Expected for months by PC gamers, Red Dead Redemption 2 will finally have been much faster to debut in Windows version than its Big Brother Grand Theft Auto 5, which made us linger for seventeen months. Let’s stop talking, after all, what’s wrong with this supposed “superior version“?
Even if we had to wait a little more than a year to see it on PC, Red Dead Redemption 2 has at least the merit of not having stood us up as the first opus that counts the adventures of John Marston. At the time, Rockstar Games was still reluctant to turn more massively to PCs, but today, with an online mode that brings in much more than just game sales the American studio could not decently ignore the millions of gamers.
“Rockstar Games didn’t really make an action game, more like a Wild West adventure.”
Morgan of you
Remember, it’s 1899. After a botched robbery resulting in a massacre in the city of Blackwater, Dutch van der Linde’s gang is forced to keep a low profile. She seeks refuge in the mountains of the north, where a real snowstorm is raging. Advantage, the Pinkerton Detective Agency loses track quickly. Disadvantage, the comfort is Spartan to say the least and food is not long in coming. From there, the player enters the stage and his character, Arthur Morgan, becomes the center of the Red Dead Redemption 2 storyline. At first, the tape avoids attracting too much attention and this scripting trick is mainly a way for developers to set the mood while offering the player some time to adapt.
Is a low profile compatible with attacking a train? Nerces for Clubic
Too long for some, this introduction, which lasts perhaps five to six hours, is one of the criticisms levelled at the console version. Unsurprisingly, nothing has moved on PC and Red Dead Redemption 2 is anyway a game that likes to take its time. The progression of the scenario is done at a very steady pace and if the action is sometimes at the heart of the game, it is only for a few minutes… before the “quiet” progression resumes its rights. Rockstar Games didn’t really make an action game, more like a wild west adventure. We play Arthur Morgan, but, in reality, we discover life in a gang of outlaws, or rather “free thinkers” as Dutch van der Linde, the leader of the gang, likes to point out.
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Arthur Morgan with a gun in his hand, as usual © Rockstar Games
We won’t go into gameplay or script details either. To learn more at this level, we invite you to consult our test of the console version (PS4 / Xbox One) published in November 2018. The aim of our article is much more to look at the specifics of this PC version to see if Rockstar Games has taken advantage of the last few months and the increased power of our machines to fine-tune things. First of all, we will focus on the small subtleties of the content because it is useless to imagine a complete redesign of the adventure with new chapters: it is essentially the same with, however, the input integration – and this is the least we can do – of the Online module. So, when you first launch the game, you will already have the choice between Story mode and Online mode.
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Bucolic stroll… Rockstar Games
For this connected mode, there is not much more to say. Like Grand Theft Auto V, it allows you to continue to enjoy the game’s setting while the story is over. It thus integrates multiple daily challenges such as horse races or duels. It also allows you to fully live your western dream by practicing, without limits, all the activities of the single-player mode in order to earn more and more money, but also to gain some experience. However, for many players, the interest of the online mode lies mainly in PvP with its Rush mode inspired by the inevitable battle royale : 32 players compete in a city whose limits shrink over time with the sole objective of remaining the last one alive.
When you get to town © Nerces for Clubic
” when you see the number of players complaining about systematic crashes at the start of the game and conflicts with capture software, antivirus… »
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Anything new in the West?
Rockstar Games has a certain mastery of online oppositions thanks to the work done on Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 obviously benefits from it. We can thus count on variations of the Rush mode like this Each weapon counts where only bows and knives are allowed. Shootout and Team Shootout modes involve killing as many other players as possible in the time allowed. Finally, thanks to the Most wantedmode, you can take yourself for the most terrible desperado of the American West via this bonus system which increases for the best player on the whole multi session. Such a content would be of no interest if the technical aspect of things did not follow, but nothing to be said about netcode : Rockstar Games did a great job.
Dutch van der Linde on a stick © Nerces for Clubic
There would be more to say about the overall stability of the game at least for the first two days of the PC release. At Clubic, we probably have a guardian angel because everything runs smoothly on our machines. On the other hand, when you see the number of players complaining about systematic crashes when the game is launched and conflicts with capture software, antivirus software or whatever, there are questions to ask… and Rockstar Games has asked itself these questions since two successive updates have already improved things. The first one focused on the various error messages at game launch, while the second one – just yesterday – solved the compatibility problems with most antivirus programs
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Did you say handsome? Rockstar Games
Of course, we would have liked everything to run smoothly for everyone, but let’s face it, such responsiveness is to the studio’s credit and we’ve had some slower bugs to fix, no matter how stubborn they are. Let’s also bet that this will allow amateurs to enjoy, like us, the few new features designed for solo. This begins with the introduction of three new bounty hunting missions and two new band dens. Nothing extraordinary of course, but it does enrich the menu a bit and brings some extra activities. In the same vein, Rockstar Games has added two new treasure maps for the most explorers among us and a lot of new accessories.
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Absolutely beautiful landscapes © Rockstar Games
Thus, the Story mode is enriched with new weapons such as the M1899 pistol, the Evans rifle and its high-capacity magazine, the flamer revolver and the LeMat revolver. These last three weapons aren’t exactly new as they are already present in the Online mode, but for the exclusive solo sailors it’s still something to take. In the same spirit, several horses from the multi mode are entering the history mode: the marbled brindle Arabian thoroughbred, the spotted appaloosa, the Andalusian Perlino, the golden chestnut Arabian thoroughbred as well as several new wild hairs. Finally, a new mission is introduced with the PC version, a mission called “To the Four Corners of the Earth” whose objective is the gathering of plants in order to discover new recipes.
Who goes hunting… Nerces for Clubic
“The PC version looks much better than its console counterpart.”
West Side Story
Finally, the whole point of this PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 is, at least on paper, to take advantage of the superior capabilities of the most powerful machines to record a relatively good quality. First of all, the main idea of the players is then to enjoy the American West in a more eloquent image definition… the famous 4K is obviously on everyone’s lips. Problem, if the Grail is actually accessible, you need a particularly powerful machine. For example, on our i9-9900K @ 4.7GHz based machine with 32GB of RAM and a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, it is difficult for the game to keep the 60 frames per second constant when the levels of detail are pushed to their maximum.
“Contest Guns and the Firepower of aCruiser” © Rockstar Games
On such a machine, however, you only need to turn off the FXAA and MSAA – not very useful with such settings anyway – to make things more convincing with near-perfect smoothness. As you can imagine, on smaller machines, you’re going to have to play with the settings and we appreciate that Rockstar Games provides us with a lot of graphics options to perfect things and a performance evaluation tool. All in all, it becomes quite simple to enjoy a graphically more accomplished version than on consoles provided you aim for the configuration recommended by the studio: an i7-4770K / Ryzen 5 1500X processor supported by 12 GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 / Radeon RX 480 seems to be the right choice if you don’t want to be disappointed by this “superior version”.
The quality of the fur rendering © Nerces for Clubic
In this context, there are significant improvements and the PC version looks much better than its console counterpart. This makes lighting appear much more realistic with the entry of light into buildings when opening a door, for example. In the same vein, the particle effects are richer, more numerous, even if in some cases (snowflakes) the rendering is almost caricatured. The better-off can look forward to the use of HDR or multi-display/wide-screen compatibility. More classic, the display distance is significantly greater than that of the console versions and you can take full advantage of this with such large spaces. Let’s talk about details with better handling of night scenes or tracks in the snow while the reflections and shadows are much richer, much more convincing.
Lighting effects at times bordering on exaggeration © Nerces for Clubic
From the very first minutes, the player who has experienced both versions is amazed by the details on the furs or the grass/tree textures: the characters’ clothing, the wild animals and the environment are all the more realistic and immersive. It’s not likely to revolutionize the game, but the already excellent immersion benefits greatly. On the other hand, we have to admit a more regrettable point: the interface has not been designed for keyboard/mouse use and with the default configuration, it is too often necessary to move our left hand to reach “backward” or “forward” when everything is done naturally with the joystick. It remains configurable, but we feel that no effort has been made to satisfy the amateurs of the keyboard/mouse duo. Too bad.
He was a little ship © Rockstar Games
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC version: Clubic’s opinion
Packed by Red Dead Redemption 2 at the time of its console release, we plunged with the arrival of the game in its Windows declination. Admittedly, this version is marred by the same gameplay problems, the same shortcomings in the gameplay, but damn, the adventure and the immersion are remarkable! On a PC and provided you have a powerful enough machine, you can enjoy this escape side of life in the American West even more. It makes you feel even more like you belong to a real western.
Technically and provided that it is quickly completely free of those bugs that we – probably by chance – didn’t have to suffer from, Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC is the “superior version” that we were hoping and praying for, as if to make up for the fact that we were forgotten by Rockstar Games in November 2018. Magnificent on consoles, Arthur Morgan’s adventures are like sublimated on PC, even if it doesn’t excuse everything, it was worth the wait.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC)
+ Rockstar’s writing, always so engaging
+ A real visual slap
+ Some technical innovations on PC
+ The slow rhythm that encourages you to take your time
+ An impeccable sound score
+ A coherent, lively and highly immersive world
– Controls and interface, from another time
– Assumed realism, which sometimes takes away some of the pleasure
– The slow rhythm that can drive some people crazy
– Gunfights, a little rough around the edges…
– A too buggy PC launch
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Test made from a code provided by the publisher