Struggling to get to your bearings with Red Dead Redemption 2? Then keep reading for some top tips and tricks to get ahead.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place over multiple chapters, and if 60 hours of story wasn't enough to contend with, there are loads of side quests, challenges and bizarre happenings to experience.
Here's how to be cool
Did you know that you can double-tap L1 to holster your pistol? If you do so, Arthur does a cool little flair and spins the weapon in his hand before sliding it into the holster.
You can also hip fire a single revolver and fan the hammer by pressing fire without aiming first.
Now for the coolest tip of all: if you press square while aiming, you dive. This is handy for getting out of the line of fire and into cover. It's also great for slowing downtime with Dead Eye before diving, doing your best Max Payne impression. You can't fire while diving, unfortunately.
What we don't recommend is sprinting through doors; you'll look silly and someone will undoubtedly call you a "Moron". Don't be that guy.
Advanced horse tactics
— Kirk McKeand (@MckKirk) November 9, 2018
Did you know you can jump down onto your horse's back from any height? Well, you can. I'm sure you would smash your balls into oblivion in real life, but it's completely safe in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Here's another horse trick: if you whistle by pressing up on the d-pad, your horse comes to you; if you hold up on the d-pad, your horse follows you. Your horse also regenerates its stamina and health cores when hitched, so hitch whenever possible.
Always carry at least one horse revival kit
If you don’t want to be forced to mercy kill your mare, you should always make sure you’re carrying a horse revival kit with you. These can be bought in any general store.
If your horse gets injured, you have a limited time to bring it back around with a horse revival kit as it lays on the floor, bleeding out. If you don’t use one of these kits, your horse will be gone forever, along with the bonding level you’ve built up with your steed. R.I.P., Roach.
Upgrade Dutch's lodgings as soon as possible
In your camp, head to the ledger besides the cash box and use it to upgrade Dutch’s lodgings. It’ll cost you $220. You can check out our camp upgrade guide here.
Doing this inspires the rest of your gang members to contribute more, taking some of the pressure off you. This means you have more time to take part in other activities, such as ripping off a rabbit’s arse. Upgrading the camp also improves your Honor Rank.
Get the map for fast travel
Once you’ve upgraded Dutch’s lodgings, you will unlock a new upgrade: a map. This map costs $325, but it allows you to fast travel from camp.
There’s a lot of travelling in Red Dead Redemption 2, so this should ease your load a little - though you do still have to travel into camp to fast travel. Or you could use a stagecoach, for a price. But anything that makes travelling across Red Dead Redemption 2's huge map is welcome.
Up on d-pad while aiming is a versatile tool
If you tap up on the d-pad while aiming, Arthur will aim into the air. Tap the right trigger and you’ll fire off a warning shot.
This can be used to intimidate NPCs, scare off wildlife, and to be a general nuisance. Do with it what you will.
Get through a portion of the story to unlock a fence and extra holster
If you’re looking to pawn off stolen goods, you’ll need to get through the story a bit first. Power through and eventually you will unlock a fence, where you can sell illicit gains.
You also need to get through the story to unlock an extra holster. This opens up dual wielding. Trust me when I say this: put a sawn-off shotgun in one hand and a revolver in the other.
Don’t sell your jewellery
So, you’ve unlocked the fence and you’re ready to make some cash. Before you do, consider this: don’t.
The fence can also craft talismans - special pieces of equipment that unlock permanent buffs. Most of these require jewellery and a legendary animal part. Make sure you check the list before you sell off all your trinkets.
Left on the d-pad switches shoulder while aiming
Unless I somehow missed it, the game doesn’t tell you this at any point. If you take aim and tap left on the d-pad, you will switch shoulders. Obviously, this is handy when you’re clearing out interiors especially.
Go for three star kills in hunts
So, you want that perfect pelt? Not only do you have to use the right ammo to bag perfect hunting kills, but you also need to make sure the animal is top quality.
Before you go for a kill shot, zoom in on prey with your binoculars. If they have a three-star rating, you will get a perfect pelt from them, so long as you use the right ammo and aim for kill shots. You can check out our guide on where to find Legendary animals and how to get the perfect kill here.
Choose toggle to run in the options
There's only so much tapping X/A we can manage. Red Dead Redemption 2 expects you to exert yourself to make Arthur run, but there's a toggle in the options that you should switch on. Toggle to run changes it so you only have to press it once to break into a run. It will change your life.
Complete challenges to improve your attributes and get reinforced gear
There are 90 challenges available to complete in Red Dead Redemption 2 and you can start completing them from the very beginning of the game. Once you've met the Trapper, you'll be able to craft gear like the bear head hat, which looks cool but doesn't boost your health or anything.
What you really want is the reinforced gear which you can buy from a Gunsmith or, for the really good stuff, from the Trapper.
If you complete the first, third, seventh and tenth challenges in one of the nine categories, you'll unlock reinforced gear from the Trapper. Having a full set of gear will unlock additional bonuses to your stats, such as increased health, more ammo capacity or a reduced weapon degradation rate.
Attributes can also be improved by completing challenges. Once you’ve collected a complete set of gear, you get a permanent bonus tank to your main attribute bars. Complete all the sets and you’ll get a second bonus tank linked to that attribute, so it's worthwhile attempting this early on.
Looking for the best horse or want to find out how to replenish your camp’s ammo? Head over to our ultimate Red Dead Redemption 2 guide for all the tips, tricks and walkthroughs you'll need.
Red Dead Online is now available for all players, and you can claim your early access content now as well as play in Free Roam missions.