Though it’s been out for over a year now, Rockstar’s latest game, Red Dead Redemption 2, remains a sensation. It’s a title that quickly became one of those experiences every gamer has to try once. It's just a stunning all-around achievement.
Its captivating world invites players to explore, while the characters keep most people engaged for hours. Everyone will walk away from the game with different thoughts of its ending and the game as a whole, but one thing that's certain is that it can be a tough nut to crack for new players. Here are ten things nearly everyone learns (usually the hard way) when they play through the game for the first time.
10 THE MAP IS CRUCIAL
Upon starting the game, it’s easy to get lost in just how much stuff there is to do... but also how hard it is to find everything. The game will often ask the player to find specific animals or places, but RDR is far removed from placing gaudy information all over the screen.
The simplified UI is one of the highlights of the game, and one of the best things the game does on a surface level. What’s especially helpful, though, is the game’s map. The mini-map constantly points towards the next major location, but also indicates every animal a player can hunt.
9 YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A JERK
Even though Red Dead 2 places players firmly in the shoes of an outlaw who has lived a very violent and cruel life, there’s still a surprising amount of role-playing available for the player concerning Arthur.
People are constantly asking Arthur for help, bugging him to do this or that. The game’s morality system keeps track of your actions, and there are certain rewards that come along with being a good guy. This doesn’t mean players have to allow anyone to just walk all over them (and Arthur himself won’t allow this, usually) but it’s hard to turn down discounts at every local store.
8 MOVEMENTS MATTER
This is something players will probably learn within the prologue chapter: watch your step. Rockstar’s attempts to make things realistic mean that if players aren’t careful, they’ll easily wreck themselves. Your horse can’t scale mountains and neither can Arthur.
Attempting to do things in Red Dead 2 because you usually can in video games will see Arthur's horse kick him off its back, or Arthur getting killed. Not properly dodging trees will wind up in the horse flinging Arthur off and cause massive damage (at best), so the need to be careful is something most players pick up on quickly.
7 KEEP HEALING ITEMS ON YOU AT ALL TIMES
Getting lost in riding along the beautiful areas of Red Dead 2 will make a player forget they’re still traveling in a dangerous, largely lawless land. It’s common to be ambushed by a gang, and Arthur will need to prove capable of fighting back at a moment’s notice.
Since this can happen even right after a mission, it’d be a bad idea to run around traveling without items to keep Arthur healed and his cores from being damaged. Each player figures out their own version of what works best for them according to their playstyle, but all of them travel with a full inventory of their favorite items.
6 DON'T TRAVEL TOO FAR FROM YOUR HORSE
Red Dead 2 is big on realism, and if Arthur’s too far from the horse for them to hear the whistle, they won’t. Once this happens, players are stuck making their way back to the horse on foot. Red Dead 2’s is a big world, and any player wandering too far might spend quite a long time walking back.
What’s worse is that things are constantly happening in the environment. It’s easy to get distracted by random events, be attacked by gangs, or even be forced to give up on a great hunt because the carcass can’t be slung over the horse’s back.
5 IT'S BENEFICIAL TO HELP PEOPLE
It won’t be long after the prologue chapter that Arthur will be able to explore the open road. Traveling along on your chosen horse can be relaxing, but sooner or later someone will approach asking for help after being bitten by a snake.
Players who choose to help will learn upon reaching the nearest town that the person they saved is singing their praises, and will find in the nearby store that Arthur can have an item for free. There’s no monetary limit on the items players can get, so this encourages players to find these sorts of tasks as often as possible.
4 THE IMPORTANT OF DEAD EYE
An ability that slows down time and allows the player to designate specific targets and body parts on different enemies, Dead Eye was a key feature of the original RDR. In the sequel, players will be taught Dead Eye fairly early on, and whether experienced or a novice, they’ll realize rather quickly how important it is to master it.
Enemies will come at Arthur fast and in large enough numbers that, without mastering Dead Eye, he’ll be shot to pieces. That’s not even counting the number of quick draw duels they’ll have to deal with. There are certain parts of the game that can’t even be progressed beyond if the player isn’t at least passably good with Dead Eye.
3 THE GAME MOVES AT ITS OWN PACE
This is something every player has to get accustomed to quickly. While most games will toss you right into some major story related sequence, or a boss battle to get the player excited for the game, Red Dead 2 feels no such urgency.
In fact, when the game begins Arthur and his crew are on the run from the consequences of something that would’ve probably made for an excellent set piece. From there, players will find their way to an abandoned house in a snow-covered mountain. It’s up to the player to allow the game the opportunity to breathe and enjoy the story as it gradually unfolds.
2 LOOTING BODIES IS NOT ESSENTIAL
In most open-world games where there are a lot of enemies, there’s also a ton of loot. Players will spend several seconds after each and every battle encounter, collecting items and cash from the defeated.
Red Dead 2 doesn’t really encourage players to do this. On the contrary, in fact: players that do this during missions with the team will be told to hurry it up, and might even fail the mission attempting to loot every body. Money isn’t exactly scarce, so eventually you'll just stop trying to loot every guy.
1 HUNTING IS COMPLEX
Red Dead 2 all but requires hunting as a second form of currency. While money can get you most things, it’s not the most efficient way to keep the gang fed, and it certainly can’t help with crafting. So, players will go out and try to track down some prey.
Each animal has their own habitat and their own habits: some scare easily, others are aggressive. Each one needs to be killed with a certain weapon to get the best pelt, and only the best animals will offer perfect pelts to begin with. All of this will be overwhelming to everyone except experienced hunters and people who’ve already beaten the original Red Dead.