||The American West has made actors famous and writers rich. It has inspired children on the playground and grizzled country singers alike. Its stories of heroes and bandits, gold rushes and simple homesteaders have been fictionalized and romanticized to the point that they're known the world over. And yet, videogame makers have either ignored the setting or attempted to squeeze it into existing game conventions with limited success. That has all changed now that Rockstar, the group made famous for its Grand Theft Auto series, turned its eye towards the Wild West. No game maker has approached the period with as much passion and power as Red Dead Redemption. This is the new bar that all Westerns must strive to reach...It's tempting to say that Red Dead Redemption is ahead of its time, but the reality is that this is a game of and for the times. Rockstar shows an uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to society and remind us that present day hot button issues like racism, immigration, federal government power and personal freedoms are not only nothing new, they are deeply ingrained in American society. They are forces that helped to shape America into what it is, and their inclusion in Red Dead Redemption gives it a sense of authenticity that videogames in general lack...Herding cattle and breaking mustangs? Check. Tracking down outlaws for bounty? You can take them dead or alive. Treasure hunting and sharpshooting challenges? There are dozens of them. The side missions and quests range from the little things like playing horse shoes or poker to big shootouts at bandit hideouts. There are even some that are fleshed out enough to be a part of the main storyline. You could spend hours just riding around trying to track down all of the components of a new outfit for Marston, or hunting wild game and picking herbs and desert flowers. The Rockstar Social Club, a free online community that connects to the game, offers additional challenges and leaderboards to encourage even more replay. If you're looking for one game to occupy you for months, this is it...Red Dead Redemption is a must-play game. Rockstar has taken the Western to new heights and created one of the deepest, most fun, and most gorgeous games around. You can expect the occasional bug or visual hiccup, but you can also expect a fantastic game that offers the Western experience we've all been waiting for. Red Dead Redemption is a complete game in every sense -- both the single player and multiplayer modes are excellent -- and still manages to offer an attention to detail you rarely see from a game of this scope.