There can be no question that I absolutely loved Red Dead Redemption 2 when it released last year. I even wrote a column about it for GameSpace looking back on that Unshaken Ride. RDR 2’s story is the single best story I’ve ever experienced in any medium. Period. But, as a PC gamer, I was always left wondering how good a PC version could be. With the recent news that RDR 2 is indeed coming to PC, allow me to share with you just why I’m so excited for the PC version.
1. Graphics (Obviously)
It’s known by now that the biggest reason I love games so much is the ceaseless advancement of technology and how this technology immerses me into the world more and more. Red Dead Redemption 2 was an already great looking game on my Xbox One X. The native 4K resolution, excellent animations, hugely impressive volumetrics, lighting, vegetation, and character modeling were just completely on point. However, they were inherently bound by the limitations of 2012 tablet CPUs paired with middling GPUs.
On PC, such a resource constraint isn’t really an issue. Rockstar themselves have stated in no uncertain terms that Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC is, “the ultimate version of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang’s open world epic.” They’ve claimed the PC version will feature, “increased draw distances for better navigation; higher quality global illumination and ambient occlusion for improved day and night lighting; higher quality snow trails, improved reflections and deeper, higher resolution shadows at all distances; tessellated tree textures and improved grass and fur textures for added realism in every plant and animal.”
As good as the console version was, I can see just where and how the PC version can be taken to the next level. While it isn’t explicitly stated nor confirmed, my hope for ray traced global illumination in the vein of Metro Exodus would elevate Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC to a whole new level of immersion. Given how atmospheric the game is, more accurate lighting would no doubt have a hugely positive impact on my appreciation for the drama presented in the excellent story.
GTA V on PC is unquestionably the ultimate version of that game, and given Rockstar’s competence and talent, I have no doubt Red Dead Redemption 2 will be handled with the same care.
2. Performance (Also Obviously)
Consoles experienced Red Dead Redemption 2 at 30fps. I don’t care how smoothly that framerate was on Xbox One X – 30fps is still 30fps. Higher framerates on PC will provide snappier gunplay, more fluid animations, better responsiveness, much better immersion, and so on. I don’t need to preach to the choir here.
This is the one thing that was constantly gnawing at the back of my mind whilst I played Red Dead Redemption 2 on console: how much better would this be on PC at much higher framerates? The pairing of keyboard and mouse for gunplay will unquestionably provide much superior aiming to console, for example, making shootouts less frustrating and less finnicky. We only have to wait three more weeks to find out.
I admit, I never dabbled in mods in GTA V. But modding is one of the greatest advantages of PC gaming. Mods completely transformed my experience in Skyrim and Witcher 3 and allowed me far greater customization in graphics and quality of life gameplay tweaks.
Given the swathe of mods available for GTA V, I have complete faith in the modding community to attack Red Dead Redemption 2 with the same passion to provide us mods ranging from the fun, to truly absurd, to graphically transformative.
Mods are part of the lifeblood of PC gaming, and given just how good and robust Rockstar’s homegrown RAGE engine is, I think I might just dip my toes into the modding scene for Red Dead Redemption 2. I’m sure to see quite a selection from people far more talented than I.
The Waiting Game
Fortunately, we only have to wait about three more weeks till we see what exactly Rockstar has in store for us PC gamers. I’m so looking forward to experiencing the wonderful story again, but this time, backed by the brute force horsepower only offered on PC. Man, I’m excited.Images via Rockstar