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Red Dead Redemption 2: Which Edition to Buy?

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If you buy an upgraded version of Red Dead Redemption 2 you’ll receive bonus in-game content and some unique items. Rockstar and its retail partners are offering several different Red Dead Redemption 2 editions so you’ll want to make sure you buy the right bundle for you and your budget.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 release date is finally here which means many Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners are trying to decide if the game is worth the price of admission.

Retailers are currently offering three Red Dead Redemption 2 editions. These include the the standard edition, the Special Edition, and the Ultimate Edition. Rockstar’s also selling a Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box that’s full of unique items including playing cards and a bandana.

In this guide we’ll take you through each edition of the game and help you choose the right one for you.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Standard Edition

The most basic version of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the standard edition. The standard edition will run you the normal $60, but you can get it for less if you’re a Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked (GCU) member.

We could also see retailers like NewEgg offer sporadic deals in the weeks ahead, particularly during the holiday shopping season. We saw several deals popup during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The standard edition offers the least amount of content, especially now that you no longer get the game’s pre-order bonuses.

Who should buy this edition of Red Dead Redemption 2?

  • Newcomers to the series.
  • Those that don’t have a ton of time to play games and aren’t sure how much time they can or want to invest in Red Dead Redemption 2.

The standard edition is the safest, and cheapest, version of the game. You can buy the standard edition at Best Buy or Amazon.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Special Edition

If you’re excited about the game’s lengthy single player story mode and want additional content right off the bat, you might opt for the $80 Special Edition.

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 Special Edition comes with exclusive content for the game’s Story Mode. These bonuses include:

  • Bank Robbery Mission and Gang Hideout in Story Mode: Get exclusive access to a Bank Robbery Mission, in which Arthur and a couple of his fellow gang members come up with a daring plan to break in and rob the bank in the southern town of Rhodes. Elsewhere, the Del Lobos Gang has taken over a hacienda – clear this gang’s hideout and rob their stash for a lucrative take.
  • Dappled Black Thoroughbred: This thoroughbred racehorse sporting a beautiful reverse-dappled black coat will keep you at the front of the pack with its exceptional speed and acceleration. You will also get the exclusive Nuevo Paraiso Saddle, handmade in dark chocolate leather with silver medallion detailing. This horse and saddle are available in Red Dead Redemption 2 Story Mode.
  • Talisman and Medallion Gameplay Bonuses: These special Story Mode items will give Arthur a helping hand whenever they are equipped. Attaching the Eagle Talon Talisman to his boot, Arthur’s environmental awareness skill will last longer. By carrying the Iguana Scale in his personal Satchel, Arthur will take less damage while riding on horseback.
  • Gameplay Boosts, Cash Bonuses & Discounts: This collection of exclusive Story Mode boosts, bonuses and discounts will help Arthur to survive out in the harsh wilderness and better provide for his gang members and their camp. The Core Stat boost benefits Arthur’s Stamina, Health and Dead Eye Cores. Earn more cash during robbery missions with the Van der Linde gang, and when hunting and selling animal carcasses. Receive discounts on all upgrades to the Van der Linde gang’s camp.
  • The Nuevo Paraiso Gunslinger Outfit: This exclusive Story Mode outfit for Arthur is inspired by the clothing worn by vaqueros and banditos south of the border. The outfit features a wide brimmed black cowboy hat, deep indigo coat, worn denim chaps, leather gloves and boots.
  • Free Access to Additional Weapons: A good range of weapons is essential for survival in the Old West. Get free access to three weapons at the in-game Gunsmiths in Story Mode: the robust Volcanic Pistol, devastating Pump Action Shotgun and versatile Lancaster Varmint Rifle.

The Special Edition also comes with an exclusive Special Edition Printed Map.

Who should spend the extra $20 for the Special Edition?

  • People who know they are going to invest a ton of time in Red Dead Redemption 2’s world.
  • Those who want more than just the base game’s Story Mode.
  • Those who want instant access to an extremely fast horse to help navigate the game’s map.
  • Those who like to customize their character.
  • Those who want instant access to a larger arsenal of weapons and (discounted) items.

You can buy the Special Edition at Best Buy or Amazon.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition

If you’re willing to spend a little more cash you might go with the game’s Ultimate Edition which includes everything from the Special Edition plus some additional items for the Red Dead Online mode.

The Ultimate Edition isn’t cheap. The bundle is $100 or $20 more than the Special Edition and $40 more than the standard version of the game. Spending the extra cash nets you these bonuses:

  • Bonus Outfits: Get two exclusive outfits for your online character. The Blackrose Bounty Hunter Outfit features a long oxblood-colored coat, a vest with gold pocket watch chain, and dark pants tucked into chocolate leather boots. The Copperhead Enforcer Outfit features a fur-lined saddle-brown leather waistcoat, two-tone gloves, and pinstripe black pants tucked into black leather boots.
  • Black Chestnut Thoroughbred: Outrun the competition with this thoroughbred racehorse in a striking black chestnut coat and also receive the exclusive High Plains Cutting Saddle beautifully crafted in jet-black leather with gold metal accents. This horse and saddle are available in online.
  • Free Access to the Survivor Camp Theme: Customize your own personal Camp in online with free access to the Survivor theme.
  • Free Access to Additional Weapons: Get access to the Volcanic Pistol, Pump Action Shotgun and Lancaster Varmint Rifle, free of charge from Gunsmiths in online.
  • Rank Bonuses: As a great start for all Ultimate Edition players, you can rank up faster in online, up to rank 25.

Who should buy the Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition?

  • Anyone who plans to invest a ton of time in Red Dead Online.
  • People that enjoy having more than just the base items/skins unlocked at the start.
  • People who love customizing their characters.
  • Those who want a head start ranking up their online character.

You can buy the Ultimate Edition at Best Buy or Amazon.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box

Rockstar is also offering a Collector’s Box aimed at those who love the series and want some collectors items. The set is available at GameStop and the Rockstar Warehouse for $100 with a limit of one per customer.

It’s important to note that the Collector’s Box doesn’t come with a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2. The game is sold separately which means you’ll need to spend $160 or more if you want the Collector’s items and the game.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box is aimed at the most hardcore fans of the series.

The Collector’s Box is chock full of unique items and includes:

  • Metal Tithing Box with Lock & Key: Inspired by the lockbox used by the Van der Linde gang to stash contributions to the camp’s upkeep, this thick gauged metal box includes a lock & key, and features black metal band detailing and an engraved Cornwall Freight & Commodities plaque.
  • Collectable Challenge Coin: Featuring the majestic American Buffalo on one side and a scenic landscape on the other side, this engraved, gold-colored collectable coin comes in a magnetic presentation holder with a black, engraved plaque describing the history of this endangered species.
  • Double Sided Puzzle: This double-sided, 100-piece wooden jigsaw puzzle features an illustrated view of the bustling port of Saint Denis on one side, and a classically inspired Rockstar Games logo on the reverse.
  • Six Shooter Bandana: A staple for any frontier outlaw, this bandana features a traditional paisley-inspired pattern with hidden weapon iconography throughout.
  • Treasure Map: Printed on durable, unrippable paper, this exclusive treasure map reveals the location of some buried treasure that may start Arthur on a search for more riches hidden throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Pin Set: This set of six individual pins includes representations of key weapons from Red Dead Redemption 2 including a shotgun, revolver and Dead Eye “X” marker. The set comes in a canvas carrying bag.
  • Playing Cards: Commemorate the outlaws of the Van der Linde gang with this fully illustrated deck of playing cards featuring key members of the gang including Arthur Morgan, John Marston, Javier Escuella, Bill Williamson and Dutch van der Linde.
  • Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue: The one-stop shop for everything from weapons to clothing, the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue is an essential shopping tool for turn of the century life.  This complete 150-page book is a replica of the edition found in stores throughout Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • 12 Cigarette Cards: These beautifully-illustrated collectable cards can be found throughout the world of Red Dead Redemption 2. This physical collection includes one select card from each set like Famous Gunslingers and Outlaws, Stars of the Stage and Marvels of Travel and Locomotion.

Who should buy the Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector’s Box?

The box, in our opinion, is for one person in particular: The diehard Red Dead Redemption fan/collector given the fact that it doesn’t come with a copy of the game.

Digital vs. Physical

Red Dead Redemption 2 is sold in both digital and physical formats and there are some key differences between the two. Let’s start with a few reasons why you might want to buy the game without a disc.

If you’re sick and tired of having discs clutter up your entertainment center or your shelves, you might want to go with the digital version to keep down on the clutter.

If you live in a house where discs sometimes get lost or damaged, either by your hard or someone else’s, you might want to go with the digital copy to avoid these issues.

There’s also the convenience factor. If you buy the game digitally, you can just fire up your console and select play. You don’t need to go into your sleeve of cases or boxes to find the disc each time you want to play.

If you go with a physical copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 you’ll be able to sell it to a store like GameStop for credit toward another game if you get tired of it. You’ll also be able to sell it for cash on a site like eBay or Craigslist.

On top of that, you’ll be able to easily lend your copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 out to friends or family members when you decide to move onto another game or if they want to try it before they buy.

Xbox vs. PS4

A long time ago, Rockstar mentioned an “exclusive” for the PlayStation 4. Sony and Rockstar have finally revealed the nature of the exclusive and PS4 players are able to play select content first.

Specifically, there are four timed exclusives for the PS4. Three are four the online mode and the other bonus is available right now.

  • Grizzlies Outlaw Outfit: A slick but rugged look, the Grizzlies Outlaw Outfit is perfect for exploring the forests of Ambarino. Featuring a wool-lined, long coat with custom, hand-tooled leather accents, a leather vest with ornate pattern details, stand wing-tip collar with black neckerchief, and custom ornate buckle with matching boot tips, the Grizzlies Outlaw Outfit pays homage to the “boss” of the Northern States, its real-world inspiration.
  • Red Chestnut Arabian Horse (Online): Known for its speed and handling, the Red Chestnut Arabian Horse is in a class above most horses you would find in the wild, with performance a step up from the first tier of available horses.
  • Alligator Skin Ranch Cutter Saddle (Online): In addition to its stylish look, the Alligator Skin Ranch Cutter Saddle provides a number of benefits when equipped including core Health and Stamina boosts, which increase speed and acceleration for the horse. This saddle is an enhanced version of the basic saddle that comes stock for players when starting Red Dead Online.
  • High Roller Double-Action Revolver (Online): Looks could kill: The High Roller Double-Action Revolver features a polished steel body with unique period-inspired, beautifully detailed engraving work. The deadly, quick draw revolver comes complete with unique playing card and skull elements carved into the grip. Its superior, quick rate of fire over all other revolvers makes it a great choice for mounted combat.

Xbox One players will get access to these items 30 days after launch.

4 Reasons to Buy Red Dead Redemption 2 & 4 Reasons to Wait

Buy for a Great Story & Voice Acting

Buy for a Great Story & Voice Acting

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sprawling game with lots to do. There are plenty of other games that provide a huge sandbox to play around though few games can match the quality of Rockstar's open world experiences. And that starts with the story and the voice acting. 

I'm not going to spoil anything here, but know that Red Dead Redemption 2's storyline, characters, and dialogue are the backbone of this game.

Many games provide a huge playground, but very few back it up with a memorable cast of characters that you truly care about and want to interact with.

Often times characters are underdeveloped, annoying, and/or forgettable. It's the exact opposite in Red Dead Redemption 2. You'll come to love the game's most vile characters. 

The main story line is outstanding and believable and the actors (including the original John Marston) and actresses that voice the main characters, lesser characters, and various other NPCs truly bring these them to life.

The main story is just one piece though. There are side quests with minor characters and random events with strangers. You can interact with every person in the game. 

I haven't played the entire game yet, but these side missions and the organic random interactions have been quite enjoyable. On one ride up into the mountains to look for a legendary animal I ran into five unique random events.

This is a world populated with characters that are truly interesting and believable and it's one of the game's obvious (once you start playing) strengths.

If you love a good western or if you like good writing, the story alone is worth the price of admission. 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ash

    08/25/2018 at 9:39 am

    @Adam Mills
    thanks for explaining the differences in editions, just a few things,
    It’s out on October 26th not November, well for Europe anyway.

    What about the PC version ?

  2. TJ

    10/16/2018 at 1:36 am

    Nice article. I’m still confused if the GTA 5’s online mode is GTA Online or GTA 5 Online. The first sounds more like smart,but still…? Anyway RDR2 equivalent is RDROnline, right?

  3. SmoothMarx

    10/24/2018 at 5:19 am

    You forgot one important feature of physical vs. digital:

    The physical version comes with a physical game map (Special & Ultimate editions) and a Steel Book Game Case (Ultimate edition only) for collection purposes.

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