Red Dead Redemption is everything that it's predecessor Red Dead Revolver and fellow Cowboy Free-Roam GUN always strove to be- Grand Theft Auto with cowboys. And it works. By God it works.
It's amazing what happens when you take the Grand Theft Auto formula and you apply it to an out-of-city location. It's something a lot of games have tried in the past, and very few have ever come close to getting it right.
The story is simple and straight Wild West film fodder. You play as John Marston, who barely has a passing resemblance to Red from the previous game. John's a crony for the Bureau, an early incarnation of the FBI, and is on a mission to hunt down people from his own bloody past in order to see the safe return of his wife and son.
And like Niko Bellic before him, everyone has a problem, and John seems to be the only one capable getting the job down, distracting him from his quest in classic GTA Clone form.
And for the record, I suck at Horseshoes just as bad in this game as I do in real life. I have also finally learned the nuances of Texas Hold'em. I still do not know what constitutes a Full House, but by God I got one somehow.
It really helps the game that John Marston isn't too terribly down on himself that his family is being held hostage by the government. He's actually quite a peppy guy, coming off more like a Doc Holiday than a Wyatt Earp. He definately doesn't lend himself well to the kind of murderous rampaging that's normally associated with this kind of game, but it's a wonderful deterrent to unnecessary violence.
It's much in the same vein as Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series coming off as a total military badass in most interactions, but sounding like a complete and utter tool when he's hitting on the female members of his crew. Unless pissed off, Marstons a pretty cool cat.
This game doesn't render a rental, it definately is well worth the money to own. There is far too much game here to complete in five days.
5 weeks ago