There is still a long standing love for the Western genre in both movies and gaming (despite some problematic aspects to these stories). At this point, everyone and their grandmother knows about Red Dead Redemption and its sequel. The two games embodied the Western genre that all other games set in the Old West become overshadowed.
That may be a testament to how well done the Red Dead Redemption games are but it’s also unfair to other good games in the genre. Over the years, there have been plenty of gems in this genre that deserve just as much praise.
10 The Gunstringer
Despite being a failed experiment with motion controls, Microsoft’s Kinect did have a collection of praise-worthy games. One of them is an on-rail shooter titled The Gunstringer, a game that parodies the many cliches of the Western genre while presenting itself in the style of a marionette play.
Not only are the visuals and gags enjoyable to watch but The Gunstringer uses rather simple but effective motion controls that help it turn into an addictive experience. It certainly is leagues above most attempts to have a shooter on the Kinect.
9 Hard West
Sadly, despite its favorable reviews, Hard West is a title that slipped under the radar while Red Dead Redemption II continued to win over gamers. It’s a shame because Hard West is a welcome addition to the genre of turn-based tactics games à la XCOM.
Like many games in this genre, Hard West earns its title by featuring gameplay that can result in a lot of restarting. One mistake could result in the player replaying through the entire mission or even the whole game. However, it never gets to the point of rage quitting, it keeps the player determined to complete the objective.
8 Outlaws (1997)
In the ’90s, there were a lot of Doom clones that tried to capitalize off what Id Software did. One of these came in the form of Outlaws; from LucasArts, the creators of Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, and many Star Wars titles.
Outlaws mixes the fast-paced action of Doom with the cartoonish art style of Monkey Island, resulting in a fun experience. It may not bring anything new to the table but it takes what made Doom so thrilling and copies it just enough without feeling too much like a clone.
7 Desperados III (2020)
Another tactical game set in the Old West, only this time it takes after the real-time tactics games such as Commandos and Shadow Tactics. Similar to those RTS titles, Desperados puts an emphasis on using stealth to gain an advantage via ambushes and setting off traps.
Much like Hard West, Desperados can be unforgiving but pulling off successful stealth segments is very satisfying. On top of all that Desperados III features a well-written story campaign that will keep the player engaged despite any frustrations.
6 Hunt: Showdown (2018)
This is an example of a game that is difficult to label because it has so many elements involved. Hunt: Showdown has an open world, PvP elements, PVE elements, it’s a first-person shooter, it’s a horror game, and so much more. It’s so unique that it’s easy to see why some gamers had trouble getting into it.
However, Hunt: Showdown deserves more attention as it provides a thrilling experience that may be daunting but once the player gets past the steep learning curve, it becomes an ambitious gem. It fails to fall into the cliche multiplayer tropes and creates something brand new with monster hunting, player hunting, and survival action.
5 Gun (2005)
Before Red Dead Redemption, there was another open-world Western title with survival elements simply titled Gun. In fact, some gamers have wondered if Rockstar took inspiration from Gun when it came to developing their game; the games have a lot of similar mechanics.
Not only is it an open world but it has animal hunting, taking up bounty hunting, and allows the player to utilize many types of weapons. Gun also features an all-star cast including Thomas Jane, Brad Dourif, Ron Perlman, Tom Skerrit, and even the talented Lance Henriksen that help elevate the typical revenge plot.
4 Wild Arms (1996)
One of the more underrated JRPGs, Wild Arms, and its many sequels take the Old West and mix it with Eastern fantasy elements. If a player is familiar with the likes of Square Enix RPGs at the time such as Final Fantasy, Wild Arms is not that difficult to grasp.
It’s heroes fighting villains, demons, aliens, and all sorts of foes using a mix of technology and magic. A simple yet effective story that spanned several sequels that are more or less equal in quality to the original.
3 Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
Though it leans heavily into the science-fiction genre like all other Fallout games, Fallout: New Vegas comes the closest to a Western. From the atmospheric music to the towns that feel straight out of an old-school Western such as The Magnificent Seven. Even the weapons match a lot of western tropes but are updated with a sci-fi twist.
New Vegas embraces the Western genre proudly too, giving tribute to many famous films and stories of the past. The story is even about a person left for dead in the desert only to be saved by a small-town doctor thus beginning a revenge story.
2 Darkwatch (2005)
A train robber accidentally awakens the demon Lazarus who turns him into a vampire. That robber is then drafted into the monster-hunting organization known as the Darkwatch. The result is a linear but thrilling first-person shooter that keeps the player on their toes with the constant introduction of new monsters.
It features a dark and gothic atmosphere that feels straight out of a Universal Monster movie. The weapons and lore are meticulously designed, the action is non-stop, and there are horror elements. Darkwatch is one of those titles that should have gotten a franchise but sadly, the sequel was canceled; gaining a cult following as a shooter that deserves a sequel or remake.
1 Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger
On the surface, Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger is the most linear shoot ’em up imaginable. However, the developers put all effort into making each level difficult but also a blast to play through. From the poster-like art style to the smooth gunplay to the dynamic ways to eliminate enemies for extra points.
Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger hits all the right notes as a first-person shooter and a Western that even Red Dead Redemption II‘s Arthur Morgan was used to promote the game’s re-release for the Switch.
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