Defying the notion that the western is not in vogue is the most-excellent video game Red Dead Redemption. Best described as Grand Theft Auto, but set in the wild west, RDR offers the same wonderful amoral gameplay.

Where the GTA games ape the formula of street crime films, RDR unashamedly embraces the spaghetti western (with modern sensibilities by way of Deadwood). You play as John Marston, a man eager to return to his family, but is instead forced into a quest to strike back against some old friends who did him wrong. Along the way, you assist the local Marshall apprehending cattle rustlers, get into gun fights with bandits, tie people to train tracks, romance the women-folk, get involved in a Mexican revolution, play blackjack, and get into fights with men at bars. Every trope represented in the Western genre is represented in this game.

Everything about Red Dead Redemption feels note perfect. The maps are all expansive and offer the same lonesome feeling as being trapped out in the desert. The music works a treat in bringing to life the spaghetti western vibe of the game. And the language is deliciously witty offering some brilliant turns of phrase, while being downright dirty at times.

The strongest accomplishment of the game is just how truly alive the landscape of the desert feels in the game. Among the wild horses and lonesome travellers that one can encounter while taking random walks across the desert, the landscape also offers vicious coyote’s, birds, and bears. It’s these little touches that bring the world of RDR truly to life.

Red Dead Redemption is not perfect (there is a little bit too much repetition in some of the mini quests you get involved in), however the game is so expertly realised that the few flaws in it can be easily put aside.

There is a reason why Redemption is universally well-reviewed — it’s just so bloody good.

The details: Red Dead Redemption is available on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms.