Liars and Cheats, the third downloadable content pack for Red Dead Redemption, elaborates on the game’s multiplayer Free Roam mode with a variety of significant upgrades including new game modes and levelling hubs, multiplayer pastimes and a handful of cosmetic additions.

The most significant inclusion in the pack is the new multiplayer mode Stronghold, which pits two teams of eight against one another in objective-based Attack and Defend gameplay. Stronghold is played on four new multiplayer maps, Blackwater, Thieves’ Landing, Fort Mercer and Escalera.

Any passing concerns about balancing maps not initially designed for competitive multiplayer are calmed by both teams switching between offense and defence.

Equally noteworthy is the addition of poker and liar’s dice. Every day, players are given a $200 allowance with which they can gamble against other players. This is something the Red Dead community has been hollering for, and it’s always gratifying to see user-requested content be implemented.

That said, we don’t see what all the fuss is about. Playing poker or dice for a virtual currency that has limited uses within the game just doesn’t seem worth the effort to us – especially when the real-world equivalent hardly has a prohibitive bar for entry and, if you’re inclined to gamble, a more tangible reward.

Still, the Western aesthetic does give it a particular charm.

Speaking of which, Liars and Cheats unlocks fifteen new character models drawn from the singleplayer game, including Bonnie, Dutch, West Dickens, Seth, Irish and Marston himself.

More pleasing, as far as we’re concerned, is horse racing. Each event is a small tournament consisting of three to five races. It plays out much the same way as it does in the singleplayer game, with the added zest of firearms. The result is something akin to a kart racer.

In addition, seven new gang hideouts, player versus environment areas designed for levelling up your character, and four new hunting areas, have been added.

A posse leaderboard system has also been implemented, a welcome addition that allows for the quick comparison of bands.

Finally, the explosive rifle – Red Dead’s period answer to the noob tube – has been added to the game. Those who purchase Liars and Cheats will also find the explosive rifle in the game’s singleplayer.

The downloadable pack is of great service and a sure bet for existing Red Dead online fans but at nearly NZD $20, it may fail to woo a flush of new or returning users.