How Honor Impacts Gameplay in Red Dead Redemption 2

Ever Wondered How Your Choices Forge Your Red Dead Redemption 2 Legacy?

High Vs. Low Honor in RDR2
High Vs. Low Honor in RDR2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a complete open-world game in every possible aspect. The world is filled with activities and content for players to experience. Even with a choke full of unique mechanics, this game decides to add another one, the Honor System.

This mechanic in no way something revolutionary was created for this campaign only. We have seen similar renditions of this mechanic, like the Karma System in the Fallout games. However, in my opinion, the Honor System from RDR2’s campaign is this mechanic at its finest.

Key Takeaways
  • The Honor System isn’t a binary choice. Every action you take, big or small, shapes Arthur’s reputation.
  • High honor makes Arthur a compassionate outlaw, yearning for redemption. Low honor turns him cold and ruthless.
  • People treat Arthur differently based on his honor. High honor gets you discounts and trust, while low honor brings suspicion and higher prices.
  • Key story moments and even the ending can change based on your honor, offering a unique perspective on Arthur’s journey.
  • The Honor System is about the legacy you leave behind. Will you be a noble gunslinger or a ruthless outlaw?

This ain’t no basic good-guy/bad-guy meter. Every decision you make, from helping a lost dog to blasting some fool who bumped into you, shapes your honor. This also determines how the Wild West treats Arthur Morgan. From my experience, the easiest way to gain Honor is by simply greeting NPCs and the quickest way to lose it is by killing an innocent bystander.

Players can experience quite a few changes in their gameplay just based on whether they are considered to be honorable or not.

Story and Character Changes

Standoff with Micah and Dutch
Standoff with Micah and Dutch

It may not come as a surprise but the story and characters can offer a few different outcomes for players. Players can notice a difference in how the Vander Linde Gang and the other NPCs treat players based on their Honor. Even some Cut scenes vary based on this difference.

A High Honor Arthur is considered and more willing to help out his companions. This is even evident in Arthur’s tone and dialogue with other characters. On the other hand, the Low Honor Arthur will be more ruthless and selfish. He will be less willing to help his companion, and even when he does he still doesn’t sound grateful.

There is a mission towards the end of the campaign, where I noticed this difference quite significantly. This may come as a spoiler to some players, so SPOILER ALERT! Arthur contracts a deadly disease during the campaign and when his end is near, he meets up with Priest. This Priest is Arthur’s friend who tries to comfort Arthur in his final days.

Arthur Meeting Reverend
Arthur Meeting Reverend

If you have High Honor then the Priest will be a lot more compassionate and tell Arthur about all the help he has provided. However, if you have Low Honor, then the Priest will sound scared and less compassionate. The difference in the conversation is a testament to how much Rockstar pays attention to their characters.

Gameplay Changes

Arthur Robs Store
Arthur Robs Store

There are also noticeable differences in the gameplay and various in-game interactions. One of the most important changes to the prices shop owners have on various items. High honor gets you discounts in shops, while low honor means you pay more. If nothing convinces you to play as a good person, then these discounts may be able to change your mind.

However, there is an advantage to playing as Low Honor Arthur. This allows you to get more Loot from the enemies. Therefore, you would be able to rob more cash and treasure items if you loot every enemy you come across.  This is a quick way to earn a decent amount of money because players will encounter a lot of enemies during their gameplay.

Final Mission Loot
Final Mission Loot

This game is a perfect example of your reputation preceding you. People react differently to Arthur as they are aware of his criminal tendencies. With high honor, folks are more trusting and helpful. Low honor makes them wary and even aggressive.

Different Honors also allow players to unlock a few unique and new Outfits. 

Other Changes

Another change most players will notice is the loading screen animations. Whenever Arthur is getting rest in camp or having dreams, players will see animations. If you have High Honor then Arthur dreams about Deer and sees daylight. However, on the other end, players will often see Coyotes at night time.

High Vs Low Honor Dreams
High Vs Low Honor Dreams

I did not know about this difference until quite later, while I was watching another player stream. This made me have a completely different outlook on the game. It’s like knowing that Low Honor Arthur is constantly haunted by his actions. 

Moreover, the game soundtrack also changes based on your honor level. The soundtrack subtly adapts to your honor level, with a more hopeful tone for high honor and a bleaker one for low honor.

If this wasn’t enough then the local police will also react to you differently based on your honor. Low honor attracts more attention from lawmen. They’ll be quicker to apprehend you for crimes or even for accidentally bumping into someone.

Why Honor Matters

Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just about shootouts and saloons. It’s about the legacy you leave behind. Will you be remembered as a noble gunslinger who fought for what’s right or a ruthless outlaw who carved a bloody path through the Wild West? The choice is yours, but, remember the game will surely judge you for it. Now go out there and make your mark.

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