It's not the first time we've played Red Dead Redemption 2 as we reviewed the game on consoles last year. It was one of the best games of this generation, let alone the best western video game. Almost a year later, the game launched for PC yesterday and I played it a bit to check out its visual fidelity and performance. While the game deals with early American imperialism and bandits trying to survive the new frontier, the game is much more enjoyable as it looks better on PC. That's true for almost any game that is not limited by a console's hardware and the same applies to Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC too.
The PC port of the game is visually the best we've seen yet. Its vistas are even more stunning on PC even though it was impressive on consoles. It is by far the best PC game experience you can have right now. My personal gaming rig consists of top-of-the-line components i.e. an RTX 2080 Ti GPU, an Intel i7-8700K processor and a bunch of other stuff. In fact, you can read about our exact configuration here. I have added a few more upgrades such as a new and faster SSD, but apart from that everything remains untouched.
With my current rig, I was able to push between 80 to 90 frames easily with a resolution of 2560x1440. There are quite a few settings in the graphics department that you can customise, however we played the game with the “Ultra” preset. We've seen reports of users having the game crash on them, but during our testing, we faced no issues. You can customise the rendering distance and other post-processing effects depending on your PC rig. You can change the volumetric lighting according to your liking so that you can push as many frames as possible. While the game looks pretty; it isn't as well optimised simply because it requires a lot of tinkering. Rockstar is working on a fix as we speak, however this game is still a graphical marvel even with its issues.
While playing the game, the first thing you will notice is the incredible draw distance that is even more noticeable on PC. Weather effects look more prominent too, but are accompanied by slight frame rate drops Even when there are multiple characters at a location, you will notice your frame rate dip a bit and this happens quite frequently when you are in a town. You can fix these issues in the graphics settings if you prefer to have higher frames. We turned down the volumetric lighting to deal with weather effects in order to get more frames. We are still figuring out which settings to tweak to get the optimum performance, however that will only come with time and more experimentation. Similarly, you can also turn off or tone down MSAA, global illumination and lighting if you want to get more frames and better performance.
Rockstar knows that the game looks phenomenal visually and now comes with a dedicated camera mode similar to what you may have seen on Spiderman. You can use the “Free Cam” mode to take some gorgeous screenshots. You can just tap F6 to open a range of camera options to take your favourite screenshot and share it on social media via Nvidia's GeForce Experience overlay. Keep in mind that this mode is very addictive and once you use this feature, you will end up taking screenshots every time you see interesting landscapes.
While the game has issues like every other game at launch, it is still by far the prettiest game we've seen on PC. If you haven't played the game before on console and want to experience the beautiful graphics, we highly recommend you get it on your preferred launcher. You are guaranteed a 60-hour adventure that is complemented by incredible graphics.