Red Dead Redemption 2

Welcome, PC friends, to one of the greatest open world games ever made. Here are some tips to take with you on your journey. (NO SPOILERS)

red dead redemption 9 - Welcome, PC friends, to one of the greatest open world games ever made. Here are some tips to take with you on your journey. (NO SPOILERS)

When Red Dead Redemption 2 was originally released last year, there was some initial criticism of its rather slow pacing, un-intuitive controls, and some other questionable design choices that might catch you off guard and distract you from an otherwise incredible experience.

This criticism has subsided over time as people began to understand the game better, not necessarily because they aren't valid criticisms, but because you learn to deal with it over time… but I feel that any of you PC exclusive gamers who are going to be experiencing RDR2 for the first time may experience the same initial reaction.

Anyway, here are some tips/advice to help you along.

  1. The game is deliberately slowly paced and will actually force you to walk slowly in certain areas where you might want to sprint. The intention is to drive you to spend time existing in this world and getting attached to it, to force you to slow down and observe what's going on around you, characters who you might be able to have a conversation with, etc. You may want to marathon through the story, but if you do that, the ending won't have quite as much of an impact as it will if you allow yourself to become fully invested. With that said, just take your time. Accept that this game is going to take a LONG time to finish, and just soak it all in. Talk with people at camp. Spend time walking through towns and exploring every nook and cranny. Take breaks from missions to do extended hunting trips in the far reaches of the map. Talk to EVERYONE who will allow you to talk to them. Go find a perch somewhere, whip out your binoculars and observe the many different animals around. Just take your time to experience the world, the characters, and BE Arthur Morgan. The payoff is totally worth the time you invest, and made better by it.

  2. The controls do suck. I don't think this was part of the deliberate design choice to slow the game down, I think it was just bad design. Maybe on PC this won't be as much of a problem, but the problem with the controls is that their functions change constantly, so it's really hard to have muscle memory when in certain situations, one button that usually does one thing, now does something else. On PS4, for example, usually O is the button you press to back out of a menu or something. But sometimes, it's the button you press to beat somebody. You WILL find yourself tackling innocent civilians instead of mounting your horse – that's not because you're bad at the game, it's because Rockstar decided that the "mount horse" button should also be the "tackle somebody" button when you're sprinting. The way to mitigate this is to simply NOT try to mount your horse quickly when its near people. That's bad design. You WILL accidentally draw your pistol when you're simply trying to speak to somebody. This is because Rockstar decided that the same button you use you aim your gun is the one you use to lock on to people to bring up dialogue options. That's bad design. You WILL ride off the trail and crash into a tree or crash into people you're riding with. That's because Rockstar decided that you need to lock on to people you're riding with to advance dialog, but doing so causes your horse to turn the direction you're looking, which means you'll crash right into the person you're talking to and sometimes interrupt the conversation as they yell at you. That is bad design. Embrace the bad design. There's hope for you PC players that somebody will fix most of this with mods – for example, mapping the "tackle" button to the "jump" button. But even if that doesn't happen, you'll get used to it over time and the experience of this game is STILL worth dealing with the crappy controls.

  3. The game is constantly teaching you new things and new systems, well into the last chapters. You'll often miss critical tool tips because they appear in the top left corner of the screen, and sometimes there's other far more important things happening on the screen. The best you can do is simply accept that you'll need to have Google at your side throughout the game. Again, attribute this to poor design – important game mechanics and abilities should not show up in a paragraph of text in the top left of the screen at totally inconvenient times and only for a few seconds. You can wade through the menus to read these messages again, but it's faster to just Google it.

  4. There are systems in the game that don't actually work the way they're said to. A big example, wearing a Bandana during crimes, for example, doesn't protect you the way the game tells you it should. You'll still get the law after you, you'll still get a bounty. Some missions automatically make you wear the mask or tell you to wear it, and it doesn't make a difference there, either. The missions arbitrarily decide whether you'll have a bounty after them or not. I've read that it's not just about the bandana, that you also need to change outfits and other stuff but quite honestly it all seems pointless. You'll still end up with a bounty that is usually worth more than whatever meager sum you're able to rob off a store, so you're much better off trying to earn money legitimately than robbing outside of the missions that require it.

  5. Here is a general rule for most Rockstar games – the consistency between the game mechanics during missions and game mechanics in free roam are wildly arbitrary. A GTA example is how the game will force you into a car chase, but it's not possible for you to shoot out the tires or kill the driver because the game wants the chase to end at a specific point – whereas any other car chase you get into, all you have to do is get the car stopped. The lesson to take along with you is to simply disregard ANYTHING a mission teaches you in terms of how the game works, and vice-versa. There may be some things that are consistent between the two, but largely, there is no consistency at all. For example, stealth is wonky at best outside of the missions that demand it, and requires VERY careful execution to pull off as opposed to the the reasonably forgiving version presented to you in missions. Stealth isn't even possible in a lot of cases, but even in the cases where it is, you'll find enemies spotting you from long distances away whereas in the missions you can actually be rather close before you're seen.

  6. Even outside of the "missions vs free roam" examples, the game will STILL change the rules on you, constantly. I can't spoil this for you, so I won't use examples, but what I will say is that there are certain random encounters that, for most of the game, always work a certain way leading you to expect the possibility of a certain conclusion to them… and then, suddenly, one or two do NOT work that way, and you're greatly punished for expecting it to. At least, that conclusion you were expecting has not yet been discovered by anyone. The long story short is that there are points in the game where you will be punished for relying on your experiences as evidence of what's to come. The problem with this is that if you held this mindset for EVERY encounter, you'd miss out on a decent amount of stuff because you'd be afraid of the consequences, when in most cases, the consequences are not permanent… but NOT holding this mindset means that you will not know when or where you'll encounter the situation that changes the rules and punishes you for your expectations. Just know going in that you may get fooled a few times and that, to my knowledge, that's just the end of it.

  7. Take the time to loot bodies. Characters will CONSTANTLY bitch at you to hurry up, but there are only a few points in the game where they actually mean it. MOST of the time, nothing will progress until you are ready, so take as much time as you want to snatch things off of every dead body after a gun battle as you want. Also, if the law comes to investigate (it'll say INVESTIGATING in the top right) after a big battle, just simply leave the red glowing area on the map until the law is done investigating, then you can return to the area and continue looting.

  8. You'll never permanently lose your hat. A replacement is always available in your saddle. As far as new hats you find on the ground, you can wear any hat you like – but you can only keep ones that have names, and those ones will also be stored in your saddle. Generic hats are not stored and you can only keep them as long as you continue to pick them back up, or until a cut scene forces you to lose it. I think you'll lose it after loading a save, too.

  9. The weird little red icon that sometimes appears over the Horse's health core icon, it's a Brush, even though it looks more like a skull. It means that your horse is dirty and its core drain rate is increased. You have to brush your horse like 3 or 4 times to get it clean to stop this icon from appearing. Tedious. Or ride through clean water, which in my experience doesn't really help for long.

  10. There is a "Cinematic Camera" feature that sort of works like cruise control for your horse – Set a GPS waypoint, get up to speed, then activate the Cinematic Camera and your horse will follow the route to your destination without your input. THIS IS DANGEROUS. Random encounters or animal attacks can still happen while in Cinematic mode, or worse, your horse will run straight into the side of a moving train and die, like happened to me. Basically, don't use this function to give yourself time to use the bathroom – you need to be ready to resume control at moment's notice.

I know this has sounded mostly like a rant against the game, and I suppose that in a sense, it was- but the purpose isn't to sully the experience for you, the purpose is to let you know that even a game as incredible as this has some serious flaws that might take you out of the experience from time to time. Knowing about this stuff going in may help you deal with the disappointments more easily, so that you can set your mind to the other 90% of the game that happens to be totally astonishing in almost every way.

I now open the floor to anyone else who has NON-SPOILERISH advice/tips for new players.

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