Some good news and bad news for you all, today. In case you missed it, Rockstar just announced that Red Dead Redemption is coming to PlayStation 4 and Switch later this month. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: These ports are extremely barebones, completely lacking multiplayer support, and seem to offer few to no visual upgrades over the original versions. This isn’t great, but it’s even worse when you remember that you can—right now—play a cheaper, better version on Xbox Series X/S.
Originally released in 2010, Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption won numerous Game of the Year awards and sold incredibly well across Xbox 360 and PS3. Then, in October 2010, single-player paid expansion Undead Nightmare came out. This wonderful bit of DLC added a whole new campaign featuring zombies and other spooky creatures. In the years since the open-world game has continued to be popular, and it eventually got a bigger, better prequel in the form of Red Dead Redemption 2. However, people have long wanted the original Red Dead Redemption released on more platforms, like PC. And now that’s happening, just not how most people were hoping.
On August 7, following endless rumors online, Rockstar announced that the original Red Dead Redemption is being ported by another studio to PS4 and Switch. The PS4 port will also be playable on PS5 and, alongside the Switch port, will launch on August 17. And…that’s it. This isn’t a fancy remake or even a remaster of the original game, just a port with a few new languages supported. It’s nice that a beloved game like RDR will now be available on more platforms, and it’s cool we don’t have to wait long to get our hands on these ports. But if you look online you’ll see plenty of people are disappointed by these newly announced versions.
The new Red Dead ports lack multiplayer, 60fps
The first big problem is that Red Dead Redemption is still MIA on PC. Despite rumors that Rockstar was planning on releasing a PC version of its classic Western game, that’s not happening. Not yet at least. This is a shame, as a PC port would let fans mod and upgrade the game themselves and would let it live on for years to come on the more open platform.
Another reason fans are so disappointed is because these ports seem extremely barebones from a technical standpoint. Based on what Rockstar has said so far, they won’t support 60 frames per second or feature enhanced visuals. For the Switch release, that’s understandable. But it’s really disappointing that PS4 and PS5 owners will be stuck playing the game with the same old 30fps cap and 13-year-old assets.
Things only get worse when you look at what’s included in the new release. Yes, Rockstar is packaging Undead Nightmare and Red Dead Redemption together.
But on the flip side, store listings for the upcoming ports have confirmed that Red Dead Redemption on Switch and PS4 won’t include any multiplayer modes. Which then makes me wonder if any of the online DLC packs released for Red Dead Redemption, like “Liars and Cheats” or “Legends and Killers,” will be included. Probably not, but then does that mean the tomahawk weapon added in the second multiplayer DLC pack won’t be included?
The PSN store page mentions “some” content from the Game of the Year edition will be included, which could mean stuff like the tomahawk and pre-order outfits. Kotaku has contacted Rockstar for more details.
Red Dead Redemption’s PS4 and Switch ports are too pricey
Another issue upsetting some Rockstar fans is the price of these barely updated new versions. According to Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption on Switch and PS4 will cost $50. That’s not cheap. And yes, that price includes the base game and the Undead Nightmare expansion, but still…that seems high for what is such an unexciting port job.
And let’s not forget that there is already a very good way to play Red Dead Redemption in 2023 via backward compatibility on Xbox Series X/S. While the Xbox version doesn’t run at 60fps or feature fancy new textures, it’s still a fantastic way to play Rockstar’s western adventure. Plus, it’s cheaper, at only $30. And if you bought RDR digitally on Xbox 360, you don’t even have to buy it again. The Xbox version also supports all the DLC packs released and still has working multiplayer for both the main game and Undead Nightmare. That also means all the online achievements, missions, and challenges are still accessible and in the game.
When compared to the Xbox version the already barebones Switch and PS4 ports seem even more lackluster. Again, I’m happy that Rockstar is bringing RDR to more platforms and I hope it eventually brings the game to PC one day. But the price seems too high when you look at what’s included and, more importantly, what’s not included in these newly revealed releases.
There’s still reason to be excited: Red Dead Redemption is a fantastic game! As someone who recently played RDR on Xbox Series X, I can confirm the game still holds up and looks great in 2023. It’s just a shame that PS4 and Switch owners have to pay more for less, and we all didn’t get a fancy remaster.