Grand Theft Auto vs. Red Dead Redemption: Which series is better?
Red Dead Redemption excels in combat with a wild and authentic Old West style, while the combat system of GTA is more focused on humor and player cha...
Red Dead Redemption excels in combat with a wild and authentic Old West style, while the combat system of GTA is more focused on humor and player chaos.
Grand Theft Auto offers a more extensive and diverse open-world experience with detailed environments and various activities, while the open world of Red Dead Redemption is limited due to its Old West theme.
The fun factor of GTA lies in causing pure madness and chaos, with a five-star wanted level providing thrill. While Red Dead Redemption may be entertaining, it lacks the same spectacular and enjoyable element.
For a long period of time, the Grand Theft Auto series was the only triple-A game from Rockstar Games that was closely associated with the studio. However, the Red Dead Redemption series also proved to be a great success.
With the release of the second Red Dead Redemption game, it has officially become a series that, like the GTA titles, will see new entries. As both franchises have received massive critical acclaim, many have started to compare them. To that end, it's worth taking a look at what makes a series better and who ultimately emerges as the overall winner of this debate.
Updated on August 28, 2023, by Dominic Allen: People are eager to see what Rockstar Games has in store for the future. GTA 5 is nearly a decade old already, and with rumors suggesting that the sixth game may be released by the end of next year, people can hardly wait for it.
Red Dead Redemption was recently released for the Switch and PS4, and since interest in both series is high, it is worth updating this old article. Additionally, some notable additions have been made that are worth mentioning.
12 Combat: Red Dead Redemption
The GTA series has always focused on the humorous side when it comes to combat, with an emphasis on melee fights. It becomes particularly comical as weak controls are used for punching. On the other hand, in Red Dead Redemption, combat takes a wild direction, with the integration of the style and setting of the Old West.
The shooting feels more authentic as the weapons used have an aesthetic quality. This has led to the combat aspect of this series being in a league of its own. GTA games focus more on players going wild rather than refining their combat skills, as is the case with Red Dead Redemption.
11 Open-World: Grand Theft Auto
Getting lost in the world of GTA is something that everyone who plays these games wants to do. With the advantage of vehicle modifications, it's a lot of fun to glide through these locations. With so many different environments in sight, navigating the map is a true delight. Every single area is meticulously crafted, even underwater, where there exists a whole underwater world with marine creatures.
On the other hand, Red Dead Redemption has limitations in this aspect due to its Old West theme. Essentially, each area primarily consists of untamed land where there isn't much to do except ride, fish, or hunt. In contrast, the cities in GTA offer refreshing worlds to explore - worlds that have much more to offer.
10 Fun Factor: Grand Theft Auto
A central appeal of the GTA series lies in the pure chaos you can unleash when you have a wide array of tools at your disposal. The attempt to survive as long as possible at a five-star wanted level is a thrill that you can hardly experience elsewhere.
Let's face the reality: many people who play GTA initially engage with the main storyline until they unlock everything, and then they begin causing chaos from that point forward. Unfortunately, Red Dead doesn't offer the spectacular and enjoyable element that comes with a five-star wanted level. It is still a lot of fun, but the king of chaos remains GTA, and that's what makes the series so special.
9 Story: Red Dead Redemption
It is natural for fans to discuss whether John Marston or Arthur Morgan had the better story. The characters underwent complete story arcs, overcoming their struggles and finding their resolution to wrap things up. The Red Dead Redemption series ensures that its characters are placed in such scenarios.
The GTA series and its storylines are generally monotonous, with the main characters advancing in their criminal lives. Often, the stories have heavily comedic themes that cannot match the emotional impact of Red Dead Redemption. It's not that the stories in GTA are bad, as they are more of a satirical nature; it's just that emotional weight will always prevail over comedy.
8 Replay Value: Grand Theft Auto
There are many things to do even after completing the stories of the GTA games, as the titles are primarily meant to be enjoyed in free play rather than being tied to the main storyline. With GTA 5, which offers up to three protagonists, the replay value was enormous, as each character had unique side missions and activities.
The Red Dead Redemption games will only appeal to those who enjoy the themes of the Old West once the main story is completed. Apart from that, there isn't much appeal as the additional content heavily incorporates elements of the time period in which the story is set.
7 Graphics: Red Dead Redemption
The GTA series has never been known for its graphics, with the games before GTA 5 looking much worse in terms of visuals compared to other titles of the same generation. This is especially true for GTA 4, which is hard to believe was released in 2008. On the other hand, Red Dead Redemption was the exact opposite and shone with high-quality character models and environments.
The second game, in particular, was well-received for its graphics and is considered a benchmark for modern visuals. Fans praise the game as something that unites aesthetics through its depicted graphics. Additionally, the first game runs in 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, which cannot be said for GTA 4 and earlier titles.
6 Side Missions: Grand Theft Auto
Due to the unique style of the game and the characters involved, side missions in the GTA series can be considered as a kind of independent campaign. These were significantly expanded from GTA 4 onwards with the addition of the "Strangers and Freaks" aspect, which provides additional random missions to play.
The Red Dead Redemption games do have their own side missions, but they are highly linear. Often, they involve the protagonists mostly galloping from one place to another without introducing many interesting characters and scenarios. It also doesn't help that many of them have very unsatisfying endings or simply end without any resolution.
5 Characters: Tied
At first glance, it may seem that the characters in Red Dead Redemption have more facets, but ultimately, this is a difference in the execution of the story. Those who enjoy the style of GTA, where one rises in the criminal hierarchy, will appreciate the characters there more.
GTA characters also tend to provide unforgettable dark comedy scenes, which means replaying their campaigns may be more enjoyable. However, the Red Dead Redemption games are impressive in producing even side characters with completely unique background stories. It is particularly interesting for history enthusiasts as it offers a great character study.
4 Music: Red Dead Redemption
Without music, the atmosphere cannot be conveyed to the players, and the Red Dead Redemption games have incredible soundtracks. These evoke the typical themes of the Old West and create specially tailored pieces to match the emotions of specific scenes.
The GTA series has some unforgettable soundtracks, such as the one in San Andreas. But compared to its other highlights, the series hasn't really made this aspect shine. The Red Dead Redemption titles are a masterclass in proving that music can change the perception of a game.
3 Multiplayer: Grand Theft Auto
Both Red Dead and GTA have extensive multiplayer components, but in terms of content and fun factor, GTA wins again. When looking at GTA 5 Online and Red Dead Redemption 2 Online, there is no doubt as to which game Rockstar is putting more attention and effort into.
In GTA, there is so much going on that it can be quite intimidating for beginners nowadays. Heists, the casino, stunt races, various party game modes - it's just wild. Red Dead Online does not have nearly as much content. Even comparing GTA 4 and Red Dead 1 in multiplayer mode, GTA takes the lead due to some classic game modes that are still enjoyable, such as "Cops 'n Crooks".
2 Dialogue: Grand Theft Auto
While the Red Dead Redemption games offer stronger emotional connections and consequences, the dialogue is rather understated, with characters making statements rather than engaging in conversations. GTA benefits from the humor incorporated into its script.
The personalities of the characters are expressed through their way of speaking, and one can learn a lot about how a protagonist operates based on their speech style. The interaction between characters is also a strong point in favor of GTA, as the banter has its own charm. It is also worth mentioning that GTA, due to its broader scope, overall offers more dialogue than Red Dead.
1 Winner: Grand Theft Auto
Overall, it's a close competition between the two series, mainly decided by the larger audience that GTA appeals to. Fans are not limited to a cowboy-themed setting and have more options for exploring the open game world. These achievements are further complemented by the comedic elements and likable characters.
The Red Dead Redemption series has carved out a niche for itself - something that is actually the purpose of the series, as it distinguishes itself from other games. The franchise has made significant progress in this regard but doesn't quite reach the scope of the GTA series. Several elements, such as the multiplayer mode and replay value, also hold it back.