Rockstar’s Game Design is Outdated

Anyone who’s been watching my channel for a while knows that I am a huge Rockstar fanboy. I feel like I mention their games in almost every video I make. I made a whole video essay about how amazing they are at creating virtual worlds. I stand in line to get their games at midnight. The last video I uploaded was a fuckin’ country music video about how excited I was for Red Dead 2. You get the idea, I’m a gamer girl. So just know with this video, I’m not just trying to stir shit or play devil’s advocate to be a unique little snow Jake. I’m not unique. That being said, I’m sure you’ve pieced together from the title and thumbnail of this video that I, like many of you, have been playing the fuck, out of Red Dead 2, and I’m a little disappointed by it. And uh, yes that rhyme was planned. The “Too Long; Didn’t Give A Shit” version of this video is basically: Red Dead Redemption 2 has some of the best writing and characters of any piece of fiction I’ve ever consumed. Arthur Morgan is easily my favourite protagonist from any Rockstar game. The game looks unreal and sounds like God, and the game does very little to improve on the same mission structure that Rockstar has been using for almost 20 years and also that looking at the Metacritic score makes me feel like an insane man. There won’t be any story spoilers in this video, but I am going to show some gameplay examples and spoil some side shit so, I do still recommend skipping the video if you haven’t played the game yet and going in completely blind cause also, my opinion is just my opinion, and I’d rather this be like a healthy conversation in the chat, rather than me potentially tarnishing your opinion of the game before you’ve even given the darn thing a chance. Also the video is going to be much longer than my usual content and I’ve been kinda sick so I’m sorry if I sound kinda shitty. But definitely get cozy and grab some snacks, my little Brie cheeses cause you’re about to watch a grown-ass man lose his fucking marbles. Alright, with all that out of the way, I want to talk about Anthony Burch. and Legos. You might know who Anthony Burch is from a variety of things. He wrote Borderlands 2, He had a web series called “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?”, with his sister, Ash, who is a voice actress and is now known for her role as Horizon in Horizon Zero Dawn.
(Aloy) He also got memed a lot with people saying shit like… …because of some shit that happened with his wife or ex-wife, or I don’t know, like some comments he made on Twitter. But in eighth grade, I discovered a Youtube series he made called Rev Rant, where he stood in front of a green screen and talked about different interesting aspects of game design and made jokes sometimes. If that format sounds familiar, It’s because this yoga ball is the only thing between me and identity theft. And one of his videos that really stuck with me was called “True Non-Linearity,” where he talked about this mission in Grand Theft Auto 3, where you had to chase this guy through Chinatown, and then eventually chase him to his car, and then when he gets in his car, you have to chase him some more in his car and then eventually kill him. And he talked about how after someone got really frustrated with that mission, they had the idea to steal the guy’s car before even inititating the chase, take it to 8-Ball’s Bomb Garage, put a bomb in it, park it back in the same spot, then initiate the chase, and then watch the dude blow up, when he tries to get away. And aside from Eiffel 65, that is the coolest shit I have ever heard. And it wasn’t so much a deliberate design choice on Rockstar’s part that made all of that possible, but moreso, a lack of one. Grand Theft Auto 3 was the first 3D sandbox game that Rockstar put out, so, it had a lot less scripting and polish when it came to the missions. Things were much more loosey-goosey in the world, where instead of the game constantly giving you instructions of “Okay, go to this exact spot so that this exact cutscene can play. And then follow this car, you’re too close to the car, don’t be so close to the fucking car. Alright, now wait a little more… okay, you are now free to roam about the open world cabin.” It was a lot more of “Okay, so there’s this guy over here, and he needs to be dead, uh, instead of alive. You could do it however you want, you shoot him in the penis, I don’t really care, I’m a PlayStation 2.” And after GTA 3, Rockstar could have gone down two different roads that they had inadvertently created. A: One of more Non-Linearity, giving players more freedom to craft their own experiences while doing the missions, much like how it is while roaming the open world. Or B: A more scripted and movie-like experience where the player has to do things in the right order and fashion that Rockstar tells them to, Or else they fail the mission. And for the most part, Rockstar went with Road Number B and this isn’t always a bad thing, per say, but, most of you on Twitter agreed that it’s definitely “a mixed bag.” These two roads of game design can bascially be seen as a tub full of Legos, versus a particular LEGO set. And yes, this particular set is Star Wars. Has nothing to do with the video. Just thought it was cool. At first glance, the LEGO set is much more attractive and appealing, dare I say, sexy. Than the dirty ass old bucket, but anyone who’s performed LEGOs before knows that the bucket is WAY more fun in the long run. The bucket represents games that give you a lot of freedom fuck to solve problems in creative ways. Games like: And not even just because of the LEGO metaphor, but Especially Fortnite, Battle Royale games are the definition of player choice and freedom. This isn’t even a LEGO, this is a Lord Of The Rings action figure. “Did you know, that you can fuckin put a Sensor Dart on a helicopter in Blackout, and fly around, and see where dudes are?” And also that you can snipe people and talk about gators with Eddy Burback? “Some gator gotta come fuckin!” “Some gator gotta show his snout!” [laughing / surprise] The assortment of different LEGOs just represent all the different gameplay mechanics and options that the player has. So if there’s a mission in Metal Gear Solid V where you gotta rescue a hostage from an enemy camp, My LEGO creation could look like this, where I ride in on a horse outside of the camp, and then, um… get behind the comms tower, put some C4 on it, and then go over here, blow it up, make a distraction so that all these guys are coming over here, looking over here, “What was that noise?” and then using that chaos, I sneak in, and I rescue the hostage, who, is, being portrayed by Darth Maul, and carry him on my back and go out here and get ex- you know, the helicopter takes us away and we’re fine. And your creation, where maybe you chose to drive a car, and you Ghost Ride it into the watchtower and that guy goes fucking flying and the car blows up and then, you hop out of- ah, son of a bitch. And then you murder everyone in sight, [Gun noises from Jakey and sound effects] And then you go and rescue the hostage, who’s probably shitting his pants at this point, And Darth Maul like, “Oh my god!” and then your like “Come on, guy, let’s go.” and then, you know, you, get out of there. You can see that my creation and your creation, or whatever’s left of it um, are totally different and unique from each other. And that’s the power of the bucket because we each had a unique experience that feels personal to our ever developing gamer bodies. And yes, I did have a lot of fun putting these together. Don’t even ask. I will now show you the sound of my childhood. [Jakey rummages through LEGOS] [maybe the sound of your childhood as well] [Jakey makes an interesting find] There’s a fucking used napkin in here? Jesus Christ. Now moving over to the LEGO set here, This is a completely different kind of experience. The LEGOS in this set still represent the gameplay mechanics, but your following a predetermined order on how your going to experience all the different shit that the game has to offer. So when you finally finish your LEGO creation, your creation and my creation are going to look very similar. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there’s plenty of great LEGO set type games. fuckin These games are very linear and have specific beats and gameplay moments that they want you to experience in a certain order and way and there’s nothing wrong with that. All these games are fucking wet dreams, But the problem with Red Dead 2 and almost all of Rockstar’s open world games is that they’re constantly flip flopping between these two different kinds of designs. You have the open world, where your encouraged to experiment with the different gameplay systems and explore your surroundings and potentially do some creative problem solving, And then the missions which essentially shoot all of that in the face and boil down to following a yellow line and waiting to be told what to do and if you do anything other than the exact thing your supposed to do, mission failed. Try to take a different route? Mission failed. Try to flank the enemy? Mission failed. Attempt to be even slightly creative in your approach in a fucking “stealth mission” by climbing onto a roof? Mission failed. For whatever excuse Rockstar comes up with you doing anything other than exactly what they want you to do. Which when you think about it, is really fucking ironic because this is a game about bad boy outlaws that disobey the rules and do whatever they want. And this kind of design wouldn’t be so bad if Rockstar just fully committed to the type of game they want to make. They want these missions to be this linear, Naughty Dog-style blockbuster rollercoasters and the open world to be this Breath Of The Wild West, realistic, cowboy simulation. But by having one foot in the open world design and one foot in roller coaster design, neither design ever achieves it’s full potential and is never as interesting or as deep or as consistent as it’s contemporaries. Because in order for the player to experience exactly what you want, in an open world game, First you gotta make em ride to the mission marker, and then you gotta ride to where the mission actually takes place, and then you gotta wait for something to inevitably go wrong, and then shoot guys in the face and then do that over and over, and over, and over and over, and over, and over Red Rover, Red Rover, send good missions on over! And it’s just sad because they have this magnum dong of a map that’s so gorgeous and huge with crazy attention to detail with signs that give you directions and other landmarks to tell where your going. And before the game came out, I remember seeing some rumor float around that if you played the game without the radar on, NPC’s would actually give you directions for missions and then you have to pay more attention to the game world itself instead of this little fucking circle in the corner! And when I heard that shit, I got super excited because it meant that I could turn off the radar and just use the compass and the, fuckin, physical map that comes with the game! Because while Rockstar has always included these sweet ass maps with their games, I’ve ever only had to bust one out to complete a mission once. And it was fucking amazing. In Grand Theft Auto 4, there were these awesome side missions where you would recieve a text with a description of a car your supposed to steal along with it’s address. No icon on the map, no waypoint on the radar, just the text. “I GOT A TEXT!” And because the in-game map doesn’t show the street names, I had to bust out the actual, physical map that came with the game and study the names of the roads to find the exact location of the car. And then when I went to that location in the game, bada boom, bada bing, Michael Scott Sebring, there’s the car. And that felt amazing! I felt like an actual badass, instead of a toddler that needed to be told what to do every five seconds. So you can surmise that while I was playing Red Dead 2, I tried to play the game without having the radar turned on and just the compass. And while roaming the open world, it’s fucking great. If I meet a stranger, and he tells me that I should go rob a I’m gonna use that information along with my compass, and my physical map to figure out where to go. And not having a waypoint always telling me exactly where to go makes even the simple process of adventuring around and finding stuff super satisfying. I feel like this badass cowboy explorer with a with a map and fucking mutton chops! But once you actually start any of the missions, It is impossible to do shit without having the radar on. Even in the case of a mission where the only instruction is to park this stolen stagecoach in a secluded spot, I didn’t have the radar on at the time, and I was like “Alright, sweet! let me go find a spot.” But I should have better than to mess with you harder like a black widow baby because “Oh, the game meant this SPECIFIC secluded spot! Oh, I’m an idiot dungo brain! Why did I ever think I could do something on my own, I’m a dumb baby. I’m just a dumb baby, give me milk, I wanna fucking sleep and do shit, dude.” Compare that to the GTA 4 Michael Scott Sebring mission and it is the exact opposite feeling. You’re not making me feel like a badass cowboy. You’re making me feel like a dumb little kid. And part of me is torn because I genuinely love the characters and the story that Red Dead 2 is trying to tell. There are some genuinely thrilling missions when it works. [♪ Fleeting Joy Battle Theme ♪] But those moments are overshadowed by so many repetitive and mindless missions that it starts to feel like your looking at this beautiful LEGO bucket and you’re realizing all it’s potential for unique and creative gameplay moments. But then your older brother keeps barging into the room, telling you which pieces you gotta use and how you’re gonna use em and that it’s once again, time to tap X a bunch and ride to a mission point and then watch a cutscene and then uh-oh! No way! What? Something went wrong again? No way! And now I gotta sit behind a broken-ass cover system that’s somehow worse than the first game that came out eight years ago and then hit L2, and then R2, BECAUSE THE ONLY INTERESTING CHOICE I HAVE IN THIS GAME IS WHICH GUN I’M GONNA TRY TO USE TO KILL MYSE- Okay, so now that we all had a nap and calmed down, let’s talk about the more interesting side of Rockstar’s games, and especially Red Dead 2, and that is the open world. So whenever you’re not being led through the game’s missions and side missions, there’s a variety of things that you can do in Rockstar’s along with some really cool encounters that can happen to you. But we’re gonna talk about more- we’re gonna talk about those in Chapter 3. And surrounding all of this stuff is an honor system, and a wanted system, and a bounty system, and a camp system, and none of these really work how you would expect, and one of them doesn’t really seem to matter, or make a difference… …like at all. The last one I’m referring to is the camp system which, in theory, was supposed to be a big incentive in driving cause for doing a lot of the activities in the game. Anything that provides you with a good or money that you can either keep for yourself or donate to the camp to help take care of your fellow cowpokes. Which is a super cool concept, right? Like, in a game that’s centered around a family of outlaws it seems like that should be a pretty big deal… …right? Yeah, it doesn’t fucking matter at all. You can be the biggest degenerate piece of shit with the lowest honor and be a complete c-word to everyone in the camp (that’s cunt, c-word is cunt) And never donate a dickel to the services or the camp or the food or anything, and the story just keeps on chugging like nothing nothing ever happened, like what the fuck? This not only lessens the meaning of so much of your open world interaction, but it could have easily been handled so much better. The game could have made it where you could only continue with the story if you’ve actually taken care of the camp and dumped a significant amount of money into it. Because not only does that bring the story and the open world closer together, now you actually have a strong incentive to rob a train or do some bounties or sell some animals. And it could make for some really great choices in the honor system as well where now it’s like, “Oh, shit. I could make money faster if I rob a train, then I can continue the story sooner, but, then everyone’s gonna hate me and I’m gonna be a bad guy.” That’s an interesting choice! How the game is right now, there’s not really any incentive to be bad. It’s just… …I feel like being a bad guy, so I’m gonna do it. Couple this with the fact that the main missions give you way too much money, way too fast, which I get, that that’s a weird complaint. It feels pointless as hell to try and roleplay as a scrappy outlaw on the run when you have a thousand dollars from doing a couple story missions. In old west times, that was like 3 billion dollars! “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a- I’m a cowboy named Arthur Morgan? I thought I was the CEO of Apple, AKA Bill Gates.” Speaking of making getaways, I think we can all agree that the, uh, wanted system in the game is pretty hit or miss. “I guess I never miss, huh?” So along with having some very trigger happy cops that like to come after you for the smallest offense or for defending yourself against the dark arts of the O’Driscoll gang, the game has a witness system which is actually pretty cool. In theory. Basically, if someone witnesses you committing a crime, they’re gonna try and run and tell a lawman about it. And you have the option to try and stop them before they do that which is super cool. You can kill them, you can tie em up, you can threaten them, you can shoot your gun in the air to try to scare em and accidentally shoot a bird out of the sky in the process. And that’s all cool as shit because the game is giving you some dynamic choices. And what’s also cool is that the game has a whole mask and disguise system that it barely explains at all. But lucky for you, I have wasted hours of my life trying to get to the bottom of how this shit works and I could finally put an end to all the Reddit threads and Youtube videos that keep making shit up. Essentially, if you don’t currently have a bounty, NPCs won’t recognize you if you have a mask on. You don’t need a new outfit from what you’ve already been wearing, you don’t need a new fuckin horse or new guns you just need a mask. But even with a mask on, cops will always immediately recognize you as Arthur Morgan if they see you committing a crime. Which this isn’t super realistic, but I actually don’t have that much beef with this rule. So if your wearing a mask, and you shoot a man in the middle of Valentine in front of several witnesses, and you bail the area before any cops come, you won’t get a bounty. And after your wanted level goes away, you can go back to the same town wearing the same outfit and the same mask and do the same shit again and you still won’t get a bounty because at this point, NPCs have what I refer to as But, if you did get caught the first time and you do have a bounty now, The bounty is what starts changing things. So now, if you go back and you do the same shit with the same outfit and the same mask, and you have a bounty this time, not only will cops arrest you on sight, but NPCs are now baby geniuses, and will immediately recognize you and you’ll get a higher bounty even if you bail the area before the cops come. BUT if you had changed your outfit before going back into the town where you have a bounty, NPCs won’t immediately recognize you and patrolling cops won’t try to arrest you on sight unless you hang around them for too long. Okay. Did you get all that? Jesus Christ, I need to take up knitting or something instead of this shit. It’s not a perfect system, but I’m the type of person where if I know the rules, and the rules are consistent, then I’m a happy boy. But the rules aren’t fucking consistent! You can strategically choose to rob a train when it’s out in the middle of dickshit nowhere with an outfit and a mask that no one has ever seen, and somehow, a cop 3 miles away will not only know that a train is being robbed, but that it’s specifically Arthur Morgan that’s doing it. Somebody better give that cop a raise, because he is a goddamn X-Man. And this is the same type of bullshit that’s been an issue with cops in the GTA games since forever, where you’ll kill a man out in the middle of nowhere and somehow every cop in the tri-state area just had a That’s So Raven type vision and somehow knows about it now. Red Dead 2 could have done something new, and actually had, like dedicated and scheduled routes that the police would follow that you could study and like, plan your robberies around. Instead of just doing this same bullshit of just spawning cops in front of you whenever the game wants. The game already has these super detailed schedules for NPCs where they’ll get up and go to work and eat lunch and then go to the bar and then turn in for the night. So why the fuck is it the same shitty system when it comes to the lawmen, who are arguably one of the most important features in a game about being a fucking outlaw? The funny thing is, while I was researching this shit, I came across this Youtube video where this guy uses this clickbaity-ass title that was like and within, like the first thirty seconds he gets a wanted level. But he also put it best himself when he said “They have identified me, that’s an issue.” The open world of Red Dead 2 is at it’s worst when your older brother Rockstar still keeps barging in the room to control everything. What I mean by this is that it is impossible to commit the perfect robbery. You could plan your escape route and go in the back door without anyone seeing you and rob the store without firing a single bullet or making any noise and yet, somehow, every single time there’s a witness. Whether they walk in right on cue like it’s a fucking sitcom or somehow spot you from the outside even in a shop with no windows I never seen it not happen. Also, because the game doesn’t even let you access your weapon wheel while in the store you can’t even like, attempt a stealth kill before trying to rob the register or even use your preferred weapon to rob a store. Because that makes total sense, and definitely doesn’t make me want to spit on the floor. The best example of this lack of consistency and / or freedom is found while robbing the gunsmith in San Denis. If you rob the gunsmith in the typical, only way that the game lets you, he pulls out a gun, and tries to kill you. Now remember this, because it’s gonna be really important in a second. But one time, while roaming the streets of San Denis, I encountered a homeless man. So I hopped off my horse, and I decided to give him some money. And then he surprised me by giving me this tip-off about robbing a poker game that’s held above the gunsmith. And that stuff is super fucking cool because it feels natural and dynamic and nobody told me to give the homeless man some money. I chose to give him some money. Lord knows I have some fucking money to spare! So I went back to the gunsmith, and I try to rob him again, because usually when there’s a secret business within a business, the game gives you a different prompt to rob that second business. But this time, it didn’t have one, and that actually started getting me really excited, cause I was like, “Oh shit! Maybe I just actually have to find my own way to get up to the poker game because I could actually hear music coming from the rooms above the gunsmith.” So after running around the block for a while, I eventually found an alleyway that had a ladder in it, so I climbed up the latter And then I got up on the roofs, and I parkoured my way over on top of the gunsmith building. And at this point, I was getting really excited because I felt like I just done something really cool and figured it out all by myself without my FUCKIN older brother telling me shit! But when I got to the room above the gunsmith, I couldn’t do anything with it. It wouldn’t open, or give me a prompt to knock, or anything. So then I went to the bottom of the stairwell, and there was this security guard just standing there. And usually, with every NPC in the game, you at least have a greet or antagonize option, but with this guy, there wasn’t anything. And I slowly felt this familiar disappointing feeling creep over me that the game wasn’t ready for me to be here yet, and I wasn’t supposed to be here yet, and that I wasn’t doing it according to Rockstar’s plans. So then I went back to the gunsmith and looked around some more, and it turned out that Arthur just had to officially inspect the back door in order to unlock the feature of being able to rob the poker game. And then, sure enough, when I robbed the gunsmith again, this time, it gave me a prompt for the poker room. But the icing on the cake is that when you choose to do the poker room robbery, Now, the gunsmith doesn’t for his gun at all! Like, what the fuck? Did Arthur suddenly get way scarier in the past 5 minutes? The game immediately then switches back into scripted ass fucking LEGO set mode where now I can interact with the security guard, and now I can rob the poker game, and now I can pee all over my sweatpants. And while it was still cool that I could use the parkour route I discovered earlier to escape once the cops showed up, this was the exact moment that I realized Rockstar is still so unwilling to budge on you doing anything in any way other than the exact way that they want you to do it. And it really bummed me the fuck out. One of the biggest hype words surrounding Red Dead 2 is realism, with you having to feed Arthur, and bathe Arthur, and manually loot every single individual item and wear the right clothes in the right weather and feed your horse a steady diet of Oakcakes. And all of that stuff is in the game, which is great, but, a lot of it is also extremely shallow. You don’t actually have to eat, or sleep on a regular, realistic basis, they’re both just different video gamey ways to refill your Cores. Yes, you can make a campfire to rest in the wilderness, but, the game does it all for you. It’s not something interesting, like in Breath Of The Wild, where you actually get to interact with different aspects of the open world, like “Okay, I chop down a tree and I got some wood. But shit, it’s raining, so I have to find a place protected by rain, and then I put my wood down, but oh shit! How am I gonna start a fire? Well, I mined these rocks earlier and they gave me some flint, so I’m gonna put it next to the fire and hit it with a metal blade, and oh shit! Now I have this cozy little fire!” Not only does Red Dead do all of this automatically, which is super realistic, but, also, fuckin teleports you to the nearest clearing and automatically gives you a fire and a fucking tent and the rain doesn’t make any difference. You can have a fire in the rain. You don’t have to look for any shelter or like, keep an eye on the world or anything. It’s a joke! For a game that people keep saying is all about immersion and realism that makes you watch every animation of Arthur skinning an animal. And every animation of Arthur looting a corpse, and some actual cool stuff like having to pick up an animal and put it on the back of your horse. It’s inconsistent as hell that the game also has these frequent moments where it changes it’s mind and it’s like “Actually, fuck all that simulation cowboy shit, um, we’re gonna do it our way. Oh, you’re gonna ride your horse? Hell yeah, brother, uh, we’re gonna automatically put Arthur’s rifles back on the horse because that’s what we think he would do. But don’t worry dude, if you quickly get off your horse after that, we’ll just teleport your rifles back onto your back cause in the Old West, they had dark magic. Unless you’ve been riding the horse for a while, and then suddenly hop off to fight some enemies that we just ambushed you with, yeah, then your gonna have to manually re-equip each rifle by cycling through all the weapons and oh yeah, we reset what kind of ammo type was loaded into your gun and oh yeah, WE’RE GONNA DO THIS EVERY TIME. If you’re gonna make me commit to doing all this pseudo-simulation cowboy shit, like cleaning my guns and bathing my horse and crafting a tonic, one tonic at a goddamn time, You can’t then randomly strip away control from me. Like, not being able to look at your weapon wheel while you’re in a camp so you can see what kind of fucking ammo you need to pick up! Because now, immersion and realism are the last words that are flying through my gamer brain. The words I’m thinking of are and / or A big feature of the game that I mentioned earlier is how you can use L2 to lock on to every NPC in the game (with some exceptions) and greet or antagonize them. And while this is a cool addition, it ends up being super contextual most of the time and doesn’t lead to a whole lot of interesting choices. Because most of the time, it boils down to either saying “Hi!” or “Fight me.” And if you strip away the defuse option after pissing a dude off, it’s essentially the same two options that you have in the first game. You could already hit B, Or Circle (O), depending on your sexual preference, and say hi or antagonize someone by just running into them or punching them. It’s not like a new, innovative system where you can do cool shit like convince one guy that another guy was talking shit about them so they start fighting and make a big ruckus so the cops go over there and use that as a distraction and do some cowboy shit. And when it’s not just Arthur greeting someone or pissing them off, it’s a mystery dialogue option where you don’t know exactly what Atrhur’s gonna say cause it almost always just says And there’s also never any clear indication of when you can actually react to something that’s happening in front of you versus hitting the greet option and Arthur saying some shit like “Mister, you have a kind face.” “You look familiar, do I know you from somewhere, boy?” For example, someone back at camp, I think it was Sadie,
(Yes, it was.) asked me to bring them back a harmonica. And when I was exploring around in Strawberry, I came across a guy sitting on a porch who’s playing a harmonica. And with what I thought was my understanding of the game’s systems, I tried to “greet’ the guy playing the harmonica, hoping to god that Arthur had the context to ask for it, or ask, “Where’d you get it?” And when that didn’t work, I tried to rob the guy for it. and while he did run away, he did drop the harmonica on the ground in the process. But the game didn’t give me any contextual sort of prompt to pick up the harmonica or do anything with it I just had to fucking stare at it because why would items in video games work like that, and actually make sense? A lot of my problems with the dialogue system are basically the same ones that made Fallout 4’s dialogue suck so much ass compared to New Vegas. Instead of it feeling like a dynamic exchange where you could do cool shit and have some creative moments that made you feel smart. It essentially boils down to: Generic Good Guy Option, Generic Bad Guy Option. And Red Dead 2 is even more stripped down than Fallout 4 was, and okay, I get why right now, you might be thinking, “Jakey, why the fuck are you even comparing Red Dead 2 to New Vegas? they’re totally different types of games!” But, they’re really not. They’re both open world, they both have some survival stuff, they both want you to interact with NPCs with different dialogue choices, they both try to put new and interesting gameplay situations, But the difference between a game like New Vegas And Red Dead 2 is that New Vegas gives you a variety of options and tools so that YOU can make moments happen. But in Red Dead 2, special moments only happen TO you. There’s definitely some exceptions to what I mean, but the random encounters and open world activities in Red Dead 2 versus the quests and options for role-playing in New Vegas are the difference between Once again, a LEGO bucket, and a bunch of haunted houses. I’m aware that these metaphors are all over the place. What I mean is that New Vegas gives you the pieces to play out scenarios in a bunch of different ways e.g, LEGO bucket. versus Red Dead 2, that has some really cool ass random encounters and memorable moments that quickly lose all of their appeal the second time around, e.g, haunted houses. And if you just really like going through haunted houses, I totally get how you think Red Dead 2 is the overall better game. And to counterpoint myself, there are also some great exceptions to this in Red Dead 2. Like the time I came across this kooky old guy looking for gold, so I waited around for a while until he actually found some gold, And then I robbed him for his gold. Which Arthur appropriately said some shit like “That’s my gold now” or something. I don’t know, but it was amazing. And those exceptions in Red Dead 2 are the best part of the whole frickin game. They’re the moments that you wanna share with your friends and talk about. But after the honeymoon period where the game ends and the encounters become predictable, and start repeating themselves throughout the world, they subtly lose all of their appeal the second time around. Haunted house style. And because your options are so limited and you could only interact with the game world and make special moments when Rockstar contextually presents them to you. Telling my friend about the time I sucked the venom out of a dude’s leg to save his life and then later, ran into him outside of the gunsmith in Valentine and he bought me a gun because of my good deed, that feels a whole lot less special in an open world game when my friend tells me that he had the exact same experience. Again, it’s… it’s all about LEGOs. It just turns out that so much of the open world stuff in Red Dead 2 is LEGO sets that are gonna look very similar to your friends versus creations from the magical LEGO bucket. It’s a boat and it’s also a spaceship I don’t know, I was crazy as a kid. I realize that the majority of my complaints about Red Dead 2 purely stem from the fact that I just wanted more of a progressive LEGO bucket of an open world versus what we got because that’s infinitely more interesting to me. But that doesn’t mean that Red Dead 2 is objectively, a bad game. It’s a really good game. It’s just one that 90% of the time, I feel like I’ve already played. Because I essentially have. This is probably gonna sound super weird, but I genuinely believe that Rockstar needs to have their Nintendo “come to Jesus”-type moment. That moment where Nintendo looked back at the very first Zelda game and remembered why people fell in love with it because of the sense of adventure and exploration and freedom so then they made Breath Of The Wild. That moment where Nintendo looked back at Super Mario 64 and remembered why people loved that type of Mario game so then they made Super Mario Odyssey. I sincerely believe that Rockstar needs to look back at their first big hit, Grand Theft Auto 3, and remember why people fell in love with it in the first place. For me, it wasn’t the boring ass linear missions. It was the overwhelming sense of freedom to do whatever you want in a game world, and have that world respond to your actions in an unexpected and dynamic way. It was more of a conversation instead of me saying something to the game and the game always saying, “Mission failed.” You’d think with the massive success of games like that Rockstar would take a hint and maybe give their players a little more freedom to be creative in their open world and missions. But instead, it’s this incredibly ironic situation where a game that’s super popular with kids treats them like adults and the game that’s super popular with adults treats it’s players like they’re dumb little kids. thank you for viewing the captions [Jakey Christ, baby Jakey, baby brother, Baby J]
“GTA V is such a sophisticated game in terms of it’s scope and beauty, but it treats it’s players like children with the stupid, easy missions and it’s shitty jokes and lack of thought or effort from the player. I guess they gotta have that mass appeal, though.” Hey, thanks so much for supporting me in the last couple months. Sorry that the, uh shout outs took a while. As… you just wa- I mean, if your watching this, you watched the video. Took me a long time to edit, um, this is actually gonna be the last series of shoutouts for a while. Um, I’m gonna put a pause on doing the shoutouts on Patreon, they just It’s a lot to do, and if I’m being honest, it kind of stresses me out and my upload schedule’s been kinda all over the place, been doing different projects, but it’s… It’s hard to get em out on time and all that so, um, if you already signed up for em, earlier, you don’t get charged until the end of the month, so, all- you’ll get refunded, or whatever, but, uh, thank you for watching
[thank you for making the video, Jakey.] Have a holly jolly Christmas
[and / or good days if you don’t celebrate the holidays] and… [♪ Hard In Da Paint – Waka Flocka Flame ♪] Brick Squad.


  1. so real late last night as I was finally tying the bow around this fat ass christmas gift, I was gettin REAL nervous cause I know I say some pretty savage shit about the most beloved child in video games right now. But I spent a LOT of time on this vid (as you know) and rewrote it and kept editing it down until I could fully stand by every word. I think my only regret is not giving more attention to all of the things that Red Dead 2 does SUPER GOOD (visuals, writing, characters, music, D'Angelo) but I guess that would kinda go against the thesis of the vid. Anyways, just wanted to say that I care about this vid a lot and I hope you like it and I hope it leads to lots of interesting conversations. I'm super interested to hear your responses either in this gamer chat or on Twitter. Thanks for watching and have a lovely holiday 🙂

    xoxo – Jacob

  2. if there is no navigation thing i would immediately rate it 0/10 and never play it

  3. Hes only right. I guess I'm just not as passionate about it though, because I cant help but drink my favorite bourbon while playing

  4. I've come back here a few times, but that last line always hits home so hard. I never click videos faster than yours my boy, your points, writing, and presentation always make me think and make me laugh.

  5. I think kids games are more nonlinear and creative while adult oriented games have become linear and restrictive. I have no data to back this up….

  6. You're not wrong. The missions do hold your hand a little too much. A little freedom on how you do things would be nice.

  7. This is honestly the most fair criticism video of RDR 2 that I have seen. You even acknowledge that it's technically a good gsme while being very critical of it.

    I like RDR 2, but yeah. It's flawed as fuck and not 10/10 worthy.

  8. There are different games, some games are are just play out as interactive movies. I absolutely loved mgsv gameplay, but after 15-20 hours, when I was done playing around with mechanics, the lack of motivation stopped me from enjoying the game. You know, when you need to fulton some random guy, that you don't give a shit about, for the 50th time. In rdr2 the story drove me. I'll take rdr2 over mgsv anyday, even though mechanics are much better in mgsv.

  9. Speaking of wanting to spit, and having NO choice when it comes to story missions, money lending and other sins is driving me nuts on my second play through.

    I know how the story line ends, so this time around I thought, easy, I won't push to collect debt. I won't hit debtors. But even when I don't even touch Thomas Downs, the cut scene just skips to what would happen if I had beaten the crap out of him. What's with that?

  10. I think Rockstar should improve their WANTED SYSTEM in their games, because most of their cops in their games are ao AGRESSIVE.

    Things I want Rockstar should improve:
    -Wanted System ( AI )
    -Update more in SP (Single Player )
    -Combat ( Shooting )
    -Melee Combat
    Let me know what are your thoughts in what Rockstar should improve in the comments in THIS COMMENT


  11. I just watched a grown man play with LEGO on an exercise ball in front of a green screen (not saying there’s anything wrong with that)

  12. I'm not sure I read that title correct or maybe you spelled it wrong. RDR2 is the most breathtaking game I've ever played.

  13. Ok seriously heres the problem. You gamers have seriously high expectations for a game that costs $60 man. You want the game to let you find your own way to go through the story and find your own way to rob the poker room? Seriously what game in existence allows you to even do that much anyway much less for $60. Youre expecting games to give you 100 hours of gameplay and complain that it doesnt let you light a fire and setup your own tent. Well i have some bad news for you, youre gonna be very disappointed on because no game will ever have all of that. No game ever has. Its a game. $60. Its not a trillion dollar government funded space force. Its for a little fun on the side like playing board games with your friends.

  14. I remember doing the money glitch in story and I had like $15000 and I got it through the gold bar glitch and so what happened was I placed a few gold bars in the donation box and it gave a lot of money to use for the camp. Sometime later they get mad at me for not donating like are you shitting me? I just donated so much damn money in that box it’s not even funny and your getting mad for the same amount of money that has stayed there after I donated

  15. This is hella late but I really hates that when I tried to go stealth on rescuing John in prison with Sadie I couldn't at all.It would make so much more sense if you snuck your way in.

  16. Hope you talk about Cyberpunk 2077 when it releases because they spoke a lot about creative approaches in their games.

  17. I have to say when I always saw this reccomended I expected it to be pretentious.
    But I finally watched it and holy fuck I love everything about it.
    Your personality, the editing, structure, the intelligent feel of it with the child like fun.
    One of the best videos I’ve ever seen on this platform easily

  18. One thing I wish Rockstar did is make the RDR2 characters talk/ think to themselves… especially outside the missions and during non interaction or long rides. They did a few things poorly/ cumbersome & time draining. Linear mission design and restricted open world interactions become evident. (The angry Joe review and the NakeyJakey critique explains very well a few of those important things). The game is a solid 9 – never a 10 – it could've been the new G.O.A.T. of gaming simply because generally EVERYONE is down for a western open world R.P.G. game or sh*t to do with world war 2. A missed opportunity at immortality .

  19. I just wanna say, at the end of the video when you're doing the patreon rap, everything just looks so homey and cozy. I havent felt that feeling in a long time, so idk i liked it. Love your videos man

  20. I didnt blow through the game i took my time exploring and enjoying the land and hidden things inbetween story missions. I didnt feel it was constant shoot outs I felt it was well spaced and i genuinely enjoyed the game.

  21. I’m really not a fan of the system for robbing a shop but to be fair there is a way to rob a store without getting wanted or getting a bounty I have done it many times before

  22. The Saint Denis gunsmith robbery is really frustrating. You can come in, get the smith to open the safe door, kill the guard with an arrow, tie the gunsmith up and carry him up the stairs, drop him in front of the gamblers door, go back down, bring the guard's body up, drop him at the foot of the door, open the upstairs door, kill the second guard with an arrow; all this being executed flawlessly and silently… and seconds later, BOOM police are on your tail. Nobody could have possibly known what you just did, you have the bodies hidden, there were no gunshots, and yet within seconds a whole battalion of armed men have been called and are waiting outside the gambling room.

  23. Rdr2 was amazing. Still should have left more choice like op is saying. It's 2019, I want to feel like I'm actually a part of a real world but just getting repetitive 1-liners, walls, scripted point A to point B missions…Don't even get me started on Red Dead Offline

  24. Your confusing red dead for an RPG, you think it's meant to give you choices all the time, it shouldn't, because it's an action adventure sandbox game , not an RPG, you need to understand that…

  25. All games are like that i mean look it that legend of zelda BOTW where we have to beat monsters, Horizon zero dawn where we have to beat machines and assassin creed odyssey where we have to beat humans and, god of war where we have to beat monsters. I AM JUST SAYING RED DEAD REDEMPTION IS SECOND BEST GAME AND FIRST IS GOD OF WAR AND THR MOST IMPORTANT IS FUN i am getting fun in red dead 2. Also i think ps4 and xbox is not powerful enought to make game like this, i only think okay idk about this.

  26. Man i was thinking all the same shit when I was playing the game.
    Like why Is this part trying to be realistic when this part Is being all video gamey.
    Why can’t I do this or why doesn’t doing this effect this thing etc etc.
    Or why the fuck do lawmen show up when I’m robbing a train that’s going through bumble fuck nowhere and cell phones haven’t been invented yet?
    Although I do think what the game does on a technical level Is outstanding and commendable despite not always being consistent. I really think Rockstar did this for more of the spectacle then open gameplay opportunities.
    And I mean I love the story more then I do any other story I’ve ever experienced but all the things you listed here are very valid.
    Thanks If anyone reads this comment In this ocean of comments BtW.

  27. When talking about the NPC greeting and antagonizing, I heard that Somewhere Over The Rainbow and I was like MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  28. If his opinion was just his, he wouldn't need to share it.
    No, these type of videos can litteraly be summed up in 7 words… "I want you to agree with me".

  29. great video jakey, would love if u did this style of video with fallout 4 and bethesda, who i feel also need their 'come to jesus' moment

  30. Theres 2 ways to play a stealth mission. Stealth and russian stealth. Either make sure the guards cant acticate the alarm or they cant if there are no guards left

  31. RDR2 didn't deserve all those rewards at the gane awards, they snubbed alot of people/games with hype instead of actual deserving game design.

  32. Even though I’m reallllyyyyy late to the party, you can in fact rob a train without getting a bounty, although it is also hit and miss

  33. You know, I tried getting through red dead two. I stopped that when I got to like seventy percent completion and then overwrote my save file

  34. I was wondering why I hated GTA 4 and 5. The first games allowed you be creative like in the example you gave. Any time the game used assets that were available to the player before a mission or during trigger points that was the perfect time to take advantage of them, I remember doing just like in the video for other missions, if not that exact one.

  35. 20:00 Because you cannot have a system in which a player can go unpunished for murdering/stealing people, you must have consequences for doing really bad shit no matter your location, because governments don't like murder simulators.

  36. I totally agree with you, but in the same way, in RDR2 you experience the Story in much more interesting way.
    I really liked breath of the wild, but i almost forgot everything about it after i finished the game cause there wheren't really memorable moments for me, basically everything felt the same, it was just up to me on how i do it.
    In RDR2 instead, there where parts where the music kicks in, emotional parts and so on, i think you can't do that if nobody tells you what to do, especially with dialogues and stuff.

    I kinda like when they hold my hand when i play the story, cause they give me the "freedom" on the sidemissions, cause they weren't important.

  37. Hello JakeyNakey I am a longerer time viewer of your masterpeeses and I just wen through a yucky breakup with my gf of 2 years. Your videos make me less sad than I was when I wasn't watching them. Thank you JakeyNakey you're my favorite deputy.

  38. Rockstar should only make the world engine, graphics and physics and leave the storytelling and gameplay to another company.
    Actually, scrap that… I want a realistic western with realistic ballistics and without grey tracers

  39. I love rockstar games but yeah they always make me very aware that someone programmed this game and this is how it works

  40. About mgs, it's not like that only mgs 5 gives you a complete freedom, literally every mgs games gives you that

  41. So I know I'm late but I just finished this game and I loved it. I bawled at the end and that's a testament to how good the writing is. However, there was something missing, and you hit the nail on the head with this video. If the mission design was more non-linear in a some of the missions (if not almost all), this game would be among my favorites of all time.

    Thanks Nacob for the great vid, keep doing what you're doing you beautiful boy

  42. You are so right! I remember that mission when you had to collect the debt of somebody. The guy had no means of payment so he tells you about a rare cougar, livin' in a cave. When you go there, the debitor dies ("surprise!") and then you need to kill and skin the beast. BUT

    But after i had done putting the skin on my horse's back, i tried to bring the corpse of the cougar too. I could'nt, even if i was able to pick it up and move with it, it was impossible to depose it on the horse. Like, why? You can do that with every cougar but not this one, because this ain't part of the mission scheme? Ridiculous…

    Then when i went to the nearest trapper, the option to sold the skin did not showed up!!! WTF!? Turns out i was supposed to sold the skin to THIS very specific guy in THIS town, (for the same price) but which is like a dozen times further! This is soooo bullshit

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