Red Dead Redemption Switch Review – Great Port, Poor Price

Red Dead Redemption Switch Review

Originally released in 2010, Red Dead Redemption strips away the satire of Grand Theft Auto to tell a nuanced story set in the American West. An undeniable classic, the remaster aims to squeeze the original epic and the Undead Nightmare DLC onto the Switch, but will Nintendo’s aging hybrid manage to run the huge cowboy adventure?

Set in 1911, you explore a unique period in history where the Wild West meets the Industrial Revolution. You play as John Marston, a well-mannered ex-outlaw whose troubled past continues to get him in bother. After a life-threatening incident, you become entangled with the US government in a truly brilliant story that stands the test of time. While the overarching narrative and its conclusion are remarkable, the smaller stories with the unique cast of characters are a particular highlight. 

Howdy Partner!

Each member of the cast is full of personality, adding a new flavor to the experience and making you eager to embark on the next wild escapade. While your gunslinger adventure is full of chaotic shootouts and brawls, Rockstar counters these with mundane tasks which develops the character of John Marston and the people you encounter. The voice acting is truly excellent and helps to flesh out the range of people you meet on your quest. John, however, is the star and is a wonderful protagonist. With family at the heart of his decisions, he is relatable and likable.

Red Dead Redemption follows the Grand Theft Auto formula. Missions scatter the map and you must travel the landscape to complete a range of objectives that explore the seedy underbelly of life in the 1900s. Rockstar doesn’t skirt around controversial topics. You’ll come across a variety of elements that could offend, however, their inclusion is suitable and works in the context of the game. 

Traversal of the large mass is mostly on horseback but you can also use carriages. During your arduous trek, you can set up campsites that allow you to save and fast-travel to certain points. This is a great addition as traveling long distances can get a little tiresome.  Although areas between towns lack the hustle and bustle of GTA, there’s a certain beauty that resides in the somber atmosphere. As you marvel at the vistas, random events can occur and you may find yourself stopping a robbery or saving an innocent person from certain death. This additional layer makes the world feel alive as you are able to intervene to prevent crime or simply walk by.

Read Em’ and Weep

A number of mini-games are available in taverns and towns; many of which are more than just a simple distraction. You can take part in horseshoes, Five Finger Fillet, poker and a range of others that will get their hooks in you. In addition to this, bounties, night patrols, hunts and much more flesh out the experience to give you plenty to do at any point on the vast map.

The package also comes with the fantastic Undead Nightmare. While the base game is an homage to Spaghetti Westerns, the expansion leans into B-movie horrors with its silly and humorous spin on the genre. While it’s a smaller adventure, with less mission variety and probably a few too many ‘clear area’ missions, it has a lot of character and successfully distinguishes itself from the main story.

She’s A Smooth Ride

I was pleasantly surprised with how well the game runs on the Switch. With its steady 30-FPS and clean visuals, the game looks and plays great in handheld and docked mode. While there is the odd pop-in and some clunky movement, it still holds up and is the perfect way to replay the game and for newcomers to experience a classic. Unfortunately, the online mode is absent and there are no extras that celebrate the significance of the title.

Red Dead Redemption is an exceptional game that manages to capture the spirit of the Wild West. The incredible sound design and enthralling narrative are highlights of the adventure. Although it runs perfectly well on the Switch, the lack of an online mode and no additional content is disappointing. The high price point is contentious, however, this is an exquisite open-world adventure that shows Rockstar at its finest.

*** A Nintendo Switch review code was provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • A Brilliant Adventure
  • Runs Well on the Switch
  • Includes The Undead Nightmare

The Bad

  • The Online Mode Is Missing
  • No Extras
  • High Price