Some time ago, an intriguing rumour hit the internet. Red Dead Redemption, the critically acclaimed 2010 Rockstar masterpiece would come out for current gen consoles, the PS5 and Series S/X. People went nuts, obviously, as they started to dream about a full on remake of the first game using the assets from the masterpiece sequel Red Dead Redemption 2.
I, too, was one of those people that started imagining how a 2023 version fully rebuilt from the groundup using all of the modern tech of Red Dead Redemption would look like. Everyone was exstatic!
But, then Rockstar announced their plans for this new version of Red Dead Redemption... and well, people got mad. This would not be a full remake using the Red Dead Redemption 2 engine like everyone was expecting. Heck, this wouldn't even be a remaster with new assets, upgraded graphics, higher framerates and the other things that come as part of a remaster. No, this would just be just a re-release of that 2010 original game that also included the Undead Nightmare DLC without the co-op/multiplayer side of things for a $50 asking price.
Now, if you don't know how excellent of a masterpiece Red Dead Redemption and it's DLC was back on the day, I will talk about them later, but for now I want to just talk about what you get in this package cause there are 2 things worth mentioning.
I played the game via backward compatibility on a PS5 which apparently uses the PS4 Pro enhanced version of this re-release. These enhancement is just a big bump to the resolution as the game is rendered in 4K and the use of AMD FSR2 that makes everything look smoother with no jagged edges and whatnot. That's all the enhancements you get when you play this game one a PS5. Oh and also, loading times are basically 2-3 seconds due to the SSD of the PS5, but I guess that the brute force of the console.
Unfortunately, there's no 60fps mode available even when you play it on a PS5 as the game is only available in a 30fps mode. Nowaday I get really angry when a new release do not offer at a 60fps, but as I played through this version of Red Dead Redemption, I honestly did not care at all about the 30fps locked frame rate? Which, again, is really weird for me to say.
The game plays extremely well, the controls feel great and aiming and shooting feel good too. Maybe it's because Red Dead Redemption is played in a third person perspective game or maybe it's just nostalgia playing tricks with my mind. I honestly don't know, but again, the game feels good in 30fps and that gives me hope, for myself at least, as I am about to start playing Starfield on the Series X.
Enough about the framerate, let's talk about that bump in resolution. When you are riding your horse through the fields and the sun is setting over the horizon, the game looks absolutely stunning on a OLED TV. But the moment you are close to a texture in the world or you see the character models and faces in a cutscene up close, the game well, it looks like a 2010 game. As I said in the beginning, there are no new textures, assets or character models in this re-release. That sucks and there's no other way around it.
If you played Red Dead Redemption back then, you can skip this entire part, as I want to briefly talk about the game to any newcomers to this game, and go straight to the last paragraph for the verdict.
Set in 1899, the game follows the story of John Marston, a former outlaw who is forced to hunt down his old gang members in exchange for his freedom. The game's story is engaging and well-written, with a strong focus on character development and player choice. The narrative is full of twists and turns, keeping you invested in the story from start to finish.
The game's open-world environment is vast and richly detailed, for a game released in 2010 that is, with a wide variety of landscapes to explore, from dusty deserts to snowy mountains. In the world, as you roam through it, you will interact with strange characters, engage in side quests, and explore the environment to uncover hidden secrets.
Controls and mechanics are intuitive and realistic, with a focus on gunplay, horseback riding, and hand-to-hand combat. Dead Eye, the ability where you slow down time, will be your best friend during shootouts.
As for the other thing that is included in this version, the Undead Nightmare DLC's story is also well-written and engaging. It takes place in an alternate timeline where a zombie outbreak has spread across the American West. You still control John Marston, as he searches for a way to stop the undead plague. Included in this DLC there are a couple of new weapons, abilities and mythical horses to find.
The DLC's atmosphere is eerie and unsettling, with a focus on survival horror elements. The game's sound design and visuals are tweaked to create a sense of tension and fear, with creepy ambient noises and a desaturated color palette like old zombie movies. This whole experience is relatively short around 6-8 hours and is completely standalone, meaning that you do not carry over any of the weapons or horses to the main story or vice versa.
So should you buy this new version of Red Dead Redemption in 2023 on PS4 or Nintendo Switch for $50? It's tough to give an answer to that question cause $50 dollars holds a different value for different people. If you have played the game back then, you have fond memories of it and you have 50 bucks to spend, then absolutely go for it as the game is as good as you remember it. But if you are on a budget, there are newer and better games you can spend your hard earned cash. Thanks for reading!