20 Days of Video Game Characters: Day 16 – Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)

I was agonising over the decision to put either John Marston or Arthur Morgan on this list. Before playing Read Dead Redemption 2 I thought it would be impossible to beat John Marston. I loved the original game and John’s story arc was executed so well and his final moments will continue to stand in gaming history as one of the most heartbreaking endings. I didn’t think the sequel was an amazing game, its story only started getting interesting halfway through and the obsession with ‘realism’ often got in the way of enjoyment and ruined the pacing. It was still a great game and Arthur Morgan and his character arc was surprisingly handled better than his predecessor.

I wasn’t a fan of Arthur at the beginning, he came across quite arrogant, and the premise of the story meant that he used questionable means to get what he wanted. However, there were some small moments here and there that showed the type of person he really was underneath his often cold exterior. Whether this was saving someone from being killed, aiding the odd individual on the road, or taking young Jack Marston fishing helped in providing needed character development that presented him as something more than just an outlaw.

The latter half of the game ramps up its storytelling in every way and for the better. Without spoiling anything if you haven’t played it yet, certain major story discoveries lead to Arthur reevaluating the choices he’s made and what he does from that point. However, it isn’t some drastic character change that feels forced, it’s a natural progression from earlier moments in the game. Arthur becomes a much more sympathetic anti-hero, who’s interactions with those around him further exemplify the differences to his beliefs and thoughts. While I may not be a big fan of Rockstar games in general, the Read Dead Redemption games have always been the better franchise compared to GTA by a mile for me. They have incredible stories that feature truly exceptional characters with natural, believable growth and development. Arthur Morgan became a surprising favourite character of mine and I don’t see that changing in the future.

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6 thoughts on “20 Days of Video Game Characters: Day 16 – Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)

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  1. I was of the exact same mind as you – I thought there was no way I could like a protagonist as much as John, but after completing RDR2, I honestly think it’s a toss up between the two for me. Arthur is such a phenomenal character! I was blown away that RDR2 won Best Narrative at the Game Awards – I also thought that the story was handled/presented somewhat poorly. It really needed an overarching goal/point like the original game had.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I still enjoyed the game, the side quests and Easter eggs were really interesting, but the main narrative did lack focus until over halfway through. Also the limited fast travel early on, was frustrating.

      Also, while it was nice riding across the map at first and exploring, it soon became too much of a chore. I ended up making my horse do it’s auto mode and went on my phone until I reached my destination. When the games mechanics make you do that, I class that as a fail.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the only saving grace for the slow travel (for me personally) was just the fact that there was always something going on, or something to find along the way. Otherwise it was definitely a bit of a drag. Still mad that I never found Gavin.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Arthur Morgan is the best part of RDR2. I wasn’t keen on RDR2 due to my disliking of gameplay elements and the realism factor you mentioned but his character kept me coming back when I thought I was done with the game. Probably Rockstars best character, for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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