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Nathan Ditum

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The one and Leone: What made Red Dead Redemption so special?

From the archive: Marston's pedigree.

Editor's note: It's happening! Rockstar has just announced a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, imaginatively titled Red Dead Redemption 2 and scheduled to come out next autumn. What is it that makes the original Red Dead Redemption the object of so much love? Nathan Ditum explored the game's appeal for us earlier this year when the 2010 Xbox 360 and PS3 game came to Xbox One via backwards compatibility.

The thing that The Witcher 3 does best, better than most other games, is war. This doesn't sound remarkable until you consider the huge number of games that are specifically about war - that make you do war and be in it - and that war itself never appears in The Witcher, at least not directly. We see battlefields and garrisons, occupations and barricades, but never open conflict. War is in a constant state of passing through, enormous and unseen, always at some distant proximity, but written into the land of The Witcher 3 and the people on it, in magic and misery.

The original Dying Light was so much fun. Fun in a scrappy, upside-down way. The game hid many of its best qualities behind a skill-tree system that made its headline parkour a shin-grazing drag for hours - until, essentially, you unlocked the skill of 'not being rubbish at parkour'. Because the game dished out XP for every act of mediocre acrobatics - double at night - it gave rise to a compulsive kind of midnight grind, hopping back and forth over a waist-high fence until sunrise. Morning! Halfway to having bendable knees already.

Requiem for a rocket launcher

Looking back at Destiny year one's biggest prize.

Before it was a rocket launcher with target tracking and devastating cluster rounds, Gjallarhorn - from the Old Norse "yelling horn" - was the instrument sounded by the herald god, Heimdall, to signal Ragnorok. The noise of Gjallarhorn, in other words, meant the end of the world - which, in a way, is just as true of its deadly, wolf-headed descendant in Destiny, a gun which proved so powerful it called down an armageddon on itself.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection review

Remembrance of rings past.

We remember in HD. That's the thing high-definition remakes are constantly having to compete against - the fact that, the way our minds would have it, past games that we love enough to conjure back into existence have always looked pin-sharp, beautifully lit, and on a par with their reconstructed, modernised selves. "Remembrance of things past," wrote Marcel Proust, "is not necessarily remembrance of things as they were."

Everything not saved will be lost

What Destiny tells us about life, the universe, and everything.

Here are some recent thoughts of mine: I am playing too much Destiny. Also, games might be an expression of the futility of the human condition.

I have spent hundreds of hours playing Halo 3, and I'd rank Bungie's trilogy-capping blockbuster in my top five of the last console generation. I know it with an obscene intimacy, from the inside out - its feel, its weapons, the intricacies of its physics and geometry. I have absorbed the game in some essential, comprehensive way, and yet I cannot pull from memory a single certain moment from its story campaign.