**Minimal story spoilers **
So I’ve been playing through Days Gone these past few days so I can write a review for it on the website, and one of the few things that I had accidentally spoiled for me beforehand was the now infamous wedding scene in the game.
Some people online have criticized the scene for the terrible delivery of that “Ride me as much as you ride your bike” line, and some other people have defended it as just being a part of Biker culture.
One very specific defense I’ve seen quite a bit is that Sons of Anarchy did the very same thing, and yet no one called that show out on it. I actually read one commenter blame a critic of the line for having an implicit bias against the game and its characters.
Since then I’ve experienced the scene for myself, and personally, I agree with the critics that this line was actually pretty cringy. I’ll explain why I think so.
First of all, the delivery of the line is just bad, no two ways about it. The way it’s framed, and the way the bride Sarah emphasizes the words is just terrible. The developers clearly meant for this to be a lighthearted comedic instance as both Deacon and the reverend are momentarily taken aback when Sarah says the line, but it just doesn’t work. The dead silence in the background also doesn’t do it any favors.
Secondly, there’s a reason why the same line worked in Sons of Anarchy. Because in the show this is a momentous occasion involving multiple different characters we have come to learn about and care for over the course of three seasons, and them saying the line in unison with the bride is almost heartwarming.
Here we just have Deacon, Sarah, Boozer and the reverend. And the only character here with any kind on meaningful personality is Boozer, and that’s not saying much.
Now I’m moderately enjoying the game, but my god do these characters suck. And by that I don’t mean that gruff bikers are bad character layouts. Sons of Anarchy has the same thing, but those characters are so much more defined and fleshed out. Even if you saw the wedding scene in the show out of context, it still isn’t as bad as what we see in Days Gone.
Again, grizzled stoic loner dudes suffering from the loss of family are not bad character layouts. That’s literally the format Joel from The Last of Us is based on, and I dare you to find anyone who thinks he’s a bad character. The difference between Joel and Deacon then, is that Joel is so much more well written than Deacon is, and his delivery of even simple things carries weight.
The deliverer of the line, Sarah, is also a hollow character. Her story is actually much more interesting than her husbands, but not by much. I actually can’t elaborate on this more because that would be spoiling a crucial story element, but if you’ve played the game, can you think of a reason why we should care about her?
Deacon is just a bad character, and so is Sarah. Nothing so far has made me care about either of them apart from the fact that they are the main character and his wife. Characters don’t always need quirks to be interesting or appealing, and they don’t even need to be relatable either. They just need to be well written and well-acted.
And when you have these two utterly bland characters professing their love for each other in the way they do in this scene, you can’t help but flinch. The “Ride me as much as you ride your bike” line is perfectly fine, if a little lame, but the delivery and setup surrounding it is just so bad.
I’ll actually say that this is one of those interactions that sound less cringy with the context provided, and that players shouldn’t judge the game’s overall dialogue purely based on this one instance. It’s still not great, but it’s not nearly as bad as this.