Just starting out in Red Dead Redemption 2? Do yourself a favour and read our quick tips and tricks guide too!
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Whenever we first hop into a new highly anticipated game, we often let ourselves be swept up by the experience. Having waited so long, we bet most Red Dead Redemption 2 fans are eager to get acquainted with the game as quickly as possible.
However, this is a game that doesn't do a lot of handholding and some systems simply aren't explained. While you'll get the hang of these mechanics with time, there are a few things best known before or when you start playing.
Note: These tips are completely spoiler-free. We're only focusing on gameplay elements and mechanics you should know about from the start.
Take Your Time
First, let's tackle the mindset with which you go into the game with in the first place. Some games are really fast-paced and almost outright require you to rush to complete objectives as quickly a possible. Red Dead Redemption 2 is not such a game.
Even more so than its predecessor and much more so than Grand Theft Auto, this game is to be savored like good wine not downed like a shot.
Many of the game's systems and mechanics encourage you to ease into a steady pace of play where you take your time to explore, to learn, to understand and to take in everything that is happening. However, if you end up trying to rush with progress, you'll end up souring the experience. While there never is 'one right way' to play any game, there are wrong ways, and in this case trying to fast-track your game sessions is definitely the second.
How to Upgrade Cores
Red Dead Redemption 2's core system is a tad complex and isn't really explained in-game. In fact, this is something we dedicate a whole guide to in and of itself which goes into greater detail.
Basically, your cores are Health, Stamina and Dead-Eye. These are three little circles above the mini-map in the bottom left of your screen, with the filled outline representing the amount of each you have.
To upgrade these, which you will definitely want to do, you need to "use" them. It's a bit like real life, you need to use your muscles to strengthen them. With Dead-Eye and Stamina, this works easily. Just often perform stamina-consuming acts like sprinting and occasionally you'll get small Stamina upgrades. Same for Dead-Eye - just use it and it will be upgraded.
Health is a different matter, since "using" it doesn't work. You can't get shot by lawmen or mauled by bears and end up healthier than before. Cores also passively drain over time adding a kind of survival mechanic, as these are separate from your actual bars. So for health you'll need to eat occasionally to prevent your core from draining completely. This is what you can use to upgrade them.
For a more comprehensive look at Cores, check out our guide (coming soon).
You can loot a lot of things in Red Dead Redemption 2. We suggest you do. Loot everyone, loot everything. If you adhere to this, you'll likely always have enough money, ammo and supplies throughout the game. Little dark crosses mark lootable items on your minimap, which become lighter and greyed out once looted. X marks the spot, and never ignore the X.
Check Your Log Often
Pressing left on your D-Pad will open your log, which tracks all of your non-mission activities. If you want to avoid grinding these activities later on, occasionally open your log to check what objective happen to be nearby. Completing them organically while on your way to other goals will make things more fun. Trust us when we say this is one game where you'll want to complete everything.
Refill Dead-Eye With Chewing Tobacco
Health and stamina regenerates on its own, but Dead-Eye does not. You need to pay attention to keeping it filled before encounters. Shooting enemies adds small amounts of fill, but the best and quickest way is by using chewing tobacco. It's a common loot item that goes into your consumables, so you should have pockets full of the stuff if you follow our looting tip.
Use Your Bandana
If you find yourself in the mood for a bit of premeditated criminal activity in Red Dead Redemption 2, make sure to wear a bandana. This doesn't have any negative effects, but it does hide your identity meaning what you do won't get bounty hunters sent after you.
Local lawmen will still chase you if you are caught in the act, however they won't know that Arthur Morgan did the dirty deed, thus keeping your notoriety from increasing.
Increase the Mini-map Size
You might have noticed that in the "normal" setting, the mini-map can be rather hard to read, even on a large display, and particularly with respect to the various icons within in it. Simply press and hold down on your d-pad and you can adjust the size.
Always Carry Horse Revival Kits
Your horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 is more than just a mount, it's a companion, a mobile inventory. When your horse dies, you're looking at a huge inconvenience, so never embark on a trip without a handy revival kit.
Use Dead-Eye For Hunting
Dead-Eye makes hunting infinitely easier, so before you go out on a hunting trip make sure your meter is full and you are well stocked on consumables to refill it. Dead-Eye will show you the vital organs of the animal you are aiming at, making one-shot kills much easier, providing you with an easy source of perfect pelts.
Check out our other guides to learn more about how the game works.