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GTA Online vs Red Dead Online: A Clash of Open-World Online Shooters

Rockstar Games are a powerhouse of the gaming industry, their iconic style of open-world sim has never quite been done as well by any other studio. While their central catalogue all focus on expansive single-player experiences, in the past 10 years they have ventured out into multiplayer open worlds; opening up the worlds of GTA V and Red Dead Redemption II to the chaos of online play. The question is, which one is more worth your time?

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II to help define which of the two you should boot up.

Setting and Atmosphere

Location is a huge part of the identity of both of these titles and will be a key decider for which game you’ll want to jump into.

GTA Online

Taking place in the bustling metropolis of Los Santos—the GTA 5 version of Los Angeles—GTA Online is for those who want to wreak havoc in a modern urban sprawl. The city is filled with skyscrapers, bright lights and flashy cars, while also bordering vast, open natural environments. This setting captures the essence of urban chaos, emphasizing high-speed chases, heists, and a vibrant nightlife.

Red Dead Online

Situated in the American Wild West of the late 1800s, Red Dead Online features vast, rugged landscapes dotted with small towns. Its huge mountain ranges, fields, prairies and more are the home of wildlife and criminal gangs alike. This environment imbues the game with a slower pace, suited to role-playing an explorer on the frontier of the American West.


While the winner will largely be defined by your preference in period and locale, in our eyes Red Dead Online is the clear winner here. This is due to the game’s incredibly detailed portrayal of this iconic and somewhat unfamiliar time period.

Gameplay and Activities

While the location may set the boundaries for what is possible; the gameplay defines both what you can do and how it feels. So which of these two games brings the better gameplay?

Red Dead Online

Expanding on the single-player mode of Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online is focused on providing the experience of a cowboy simulator. Encouraging you to explore, hunt, fish, catch wild horses, hunt down criminal gangs and engage in story-driven missions within its vast open world. Because of this, it offers up varying gameplay experiences from gunfights to card games to wrangling.

GTA Online

If you’ve ever played a GTA game, you’ll more or less know what to expect from GTA Online, as it draws heavy inspiration from the single-player format. GTA Online focuses on high-octane gameplay such as heists, races, story missions and deathmatches. Many of these can be attempted either alone or in a team. Alongside this structured play, GTA Online also encourages free roam throughout the city, taking on or teaming up with other players you find.

GTA Online also has a wide range of customisation options, many of which are opened up by their own currency; if you’re looking to get into these you can buy GTA Online money!


Both games focus on different preferences while largely offering up the same core activities, meaning that your preferred setting will largely define which type of gameplay you want. That said, purely due to the fact it has received more updates, GTA Online offers more options in terms of play.

Community and Social Interaction

As these games are both multiplayer versions of Rockstar’s single-player offerings, one of the key reasons you’ll want to play them is to add community and interaction to the, otherwise, single-player game worlds. So, which of the two titles attracts a better community and facilitates more enjoyable interactions?

GTA Online

Given the game’s long-term community and widespread appeal, the player base of GTA Online is large and diverse. Many players are attracted to this title, specifically, for its urban sandbox—allowing them to wreak havoc in downtown LA. This mindset is somewhat core to the GTA Online community who are often there to enjoy the whacky, multiplayer interactions that the game’s format provides.

Red Dead Online

On the other hand, Red Dead Online’s slower pace and more specific locale attract a slightly different type of player—particularly those interested in role-playing in the American West. This means that many community members enjoy the exploration, hunting, fishing and other slow-paced activities core to the game. Because of this, the game’s community is often more interested in cooperation than competitive play.


Chaos or role-playing… you decide.

Development and Updates

GTA Online

GTA Online has seen consistent updates since its launch, introducing new content, missions, heists, vehicles, and properties regularly. Rockstar Games continues to invest in the game, keeping it fresh and engaging for the player base.

Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online has received updates as well, although they’re not as frequent as GTA Online.


GTA Online is the clear winner here, with more frequent and meaningful updates still being added to this day.

GTA Online or Red Dead Online?

Both games are most certainly worth your time, especially if you enjoy their single-player equivalents and want some more gameplay or social interaction. The decision of which to play will largely be down to your preference in play style and setting; with GTA Online offering a modern setting with chaotic gameplay and Red Dead Online offering a unique setting more suited to role-playing. That said, if we had to choose we would choose GTA Online, given its additional history of development updates and larger player base, making the game larger and more varied.

Article image source from YouTube channel "Zumie Fiasco"

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