With rumors persisting of a new Red Dead Redemption title from Rockstar Games, Game Rant takes a look at the 7 best western games that have been released to date.
Over the last few months, a hot topic of discussion has been the possibility of a new Red Dead Redemption game from Rockstar. Rumors of the supposed game have been dominating headlines, as fans wait patiently for an official announcement from the Grand Theft Auto developer.
While fans wait for information on the new Red Dead Redemption, we decided to take a look back at gaming’s history with the western genre, picking out the seven games we believe are the best. Gamers that can’t wait to hop back in the saddle for another Old West adventure in a Red Dead Redemption sequel may want to consider giving these seven games a look to help tide them over.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
The Call of Juarez series got a little off course with Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which abandoned the original’s western setting in favor of modern times. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger got things back on track, featuring classic pistol duels, thrilling encounters with outlaws, and some RPG elements sprinkled on top for good measure. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is also notable for its unique approach to storytelling, using an unreliable narrator to humorously cause abrupt changes to the plot. Overall, Gunslinger is probably the best Call of Juarez game to date, and you can read our Call of Juarez: Gunslinger review for more information on the underrated western FPS from Techland.
Before Rockstar Games wowed the gaming world with its take on an open world western, the Tony Hawk developers did it first with Gun. At the time of its release, Gun was praised for its engaging story, well-written characters, and for its Grand Theft Auto-style open world gameplay, helping it to win some year-end awards in the process. Despite Gun‘s success, we still have yet to see a sequel, but if a tease in the Nemesis DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts is any indication, Gun 2 may still be in the cards.
Red Dead Redemption
It’s impossible to talk about the best western games without mentioning Red Dead Redemption. Many consider Red Dead Redemption from Rockstar Games to be a masterpiece, as it won numerous Game of the Year awards back in 2010, and is generally considered one of the better games of the entire seventh generation of gaming. As a testament to Red Dead Redemption‘s popularity, as soon as it was added to the Xbox One backward compatibility lineup, its sales increased by nearly 6,000 percent, showing gamers are as hyped as ever to see where Rockstar takes the franchise next.
A side-scrolling run and gun co-op game from Konami, Sunset Riders was a popular fixture in arcades in the early 90s, and also earned recognition for its Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo console ports. Sunset Riders was notable for its sense of humor and fast-paced gameplay, as well as its intense outlaw boss battles that capped off each stage.
The Oregon Trail
Even those that may not consider themselves gamers may be familiar with The Oregon Trail. The game was used as an educational tool (primarily in the 80s and 90s) to teach elementary-aged kids about what pioneer life was like in the 1800s, and is one of the best-selling video games of all time. The Oregon Trail was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2016, and its continued cultural significance means we’ll all probably be dying of digital dysentery for years to come.
While not explicitly set in the Old West, Wild Arms does take place in a fantasy world inspired by it, called Filgaia. Wild Arms is largely defined by its western-inspired setting, which helped it stand apart from the legions of similar JRPGs that dominated the PlayStation’s library in the 90s. The series has been dormant since 2008, but fans are able to revisit the original Wild Arms and some of its sequels thanks to the PS One Classics available for download on PS3, PSP, and PS Vita.
One of the earliest western video games was Wild Gunman from famous developer Gunpei Yokoi. It originally appeared in arcades in the 1970s, but didn’t hit the peak of its popularity until it launched for the NES a decade later as one of the few games to utilize the NES Zapper peripheral. Wild Gunman continues to be acknowledged by Nintendo to this day, as it was released for Wii U Virtual Console in 2015 and elements of the light gun shooter were added to the Super Smash Bros. games.
From Call of Juarez: Gunslinger to Wild Gunman, we believe these are the best western titles in video gaming so far. However, with a Red Dead Redemption followup said to be in the works, the best could be yet to come for video games set in the Old West.
Which western game is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.