It is slightly upsetting that there are not more people playing Red Dead Redemption online. Sure some people are playing through the single player campaign (I am still yet to finish it), but I was hoping that more people would at least log on and give it a try. What you will find is not the most refined experience, it is however unapologetically brutal. I've only played Free-For-All matches: they are fast, fun and messy. The auto-aim is a little too overbearing, and if you wait until you can see an opponent, and then choose to aim, you're targeting reticle will be right on them. Dead-Eye also makes it into FFA matches and is used in real-time. When you click the right stick, you'll have a few seconds to wave your reticle over enemies, mark targets and then fire off as many bullets as you can. It is also a little too effective. With the auto-aim and the Dead-Eye, you will sometimes feel like you have copped a few cheap deaths.
The reason I've kept going back though isn't the weapon selection (meh); or the large, vertical maps with ample amounts of cover. I haven't gone back for the cheap deaths and kill stealing. I've gone back because each match starts with a Mexican stand-off. With 2 players it is a great test of timing and wits. With 8, it is straight up hateful. The game suggests an opponent for you to kill and you will obtain a bonus if you manage to dispatch the pre-determined target. Once again, that's all good, but that's not the reason I love it. I love it because if there was someone who was absolutely ruling you in the previous round, you have a sound chance of getting revenge. In matches where there was one player dominating everyone, I couldn't help but laugh when every other player aimed square at the leader's head, and filled it with lead. After the first few shots are fired, it's a mad scramble. The stand-off will expire if players survive for long enough, but even in that event, it is quite the rush.
For anyone wondering, Free Roam is mind-numbingly boring by yourself. When in Free Roam solo, I decided to act on my most jerk-like impulses. It's fun for a little bit, but after about 5 minutes you will find yourself whistling for your trusty steed and dashing to a lobby.
I'm ranking up at a (suprisingly) steady rate and I am interested in trying out some team modes. The only problem is that given how slowly these matches populate, I dare say I lack the patience to actually compete in a team match. I'm going to put the multiplayer adventure on the shelf for now and complete the single player game. Do yourself a favour and start playing Red Dead Redemption......now!