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Red Dead Redemption 2 promotional art
Image via Rockstar

9 Things RDR1 Did Better Than RDR2

What has the old game done better?

Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 belong to one of the most popular franchises out there, and their fans are so dedicated that they are playing and commenting on these games even years after their release — RDR was Released in May 2010, and RDR2 was released in October 2018.

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Recently, some players stirred up the old ghosts again, talking about what was so great in RDR that we don’t have RDR2. Even though it might sound weird that the older game has done something better than the newer one, it still does happen, and I decided to explore them in this piece.

What RDR1 Did Better Than RDR2

John Marston on a Horse in RDR1
Image by Rockstar

Unlimited Horse Whistle Distance

The opinions are split on this one but I must admit that unlimited whistle distance for calling your horse from RDR1 is more practical than having a small, limited range in RDR2. Those disagreeing with this point often mention that it’s not realistic to be calling your horse from a 100 miles away. While that’s true, the realistic components of games can sometimes be too annoying and time-consuming so that’s why I’m adding this one to the list.

Shooting Kneecaps

This one can seem kinda brutal but that’s what fans of RDR and RDR2 are about, right? Shooting people in the first installment of the game had a more realistic touch (yes, the realism that I actually like!) where people were reacting more naturally to getting shot. One of the more notable things was the kneecap shooting. In RDR1, when you shoot an enemy in both knees they would go down kneeling but still shooting at you. In RDR2, this was removed and if you shoot them in their knees a few times they will simply die.

Buying Properties

Buying properties is a common thing in Rockstar Games as even GTA Vice City had it. And even it isn’t something that I dealy miss, I noticed that more than a few people in the RDR community complained about this and said that they would have liked to see property buying added to the RDR2 like it was available in RDR1. Maybe they just don’t like to see the classic Rockstar features missing in future games.

Diverse Gambling

RDR1 has shown us that gambling doesn’t have to be only playing poker and blackjack. They introduced many other options for you like arm wrestling and cheating at poker. To add to the authenticity even more, the card cheating is a skill that you must perfect and if you make a mistake and get spotted, you’re immediatelly called out for a duel! Old school style!

Undead Nightmare DLC

Undead Nightmare DLC for RDR1 brought a lot of zombies to the already existing map and put you into an environment where you need to survive the hordes of the undead while playing completely new challenges and quests. I mean, zombie mode is always an easy win. I remember the craze that started when COD World at War released theirs, and I can safely say that the craze for those kind of mods never stopped.


Visiting another country where the whole atmosphere is different (like law acting differently) is something that is dearly missed in RDR2. Even though you get to go to Guarma in one chapter, it’s not a whole new country with towns that you can revisit later on. I think that having the ability to visit one or more different countries really gives you that feeling of vastness of the open world you’re exploring.

Explosive Rifle

Even though highly unrealistic with bazooka vibe more than a rifle vibe, this gun was insanely fun to hold and play with. I mean, who could resist blowing up a horse to bits right under its rider’s legs or shooting one explosive shot and killing the whole poker table in one go? RDR2 gave us explosive ammunition but that would simply blow up someone’s hand, leg or head without destroying them to bits. When I think of it, I don’t think that even the cannon in the second game was as powerful as Explosive Rifle in the first.

Fast Travel to Waypoint

Being able to fast travel to a waypoint you set up eariler is way more useful than just being able to go to towns and camps previously inhabited. In RDR2 many side quests and vendors like Trapper, are in the middle of nowhere so when I need them to trade or craft I have to get to the nearest town and then ride from there. After you spend 100+ hours in the game that begins to bore you.

Unlimited Bounty Hunting and Nightwatch

Chances to earn more money in real cowboy style were definitely plentiful in RDR1. Unlimited bounties compared to maybe two dozen that you can do in RDR2 and being able to play Nightwatch, an activity that allowed you to protect a settlement from bandits (increasing your honor alongside) is a definite advantage. This is something that great number of RDR1 fans wholeheartedly miss.

We hope you found our article insightful! Read more about RDR franchise in our Red Dead Redemption page.

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Djordje Ivanovic
Đorđe Ivanović (Djordje Ivanovic) is a writer that has been with GameSkinny from 2024. He has a BA in Journalism and five years of professional writing experience behind him, with a recent personal focus on gaming and technology niches. His interests include WWII games, puzzle games, Path of Exile, Overwatch and other live service games. In his free time, you will find this adamant fan of Dota solving some sort of escape room games, and getting familiar with board gaming.