Sure, I can remember cold winter afternoons, sitting next to the fire with my Grandmother, watching some tired old tosh set about Pawnee Bill; but I've never once considered the genre a favourite. Which is strange, because anytime I think of wild-west games, I think of them with great fondness.
I think the obsession started with Activision's GuN on Playstation 2. The poorly capitalised title was an absolute commercial failure for both Activision and developers Neversoft, but it's never really struck me as to why. The game's absolutely brilliant, mixing a gritty storyline with fantastic visuals and some great gameplay mechanics. For a third-person shooter before the likes of Uncharted and Gears Of War, the shooting in that game feels surprisingly good, and the world is interestingly rich too. It's a shame the game never got the attention it deserved, but it remains somewhat of a classic in my eyes. GuN's never going to get into my top-five games of all time, but as far as personal favourites go, I'm a big fan.
And that love of the wild-west has carried over into the Playstation 3 generation. Last year's Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood was again, a personal favourite of mine. In fact, after much deliberation we ranked it somewhere close to the Top 10 in our PushSquare "Best Of 2009" list. As a first-person shooter, following in the foot-steps of Call Of Duty, Juarez was much more set-piece based than Redemption, but equally enticing.
Coming out of Juarez, I had to question my love of the wild-west setting. Indeed, already harbouring fond memories for GuN, it struck me I have a soft-spot for the rootin' tootin' shootin' of olde America. Outside of video games I have strong interest in period drama, but that usually tends to span to the more romantic era of Victorian Britain, and certainly not the wild-west.
So it's a mystery to me why I enjoy these games. It might be something in the way these games tell their narrative. To me, both GuN and Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood had extremely strong story-driven narratives. Or it might be the variety these games are able to offer, naturally through their setting. Both in terms of weaponry, transport, and side-missions, virtually every wild-west game I've played has been packed to the brim with content.
And so perhaps that's why the upcoming Red Dead Redemption excites me so. I never played its predecessor Red Dead Revolver, but everything I read about Redemption has me tingling in anticipation. Not only does it look absolutely beautiful running on the Grand Theft Auto IV engine, but it also looks set to build upon those ever-so-dear memories I have of Activision's GuN. From what I've read the game is practically brimming with variety, providing a world glowing with content.
Activision will probably never make a sequel to GuN, but that's ok. I only really need one cowboy game a year, and it looks like Red Dead Redemption has my back in 2010.
I literally cannot wait.
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.
Previous entries in the Twiggy range:
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- The Mass Effect Franchise Has To Come To PS3 At Some Point Twiggy The PushSquare Opinionator
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