I think everything has already been said about Red Dead Redemption 2. If there's anything else I can add to encourage the unconvinced to play one of the best games in history, it would probably be that this is perhaps the most beautiful visual experience you could get – RDR 2 on PC looks phenomenal.
Although after finishing the console version I didn't intend to go back, I’ll do it, if only for the sake of spending time as a virtual photographer. Because the views and landscapes are breathtaking! Wild West in RDR 2 sometimes looks photorealistic, and what's more – the PC version has also got an extensive photo mode.
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While playing the short demo of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, I spent most of the time in the photo mode, only to regret that I couldn't save the wallpapers that I had prepared with such commitment. Razor-sharp textures of distant mountains and other views awoke my inner artist. Snapping distinctive situations, fights, shootings, chases, etc. was fun as hell. You don't have to look for the archaic camera in the sacks strapped to your saddle, take it out and set up to take a posed photo.
RDR 2 on PC has a fully-fledged photo mode that can be toggled in a split second with just one key. Then we have at our disposal a huge range of functions straight from the top photo apps. There are various lenses with different focal lengths to choose from, just like in the latest iPhone Pro! We can manipulate the exposure, depth of field, and of course, apply filters. We will find all kinds of sepias or old paper effects including those used by the game, for example in the Dead Eye mode.
While visiting Rockstar, I took the opportunity to ask at the source – why just now? What’s up with PC versions always being delayed?
Apparently, it's only about the time it takes to develop a port (at least for the last two titles). Rockstar works differently than other studios, which develop their games for all platforms all at the same time. First, the best possible console version is developed, and only then the devs devote all their attention to the PC edition. Only when they have finished, the game can be shown to the world.
Just like in real life
WHERE’S THE BOXED VERSION OF RDR2?
Remember that due to the sheer volume of the game, which is well over 100 GB, the release of the title on DVDs was not even considered. In some countries, such as Germany, it will be possible to buy a boxed version, but just with a serial code inside.
The great photo mode wouldn't have existed without the amazing visuals, which were properly upgraded in comparison to consoles. Shadows and lighting effects have been improved, the range of render has been extended. I wasn't surprised when they made animal furs even more realistic, but when I realized that they even refined the looks of cactus needles, I was taken aback.
How does it look in practice? The textures and the visuals in general are much sharper. While playing the game on PS4, I had an impression of blurring – on PC things are clear and sharp. On the road you can see almost every tiny pebble, and distant mountains and rocks are full of detail. Although I played the demo in 4K resolution on a monstrous configuration (i9900k 5Ghz, 2080Ti, 32 RAM), it turned out that Rockstar actually showed me a mix of ultra, medium, and even low settings. Thanks to that, the presented work-in-progress version kept a constant framerate in 4K, and I could see that you don't need everything on ultra to make the visuals take your breath away.
MODDERS – READY? SET? GO!
I asked and they confirmed! Red Dead Redemption 2 will be open to modding, just like GTA 5. Will the modders turn up the graphics even more? Surely! What will they add to the world of RDR 2? I try not to think about it. Mods will be available only in single-player mode. Red Dead Online will be left intact so as not to complicate the already difficult situation with cheaters or griefers. The devs also announced that they will increase the measures and methods to make life difficult for potential fraudsters in online mode.
It’s an interesting question of how RDR2 will run on more a realistic setup, but I can already confirm that the list of available visual settings is virtually endless. The graphic options screen is longer than the end credits. Shadow options fill half the screen, including a separate line for the shadows cast by grass. This is an admirable design decision, and it should allow most players to find the perfect combination of fluency and quality.
Are there any faults to be found in the graphics quality? After what was recently shown in Modern Warfare or the upcoming Death Stranding, it seems that only the character's faces (despite the improvements) don’t look as good as in the latest titles. However, taking into consideration that all cutscenes are displayed on the game engine without any pre-rendering, you can easily turn a blind eye on that.
Bull’s eye – the mouse
Besides visuals, the second most important thing in the PC version are the controls. Shooting on the pad might have been problematic for some, so how does it look like in the mouse-keyboard configuration? On the one hand, it's better, on the other – there’s still room for improvement. Shooting using the mouse is certainly more precise. I didn't have any problems with landing headshot after headshot, and the overall feeling of sensitivity, responsiveness is practically the same as in GTA V.
What I didn't like was the location of all the other elements of controls, such as the need to hold the right mouse button to display the list of context keys for a given situation, or TAB for quick drawing weapons. Individual options are scattered around the keyboard and the first contact with the controls reminded me of some of the older flight simulators.
You might just want to have a shortlist and prepare for some getting used-to. However, as the devs emphasize, the game is so long that we will eventually learn it by heart. Fortunately, if you want to switch back to a connected gamepad, it’s seamless, and you don’t need to visit the menu. On the one hand, the controller is much more intuitive, on the other hand, gunplay is way better with the mouse. Everyone will have to make that choice themselves.
RDR2 – the ultimate edition
As Rockstar says, the PC port of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the ultimate version of one of the best games of this generation. If you've waited until now to learn the story of Arthur Morgan, you will get a game that will repay in spades for every month of your patience. If someone has already completed the game - it will be worth revisiting the universe, for example, for the photo mode, and for what the modders will soon show us. If Rockstar can develop such a Wild West on a PC, what would they show in Table tennis 2...?
Darius Matusiak | Gamepressure.com