Being a long-time GTA fan, I never really thought anything could approach the franchise's quality and addictiveness when it came to open-world sandbox goodness. Just impossible.

And then came Red Dead Redemption . Okay, first of all, I don't even like Westerns. I don't like Western movies, I don't like the Southwest artistic motif, I don't even like that period in history. And yet, somehow, RDR made me want to become a cowboy. Seriously. I wanted to go back in time, ride a horse, and fire a six-shooter. I wanted to be the best lasso-tosser in the county. I wanted livestock to tend.

It was freakin' trippy. I had so many reservations going into the game due to my personal preferences. I don't like Mass Effect because I really don't enjoy the sci-fi style (give me the fantasy sword 'n staff setting any day). And I loved Vice City 'cuz I love the '80s setting. So how in the world was I going to get into RDR? Well, it happened. There was just something about that landscape that made one feel so…vulnerable and heroic at the same time. It had an almost dizzying impact.

It really was the untamed countryside that drew me in. Perhaps it's intrinsic in human nature; maybe it's an inherent inborn trait. Maybe it's the reason we pushed west in the first place because there was a time in human history when we were very nomadic; we wanted to explore and conquer. And despite many years of slowing down and fattening up, I don't think you can ever really kill that indescribable urge. Deep down, maybe we all strive to be cowboys in the Wild West.

Live in a time when men were men , you know? In comparison and contrast, GTA seems to pale in comparison. And yet, I can't in good conscience say RDR is a superior game to GTAIV because I really don't believe that's true. In fact, I actually believe they're two surprisingly different games, despite being very similar in every way, shape and form. …wait, that doesn't make any sense, does it? Well, I'm sticking by it. No other way to describe it.

I adored GTAIV. There's no doubt about that. But there was just something about RDR that struck deep…anyone else feel the same way?

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