Five Minutes Of The $50 Red Dead Redemption Port Running On PS5

John Marston rides off into the sunset.

Screenshot: Rockstar Games / Kotaku

The first thought that came to mind when starting Red Dead Redemption on PlayStation 5 is how well the 13-year old game holds up visually. The second one was that there was still no way in hell I could recommend it to anyone for a “next-gen” price tag of $50. The graphics are clean and crisp, but otherwise it’s the same game that’s been available for years on Xbox One without the Undead Nightmare DLC for almost half that price.

The cinematic scenes and character interactions still draw you in, and the performances remind you why Rockstar Games’ open-world Western was a worthy GOTY contender (Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Mass Effect 2 also came out in 2010). It still feels like an old game, especially with the original interface, occasionally clunky action, and less-than-snappy controls. Look out across sprawling prairies or cactus-filled desserts and you’ll immediately remember this is a PS3/Xbox 360-era world. Then the sun starts to go down behind the clouds and you remember how special it was at the time and immediately feel pulled back into its drama.

Red Dead Redemption – 5 Minutes of PS5 Gameplay

Red Dead Redemption – 5 Minutes of PS5 Gameplay

I spent a couple of hours with the game on PS5, a clip of which you can see above, and didn’t run into any real issues. It’s locked to a disappointing 30fps, but keeps a consistent performance outside of some occasional stuttering during cutscenes. According to Digital Foundry’s analysis, the PS4 port resolves to “full 4K resolution” and even looks slightly better on PS5 than the backwards compatible version on Xbox Series X/S, especially when it comes to shadows. But the differences are mostly limited to minutiae that few people are likely to notice. “It’s the kind of game that doesn’t really need a major overhaul to work well on modern systems—but even so this is a very barebones effort,” wrote Oliver Mackenzie.

The port would be a home run if not for the $50 head scratcher. It’s not the sort of thing I usually like to harp on, and if you have the money to spare, and never played Red Dead Redemption before, and only have a PS4 or PS5, go for it! But for anyone who just wants to revisit the game or is overwhelmed by the surprising bounty of great new games this year, it’s likely an instant deal breaker, and nothing during my time playing it convinced me otherwise. Maybe the game will come to PS Plus in a few months, or go on sale during the holiday. For now it’s just a pricey trip down memory lane with nothing new to offer.

Here’s Red Dead Redemption Running At 60FPS On A Hacked Switch

A Switch displays John Marston shooting his gun.

Image: Nintendo / Rockstar Games / Kotaku

The new port of Red Dead Redemption is locked at 30fps, even on a PlayStation 5. Switch enthusiasts who like to experiment with pushing the aging handheld hybrid tech to the max, however, can get it running at 60fps, at least in the early parts of the game.

Developer and YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer showed how in a recent video about doing just that with a hacked Switch and some help from the homebrew community. Using a series of fan-made tools including FPSLocker, ReverseNX-RT, and NX-FPS, he was able to uncap the frame rate for the open-world Western and get it running at a pretty consistent 60fps by overclocking the CPU/GPU and memory.

Gif: Rockstar Games / Modern Vintage Gamer / Kotaku

“As you can see it’s silky smooth and a lot of that kind of input lag we come to expect from a game like Red Dead Redemption is not eliminated but is definitely a lot better,” Modern Vintage Gamer said in the video. “And for me this is the ideal way to play Red Dead Redemption. 60fps or up to 60fps in handheld mode is a beautiful thing.”

He added that he didn’t experience any hitching, crashes, or other issues in his time testing the game’s overclocked performance. The one thing it does require is for the Switch to be plugged in, since the extra power is needed to push the performance. The tests were on an early version of the Nintendo hardware as well, so more recent iterations of the console that use the Mariko chipset might handle it even better.

The port as-is remains a bit of a letdown, especially with the $50 price tag. While it’s nice to have one of the best games of 2010 on a handheld, the lack of updated features, especially on PlayStation 5, is still a big disappointment. Even more egregious is that there’s still no PC version after all these years. The sequel, Red Dead Redemption 2, runs great on the Steam Deck after all.


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