4K Red Dead Redemption is Reason Enough to Buy an Xbox One X

By David Meikleham on at

Is that headline a little biased/a smidge sensational? Perhaps. Then again, I'm a mad bastard who owns three 4K televisions, and who thinks Red Dead Redemption is one of the greatest games of all time.

All images: Kotaku 

This week, Red Dead received a rather surprising Xbox One X patch that suddenly upped the game's resolution from 720p to 2160p. The final result of said update is a prettied up cowboy who suddenly looks all kinds of gorgeous.

Such is my love for John Marston, I tried going through Red Dead Redemption on my PS3 last year. While the core game has held up admirably, even the best sandbox story in games and my favourite character of all time couldn't distract my eyes from the sub-720p fugliness. So it's testament to the core game's stellar art direction that thanks to the new X patch, Red Dead could now genuinely pass for a 2018 title.

Pretty, no?

Character models are wonderfully detailed, the lonely prairies of New Austin now pop with small visual flourishes you'd never notice at 720p, and the whole game runs at a rock-solid 30fps – by contrast, the PS3 version would occasionally drop to 20fps.

Right now, I want to give Microsoft a big cuddle. Over the last month, I've spent tens of hours replaying Red Dead, Halo 3, and Mirror's Edge because of their free 4K Xbox One X patches. The company could have easily charged for these Ultra HD upgrades, which breathe new life into ageing gems, but instead, it's served 'em up gratis. In an age of cynical remasters, it's a move that really should be applauded.

The jump to 4K from the 720p original really is colossal. 

If you own an X and still have a copy of Redemption kicking about – even if you don't, I'd argue it's worth the £24.99 the Xbox Store is asking for a digital copy – get 4K Marston fired up post-haste. I can't think of a better way to prime yourself for Red Dead Redemption 2

You can't beat a killer 4K cowboy. 

If you want a more detailed breakdown of why 4K Red Dead rocks, here's a predictably excellent analysis from Digital Foundry: