I don’t want to be given to hyperbole (or a parabola for that matter) so keep that in mind while I gush about my first few hours in Red Dead Redemption.
I have been “immersed” in games before. My go-to experience is always Metroid Prime. In Metroid Prime playing as Samus, you are all alone in a hostile environment getting involved in a mess you had nothing to do with. As you traverse through the different locations, you begin scanning the computers of the Space Pirates. As you go along, the messages become more and more about you and your exploits. They are hot on your tail and it really feels like they are just one step behind. The whole they had me believing that I was about to meet certain doom. I felt truly immersed.
In Red Dead, I’m not immersed. This place is real. I’ve never had an experience like the first couple of hours of this game. More than once I just got on my horse and rode around taking in the surroundings. It was quite amazing. This game might not be perfect, but I feel like it’s a real, breathing world. Like it was a place that I could do anything I wanted to.
So then I punched a horse.