Red Dead Redemption 2 im PC-Test: Outlaws im Nebel

Author: Markus Schwerdtel
Date: 2019-11-06 14:30:00
The ride from the console version to the PC took around a year. How did Arthur Morgan's adventure survive? We swung ourselves into the saddle for the test.

Do you know a Küfner personally? A wheelwright? A reed racket? Probably not, because these professions have long been extinct. You just didn't need it anymore, the world kept turning. Arthur Morgan is similar. In 1899, he made his way through the wild west as an outlaw. At a time when this "job" is becoming increasingly difficult because the law enforcement officers and these damned Pinkerton detectives are becoming more and more of a nuisance.

Arthur's "boss", gang leader Dutch van der Linde , does not want to admit this turn of the times and tries desperately to keep his team together. A last coup should bring the gang so much money that all members - from the grumpy Micah to the young Tilly Jackson to the Mexican Javier Escuella - can retire. But not all bandits agree with Dutch's ambitious plans. When the gang also takes on the powerful industrialist Leviticus Cornwall, the tensions threaten to finally tear the gang apart.

So big, so beautiful!

What applies to the horses is even more true for the characters : hair, stubble and blemishes give people in the game a dirty, real look - no comparison to the plastic faces in many other games.

Even the last silent extras cowboy in the prairie cafe's saloon is designed with great attention to detail and often even has its own dubbing voice - even if he only says "Howdy" for a short time. So the presentation is bombastic, but it was the same on the console. The improvements, as is so often the case with PC implementations, are in the details.

Four pages of settings

Red Dead Benchmark

This creates comparability and could (as Rockstar also hopes for a bit) establish itself as an easy-to-use standard benchmark. A built-in performance measuring device is always a good idea. It almost seems as if the developers want to apologize for the long waiting time with the many setting options to the PC players or justify them. But gray is not only the font color in the menus, but also all theory. What do the graphic improvements look like in everyday outlaw work?

Horses in the fog

Maybe we best start with what is not new about the presentation of the PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2: 3D models, animations, voice recordings - all of this is identical to the console version .

In contrast, the textures now tessellated have been revised, especially those for trees, animals and the environment in general. You have to go very close to see a difference on the bark or the skin of a hunted deer, but the overall impression is actually "more detailed" than the original versions for PS4 and Xbox One. A small drop of bitterness: the chic textures eat up a lot of storage space, Red Dead Redemption 2 has a massive 112 GB.

The improved lighting effects are similarly subtle. In the saloon, sun rays are playing through the window, in the forest they are fingering through the leaves. The transition of the times of day is now also a bit smoother, shadows are now also calculated at a greater distance.

The increased visibility is really impressive, for example when Arthur stands on a cliff above an imposing canyon and lets his gaze wander into the distance. Then you feel the vastness of the west in front of your home computer and want to ride to the horizon - at such moments, Red Dead Redemption 2 is best.

We particularly liked a mission in which Dutch van der Linde's gang rides at dawn. The morning light gently falls into the forest and illuminates the volumetric ground mist, while crossing a river the water splashes spectacularly under the hooves. In short: everything is a little fluffier, finer, more fluid. Visible differences to the console versions are only noticeable in a direct comparison. Even the occasional clipping mistakes are already known, for example when the hero rummages through a house with a bulky shotgun and the barrel disappears into the door frame.

Stop, there is a big difference: If possible, you should play Red Dead Redemption 2 with at least 60 frames per second , on the console it is a maximum of 30 fps. Not only does it look better, it also makes everyday cowboy life easier - because it also consists of shootings.

Mr. Morgan with mouse

Especially in shootings, control via mouse and keyboard is a real advantage. The console version does offer a “snap on” target system, but of course that is far from being so precise. In a mission with multiple waves of opponents, we take out one enemy after another without being seriously damaged. In such moments, the game seems almost too easy for us.

However, using the keyboard in the (luckily rare) hand-to-hand combat is a little awkward. If you can, hang a gamepad in parallel on the PC and switch back and forth depending on the situation. In general, the controls: The somewhat cumbersome operation with a large number of context-dependent commands was already a point of criticism for the console version.

Sure, a game with many possibilities also needs a lot of keys to trigger these activities. But especially at the beginning you won't be able to avoid a cheat sheet next to the keyboard. However, all keys can also be freely assigned in the menu (Attention: only in the current game, not in the main menu!) , Which at least slightly alleviates the basic problem of overloaded controls.

If you don't like to look over the shoulder of your hero all the time, switch to the first person perspective. Especially in shootings, the game looks almost like a classic shooter , but at the latest when riding, it is recommended to switch to the outside camera again - the hopping is otherwise very annoying for susceptible players.

Speaking of the camera: If you stay on the »V« key for a long time, the game changes to the so-called Cinematic Camera , ie the cinema mode with particularly dramatic settings. If you follow the road to a waypoint, the horse will gallop to the destination. There is, however, no fast travel function apart from the rather rare stagecoach stations, which can be annoying especially towards the end of the game if you have uncovered a lot of the map and the way to the next mission is long. Well, the one who has then fully expanded his camp and can still travel quickly from his own tent.

Say "Texas"!

One key is reserved for the PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2, the default (currently) exclusive photo mode is on »F6«. Whether in the game or in a cutscene, we can pause and take a picture at any time. As you would expect from such a mode, the camera is freely movable and there are lots of settings for exposure time, depth of field, etc.

In addition, the photos can be provided with around 40 filters, from "colored red" to "drunk". The game also uses this filter when Arthur Morgan tilts behind the blindfold in the saloon . Photo mode is a nice gimmick, we would not be surprised if it would land on the consoles with one of the next updates.

Time for stories

It starts with Arthur's leisurely walk, felt by many players to be too slow, and continues at the equally slow narrative pace. This makes the character development of Arthur and his gang colleagues more understandable, but if you are mainly looking for action, you may get bored.

Old fashioned Arthur

Different solutions or even decisions? Only very, very rarely. A call system (kill civilians = bad cowboy!) Ensures that the fellow human beings greet you friendly or threaten you with a drawn weapon, and honor changes some cutscenes (such as Arthur's dreams) or diary entries. However, the reputation only really has an impact on history at the very end.
The possibilities of the open game world are similarly without influence. There are a lot of sideline activities (fishing, playing cards, hunting, etc.), but at best they provide money and trophies, but they do not contribute to character development, for example through experience points.

This makes Red Dead Redemption 2 in comparison to current open world titles like Assassin's Creed: Odyssey playfully pretty old-fashioned in places. On the other hand, these restrictions allow Rockstar Games to stage an extremely dense story with precisely defined highlights and twists.

It would be a shame if the cult developer Rockstar Games would eventually go the same way as Küfner, Stellmacher and Reepschläger.

Our guides on the PC: