Red Dead Redemption For Switch Is Now Playable On PC Via Emulation

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Red Dead Redemption, the sequel to Red Dead Revolver on the original Xbox, was a massive hit when it released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2010. As a later release for those consoles and the second Rockstar release to use the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), it leveraged the hardware of those systems to produce a visually-stunning open-world cowboy adventure with a rich and alive environment and emotionally-engaging story.

Despite the releases of Grand Theft Auto IV, Max Payne 3, Grand Theft Auto V, and even Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PC, the original game didn't leave those 7th-generation platforms until last week's launch on the Switch and PlayStation 4. While the improvements in the re-releases are extremely modest, they're still better than the original version if you just want to play the original single-player campaign or the Undead Nightmare expansion. Unfortunately, the re-release lacks the multi-player component of the original version.

John Marston is escorted through Blackwater by federal agents. (Switch)

PC gamers who played the third game will likely want to try out Red Dead Redemption to see how the story of John Marston continues, as, confusingly, Red Dead Redemption 2 is actually a prequel starring another member of Marston's gang. Marston himself spends most of the third game bedridden as a result of his injuries in an early conflict, but he stars as the main character for the majority of Red Dead Redemption.

Unfortunately, there's still no way to do that without using emulation. You could still load up the original game in RPCS3 (PS3) or Xenia (XB360), of course. We'd recommend Xenia because it runs better, and also because the Xbox 360 version of the game looks quite a bit better than the PS3 version, but if you have the requisite hardware, RPCS3's interface and configuration are a lot more developed than Xenia's.

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The Undead Nightmare expansion is bundled in.

Alternatively, you could buy the game on the Nintendo Switch and then rip it from your Switch and play it in Yuzu or RyujinX emulators. It already runs in both emulators, with caveats—you need OpenGL in Yuzu while RyujinX has visual bugs—and this gets you a newer version of the game that has... well, actually, almost no changes from the original release. The Xbox 360's multi-sampling anti-aliasing has been replaced with FXAA that helps with some of the distant shimmering, but there are no changes to any assets, anywhere—not even the original 720p HUD and UI elements have been upscaled.

We actually might recommend sticking to the 7th-gen versions of the game if you're going to play it under emulation. Not only are used copies of the game available for a pittance everywhere, but both Xenia and RPCS3 have advanced mechanisms for raising the 30 FPS cap in the game. (This is also possible in Yuzu, but it's not as reliable as in RPCS3.) You can use whatever controller you want in any of the above emulators, and while Xenia is by far the clumsiest to configure, it's also the least-demanding, hardware-wise.

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It's a shame that Rockstar has deigned to bring this classic cowboy action game to the PC after all these years. We can't imagine why; the game was almost assuredly developed on PCs, and considering all of the ports of other RAGE-engine games to PC, it seems like the majority of the hard work is done already. For now, if you're dying to play Red Dead Redemption in high-definition, your best bet is either loading up your version of choice in the appropriate emulator, or simply playing the Xbox 360 version on a newer Xbox console.