Returned to the Party

So almost exactly a year ago, Red Dead Redemption was released. I bought into the hype and picked it up. The game was really impressive, actually, I enjoyed the cutscenes and characters, not to mention the beautiful landscapes and atmosphere that felt pretty authentic. About two thirds of the way through the game, though, I just kind of burned out on it. The missions started feeling similar, I didn't have any idea as to why I was doing those missions for certain people, and I guess it just started to feel like it had overstayed its welcome. Lately, however, there has been a lot of talk about LA Noire, which has gotten my mind back into the Rockstar groove, and so yesterday I decided to put RDR back in and give it another shot. I'm really glad I did.
I had put the game down right near the end of the Mexico missions, and so after I had finished one or two last missions as a gringo, I was pleasantly greeted with the town of Blackwater, which was a refreshing sight considering the environments in the rest of the game. And luckily for me, the missions in Blackwater were fun, went by pretty quick and soon enough I was playing in the last "chapter" of the game, which I won't spoil, but this last chapter is what inspired me to write this post. As I played through it, I couldn't help but admire the developers for their self-control and restraint. Typically in games -- and Rockstar games are certainly no exception -- the latter parts near the end get harder and harder, they get more and more complex. But in Red Dead Redemption, these last few missions were refreshingly simple. There weren't any crazy gotchas, no surprises, no ambushes just when you think you're safe. There was a lot of dialog and a very appropriate low-key atmosphere. It felt like the beginning of a game, for a good reason, and again, it felt like it should have. I loved it.
So, hats off to Rockstar San Diego. Well done, guys.