Red Dead Redemption 2: 12 Tips & Tricks The Game Doesn’t Tell You –
Currently dominating every video game conversation on the planet, Rockstar’s first game since GTA V – and a sequel eight years in the making – is the mighty Red Dead Redemption 2.
Honestly, it’s a monolithic, totemic release. The sheer scope and scale of production is unprecedented; the result of a company maximising creative potential with a seemingly endless budget. Across its 60+ hour campaign you’ll form an ironclad bond with a trusty steed, pull off gory headshots, rob trains, maintain a camp of followers, play poker, swap through scores of different outfits and take part in a ton more besides.
Yes, Red Dead 2 builds on the foundation set by 2010’s original, but as a fully reactive world where even a fleck of mud on your face can determine an entire town’s reaction to your presence, there is a LOT to pick apart.
Rockstar have clearly designed this to be explored and drank in across years’ worth of game-time, so let’s make sure you getting the most out of it.
12. Double Tap L1/LB To Spin Your Weapon Before Holstering
What’s better than being a badass outlaw in the west? Being a badass outlaw in the west with style.
Though it’s a tiny part of gameplay, double tap your holster button (L1 or LB) to spin your revolver or any handgun before slotting it away.
Finishing a gunfight by fanning the hammer on R2, only to quickly spin your rifle back into place and neatly slot your hat back on your head is just about the perfect cowboy fantasy.
11. Don’t Forget To Loot DURING Combat
EVERYTHING in RDR2 has a prescribed animation. Searching cabinets, healing – even looting an array of corpses after a fight.
Whilst it’s an important part of the post-fight cleanup (providing you don’t get caught), if you’re low on equipment, don’t forget you can still loot during a gunfight too. Keep in mind that your enemies are constantly taking cover and picking their shots, giving you enough time to make a mad scramble towards anyone who’s been brought down so far.
Hold triangle/Y to do so, and you just might nab a valuable tonic or Dead Eye-restorer that’ll win the day.
10. There’s A Secret Method To Gaining Speed When Horse Riding
Over time you’ll gradually get much better at horse riding in Red Dead 2. Much like the original game, it was all about rhythm and particular presses or holds of X/A at specific times.
Here the majority of horse control getting better just happens as your bond with a given steed improves, however when tapping X to gallop, time it with the downward gallop of the horse to gain speed MUCH faster.
Once you’re up to speed hold X to lock this pace in, and make a point of perfecting acceleration whenever you need to get going next time around.
9. Dive In Combat With Square/X
Literally one of the most essential parts of combat, even the first Red Dead did a half-baked job of letting you know John Marston had an array of dodge rolls to evade fire.
Here they’ve been replaced with some very Max Payne-esque dodges, but the button command is the same: Just tap Square/X when aiming to dive in any direction. Sadly you can’t fire when in mid-air, but combine with R1/RB as you land to seamlessly make Arthur connect animations and scramble into the nearest cover.
You can overlap other animations like tying your horse to a post and retrieving cargo off its rear too (just hold Square/X after you dismount), but staying mobile in a fight is essential during the game’s most frantic missions.
8. Animal Meat Degrades Over Time
Hunting, skinning and keeping your camp of followers well fed is one of Red Dead 2’s most immersive new features, and yet if you’re not careful, all your efforts can go to waste.
Basically, in-game time matters. It grows Arthur’s beard and hair real long, and dictates which characters are going to be where at any given time. With that in mind, meat can spoil too.
Going from “Perfect” to “Good” to “Poor” depending on how long it takes you to return to camp or sell it on, once you’ve taken the time to nail a clean kill, it’s time to exchange for coin or supplies.
7. Use L2 To Trigger Additional Dialogue During Missions
A VERY tiny pointer, but something I totally forgot to keep doing: Hold L2/LT and flicking the right stick amongst your crew to see their full array of dialogue options.
Most of the time RDR2 will only give you one of two things to say to a main character, but as missions progress and you’re alternately exploring homesteads, mountainsides etc., you can trigger additional conversations that flesh out a character’s personality and beliefs.
Useful during any mission with a ton of travel time, just because the most essential dialogue has stopped, doesn’t mean there’s not more you can get out a person.
6. All Items Drop If Your Horse Falls
Unlike in the first game, if your horse gets killed in any way, they’re not coming back. Rockstar really want you to care about your steed, and they’ve input a series of grizzly reactive animations that’ll also play if you leap off any height that’s just too much.
Annoyingly though, if you dive off a cliff and your horse takes a nasty tumble, regardless of whether it gets back up again, any items on its back will be scattered across the ground.
Whilst it’s very easy to spot a convict/hostage or animal carcass you were transporting, smaller quarry like rabbits or snakes will be sent asunder, meaning you’ll have to wander wider to find them.
This is all worth taking into account, so you don’t leave a good day’s hunt strewn across the mountainside.
5. Firing Into The Sky Helps With Tons Of Side Missions
The game does cover that you can fire into the sky by tapping the D-pad up while aiming, but know that it’s also super helpful in the many dynamic encounters you’ll have between missions.
Escaped convicts, bandits hanging an innocent victim – even just for the occasional robbery or scare tactic – firing upwards isn’t just to coral wildlife or scare off citizens, you can freeze enemies in their tracks, as some will surrender too.
It’s always worth firing a couple of warning shots before getting involved in a bandit showdown or random altercation. Sometimes you can thin the ranks or go down a more honourable path before everything goes sideways.
4. You Can Perform Stealth Kills
Rare is the time you can solve a wild west scenario with a stealth kill, but they are in the game.
Doable by equipping the hunting knife, getting behind an enemy and prodding right trigger, RDR2’s mapping of Arthur’s position to his foe is WAY more generous than the finicky, only-worked-half-the-time kills of the original.
Personally, I’ve found this a useful way to approach gang hideouts and bandit camps – not to mention the occasional time you’ll get the drop on a foe coming out a cutscene.
3. Jump In Rivers To Clean Arthur Instead Of Paying For Baths
After you’ve been embroiled in bloody gunfights, hunts and explosions for any length of time, Arthur will start to get visibly dirty.
For a full clean (to the point where denizens of any location will talk to you normally again, or actively greet you), you’ll need to pay for a bath, OR, you can leap in any body of water instead.
This latter method gets rid of the majority of dirt and grime, but won’t make you the sveltest gunslinger in the land. For that, you’ll have to pay.
2. The Bow & Arrow Has INSANE Range
Given to you early in the game, it’s very easy to underestimate the abilities of the bow, simply because in the majority of other titles, bows require steady aim and a rather close range to account for the drop-off.
Red Dead 2’s bow is up there with The Last of Us’, and you can fire off what feel like laser-guided shots from a super safe distance. Useful for hunting quarry without alerting them, or for nailing enemies and keeping their fellow bandits guessing where the attacks are coming from, this game’s bow is your new best friend.
1. Calm A Horse So You Can Steal From It
Many pre-release reports of the game talked about Arthur getting inadvertently laid out by a horse he was trying to ride – and this comes from said horse likely belonging to someone else.
To get around being kicked to the floor and covered in mud, just go around the front of the creature, hold L2 and press Square/X to calm it.
Once the horse is not seeing red and has resumed a more relaxed standing position, you’re able to approach those loot-filled saddlebags in comfort.