Red Dead Redemption 2 technical analysis puts Xbox One X far in the lead

If you're a videophile, the definitive place to play Red Dead Redemption 2 appears to be Xbox One X. As you can see in the video above, the tech wizards at Digital Foundry broke out their tiniest pixel rulers to compare all four versions of the game on PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X, and the latter system had enough clear advantages in both graphics and performance to earn their unreserved praise.

The biggest advantage? Xbox One X actually renders Red Dead Redemption 2 at native 4K - an achievement for any graphically intense game, made all the more impressive because of the detail and complexity of Rockstar's open world. The PlayStation 4 Pro version will look great on a 4K TV too, but it seems to use a smattering of techniques such as checkerboard rendering to turn a lower-resolution base into a 4K end result, producing a less sharp image and adding some weird (albeit very small) aberrations around the edges of objects.

Raw graphics are one thing, but running smoothly is another, and Xbox One X seems to take the Frito pie there as well. Microsoft's latest console runs Red Dead Redemption 2 at a consistent 30 frames per second that only dips in the most densely populated scenes. PS4 Pro makes a valiant effort to stick around 30fps as well, but it slows down more easily when the going gets tough.

However, Digital Foundry's findings run in the opposite direction for PS4 and Xbox One S: while PS4 sticks to your good ol' 1080p, the older Xbox One hardware can only manage 864p. The effects of the scaled-down resolution are magnified by Red Dead Redemption 2's temporal anti-aliasing techniques, producing a blurry image that obscures details like tree branches while adding some weird dithering to shadows. That said, Xbox One can maintain a slightly more stable framerate in dense cities. Both the PS4 and Xbox One S versions of the game seem to use lower resolution textures than their 4K-targeted counterparts.

At the end of the day, though, the best console for Red Dead Redemption 2 is almost always gonna be the one you can play it on ASAP. Or at least it it sure sounds that way after putting this Red Dead Redemption 2 critical roundup together.

It may not be the graphics champ, but PlayStation 4 does still get 30 days of early access to select Red Dead Redemption 2 content.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.