by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 30th October, 2018
Red Dead Redemption 2 came out for Xbox One and PS4 and by the looks of it, the game is one of the defining titles of this console generation. A huge open world filled with stuff to do that that is immersive as they can get (maybe even better than what we got in The Witcher 3), unreal visuals that makes us wonder how the hell gaming machines from 2013 can deliver this level of graphical prowess, excellent story that includes many characters we know from the first game, and a solid gunplay guarantee that almost everyone who decides to play RDR 2 will have a blast.
But what if you don't own a PS4 or Xbox One? Maybe you don't want to play your games on subpar hardware, demand a fluid 60fps experience or simply think that owning a gaming PC is more than enough to enjoy most games available these days? Or you simply decided to invest more in hardware in order to save money on games (because PC offers by far the best prices when it comes to video games)? Whatever the case, if you game exclusively on PC you cannot play Red Dead Redemption 2, and that's a fact.
Sure, the game will probably arrive on PC at the end (but since the original stayed console exclusive despite the huge interest from PC community for a PC version of the game) but in the meantime you probably want to play some quality Wild West themed game capable of scratching that nasty Red Dead Redemption 2 itch. Well, while there aren't lots of Wild West games on the market today, we managed to find a handful of excellent titles capable of calming your longing for Red Dead Redemption 2, at least till the next year when we reckon we'll see the game arriving on your gaming platform of choice.
What, how, Red Dead Redemption on PC? Really!? Well technically yes, the game is indeed available to play on PC but there's a catch. In order to play Red Dead Redemption, you'll need the following. Firstly, PlayStation Now account. The streaming game service asks for a monthly subscription but you get one week for free meaning you can play the game free because RDR can be finished in about 30 hours, that's one weekend plus a couple of workday play sessions. Next, you need a DS3 or DS4 controller. Some other controllers work, but they tend to be fiddly and the service has lots of compatibility issues when using a third party controller. But since DS4 is one of the best controllers out there, and since it is 100 percent compatible with all modern PC titles, you can use it as your main controller for other games so the investment is justifiable. And finally, you need at least 25mbps internet speed, with a recommended speed being around 50mbps.
And once you create a PS Now account just hook up the controller (via cable or wireless via adapter), install the service and start the game. And that's it! Streaming quality isn't comparable to playing the game locally but for a 2010 title meant to be played at 720p resolution the image quality is just fine so don't fret about that. Also, since RDR isn't some ultra-fast fighting game the issue of input lag won't be a problem. And once you get everything working you will get a chance to experience one of the best games of the last decade. Visuals still hold their ground, the story is arguably better than in Red Dead Redemption 2, and the gunplay is just as good. Everyone who owns a PC and has a decent internet should play the original Red Dead Redemption because it is basically a free game with the free seven days offer for new PS Now subscribers. And after you finish that one, you can also play another PS classic, The Last of Us, which can be beaten in about 15 hours and is also available on the PS Now.
When GUN came out in 2005 it was compared to GTA; the game was described as Wild West GTA. So yes, GUN is basically Red Dead Redemption before RDR. So, after you finish the original RDR go and get GUN, the game is definitely worth your time. Really, GUN is an excellent open-world shooter and one of the few excellent Wild West themed games available on the PC. You will wander around a fairly small (by today's standards) open world map dotted with small settlements along with towns that look like they came out of Sergio Leone's movies, enjoy amazing gunplay which is better than in Red Dead Redemption 2 (If we have one complaint with RDR 2 it's the game's poor gunplay and controls), and ride your horse through prairie while listening to excellent soundtrack.
GUN features amazingly executed duels that include excellent first person quick draw mechanic but the game also has a solid stealth system for times when there are too many enemies to kill with your gun. You can hunt game, do various side missions that are really interesting to play and yes, you can play poker. Hell, you can play various different poker tournaments if you want. And its story of revenge is a classic that gives the game another excellent reason to play it. The voiceover is better than in most modern games, with acting legends such as Lance Henriksen, Kris Kristofferson, and Ron Perlman borrowing their voices to prominent characters in the game, with the lead character played by Thomas Jane. The only caveat is the fact you can finish the game in a bit over 10 hours, which is too short for an amazing game like this one.
When we say Call of Juarez trilogy we mean the three games that are set in the Wild West. You can freely skip Call of Juarez: The Cartel, the only game from the series set in modern times because that one is awful. The other three are superb Wild West shooters that feature excellent gunplay (all three of them have incredible gunfights and superb shooting mechanics), high-quality action scenes, and the best Wild West duels we have ever played. The first one is from 2006 and it is interesting because the two playable characters are complete opposites in everything including their play style. Ray McCall is an old gunslinger turned preacher who spreads the word of God with his faithful revolver and his levels are filled with adrenaline pumping action scenes and tons of blood. Billy is the stepson of Ray's brother (who get killed at the start of the game) and is chased by Ray who thinks Billy killed his brother and his wife (Billy's mother). Billy is a young Indian and he prefers stealth and bow and arrow. Parts, where you lead him, are stealthy and require a bit of thinking.
The second game, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a prequel to the first game and it sees Ray and his brother, Thomas, fighting for Confederation during the Civil War. After the war brothers become lawless gunmen and players lead them through their journeys across the Wild West. Lots of superb action scenes, duels that are even better than in the first game, two playable characters with different play styles (Ray is a gunslinger while Thomas prefers long range rifles), solid story, and excellent visuals that still hold their ground are reasons to get this one. And the third game, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, is a perfect arcade shooter set in the Wild West with more action than you can handle. The game doesn't feature characters from past titles; instead, you play as Silas Greaves, legendary gunslinger who claims he killed numerous outlaws. Each level is a different tale detailing a specific encounter with various bad guys. This is the most action-packed title in the series and the best fun you can have if you like duels, revolvers, and the Wild West.
This one is a classic that was, at the time of release, described as Commandos in Wild West. And that's true because Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive is a hardcore real-time strategy where every decision counts and where one wrong move means game over. The Wild West setting and the game's movie-like story are giving it undeniable charm and make it one of the must-play titles for Wild West aficionados. This isn't Red Dead Redemption in any form, it isn't open world, it isn't an action-packed game, and it definitely doesn't include horseback ride but if you like RTS games that are challenging but rewarding and you like the Wild West you simply have to play this one.
The game follows John Cooper, a tough-as-nails bounty hunter as he tries to comprehend El Diablo, a vicious outlaw and the most wanted man in the Wild West. He and his small but resourceful band of specialists will have to go to Hell and back in order to defeat El Diablo. The story has a couple of completely unexpected plot-twists and is one of the best we've seen in the genre and the gameplay is amazing. The game has two sequels but they are far below the original in terms of quality. Luckily, the next game in the series (Desperados 3, slated for summer 2019) is developed by Mimimi Productions, the studio behind the awesome Shadow Tactics so we believe that Desperados 3 will be one of the best Wild West games ever. Just another reason to play the original.
Another Wild West themed strategy game, but unlike Desperados, this one is turn-based, in line with modern trends. The story includes supernatural powers, events beyond human controls, a tragic tale of loss and the subsequent hellish revenge. This one is suited better for those who simply cannot play games that aren't pretty to the eye because it features excellent visuals with amazing lighting effects, solid animations, and sharp textures. The gameplay is a squad-based and it follows all the usual features of an excellent turn-based strategy. You have different characters with unique powers, tricky levels that are pretty hard to beat without losing members of your squad, tough enemies capable of driving you insane with their powers, and lots of strategy involved.
You can also gain new powers and skills by collecting unique cards that grant new combos and make levels easier. This is an additional reason to complete side objectives because many of those grant new ability cards. The game includes 40 long and hard levels that will take more than 50 hours to beat and along its original Wild West setting that includes demons, satanic cults, the undead, and all kinds of weird individuals, Hard West also includes an excellent choice and consequence system. You can get immense powers and all kinds of favors that can make levels easier but each choice comes with grim consequences that are not immediately unearthed, some of which seen only after you complete the game. A gem of a game and amazing turn-based strategy title.
This is Crytek's take on the Wild West. And according to their vision, the Wild West was a horrifying place filled with precious treasures guarded by dismaying monsters. Also, other bounty hunters also searched for treasure and they were willing to kill you and your partner even if that would mean they would stay alone fighting the horrors from the swamp. Yup, this sounds interesting and it truly is. While Hunt: Showdown doesn't have many Wild West references aside from its visual design, time period of the game, and the design of weapons and playable characters, it is a definitely a game worth playing.
You and your friend (the game is a two-player co-op experience) are sent to the unexplored wilderness and have to single-handedly defeat monsters residing on the map while searching for valuable treasures. The catch is that other teams are also roaming the map and they will probably shoot you on sight. Sure, teams can work together to take down monsters and share loot but who wants to do that anyway? Hunt: Showdown is a tense mixture of co-op and competitive game with PvE and PvP clashing together. Gunplay is solid and the whole hunt and survival part of the game is marvelous. And since this is Crytek we're talking about expect superb visuals. If you like co-op, Wild West, and horror try this one.
If you haven't played Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath just get it on Steam and play it. This game is a cult classic that uses the Wild West iconography and setting and turns it around by placing the game in a crazy world filled with bizarre creatures, hilarious story, and live ammo. Yup, you can shoot critters out of your crossbow and boy, they can be deadly as hell. The story follows Stranger, a bounty hunter with a goal of getting bounty hunter's ultimate prize. He needs the money badly and during the course of the game you'll find out why.
This is an awesome game with unique gameplay that will make you hooked as soon as you start it and it won't let you free until you see the end credits. The remastered version features facelifted visuals that make Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath pretty enough for the new generation of gamers and if you like a good laugh combined with truly original take on the Wild West culture definitely get this one. The number of scenes where you will end up on the floor laughing is through the roof!
And finally, we have Westerado: Double-Barreled, a serious game that looks like an excellent cartoon. Its visuals present the best elements of the 8-bit era while keeping the game modern, colorful, and extremely pretty. The story is a tribute to spaghetti westerns and follows one man on the path of revenge after a mysterious desperado kills his whole family. His journeys take him all across the Wild West and a plethora of legendary locations seen in many western movies such as dirty towns filled with outlaws, gunmen, and brothels, canyons, prairies and grasslands, cursed tombs, mountain forests filled with pine trees and many other.
The game features guns, and lots of them along with horseback riding, a huge open world to explore filled with hidden stories and interesting characters, a lengthy campaign, cool morale system, and an excellently designed choice and consequence system. This game maybe looks cute and cartoony but when it comes to gameplay and story, Westerado: Double Barreled definitely isn't childish. It's like a Red Dead Redemption 2 in a pixel art form so if you search for an open world Wild West game this title should be pretty high on your list.