Tips - Red Dead Redemption 2

Take these spoiler-free tips for Red Dead Redemption 2 with you as you fill the boots of Arthur Morgan and begin the life of an outlaw.


Red Dead Redemption 2 is a huge game that is going to take up a lot of your time. You’ll lose hours of your day exploring remote places or trying to catch a fish long before you know what’s required to do so. That’s why I’ve put together these tips. Each is something that will make your journey just a bit less frustrating, but none of them will spoil any part of the game or the discovery you want to keep intact. All I’ll do here is give you the heads up on certain aspects that can be confusing when you first bump into them.

Tips for Red Dead Redemption 2

Below we've featured some of our most helpful tips for players making the jump into Red Dead Redemption 2. Whether you're a console player or hopping in with the PC release, there's something here you probably didn't know or could at least use a refresher on.

Maybe try not to shoot strangers.
Maybe try not to shoot strangers.

The Importance of L2/LT

The default button to aim when a weapon or item is equipped in Red Dead Redemption 2 is L2/LT. The problem here is that L2/LT is also the button used to interact with NPCs and engage them in conversation. Now, imagine you’re riding your horse with a weapon drawn in case you see an animal you wish to hunt, and a passerby calls out to you. Pressing L2/LT while looking at them will aim your weapon, and then it’s all downhill from there. However, if you look at an NPC with your hands empty and press L2/LT, you’ll get conversation options. Always be mindful of what’s in your hands.

Fast Travel with the Stagecoach

There is no option to click on the map and fast travel to a destination from the start, but you can skip long journeys on horseback by using the Stagecoach. Look on your map for an icon of a signpost, then head over and buy a ticket to another Stagecoach you’ve discovered. It’s a fantastic way to take a quick trip, but seriously consider never fast traveling if you can avoid it. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a beautiful game and interesting things wait for you in every adventure. Don’t miss out on those opportunities.

Cofee and stew at the Van der Linde camp

Most people know that there is stew available at the Van der Linde gang's camp at noon every day. What a lot of people don't know, however, is that there's coffee there each morning as well. Walk up to the fire where you'd normally find the stew and look for a pot of coffee on the ground. Pour Arthur a cup and enjoy some small chat with members of the gang. This will help get you ready for the day, providing benefits and reinforcements to your stamina, health, and Dead Eye.

Loot the Bodies of Dead Enemies

Enemies that you kill will drop ammunition that you can pick up by walking near their corpse, but you can also loot their bodies by pressing Triangle/Y when near them. Expect to find anywhere from $0.50 to $2 on average, and that’s no small amount when you’ve killed a dozen people. Enemies also tend to drop valuables, like their pocket watches, rings, necklaces, and more. These can be sold at a Fence for a few dollars or more each. Money means something in Red Dead Redemption 2, and a few dollars can go a long way when you need a bath or bed to sleep in. Bodies not looted appear bold on your mini map.

The path of the righteous man...
The path of the righteous man...

Arthur Morgan and Honor

The Honor system in Red Dead Redemption 2 will change the way that Arthur Morgan sees the world and the way the world will see Arthur Morgan. The more good deeds you perform (donating to your camp, completing bounty hunting missions, saving civilians, etc), the higher your Honor rating will climb. If you tend to kill civilians, or rob people, you’ll notice that your Honor rating will suffer. High Honor means that bounty hunting jobs will pay more, while low Honor means that robberies will pay more. If you want to increase your honor, go fishing, but be sure to throw all the fish back.

Auto Targeting and Aim

Console gamers should be familiar with auto targeting and aim by now. Basically, if you tap the aim button while your reticle is near an enemy, you’ll lock on to them. This is the case in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well. Tap L2/LT while near an enemy and you’ll soft-lock them, allowing you to make minor adjustments, or just crack off a shot at center mass. I like to auto target an enemy, then adjust my aim and try to get the headshot. Most body shots won’t kill your foe, so to save time and ammo, try to rip one into their skull whenever possible.

Hitching Your Horse

When you ride up on a store or location where you plan to dismount your horse and spend some time in the world, don’t forget to hitch your animal. Look for a hitching post outside of buildings, or if you're in the wild you can hitch your horse to a tree. The option will pop up as you near a valid hitching location, and by hitching your horse you allow it to recover from the experiences you put it through to get to where you are now. Just be careful hitching your horse before a train ride or trip on the Stagecoach, as the horse won't show up at your destination. Hitching a horse means it's staying put.

Keep Your Weapons Clean

Cleaning your weapons is a big part of Red Dead Redemption 2 and neglecting to do so will result in them losing effectiveness. Needless to say, you can’t afford to lose out on damage while in a gunfight, or give up range while trying to hunt a cautious buck. To clean your weapon, equip it in your hands and bring up the Weapon Wheel with L1/LB, then press R3/Right Stick to enter the maintenance menu. You must have Gun Oil to clean your weapon, and that can be purchased from a store. You can also clean your weapon by visiting a Gunsmith.

Hunting is more than a simple side activity.
Hunting is more than a simple side activity.

Study All the Animals You See

When you see an animal, be it a horse or some form of wild game, study it. This will reveal crucial information about the animals, such as what type of weapon or ammunition you should use to hunt it without destroying its pelt. There are 178 animals (not including horses and fish) in Red Dead Redemption 2, and you need to know each one as well as you can. Animals will provide pelts for trading and crafting, as well as meat for Arthur to cook and keep himself from becoming skin and bones.

Use the Cover System in Combat

The cover system in Red Dead Redemption 2 works the same way as it did in Grand Theft Auto 5. Press R1/RB to take cover behind an object, then press L2/LT to pop out and aim at targets. Standing in the open is a good way to get Arthur Morgan killed, so practice with the cover system as often as you can. Just be aware, some cover can be destroyed over time, such as wood fences or barn walls.

Deal with Nosy Witnesses

When you commit a crime, witnesses will report it to local law enforcement, getting you a Wanted level that you must then lose. If a witness sees you do something naughty, chase them down and try to threaten them into keeping their mouths shuts. If someone saw you commit a criminal act, a big on-screen notification will tell you there’s a witness. Sometimes you can intimidate them, and sometimes you just end up having to commit more crimes. If your crime is rather small, like assault, try just surrendering to law enforcement. Often they will just tell you to move along, or perhaps throw you in jail for a short time. Either way, having a bounty sucks, so consider owning up to what you did if it wasn't too horrible.

Track Your Challenge Progress

If you pause the game and open the Progress menu, then navigate all the way to the right you’ll see there are 90 challenges to complete, each broken down by category. Completing these can unlock new gear you can craft, and bonuses that you’ll want as you live the life of an outlaw. Be sure to see which challenges you’ve started, and what you need to do next to progress to the next stage. Some you may complete in a natural way as you play, but others will require you to engage in specific activities. Have fun getting all those Cougars with a bow.

That'll do it for our tips. Check out more great content by visiting our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide and walkthrough, which includes help for both PC and console gamers.

Managing Editor

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He is known for his guide writing and, unsettlingly enough, enjoys grinding out in-depth collectible articles. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his guides.

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