Red Dead Redemption 2 is basically the pinnacle of gaming. Okay, maybe not, but it has enjoyed immense success since its release back in October. It has received endless acclaim from professional critics and sold tens of millions of copies in just a few short days. It's clear that people are greatly enjoying their time with the game.
But despite the acclaim, the game isn't perfect.
Perhaps the most lauded aspect of the game is its story (aside from maybe the graphics). It's a beautiful and heartbreaking tale about personal redemption, the end of the outlaw, and the changing American landscape of the late 19th century. At the heart of the story is Arthur Morgan, a violent man who eventually finds redemption (hence the title). It's a fascinating story on its own, but it also serves as a prequel to the original game. Therefore, it needed to both tell a good story on its own and bridge the gap between 1899 and the events of Red Dead Redemption. And sometimes it stumbles on both accounts.
The game's internal logic also has the tendency to not make a whole lot of sense. Granted, many of these logical inconsistencies and flaws are waved away at the behest of gameplay, and we can understand that. While the game certainly is immersive, you don't want it to be TOO immersive. When that happens, you risk losing the audience. With that said, it's still fun to ponder the total lack of sense that this game's universe makes.
25 Plot Hole: Arthur's Incredible Luck On Guarma
Arthur Morgan is an incredibly lucky man (you know, aside from contracting tuberculosis). After the ship bound for Cuba sinks in the middle of the ocean, Arthur miraculously washes up on the shores of Guarma, which is basically a miracle in itself.
But then the divine intervention goes one step further and he just so happens to meet up with Dutch and the rest of the gang, who were conveniently chilling out nearby. This isn't really a plot hole, but it's still a highly suspicious plot contrivance that reeks of writer intervention rather than natural storytelling.
24 Plot Hole: How Did The Pinkertons Not Find Sadie's Letter?
After returning from Guarma, Arthur finds a letter written by Sadie guiding them to their new hideout. The only thing is, the Pinkertons have been scouring the area for a while. You're telling us that NONE of the agents found that letter? The letter that was practically sitting next to the front door?
You could argue that they were waiting for Dutch to return before attacking the new hideout, but that's just more speculation. We later learn that Micah revealed their new location to the Pinkerton agents, and there's nothing to indicate that they already knew about it from the letter.
23 Doesn't Make Sense: Arthur As A Villain
When Arthur is diagnosed with tuberculosis, one of two things can happen – either he wanders the street in a glow and sees a deer, or he wanders in a gray haze and sees a wolf. It makes sense for this to happen at this point in the story, because Arthur is a bad person and has done bad things. But by the end of the game, Arthur is repentant and has numerous discussions about the possibility of a bad man finding redemption. The story desperately wants us to take the path of honor, and it's totally jarring if you continue to be villainous. This is the Niko Bellic morality problem all over again.
22 Plot Hole: Arthur Never Infects Anyone
And speaking of tuberculosis, how is it that Arthur didn't infect a single person? TB is a very contagious disease that spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and only a few droplets of spit are required for infection. And, in case you weren't paying attention, Arthur is hacking all over the place by the end of the story. Yet no one became sick. The epilogue catches us up on various characters' fates, and not a single one of them has passed from tuberculosis. It's possible that the disease is latent in some of them, but that's just speculation. It's a miracle that no one became infected after Arthur coughed all over the camp!
21 Doesn't Make Sense: Molly Claiming To Rat Out The Gang
By Chapter 6, everyone's nerves are fried, drink is flowing, and Dutch has a particularly itchy trigger finger. Enter Molly O'Shea, who tells Dutch that she has been working with the Pinkertons. But...why? We later find out that Micah is the rat, not Molly, so this "plot twist" is rendered moot.
It's possible that she just wanted attention from Dutch, but she knows that he is dangerous and that revealing such information is bound to end badly for her. She wasn't in her right mind, but she's not stupid. While this was a devastating scene, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in hindsight.
20 Plot Hole: Why Couldn't The Gang Just Pay Off Their Bounty In Blackwater?
Throughout the game, it's established that the gang can never go back to Blackwater due to their notoriety and the insane prices on their heads. So, why couldn't they just pay off the bounty and walk back in? It seems that everything has a price in this game, including morality. You can wipe out an entire city, pay some money, and walk right back in like nothing ever happened. Well, that's just what the Van der Linde gang did in Blackwater, yet apparently, their crimes were so foul that they went beyond bounties. Why is destroying Blackwater so much worse than destroying Saint Denis?
19 Plot Hole: Why Doesn't Dutch Send One Of The Ladies To Blackwater?
Due to the infamous ferry robbery, no one from the Van der Linde gang is allowed to step foot in Blackwater. However, no one there should know about the women. It's established that the ladies of the Van der Linde gang do not partake in the heists, and therefore, the law should not know of their identities. And even if they know their names, they wouldn't know their faces.
So why doesn't Dutch just send one of the ladies to fetch the stash of money? After all, Grimshaw is one of the most respected and loyal members of the gang, and it's clear by the end of the game that she has the gang's best interests at heart. She would gladly travel to Blackwater and would never think of taking the money for herself.
18 Doesn't Make Sense: Covering Your Face
The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is filled with some omnipotent people. In order to get away with robbing establishments and causing mayhem, Arthur must wear his bandanna (or any other face-covering tool). Only, this bandanna doesn't do squat. Despite no one knowing who you are and not seeing your face, "Arthur Morgan" will become wanted if you hang around long enough or commit enough crimes.
Now, how does the law know that it's Arthur Morgan underneath that hood? And no, it's not because he's wearing the same outfit and riding the same horse, because that has been debunked numerous times.
17 Plot Hole: Why Didn't Ross And Milton Just Follow Arthur Back To Camp?
In one of the early missions of Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur takes Jack fishing because John is an absentee father and wants nothing to do with his son. This being a Rockstar game, things inevitably go wrong. Agents Ross and Milton show up to offer Arthur amnesty in exchange for Dutch. Of course, Arthur refuses, but it begs the question – why didn't they just follow him back to camp? It's, like, a two-minute ride away. Or better yet, why approach Arthur at all? Why not just observe him from a distance and follow him back to camp? They're just delaying the inevitable for no reason.
16 Plot Hole: Why Didn't The Gang Just Eliminate Ross And Milton?
The gang has ample opportunities to eliminate both Ross and Milton, yet they never do it. Arthur has the chance to do it while he's fishing with Jack, but we can understand not wanting to subject the child to violence. However, both agents later show up, completely unprotected, to the Van der Linde camp in order to negotiate a truce.
Why didn't the gang just eliminate both men then and there? Why even bother having the discussion in the first place? Sure, it wouldn't have solved their problems, but it certainly would have given them enough time to get out of dodge.
15 Doesn't Make Sense: Why Would Arthur Go Back For The Money?
At the climax of the game, the player is given two choices – protect Marston and get him to safety or go back for the gang's stash of money. End-game choices are fine, but this one makes little sense. At this point in the story, all Arthur wants to do is help John and his family escape the depravity of the Van der Linde gang, and he never once mentioned wanting or needing money. In fact, he has no use for it seeing as how he's so close to death.
Sure, maybe he wanted to give the money to John, but that just opens up more questions – Why didn't they at least try to grab it during the shootout? Why would Arthur leave John to fight the Pinkertons when he clearly values his safety above his financial security?
14 Plot Hole: Where Was Strauss Getting His Money?
The Van der Linde gang are strapped for cash throughout a large majority of the game. So where exactly was Strauss getting the money to loan all these desperate people? And again, why wasn't he just saving this money to plan their escape? Sure, maybe he was taking a small slice of their robbery takes, but why lend this valuable money to such unreliable people?
He's clearly banking on the exorbitant interest rates, but as we see with Mr. Downes, these are destitute people who likely can't even afford to pay back the loan, let alone the ridiculous interest. It seems like a bad and risky investment to make when money is so tight.
13 Doesn't Make Sense: Falling For Colm's Trap
In the story mission, Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Colm O'Driscoll and Dutch plan a little parley to hash out their differences. Only, it was less a parley and more a blatantly obvious trap to capture Arthur and sell out the Van der Linde gang to the Pinkertons. And the plan goes swimmingly, despite Arthur and Dutch discussing the possibility of a trap!
These are seasoned outlaws who are clearly aware that they are riding into a trap, yet they fall for it anyway hook, line, and sinker. We know the Van der Linde gang aren't the smartest group of guys, but come on, that's some amateur outlaw-ing right there.
12 Plot Hole: Why Did Dutch Trust Micah Over Arthur And John?
We understand that Dutch is fated to follow Micah and go mad. But it doesn't really make sense in the context of Red Dead Redemption 2. Dutch has known both Arthur and John for decades, as he literally raised them as his own sons. Dutch met Micah in 1898 after Micah saved his life, and only five months later they were embarking on the ill-fated Blackwater heist.
And even following that disaster, Dutch listens to Micah more than his figurative sons. Perhaps Micah intentionally feeds Dutch's inner madman to fracture the gang, but it's still bizarre to see the otherwise intelligent and loyal Dutch listen to such a brazen madman over his own sons.
11 Doesn't Make Sense: The Selfie Camera
Taking pictures and selfies is a staple of Rockstar Games, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no different. Only, these selfies don't make a whole lot of sense. Box cameras were everyday staples of the late 19th century, as they were cheap and portable and the internal roll film could be sent off for development rather than doing it yourself. But what they didn't have were magic moving capabilities. While taking a selfie, Arthur somehow manages to position the camera to his liking, despite facing it from five feet away. Does Arthur secretly have telekinesis?
10 Plot Hole: Why Doesn't Arthur Just Use His Money To Move The Gang?
Dutch van der Linde is a man in search of money. He's always harping on about "one last score" and needing enough money to move him and his gang away from the United States. And yes, you could argue that it was never about the money with Dutch – he just wanted to cause trouble. But it WAS about the money for the gang, and Arthur had more than enough to cover their escape.
Arthur can rack up thousands of dollars, and even tens of thousands, throughout the game, but instead of using it to get the gang out of dodge, he buys chicken coops and a boat. Come on, man! Save up and spend your money wisely!
9 Doesn't Make Sense: Surviving Bear Attacks
This is yet another "ignore it for gameplay reasons" entry – with some caveats. It's entirely possible to survive a bear attack with little more than a scratch on your shoulder. But...how? Bears are much bigger than Arthur, and much stronger, too. Have you ever seen The Revenant? That's what should happen every time we are mauled by a bear!
And we understand wanting to give the player an exciting fight, but we also encounter animals who are one-shot eliminations. Why not make the bears one-shot eliminations as well and add a little challenge to the game? Fighting off a 1,000 pound grizzly bear is not supposed to be easy!
8 Plot Hole: How Did Arthur Do What He Did In The Final Mission?
By the time the final mission comes around, Arthur is practically on the grim reaper's door. He looks like a zombie, he can barely breathe and talk, and he's stumbling all over the place. So how is it that he managed to ride out of camp, shoot dozens of Pinkerton agents from horseback, climb a mountain, and successfully defeat Micah in a fist fight? Micah is a strong man, and the already-weakened Arthur had just climbed a steep mountain. We know Arthur is a tough guy, and maybe Micah isn't much of a brawler, but brawler or not, Arthur should have been flattened in that fight.
7 Doesn't Make Sense: Why Was Dutch Hiding During The Final Shootout?
In the very last mission of the game, John shoots his way through a mountain full of goons before getting into a shootout with Micah. It isn't until Sadie is taken hostage by Micah that Dutch finally steps out of the little structure and reveals himself.
Yeah, it makes for a good twist, but what was Dutch doing in there? Why didn't he come out sooner? Was he hoping that they would take each other out and he could walk away with the Blackwater money? Was he contemplating whose side to take? Was it just for the dramatic reveal? We're going with the latter.
6 Plot Hole: Why Didn't The Rhodes Police Force Know About The Gang?
In the third chapter of the game, Dutch and a few other members of the gang ingratiate themselves into the Rhodes police force. But how on Earth did they not know the identities of the gang members? It wasn't too long ago that they wiped out an entire city and became national outlaws.
And to make matters even more ridiculous, the gang had recently just made headlines for the devastation in Valentine! That's two shootouts in probably just as many months. Their faces would be plastered everywhere (especially if this Rockstar tweet is canon), which makes it hard to believe that a sheriff doesn't recognize the most wanted men in the country.
5 Doesn't Make Sense: Fast Travel Is Only Available From Camp
If there's one thing this game is sorely lacking, it's fast travel. The map is absolutely enormous, and getting around can be quite cumbersome. And while there IS a fast travel mechanic in place, it is only available from camp. But...why?
It's not like there's anything there that would explain the availability of fast travel – Arthur simply packs up his horse and heads out. So, why can't we fast travel from anywhere on the map? It's really because Rockstar wants us to explore the map and take our time, but come on, sometimes we have places to be!
4 Plot Hole: Why Did The Bureau Of Investigation Let The Gang Members Go?
In Red Dead Redemption, John is tasked by the BOI with hunting down the remaining members of his gang – Dutch, Bill, and Javier. But what about Pearson, Charles, Sadie, and Swanson? Heck, Pearson is hanging out in a general store in Rhodes! Some people say it's because they're no longer active criminals, but that's an easy and convenient out.
These were nationally-wanted criminals known for committing various crimes. There's no way the BOI (or FBI) would let them off the hook just because they went straight. That'd be like letting Ted Bundy off because he stayed quiet for a few years. And no, there is not a statute of limitations on crimes like this.
3 Plot Hole: John Seeing Dutch Contradicts What He Said In Red Dead Redemption
In Red Dead Redemption, John says that the last time he saw Dutch and the gang was when he ditched John during a robbery. This implies that the botched train robbery should be the last time that John sees Dutch in Red Dead Redemption 2. However, as we've already established, John sees him with Micah at the climax of the game, which occurred just a few short years before Red Dead Redemption.
Did John just forget about this encounter? It's unlikely, seeing as how Dutch saved his and Sadie's lives. Was he just lying in the first game? Maybe, but what purpose would that serve? Did "leaving him" mean leaving him on the cold mountain? Absolutely not. It's just a simple continuity error and nothing more.
2 Doesn't Make Sense: Traveling Time
The world of Red Dead Redemption is incredibly small. No, we don't mean the map. We mean the actual, in-game world. Arthur can travel (on horseback no less) from the swamps and plantations of Louisiana to the frigid mountains of Colorado in about six hours flat. In real life, there are about 1,000 miles between the two states and would take you some 20 hours to drive between the two. We don't even want to imagine how long it would take by horseback! Yes, we realize this is a simple gameplay mechanic and nothing else, but it's still funny to think about.
1 Plot Hole: Ross Finds John Way Too Soon
During the credits of the game, Agent Ross finds the late Micah and tracks down John. One of the last things we see is Ross and Fordham looking at Beecher's Hope and plotting the events of Red Dead Redemption. Only, this takes place WAY too early in the established timeline. Micah passes in 1907, but Red Dead Redemption takes place in 1911.
Either it took Ross and Fordham four years to track down John, or they waited four years to approach him. Of course, nothing says that the final scene took place in either 1907 or 1911. But if it WASN'T 1911, that again begs the question – why did they wait three, two, or even one year to approach him? Surely it didn't take them long to come up with the "blackmail John and make him find his old friends" plan?