Here’s some nice if slightly boring news: Red Dead Redemption runs just fine on the Nintendo Switch. That might not be too surprising given that it’s a port of a game that first released in 2010 and that the Switch has already proven capable of running large, slightly older open-world titles like The Witcher 3. But given developer Rockstar Games’ recent history with rereleases, some fans are probably rightfully suspicious of this new version.
I’ve played the first few hours of the Red Dead port on the Switch, which is out today on both Nintendo’s tablet and the PS4. I’ve had the chance to get into one shoot-out, herd some cows, scare away chicken-stealing coyotes, break in a pair of horses, and watch plenty of cutscenes. And it feels exactly like, well, Red Dead Redemption. It’s an occasionally clunky open-world action game with all of the cinematic storytelling and attention to detail that Rockstar has become known for.
Despite Red Dead’s age, the core of the gameplay holds up, and it’s still a gorgeous view when you ride your horse across the plains during sunset. It remains impressive just how much there is to do in this world, making it easy to lose yourself in John Marston’s quest for a better life. It’s also still very frustrating when you fail a mission for being slightly outside of the invisible zone it takes place in, but that’s all part of the Rockstar experience.
The developer says the game runs at a constant 30fps, and that seemed to be the case during my time with its early hours. I didn’t run into any noticeable dips, and while it looks like a game that’s more than a decade old (because it is), I didn’t experience any technical issues. It might feel a little dated if you’re coming from the more expansive and open sequel, but that’s not the Switch’s fault.
This solid performance is a far cry from back in 2021, when Rockstar released a bug-ridden remaster of the original 3D Grand Theft Auto trilogy. Of course, the big difference here is that Red Dead is a straight port (and one that’s already available on the Xbox) and not a remaster, so nothing has really changed here. It’s the same game as the original from 2010, with all of the extra content that came after, including the zombie-themed Undead Nightmare expansion.
But for anyone who was looking forward to playing on the go, it’s still a welcome development that it works as it should.