Red Dead Redemption (Switch) – Thirteen Years Later, John Marston Rides into the World of Nintendo Switch

REVIEW – Thirteen years after unveiling its iconic game map and establishing itself as one of the best of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation, Red Dead Redemption has made a surprising arrival on the Nintendo Switch.



While many had high hopes for a PS5 and Xbox Series remake, Rockstar Games chose to gift this stellar port to Nintendo console owners instead. Kudos for the adaptation’s quality go to Double Eleven Studio, founded by former Rockstar Games collaborators. They’ve proven that the Switch can handle expansive, open-world games without sacrificing quality. This means there are no glaring graphics errors or stuttering refresh rates. The adaptation faithfully recreates the 2010 original, preserving the graphics and attention to detail that made this Rockstar Games title famous. Studios like Game Freak and CD Projekt Red (recall the abysmal Switch version of The Witcher 3) could learn a thing or two from this release.



A Milestone Year for Rockstar


2023 is a banner year for Rockstar Games. They’re celebrating two significant anniversaries: the fifth for Red Dead Redemption 2 and the tenth for GTA 5. Yet, 2023 also marks the return of Red Dead Redemption to the Nintendo Switch and PS4, thirteen years after its PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Thanks to Double Eleven Studio, John Marston and the Dutch gang are now at our fingertips. The end result? Flawless.

Two console generations separate the Nintendo Switch version from the original Red Dead Redemption. Technological differences delayed this adaptation, but on the Switch, Red Dead Redemption runs as smoothly as any other Rockstar title, standing tall amidst its peers. The recent release of Zelda’s Tears of the Kingdom also shows the Nintendo hybrid console’s ability to run large, detailed, and complex open worlds, surpassing the performance seen in the new Pokémon Arceus, Ecarlate, and Violet titles. There were doubts about the Switch’s capability for detailed open-world games. However, with this release, Rockstar Games has shown that if open-world games on the Nintendo Switch have been technologically lacking, it’s due to developers not putting in the necessary effort. Just think back to the foggy debacle of The Witcher 3 on Switch. But after ten hours of gameplay, we can confirm: the hardware performs brilliantly.



A Trip Down Memory Lane


Replaying the first installment of Red Dead Redemption instantly brings back the nostalgia we felt five years ago with its sequel. It offers deeper insight into John Marston’s thirst for revenge and makes the sacrifice of certain Van der Linde gang members even more poignant, given what transpires in Red Dead Redemption 2. We tried to find any hints of Arthur Morgan’s existence to no avail. He was explicitly crafted for the sequel-prequel, but his philosophy undeniably influenced Marston.

Indeed, playing the first Red Dead after the visually stunning Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like a leap back in time. It certainly stands out when compared to other Nintendo titles, but some of its gameplay elements have become outdated. For instance, John’s running and jumping mechanics feel a tad antiquated. However, other aspects like horse animations, environmental richness, attention to detail, and the overall mood remain impeccable. There’s no aliasing to be found, neither in the environment nor the shadows; the Switch version even retains the original game’s weather effects, further enhancing this breathtaking world.



More Responsive Controls


Many players will enjoy rediscovering the animation speed in the game, which is far from the heavy, “tank-like” gameplay of the sequel – though that has its charm. This makes shootouts seem faster and more responsive, possibly feeling more “video game-like”. Remember, weapon efficiency is based on specific criteria such as fire rate, power, or reload time. Ammo capacity becomes critical when summoning John Marston’s “Dead Eye” ability. One constant remains: the game’s strength lies in its variety of rich tasks. We’re not just talking poker games, horseshoe tossing, knife spins, classic duels, or arm wrestling; we mean side missions that deepen immersion and enrich Red Dead Redemption’s content. These don’t just fill our pockets with cash but also allow players to cultivate John Marston’s “Fame” and “Honor”, two metrics that dictate the path chosen by our hero during his journey. While we won’t reiterate the 2010 game review, it’s worth noting that Double Eleven has done everything necessary to ensure that the Switch debut of Red Dead Redemption is seamless and dispute-free.



The Quintessential Western Zombie


Included in the 11.6 GB on the Nintendo Switch, one must consider the “Undead Nightmare” DLC, which was released 6 months following the original game’s debut. This offers an extended gameplay experience where we encounter a decomposing John Marston. Many had hoped to play as our hero’s son, but instead, we are given the zombified cowboy for a fresh adventure. “Undead Nightmare” introduces us to a drastically different universe. While the surroundings remain unchanged, we perceive them in a new light. Most towns are deserted, the usual bustling sounds replaced by eerie silence, only occasionally disrupted by the cries of zombies. As for the protagonist, John Marston undergoes significant changes, meeting characters from previous games who have now either passed on or reside below the ground. But as most other characters feel brand new, Marston remains the hero we know, dedicated to protecting his family and survivors from the zombie invasion.



An Impressive Switch Port!


The remaster of Red Dead Redemption’s first installment for the Nintendo Switch is a remarkable achievement. It’s evident that the team at Double Eleven went above and beyond to optimize the game for Nintendo’s console. Red Dead Redemption stands as a timeless classic, and now it becomes accessible to a new generation on the Nintendo Switch. For those who’ve never played, it’s an exceptional chance to dive into the primary Red Dead experience. And for those familiar with it, this serves as a nostalgic revisit to the enthralling Wild West saga.



+ Huge nostalgia for this classic western title
+ Outstanding graphics and great open world implementation on Switch
+ Exciting, fun missions and side missions


– Certain game mechanics seem outdated
– The hardware of the Switch is limited
-The atmosphere of the Undead Nightmare DLC is different from the original

Publisher: Take 2

Developer: Rockstar

Style: western action-adventure, open-world

Release: 19.05.2010 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) 17.08.2023. (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5)

Red Dead Redemption (Switch)

Gameplay - 9.6
Graphics (Switch) - 9.2
Story - 9.6
Music/Audio - 9.8
Ambience - 9.8



The Nintendo Switch version of Red Dead Redemption is a genius journey into the past, rekindling Wild West nostalgia. The game's visual wonders continue to amaze players even today, though some old mechanics seem a tad outdated. The Undead Nightmare DLC, meanwhile, introduces an unexpected yet thrilling twist to the well-known world.

User Rating: 4.46 ( 1 votes)

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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