Why do we love stories about cowboys? Why is our culture so into the idea of the Old West?
Well, these games answer these questions. The Old West is a time of exploration and discovery. The characters we often play as (cowboys) are people who are stubborn, daring, and feel big in a even bigger world. The best part is that the world is very far from perfect. There was a ton of conflict in this time period. That is the perfect setting for a story.
So here are ten of the best western video games according to Metacritic.
10 Red Dead Redemption (Score: 95)
Obviously, this classic game makes it onto the list. Red Dead Redemption came out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010 and was well received by both gamers and critics for its fantastic landscapes, authentic history, strong character cast, varied gameplay, and interesting story.
The game is as western as it gets, calling itself a "Western Epic." It has an open-world environment that encourages a lot of discovery and exploration. If you want a sandbox western, then this is your game.
9 West Of Loathing (Score: 87)
This games' highest rating was for the PC but it is also available on the Nintendo Switch. This little gem is a slapstick comedy western role-playing game. Critics has written that it is the kind of game that makes you want to restart it right after you finish. It has a unique visual style with stick figure characters, which really fits into the humor and wit of the writing. Besides just exploring, you get to make choices and solve puzzles. There is a little of everything.
It is not just a joke at the expense of the genre, it is more of a game that pays homage to old western movies and RPGs.
8 Hunt: Showdown (Score: 81)
This competitive shooter is known to be strenuous and difficult, but well loved by its players. This is one of those games some players send as much as 500 hours on. The environment and graphics were adored by critics and the game has done nothing but improve through patches.
The game is set in 1895 Louisiana and has a mix of intense PvP and PvE experiences. You fight both other hunters and creatures. So if you want a western game that is more of a challenge and a competitive multiplayer, then this is the game for you.
7 SteamWorld Dig 2 (Score: 88)
This sequel to SteamWorld Dig has you controlling a steam-driven robot named Dorothy. She is searching for the protagonist from the first game, Rusty. These games focus mostly on mining for resources, so you are underground a lot. While the game is in an old west setting, that is not exactly the focus since the gameplay is mostly beneath the earth. Still, it makes it to this list since it was in a western setting and is rated high on Metacritic.
While the first game was viewed positively from critics and players alike, most would agree that this sequel is actually even better.
6 Fallout: New Vegas (Score: 84)
Fallout: New Vegas as a dedicated cult following among the regular Fallout fans. Many argue that it was the series at its best. They prefer it to the 3rd and 4th games because it had way more choice-based content, factions, and amazing DLC. The game had a lot of old western vibes since it took place in the Mojave Wasteland and had many recognizable western elements such as prospectors, cowboys, shoot-outs, and gangs.
A lot of the series already feels like a western due to the lawlessness, factions, and desert-like environment. New Vegas just took that western-ness to the next level.
5 Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (Score: 83)
Scoring highest for the PlayStation Vita, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath details the story of a character named Stranger who is a bounty hunter. Stranger is trying to raise enough money for a life-saving operation. A unique factor of the game is the live-ammunition. That's right, your ammunition includes living creatures and insects.
The game originally came out in 2005 but was remastered in 2012. After seven years, the game still won the hearts of critics and players.
4 Desperados: Wanted Dead Or Alive (Score: 78)
This PC game dates back to 2001. It features 25 levels where you are hired to find bandits that are responsible for a train robbery. The gameplay is strategy, team, real-time, and character-based. You control up to six characters with a protagonist named John Cooper. The game takes place in 1881 and consists of some interesting characters. Your team consists of a physician, safecracker, gambler, sniper, and explosives fanatic.
The game got a couple sequels not they were not as highly rated.
3 Wild Guns Reloaded (Score: 80)
While this game is rated highest for its Nintendo Switch version, it is also available for the PC and PlayStation 4. Wild Guns Reloaded is a remastered version of Wild Guns, a Super NES game from 1994. It is set in the Wild West with steampunk and science fiction elements. The story is centered on characters Annie and Clint. Annie is hunting Clint down in a quest of revenge for her dead family. The mechanics are that of a third-person shooter and a light gun game.
The remaster was enjoyed by critics and players as it added new characters, stages, modes, and updated the audio. Critics especially noted in their reviews that this was a fine example of a good remaster of an old game.
2 Gunman Clive HD Collection (Score: 86)
This game came out in 2015 for the Wii U and was later released for the Nintendo Switch. Gunman Clive is a Swedish indie game side-scroller made by a company called Hörberg Productions. You get to play an unnamed gunslinger who is on a mission to save the mayor's daughter from bandits in a futuristic Wild West. This collection includes the first game and its sequel. Critics have called it one of the best 2D platformers they have played.
1 Red Dead Redemption 2 (Score: 97)
The highest rated western on Metacritic is no surprise. Red Dead Redemption was amazing, and the sequel only advanced a formula that was already good. You got even more customizable options, missions had more depth, and the map was larger and more detailed. If felt a less like Grand Theft Auto with horses like the first game did.
While Metacritics numbers would say this game was better, fans often debate about which of the two games they preferred. Whatever the case may be, both of them are incredible western games.