The Wild West genre is a a big frontier that isn’t explored as often as I first thought. There are plenty of Western staples and cliches littered throughout the history of video games, but the ideals and themes of the Wild West seem to stretch out to much more than just cowboys, Indians and cattle ranching. The Western aesthetic tugs at the idea of vast freedom, lawlessness, risk versus rewards and wandering desperadoes. But of course when a game does decide to actually have cowboys, Indians and cattle ranching, it wouldn’t be so bad either. Here’s Bit Cultures’ Top 10 Western Video Games!
10. Borderlands 2
What’s better than your average spaghetti western? A western-inspired sci-fi adventure, of course! It’s easy to find the significant amount of inspiration Gearbox developers utilized in crafting the huge world of Borderlands. Whether you’re romping through western-esque towns or wielding your favorite Jacobs’ six-shooter, riding your steel horse and wreaking havoc has never been more rewarding – especially when the infamous loot boxes brim with an insane amount of weapon variations. Not only is the western theme pretty evident and ever-present in Borderlands 2, but the character development and plot line create an exemplary experience for all involved.
9. Rebel Galaxy
Rebel Galaxy is a western that’s hogtied and paraded around as a science fiction space adventure video game. The wild west aesthetics are so prevalent, you’d think this space-sim was a western title just from listening to the Southern-accented denizens or the heavy-hitting backwater soundtrack. In Rebel Galaxy, you can roam the universe as a bounty hunter, lawman, merchant, miner or anything in-between. There’s a freedom and openness to the game that does a fantastic job of making the deep blue of space feel like the lawless frontier of the wild west. It’s rare for a ship adventure game to harbor such strong western aesthetics, but Rebel Galaxy knocks it out of the park.
8. Wasteland 2
The post-apocalypse is very similar to the wild west as justice is measured and dealt by those who live by the gun. The dry Arizona desert of Wasteland 2 plays especially well with the lawless themes of a past American era. Players take control of a group of wasteland heroes called the Desert Rangers, but whether you chose to solve your problems with a silver tongue or the end of a revolver is entirely up to you. The only difference between the wild west and Wasteland 2 may just only be the amount of radiation lingering around.
Gun was one of the first wild west video games I can recall spending much of my youth playing. An original Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube title, players take control of Colton White and roam the open world. Developers Neversoft did a fantastic job in creating a believable world to just let players become their wild west hero. You’re free to hit up towns like Dodge City, take on dangerous bounties and even hunt animals for their pelts. With a plethora of firearms, health-reviving tonics, and plenty of baddies to shoot down, this digital wild west was one to embrace the western genre wholeheartedly.
6. Wild Arms Series
When considering the realms of RPGs, western themes remain suspiciously uninvolved. For the RPGs released yearly, one would surmise that the excess of fantasy or sci-fi settings would dull the experience and beg for a new genre. It’s easy to see, then, why Wild Arms provided PlayStation gamers with a rare glimpse into a western RPG. In particular, Wild Arms 3 welcomes the gamer into a fully-realized western setting. But not only are the aesthetics of the world inspired by westerns of old, but even the user interface, menu screen, and dialogue boxes fuse with the western style. Just take a view of the opening video for enough western visuals to leave you satisfied.