Top 5 Main Story horrors in Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is not just one of the best selling games of 2018 it’s one of the best games ever made. It’s such a compelling story, such intuitive and enjoyable controls, and has such interesting characters. The game didn’t shy away from showing how gruesome the west could be. It unashamedly shows violence and death raw. But it’s also not too scared to introduce some horror into the mix. This is evident in all aspects of the game, from just wandering around the wilderness, to in side missions. The main story missions themselves are no different, so as you race to 100% complete Red Dead Redemption 2, keep an eye out for these Top 5 horror moments in the main story.
5: A legendary encounter in Country Pursuits
In the mission Country Pursuits, we meet Thomas, the dude who is going to help up blow the hell out of Angelo Bronte at his modest Saint Denis retreat. The mission starts off friendly enough, until we have to go and look for his partner Jules. We’re made immediately aware that there aren’t just a few ‘gators in here. Infact, this place is ‘gator central, and home to beast that the locals blew off as mere folklore. How wrong they were.
We eventually find Jules, he’s up a tree and terrified. He’s seen the creature, though Thomas isn’t convinced. When the small boat gets stuck on a tree, Jules is charged with pulling it loose. Wading into the swamp, he begins to tug, then BAM! He’s struck by something. This particular something happens to be the legendary alligator that swims this area of swamp land. He’s a hardy one too. We shoot him a few times before he swims off. Naturally afterwards, Dutch decides it’s Arthur’s job to go and retrieve Jules. The moments walking towards where him are some of the most nerve wracking in the game, as is having to rely on Dutch to save you, at a time where his sanity is under increasing question.
This mission combines so many great horror tropes; the reduced capacity that you have in the swamp, the power of the beast that hunts you, the fact that it can appear from anywhere, it has it all.
4: Uncle’s trip into The Hills Have Eyes
After the credits have rolled, we get to follow John Marston’s new life outside of the gang. All is well and good for the most part. I mean, Abigail has taken Jack and left, we’ve had to shoot up a load of people, and we’re up to our wolf-scar in debt, but still. The A-team of Charles, John and Uncle have put together a pre-cut house on the land which John bought to impress Abigail, and they have a party to celebrate. There’s lots of alcohol, but it really lacks the interactivity of the Lenny and Arthur piss-up, which i’m sure will go down in gaming history for one reason or another.
Now, up until this point we’ve had a couple of run ins with the nomadic Skinner Brothers, certainly enough to tell that they’re not very nice people. They impaled our gun-for hire to a tree for a giggle, that’s just how they roll. So when John and Charles awake to find Uncle is missing, we know to fear the worst.
After doing some sneaking - or not into the Skinner’s camp, we get to see what fate has befallen Uncle, and it’s not nice. He’s alive, which is something, but he’s being roasted over an open fire, strapped to a device like a medieval rack.
We know that the Skinners are bad people, and that they do horrific things, but it is still unpleasant to see, even on a character as deliberately annoying as Uncle. It adds a certain gusto to the drive to get him free from the woodland torture camp that we find ourselves in.
3: Laid Bear - John’s accountant hunt has a gory twist
This one’s for the gore fans amongst you. The quest starts off as innocent as ever. It’s once again when we control John Marston, and we’re riding to pick up an unsavoury accountant called Marshall Thurwell, who Sadie Adler suspects is up in Tall Trees. We ride on up and find evidence of a struggle and lots of blood. Tracking it using his equivalent of Batman’s Detective Vision, John and Sadie find a collapsed shack. Outside of it though is a local farmer who is not in the best shape. He’s dead first of all, but the assailant, a bear as it happens, has really done a number on him. He’s got an eye popping out of it’s head, and very little face left to hold it in place. Gruesome stuff.
I don’t know if it’s possible to avoid this scene or not, but if you get chomped by the bear, then you’re in for rather an unpleasant scene as well, as you attempt to escape from it’s clutches.
2: I want to Murfree… or not
If you rode around the map aimlessly for a long time like I did when I first played the game, then you may have stumbled upon the murderous country-bumpkins up around Beaver Hollow. The Murfrees, as they’re called, are as vicious as they are inbred. Storywise, we encounter them in That’s Murfree Country, a mission in which Arthur and Charles have to clear out Beaver Hollow as a new camp for the Van Der Linde gang - or what’s left of it at this point.
The locals tell us that it’s not a good idea, but it’s all a part of the plan so we have to do it. At the cave entrance, you can choose to lure the Murfree’s out with dynamite, or to sneak in. Sneaking in lets you witness the full brutality of the clan as the go about their business, and to get a close up look at them. They’re all very clearly inbred, suffering from severe deformities as a result, and all rather tough too, taking a lot more to keep them down than a normal person.
Your expedition quickly turns into a rescue mission though as you hear distant cries of a young woman from within the cave. The Murfree’s are holding her captive, and, upon rescuing her, you take her back to her family.
The Murfree’s hark back to many of those inbred-hill folk kind of horror stories, like the Hills have Eyes perhaps even Texas Chainsaw at its core too. It’s a fear that is brilliantly orchestrated not just in the mission, but whenever we roam around Murfree country.
1: Horror at Shady Belle
Jack’s back and safe in camp at Shady Belle, the old plantation house that Arthur and Lenny cleared out the Lemoyne Raiders from. A night of drinking follows, and everyone is blind drunk (okay perhaps not Jack). Come morning, Kieran is gone, although this isn’t immediately apparent. We soon enter the mission Horsemen, Apocalypses, which starts in the most horrific way possible.
As Dutch plans the Saint Denis trolley robbery which Bronte has put him up to, with Arthur, a figure rides down the long road leading to Shady Belle. The camera zooms in, to reveal it’s Kieran. He’s on horseback, clutching his eyeless head in his hands. This is preliminary to a huge assault by O’Driscolls. Turns out they’d somehow gotten ahold of Kieran, tortured him, killed him, then sent him as a gory herald to the Van Der Linde gang.
Perhaps the most horrific part of this is that just after most of the characters, and I found as a player, are getting used to and liking Kieran. It’s definitely one of the most powerful moments, and also one of the most gory.
Did I miss anything out? Let me know on Twitter! I’m going to be writing another couple of Red Dead related pieces, covering horror in side quests and in the environment too, so keep an eye out for those - something Kieran obviously couldn’t have done. It hurt my feelings, alright, and dark humour helps you get over grief…
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