Why is it so satisfying to throw things at people? I honestly have no idea. I'm guessing that the answer has something to do with the 'lizard brain' – that bit of our squidgy matter that deals with all the primitive caveman stuff. If we had a resident neuropsychologist in the office I'd ask them to explain just why the tomahawks in the Legends and Killers Pack are so immediately lovable. They'd patiently reel off a load of scientific theory, and then when they were finished, I'd lob a stapler at their head. Why? Because that's what the lizard brain would demand, of course.
The tomahawk itself is a great example of why video games are so infinitely better than Real Life. In reality, there's a clear limit to how far I can get away with chucking things around: balls, paper planes and those yellow things from the insides of Kinder Eggs – those are all acceptable. Knives, rocks and small children – those will all get you in trouble (as the police have now made clear to me, on a number of occasions). In a video game, you don't just throw the things that bounce off people; you throw the things that stick in their heads. And believe you me, when you first embed a ruddy great throwing axe in one of your Red Dead rivals, when they slump over with a big wooden handle poking out of their skull, then you'll know that you're getting a dose of the good stuff.
Aside from giving us tomahawks to play with, the Legends and Killers Pack is primarily a map pack for Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer modes. There are new character skins, allowing you to play as Red Harlow, Jack Swallow and several other Red Dead Revolver cast members, but the real attraction is a set of nine new maps for your deathmatch and bag-grabbing needs. As before, they're all culled from areas of the main game world, but given the great size and diversity of Redemption's virtual playground, this still allows for a nice range of different play styles and aesthetic flavours.
Tall Trees was always one of the more interesting areas of Redemption's world, and here it retains its visual freshness, allowing players to stalk each other on horseback amid the hide-and-seek cover of a snow-laden forest. The only mode available is Hold Your Own – RDR's equivalent to Team-based Capture The Flag, with two markers. The relatively large size of the map poses plenty of challenges to both sides, particularly since the trees themselves make it quite easy for invaders to flank around the bases.
Escalera is perhaps the biggest new map on offer – it certainly felt like the biggest of the six I sampled this week. Again, veterans of the main campaign will remember this area well: it's a Mexican village built on a hillside leading up a large villa, the one owned by Colonel Allende, or "that utter bastard" as he's colloquially known. The map itself is almost as treacherous as its self-important overseer, since it's an absolute sniper's paradise. If you're at the top of the map looking down on everyone else, you're laughing; if you're at the bottom trying to work your way up, you're probably screwed. Acquiring a scoped rifle can certainly help to level things out a bit, but the map still feels remarkably tough. That said, it was possibly my favourite of the new locations.