It could have been one of the most successful PC launches in recent years – the long-awaited console masterpiece Red Dead Redemption 2 (buy now for € 24.99) has finally been released for the home computer. In addition, developer Rockstar Games promised extensive adjustments for the PC, improved graphics and additional content. Unfortunately, this project was only partially successful, because at the time of launch, RDR 2 did not want to be persuaded to run on many PCs or crashed while playing – even on some of our computers. These bitter, albeit largely eliminated, circumstances cloud the actually first-class impression that RDR 2 leaves on the PC.
And regarding the graphics, Rockstar has not promised too much and integrated extensive optics delicacies into the options menu, which allow you to raise the quality of the optics far above that of the console versions. For example, the visibility is already much higher with medium PC details than on the Daddelkisten. Subtleties such as shading, rubble on the ground or traces in snow and mud are again much more detailed. On top of that, lighting and shading are significantly more complex and volumetric effects such as fog or clouds are finer on the PC even with drastically reduced graphics settings than even on the Xbox One X – and of course you have the potential privilege of Red Dead Redemption 2 at 60 fps or more play.
RDR2 graphic: Many customization options
However, the large number of improvements also translates into a very extensive graphics menu with a multitude of options. However, some of these effects are extremely demanding and obviously intended for future hardware. You don't even jump to the maximum level with the highest selectable setting of the detail slider – regular presets such as "High", "Medium" or "Ultra" do not exist in the graphics menu. One of the most demanding techniques is tessellation in general, which can be found in multiple forms in the menu. In addition to the "Tessellation" option, which determines the plasticity of soil textures by highlighting stones, roots and other subtleties with additional polygons, there is also the "Tree Tessellation" menu item.
With the help of the latter, tree trunks are refined with the technology, but the many additional polygons only bring a relatively narrow plus of details and only round off the trunks a little – this very unobtrusive option alone costs between 10 and 20 percent performance. The "water quality" also affects tessellation. In this case, however, of water and waves as well as deep dynamic mud or snow, in which the characters leave footprints. These options are even significantly more expensive and should not be at the maximum level even on high-end GPUs such as an RTX 2080 Ti if the frame rates in scenarios with water, mud or snow should not drop dramatically. Fortunately, a certain lowering of the tessellation is hardly accompanied by a worse picture, the qualitative differences are only noticeable when you look very closely and rather not during the actual playing.
Further, graphically very demanding options are the display of volumetric effects or their illumination. We advise you to exercise a bit of caution with these fog and lighting effects as well as the volumetric clouds depicted by raymarching. Lowering the "volumetry quality" or the volumetry resolution under the "Advanced Settings", however, provides a somewhat less clear and coarse picture.
Below we have listed some of the settings that we have manually optimized for the best possible optics-performance ratio, as well as some application examples. We invite you to orient yourself if you find yourself crawling through the prairie in search of playable frame rates.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – details, resolution and performance in comparison
The graphics menu of RDR 2 is extremely extensive. We have chosen settings that get the best out of optics and performance from your hardware.
There are a good 40 settings in the graphics menu and many have a significant impact on the performance and appearance of the Western epic. We have created four presets that you can use as a guide: "High" is, in our opinion, the best balance between grandeur and smoothness: only a few visual compromises have to be accepted compared to the much more power-hungry "Ultra". "High" runs well in Full HD from an RX 580 or GTX 1070 or in WQHD from an RX Vega 56 / GTX 1080 / RTX 2060. The setting "Medium" sacrifices some visible details, the image appears less sharp and stable, the shadows flickering a bit annoying, vegetation and objects fade in here and there. But RDR 2 runs pleasantly smoothly in Full HD even with a GTX 1060 or RX 570. We would only guess too "low" in an emergency – rather reduce the rendering scale a little.
The graphics settings from "Low" to "Ultra"
Red Dead Redemption 2 does not use classic presets or graphic presets, but offers a multi-level controller in the menu. This sets the graphics settings differently depending on the installed graphics card and its memory. Our manually optimized settings can be found in the following table.
Source: PC games
Source: PC games
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