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Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 and the multiplayer standalone title Red Dead Online are all set in the Wild West, taking place in a slightly fictionalized but still realistic version of the USA as it existed in the waning years of the cowboy era. With a narrative focus sporting a more serious tone than the developers’ other main franchise, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead has earned a reputation for its storytelling, characters and setting which are all backed up by immersive and enjoyable open-world gameplay filled with exploration and action.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the latest mainline title in the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Red Dead franchise, serving as a prequel to Red Dead Redemption and fleshing out the backstory of the previous game’s core cast while letting new characters shine as well.
Released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on October 26, 2018 after several delays, the game eventually jumped to PC and Stadia a year later in November 2019. Red Dead Redemption 2 launched with several versions available depending on how big of a fan you were and how much you were willing to spend, including the massive Ultimate Edition – which famously omitted the game itself.
Alongside playing through the storyline, fans could explore the world, complete side missions, craft, engage in various roleplay activities and upgrade their equipment and camp. As Arthur, you could also customize your appearance and influence his visuals by going to the barber’s and bathing – or deliberately avoiding both!
Whilst exploring the vast wilderness and taking trips into the various towns and cities scattered around and bustling with life, players can spend time crafting, fishing, hunting, robbing, fighting, horse riding and all sorts of other activities in a beautifully detailed virtual world sporting many different climates and areas. If you keep an eye out, you’ll also find a great many eastereggshiddenby the developers throughout Red Dead Redemption 2.
Whenever you find yourself performing a less than legal act, you’ll quickly notice that any crime that does not go unseen will bring down the fury of the lawmen and affect your standing with the people of the world. The Wanted and Honor systems are worth getting well acquainted with, and luckily we have both covered extensively. Speaking of gameplay systems worth getting acquainted with – it really isn’t a Red Dead title without Deadeye!
During your journey through the storyline and across the frontier, you’ll rely extensively on your trusty horse for quickly getting to your destination, to carry additional items and carcasses that won’t fit in Arthur’s inventory and to generally act as a companion in your adventures. Appropriately, you can also outfit your horse with equipment that should be upgraded, and many consumable items will benefit your steed.
In between missions, the various members of the Van Der Linde gang will have all sorts of tasks they need Arthur’s help with. Chipping in will make you more popular with the gang, and the resulting conversations can provide a ton of backstory that you’d miss otherwise.
Red Dead Online
After the immense and unprecedented success of GTA Online, Rockstar tried to get lighting to strike twice by mirroring the multiplayer mode’s remediation of the Red Dead world we all know and love into a shared, almost MMO-like experience. Players would customize their own characters and set out in the Wild West to carve their own criminal career out in the wilderness and in the city streets.
Red Dead Online received periodic content updates bringing more missions, items and gameplay opportunities. The biggest of these updates introduced Roles, which was a sort of lighter class system giving players access to role-specific progression and content. Over time, further DLC expanded the selection of available roles.
Content support for Red Dead Online has been on the downtick since the official confirmation that Rockstar Games is working on Grand Theft Auto 6 – as the studio needs more resources for the new game, less attention has been given to bringing new content to Red Dead Online.
Jumping into a whole new open-world game with an expansive map and impressive suite of complex gameplay systems can be as daunting as it is exciting – if you are worried about getting lost or messing things up early on, we’re here to help.
We strive to create easily understandable, in-depth and exhaustive guides for every possible question and niche in the game, covering both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online. These two are neatly separated into categories, as despite having many shared mechanics there are also a lot of difference between the two versions of the game. If you feel like you’re stuck, check out our guides.
Starting out in Red Dead Redemption 2’s story mode is fairly simple, as the game includes a tutorial system intended to teach players who to survive and succeed in the tough Wild West. Make sure to follow the instructions you see in-game to complete your first mission and get a hang of the controls – if still in doubt, you’ll provably dins an answer among our guides.
Being much more open ended, Red Dead Online can be a bit tougher to get started with. Initially you’ll be customizing your own character, so feel free to take your time and make your virtual avatar the best version it can be. There are still in-game tutorials and some limited guidance to fall back on, but you have more freedom to simply pick what sort of gameplay to pursue and which direction to gallop in.
Over time, Red Dead Online received a whole lot of free DLC bringing new gameplay opportunities, missions and items to the game. We cover news up upcoming and recently released content updates, but these have become few and far between as much of Rockstar Games has switched lanes to the development of GTA 6. Even so, whenever we do get some tidbit of new information or the developers bring about another weekly bonus event, you’ll hear about it here.
In Red Dead Redemption 2 and Online, players can fill their coffers with riches in all sorts of ways. In both modes, just about any activity or mission will yield some currency, and just exploring and looting will earn you spare change, but working up a true fortune will take some work.
In Story Mode, Arthur Morgan can make money not only through the completion of missions, but by participating in gathering and side activities like hunting, fishing, gambling, stealing, performing robberies, taking out other criminals, bounty hunting and finding treasure. You’ll use this money to get better equipment, outfits, weapons, ammo, upgrades for your camp and horse, customization options and more.
Things get more complex in Online, where you also need to think about Gold Bars. Gold Bars appear in Story Mode, but are just a nice, quick way to make a lot of cash – in Online, these work as a sort of premium currency. All the good stuff costs Gold, and you’ll be earning these through gameplay at a snail’s pace. In-game activities reward you with Gold Nuggets, and 100 of these are converted into one Gold Bar. The most lucrative activities are involved with the Role system, and will require you to get experienced with your chosen trade to really make a good profit.
You can also purchase Gold Bars for real money if you want a quick and easy boost for your in-game budget.
Roles have become the main gameplay focus and earning opportunity in Red Dead Online since their introduction via DLC. Currently, there are a total of five Specialist Roles that players can take on following an initial investment like a Butcher Table or a Bounty Hunter License. You’ll quickly earn back this first payment, and then some, so don’t let it scare you away.
Players are not limited in the number of Specialist Roles they can pick up, so you could potentially even complete the progression track for all five of them (this was likely done because accounts are limited to one character) and earn Gold via all of the available activities.
The selection of roles include Bounty Hunter, Trader, Collector, Naturalist and Moonshiner. All of these Roles offer wildly different missions and progression, as well as a large selection of Role-exclusive items and upgrades for your camp, carriages, horses or weapons. They all feature their own ranks, and you’ll need to earn specific XP for each as you complete Role activities.