Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally out on PC. It’s an excellent game, and I’ve been playing through it on PS4 in the last week and agree with the vast majority of what Adrian said in our glowing review last year. It’s beautifully crafted, almost Dickensian in nature thanks to its wonderfully winding narrative, and has more to do in it than can ever be done. It’s the circle of life. Despite how enjoyable the game itself is, what Rockstar Games has deigned to deliver to PC players can only be described as a big old mess.
I’m used to dealing with mess – I have two cats and a baby, my life is in a constant state of chaos – but I expect my games to work when I load them up, and so should you. As it stands, the PC version is plagued with a whole host of issues. Some of these affect the new Rockstar Games Launcher – because we really needed another PC launcher – and that means there are huge swathes of players who can’t play the game at all. Then there are the performance problems that are present at every other step of the journey. If you do make it into the game, there’s a chance you’ll be thrown back to your home screen when the game decides to simply crash. If you’re lucky enough to stay inside the game itself, then you’re likely having to deal with the other main issue facing us PC fools; the constant and unrelenting freezing.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a big game, it’s huge, mammoth, absurd, perhaps even too big, but it seems like merely loading in the immediate area is causing the game to freeze as I journey around its beautiful vistas – this with the game installed on an SSD. While the issue is erratic, there are some sections I’ve played through that stutter every couple of steps. You end up looking at a still image of the game for around five seconds while the audio continues. Then, when time starts back up again, you end up with conversations happening out of order or simultaneously as the dialogue tries to catch up to the audio. It’s honestly painful to push through at the moment; I’ve tried for several hours.
This occurs in both the online and offline components too, so simply escaping to one or the other isn’t going to help you out. It’s made all the more tedious by the fact that this is easily one of the best games of the last few years. You can play it, but it feels like doesn’t want you to. It seems that Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC is more interested in confusing players and frustrating them than courting them and winning them over. It’s just not good enough, especially given that this isn’t exactly new territory for Rockstar Games, they’ve ported enough games to PC at this point, each time with a bunch of issues and often laboured performance on high-end hardware. We should expect better, and we definitely deserve better.
It’s sure to be the same incredible experience as it is on console once everything gets patched and tweaked. Still, the current experience for PC players is an immensely frustrating one, and it’s tough to recommend it until things get sorted. Of course, they will almost definitely get fixed, but it’s not really acceptable for it to be out in this condition in the first place, is it?