by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 17th November, 2018
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a truly colossal game where you can do dozens of things and to really get into the role of a cowboy who's ready to help anyone or an outlaw who scans the horizon for his next victim. The game is filled with activities to do, mini-games to play, and side missions that can often be better than main ones. And during your adventures across the states of New Hanover, Ambarino, Lemoyne, West Elizabeth, and New Austin you will have a chance to hunt, fish, rob people and coaches, play cards or dominoes, shoot people, uncover emotional tales told in one of the game's many side missions, and much more. And the game features a ton of ways to get better at each of those activities, all you have to do is to play it enough and find it all out by yourself. You, like us, you can play Red Dead Redemption 2 for more than 100 hours, discover ways to be better at everything, and then share all of that with the world. So read on and find out all of the cool tips and tricks that will make Red Dead Redemption 2 even more enjoyable journey through the last days of the Wild West.
While the world, story, characters, and dialogs in Red Dead Redemption are top notch, controls are horrendous and by far the weakest part of the game. Everything feels like it suffers from noticeable input lag, especially when trying to shoot at enemies. Aim controls are utterly horrible and the first thing you should do upon starting the game is going to the settings screen and tweaking them.
Just go to control settings and there you'll find a section reserved for aim controls. In targeting controls sections you'll find Lock-on mode and Aim Assist Strength controls ( while on foot and while on mount/vehicle). Select wide lock-on mode and the max amount of aim assist strength for both on foot and mount/vehicle settings. This will make aiming much easier and will make the game much more enjoyable. Sure, some of you probably prefer free aim but since the controls in RDR 2 are awful you should just pick full-on aim assist.
Next, we have Look and Aim Sensitivity settings. You want to set these around two thirds from the max settings because at default, both feel sluggish and drunk-like. You're free to experiment but going too far will make the camera to move just too fast when moving analog stick which doesn't have to be catastrophic while moving the camera without having a weapon equipped. But with maxed out aim sensitivity aiming will be an impossible task to pull off.
Aim/Look Acceleration setting determines how long it takes for the camera speed to reach its max speed while looking/aiming. Now, some of you probably hate aim acceleration but in Red Dead Redemption aiming can feel extremely sluggish with aim acceleration set to minimum. We recommend putting this one two or three notches above the minimum because that really improves the overall responsiveness while aiming. Those of you that don't mind aim acceleration are free to gradually increase acceleration until they find it fast and responsible enough (and they also should start with two or three notches above minimum).
And the last setting is Aim/Look Dead Zone. The setting is responsible for smoothness of aiming and looking around with camera because it controls the delay between you moving the right analog stick and the game response by moving the camera. Just set this to the lowest possible value (in other words, turn the damn thing off) and that should do it.
In Red Dead Redemption 2 your camp is the center of your world. The whole gang's there, you have to go to the camp in order to start the majority of story missions and the camp is filled with all kinds of stories to discover. You also can equip the camp with a bunch of food and health items as well as lots of ammo found in Arthur's tent.
You can donate money and valuables to the camp stash in order to have enough to buy various upgrades. And the main question is which upgrades should be built first? The first thing you should upgrade is provisions upgrade, which will fill Pearson's Wagon with food. This means you won't have to hunt for food as often as before, and also means that camp will last longer solely on provisions.
Next, you should save money for the lodging upgrade. The first upgrade improves Dutch's tent and the second upgrade improves your (Arthur's) wagon. You won't find a better bed in your wagon; instead, you will discover a map that allows you to fast travel to any settlement you already discovered. While you cannot fast travel to the camp, the ability to fast travel to any settlement can shave off hours from your playtime because horseback riding can be really tedious in Red Dead Redemption 2 because the map is huge and horses are slow.
We upgraded Arthur's wagon near the end of the third chapter and after discovering just how much fast travel is handy we regretted not upgrading the wagon right away. So make sure to upgrade Dutch's tent and then unlock fast travel option by upgrading Arthur's wagon. Ammo and medicine are cheap to buy and they can be found everywhere so you don't really have to upgrade medicine and ammo supplies. Just upgrade them the first time to prevent the camp from being depleted of medicine and ammo.
If you like hunting and if you want to upgrade your pouch to carry more items make sure to build Leather Working Tools as soon as you unlock fast travel. This will unlock a plethora of upgrades for your pouch as well as various cosmetic items for the camp. Just remember that you need perfect skins in order to get Pearson to craft pouch upgrades and cosmetic items.
Chicken coop infuses Person's stew with Dead Eye boost, but since Dead Eye boost tonics are easy to find and craft you don't have to spend money on getting one. On the other side, Horse Station can be handy in case you tend to leave your horse out in the wild because it allows players to recover their main horse no matter where they left them and also to retrieve horses that are kept in stables.
Canned food, as well as things like fresh veggies, fresh fruits, crackers, chocolate, and candies, are not so great in filling up your inner cores. They are practically useless because they fill up just a small portion of stamina and health cores. You should keep vegetables and fruits and use those for feeding your horse while using meat and alcohol drinks to fill up inner cores.
Meat is by far the best thing to fill up cores to the max. Just one piece of meat will fill up all three inner cores to the max. You can buy fresh meat at the general store but that's too expensive. Hunting is a much better way to stock up on meat. Just make sure to cook the meat because you can't eat it raw.
And alcohol is great for filling up Dead Eye core and it is much better to drink gin, brandy, moonshine, or some other drink instead of spending precious meat when you want to fill up your Dead Eye core. And remember that plain cooked meat is as good as spiced meat (it is as effective as spiced meat, it just comes without temporary strengthen effect for your health or stamina core). In order to cook food just set up camp (go to items wheel and pick set camp option that can be found at six o'clock location on the item wheel).
Your horse loses its stamina and health, just like you. The main way to fill up its inner stamina and health cores is to feed it, and many players tend to dismount their horse, press L2 (or left trigger on Xbox One) and then select to feed the horse. Much simpler and faster way is to feed it while mounting it. Just open the selection wheel, go to the Horse section and select some food. You can also use horse tonics this way. The only thing to remember is to slow down to a trot or to stop before feeding your horse.
If you want to get the best horse in the game, you will have to wait a bit. The best horse (black Arabian horse) gets unlocked at the beginning of the fourth chapter. You can find it in the stable located at the outskirts of Saint Denis. You can visit the stable before the fourth chapter but you won't find the horse. Technically, the rose gray bay Arabian is better (it has slightly better stats than the black one) but since that one gets unlocked during the epilogue (when you practically already beat the game) it just isn't worth the wait. Just buy the black one and be done with it.
The other way to get the hold of the best horse is to tame it. While the black Arabian horse can be bought, white Arabian (the most beautiful horse in the game if you ask us) can only be found in the wild. The white one has slightly worse stats than the black and rose gray but it can be acquired during chapter 2, and it looks way prettier than any other horse.
In order to tame the white one, you have to go to the Grizzly Mountains. Just visit the area around Lake Isabella and you should spot the horse roaming through the snow-covered forest. From then on, it's all up to you. Save the game manually as soon as you spot it and then start slowly approaching it on foot. Start hitting the calm down button (square on PS4, X on Xbox One) as soon as it appears and hope for the best because the white Arabian is extremely nervous. Continue approaching it while calming the horse at the same time and once you mount it be ready to calm it again because it will try to buck you off as soon as you mount it.
And when you finally calm it, just put your saddle on it and that's it! You acquired one of the best (and by far the most beautiful) horses in the game early on during chapter 2 meaning that you will save hours and hours on travel between missions because the thing is just so damn fast.
Weapons can be upgraded with better rifling, longer barrels, precise iron sights, and most rifles can be equipped with various scopes. While upgrades do not come with radical improvements, they are good and cheap enough to upgrade each weapon.
You can upgrade new weapons as soon as you buy them and you can upgrade owned weapons by visiting the upgrades section at the weapons merchant. When it comes to keeping your weapons clean, the easy way is to simply visit guns merchant and pay him to clean them because you won't spend time cleaning them and the cleaning service is extremely cheap (less than a dollar per gun or a rifle). But if you don't tend to keep your guns clean and shiny don't worry; they do degrade over time but not radically. Their stats will be a bit lower but you probably won't notice that because you'll be using Dead Eye most of the time - and that means dealing headshots left and right.
And this is why getting the best weapons in the game isn't very important. Since Dead Eye is the main way to aim for most people, most people will simply kill enemies with accurately placed headshots.
And since headshot means one shot kill, having a more powerful weapon won't give you any noticeable edge during gunfights. Just equip some repeater (since those have the highest rate of fire), fill it up with split point and express ammo, turn on Dead Eye and start dealing headshots.
These two ammo types are the best because split point ammo depletes Dead Eye meter noticeably slower and express ammo comes with higher stopping power. Our choice is split point ammo because (as we already said multiple times) everyone just uses Dead Eye when aiming and making the meter to depletes slower means you won't have to drink booze and tonics every half a minute to refill the meter.
Split point ammo cannot be bought in stores, but you can craft it. Just set up camp, go to ammo crafting menu and select split point ammo for your preferred type of gun. And then just hold down X until you fill up your ammo storage.
Red Dead Redemption 2 features a Honor system which makes you more or less honorable depending on your actions. If you help people in need during random encounters, give money to beggars, play some side missions, and greet people (yes, just greeting everyone you see grants you Honor points) you will be recognized as a respected member of the community.
But when you rob people, coaches, trains, and stores, kill people, refuse to help those in need, loot strangers and members of the law, and insult everyone around you, you lose Honor points and can be feared and/or despised by everyone. Now, being an outlaw who is able to make anyone run for their life is cool in theory, having high Honor is much better in reality.
Aside from everyone greeting you and respecting you because you're being a good person, high Honor means you will receive discounts at any store. Yes, you will get lower prices on pretty much anything as long as you maintain positive Honor. And the higher is you honor level, the better are discounts. So yep, being nice isn't about altruism, it's about getting better prices.
When you have to drop your revolver or one of your rifles in order to equip some cool weapon you've found while wandering across the world of Red Dead Redemption, do not worry. Feel free to drop any weapon because you will find it again as soon as you mount your horse. Your horse keeps all of your weapons in its saddles, even those that were dropped.
Animal pelt gets damaged when you kill them with more than one shot, or when you kill them by shooting them in the body, or with shotguns. The best way to hunt for animals (that aren't predators) is to equip your trusty bow. Once you locate the prey, just enter Dead Eye mode and slowly aim for the animal's head. That will prevent pelt from getting damaged. This can be done with rifles and repeaters just make sure to kill the animal with one clean headshot.
And when it comes to pelt quality, there are three quality levels represented by stars. Flawless pelts (three stars) are needed for crafting upgrades at the camp. The problem is that many animals have one or two-star pelts; ones with flawless pelts are hard to find. So, in order to avoid getting disappointed after you find out that the animal you tracked for ten minutes has low-quality pelt make sure to lock them with L2 as soon as you spot them. Once locked, you will see the quality of the pelt in the lower right angle of the screen and you will know whether to hunt that particular animal or not. And in case the pelt quality isn't showing, make sure to study the animal.
In order to increase your chances to find animals with flawless pelt quality, you should craft special Buck Antler Trinket. This can be crafted at any Fence, just make sure to find and kill Legendary Buck. The legendary animal can be found north of Owanjila Lake, which is located west of Strawberry.
Reinforced equipment (bandolier, revolver holsters, and gun belt) can be found at any Trapper. Each piece of reinforced equipment comes with its own special bonus and there are many different sets you can buy. Each set is unlocked after you complete a set of challenges meaning that getting your hands of reinforced equipment can be a daunting task because many challenges are pretty hard to accomplish.
Luckily, the Explorer challenge path is relatively easy; all it takes to complete that one is completing three treasure hunts available in the game. Just visit our Guide on How To Get Rich in Red Dead Redemption 2 and there you can read on how to discover all three treasures. And once you find the final treasure you will be able to buy the whole Explorer set of reinforced equipment. And don't worry about bonuses, each set has the same selection of bonus stats.
In Red Dead Redemption store clerks will recognize you when you visit a store for the second time; town sheriffs will recognize you in case you delivered wanted men; and people will also recognize you after you rob something or someone, meaning you will automatically get a bounty.
The trick to avoiding getting a bounty (or to get a lower bounty) is to use custom outfit (just create a custom outfit when in camp, save it and equip it in your horse inventory) when you decide to go on a robbing spree. And forget about wearing bandanas, masks that cover your whole face are much better. Also, have a special horse that is used just during robberies.
You should equip custom outfit and the mask when no one can see you because if someone sees you while you change clothes and put the mask, they will know that you are the mysterious thief. And you should mount your special robbery horse at the camp. After you escape the law make sure to not change clothes before you arrive at the camp. Just remove the mask. You can change clothes and horse after you arrive at the gang camp. And make sure your wrongdoing outfit is used just during robberies.
Red Dead Redemption has a sprawling world filled with hidden stories and exciting mysteries so it is a shame to not explore it. Wander off the beaten path at any opportunity; try to enter any lonely hut you stumble upon in the world. Many of them hide various stories, valuable loot, and bizarre Easter eggs. And if you notice that doors are locked that means that the specific house will be available later during the game, as part of a main or side mission.
The world is also filled with abandoned settlements, fortresses, lookout towers, and other buildings, so make sure to enter any building you stumble upon during your journeys. Just don't try to discover the whole map early in the game because, during the course of Red Dead Redemption 2, the game will lead you all across the world. You will be able to discover the whole map by the end of chapter five.
One of the worst things in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the fact that fast travel is extremely limited. You can fast travel from your camp to various settlements but you have to travel to the camp manually. And stagecoaches are practically useless to use for fast travel. Luckily, the game offers a special cinematic camera that allows automatic movement while the camera is on.
Many guides claim you have to hold movement key (X on PS4, A on Xbox One) while the cinematic camera is turned on in order to move automatically. Well, this isn't really true. You don't have to hold the X key; in fact, you can freely let go of the controller and just watch to not stumble across a pack of wolves or to miss some interesting random encounter.
But in order to let go of the X key, you have to place a waypoint before turning the cinematic camera on. Even during missions when you have the path marked (with a yellow line) automatic movement won't work unless you create a waypoint at the mission mark.
While cooking and crafting tonics can be done only next to the campfire, you can craft items and ammo while on horseback or while on foot. Just open the selection wheel, go to Items section, select the camp and press L2 or R2 (Left trigger or Right trigger on Xbox One) and select Crafting Tools and then close the selection wheel. And that's it, you will be able to craft items while on the go!
The three main cores (health, stamina, dead eye) can be upgraded, thus increasing the length of the outer rings that present your overall health, stamina, and Dead Eye meter. You can upgrade them by doing specific things in the game, like in The Elder Scrolls games.
Health gets upgraded by taking damage, during fistfights, by eating food, and by hunting and skinning animals. Stamina is upgraded by sprinting and by swimming fast (just press X (PS4) or A (Xbox One) repeatedly while running or swimming. And Dead Eye is upgraded by doing all sorts of stuff; by dealing headshots, by using Dead Eye, by killing enemies in Dead Eye, and by skinning and hunting animals. Also, each core is upgraded by drinking tonics and booze and eating food that replenishes the specific meter. For instance, drinking brandy gives you stamina and Dead Eye points, and eating meat gives you health points.
Okay, this is all for our Red Dead Redemption 2 general tips and tricks guide. We hope that this one made you enjoy the game more than before and that you found some useful stuff that helped you in your journeys across the Wild West.