Shaving Cream And Six-Shooters: The Grittiest Moments From Red Dead Redemption 2

Arthur Morgan stares at himself in the mirror. Grimly, he raises his hand, the vintage cut-throat razor poised to scrape down his weathered chin. I slowly squeeze the right trigger on the controller, bringing the blade down and shaving off a small patch of the highly detailed stubble, rendered in seemingly microscopic detail on his gritty jaw.

I release the trigger and gently squeeze it again. Morgan slowly raises his razor once more before bringing it down in another gentle but gritty stroke. More of his perfectly detailed beard hair falls off and drifts lazily into the basin, following simulated air currents that waft through the rickety saloon bathroom.

I think about my mission while I spend the next hour shaving. It was ol’ Mama Whistler who told me where to find a cousin of the Pawson Boys, a man by the name of Jonny Dipshit. I found Jonny five miles down the south road out of town and beat the ever-dipping shit out of him, but before he passed out he coughed up the map with the location of the Pawson Boys camp. After several minutes of staring at it and walking back and forth, I had picked the map up off the ground and I was hot on the trail.

I go over the route in my head as I spend the next quarter of an hour dressing Morgan in the dusty dim light from the gritty bedroom window, thinking about all the landmarks I’ll need to memorise. My preparations complete, I leave the old saloon and cross the street, instantly ruining my clothes with a gallon of mud that blasts out of a puddle. My horse is waiting right where I left him, although his bristling stubble tells me I’ll need to shave him again soon.

It wouldn’t do to hit the road without proper precautions, so I walk Morgan slowly around to the back of the horse to get a good look at his testicles. “Gonna be a wet one today,” grumbles Morgan dynamically as the heaving, melon-sized orbs loom into view. “Should probably go back and grab my hat.”

Two hours of putting on my hat later, I untie my horse from the post rail and head down Jackson’s Gorge. My horse’s enormous, unshaven balls bounce up and down as we canter closer to our destination, following the landmarks Jonny Dipshit croaked out of his ruined face.

Thunder cracks overhead. The detailed weather system has moved a new front in to break the humidity with a sudden storm. I breathe a silent thanks as I remember that the hat I’m wearing will keep my beard dry, prevent it from sucking up the nutrients of the rain and growing uncontrollably overnight.

The rain closes in until visibility has dropped to less than a few metres in front of me, causing me to violently dismount several times as my horse, thrown off balance by his now boulder-sized testicles which are leaving a realistic furrow in the ground behind us, careens to and fro and crashes into trees and rocks.  Eventually I decide to continue the rest of the journey on foot, and hitch him to the next tree I find.

Looming out of the perfectly rendered rain, I stumble across an overturned wagon. The old man taking shelter in the lee of the carriage immediately spills his life story: he’s a card shark who cheated at poker in order to win money so he and his daughter (who he is looking after on his own after his wife died of tragedy) can find a better life somewhere else.

“The fellas I cheated are chasing me down,” he says as he sobs, stubble sprouting in real time on his weatherbeaten, morally complicated face. “They could be here any minute!”

He’s right. A posse of roughnecks has materialised from the woods, and they’re shaping up for a fight. They jostle for position in the pack, the mountainous testicles of their horses slapping and bouncing off each other with a sound like overripe fruit hitting pavement. I quickly press the combination of buttons required to make Morgan’s eyes narrow.

Morgan’s eyes narrow. It’s Henry Pawson, the very man I was after. Once again, Red Dead Redemption 2 has outplayed me at my own game. Pawson canters his horse up to me, his hand resting easily on the handle of his pistol. His men have me surrounded. There’s no way out of this one.

“Well now,” says the leader of the roughnecks. “If it isn’t Arthur Morgan. You’ve been hot on my trail for a while now, and no mistaking.”

Ah! His gritty cowboy accent plucks at my heart. But I can’t allow these roughnecks to shoot this poor gambler, who may have done bad things, but who did them for a good cause. I choose the ‘antagonise’ dialogue option. “Eat my ass, Pawson!” Morgan bellows loudly.

Pawson’s eyes go wide and he grabs for his gun. Applying gentle pressure to the right trigger, tapping triangle three times and burning some sage, I manage to push Morgan into cover and reach for my own gun as the bullets start to fly. The old gambling man screams and takes off running into the rain, managing to make it several metres down the road before a stray bullet clips him in the leg and he cartwheels across the grass, knocking down a tree and starting a forest fire.

My six-shooter’s bristling beard expands as I pull it clear of the holster, blooming out into a fully-fledged lumberjack style overgrowth that covers the weapon from muzzle to hammer. Shit! I forgot to shave my gun before I left the saloon this morning. A textbook rookie error, and one that could see Arthur Morgan killed any minute now. I switch to my cut-throat razor and hope that the Pawson boys are as bad at shooting as they are at gambling.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is in stores now.

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