Unlike the film medium, video-game westerns, like Gun and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, haven't been successful at channeling the poetic feel of the Old West. With Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games gets the balance between game play and tone just right. The big plot of RDR reformed rogue John Marston hunts down his down-and-dirty ex-colleagues moves along well enough, but it's the little details that make the game feel akin to the work of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. Offering a friendly howdy, picking wild herbs or taming a bucking bronco isn't just busywork those actions make the world of RDR feel real and yet bygone. The nearly perfect proportions of both big gunslingin' action and quieter life-on-the-range moments combined into one interactive work makes RDR one of the year's standout experiences and the best playable western yet.
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