Tag: writing

Game Review: Red Dead Redemption 2

Sadie is Bae-die
“Hold on, Arthur. Them’s a lot of words comin’ at us!”

There are some who will not be able to surmount the tedium of riding a horse through scenic landscape. For those people, Red Dead Redemption 2, the latest opus from Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar Games, may be a tad on the boring side. However, if you’re interested in a deep, beautiful, and rewarding slice of interactive literature, look no further.
The story is as follows. You play as Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang of outlaws. You steal carriages, rob trains, and murder countless people (whether or not they deserve it). That ‘whether’ bit is the center of the moral quandary. When the walls are closing in, should you live life amorally? Or should you try for REDEMPTION? It’s up to you to decide, and that’s the fun part.

The not-so-fun part is how slowly it all unfolds, according to some naysayers. You really are locked into playing Arthur’s story, making this narrative more along the lines of Geralt’s in The Witcher than say the free-wheeling randomness of Skyrim. There are some random bits, strangers lurching out at you from the side of the road with advice or peril. You can be a white hat or a black hat and dress yourself in the skin of whatever you catch. The open world is picturesque. So much care was given to every blade of grass, the placement of every hillside, that it is stunningly awful when something glitches, and a man goes flying hundreds of feet in the air.

The glitches, thankfully, make up a small percentage of the overall experience, and they remain one of the few reminders that you are not in-fact inhabiting this world yourself, but playing a simulacrum. Upon finally completing the somewhat bloated and hilariously overlong story- (fans of Persona 5 will likely find that game neat and tidy by comparison) there is a palpable loss of something magical. Not that the game has faltered, just that the dream has ended. It does indeed have an ending. And the paltry offerings of the online mode will never live up to the beauty and wondrously drawn characters of the main story.

What makes the writing so wonderful is its restraint. Gone is the madcap insanity of Grand Theft Auto V. It even manages to avoid going comically mundane like that game did. Although most of the missions boil down to a shoot-out, there is a concerted effort to make each story set-up interesting or at the least mildly distinct. Getting to know each character proves to be rewarding as well. Like a good Mass Effect, you really do develop feelings for your crew. (But unlike Mass Effect, you don’t get to bang them. This is of course an oversight.)

The game takes extra care to dovetail into the events of the first game, being a prequel. It really did remind me of Hemingway, specifically For Whom the Bell Tolls. It’s imperfect, but no less beautiful for being so. It seems to express both the sublime of nature and the staggering reality of being unable to outrun your past. Since that last bit’s all you really get out of The Great Gatsby, I suggest substituting Red Dead Redemption 2 as it is vastly more fun. There’s romance, tragedy, joy, and so many horses you might grow hooves yourself. This is truly a game that wants you to take your time and appreciate life, because unlike Red Dead Redemption 2, life is fleeting.

Spellbound Sword Passes 100,000 Reads!

This post is a post of appreciation for my fans, friends, family and readers who’ve helped my book get as far as it has already. That’s right, your eyes tell no lies. Spellbound Sword is officially past the 100k reads mark! I’ve had that milestone in my mind for quite some time now, but never did I believe we might actually get here. Every day I thought the popularity might wain. Call it imposter syndrome or anxiety or fear or what have you, but you’ve proven me wrong, and I couldn’t be more delighted. This is a cause to celebrate!

Thank you so much to everyone who’s stuck with this book and read it beginning to end, putting up with my spelling errors, logical fallacies, and other first draft nincompoopery, not to mention my habit of replying to comments I deem ridiculous with further ridiculousness. (Some might call this trolling. I call it ‘interacting with my fanbase.’) You are all very much appreciated, even those of you who leave mind-boggling comments at the bottom of the screen. I could not have achieved this without you, even the people who started the book and said, ‘Nah, not for me.’ Haha, the jokes on you, you impersistent suckers! I’ve used your reads to achieve this monumental goal, so even your hatred fuels the fires of my creativity!

All kidding aside, I feel really great today. My life has not always been wine and roses. Anxiety, frustration, and personal issues have often left me a mess of discombobulation, unsure of which way to push forth. My previous novels have not seen much praise. When I started Spellbound Sword I thought, well, if no one likes this one, I’m going to give up writing forever. I was convinced that I had misled myself all these years, that I just didn’t have it in me to produce anything of actual value. And now here we are! Just a brief year later and you wonderful lot have ballooned my success to untold fortune! (Now if I could somehow get paid at some point, I might be able to abandon my commitment to artistic poverty- but, ya know, baby steps…)

Thank you once more for your help and kind words. I’m going to keep writing and editing, working on this book and its sequels. I hope you enjoy all the twists and turns to come, and I hope we can keep growing this audience until it eclipses the solar system.

Sincerely,

Matt Shore