Game of the week: Red Dead Redemption

Platforms: Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360
Price: R600
Verdict: A rootin’ tootin’ good time.

Red Dead Redemption is easily the best game I’ve played this year. It features cowboys, guns, horses and hot chicks – the ingredients of a good time.  The title was developed by Rockstar Games, makers of the Grand Theft Auto series and features the same sandbox-style, go-anywhere-do-anything gameplay of its stable partner.

The game is the nearest thing to perfect I’ve experienced on a console. Your character is former outlaw John Marston. You can ride horses and carriages, hunt animals, pick herbs, have gun battles, lasso and tame wild stallions, hogtie bandits and shoot people in the face.

The storyline is captivating and engrossing, but you can put it on hold at any time to roam the wild west, help or rob characters in-game and cause general mayhem.

The game environment features rich, beautiful graphics and no end of mini-quests, enemies and other encounters to keep you busy with. As with Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption is one of those titles you can kill hours with, just running around and causing kak. It also features a similar ‘wanted’ system whereby you can get on the wrong side of the law, forcing you to evade arrest, and a system for saving your game at specific safe areas where your character can ‘sleep’. In RDR, however, you can also set up camp while in the wilderness and use this to save your game or teleport to parts of the map you have already visited, saving time otherwise spent traveling.

The game did seem a bit buggy in parts and some of the quests feature clumsy combinations of actions that can be frustrating. These are few and far between, however.

The gameplay is rich with everything from being able to whistle for your horse to having choices between killing wanted bandits or tying them up, participating with the law or getting on the wrong side of it and dozens of mini-games including poker, horseshoe-toss and others. You can also hunt and skin animals to earn currency.

If you’re looking for a console game there is no other new title more worthy of your money. Red Dead Redemption offers a perfect balance of fun and challenge and won’t leave you short-changed as it features hours and hours of endless gameplay that is highly re-playable. Rockstar has delivered another winner and its hard to imagine any of its competitors coming up with anything better this year.

I'm a writer and broadcaster who also designs apps and strategies for disruptive startups in the financial world. Find out more on my about page.