Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally launched on PC. So…where’s our review?
In the spirit of full transparency, while we received review code, the game did not unlock early. We’re playing the game at the same time as everyone else when it unlocked yesterday morning at 8a ET. As such, we do not have a review for you today.
This does not mean that we will not have a review. We are going to approach Red Dead Redemption 2 a little differently. For one, the game has existed for a year on consoles. The story and mechanics haven’t fundamentally changed. However, we know many of you haven’t played the game at all on console, so the PC version will be the first time you’ll experience Red Dead Redemption 2. So don’t worry, we will cover off things like mechanics and story.
However, because the game has existed for a year, the real unknown aspect of this game – and one I suspect many of you will be more interested in – is how good is the PC port? Is worth my money? Or is it some half-baked implementation? I plan on answering that for you.
Therefore, while our review will discuss the story and mechanics of Red Dead Redemption 2, we will skew heavily into the technical competence of the game. How good are the key bindings? What options can we tweak? How good is the mouse support? How good is the ultrawide support? What kind of performance can I expect? These are questions which no doubt cross the minds of us PC gamers, and I aim to answer them.
But this will take time. I want my review of Red Dead Redemption 2 to be timely. But more importantly, I want it to be informative. There is no point in rushing out a PC port impressions after only a few hours with the game because something may happen after 50 hours which throws the PC port quality into question. We need to do our jobs.
Is there anything I can share today after a couple of hours of play? Sure. Key bindings are aplenty, with full primary and secondary bindings. However, you can only change key bindings in-game, which makes no sense. Hopefully, this gets patched to allow keybinding in the main menu.
Additionally, while I personally have not experienced any crashes, plenty of people have, including Managing Editor Joseph Bradford (Rule of Three). Rockstar suggests making sure you have the correct drivers installed, as well as running both Rockstar Games Launcher and the Red Dead Redemption 2 exe in as Administrator. There’s currently a list of bugs and issues with Red Dead Redemption 2 along with potential fixes up on Reddit.
Some things I’ve found personally are that the game runs slightly (and I do mean slightly) better in DX12 mode compared to Vulkan. You may want to mess around with that on your own by using the in-game benchmark. Additionally, Raw mouse input introduced stutter for me. Switching to DirectInput eliminated stutter when moving my camera with my mouse. Oh and the game can’t remember that I’ve selected Fullscreen mode. It defaults to Windowed Borderless every time I start.
Honestly at this point, we’ll have to wait for Rockstar to issue fixes. Suffice it to say, however, that the game looks utterly gorgeous on PC. It features ultrawide support during gameplay, but cinematics are 16:9 and maintain the black bars on top and bottom during these moments. So if you have an ultrawide monitor, be ready for a double dose of pillar boxing during cutscenes.
Other than that, my initial suspicion is that the PC game maxed out is doing far more than your traditional console-to-PC port when maxed out. There is simply more accuracy to the effects on display, including cloud simulation, ambient occlusion, and the like. And there are so many graphics options to tweak, so we’re definitely catered for there. But I’m going to need more time with the game.
So if you’re looking to dive in today, be warned of the issues I’ve laid out here. I’m hoping Rockstar addresses these quickly. Personally, I’m extremely excited to check out the game and take plenty of pics with photo mode. Stay tuned for the rest of our coverage.
Full disclosure: Code was provided by publisher for purpose of review.