Red Dead Redemption | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, August 28, 2023

Red Dead Redemption | Review | Switch

Red Dead Redemption was met with critical acclaim when it released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2010. I picked up the game on launch day and had an absolute blast with it. Rockstar really crafted something special with their take on what is essentially GTA meets the wild west. With the release of the Red Dead on the Switch, you’re probably wondering if the port on Nintendo’s console is up to snuff. That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. Let’s get to it. 

Red Dead puts players in the role of rough and tumble outlaw John Marston who is on a quest to bring in his former partner in for justice. Along the way, you meet up with tons of characters that help bring Rockstar’s version of the old West alive. Things range from seemingly accurate period portrayals of people, to down right wacky at time. That’s what makes the game fun. The outlandish characters, a main character with a misplaced sense of self-righteousness all wrapped up in a cool western setting make this game unique. 
There are over 50 story missions in the main game alongside Stranger Missions and other quests or events that will happen in the game world. Story Missions are pretty self explanatory. Lettered icons are scattered about the map that indicate a character mission that you can interact with. Stranger Missions are similar, but aren’t necessary to progress the story. Basically, these are a variety of people that you’ll come across throughout the game world who will ask you to carry out various tasks. They’re a bit of a change of pace from the story and keep things fresh. 
Also included with this release, Undead Nightmare puts you in the same game world with the only caveat being that the world is now filled with zombies. It’s not overly long, but it’s an interesting hodgepodge that is pretty unique. Ammunition is scarce and the law is essentially non existent. You’ll need to everything you can in order to just survive. This mode is absolutely worth playing. Of course, you’ll come across zombies, but you’ll also come across a variety of mythological creatures, too. It’s a fun addition to an already stacked game.

Controls in Red Dead Redemption are pretty easy to get used to if you’re familiar with Rockstar’s other open world games. You can run with B (hold for running, tap for sprinting), ride horses with X and jump with Y. Holding L will bring up a weapon wheel allowing you to choose from a variety of pistols, revolvers, rifles, a lasso, knives, explosives and more. You can then aim with ZL and fire with ZR. A cover system is also present and can be implemented with R. Honestly, the cover system mostly works, but if you’re caught up in some tricky environments (rocks, really tight hallways, etc.), it sometimes doesn’t work as intended.  
Dead Eye is a feature that allows players to slow down time to target specific parts of enemies and then wreak havoc. This is used by pressing in the right stick. This can be very useful, especially in situations with tons of enemies, but I would often forget to use it due to the game’s semi-auto-targeting system. In most cases, pressing the aim button will lock the reticle on enemies, making it quite a bit easier to take them out. This can be adjusted, but having this on made the game more enjoyable for me. Feel free to play however you like.
Being an open world game, there really is a lot of freedom with what you can do outside of the story. There are tons of random encounters, wild animals to look out for, great places to visit and a nice variety to the gameplay. There are also handful of different ways to travel (horse, cart, train), which is nice. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
Even though the game is over a decade old, the western world that Rockstar crafted still comes across very well in this Nintendo Switch port. Character models are nicely detailed, animations look great and the game world looks fantastic. This version of the game also runs smoothly, locked at 30 frames per second with a few instances of slowdown. I mainly saw this happen around Thieves Landing during my time with the game. In Handheld Mode the game still plays and performs quite nicely. It still looks sharp, especially on a Switch OLED screen. The performance issues I mentioned previously are still there (some slowdown), but that is relatively consistent regardless of how you play.
In terms of sound, the soundtrack is awesome, providing a great western feel. The voice acting is also stellar, with not only the main characters nailing their performances, but NPCs as well. All of this mixed together really brings the world alive with playful banter and random comments (from the no-name characters). 

My only gripe is that the game does seems to be a bit dark from time to time. At first, i thought it was just the settings on my TV, but this also persisted when playing the game in handheld mode. It will probably take a bit more tinkering with the settings, but this is something that you should be aware of before picking up the game.
It has been great going back to Red Dead Redemption after all of these years. The story is still engaging and funny, the gameplay is solid and the performance on the Switch is really great. If you’re a fan of the old West and don’t have a machine that can play Red Dead Redemption 2, this is an excellent way to enjoy something from that era. But let’s turn things over to you. Did you play Red Dead back in the day? Did you just pick it up for the first time with this release (Switch or PS4)? Who are some of your favorite characters from the game? Personally, I’m a huge fan of Seth and Irish. Sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. 

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