Red Dead Redemption 2 is an action-RPG set in one of the most complex and believable open-worlds ever seen. Rockstar has built a deep set of systems and mechanics that governs how it all works. Wrapping your head around it all can a little confusing though, and even dozens of hours later you'll be sure to be stumbling on new things you didn't know were possible.
Here we've got the best tips and tricks we wish we'd known before we started playing RDR2. We have tried to keep this Red Dead 2 guide as spoiler-free as possible. No story elements are spoiled in these tips. However, commonplace gameplay elements will be discussed.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Tips and Tricks - Spoiler-Free
Tips and Tricks to Make Sure You Never Lose Your Horse in Red Dead Redemption 2
Throughout your many hours in Red Dead Redemption 2, your steed with become your most trusted ally and best friend. In Red Dead 2, a bond between horse and owner must be built up, unlocking new abilities and getting the best out of your four-legged friend. Carelessly lose your horse and all that hard work is gone.
Here are some handy tips to make sure you never lose your horse in Red Dead Redemption 2:
Make your horse look unique. It sounds obvious, but in a world without cars, there are a lot of horses. Being able to quickly tell which horse is yours in RDR2 is an absolute godsend. Getting on the wrong horse can be a crime and can put a bounty on your head
Whenever you buy a horse, you will be able to customise it for a few bucks. I made my horse’s mane black and its tail white. He was the only two-tone horse around and it made it easy to pick out my horse in a crowd.
Guide to Bonding With Your Horse in RDR2
While you can find any old nag in Red Dead Redemption 2 and call it your own, whichever horse you do choose you will need to spend a reasonable amount of time bonding with it to get the most out of your horse & rider partnership.
You keep a horse for quite a while, bonding and becoming attached. So a Red Dead 2 horse bonding top tip is - early in Red Dead 2 you should get into the habit of examining everyone's horses while out and about. Your starting horse is pretty crap but you WILL become attached to it as the game bonds you both. So instead you want to keep your eyes open for a good horse to take as your own as early as you can, so you are bonding with a magnificent, fast, horse that you will keep for the long haul.
You can do this by looking directly at someone's horse as you ride past or one you happen to see frolicking wildly in the pastures. After a few moments of study, the horse's stats and its potential stats are visible. The horse gains its potential stats as you bond with it over the coming hours of gameplay.
You can improve your horse bond through grooming, feeding, calming, or riding your horse. It can take a few hours of gameplay to improve and gain all the bond upgrades a horse has to offer, but it also unlocks new abilities.
- Horse won’t run so far when scared
- Improved speed
- Improved health
- Improved stamina
- Great whistle range
- Quicker response speed
- Better terrain navigation
- Horse rearing skill
- Skid turn skill
- Sideways walk skill
How to Fast Travel in Red Dead 2
Practically every open-world game has fast travel. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t like other open-world games. The vast majority of travel will be on horseback, but there are also stagecoaches and trains that act as taxis across the massive map. This will only allow you to get to major towns though, and then it’s back on your horse for the rest of the journey.
However, fairly early in the game, you will discover an optional upgrade for the gang’s camp. It doesn't explicitly provide a guide for how to use Fast Travel in RDR 2 though.
The upgrade adds a map to the side of Arthur’s wagon in camp. Simply go up to the map and use it and you can fast travel to all previously discovered major locations across the world. The one downside is you won’t be able to fast travel back, but the return journey is the perfect time to hunt some deer or crocodiles to feed the camp.
How to remove your bounty in Red Dead Redemption 2
If you are spotted committing an illegal activity and are reported to the authorities, you will have a bounty placed on your head. Your wanted rating only applies to the area in which the crime was committed. Open up the map and there’s a red circle indicating areas in which you are wanted.
Should you wish to go into areas in which you are wanted, you have two options:
- Pay off your bounty. Head to a post office and talk to the clerk. You can pay off one or all of your bounties at any post office. The greater the severity of your crimes, the higher your bounty will be.
- Change your appearance. Lawmen operate using a known description of your persons. Changing your clothes, hair, beard, or wearing a mask or bandana will make you more difficult to identify.
Guide to Red Dead 2's Honor System
As you do any activity in Red Dead Redemption 2, your actions will influence a global Honor system. this will affect how Arthur interacts with the world and its inhabitants and, in turn, how they react to him.
For example, behave dishonorably and the townsfolk will become more fearful, making it easier to rob them. However, they will be less willing to engage with Arthur.
The Honor system can have repercussions to the overall plot, as well as change Arthur's journal entries and even affect the music used.
Little Honor Up and Honor Down icons will appear on the right-hand side of the screen every time you commit an act which affects your Honor rating.
The Honor rating appears in a bar at the bottom of the screen when you press down on the d-pad.
Tips on Tracking Animals Successfully in Red Dead Redemption 2
While Red Dead 2 comes with a fairly lengthy tutorial on hunting, it still only covers one way of doing things.
All of the game’s 200+ animals have unique behaviours and will roam distinct areas of the map. Look at an animal through your binoculars and hold R1 to identify it and add it to both your map and your glossary. This will help you know where to look if you need to find that animal again.
Within the animal glossary (accessible from the Progression menu), RDR2 keeps track of all animals, where they’re found, and what weapons they should be hunted with. You could use a shotgun on a deer, for example, but it would cause a great amount of damage to the carcass and decrease the value of the pelt. A bow is the most effective way to take down a deer, while a Varmint rifle is perfect for rats, squirrels, rabbits, etc.
In general, aiming for the head or neck will grant the highest chance of a Perfect quality animal pelt. Using Dead Eye to slow down time and plant multiple shots in these areas is the best way to take down larger beasts quickly and effectively.
Arthur does give off a scent which animals can smell and it’s stronger if he hasn’t washed. The scent is a whispy trailer that drifts in a wind direction from Arthur’s body. For most animals, this doesn’t matter. However, for Legendary Animals you will need to track them and get close. Make sure you are downwind so your scent is being blown towards your prey.
How does the Dead Eye system work in Red Dead 2
Dead Eye is a slow-motion aiming system that allows Arthur to select several targets and then take them down in a hail of gunfire.
Red Dead Redemption 2 makes quite a few key changes to the Dead Eye slow-motion aiming system seen in the original Redemption. Arthur’s Dead Eye ability can now be upgraded through use, unlocking various new perks. We won’t spoil these perks here, but suffice to say the starter version of Dead Eye is the hardest to use.
By default, Dead Eye paints targets. The first upgrade allows you to guide Arthur's aim and manually select each shot you will fire by pushing R1, providing much more control when taking on multiple targets. Our best tip is to use Dead Eye regularly so you can upgrade to this point as quickly as possible.
Trick to make money quickly in RDR2
Money can be quite hard to come by in the early stages of Red Dead Redemption 2. The most reliable method is to loot any enemy you kill and sell their belongings or donate it to your camp. The items are often far more valuable than the actual cash you’ll find on the bodies.
As well as this, another quick tip for Red Dead 2 is every time you head to a major town or your camp, make sure you kill a few animals along the way. Their carcasses and skin can be sold for a quick buck.
Another great way to make cash in Red Dead Redemption 2 is to rob places, whether that’s stores or houses. Be warned that if caught this could increase the bounty on your head. There are also robberies occasionally available in your camp with select characters. These are quick missions and yield profitable returns.
Guide to the Best Camp Upgrades to Unlock in RDR2
Once you get a few hours into RD: Redemption 2, you’ll encounter the camp ledger. This keeps track of all camp donations and also provides a list of camp upgrades that can be bought. The gang’s money or your own cash can be spent on these upgrades, and more unlocks are added as you progress through the story.
Early on, the fast travel unlock should be a top priority as this allows Arthur to fast travel to any previously visited location.
Secondly, make sure you upgrade the food supplies early. This will mean Arthur and the gang have access to more nourishing meals at camp and means you shouldn’t have to worry too much about eating while exploring. The camp meals only replenish every couple of in-game deals, but whenever you’re back in camp it’s worth taking a nap and having a meal before you head out.
How to save in Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 autosaves fairly regularly while exploring, although autosaves appear much less frequently during missions. If you quit the game mid-mission and come back, you may find you have to start the mission from scratch.
There does exist a method to manually save in Red Dead 2 though. Open up the main menu and select ‘Story’. Within here there is an option to manually save your Red Dead Redemption 2 game, with slots for a dozen or separate save game states, as well as your current autosave. You can also load saves from within this window.
Using First-person Mode Tips and Tricks
Just like GTA 5 on PC, Red Dead Redemption 2 ships with a first-person mode. Pressing the View button on the Xbox One controller or the touchpad on the PS4 controller will allow you to play RDR2 in first-person.
For the most part, playing in first-person actually makes Red Dead Redemption 2 more difficult. However, for any gambling activities or games such as Poker, Blackjack, and Dominos, a nice trick is to play in the first-person mode as you won’t need to hold R2 to look at your cards/dominos.
Looking for items to pick up that are near to Arthur can be difficult in third person. Arthur walks pretty slowly and so sometimes you can find yourself walking in ciricles trying to relocate the object you know is around that you can pick up. With a quick switch to first person view you can look straight at the object, press the button to pick it up and then press to switch back to third person. This First person switch can sometimes save you a bunch of frustration.
The Red Dead 2 Fence Will Buy Your "Other" Items
While there is no weight limit on your horse you can carry a tonne of items. And it wont be long until some of these items are stolen. Your regular shopkeeper is not going to buy these more valuable trinkets off you. So keep your eyes out for a Fence. The game will guide you to these people who are happy to take the more dodgy items off your hands, making you more money. Or you can donate them to your camp.
Horses Can Kick You In The Face
Be careful when approaching wild horses or someone elses horse from the rear. If agitated they will buck and kick people nearby. You can calm wild horses and eventually ride them by hitching your own saddle to them once you have got them to trust you. This is how you can quickly find an upgrade to your starting horse. But get ready with your lasso if you want to pull a wild horse in to tame.
How to Get Perfect Skin
There are over 200 types of animals in Red Dead 2 that you can kill and skin. You cant skin or kill horses or fish, so these don't count, even though you can catch both of those as well. You will likely be wanting to sell any animal skin to a merchant or perhaps use it to add some flourish to your camp. So naturally, you will want a pelt in good condition when you sell it so you get more money or it looks more impressive when hung in your camp.
All the animals have their own condition rating, from poor, good and perfect. So you need to study your quarry first and make sure it is in perfect condition.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, depending on how you go about completing your kill directly affects the potential condition of the pelt when you skin the animal afterward. So you want a clean and humane kill to give you the best chance of a perfect pelt skin.
To achieve this with larger animals, sneak up to them and lasso them around the neck, draw them in and then finish them off with your hunting knife. To best achieve perfect skinning on smaller animals you will want to get in close range, remain hidden, call to them to make them look up, and in that moment, with their head raised and then shoot them carefully in the lower part of the neck with your bow and arrow.
You can, of course, shoot them with a gun or shotgun, but this will always yield a less than perfect skin, probably even a poor pelt. But sometimes a cowboy just needs to eat.
And We Ride And We'll Ride Till The Planets Collide
Galloping around the world is a blast, but at some point, you will stack it straight into a tree or down an unseen ditch. Sometimes this happens when you are tearing it along at breakneck speeds, passing a pretty lady who you hear say "hello stranger" in your direction, causing you to fumble over the controls providing an elegant response of "Howdy ma.." Crunch. Your horse impales itself. You fly out of the saddle and land very realistically on your face. Making you cringe at your foolishness and then your heart skips a beat as control returns to you, and you look with panic towards your unmoving horse. Your long-term partner, crumpled in a heap.
If you are lucky and your horse is pretty fit and been looked after it can be ok. An eternal moment passes and your horse gets back up to its feet. Be aware that the items you were carrying on your horse's rump, which can be a hostage or animal or pelts can tumble from your downed horse, which you would have to pick back up. Also, if you were carrying a person on the back of your horse, they could have hit their head on a rock and now be dead. So the top tip for riding here is, stay focused on riding as it can cost lives and time.
Taking a Dive
The action button (Square on PS4, or X on Xbox One) lets you leap to the side. This RDR2 evasive maneuver can help you get out of harm's way, but it is slightly buried within the control system. To execute the dive you first have to be aiming your weapon, then you press the action button. Just to highlight though it is purely for moving and you can't shoot while performing this roll action in Red Dead Redemption 2.