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GTA vs Red Dead Redemption: 3 major differences

(image credits: screenrant)
(image credits: screenrant)
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 11 Sep 2020, 16:10 IST

Rockstar Games has been one of the most successful Triple-A gaming studios, and their two marquee products have dominated the market. The GTA and the Red Dead Redemption franchise are cultural landmarks of games and proved to be a critical and commercial success.

As one of Rockstar's most prized properties, GTA has had a long run in the industry. Red Dead Redemption, by comparison, is still relatively recent, but its success and impact has been undeniable.

2018's Red Dead Redemption II dominated the awards season with nominations in nearly all major categories. It has solidified its position right alongside franchises like GTA in terms of cultural impact and popularity.

Here we look at what makes these two games by Rockstar different, and why players would pick one over the other.

Major differences between GTA and Red Dead Redemption

1) Level of Realism

The GTA franchise has always put up a sort of fight against its very over-the-top nature with its tendency to maintain a level of groundedness. The GTA franchise has oscillated between how real and grounded the games should feel.


For example, GTA San Andreas took the wall-to-wall crazy approach with its over-the-top story moments and even whackier gameplay at times. At the same time, GTA IV was a much more sombre game, with the exploration of serious themes. Even the gameplay was toned down to a much more real level, to drive the point home thematically.

Red Dead Redemption does not suffer from such an identity crisis, as it has always been clear with both its approach to gameplay and narrative. The gameplay, as well as the narrative, maintain a level of groundedness and realism throughout.

2) Tone

(mild spoilers)

The GTA franchise, despite its absurd amount of violence and themes, is a relatively light-hearted affair, save for Grand Theft Auto IV. The purpose of these games is not to ponder over life's biggest questions, but to poke fun at modern society.

The Grand Theft Auto games revel in their satire of modern society and media, and thus come off as extremely sarcastic. That is not to say the game lacks sincere moments, as the series is known for its brilliant writing.

Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, clearly takes inspiration from Western literature and movies. The tone is decidedly more melancholic, as the narrative ponders over serious themes and is chock-full of genuinely emotional moments.

3) Gameplay and Survival Mechanics

As mentioned above, Red Dead Redemption II actually has some level of survival mechanics in the game. While it doesn't have too much of a massive impact on the game, it does add another level of depth.

The GTA franchise has also experimented with survival/RPG mechanics in San Andreas. However, in Red Dead Redemption II, the mechanic also has an impact on the player's abilities.

For instance, if the players eat too much, then Arthur will become Overweight. Meaning, he will be able to take more damage, but run out of stamina quickly. There are also things like Arthur's health taking a hit each time the player smokes a cigarette or cigar.

Published 11 Sep 2020, 16:03 IST
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