I finally, finally, finally got a chance to play Red Dead Redemption.  Wow, what a game.  I had been following it since its official announcement in 2009.  When I heard that Rockstar Games was planning on making an open world Western that was a sequel to Red Dead Revolver I said, “AH HA HA HA HA.  Yeah right.  That should turn out well.”  Rockstar San Diego (a division of Rockstar Games) made the first game and it was not that great so how could a sequel, especially one based off of the Grand Theft Auto IV design (which is great), even be considered?  Luckily, it was considered, and I’m glad the risk was taken.  Red Dead Redemption is without a doubt one of the best games I have ever had the honor of playing.

I won’t lie.  There are occasional glitches and bugs and there is a lot of pop-up in the game but my gosh, with a world this big, how could there not be?  It’s still a GORGEOUS game and I do really mean that.  The landscapes are absolutely stunning.  The character models are all interesting in one way or another and beautifully designed.  I cannot fault this game for its graphics because my mouth dropped open more than a couple of times.

Every one of the voice actors is extremely talented.  I don’t know who Rob Wiethoff (John Marston in the game) or Kimberly Irion (Bonnie MacFarlane) are but I do know that they were in the game thanks to IMDb.com and I do know that they are both great.  Wiethoff in particular delivers a sense of realism through his character that is rarely seen in video games or any other entertainment medium for that matter.  I have to give credit to Anthony De Longis also who is quite good as Marshal Leigh Johnson.  I enjoyed walking around and just taking in the sights and hunting all the various critters in the game so the music got very repetitive to me after a while but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good because it is magnificent.  It is pure candy to the ears and I will be picking up a copy of the soundtrack.

I have never seen such perfect controls in an open world game and they just might be the best in gaming history.  The gunplay is really simple to understand yet challenging to master, the way it should be.  Riding a horse is as fun as it has ever been and I’m saying this after playing the Assassin’s Creed games.  There are some platforming elements to the game and they are extremely fun.  Move over, Mario.  Okay, so maybe they aren’t THAT good.  Hunting and skinning animals was oddly addicting to me for some reason.  It never got old.  Well, I take that back.  There is one achievement in the 360 version in which I had to kill and skin 18 grizzly bears and it took me forever to find them all and I got a little impatient with that.  I don’t see how anybody wouldn’t.  The annoying D-Pad on the 360 controller is rarely ever utilized, which is a good thing.  As far as I can remember, the only thing I used it for was to call my horse.

Even with all the other goodness, the plot of Red Dead Redemption is my favorite thing about the game.  It is a sweeping epic that most movies can’t even manage.  If I made a list of my top 10 favorite gaming tales, Red Dead Redemption would be placed at least 3 or 4.  It made me laugh and, believe it or not, cry.  The ending is BRILLIANT and I have never seen anything like it.  It is also very shocking.  That’s about all there is to say about it other than I think everyone should experience it in all its majesty.