that he's come down with a fatal disease. He is subsequently abandoned by Dutch, realising he had just wasted his whole life constantly screwing up for a man who is never loyal in return. Despite all that, he still pushes on to the very end and ultimately dies at peace with himself.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The different editions have really divided fans. Some claim that Rockstar is going the way of EA by cutting missions and selling them as DLC, while others note that R* has then clarified that the missions aren't cut story missions but small extra content created specifically for the special editions, and that RDR 1 also had a lot of pre-order DLCnote  and even some console exclusive content without facing similar backlash.
    • A comment in an interview from Dan Houser a few weeks before the game's release sparked this, since in it Houser revealed that the game's staff had been working 100-hour weeks at various points during the production, and pointed to that as a sign that the game would be good. This came at a time when the video game industry's treatment of its workers was under intense scrutiny due to the then-recent closure of Telltale Games, who had gained notoriety for mistreating its workers both before and during the closure. While Houser later tried to save face by clarifying that his comments only referred to himself and a few other senior writers for brief stints, many were still skeptical since Rockstar has also faced accusations of poor working conditions in both the past and present.
    • Youtuber Shirrako posted multiple videos of him brutally murdering a suffragette NPC in the game, which garnered him a high number of views, raising some criticism on how gamers respond to violence against women. Shirrako's channel was temporarily banned by Youtube for promoting violence. The decision was reversed after some considerable backlash on social media, with several well-known Youtubers chiming in. Some argued that banning an account for merely showing a scene of violence sets a very poor precedent that could be used against any number of videos that contain violence. Others argued that Shirakko brought it upon himself by explicitly showing off violence against a character whose entire shtick is women's rights.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks:
    • One complaint among some players is that the second game's story is very similar to the first, where it focuses on one main character until he's killed, and they are replaced by a different character in the game's epilogue.
    • The shooting mechanics are the exact same as those in the first game with little change or refinement, meaning players are generally still highly reliant on the built in autoaim and Deadeye system to carry them through gunfights.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Bill Williamson, who comes off as far more sympathetic than he was in the first game. Before joining Dutch's gang, he was dishonourably discharged from the army and lost his father to dementia, which he fears he may have inherited. During one campfire chat, he sounds genuinely broken up when talking about how Dutch gave him a new purpose in life. He tries his best to pull his weight in the gang, but everyone brings up his failures every time. Sadly, by Red Dead Redemption, he's lost all of his sympathetic qualities, becoming just as nasty as Micah.
    • Dutch himself qualifies as his Sanity Slippage becomes apparent. Towards the end of the game, he's starting to cross lines he wouldn't do before, such as murdering people needlessly or abandoning both John and Arthur to save his own skin. However, at the same time, you can see why he's full of anger as his gang moves from one disaster to the next under his flawed leadership, losing his closest friend, with the corrupting influence of Micah not helping matters.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Arthur Morgan has been shipped by just about every character in the game, both female and male. Most fans like to have him shipped with Sadie, Mary-Beth, Charlotte, Tilly, Marston, Charles, and Dutch.
  • Love to Hate: Micah Bell. He is a despicable, sadistic psychopath, but you can't deny that he is incredibly badass, entertaining and creepy.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Arthur Morgan is getting plenty of this treatment by players. Even minutes before his death, he can still kick ass.
    • Alligators, the apex predators of the swamp.
    • And then there's Bray Aberdeen; Kill or kidnap his sister and he'll chase you to the ends of the country. It helps that he is still running after you despite the obesity.
      • If you prefer to spare Tammy by hog-tying then cut her free, you get the Aberdeen siblings chase you as well.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Leaked Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot.Explanation 
    • Photoshopping the teaser image.
    • Dutch's Bag Explanation 
    • Realistic horse testicles Explanation 
    • Editing the character artworks to have random characters and things .
    • "You got some ____ for me, boy?" Explanation 
    • Once the game came out, Morgan's constant use of the word "boy" became this, especially since, if you ride a male horse, he'll be saying that a lot. It helps that there was another game released earlier the same year that also spawned memes based on the main characters constant saying "boy", leading many people to joke that 2018 was the year of the boy.
    • Dutchposting Explanation 
    • GAVIN? WHERE IS GAVIN? Explanation 
    • LENNY! Explanation 
    • Lumbago Explanation 
  • Memetic Loser: Dorothea, the suffragette that you meet in Saint Denis, has become this due to Shirakko's infamous videos of him killing her in various ways which kickstarted a trend for players to torment her as well. Many players as a result found her to be the punching bag of the whole game.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: In contrast with Irish in the first game, Sean McGuire has been pretty well received by Irish fans. It helps that aside from him loving to party which doesn’t really bother them, he doesn’t really have any negative Irish stereotypes, and fans found him a genuinely enjoyable character. Having an authentic Irish accent helps as well.
  • Moe: Jack Marston as a kid is just as adorable as you would think.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If him callously shooting up half a town just to get his favourite guns back didn't already have him crossing it, Micah Bell definitely crossed it when he betrays the whole gang, eventually leading the gang to its imminent decline.
    • Milton executing an unarmed Hosea in front of Dutch, Arthur and the others out of sheer spite. If it doesn't, turning a Maxim gun on a building you know to have women and maybe children inside, just to kill a few criminals, certainly does.
    • The O'Driscolls crossed it by brutally murdering Kieran and delivering his remains to Dutch's gang.
    • Colonel Favours crossed it by deliberately provoking the native Americans into starting a war with the US Army by stealing their horses and withholding vaccines meant for their sick, all to get the glory for slaughtering people trying to defend themselves.
    • In-universe, Dutch crossed it in the eyes of some of his gang members when he abandoned the native Americans to their fate after manipulating them into a war with the US Army. Players felt he would have crossed it when he abandons both John and Arthur even though the two have served him loyally to the end.
  • Narm:
    • Unfortunately, the Wham Line where Arthur all of a sudden reveals he had a family who was massacred is completely but hilariously ruined by Rains Fall constantly interrupting him to pick flowers. The worst part is, there's no reason whatsoever Rains Fall can't simply multitask and talk to Arthur while picking flowers.
    • A powerful scene where Arthur has a conversation with a dying Eagles Fly while taking them back home on horseback is completely undercut by what is likely a bug. Other characters are following you on horseback, but will go at a steady trot and won't match the player's speed, even though the player will likely be at full gallop. This leads to Arthur getting stuck in a dialogue loop as the other characters constantly interrupt Arthur with requests to slow down.
  • Obvious Judas: A lot of players probably would have guessed early on that Micah is the traitor, given his record of dog-kicking throughout the game that would give Bill in the first game a run for his money.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The dialogue system as described in previews is very similar to that Rockstar used in their previous game Bully down to similar controls (Locking onto NPCs with the left trigger and using the face buttons to choose interactions).
    • The weapon degradation system, where a weapon's stats decrease with usage, is based on the one from Red Dead Revolver.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Strange Mans' brief cameo in the mirror inside a shack in Baygall Edge. It's very difficult to trigger unless you know how, but him, his shack, and his implied Deal with the Devil with Herbert Moon are filled to the brim with Creepy Awesome, resulting in a very memorable Easter Egg.
    • That lion in "Of Course He's British". How many were expecting to see an African big cat in a western?
  • Padding: Guarma seems to be one of the least popular chapters in the story since it comes completely out of nowhere and doesn't really have much relevance to the overall plot, which hurts the pacing. Once Arthur and the gang get off the island they pretty much never mention it again with a few exceptions. Many players felt that it could be removed from the story without any major consequences, since the effects it had on the gang still remain.
  • Player Punch: Inevitable given the Foregone Conclusion of the original game.
    • During one seemingly average mission, Sean McGuire has his head blown off with zero warning in a surprise ambush.
    • Kieran Duffy has only just begun to ingratiate himself into the gang when he disappears for several days. People suspect he might've turned traitor... then his decapitated and mutilated corpse is set back to camp on horseback as a prelude to an O'Driscoll attack.
    • Hosea Matthews and Lenny Summers both die during the botched Saint Denis bank robbery. Agent Milton captures Hosea only to murder him in cold-blood to spite Dutch, then Lenny Summers is gunned down by Pinkertons. Lenny's is especially jarring given that it's the only gang member's death that occurs out of nowhere during gameplay and Arthur spends time lingering over his friend's corpse in mourning.
    • A seemingly normal journey with Arthur ends with Arthur collapsing, coughing up blood, going to a doctor, and being diagnosed with tuberculosis, confirming that the player character is not going to survive the events of the game and everything that comes after is him living on borrowed time.
    • The final mission of Chapter 6 has the player's horse being killed by Pinkertons. Especially painful if it's the horse you've had throughout the entire game. Arthur will comfort the animal until s/he is dead, giving up valuable escape time to pay his proper respects to his beloved horse.
    • The death of Arthur Morgan. Even though you know it's coming, it's still a punch. Depending on the player's honor, Morgan can have a peaceful death of his disease watching the rising sun, or be murdered in cold-blood by Micah.
    • Riding around Bayou Nwa in Lemoyne might see you run into and shoot a new bird for your compendium, and upon doing so receive the message "Carolina Parakeet: ???? Remaining" in the corner of your screen. Congratulations, you just contributed to their eventual extinction. This shares a similarity to the finite number of bison in the Great Plains of the first Redemption game.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • While not a full Scrappy Mechanic, RDR 1's deadeye upgrades were criticized for removing an useful ability from level 1note , and level 2 was considered to be a massive Powerup Letdown that did more harm than goodnote . The automatic tagging of Level 2 is now your starting level so it actually makes sense it's the worst one to use, and max level allows you to both manually tag enemies and shoot as many bullets as you wish without deactivating the effect, combining the best parts of level 1 and 3 from the previous game.
    • Arthur himself was at first seen as a Replacement Scrappy for John Marston due to early trailers not exactly having sympathetic moments for him and John being a really beloved character. Once the game came out however, many fans were won over by his tragic, complex background and how he kept on trying to help out the gang even during the inevitable breakdown and making his last moments a chance for John to escape the outlaw life. Fans are now claiming he’s Rockstar’s best protagonist since John himself.
    • Kid Jack Marston lacks most of the problems his teenage and adult versions had in the first game, and instead is an Adorkable textbook case of Children Are Innocent.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • You can now be too far away from your horse to whistle for it, unlike in the first game where a quick tap of the button will summon the horse to your side from anywhere. When hunting, it's scarily easy to lose track of the beast and end up stranded in the middle of the woods.
    • The new weapon wheel: unlike the first game, you have to select the weapons you want to carry with you manually from your horse. Every. SINGLE. TIME.
    • Fast travel is very limited; You can only travel from camp, towns and certain train stations (the latter two for a small fee). If you're stuck in the middle of the wilderness you're SOL. Better hope you like the scenery.
    • The Street Urchins in Saint Denis have already garnered hatred from some players, especially the urchin who pickpockets Arthur in "The Joys of Civilisation". They will constantly harass you which quickly becomes grating to the ears for players. Some might even trick you into getting mugged in an alleyway and if you retaliate you'll end up getting wanted by the law.
    • The new law mechanics are a serious headache. For starters, wanted bounties are now much more expensive, and with how much less everything pays (except for dangerous activities like robbing banks or trains) it can become difficult to pay off said bounties. In addition, the game makes it really difficult to exist in areas that have bounties posted, as lawmen patrol the trails and will attack on sight. If your bounty is high enough, super persistent waves of bounty hunters will spawn in to track you down while resting, making it almost impossible to stay in one place while in a bounty zone. The bandana also does nothing, it seems- despite equipping it well out of sight of the A.I, citizens will still seem to be able to know that it's Arthur Morgan specifically who robbed them and not one of the dozens of other crooks in the area. As mentioned in Guide Dang It! on the main page, there's actually a lot more steps required for a complete disguise then the game deigns necessary to tell you. All of this wouldn't really be a problem, since it adds to the fun of committing crimes and having to deal with the consequences for doing so. The problem is that the game will force bounties on the player in certain story missions, forcing the player to pay out a bounty that they likely didn't want to have. The absolute worst example of this is the mission to rescue Micah, which slaps a whopping $300 bounty on the player once the mission is complete. At such an early stage it can be difficult to pay off, and it's likely that the player will divert several dollars to freeing up their forced bounties over the course of the story rather than buying more interesting things. Furthermore, when certain crimes are committed by someone other than the player (such as a wagon running over an innocent civilian), blame is put on the player for the crime.
    • The need to manually cycle the action on manual repeating weapons and/or re-cock the hammer on single-action revolvers, or in the case of the Spencer carbine BOTH!note , by pressing "fire" again after shooting. This works most of the time and is not exactly intrusive when it does, but if you wait too long to cycle the action/re-cock the hammer, when you go to actually do it, your weapon will fire IMMEDIATELY after the re-cock, which can lead to a wasted shot if you weren't actually ready to fire at that time.
    • Although the switch to John is handled fairly well (Such as the money from the Blackwater job giving you 20.000 dollars so you can rebuild your inventory once you beat the game), he still cannot swim. Instead of drowning instantly however, going too deep will destroy your stamina (core included) and John'll start splashing around in an attempt to save himself. Again, the fact that John can be controlled and thus rescued during the few seconds before he drowns means that it's not as bad as it was in the first game, but it's still a bit of a bummer to lose an actually useful game mechanic. note  Downplayed somewhat since horses can still swim.
    • Obtaining perfect skins from small animals gets frustrating very quickly. Most small animals need to be killed by either the varmint rifle or the bow equipped with small game arrows, the latter of which must be crafted. However, not only do some animals spawn already damaged, if you do find a perfect specimen but need to use more than one bullet or arrow on the thing you've already ruined the skin. Even if you do kill them with one attack, there's a good chance the skin is damaged unless you hit them in the head. And just as a reminder, you're hunting animals smaller than most grass and which are usually running away from you, meaning that more often than not their body takes the blow you meant for the head.
    • Hunting in general has gotten some flack, since you can't track an animal unless you've already laid eyes on it, despite the hunting mission with Hosea hinting that you'll be able to find leavings and tracks to hunt with (this only applies to legendary animals). Whether or not a given animal spawns in it's given "habitat" is also random, unless we're talking about deer and pronghorns which are everywhere. One of the worst offenders is the American Badger, which is small, hard to see and nocturnal, so we hope you're hunting the little buggers at night! The worst offender is the moose, which only appear in certain locations making them even harder to find than the legendary animals themselves!
    • Having to start with your base loadout whenever you have to replay missions. You will lose whatever items you have on-hand, your stats will be reset to their default level, and your horse will be the weakest one. This makes it frustrating for players who want to fulfil all objectives in order to get the gold medal, since they would lack the equipment or stats that would help them.
    • The control system in general has received complaints, with many players pointing out that the controls feel sluggish and unresponsive, making it difficult to move Arthur around.
    • Naming horses. For some reason, profanity is not allowed. In a game where you can decapitate or dismember a man with a shotgun and already has profane dialogue, you cannot name your horse "Fucker" or "Shithead".
  • Sequel Displacement: Not this game, but very few knew that Redemption was a sequel to the 2004 title Red Dead Revolver. Those who knew this didn't like when people called the potential third game ''Red Dead Redemption 2'', as it would be the third game in the Red Dead series, not the second game in the Red Dead Redemption series. These fans preferred to use names like "Red Dead 3", "Red Dead (fitting R-word)" etc. Then this game was revealed and was titled ''Red Dead Redemption 2''.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • During the mission Friends in Low Places, which introduces players to Stagecoach robberies, Arthur can be seen inspecting whichever sidearm was in his primary pistol holster. However, the animation that plays is more suited for a revolver, leading to clipping issues if a player had any of the three pistols in that holster prior to that cutscene.
    • For whatever reason, Mexico is recreated to a genuinely surprising degree... but with the exception of El presidio, none of the towns, settlements or other buildings exist. Considering Rockstar's devotion to details like this and that you can just use the binoculars to look into Mexico, it's odd that there's not even low-poly versions of them. And then there's the fact that the epilogue is just 4 years before RDR 1, it's very unlikely everything there was built between the games.
  • Squick: At random moments in the game, you can see horses unloading their solid waste. And yes, that includes during cutscenes.
  • Tainted by the Preview: While tainted is a strong word to use at this point, the fact that a multiplayer mode was announced at the same time as the game has some fans nervous. This is because many felt that Rockstar's previous game, Grand Theft Auto V suffered because of the multiplayer, and the singleplayer campaign was deemed somewhat disappointing and full of wasted potential. Since GTA Online keeps getting new content while singleplayer DLC was abandoned because of the focus on online, people feel that Rockstar never gave a damn abut the singleplayer mode to begin with, and created the game only to get extra cash from Microtransactions. People are afraid the same will happen to Red Dead series.
  • That One Boss: Subverted in the final mission. Surprisingly, Micah Bell is incredibly difficult to defeat to the point where you have to be quite skilled if you want to put up at least a gunfight, especially seeing as how he can counter Dead Eye. Not only that, he is very able to dodge your dynamite. However, everything changes when Sadie and Dutch help you in the fight.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Achieving a gold medal for each mission in story mode, which require players to complete all optional objectives. Especially missions requiring you to complete them within a specific amount of time, but the kicker is that the cutscenes themselves are counted in the countdown, meaning that you would have to skip the cutscenes in order to meet the time limit. This is frustrating for first-time players who would likely have to replay these missions. While replayable, the player will start off with their default stats and equipment at the start of the story rather than their current loadout, which may make achieving these objectives even harder.
    • Sharpshooter 8 challenge is extremely difficult. You need to disarm 3 opponents without reloading or changing weapons. Not only has the Deadeye reload exploit been fixed from the first game and thus activating it means instant reset, aiming is more difficult than before and enemies have ridiculously tight grips, having a tendency of not dropping their gun no matter no many times you shoot at their arm. After a while you'll just grab a shotgun and start literally disarming to vent out.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Both Leviticus Cornwall and Colm O'Driscoll are major villains throughout the game, responsible for the majority of the protagonists' troubles. Colm in particular is set up as having a long history as Dutch's nemesis, is responsible for destroying Sadie Adler's life, and his first appearance sets him up as a threatening and deranged figure. Unfortunately, in a game with a 60 hour long story, neither man gets much in the way of development or screen time. They only appear in two missions each before dying.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Fans are disappointed that you are unable to visit West Elizabeth and New Austin as Arthur, despite many promotional trailers showing you exploring them. What's worse is that when exploiting a glitch that allows Arthur to visit them as mentioned in Good Bad Bugs above, he has his own unique dialogue from Marston's, implying that developers likely intended for Arthur to visit those locations.
    • Fans who bought the Special and Ultimate Editions that come with an exclusive heist are also disappointed that it's a rather generic bank heist in Rhodes. Some felt that the exclusive mission could have instead covered the Blackwater heist that started the events of the game instead.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The game is gorgeous. From the beautiful, colourful graphics to the huge amount of detail in both the environments and character models, the game looks awesome all around.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Hosea's plan to swipe the Yankee Gold relied on the two households being so focused on each other that they don't notice him, Arthur, and Dutch trying to play both sides. Just because two households have been rivals for decades doesn't mean they won't notice the same man attack their property days from when they met them. This gets them found out very quickly. Not that there is any Yankee Gold, anyway.
    • Dutch's last act plan of "cause enough chaos and conflict across the state so we can pull off One Last Job and escape in the confusion" is this trope all over. He seems to overlook that the authorities know him and the gang are the ones responsible for said chaos, and them flooding the state with yet more soldiers, deputies, bounty hunters, and vengeful Pinkertons will just make every move they make that more difficult. All his "plan" accomplishes is getting far more people killed than just giving up.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • For Rockstar. After the divisive GTA V and it's online component, the extremely good reviews of this game have helped some regain their trust on the company.
    • The sheer amount of content and details mentioned in the September previews turned many not interested in the game.
  • The Woobie:
    • Kieran Duffy. Ending up with the wrong company, he is assumed to be an O'Driscoll and is captured by Arthur. He spends a good while tied to a tree, without food or water, and Dutch threatens to castrate him. Even after saving Morgan's life, his every attempt to get in good terms with the gang is met with suspicion. When people are finally starting to trust him, he is captured by the O'Driscolls, who proceed to gouge his eyes out and decapitate him, before sending his body back to Dutch's hideout to taunt and demoralize the gang.
    • The entire Downes family. Being burdened with financial troubles and debt, Thomas Downes made the mistake to loan from Leopold Strauss. Not helping matters is when he's afflicted with tuberculosis, only to get beaten up for his troubles when Arthur came to collect the debt in front of his family, leading to his death. This forces the rest of the family to move out from the farm without a husband to support them any longer, where Mrs. Downes is forced to work as a prostitute, while her son Archie has to work in the mines and is treated like crap by his co-workers. When Arthur comes across Mrs. Downes in Saint Denis, the poor woman is a broken shell of her former self when he first met her.
    • Rains Fall. All he wants is to protect his people and stop them from getting into a war with the US Army who are constantly harassing them, having lost his firstborn son in a previous skirmish with the US Army. Sadly, thanks to Dutch's manipulations, his second son Eagle Flies ends up getting killed in another pointless fight as well, and his people are still forced off their land and have to move to Canada. When Marston comes across him in the epilogue, he seems to be a broken man.
    Red Dead Online 
  • Author's Saving Throw
    • The multiplayer mode, as described here, will be based on the original Red Dead Redemption's MP mode, although with some narrative elements. While it'll start off as a public beta when it launches, Rockstar has already given warnings about possible server issues, and as a beta the players will likely have a larger input on the game's future (content).
    • Rockstar also has plans to re-introduce friendly free roam lobbies like its predecessor, and they also plan to have far less tolerance for Griefing (specifically spawn killing players). Lastly, passive mode from GTA Online will eventually make a return to supplement the parley and feud systems.
    • After beta testers complained about the game's stingy economy, Rockstar quickly promised that they would adjust the economy for the final release. This promise was delivered not even one week after the beta started, with the Week 1 Update rebalancing weapon prices across the board and refunding players for the price difference if already purchased (most notably, the Mauser Pistol went from $1,000 to $600), rebalanced all mission payouts for the better, and everyone who played during the first week got 15 whole gold bars and $50 for their troubles.
  • Internet Backdraft: As expected, the fan opinion towards the Microtransactions present is very low, and they can't even be bought yet! One of the reasons for this is that unlike in GTA Online where they existed merely to give players extra cash, here some actually useful features such as post-initial horse insurance, can only be bought with the game's premium currency. You can get Gold in regular gameplay, but it's not exactly common.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The beta already has the fandom up in arms due to what is perceived to be a massive progression grind combined with an extremely stingy economy. Players typically only earn $3-$5 per mission, and they have to constantly spend cash on survival items to keep their characters in optimum performance. Combined with the fact that unlockables can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and this means a player would have to grind for an excessive number of hours to unlock an item for cash. Not only that, but the game's premium currency, gold bars, can either be bought with real money or earned slowly in the game by collecting 100 gold nuggets. In the beta, it takes around 8 hours of gameplay to earn one gold bar, but most of the gold items cost multiple gold bars. Many fans have decried this grind as a deliberate move on Take Two and Rockstar's part to drive more microtransaction sales.
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