Red Dead Redemption 2 is, perhaps, one of the most inventive and game-changing releases in modern memory. Games that completely flip the table and set a new standard for the years to follow are few and far between, and you can be excused for not knowing how exactly to do everything in-game right off the bat. Hours and hours in and I'm still learning about mechanics and cool little tricks to do, and it seems like every few minutes the game is unfolding another facet for me to learn.
Here are some of the most important things about Red Dead Redemption 2 that the tutorial doesn't necessarily spell out:
One of the things I learned way after the tutorial was the fact that, when galloping on your horse, timing your button press with your horse's gallop won't drain your horse's stamina nearly as much, if at all. Get into a good rhythm, and you can absolutely cruise along without much of a care in the world. This is especially useful when chasing somebody on horseback since those can end up taking an extended bit of time. The one thing to keep in mind about this is that it's pretty easy to get numb to the speed if you're at it for a while, and going through a town at breakneck pace is a pretty easy way to get on people's bad sides.
9 REMOVING THE HUD
If you're like me and like to do everything in your power to make the game as immersive as possible, then you'd probably be intrigued by the HUD removal options. Removing your map is pretty easy (and explained in a tutorial), but what they don't mention is that you can download the Red Dead Redemption 2 Companion App and get all the pertinent in-game information right on whatever device you want in real-time. This way, you can have the unimpeded immersion experience that you want, without sacrificing the potentially life-saving information that the HUD provides.
8 PERSONAL HEALTH
No, I'm not talking about your health bar, and I'm not even talking about your health core. Think a little more long-term. What you eat, how much you eat, and how much exercise you get determines Arthur Morgan's weight. And that weight can have important game-changing consequences that come with. Being overweight means you'll take less damage, but have less stamina. Being underweight means you'll take more damage, but have more stamina. You have to take the good with the bad, and keep in mind your weight will change dynamically based on what you do.
On a related note, don't forget to wash up every now and again. Go too long without a bath, or at least a dip in a stream, and people are going to notice. And they won't be nice about it.
There are quite a few things that you can do in combat, or in the moments just before or after, that Red Dead Redemption 2 puts on the player to figure out. One thing to keep in mind before combat is that you can actually fire warning shots by holding down the aim button, tapping up on the d-pad, and pressing fire. This can help to defuse a situation, or to convince someone that you mean business. But it can also backfire on you, causing someone to fire some shots of the non-warning variety.
If the situation does escalate into a gunfight, keep in mind that you can do a combat roll by pressing Square (PS) or X (Xbox) while aiming; another thing I had no clue about for quite a while.
Once you've taken care of business, don't simply holster your weapon the boring way. Double tap the holster button to do so with style.
You'll figure out pretty early on that there are certain items you get that it seems like you just can't sell to anybody, which can be a shame, because a lot of these seem to be pretty big-ticket items. So what are they good for?
Well, a little bit into the story, you'll find a fence that's willing to buy stolen caravans. What you don't find out right away is that they will also buy a lot of stolen valuables, and they are the only place to buy certain items, like lock breakers. They'll also allow you to craft things you can't anywhere else, like trinkets and talismans.
5 LOCK BREAKERS
Let me tell you the story of a player who didn't know about the existence of lock breakers in the early going. I'd seen doors blown open with what I believed to be dynamite early on in the game in a cut-scene, and so foolishly assumed that, surely, tossing dynamite on the back of a locked caravan was the way to open it.
Well, I was wrong, and the entire caravan, as well as two horses, paid the ultimate price for my foolishness.
Long story short, fences sell lock breakers, and they are incredibly useful. But, you can only carry one at a time, so make sure what you're trying to get open is worth it.
4 SPLIT-POINT AMMO
I've lost count of how many times my life has been saved by Dead Eye. The only problem being, if you get into repeated engagements that require Dead Eye, you're going to run out of charge pretty quickly.
And that's where Split-Point ammo comes in.
This ammo can be crafted with regular bullets and your hunting knife at your camp, and having them equipped means you're going to drain your Dead Eye ability slower, making you that much more lethal for every engagement. As simple as this ammo is to make, it's pretty easy to have plenty of it on you at any given time.
While it's briefly touched upon in an early cut-scene that you should wear your bandana to hide your identity while doing anything illegal, the game doesn't mention the other mechanics of the bandana. For instance, if a random NPC sees you commit a crime while wearing the bandana, you'll still become wanted, but they (usually) won't be able to pin the crime on Arthur Morgan, meaning if you can avoid the immediate consequences of the law, there won't be any lasting penalties, at least in the form of a bounty.
However, the bandana isn't an item that comes without consequence. For instance, lawmen don't particularly react well to seeing a masked stranger, whether you've done anything wrong or not. And, wearing a bandana, committing a crime, and coming into town in the same outfit minus the bandana isn't going to do much for you. After all, the NPC's in this game aren't idiots. Make sure you've got an entirely different outfit for your criminal activities, and you'll find the lasting consequences much less severe.
2 STUDY ANIMALS
Hunting is another mechanic that has gotten a pretty severe overhaul compared to the original Red Dead Redemption. You've probably noticed the “study” option available when aiming at an animal, but it isn't immediately obvious what it does. But after studying it, select “show info”, and you'll see what quality of pelt you're going to get from the animal in question. Depending on whether or not you're after the pelt or the meat, this might not matter to you, but if you are looking to sell the pelt, the quality makes a hefty difference in price.
The most observant among you will already know this, but I personally spent a somewhat embarrassing amount of time searching around for a manual save game option. There's nothing worse than pulling off something completely awesome, only to die and realize the game never auto-saved.
Well, you can save your progress whenever you want by going to the “Story” section of the pause menu. From there, you can save your current progress, or load any previous save you've created.