Ok, so I know I'm a little late in coming to Red Dead, but cut me some slack, I've been saving up and my Xbox has been broken.
This, however, was delightfully rectified when EB Games announced a deal that trading in your old 360 would give you a significant discount on the new sleek, quiet, huge HD Xbox AND a free copy of Red Dead Redemption. My ears burned and I traded in.
My oh my oh my.
First of all, the new plastic smell of the new console was almost like heaven incarnate at this point. The new Xbox, not only sporting a huge 250 GB HD (almost unnecessarily big), but is quiet as a mouse. The new power pack barely makes any noise which makes it sound less like it's going to explode than the old model did.
Alright, so, Red Dead. This game, honest to goodness, is more fun than it has any right to be. I mean, really, it's just GTA on a horse in the Wild West - but for some reason, that makes it BETTER.
The open plains of the beautifully constructed world are astounding and the little addition of people either needing your help of trying to kill you by the side of the road is a cute touch towards the reality of 19th Century West America.
Although the protagonist (hero or villain is your choice) is a fairly opinionless avatar of the stereotypical mysterious stranger with a dark past, he is still enjoyable. His a well-defined character in terms of animation, and his lack of too many opinions kind of allows you to role-play him any way you like - though that could be my Dungeons and Dragons playing twist on a less than well-written character.
The story, however, is quite enrapturing in a strange way. I mean, it's typically Rockstar Games/GTA in that you go to different people for missions whom the previous mission-giver introduces you to, but their stories are more interesting than, "I hate this mob boss, murder him for money". I like the, "I'm a creepy grave robber searching for my lost treasure, let's go find it - this will include a lot of murder and mayhem".
Speaking of murder, the fighting - especially the duel-style Dead Eye feature - is more fun. This could be because you have a foreseeable limit to your ammo and you only really carry max 4 choose-able weapons at a time - my favourite is the Winchester Repeater. It also FEELS like a Western flick, with the grungy hero who's good with a gun and enemies slumping over, falling off roofs, etc.
All in all, a shining review for this game. Mahalo.