In the days since Red Dead Redemption 2 finally arrived, it’s sold incredibly well and has garnered fantastic reviews. With that in mind, the game’s focus on realism means there’s a lot of subtle things players might have issues with when first playing. In order to help, I’ve compiled this beginner’s guide to Red Dead Redemption 2. This won’t contain any form of story spoilers, rather it’s simply meant to help you understand some of the nuances in the game that will make your experience more enjoyable.

Optimal Settings

For starters, let’s take a look at the settings. If you don’t like the idea of tapping A or X to run, you’re not alone. Simply swap it to “toggle.” You should also adjust aiming sensitivity and consider removing the lock-on targeting while on foot – it’s great for horseback riding but can be a bother when manually aiming at targets on the ground.

Beginner's Guide to Red Dead Redemption 2

Getting Money Easily

This is going to seem incredible obvious but getting a lot of money boils down to basic things: don’t purchase many goods and make sure you loot every body you come across. It seems simple but taking the time to loot every single body (especially after a big firefight) is a great way to put consistent cash and valuables in your pocket. Valuables, such as gold rings, silver belt buckles and so on can be donated to the camp funds, or they can be sold to a fence. A fence is a merchant who deals in illicit goods.

There’s a couple of different fences you can sell to but early on, the easiest to reach is likely the one in Emerald Ranch:

Beginner's Guide to Red Dead Redemption 2

Unlocking Duel-Wielding

If you watched any trailers or gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 before release, you’ll have noticed that one of the big new features is the ability to duel wield guns like the Cattleman Revolver, Volcanic Pistol and even a Sawed-off Shotgun. You won’t unlock this ability through crafting, gathering resources or purchasing the holster. Instead, you’ll need to do a story mission in Chapter 2 called “Blessed are the Meek?” It takes place in the town of Strawberry and will be labeled with an M.

Beginner's Guide to Red Dead Redemption 2

Hygiene and Taking a Bath

Are people commenting on how Morgan stinks? Maybe he’s got some grime built up onhis clothes and face? Then it’s time for a bath. Mud, dirt, blood and just general wear will cause Arthur Morgan to get exceedingly dirty. There’s a ton of ways you can become filthy and coated in mud or blood, such as getting shot or mauled, skinning animals, carrying carcasses, brawling, falling into the dirt, slipping in the mud and so forth. If you keep on getting dirtier, people may refuse to talk to you.

Getting a bath is very cheap, only costing around $0.25 at any hotel and you need to get one every few days (or whenever you get particularly filthy). If you don’t want to manually scrub Arthur’s limbs (and would like a bit of company) you can pay about $0.50 extra for a woman to come in and chat while she handles the bathing.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Taking a bath

Animal Pelt/Carcass Quality and Hunting

If you’ve gone hunting, you might be having some problems getting a perfect carcass and perfect pelt. Conversations with butchers and other hunters will give you some tips for a clean kill but there’s more nuance than you might think. No matter how clean your kill is, it won’t matter if the animal quality wasn’t high enough. You need to study the animals and figure out which quality they are: Poor, Good or Pristine. Whatever the animal’s quality, that’s the highest it can possibly be. If you’re not hunting for food and you want perfect-quality pelts and carcasses, Pristine animals are the way to go.

Beginner's Guide to Red Dead Redemption 2

 

General Quality of Life Improvements

This section is simply dedicated to a few small things that will help you out, or nifty features that the game doesn’t ever really spell out for players.

  • Instead of repeatedly pressing B or O when you’re looking at a store catalogue, just hold the button down and you’ll exit the catalogue.
  • If you get separated from your horse and can’t whistle to get it back, just save and reload the save. Your horse will now be near you.
  • Speaking of horses, you can tell how spooked they are by looking at their eyes. If they are flat back and you approach, you’re most likely getting kicked.
  • Find a new gun you’d like to keep? Store it in your horse weapons, that way you’ll still have it. If you drop it before storing it on your horse, it won’t be available later.
  • You lose money when you die to human enemies but not to wildlife. Save often, you don’t want your cash dwindling because bandits took you by surprise.
  • The Dead Eye core functions differently from the Health and Stamina Cores. You’ll need to shoot things (humans or animals) to restore your bar from the core.
Don’t Antagonize the Gang

Morgan has the option of greeting or antagonizing every single NPC in the game. While some of the dry insults can be pretty funny, I would advise against repeatedly antagonizing the members of your own gang. Or do it and laugh at what Morgan has to say. Just don’t be surprised if someone decides they’ve had enough…

This concludes my Beginner’s Guide to Red Dead Redemption 2. If you have any questions about an issue this guide didn’t cover, feel free to leave a comment.