Red Dead Redemption was the most exciting game I didn’t get to play at PAX East. I’d barely heard of it prior to the convention, and I certainly wasn’t going to wait in that line to try a brief demo, but I left PAX craving old western films and quietly counting down the days until the game’s release.
Now that the game is finally out, I am having a blast. After some initial issues with the horse controls the game quickly dragged me in, and hasn’t let me go. In fact, the only reason I’m writing about it and not playing it right now is that I’m once again stuck on a bus. I haven’t progressed very far in the story due to work obligations, but the writing is solid, and after two years of Grand Theft Auto 4 the thing that most surprised me was how likable I found the characters. The world generally holds together, and the sheer variety of events and emergent situations I’ve encountered in the first few hours of play boggles my mind. Unfortunately, at this point in the game a few narrative elements are still bothering me, and the game’s Western setting prevents me from brushing these minor flaws away.