Rockstar Games has been consistently knocking it out of the park with releases and things show no signs of slowing down. Their first serious foray into a robust multiplayer component came in the form of GTA Online, which allowed players to roam around GTA V's Los Santos with buddies and strangers, completing missions and/or causing mayhem.
While it had a rocky start, it is a well-oiled machine today, with additional content flowing at a regular pace to keep players interested. Red Dead Redemption 2 also has an online portion which takes several cues from its predecessor, but is ultimately an entirely different beast. Which is the better all-around experience? Here are five ways Red Dead Redemption 2's online is better than GTA Online and five ways it is worse.
10 Better: Immersion
GTA Online indulges in its ridiculousness, allowing players to partake in any number of odd activities or ride around the map in a slew of stylish or silly vehicles. Riding around the old West on Rockstar's servers stays true to the single player portion's philosophy of providing an authentic Western experience.
While this sometimes comes at the expense of convenience, it does make it a wholly unique experience. Every other multiplayer game lets players bling up their avatar or transportation with aesthetic rewards and purchases, but Red Dead Online remains grounded. People can still look stylish, but it is never anachronistic.
9 Worse: Transportation
Driving in Los Santos is smooth as butter, rivaling most racing games where all players do is cruise behind the wheel. Red Dead obviously has no cars, and horses are the main mode of transportation.
Unfortunately, riding a mighty steed just isn't as fun or engaging as speedily weaving between cars on the highway. It wouldn't be so bad, but galloping from one place to another is a huge part of the game. If a silver lining exists, at least it gives players time to chat with each other, just as the characters do while riding in the main campaign.
8 Better: Firefights
GTA Online has the luxury of taking place in modern times, meaning a variety of weaponry is available for those roaming the Los Santos streets. The 2018 game, on the other hand, sticks mostly to pistols, rifles, and bows.
The slower shooting ultimately works to the game's advantage. Weapons feel heavier and have more impact, giving the gunfights an added intensity. As with most of these points, players of each game will have different points of view on this one, but for us, the slower pace helps make big battles feel more visceral and fun.
7 Worse: Bugs
Most games today have bugs, sadly, but some suffer from them more than others. Fleshed out online modes are especially prone to glitches. GTA Online had its share for a long time after launch, but now runs smoothly. Owing to the misfortune of being newer, Red Dead Online is still in a phase where bugs are slowly singled out and fixed one at a time.
Any number of things hinder the experience, from bizarre happenings in story missions to players being unable to move after mounting a horse. Given the large community still playing the game after almost a year, the studio is bound to remedy them eventually.
6 Better: Story Missions
The 2013 game had a handful of missions people could complete either solo or with buddies. They were a nice bonus, but they weren't connected by any meaningful narrative. The Western goes a step above by including a series of story missions following an ongoing narrative.
Player choice and honor even factors into which ones are available. The initial offerings were slim, but more were added later on. A lot of co-op games don't even bother with much of a story, so Red Dead's efforts in this area are highly commendable.
5 Worse: Convenience
All of Red Dead Redemption 2's mechanics serve to suck the player into the world and make them feel as if they are living in that time period. This works better in the single-player than it does in the multiplayer.
When completing missions or collecting items, one wants to do the deed and move on as fast as possible. Instead, cooking food is a lengthy process and one has to loot bodies individually. Thankfully, the latter has recently become faster, but there's a lot of room for improvement when it comes to making Red Dead Online a more convenient game.
4 Better: Graphics
When comparing the two's visuals, it's almost hard to believe they run on the same engine. Even still, Rage is the same engine powering 2008's GTA IV.
To its credit, GTA V still looks great in motion, but Red Dead Redemption 2 goes beyond looking impressive by open world standards; it was one of the most beautiful titles released in 2018. The weather deserves a special mention, too. Roaming around with friends when a fog rolls in or rain starts pouring takes the game to new heights.
3 Worse: No Radio
This one isn't the designers' fault and is simply a product of the setting, but it bears mentioning. One can spend several minutes at a time going from place to place with nothing but the sounds of nature to keep them entertained. GTA Online has a plethora of radio stations offering both music and talk show content.
While long-time players have heard the selections numerous times, it's at least something to do while driving. We suppose one alternative would be to put on a playlist of the player's own choosing in the background.
2 Better: Competitive Modes
Not all of Red Dead Online and GTA Online consists of co-operative missions or haphazard open world madness; each has a selection of competitive modes as well.
Red Dead Online provides all the standard fare, as well as a few variations on the formula. Because of its slower pace and settings, the rounds are often more interesting than GTA Online's bouts. The latter definitely has an advantage with its creative adversary modes, but Red Dead maybe has it beat when it comes to the classics.
1 Worse: Griefers
Griefing exists in both titles, but up until recently, it was almost unavoidable in the 2018 game. If one doesn't play in either of the passive modes, GTA Online players can always make a break for it in a car. In Red Dead Online, any malicious player can easily pick off a victim as they mount their steed for a getaway.
Fortunately, Rockstar recently added a defensive mode to prevent such annoyances. Players throwing a kink into an open world mission is one thing, but being a nuisance for the sake of bothering others is something fellow players need to be able to opt out of.