Make the wild, wild west a little easier to navigate.
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 launches on PC on November 5, which means a year after its console launch, PC players will finally get to experience this masterpiece (unless you intend to purchase the game via Steam, in which case you have to wait till November). If you’re among the people who’ll be diving into its vast open world when the game launches on PC, you’re probably gonna be in need of a few handy pointers to help you ease into things. And in this feature, that’s exactly what we’ve got.
INCREASING DEAD EYE
Dead Eye is a core part of the combat in Red Dead Redemption 2, just as it was in the first game, and you’ll be making use of its time-slowing abilities a great deal in many different firefights. The thing about Dead Eye, though, is that it depletes pretty quickly, so you’re gonna want to get that meter up as quickly as possible. There’s various different ways you can do that, but the one that’s easiest to grind (and also quite effective) is skinning animals. So whenever you’re out in the wild and find some free time on your hands, go hunting, and skin a bunch of wild animals.
RESTORING DEAD EYE
No matter how much your Dead Eye upgrades, it’ll still run out pretty quickly, which means you’ll want to always carry plenty of supplies to replenish that meter. There’s a lot of stuff in the game that does just that, but you’ll find that consuming alcohol and tobacco proves the most effective in terms of replenishing Dead Eye. Do note, though, that both carry some side effects- tobacco eats a chunk out of your health, while consuming too much alcohol will make Arthur inebriated (obviously), which will affect his aim and movement.
Increasing Dead Eye isn’t the only think hunting and skinning animals is good for in Red Dead Redemption 2 (as you may have guessed). The pelts you get from animals can also be sold or used to craft new equipment- for both purposes, it makes sense that you’ll want to get perfect pelts. Getting perfect pelts can be tricky though- for starters, only hunt animals that are tagged as Pristine (you can check their “quality” by studying them with your binoculars). Also important is what kind of weapon you use for which animal. For the smallest animals, you’ll need to craft Small Game Arrows; for medium sized animals, the Varmint Rifle does the perfect job; for larger animals, you need to use a bolt-action rifle; finally, for the most massive animals, a sniper rifle is required. Oh, and always try to get headshots, no matter what you’re hunting- that’s where Dead Eye comes in handy.
UPGRADE THE MEDICINE WAGON
Arthur and his fellow gang members will set up camp at various locations throughout Red Dead Redemption 2’s long campaign- this camp serves as your home base, where you’ll find everything from supplies to Arthur’s own lodgings to, of course, your fellow gang members. Various aspects of the camp can also be upgraded, but the one you’re going to want to focus on first and foremost is the medicine wagon. Upgrading it doesn’t require too much money, and the rewards are quite useful. Not only do you find increasingly better medicines that can not only heal you, but also give you temporary buffs, you’ll also find that the quantity in which they’re available at the wagon also increases. Do note, though, that you’ll have to keep replenishing the wagon’s stock regularly as well, which also costs money.
UPGRADE DUTCH’S LODGINGS
Another thing you’ll want to upgrade in the camp is Dutch’s lodgings. In fact, alongside the medicine wagon, this is something else you should prioritize. Why exactly? Well, because Arthur isn’t the only one who donates and contributes to the camp’s warchest. If you upgrade Dutch’s lodgings, that will motivate all the other gang members to donate more money and resources as well, which makes things much easier in the long run.
There’s one more camp upgrade that you should keep an eye on from the get-go. After you’ve unlocked Dutch’s lodgings, Arthur’s own lodgings is what you’ll want to focus on next. Doing so will unlock a map in the camp, and using that map will allow you to fast travel. This is particularly important, because the fast travel system in Red Dead Redemption 2 is a little eccentric, and the camp’s map is the most convenient (and free) way to fast travel in the game.
HORSE REVIVAL KIT
Your horse will be your best friend in Red Dead Redemption 2, and the more time you spend with it, the more the bond between the two of you will grow. As that bond grows, the horse, in turn, will also get constantly better, with better stats and new manoeuvres that you’ll be able to make use of. So if that horse somehow ends up dying, it’s gonna be a pretty nasty blow to you, because you’ll have to go and get a new horse and essentially start from scratch. Which is why you should always, always have a horse revival kit on you- you never know when you might need it. They’re not awfully common, but get one early on, and always keep it in your inventory.
SPLIT POINT BULLETS
You can use different types of ammo for all your weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2, but the one we’d recommend over all others is split point bullets. These are more accurate than any other kind of ammo, and they also drain your Dead Eye meter at your slowest rate. The only catch is, you have to craft these yourself. Any time you set up camp, you have to manually modify the bullets you have into split point bullets, and you can only do them one at a time, which means it can also be quite time consuming. That said, they’re incredibly useful in combat, so it’s a pretty fair tradeoff.
Red Dead Redemption 2 also allows you to fire warning shots into the air- not only does it look cool, it also has a function. For starters, various NPCs can become intimated by these, which you can use to your advantage, while if you’re chasing a particular NPC, you can also fire a warning shot to make them stop. We don’t know what the controls for this action in particular are going to be for the game on PC, but on a gamepad on consoles, all you had to do was unholster your weapon, and then press up on the d-pad before pulling the trigger. Keep that in mind if you plan on using a controller to play on PC. If not, keep an eye out for how to do it using a keyboard.
This is something the game teaches you in the opening chapter itself, but it can be pretty easy to forget. When you’re committing crimes, you’ll want to get your bandana on. If you commit crimes while wearing a bandana, that makes it harder for witnesses to identify you, which means you’re also harder to recognize later on if you return to the scene of crime (including the law).
CLEAN YOUR WEAPONS
Maintaining your weapons is something you’re going to have to do on a consistent basis in Red Dead Redemption 2. Over time they’ll get dirtier, which results in their stats getting lowered, and weapons in a particularly bad condition might even jam up on you at the worst possible moment. So make sure that you regularly pull them out and clean them, which also means you’ll always want to have plenty of gun oil in your inventory.
HOLSTER YOUR WEAPONS
Oh boy- if you were to ask for tips for Red Dead Redemption 2 to anyone who’s already played the game, this is probably the first thing they’ll tell you. Anytime you’re about to enter a town, or any time you’re about to talk to an NPC, holster your weapons. You have to do it manually, and if you don’t there’s a very good chance that you might mistakenly fire the weapon when all you meant to do was talk to an NPC (at least if the controls on PC clash as much as they did on consoles). Even beyond the issue with controls, having a weapon equipped in towns or cities can attract unwanted attention from the law. It’s just best that you holster your weapons pretty much as soon as you exit combat.
PAY OFF BOUNTIES
How many bounties you have on your head and how many places you have them in is going to depend on how honourably (or dishonourably) you play Red Dead Redemption 2. If you’re the dishonourable kind of outlaw though, and you’re running loads of high bounties, you’ll find that not only is the law bugging you any time it lays eyes on you (which will happen quite often), the game also randomly keeps throwing bounty hunters at you while you’re out in the open world. To avoid all that peskiness, just go to a train station and pay off all bounties on your head. Money isn’t especially hard to come by in Red Dead Redemption 2, which means clearing up all bounties on your head in one go is, as such, easier than you’d think.
DON’T IGNORE SIDE MISSIONS
This is less to do with any systems and mechanics and more of a tip on how to get the maximum enjoyment out of Red Dead Redemption 2’s story and world. Open world games often struggle with optional content and side missions, but Red Dead Redemption 2 definitely doesn’t. The vast, vast majority of side quests in this game are absolutely incredible. They can be funny, bizarre, emotional, heart-breaking, and everything in between, and usually come with memorable, well-acted, and well-written characters. Some of the side missions, in fact, also add immensely to the main story. So do yourself a favour and do any and all side missions you come across.
READ ARTHUR’S JOURNAL
Like the previous tip, this entry is something we recommend you to do to get the most out of Red Dead Redemption 2’s story. Keep checking Arthur’s journal. He often writes about things in there, whether you’re tackling main quests or side quests, and it provides a great window into his mind. Arthur is one of the best protagonists you’ll ever find in a video game, and his journal entries are usually fascinating to read. There’s no mechanical or gameplay benefit here, of course, but it’ll definitely give you a greater appreciation and understanding of the character and the story.