Red Dead Redemption's most perfect moment, ruined by Red Dead Redemption

It was supposed to be so beautiful. A defining moment of poetic and aesthetic wonderment within an already stunning gaming experience.

Long had I travelled, fought, suffered and toiled through Red Dead Redemption’s New Austin frontier. I’d killed men, both good and bad, in order to further my cause. I’d made friends, I’d made enemies, and I’d made plenty of in-betweens. But the time had come to move on from my strange, dusty, adopted home. New lands were calling, as the next stage of my bloody task drew me away from this place and these people. It drew me south. It drew me to Mexico.

Above: And away I went...

I’d heard how amazing the transition to the Mexican desert was from those who had gone before. Matt has told on this very site of the perfect moment he experienced, leaving New Austin’s familiarity behind for this strange new world, Rockstar’s stunningly chosen soundtrack lending a graceful, reflective ambience to his first steps into this new unknown.

Meikleham had raved over the gorgeous looks of the Mexican desert when encountered for the first time and at the right time of day; river none more blue, terrain none more gold in the baking sunlight. Red Dead’s persistent ecosystem had even been generous enough to present him with a welcoming escort, a proud entourage comprising a whole herd of deer, who steered him safely into his new home and then galloped majestically off into the sunset ahead of him.

Make no mistake; this was going to be amazing.

I took my time travelling down to the border after I’d rounded off all of my business in New Austin. It was an odd place, a dirty and untrustworthy place, but it had character, and damnit, I liked it. So I sauntered from north-west to south-east, riding at a moderate pace and taking in every last detail I could along the way. I helped a few people out, completed a couple of Stranger missions, bought myself some new gear for the journey, and then I was on my way to my appointment with a beautiful moment.

And after my rough initiation to the ways of Mexico via a long, hard battle up-river, the reward of that moment was set to be all the more beautiful. I saddled up my new horse, took to the road, and readied myself for what so many had already evangelised. And then the time had finally come. The delicate strings of Jose Gonzalez’ yearning melody stirred.

Above: It was a good start...

The shimmering, mid-afternoon sun lit the environment with incandescent colour. I spotted a long ridge high above the river and decided to ride along its edge, basking in the beauty of this untamed, foreign new world I was about to get to know. This ridge wasn't just landscape, it was half a mile of wonder, with countless more stretching out ahead of me as far as the horizon. I set off, and beamed a peaceful grin.

Then seven coyotes leapt out of an infeasibly small bush in front of me, killed my horse, sent it careening over the edge of cliff, and forced me to use Dead Eye mode to take them all down. Gonzalez’ delicate, pitch-perfect music was reduced to a slow motion drone and drowned out by gun fire.


I frantically grasped at any way to salvage the situation. I quickly decided on an internal narrative solution, whereby the attack was a brutally poignant commentary on the beauty and unpredictable danger that go hand in hand in the Old West, the appeal of and the price to pay for this freedom inextricably blended in a vicious worked example. Yes, yes given the frictional discourse between freedom and civilisation throughout Red Dead’s script, I could just about pull this off.

I walked a long the ridge a little while, still fuming but pretending John was having an introspective contemplative moment. Then I decided on the redemptive punctuation to my little narrative addition. I would call my horse, my trusty, strong, loyal War Horse, who I’d reluctantly left in New Austin. The one who had stuck with me through my entire journey. He would, as he always does, come galloping over the horizon to help, a black beacon of hope silouetted against the burning sky. He’d take me away from this harsh greeting, and this whole episode would end on a positive coda, a silver lining explaining how loyalty and friendship can overcome any of the chaos the world throws up.

But he didn’t. Instead he glitched out, and spawned messily out of thin air six feet away from me. It kind of killed things. 

So I rode sullenly out to the first sign of civilisation I could find, hoping to take refuge amongst the hospitality of my fellow man. But they didn’t have anywhere to stay, so I trekked out into the desert, set up a lonely camp fire on a rock, switched my 360 off and went to bed. The whole debacle had been like being the last of your friends to lose their virginity, and then having the years of expectation and excited anticipation result in a messy drunken fumble with an ugly girl and a mid-coitus booze-puke. And the knowledge that there'd never be a second chance to get it right first time.

Rockstar, I adore your game. I love the persistent, organic sense of life that makes it so special. But when you’ve got a really special point to make, couldn’t you just switch it off for a bit?

Sorry for the emotional outpouring. I had to share. Has anything similar happened to you? Have you ever had a great situation go resolutely tits-up because of the crap hand a game has dealt you? Has this kind of randomness ever ruined a session for you, or do you conversely revel in the crazy surprises games can throw up? Let me know in the comments, or via our community portals on Facebook and Twitter. I’m just going to go off for a little cry.




  • Leezer361 - September 5, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    A very similar situation happened to me. Beautiful scenery, beautiful song, and then death by wolves.
  • Sabtos - September 25, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    I'm seeing that a ton of people missed the Compass song after killing Dutch. Did anyone get to hear it? I swear, they put your horse right next to an herb and it's like, "pick me, I'll turn the song off, yay!" Why the fuck does that turn the song off?! I did a bunch of shit during Far Away and it kept playing, it was during a thunderstorm and it was awesome. But with Compass, I heard like one line of the song and was wondering if that was supposed to be that short or what. It stopped playing for so many people here it's almost like you're NOT supposed to hear the fucking song . . . fucking Rockstar.
  • ThePreciseClimber - August 13, 2014 3:51 a.m.

    [Wow, a reply almost 4 years later. :P] You would think Rockstar is capable of properly implementing such songs... but noooo.... :P I hate when bad programming messes up the soundtrack.
  • iamawesome27 - August 24, 2010 3:18 a.m.

    i was riding my horse off into the red dirt hills, toward the first signs of civilization, then i fell off of the small track into the river, 20 seconds into the song
  • Wallace94 - July 16, 2010 6:56 p.m.

    I probably had the worst time playing this game ever. The first time I got to Mexico it was very dark and when I stepped off the raft it started to pour down with no music, gutted seen as it took ages so get across the river due to glitching, then the first time I fast travelled it froze so I had to turn the playstaion off, which broke the disc drive :( !! luckily I had another playstaion :D !! then after dealing with Dutch got caught up in the moment and went completely the wrong direction, and finally right before I started the last mission I got a text from one of my so-called mates telling me what happens in the end!!!!!!!! I haven't spoke to him since. However, all in all loved almost every minute of the game! P.S. first comment ever written! Wooo!
  • therawski - July 15, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    I love RDR, so much that I can actually rage quit with dignity.
  • cart00n - July 14, 2010 9:22 a.m.

    It's the sound glitches I have the most problem with in RDR. Between song cues going away because you decided to get off your horse for that valuable bear skin you just earned and large swatches of dialog that fail to engage on long, "scripted" treks across the desert, the soundtrack has taken me out of this game's environment more than any other.
  • MassSaber - July 13, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    I took out the first lot coyotes quickly then a whole spawned out of no where to kill my horse AND to make matters worse when whistled for a new one it was an old screw of a horse that kept on bucking me off
  • MAiNESET - July 12, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    i like the game, don't get me wrong. but the horse riding just ruins it all for me.
  • leprechaun - July 12, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    WARNING Spoiler Alert This is definitely one of the best games i have played in a long while. the end really pissed me of though, and kind of made me sad. That is until i did the stranger mission "Remember my Family" and got the ultimate revenge.after talking to Edgar Rosses wife i hog tied that bitch and brought her all the way to mexico where I Had a chat with Edgars brother, it was a short chat wich ended with him being hogtied and burnt alive with a trusty molotov then after finding and dueling edgar (with his tied up wife by my side) i threw her in the river (still hogtied) and as i tasted the sweet vengeance all i could think was "Perfect...absolutely perfect."
  • Thelonius - July 12, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    Something along the lines of this happened to me and it angered me. All of my friends were talking about how awesome the music was and i had missed it. And it wasn't only in the transition from New Austin to Mexico but the move from BlackWater to Marston Ranch too. Sadface.
  • PIZZAKING92 - July 11, 2010 4:39 p.m.

    After the whole Dutch thing i then began my journey to my ranch. Then the army guys i was previously working with realized something, I am a wanted man. They then started to chase after me, shooting like crazy. They didn't kill me, but i had to use dead eye. Thus completely ruining the moment.
  • Dorito72 - July 11, 2010 5:52 a.m.

    my version of "far away" upon entering mexico was great, until the very end of the song. everything was perfect, and then i got to chuparosa, but instead of going around, i was an idiot and kept trying to climb the cliffs. i just like to think that never happened.
  • mahabat - July 11, 2010 4:48 a.m.

    my worst problem in any game ever was enjoying the hell out of too human despite what the critics say only to reach a point where whenever my teamates die they respawn as enemies that are ridiculously overpowered and my team is on infinite respawn, that was a douche move
  • philipshaw - July 10, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    I had no problems at this point, everything worked as it should and I don't think I got any glitches the whole time I played RDR
  • Frootaloom - July 10, 2010 9:31 a.m.

    is was absolute bliss when I made the transition into mexico. Everyone goes on how the sunsetting was perfect and everything. But when I crossed, a large rain/lightning storm came and you could hardly see through the rain while riding the horse. the song came up and for the first time ever I felt the "holy shit, it's just john by himself and no one else." awesomely haunting.
  • Spybreak8 - July 10, 2010 5:33 a.m.

    Yeah why did they decided to end the song if you start an ambient challenge. No no, keep playing damn it! haha
  • zymn - July 10, 2010 1:29 a.m.

    well i'm just peacefully taking care of my ranch, clearing crows out of the solo, and spending quality time with my boy at the moment (which i think is a fantastic... umm i guess it's the end. probably not, but ah well, i still think it's a great way to end a long patch of hunting people down and shooting them.)... and the only time i've been attacked that kinda pissed me off is when i climbing a certain snowy mount and headed towards the mark on my map only to be punced and killed by a cougar. bastard cat.
  • slowdrum13 - July 9, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    fallout 3 for god's sake. next time do some qa before releasing a game bethesda, I'm tired of my game crashing every hour and having a 2 fps framerate.
  • Cleanser247 - July 9, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    Such a beautiful game, filled with great scenery and environments. I still enjoy every bit of it, and the soundtrack is really beautiful to. When I first got to Mexico, I remember hearing that one song (I think it was called Far Away), and it was one of the few vocal songs in the game. It was just so cool, and I had a great time playing RDR.

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