15 Overlooked Gameplay Mechanics in Red Dead Redemption 2

These little-known mechanics will get you playing Rockstar's open world epic all over again.

Posted By | On 16th, Aug. 2022

15 Overlooked Gameplay Mechanics in Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a triumph of deep and immersive gameplay mechanics. In short: there’re so many tips and tricks to aid Arthur Morgan’s explorations through untamed wild west USA. Most techniques are taught during in-game missions, whilst some are left for the player to discover.

Fast skin animals

More of an exploit this one. Arthur Morgan taking his blade to an animal carcass is beautifully animated and totally immersive. Thing is, it takes upwards of ten seconds to peel the pelt off which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can get a tad tedious the more animals are skinned. The simple solution: park a horse in touching distance to the carcass and Arthur’s superb animations are skipped. Perfect for those hunting expeditions where harvesting as many animal pelts in as little time as possible is the aim.

Quick mount horse

Mounting a horse quick smart is a rather useful mechanic if Arthur’s in need of a rapid getaway. Instead of just pressing the mount horse button, Arthur just needs to aim his weapon at the same time as he mounts. The technique shaves a second or so off the normal horse mounting animation, especially important should he find himself surrounding by outlaws.

Temporary horse can follow whilst hunting

red dead redemption 2

A quick pro-tip for convincing another horse follow Arthur and his main is to hit bonding level one with it; pat, brush, feed, or whack Arthur’s saddle on and off for a fast track to bonding level one, and that other horse will follow Arthur and his main around indefinitely. This trick is especially useful for hunting, with the extra steed providing transport for harvested pelts. Even more of a pro-tip: do this twice to take three horses hunting.

Maintain horse stamina whilst riding

There’re plenty of long-distance journeys to be taken in Red Dead Redemption 2, meaning there’ll likely be hours spent on horseback. Last thing anybody needs is a tired horse, so tapping A or X on the controller in time with the horse’s gallop is a great strategy for minimising horse stamina whilst riding. As an extra, periodically tapping L3 whilst riding keeps the horse calm, acting as stamina regenerator.

Crafting split point ammo on horseback

red dead redemption 2

Split point bullets offer fantastic accuracy and an XP boost for kills whilst draining Dead Eye at a much slower rate, but they’re a time sucker for crafting. One mechanic players’ might’ve missed is horseback crafting; making split point bullets whilst traveling on horseback is the perfect ‘two birds one stone’ scenario– utilise the sometimes lengthy travel times to craft a few split point bullets on the journey.

Fire warning shots

Sure, players are taught this mechanic during a sheep herding expedition, so it’s not exactly hidden. Still, it’s pretty useful for warding off predators, clearing out saloons, or spooking the outlaws and bandits; Arthur can point his gun into the air with a simple press up on the D-pad. He’ll need to be aiming his gun first, and this mechanic works on horseback as well as on foot.

Switch shoulders whilst aiming

red dead redemption 2

Another D-pad mechanic that Red Dead Redemption 2 players might’ve missed is the ability to switch the camera viewpoint between Arthur’s shoulders. A simple tap of the left or right buttons on the controller D-pad whilst aiming which switch up the shoulder view. This technique is super useful in those close-quarter gunfights when Arthur is routinely taking cover.

Fast reload for bolt action rifle

Normal reloading for the bolt action rifle consists of stuffing a bullet into the gun’s chambers once it’s fired. However, for the bolt action rifle there is a far speedier way to reload; hit R2 immediately after firing and Arthur will lower the gun and restuff a bullet in there in the blink of an eye. He’ll need to be aiming the rifle in order to take advantage of this fast reload mechanic. Or, you know, there is the Dead Eye exploit whereby guns can be immediately reloaded if Dead Eye is engaged as soon as the reload animation is started.

Spin handgun into holster

Red Dead Redemption 2_04

There’s not much of a competitive advantage to this entry bar looking super-cool. Arthur, you guessed it, can spin his handgun back into its holster. There’re two speeds to this too, quick, and slow. The slow spin gives the best opportunity to see the gun twirling into its holster, so this’d be the best one to use unless you’re in a hurry.

Travel in cinematic mode

It’s travel via cinematic mode, and it’s the best way to soak in all the visual splendour of Red Dead Redemption 2’s fictionalised wild west. Simply set a waypoint on the in-game map, enter cinematic mode and voila, Arthur’s horse will gallop on autopilot. With zero input from the player all that’s left is to admire the view, although should any ambushes occur then cinematic mode will be rudely interrupted.

Taking care of Arthur’s steed

Red Dead Redemption 2

Prioritising the wellbeing of Arthur’s main horse is unsurprising rather important, for a happy horse is a reliable horse, with so many of the game’s mechanics hinging on horse travel. Horses’ health core can decrease the more time is spent in the wilderness, mostly due to them getting grubby off the beaten path. Thankfully, there’re a handful of ways to keep Arthur’s horse in tip-top condition. Brushing is the simplest method, which also has the benefit of boosting horse bonding levels. For a quick and easy method to clean a horse though, simply wander into water, splash about a bit to rinse all the muck off, then head back out into the wild with a happy horse.

Dodge and dive whilst aiming

Directional dodging is likely bread and butter to most Red Dead Redemption players. It’s the most sure-fire way to evade incoming bullets and it’ll work wherever the gun is aiming, be it forwards or skywards. Dodges are omnidirectional, so Arthur can lunge forwards or backwards, or to either side. For a super-cool Max Payne effect, however, engage Dead Eye. Arthur will perform the same dodging manoeuvres but in slow motion. It’s not as easy to paint foes, but it looks great.

Quick hogtie

Red Dead Redemption 2

There’s a rapid method for hogtieing a foe. It can be tricky to execute every time, but as a means to quickly apprehend a bounty or aggressively diffuse a situation without killing someone, Arthur can punch an opponent with the lasso equipped. The game will then immediately hogtie the individual. There is a risk to the reward though; having the lasso equipped means Arthur can’t block any punches incoming, so might be best to deploy on unsuspecting individuals.

Increase gun stats with familiarity

Akin to bonding with horses, Arthur also possesses ability to effectively ‘bond’ with his weaponry. Familiarity with weapons isn’t as widespread a mechanic as some of the other entries on this rundown. Essentially, the more Arthur makes use of the same firearms, achieving higher kill rates for humans and animals, then the higher the guns stats become. Increased familiarity improves a gun’s accuracy, range, and reload speed.

Modify Arthur’s weight to suit playstyle

Red Dead Redemption 2

Perhaps another overlooked mechanic in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the ability for players to adjust Arthur’s body weight, with bonuses associated with each weight class. A lighter Arthur is nimbler and faster at sprinting, with a middleweight Arthur offering the best levels of stamina, whilst a heavier, bulkier Arthur will absorb the most bullet damage. Modifying Arthur’s weight to suit playstyle is suggested, with bulking up or slimming down for certain missions also an option.


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