Red Dead Redemption released on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch earlier this month. Now the dust has settled on the reviews, the critical consensus is clear: the game is a classic that holds up well in 2023 but the ports are not worth the standard asking price.
Originally released on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010, Red Dead follows the adventures of outlaw John Marston as he is coerced into working for the government, in a story full of memorable characters, betrayal and action-packed shootouts.
The included Undead Nightmare expansion sees the Wild West overrun by zombies, who need to be dealt with.
Reviews across the board are mixed on the whole, praising the inherent quality of the game but criticising Rockstar's decision to charge £40/$50 for a straight port of a 13-year-old game, with no new features or remastered graphics (although considering the approach the Grand Theft Auto trilogy took...), the same 30fps, and even introducing a few new bugs, all while removing the multiplayer.
"We're not expecting Rockstar to turn around and serve us up a fully remastered spectacle, that's never gonna happen, especially on the ageing Switch hardware," Nintendo Life wrote.
"But when it feels so threadbare, when the graphics haven’t had any noticeable touch-ups and when you haven’t added any gyro controls or other bits and bobs, it's really hard to feel as enthused as we could."
Kotaku's review reads: "None of the textures are better, models still look dated, animations remain jerky at a distance, etc.
"RDR still holds up, thanks to its fantastic art design and atmosphere—riding through a snow-covered forest with the game’s music quietly fading into the background will never age poorly—but make no mistake: This is still mostly the same old game. And selling that old game for $50, with no 60fps option or visual enhancements, feels silly."
Gaming Bolt titled its review "Highway robbery", writing: "That this release was not even a bare minimum remaster and just a straight port, for almost full price, drew a lot of ire. And very honestly, at the very least on PlayStation, Rockstar could and should have done a whole lot more."
"This port of Red Dead Redemption ultimately disappoints. Indeed, during some cutscenes and in-game events, we saw character models snap into place, and, in a surprisingly creepy twist, refuse to open their mouths when talking," wrote Push Square.
"We saw objects spawn out of thin air, and wagons skip across the landscape. We visited mission markers where enemies simply teleported into view, while John Marston himself made a habit of slowly sliding away from cover during gunfights."
Digital Foundry did praise the Switch version for a stable performance, adding the caveat that "the Switch release only highlights how much more ambitious the PS4 version should have been".
Although the Switch port actually sits at a very respectable 84 on Metacritic (with the portability being a new way to play), the user score sits at a very low 3.8/10, and just 1.6/10 for the PS4 version.
Red Dead Redemption is out now on Nintendo Switch and PS4. The Xbox 360 version can be played on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. There is no PC version.
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