Red Dead Redemption 2 features many beautiful horses, but they’re not as iconic as those seen in other gaming franchises like The Legend of Zelda. The amount of detail that was put into the horses of RDR2 is staggering, and the connection the player fosters with their mount as Arthur Morgan or John Marston over the course of its story is used to devastating effect by Rockstar, but no one horse can compete with the fame of other iconic gaming steeds. This is partially because each player’s horse is unique to them in RDR2, but also because other gaming horses get more time in the spotlight in major narrative moments.
Unlike many other games with iconic horses Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in 1899 after the Wild West has been largely settled. Players control Arthur Morgan, a notorious outlaw from the Van der Linde gang on the run from the authorities. While exploring the game’s open-world, Arthur can tame wild horses, steal new mounts, or purchase them from stables across the country. Further still, Red Dead Redemption 2‘s horses often reflect the rider’s personality in the Van der Linde gang and show a softer side to Arthur Morgan, who is oftentimes ruthless in the beginning of the game’s story.
Most horses in Red Dead Redemption 2 are unnamed and come without much story attached. Instead, players can increase their bond with horses by petting, feeding, and otherwise caring for their mounts. The higher the bond with the horse, the more players can trust them not to buck them off or spiral out of control. Most stories are forged by independent player experiences, but a few come with special attachments to other characters, like Buell.
Legend Of Zelda’s Epona Beats RDR2’s Arabian Horse
The Arabian horse is Red Dead Redemption 2‘s fastest (and most expensive) breed to buy. Players have little chance of stealing one while wandering the Wild West and must travel to Saint Denis to purchase one from the stable. Its price, speed, and sleek appearance serve as a status symbol in a storyline filled with financial strife. Dutch’s horse is an albino Arabian named The Count, whose beauty is only rivaled by his short temper towards other gang members. Each Van der Linde gang member’s horse says something about the character, with The Count representing Dutch’s inner superiority and greed in the gang’s hierarchy. Even Arthur Morgan’s purchase of an Arabian seems unfitting of the outlaw, as the lithe horse doesn’t match his rustic aesthetic and selfless nature. Compared to the Legend of Zelda‘s Epona, Red Dead Redemption 2‘s Arabian horse loses on every front.
The Zelda timeline is quite confusing, but in most games, Link receives a horse named Epona to carry him throughout Hyrule and beyond. Each game changes how Link meets Epona, but she remains a faithful steed throughout the series. In Ocarina of Time, Epona remains a symbolic character that reflects Link’s inner goodness, responding to his call wherever he may be. She represents Hyrule’s freedom and the restrictions introduced with Ganondorf’s rise to power. When players defeat Ganondorf, she can be seen running majestically in the field during the credits, reflecting Hyrule’s new lease on life and the inhabitants’ freedom. Her journey with Link continues into Majora’s Mask, where her theft spurs the plot forwards. Epona is the key to completing Ocarina of Time, making her and Link’s partnership an essential relationship to Hyrule’s future. Her significant role in the plot and symbolic importance make Epona superior to the Arabian horse in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Shadow Of The Colossus Provides A Loyal Horse Named Agro
PlayStation’s fan-favorite Shadow of the Colossus is an open-world game that pits players against looming beasts and magical foes. Players control Wander, whose quest to revive the sacrificed maiden, Mono, leads him to the Shrine of Worship in the forbidden lands. Wander is accompanied by a sole ally: a massive black steed named Agro. Agro’s gender is a matter of much debate, as English versions of the game depict the mount as male and Japanese versions depict Agro as female, though it does not change the creature’s immense loyalty to its master. Unlike many iconic horses, Agro maintains its composure in the face of extreme danger. The Colossi are hundreds of stories tall with devastating attacks that kill lesser animals in a heartbeat. Still, Agro’s strength, speed, and loyalty are unmatched by the other black steed players receive in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2‘s Hosea Matthews is one of two father figures to Arthur Morgan. Near the game’s start, Arthur loses his original horse during a robbery gone wrong and steals a horse from the Adler homestead in the mountains. Hosea offers Arthur a giant black stallion with a wild personality to trade-in for a new mount, but players who keep the creature receive a tanky horse with little speed and lots of attitude. It takes time to soothe his temper and longer to learn how to navigate it throughout RDR2′s open-world and smaller pathways. Still, its health and strength are astronomical compared to faster, shorter horses that frequently spawn across New Hannover and Lemoyne.
RDR2’s Buell Can’t Compete With Roach’s Story In Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Red Dead Redemption 2‘s Veteran Stranger mission provides players with the opportunity to obtain a stallion named Buell. Arthur Morgan and John Marston can both access the quest, where they assist a lone Veteran who lives in the Grizzly Mountains with only his horse, Buell, as company. Unfortunately, the wholesome quest takes a tragic turn when the Veteran, Hamish Sinclair, dies to wounds from a wild boar. His last words bequeath Buell to the current player character, imparting the only named horse with a powerful story. Buell’s unpredictable nature embodies limitless freedom throughout the Stranger Mission, and using the stallion throughout RDR2‘s open world creates a meaningful narrative and legacy for Hamish. Unfortunately, this brief Stranger Mission can’t compare to the personal story quest for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s Roach.
The Witcher 3‘s Geralt has a strange habit with his horses, as every steed is named Roach no matter their breed, gender, age, or personality. It’s unknown why the eponymous Witcher does this, but it results in meaningful connections to Roach throughout the third game. Aside from dialogue directed at Roach throughout The Witcher 3‘s base game and multiple DLC expansions, the Equine Phantoms mission gives Roach an option to talk back. Roach’s personality with Geralt and developer CD Projekt RED’s seeming willingness to embrace the horse’s various glitches develops the mount’s character in ways other video games can’t.
While Red Dead Redemption 2‘s iconic horses can’t compare to many other horse characters from other games, the bonding mechanic still makes their depiction unique. Unfortunately, the sheer number of horses available throughout Red Dead Redemption 2 prevents many of them from becoming realized characters, bar Buell, who is left for Arthur or John following the completion of The Veteran Stranger Mission. The game’s depiction of horses is impressive, but in terms of personality and icon-status, they can’t compete with other gaming industry iconcs.
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