Red Dead Redemption 2: what does the PC version really bring and how to enjoy it?

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The release of the PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 was a real bazaar: between the players complaining of technical problems (impossibility to launch the game, infinite update …) and the performances to pick up on some configs, difficult to really know what to expect from this long-awaited release. Yet with its unlocked framerate promises, enhanced visuals, and mouse-and-mouse gameplay, Red Dead Redemption 2 on PCs can be the best way to enjoy the game … as long as you get your hands dirty.

Gameplay side

Basically, Rockstar has not changed much in the game since the release of Red Dead Redemption on console. We thus find the same slow and contemplative gameplay, focused on the discovery of an incredibly credible universe. The gaps that were already in the console version are also in the game, such as multiple interactions creating a mic-mac contextual keys unintuitive changing at the whim of what surrounds us.

However, the big change is brought by the playability on the keyboard-mouse: from now on, the FPS view is really exploitable. Almost the entire game is doable in the first person and it allows to discover a multitude of details, effects and animations that we did not suspect with the distant camera. In general, having a camera at the scale of the universe that surrounds us brings a lot to the feeling of immersion and entering a saloon in which customers at the mines patibular staring at us by murmuring half threats. words takes on a whole new flavor. The gunfights finally become pleasant and, admittedly, a little simpler: we can say goodbye to the horrible maneuverability of firearms and finally enjoy the fighting without having to stay necessarily stealthed to be able to aim properly. Obviously, everything is not rosy, the FOV too narrow and we sometimes have to deal with some failures in the realization, like pieces of scenery passing through our character, textures of ridiculous quality seen up close or the absence animated weapons, which seem frozen when not used. Still, this is probably the best way to enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2 level gameplay.

Several options are available to customize your gaming experience and we strongly advise you to modify these:

In the Orders tab:

  • Locking the sight on foot: Free aim
  • Level of assistance on foot: 0
  • Locking the sight on horseback / vehicle: Free aim
  • Level of assistance on horseback / vehicle: 0
  • Assisted patting: 4x or maintain

In the Camera tab:

  • First Person Field of View: Maximum
  • First Person Head Movements: Reduced

Technical side

In addition to those unable to launch Red Dead Redemption 2, there are many players complaining about the performance of their configurations. To know what to expect depending on your hardware, you can find below benchmarks from a video of Gamers Nexus.

In 1080p, High settings, some options changes. Results in frames per second.

In 1920 * 1080 with parameters globally defined in High, we see that a GTX 1060 Ti is enough to reach and even exceed 60 FPS on average. If you have a card with lower abilities, you will have to make sacrifices or get used to a sickly framerate. Note that it will also make concessions if you want to rotate your game to 144 frames per second, even with a 2080 Ti since it offers an average of 131 FPS in these conditions.

In 1440p, High settings, some options changes. Results in frames per second.

In 1440p in High, one notes that it will be necessary at least a RTX 2060 SUPER or a RX Vega 56 OC to have a framerate reaching the 60 FPS on average. Even with a standard Vega 56 RX or a 1660 Ti, it will be necessary to tamper with the options and sacrifice some to have a smooth game. Do not make too much of an illusion if you aim for 144 FPS in this resolution because even a RTX 2080 Ti can not do it unless drastically lowering the visual quality.

What options to sacrifice, which ones to keep?

Your setup is a little fair and struggling to keep up the pace and display a sufficiently fluid game? Fortunately for you, the title offers many options of all kinds that can scrounge a few frames per second. In order to help you determine what you are willing to sacrifice on the altar of fluidity, we offer a short guide that will help you better understand what these options mean.

To begin, you should know that most parameters are available at several levels: Low, Medium, High and Ultra. Playing with these values ​​is very important, especially since certain parameters in Ultra have little visual impact, but they have a lot of impact on performance compared to the High mode. You can find above screenshots comparing the result if we put all the options on the left minimum, if we parameter optimally to maintain quality and fluidity in the middle and, finally, if we put all the options in Ultra right . You will agree with us that the visual quality of the "balanced" screenshots is largely significant, in addition to shooting at 60 FPS constant in 1080p on my config (RTX 2060, i7 7700K, 16GB of RAM).

Here is a selection of options allowing you to win FPS without losing too much visual quality:

  • Quality of textures: The impact on performance is minimal, better to display the textures in Ultra. Especially since with the FPS view, the defects on the textures are more visible.
  • Anisotropic filtering: This option avoids aliasing effects while reducing blur on textures. Little impact on performance, so to max.
  • FXAA: Anti-aliasing method that is greedy and less effective than MSAA. Disable for a slight gain of perf.
  • MSAA: Anti-aliasing method effective but very greedy, to disable.
  • Quality of water physics: Chasing performance for minimal interest, to drop as much as possible. At the edge of the water, you gain almost a dozen (!) Frames per second by changing this option from a high value to a low value.
  • Scale of resolution: Allows you to push the game to render at a certain resolution before adapting it to that provided for your screen. If you choose a lower resolution (from x0.5 to x0.967), you will save performance but the result will be rougher. Only do it if your framerate is really picking it up – and remember to turn on the "Refine" filter if you're at Nvidia and "Image Sharpening" at AMD. If, on the contrary, you opt for a higher resolution (from x1.25 to x2.5), the performance will be strongly impacted but the rendering will be more precise.
  • Motion blur: Disable this thing that gives the impression of having problems of sight.
  • MSAA Reverb: Activate the anti-aliasing on the reflections, no interest: turn it on.
  • Level of detail of the geometry: This option has a lot of impact on performance. However, it makes it possible to adjust the details present on the objects and decorations at a distance and to reduce it reaches frankly the visual aspect of the game. It is therefore necessary to lower it but not too much …
  • Level of detail of the grass: Admittedly, you will often have the opportunity to observe nature in Red Dead Redemption 2, so you'll want it to shine. But this option adding density and quality to the surrounding herbs has a lot of impact on performance. The gain in IPS by lowering this option is more important than the visual input it can provide.

The rest of the options are to be set according to your convenience, you hack to see what you are ready to activate or deactivate: during my tests, none of them had a significant impact.

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