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Wild West Online launches onto the dusty trails today

Not quite a bonanza

You'd think that with how gosh-darned fun it is to play around with six-shooters, lever-action rifles and all those other trappings of the old American west, it'd be a more popular setting for games. Until such time as Rockstar confirm that Red Dead Redemption 2 is officially PC-bound, Wild West Online is our next best bet. This online cowboy sandbox from DJ2 Entertainment has been lurking around in early access for some time, but today it got its best ten gallon hat on and set forth in search of fame and glory.

While I've not had a chance to try this one myself, I've been watching it being streamed. It seems an odd mixture of relaxing travel through vast open expanses and shockingly lethal combat, with many of the fights I've seen resolved at surprising range and with only one or two bullets. It doesn't seem uncommon for someone to snipe your unsuspecting face off from half a mile away. Personally not my cup of tea, but I can vaguely see the appeal for Battle Royale-hardened types that want a little more to do in the world other than wander and snipe.

Watch on YouTube

That said, initial Steam user reviews don't exactly seem happy. While there aren't too many, the few that have been posted so far are overwhelmingly negative. The most common complaint is that players are just being picked off by high-level griefers the moment they step out of a safe area. Others seem unhappy with the state the game has launched in, claiming that it needed longer in early access. There's also reports of PvE content being especially threadbare, with no expendable villains to get into gunfights with. If you want to shoot or be shot at, other players are your only option.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty rough launch, and perhaps one to hold off on until such time as some reviewin' type varmints have gone and rustled up some critique. Wild West Online is out now via Steam for £30/30€/$30. Yes, you read that right, and no, I don't think that's how currency is supposed to work either.

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Dominic Tarason