Games Review: Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption

Publisher: Rockstar

Price: �49.99

Format: PS3 (also on Xbox 360)

Age rating: 18+

Score: 5/5 Stars

OWING a debt of gratitude to Samuel Peckinpah’s gritty western, The Wild Bunch, Red Dead Redemption is a sprawling third person adventure set in the early years of the 20th Century.

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With the US government keen to crack down on lawless frontier towns, the game follows the fortunes of John Marston, a reformed outlaw forced to track down members of his old gang.

As a set-up for a video game it’s not a bad one, putting you in the boots of a reluctant gunslinger during the dying days of the Wild West. Armed with a six-shooter and the gravelly voice of a Clint Eastwood impersonator, it’s your job to journey through the southern states of the US and Mexico as you pursue your quarry.

Made by the same people behind the Grand Theft Auto series, the game world is massive. Spectacularly detailed environments encompass everything from dusty scrubland and towering mountain ranges to rural homesteads and shantytowns.

On your travels you’ll herd cattle, search for buried treasure, hunt a grizzly bear, ride shotgun on a stagecoach, protect a train from bandits, lasso a wild horse, take part in numerous shootouts, free a farmer’s daughter from kidnappers, stop a lynching, cheat at poker, share a meal with a cannibal, become embroiled in a civil war plus a million-and-one other things.

To aid inexperienced gunslingers, there’s an auto-fire option, and a special dead eye mode slows down time so you can paint a target with crosses before you riddle them with bullets.

Once you’ve completed the single-player campaign – which should take 25-plus hours – you can round up a posse of friends and take the game online.

Red Dead Redemption is populated by some wonderful characters and a storyline that keeps your interest from beginning to end.