Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Review: Beautiful, buggy PC port has its ups and downs
Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally on PC after an entire year, and this crazy Western somehow even looks more gorgeous than it did back then.
In an upgrade of visuals to allow up to 4K resolution and uncapped frame rates, the game brings both an incredible experience and a demanding one at that.
I like to think of Red Dead Redemption 2 as one of the few high-budget cinematic video games – a title which is created solely to play, feel, and look like a Hollywood movie.
It’s also the best cinematic video game on the market. This whole idea is helped by consoles and their limit of only 30fps, which is famously used when shooting films to create a more cinematic effect.
In order to try to make a PC version of this game more cinematic, Rockstar has made quite a few changes to both controls and visuals.
Interestingly, you steer your horse with your mouse and moving at high speeds, making it quite difficult to look around without actually turning.
You eventually get used to this, but it both adds smooth turning to PC while also being irritating sometimes. This option can be turned off in the settings, but as it’s a default thing, it's worth bearing in mind.
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Some players reported being unable to launch Red Dead Redemption 2, with a large amount of launch crashes happening thanks to the Rockstar Games Launcher.
Though the experience can vary from player to player (and the power of your rig is going to have an impact on your experience, too), there have been many reports of crashes and bugs from all corners of the internet.
Sometimes, when I’d look around on my horse, the camera would stutter. This wasn’t the game dropping frames or freezing, as everything around me would be moving fine and smoothly, it’s just the camera movement that seemed to freak out sometimes for no reason at all.
This also happens frequently just when walking around – in fact, it’s happening as I’m writing this review. It’s quite annoying.
Other than that, it runs fine in ultra-settings on my PC rig. Obviously, you’d hope it would – I’m running the game on an RTX 2080Ti, AMD Ryzen 7 2700, with 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM, and it runs between 60fps and 70fps most of the time when playing in 1440p resolution.
This game makes my graphics card screech in pain due to how hot it gets, I’ve never heard my GPU be this loud before – even on war machine like this, it's a demanding title to run. Be warned.
It’s probably the most demanding PC game on the market right now, and that’s because it pairs amazing graphics with mediocre optimization.
As a result, Rockstar has added a multitude of graphical options in the settings, giving you way too many (in a good way) choices in order to fine tune your experience to your PC setup and get the most out of the game.
Do I think that waiting a whole year for this PC port was worth it? Personally, no.
It is pretty much the same game from last year but on a mouse and keyboard with some better graphics, but damn if it isn’t still mesmerizing.
The amount of new content isn’t that much, with Rockstar giving PC players some bounty hunter missions, 2 treasure maps, 1 brand new weapon, 2 new horses, and 5 new trinkets.
Other than that, the only real brand new thing about Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC is the photo mode.
The game boasts an all-new way of taking in-game screenshots, and it’s about damn time that we were able to show off how gorgeous the world of Red Dead is.
In fact, the photo mode is so brilliant that I physically cannot stop taking screenshots – it’s chipping away at my progress because I spend so much time taking photos in the new mode.
It makes me feel like Red Dead Redemption 2 has always needed this, and ever since the original release last year I have constantly felt like the game needed its own Rockstar Editor.
We don’t have that (at least not yet), but the photo mode is enough to tide most of us over for now.
As for the controls, it’s hard to talk about them in a review for a game which allows you to customize and change said controls.
Some horse manoeuvring needs work, with keyboard and mouse not exactly being the smoothest way to control a four-legged vehicle.
But, at the same time, you can tweak these controls in the settings to tailor it to your own preferences, and Rockstar do indeed give you a lot of options to be able to do just that.
In the end, this port is a good step, but is it worth your money or should you buy the console version?
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Review – 4/5
– Reviewed on PC
In a world where developers who design experiences for console and try throw them on the PC, Rockstar Games beautifully takes its time in creating a port that both serves the artistic purposes of the original while allowing players to run free in their best open world to date. Just make sure your PC is up to standard.
The real verdict will shine once modders get their hands into the files and begin to create some crazy mods for the game – something which may be a major selling point for this PC version down the line.
- Graphically demanding game paired with mediocre optimization makes for a lot of PCs getting stressed
- Still a few bugs and glitches that need fixing
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