When Red Dead Redemption 2 was released back in 2018 it was met with widespread critical acclaim and had extremely positive reception. The sprawling, scenic masterpiece with an engrossing open world and hours upon hours of gameplay was undoubtedly a triumph, and Red Dead Redemption 2 heralded in many innovative gameplay mechanics for a new generation of gaming.

Now one of the highest-rated games of all time is even more impressive after it received a recent graphical update. Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (or DLSS) is an upscaling AI that helps to improve resolution, object detail in motion, and temporal stability in addition to other features. It has already been implemented in games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Rise of the Tomb Raider and is due to come to many others according to a report on Tom's Hardware. With DLSS added to Red Dead Redemption 2, there are plenty of things for gamers to look forward to if they want to jump back in.

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Diving Into A World Of Outlaws And Adventure

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Rockstar Games' Western-themed action-adventure focuses on the story of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang. The game follows this ragtag bunch of outlaws as they face up to government forces, Pinkerton agents, crime lords, and rival gangs. Exploring the relationships between Morgan and the other members of Dutch van der Linde's gang provides a lot of the game's emotional nuance, and adds to the bittersweet story of the decline of the Wild West.

Through the development of these relationships, as well as interactions with other characters that the player meets along the way, gamers are able to shape their version of Morgan and connect with the world of the game. Red Dead Redemption 2 served as an interesting prequel to Red Dead Redemption, which focused instead on the character of John Marston in a more solitary campaign as the former outlaw reluctantly becomes a hired gun and hunts down members of his former gang.

Red Dead Redemption 2's environment is as expansive as its narrative, and even at its release in 2018 its graphics and scenic vistas were breathtaking. Players were able to travel across the detailed and dauntingly large areas on horseback, interjecting moments of exploration amongst the exciting heists, exhilarating gunfights, and innovative story missions. The epic yarn lets players adventure across fictionalized parts of the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States, as well as a tropical island off the coast of Cuba. The game is packed with things for players to do, including hunting, gambling, managing supplies for the gang's camp, and trying your hand at bounty hunting. Rockstar has tried to make the gaming experience as immersive and realistic as possible, including options for players to remove the HUD, and trips to the shops make gamers flick through the pages of a catalog instead of a menu screen.

The Addition Of DLSS

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With such obvious attention to detail and care taken in its design, DLSS seems like an obvious inclusion to a game that is already so visually rich and well-thought-out. Red Dead Redemption 2's visuals have always been cited as a particular element worthy of praise in its various accolades and awards, and for many, it was hard to see how they could be improved on current-gen hardware.

Red Dead Redemption 2 exists in a group of games like God of War and The Last of Us 2 that have successfully pushed consoles and PCs to their limits in order to display games to a level that players haven't previously seen, and imagining these impressive examples getting an upgrade without leveling up to a new generation of consoles is difficult. That's where DLSS comes in. The latest iteration of Nvidia's AI-assisted DLSS has started to be rolled out across a handful of titles, with more due to be added to the list soon. The update will allow players to upscale to a better resolution without slowing down their games, revealing more of the in-world environment without a frustrating gameplay penalty.

The ability to ensure better frame rates without experiencing drops is not to be underestimated. Although gamers may be happy to put up with a lot when it comes to playing their favorite games, from glitchy NPCs to flickering objects, smoothing out these examples of graphical strain undoubtedly makes for a better game playing experience. Side by side comparisons of gameplay provided by Nvidia to showcase their latest DLSS iteration detail just how high quality this upgrade is, and what a difference it makes to games. One of the most noticeable improvements is the appearance of in-game elements rendered in the distance, a particularly valuable aspect for a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 that features such expansive landscapes.

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What DLSS Means For The Future Of Gaming

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With a reported performance improvement of up to 45% at 4K for Red Dead Redemption 2, DLSS 2.3 represents a significant quality hike for the popular game. With players still playing through this love letter to the Old West and utilizing the features of Red Dead Online, the update will be welcome news to many despite the game already being several years old. Various iterations of the DLSS are already being utilized across multiple titles since its launch in 2018 and the algorithmic upscaling solution looks to eventually become an industry-standard inclusion. This, of course, has implications for gaming in general, as well as the future of the medium.

DLSS helps to give a boost to GPUs that might otherwise be considered "lower-end" and lets even more powerful cards reach higher resolutions with smoother frame rates, meaning they can achieve better fps. This process makes gaming more equitable and doesn't lock out players from experiencing a game at its full potential if they can't afford or don't know how to build a top-quality PC.

This means, potentially, that the future of gaming is not only going to be better looking, but it also means that it could be more democratic in terms of graphical fidelity. It was confirmed earlier this year that the Unity engine will eventually feature DLSS natively, making it the second well-known and widely-used gaming engine to do so. Increasing frame rates is particularly important for games based on player reactions and their awareness of the full in-game environment, with native integration a big plus point. Online gaming is an area where this is doubly important, as in PvP modes any disadvantage players may face has big impacts, and if this is mainly graphical it hardly makes for a level playing field.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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