No, you're not in the middle of one amazing dream, or in one of those other dimensions that Kanye West keeps talking about—Red Dead Redemption 2 is really here, and it's beyond our wildest fantasies. Seriously, at the risk of sounding like practically every other gamer and critic out there; Rockstar has pulled it off again.
The story is Oscar-worthy, the graphics are crisper than a fresh piece of bacon, and practically every other aspect concerning this game is some of Rockstar's best work. It's like they took a page out of CD Projekt Red's game book and made something that will truly impact the gaming world for years to come.
But you've probably heard it all already, especially the part where people can't stop praising the game—seriously, it's hard not to gush about this one. Where Red Dead Redemption 2 really excels though, is in the amount of content jam-packed into it.
It really is mind boggling how they fit so much onto such a small disk. Oh, wait, I might've forgotten about this. Yeah, that lofty 105GB download size might hurt to see your hard drive go through, but you see it pay off in spades once you power on the game.
The map is filled with details, almost every interaction in the game has some sort of impact, and we haven't even started talking about how much goes into your horse now. You're getting way more than your money's worth with this one—something we all probably figured. But enough praise; let's talk about all the cool stuff that you can do in Red Dead Redemption 2, especially the stuff that you can easily miss.
26 Side Quests Galore! But There’s A Catch
As in every open world game, or really almost any single-player game today, there are tons of side-quests to be had—except in Red Dead Redemption 2, there’s one important caveat. That being that side quests expire within the game.
Some of these side-quests are absolute musts, so make sure to jump on them every opportunity you get before they expire.
It might be frustrating at times to lose some of these quests while you’re off exploring the world, but it does make sense for NPCs to only need something for an allotted amount of time.
25 Horse Upkeep Can Get Intense
Remember the times in the first Red Dead when you treated your horse like a pair of underpants? You know, there wasn’t one that particularly mattered, it just needed to get the job done. Well, put that “underpants” mindset because Red Dead 2 is serious about horses.
This time around, you need to feed your pal oats and apples while also making sure it's groomed and looking fresh. It can get tedious, but putting the time in here is 100% worth it as your horse will be easier to control. You’ll even be able to drift with your beast.
24 Hunting Those Lions, Tigers And Bears… Oh My!
You’re not going to find any tigers and lions on your adventures in the wild, wild west, but we just wanted to stress how awesome hunting is in Red Dead 2. Sure, the horse upkeep system is intense, but hunting has been brought into an entirely different stratosphere.
Now, there are 178 different animals to hunt, and each requires their own unique, and sometimes very methodical approach to catch.
Plus, the animals are ranked in three different categories being poor, good, and perfect—so make sure to put in the time to learn how to distinguish the “meh” from the exceptional.
23 Subtle Details Are Around Every Corner
From smoke in the skies indicating that a campfire is around to running out of breath from whistling too much—Red Dead Redemption 2 shines the most in the details. There are so many subtleties that are crammed down the mouth of this game; it’s honestly jarring at times.
Like, did you know that leaving a campfire burning will result in burning down some of the foliage and sometimes even the forest around it? Oh, and look towards the skies, because often you’ll see smoke letting you know that someone’s set up camp right next door to you.
22 Welcome To Video Game WW
Well, those subtle details that we were just gushing about? They even extend to how Arthur takes care of his body—so make sure to lay off the McDonald's for a while.
If you eat too much or too late, then you’ll see Arthur progressively gain more. The same goes for not eating, as you’ll see him become twig-like.
This isn’t just for show; letting Arthur gain or lose more weight has in-game consequences. Skinny Arthur will be faster and a little more elusive, but you’ll have less health. Vice versa for being chunky Arthur.
21 Being A Villain Pays Off, Literally
It’s always fun to go off the tracks in a game and in turn become a villain. Who could forget messing with the peaceful town of Megaton in Fallout 3? Or playing through practically any Grand Theft Auto game?
Being a villain is undoubtedly fun, but in Red Dead Redemption 2 it also pays off, and in spades.
Deciding to go against your moral compass will allow you to rob stagecoaches, intimidate and steal from shop owners, and is generally just a fun time altogether. But it does come with consequences…
20 The Consequences Of Being A Villain
It’s not all fun and games being a villain, as folks in-game probably would prefer a nicer and less destructive Arthur. If you decide to go down this road, you’ll constantly have bounties placed on your head and some areas will turn red and target you on sight.
There are a few ways to somewhat get around this; invest in bandannas to cover your identity, and try to pay off your bounty before it gets too high at the post offices. Oh, and prepare to have most civilians give you the cold shoulder if you take this route.
19 Beard Physics!
Yup, just like Geralt in The Witcher 3, Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2 has been gifted (or cursed, if you want a clean shave) with life-like beard physics. If you slack off and forget to groom Arthur, you’ll see that he’ll slowly start growing out a wild-man beard.
But if you want that coveted beard-look for Arthur, then we recommend investing in hair tonic which can be bought at most general stores. Hair tonic accelerates the growth of Arthur’s hair and beard, and if you want to get a shape-up, go to the local barber and he’ll do the trick.
18 Treat Your Camp Like Family (Hopefully, That Means Well)
In Red Dead Redemption 2, your camp of misfit-type bandits is the closest thing to family you’ll get. Most of the folks in it are the best friends you’ll come across in the game, plus the camp acts as a nice little hub world where you can set your priorities straight.
You can interact with every member in the camp, and you’ll even have opportunities to upgrade the location, making your friends happier. Plus it’s a nice little location where you’ll be given the opportunity to jump on a bunch of side quests, so make sure those folks are happy.
17 Fast Travel Is Back, But It’s Gonna Cost
Red Dead Redemption 2 truly makes you feel like you have to earn everything, as fast travel is a tool that you actually have to buy in-game. Oh, and it’s gonna cost you a pretty penny.
In order to unlock the feature, you’ll have to upgrade Dutch’s tent two times, thus giving you a map that allows you to fast travel throughout the world. Yet another thing that might feel tedious to some gamers, but it’s a ton of fun knowing that you can explore the world fast-travel free for most of the early moments in the game.
16 Keep A Lookout For The Black Market
In addition to all the kooky, nook-and-cranny-type shops in Red Dead Redemption 2, there’s also a black market where you can sell previously unsellable items. On your journey throughout the West, you’ll stumble upon some items that most merchants won’t take off your hands, so you’ll have to look for Fences.
Fences are the black market-type stores and are located across the map, but two I always visited were in Emerald Ranch and Saint Denis. There, you’ll be able to buy and sell rare items, so make sure to seek these rare shops.
15 Wild Horses Need To Chill Out
It may be a Rockstar game, but that doesn’t mean you can treat horses like the cars you hijack in Grand Theft Auto. Horses are treated like real creatures in this game, rightfully so for immersion’s sake. But that means you need to be careful in the way you approach them—especially the wild ones.
In order to tame a wild horse, you’ll have to calm it first, which can prove to be rather hard when a horse sees you creeping around. Take your time, and try your best not to spook the poor thing—or you might regret it.
14 Shh... There's A Cheat Menu
Surprisingly, not many people know that Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a cheat menu. Well, it does, and it’s hilarious, as is tradition. To activate the cheat menu, you need to head to the settings and press Y/Triangle button, and voilà.
Just know that turning on cheats will disable achievements/trophies, but for some of these, it’s entirely worth it.
One of my favorite codes is “WOULD YOU BE HAPPIER AS A CLOWN?” which spawns a circus wagon at your location—we’ll leave a link for the rest.
13 Bandanas Save Lives, Specifically Yours
Bandanas are perhaps the most underrated tool in Red Dead Redemption 2, why? Well, it makes being a villain infinitely times easier.
Now, when you rob or commit any infraction, your identity will be hidden, making your punishment less severe.
The best part is that you actually start off with a bandana at the start of the game. Sure, it's nothing fancy, but it'll get the job done for what you need.
12 Fishing Can Take Some Work
If you thought hunting was hard, just you wait till you get your hands on a fishing rod, because that takes some work. Much like real-life fishing, there’ll be times when you just can’t get a bite. Don’t get discouraged.
Believe it or not, the bait you choose is essential, and depending on what time you go out can dramatically affect the fish you catch. It’s honestly kind of nuts that the level of detail even managed to find its way into the fishing component of the game, but that’s Rockstar for ya.
11 The Awe And Beauty Of The Cinematic Camera
Granted cinematic-type moments in games have been around for a while now, but it seems that along with everything else in Red Dead 2, the camera has also been cranked to an entirely new level
From riding off into the sunset to walking down a street with swagger, the new camera lets you see the game in stunning ways we never thought we’d ever see a game. While controlling Arthur can be hard during these parts, there’s an easy way to get around this. Hold the X/A button and Arthur will actually walk a predesignated path, making it easier to appreciate the beauty.
10 Every Action Has A Reaction... If That Makes Sense
Almost every little thing you do in Red Dead 2 has some sort of effect on the rest of the game. Seriously, it’s kind of crazy. This game is probably the worst possible dream for gamers who hate making “mistakes” in games.
Red Dead offers decisions at every corner, and every single one of them has a consequence, so tread lightly. Plus, just the way you treat average citizens can impact the way they treat you back. As the age old saying goes, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”
9 Don't Be Afraid To Use That Lasso
A cowboy’s most trusted tool is his lasso, so it really goes without saying that the lasso is basically the swiss army knife of weapons in Red Dead 2. There’s really just so much you can do with the lasso in Red Dead 2, from roping up animals to making sure that witnesses stay silent when you’re off committing crimes.
If you’re trying to be a perfectionist when out hunting, the lasso is essential as it gets. Instead of hunting the regular way, you can just lasso it to you and take it out.
8 Gimme The Loot
Sure we all know how to loot by now, I mean, you're playing Red Dead Redemption 2, so you’re already off to a great start. But looting in Red Dead 2 is an aspect that is pretty overlooked, especially because you’re dealing with so much as it is.
Make sure to loot every enemy you take down, as some can be holding a couple pennies up to a fistful of dollars.
And if you’re going the villainous route, then make sure to rob stagecoaches when you’re out traveling and any other people that are unlucky enough to cross your path.
7 Make Or Lose All The Money In The Mini-Games
If you’re like me and absolutely loved the mini-games in the first Red Dead Redemption, then you’re in for a treat—they get even better this time around.
You’ll find some sort of mini-game in every single town, and they’re seriously worth your time for the money and enjoyable times they bring in. My personal favorite this time around is five finger fillet, where you have to do your best to avoid taking out one of your appendages. And the newly added dominoes game is quite addicting.
6 PSA: Random Encounters Are Your Friends
Over the course of Red Dead Redemption 2, random encounters are going to be more attracted to you than that cute girl who’s always eyeing you in class (you know the one).
Whether you’re playing going the squeaky clean route or a villainous one, always, we mean ALWAYS, go after these encounters.
They tend to spiral off into something truly spectacular for the most part, and even when they don’t pan out they’ll usually leave you with a pretty good reward. When in doubt, random encounter it out.
5 Re-Experience The Best Moments
There are so many moments in Red Dead Redemption 2 that will leave you speechless, and simply in awe at what you’re seeing. Usually, you have to go through an entire game to relive moments like this, but in Red Dead 2 you can replay these moments easily.
If you ever want to improve on your grade on a mission you received, or just want to relive a stunning moment just hit up the progress sub-menu. From there, select the story option and you’ll see all the main story missions you completed, and you’ll get the option to replay them.
4 Shoot’em Up In Style
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that you can practically customize anything in Red Dead 2, including that brass that you're slinging around. There’s only one way to match your impressive gun toting skill, and it’s by making sure it looks dope.
While at any weapon shop, you’ll have the opportunity to customize any of your weapons including adding new barrels, changing up the paint job or even placing decals on your piece. It’s one of the best ways to distinguish yourself as one of the freshest in the west.
3 Some Small, Yet Useful Tips
Every game is filled with little shortcuts and macro keys that don’t really do much to impact your overall experience, but it’ll save you time and stress of opening the navigating menu every time.
Holding the options button will take you straight to the map and hold the O/B button to automatically get out of the menu.
Also, try experimenting with the controls, as you can switch running from holding a button to simply tapping it. Hopefully, this will make playing your game just a little bit easier.
2 Try To Embrace The Slow Pacing
Red Dead 2 is slow, sometimes painfully slow (especially when you’re fishing), but once you start to embrace its slower pace, you’ll find you start to fall in love with the game.
Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t a game that’s going to slam you with dramatic cutscene after dramatic cutscene.
Instead, it methodically builds to these moments, much in the way of a movie. And when it pays off, oh boy does it pay off. So take your time in this world and enjoy every slow second of it.
1 It Can Get Even More Immersive… If You Want
You don’t really get more immersive than the vanilla experience that Red Dead 2 offers, yet, it can get even more immersive. First off, you’re going to want to switch the view from third to first person, and it’s only going to get crazier from here.
After you’re going to want to customize your HUD and start removing everything that makes the game a game. Mini-map? Gone. Any indications to where life is? You’re on your own now. If you’re going for that true hardcore experience, this is the best way to do it.