Publisher: Rockstar Games
As soon as I finished Red Dead Revolver, way back in 2004, I crossed my fingers and hoped for a sequel. Then the long wait began, during which time Call of Juarez made its first appearances but just didn't have the same magic or impact, and as a result my longing for another Red Dead game grew stronger. Finally, on one of my regular searches for upcoming games I read a winning combination of words that made me extremely happy - Red Dead Revolver 2, which after a short period of time changed its name to Red Dead Redemption. Following this I regularly checked up on the game during its development and when it was announced that you'd be placed in a free roaming environment I couldn't imagine this game being anything other than spectacular.
Unfortunately for me, I tend to have a nasty habit of getting so worked up about films and games that have been hyped-up in the press that by the time I get hold of them they tend to be a little bit underwhelming and I end up extremely disappointed. However, I'm happy to say that this isn't the case with Red Dead Redemption.
The story revolves around John Marston, a former outlaw, who settled down to run a farm after re-evaluating his life following a bank robbery. Unfortunately for John, federal agents kidnap his family and threaten to murder them unless he brings his former gang mates to justice, forcing him to strap on his gun belt and ride across the Old West once again. The main storyline is very well written, and brought to life by a number of colourful characters, however you'll come across even more whilst riding across the vast wilderness. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the 'random' events and numerous side quests are the best I've seen in a game.
There seems to be no end of things you can do during your downtime between the main missions. If you're in a town you can walk into a saloon, order a drink, then sit down and enjoy a range of mini-games including poker, blackjack, five finger fillet (made famous by Aliens), horseshoes, or liar dice. If you're riding around the environment, you can choose to accept tasks from strangers which tend to last a while, or you'll come across situations that need your immediate attention such as escaped prisoner that need to be stopped, stolen horses that need to be returned to their owners, and people who need to be rescued from bandits.