Red Dead Redemption 2 is a huge game with a myriad of mechanics, features, activities, locations, characters and systems. We've been doing our best to cover the most important, the most complex or the most beneficial systems in the game with extensive guides, but there are some features that, although requiring explanation, are just too small for their own post.
Some mechanics are minor, self-contained or just don't demand much explanation. We've collected tips and tricks related to those mechanics in this post, which we'll be updating constantly with new entries. If you're wondering about a small tidbit of game design in Red Dead Redemption 2 that isn't covered in a dedicated guide, you'll likely find answers here.
For tips to start you off on your journey if you are a first-time player, check out our beginners' guide.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is all about realism. This extends to clothing as well, meaning that Arthur's outfit isn't a static character skin. Instead, your hat, for example, is its own physics object, and just like in real life, it can fall off.
In fact, Rockstar put so much effort into accurate hitboxes for characters that it is possible to have your hat shot off your head without actually taking damage, provided the hat is hit somewhere where your head isn't fully in it.
If you lose your hat for any reason, it won't magically re-appear on your head. You need to go and retrieve it manually.
If this is impossible because you had to make a speedy escape or the hat got destroyed, burned, fell into a canyon, whatever, you need to return to your
mobile inventory horse to re-equip it. Go within range of the horse and bring up the horse wheel to get the hat back.
Recover Legendary Pelt
Legendary pelts can be a pain to acquire. Once you've gone to all the trouble of tracking down a legendary animal and got its pelt, you'll want to make sure you cash in on the effort. Like your hat, you can also lose the pelts carried by your horse or by yourself.
However, in the case of legendary pelts, you don't need to worry - the game has a failsafe that automatically teleports the pelt to a trapper so your effort isn't wasted. Rockstar focused on realism, but they knew that frustrating players isn't a good tactic.
Red Dead Redemption 2 offers players multiple ways to deal with arising conflicts. Instead of fighting being your only recourse, you can try to negotiate or intimidate enemies.
When it comes to the latter, giving off a warning shot might prove to be persuasive. To do this, hold down the LT/L2 button or Aim on PC, and then tap up on the D-Pad or press U before you shoot.
Bonus tip: if you fire in the vague direction of your opponents but miss on purpose, they'll assume you wanted to shoot them but you suck at aiming, so that won't count as a warning shot.
As we stated in our beginners' guide, you should loot everything. Always. However, you probably have things to do and places to be, so to make the act of looting less tedious simply hold the Square/X/E button to auto-loot everything from a container instead of doing it one by one.
In first-person view, tapping down on your D-Pad will aim down your weapon's sights. Doing so in third-person will have Arthur look through his weapon's scope, provided it has one. On PC, you can do this with the [ and ] keys, or using the scroll wheel.
Cut out the middleman when you need to look at your map. If you hold down the Options/Menu button instead of pressing it, you'll open the map immediately instead of having to navigate through the menu system.
If you want to play polo with the heads of your enemies, you can always use melee attacks from horseback. Simply hold and release Circle/B/F to perform a melee attack while riding.
If you don't want to waste precious fill from your health and stamina cores, dress according to the weather. Being underdressed in the freezing, snowy mountains or wearing a fur coat out in the sun is going to deplete your cores faster than usual.
Maintain Your Weapons
Weapons get dirty and degrade over time and with use. Buying a better holster will slow the process but won't eliminate it. Occasionally, take the time to clean and maintain your weapons to prevent debuffs from lowering damage or firing rate. Take a look at our weapon maintenance guide.
Jump On Your Horse
Arthur can mount his horse by jumping onto its back from any height, without suffering damage. Just make sure your aim is true, lest you end up as a dirty smatter of cowboy next to the poor animal.
General Horse Tips
Many gameplay mechanics related to your horse are not immediately obvious or explained. If you hold down the button used to call your horse, the animal will actively follow you, and horses replenish stamina and the health core gauge when hitched. You should also carry at least one horse revival kit at any given time.
Buy The Fast Travel Upgrade Immediately
Red Dead Redemption 2 features fast travel, but in a limited capacity and it isn't available by default. You need to unlock an upgrade in the gang's camp in order to travel to select locations. The map is massive, and fast travel is key if you want to cut down on idle travel time.
Don’t Neglect Challenges
Challenges may seem like a set of unnecessary side activities, however they are a great way to increase key stats buy unlocking reinforced gear. By unlocking challenge tiers once you have access to the Trapper, the best gear in the game will slowly become available to you, granting Arthur improvements across the board.