Is Read Dead Redemption the best open-world game ever made? If unanimous critical and public praise is to be believed, it probably is.
Rockstar's very excellent Western has so far managed a stunning Metacritic score of 95 on Xbox 360, not only putting it above other big-hitting sandbox games such as Red Faction: Guerrilla (85), both Saints Rows (81, 82), both GTA IV episodes (89, 90), Crackdown (83) and PS3 exclusive InFamous (85).
Admittedly, Red Dead hasn't quite made it up to GTA IV's heights yet (98) after - to be fair - just one day of reviews, but it seems to be the opinion of CVG's man that the Western sandbox takes the crown.
"In a way, Red Dead Redemption works better than GTA because it's based on naturally sparser environments," reads our Red Dead Redemption review. "Niko Bellic was constantly bombarded with stressful, urgent urban surroundings. John Marston roams in simpler times, which house simpler lives.
"In a densely populated modern day metropolis, the limitations of the AI are exposed - simply because there are so many more examples of them.
"Red Dead Redemption may not necessarily be a technological leap when it comes to imitating a working society, then. But this is the Wild West; where cowboys hunched on bar stools playing five finger fillet or outlaws watching the world go by on a terrace are all that's needed to create a really authentic and believable world."
The game's already out in the States and lands in Europe this Friday. Are there any Americans or early copy-snatchers among us who'd like to share an opinion?