Arriving in the Expo Hall at PAX East I was shocked to see that even in the "media only" time slot that there was a substantial lineup for the Red Dead Redemption demo stations. As the day progressed the lines became even longer and wrapped completely around their huge square booth for the entire show's duration. Working with a partner I lined up early and waited (mostly) patiently for my time with the anticipated Wild West themed sandbox shooter.
Entering the fully enclosed and very spacious demo area, I counted at least eight stations playing the game and noted that demos were conducted on a one-on-one basis. My guide greeted me, escorted me to a station, and explained the game's broad overview. You are John Marston, a former outlaw and when federal agents threaten your family you are sent across the American frontier to help bring the order of law to the land. This is to be an open world experience with activities ranging from bounty hunts to gunfights to train robberies.
Excited to start as I watched the game looping in front of me I was happy to have the controller placed in front of me and told to drive. I should mention that this appeared to be the full unlocked game (not a demo level) which explains why I had to play with a Rockstar guide. Anyone familiar with the Grand Theft Auto series (or any third person action game) will be comfortable with the controls. I was able to almost instantly figure out how to walk, move, sprint, and draw my gun based on previous experiences with the genre.
As soon as I started, I was outside a small town. My guide coached me through more controls and suggested I aim my gun at someone. I did and was pleased to see realistic reactions as I aimed at various townspeople. Some cringed, some ran, and one drew their own weapon which started my first gunfight. Keeping an aim on the shifty prospector who dared to challenge my wildly swinging gun I noticed that there was a soft targeting system. The guide verified that yes, the game will put your aim in the general vicinity of the nearest hostile, but precision aiming is still up to you.