This past weekend, Rockstar's Red Dead franchise officially became 20 years old in North America, having first arrived on the scene way back in May 2004. Here at Pure Xbox HQ we have strong connections to Rockstar's rootin' tootin' romp of a series - especially with Red Dead Redemption for Xbox 360 and Xbox One's Red Dead Redemption 2. However, we'd never played Red Dead Revolver before, so we decided to give it a whirl this weekend and see what's what.

For some extra context, we've jumped into roughly the first third of Revolver on OG Xbox here - playing on Xbox Series X for that juicy resolution boost and more stable frame rate. The game was added to Microsoft's backwards compatibility list as part of the team's final update to the program thus far, and we're glad they've made it that bit easier to revisit this Rockstar classic.

Jumping into the game's story mode, it's immediately clear that this Wild West series started out life as a much more light-hearted, arcadey affair than what the franchise has ultimately developed into. Revolver almost plays out in an episodic fashion - where the game sets up a basic story scenario before asking you to play out that scenario with a chosen loadout. It actually reminded us of Techland's Call of Juarez: Gunslinger somewhat - and we wouldn't be surprised if the Polish developer took inspiration from Rockstar's OG Xbox classic back in 2012.

Red Dead Is Now 20 Years Old, So We Played The Xbox Original For The Very First Time 2

That arcade-like nature extends to the way Red Dead Revolver plays as well. Expect a much, much faster combat style in this OG Xbox entry - weapons feel quite floaty compared to Redemption, and especially Redemption 2. We reckon Xbox 360's Red Dead probably got the balance just right when it comes to gun feel, but we actually enjoyed Revolver more than we first thought we might. Free firing without relying on aim assist is probably the most reliable of the three games in Revolver - and when you do want to land a sure-shot, the series' famous 'Dead Eye' mechanic is present in all its glory.

You can practise your aim within the game's 'Showdown' mode too - a multiplayer mode of sorts that allows up to four players to battle it out across a variety of small stages. This can be played both with AI or other local players, and is a nice way to just jump in and get rootin' tootin' shootin' as fast as possible. Again, it contributes to this arcadey feel that Red Dead Revolver has - it all feels more stereotypical 'Wild West shoot-em-up' than anything else in the series to date.

One thing we have started to miss as we progress further into Revolver is the game's open world. Sure, open worlds are extremely common in gaming these days and playing too many of them can get tiring, but Rockstar makes some of the best examples out there and we absolutely love moseying around in the two Redemption games. Revolver is fun to hop into, but it certainly lacks depth compared to the more modern Red Dead games and their beautiful, immersive open worlds.

Red Dead Is Now 20 Years Old, So We Played The Xbox Original For The Very First Time 1

Anyway, we'll certainly stick with Revolver a little longer and hopefully get around to finishing the main story soon enough - we'll likely mix it in with some of the more recent titles in our backlog because there's just so much to play these days. It's been fun to get stuck into this one after missing out for so long, and we're loving how good the game still looks thanks to Xbox backwards compatibility. Now, how about a 60FPS update for Red Dead 2, eh Rockstar?

So, have you played Red Dead Revolver? How does it rank amongst the series for you? Tell us your best Wild West stories on OG Xbox down below.