Red Dead Redemption Nintendo Switch Review: On The Go Extravaganza

Red Dead Redemption was originally released in 2010 for the PS3/Xbox 360 and told a story set in America’s fictional Wild West. The story has been bestowed as one of the best tales ever told and can now be experienced by new players or old fans on the Nintendo Switch. The idea of playing Red Dead Redemption and the Undead Nightmare DLC on a handled console seemed outright impossible even five years ago. However, Rockstar has managed to deliver the impossible.

While many would consider this a bold move, other classic Rockstar titles such as GTA have also made their way to the Nintendo Switch and Red Dead Redemption (RDR) felt like the natural next step. Games like The Elder Scrolls v: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Assassin’s Creed have also flourished on the handheld console, and now it is RDR’s turn.

Red Dead Redemption Switch – Story

John Marston pointing a gun from Red Dead Redemption on the Nintendo Switch
Red Dead Redemption takes place in the Western Frontier during 1911, where you play as John Marston, who is an ex-outlaw looking to make amends. He now works for the US Government and is on a hint to catch his former gang members and bring them to justice. However, like many things in the Wild West, Marston’s plan doesn’t exactly go as planned.

Much like the GTA series, RDR will require you to complete missions for different central characters. However, you will traverse the vast open world on a horse instead of a fast car. But as you explore the world, you will experience the realities of the Wild West and how things were done in the early 1900s. There’s a reason why it was called the “Wild West,” and you will be right in the middle of it.

Like other Rockstar Games, Red Dead Redemption tells an exciting and riveting story filled with betrayal, interesting characters, and spectacular voice acting. However, when you consider that you can enjoy this entire package on the go, it makes the feat far more impressive.

Red Dead Redemption – Nintendo Switch Gameplay

Red Dead Redemption Gameplay Screenshot from Nintendo Switch's Handheld Mode
As far as Red Dead Redemption‘s gameplay is concerned, it works exactly as its Xbox 360/PS3 counterpart. Since this is a direct port and not a rework of the original, gameplay mechanics were expected to be the same here. Like other Rockstar titles, combat mechanics are not as straightforward, and it takes some time to learn the ropes.

Also, since this isn’t a remaster, the combat mechanics also rely on the dated cover system, which you may have experienced in GTA as well. Since Rockstar titles are more about the story and not complicated gameplay mechanics, you will also have to deal with the strong auto-locking system. However, using the Dead Eye mechanic is still one of the more exciting things to do during combat.

Overall, the combat and traversal gameplay systems are very much rooted in Rockstar DNA. However, for some odd reason, it works well on a portable system and does not really hamper the experience once you get the hang of it.

Red Dead Redemption – Nintendo Switch Graphics & Performance

John Marston Reading a Wanted Poster in Red Dead Redemption

Since we tested Red Dead Redemption on the Nintendo Switch, comparing it to the current generation counterparts would be unfair. As a Nintendo Switch title, RDR runs at a smooth 30 FPS in both handheld and docked mode. However, while playing handheld, you can expect the resolution to take a slight hit compared to docked mode. Keeping this in mind, Red Dead Redemption‘s performance on the Nintendo Switch is quite smooth and runs better than expected.

As for the graphics, the overall visuals look beautiful for a Nintendo Switch title and, at times, better than other open-world games on the system. Sure, the draw distance has been sacrificed slightly, but you do get to play RDR on the go. Since this is just a port and not a remaster or a new Rockstar title, the minor graphical shortcomings don’t supersede the portability factor.

While some pop-ins, artifacts, and reduced texture details are expected, the game still looks more vibrant than the original version from 2010. The earlier version was quite blurry, which isn’t the case for the Nintendo Switch. The open world, characters, and lighting have definitely been improved. Having said that, since this is a direct port of the original, you can expect the same janky movement from your character. It would have definitely helped if the gameplay was slightly tweaked to modern standards.

Red Dead Redemption – Nintendo Switch Verdict

John Marston from Red Dead Redemption walking boldly

The fact that you can play one of the most immersive words crafted in gaming on a handheld device is still quite astounding. Red Dead Redemption is a beloved franchise for a reason, and the fact that one can now experience its critically acclaimed story on the go makes the game worth getting on the Nintendo Switch for both new players and returning fans.

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10


  • Compelling Story
  • Engaging Side Quests
  • Excellent Performance On The Switch
  • Includes Undead Nightmare DLC


  • No Online Mode
  • Compressed Audio
  • Expensive Price for a port