Since most of the folks on this board seem like they want to give this game a blowjob, I figure I'll be a little more critical.
I'd love to love this game. In some ways, I do. I'm a western fan, and a cowboy fan. When I heard about this game, and Gun, I had to have them.
Nice visuals match the strong story and thematic elements well. But the gameplay.. the missions... There are times when you don't know what to do, wander around aimlessly, or know exactly what to do but can't do it. During several of the boss fights I found the only way to win was to position myself in strange "safe" spots and blast away... it felt almost like a glitch, or cheating. That's not fun, and neither is repeating an entire level or battle because you died, even after completing it. Dueling is an interesting concept, and in some ways it works. But mostly it's just Red swinging his gun around drunkenly finding lots of worthless yellow spots all over his enemies face/chest. With the difficulty of controlling the wildly swinging crosshairs, you could expect the deadly areas to at least be realistic, but no.
There are 4 reasons this game lost major points for me. The bar brawl, The Traitor, Diego's Fortress, and the duel/battle with Mr.Kelly. Specifically, it was the duel/battle with Kelly that pushed this game over the top and frustrated me to the point of insanity. Playing the same scenes over and over is not fun to me. Perhaps some people enjoy it. I've seen players on here bragging about how long or how many times it took them to beat a part of the game. That's not fun. That's not what a "game" should be about. It makes me wonder why I even persist, but I do, so somehow the game is rewarding enough to keep me playing.
I'd love to love this game. But I hate it. And I love it.
The only thing I really got annoyed with in this game was the dueling.
Last night I must have spent 30 minutes getting killed vs the... second to last guy (can't remember his name). The guy that was standing behind the desk. I got so frustrated that I just stopped playing and went to sleep.
Next day i decided to try it again and I beat him him on the first try. WTF?? I mean he just stood there and did not try to shoot back at all.
I hope the sequel (Red Dead Redemption) will iron out the dueling portion of the game.