Why Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Graphics Are So Demanding

Red Dead Redemption 2 is now released for PC but many gamers have said that they are having difficulties with the graphics settings. Even with a $1,200 graphics card Rockstar’s western epic won’t run on ultra. That’s a bummer for most PC-owners with a more modest GPU. It comes at no surprise though, considering the scale, size and detail of the game. In this article we will delve into why even the most monstrous rigs are chugging like a 19th century locomotive when playing RDR2.

Rockstar gave us all the tools

There’s no denying that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most beautiful games out there. But the sheer amount of graphical control Rockstar Games has given to players is insane and possibly a bit overwhelming.

Depending on how dedicated a member of the PC Masterrace you are, you either love or hate the fact that there are at least 3 different graphics settings for the water physics. Being able to adjust the refracting, reflecting, and physical properties of water means you can really put your rig to work.


Regardless of whether you like the in-depth graphical controls Rockstar has given PC gamers, the multitude of sliders will make it inevitable for some players to lose track of what does what. It’s a double edged sword hunting knife that players have this unusual amount of control.

One can finetune the graphical fidelity of Red Dead Redemption 2 to strike a perfect balance between performance and beauty. One can also mess around with the settings to a point where not even Dutch has a solution on how to get the game running properly, let alone make a little more money.

Rendering a vast and ‘living’ open world

As with any open world game, Red Dead Redemption 2 is constantly demanding the most out of your PC. Wherever you go with Arthur, wildlife is constantly running around, luscious grass is being rendered, and those damn bandits are waiting just behind the next rock.

The way PC’s make a huge open world viable on the fly is by basically rendering your cone of vision and ignoring the rest. With all the animals darting around, foliage blowing in the wind, and NPC’a strolling through, you can imagine the sheer amount of computing power the game needs to bring Red Dead Redemption 2’s world to life. Not to mention the fact that all of those rendered features all have their own paths and behaviors.


And speaking of a living world, think about the effect a visit to one of the many cities has on your graphics card. All of the uniquely designed NPC’s minding their own business, dynamically reacting to your behavior and interacting with you. That’s a lot to demand from both your CPU and GPU.

The sheer beauty of RDR 2

And that leads us to the final reason why Red Dead Redemption 2 is an incredibly demanding game for PC: it’s sheer beauty. Going to the Red Dead Redemption subreddit, you’ll find a balanced mix of two types of posts. One revolves around cries of help from players not being able to run the game, the other showcasing just how beautiful the game is.

The detail and lighting in this game are absurd from reddeadredemption

Just look at the light bouncing off the sweat on Arthur’s forehead. Notice the tiny little scars (presumably from one of the many fights with bears Arthur has won), the pores on his cheeks, the lighter skin in his wrinkles and the reddish glow of his cheeks. One player even noticed Arthur’s pupils getting bigger when it’s dark, while staying small while riding on the open prairies of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Arthur pupils comparison in two differents hours of the day. from reddeadredemption

Needless to say, Red Dead Redemption 2 is gorgeous and it’s not easy for a machine to produce that amount of detail without relying on heavy calculative power.

In short, all the physics of the environment, characters, and wildlife combined with high resolution textures and detailed models makes Red Dead Redemption 2 one of the most detailed but also demanding games out there. Without at least a half-decent PC, you’re going to have a sub-par experience while exploring the dynamics and struggles of the Van Der Linde gang.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is out now for PC. Last year Rockstar’s western epic hit for Xbox One and PS4.


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