Red Dead Redemption 2 Combat Guide
Red Dead Redemption 2 can be peaceful a lot of the time, especially while just exploring and enjoying the wilderness. But let’s also be real, there’s going to be a lot of bloodshed as well. This guide will walk you through all the basics of combat in Red Dead Redemption 2.
We’re going to touch on just about everything except for going super in-depth about weapons. That’s detailed enough to fill out a whole separate gun guide, but we will hit you with the basics here.
But like we said, it’s important that you first get the basics down before moving into more advanced territory.
Weapon and Gun Basics
Let’s start with the pulling out your gun in Red Dead Redemption 2. That is done by pressing L1/LB. Then, you can aim your weapon by pressing R2/RT. You can switch weapons by holding L1/LB, and then select the weapon you want to use with the analog stick.
Finally, to enter dead eye mode, press in R3 while aiming. At first, you can only select targets with the analog stick, but eventually, you’ll be able to manually paint where you want to shoot by pressing R1/RB.
How to be Stealthy and Stealth Kill
Stealth gameplay is pretty easy in Red Dead Redemption 2. First off, if you’re trying to not get instantly caught, make sure that you are crouched. This is done by pressing L3. That makes it so that as long as you don’t fire a weapon, whistle, are generally loud and remain out of the line of sight of an enemy, you shouldn’t be detected.
Next, pay attention to your mini-map and look to see where enemies are looking and located. Remain out of their line of sight at all costs, otherwise, the gig is up.
To stealth kill, you can either use your knife, tomahawk, throwing knives, or a bow and arrow. All of these weapons will kill silently.
If you’re trying to get up close and personal with a stealth takedown. Get right up behind someone while crouched, and then press Circle/B when the prompt appears in the bottom right-hand corner.
Finally, you can also pick up and move bodies so that witnesses have a harder time finding them. This is done by pressing Square/X while standing over the body.
How to Melee
Melee attacks in Red Dead Redemption 2 are simple enough. Just press Circle/B without a weapon equipped and you’ll start swinging. Keeping L2/LT held down will keep you locked onto a specific enemy. Lastly, press Square/X to block, which if done correctly, and followed up with a punch, may trigger a counter punch or uppercut.
You can also swing your knife around as well by equipping it via the weapon wheel (L1/LB), and then following the same instructions above. Keep in mind that the law may consider this an attack with a weapon, which is different than an unarmed attack, and eventually if you kill the person, murder.
How to Heal Your Health
In Red Dead Redemption 2, your health bar will slowly regenerate over time, but your health core needs to be rested or restored via provisions and tonics (or rest).
If you’re about to die, try to hide behind distant cover and let your health regenerate a bit. Otherwise, if you need to heal your health instantly, use a health tonic, which can be purchased from the General Store, or obtained via an upgraded medical station. Or, you can use any food you have cooked or obtained.
All of these items can be accessed mid-combat via the weapon/item wheel. Press L1/LB and then R1/RB to tab on over to items. From there, you’ll be able to cycle through all of your food and tonics while hovering over them and pressing the directional buttons.
Auto-Aiming and Getting Headshots
By default, your auto aim is on and will lock onto an enemy as long as you’re pointing your gun in the general direction of who you want to shoot at (R2/RT to aim). However, shooting at the body is way less effective than getting headshots unless you’re very close with a shotgun-class weapon.
Also, getting a gold medal on missions very frequently requires fast clears and headshots. So it’s best to get good with them.
When you’re locked on, you’re going to want to move the reticle up towards the enemy’s head if you can see it clearly. If you’re shooting through brush, cover, or the enemy is too far, then body shots are fine, just slower. This will almost always land you a one-shot kill.
Considering the hordes of enemies you’re going to be frequently mowing through, the quicker the better.
While auto aim can be a helpful assist to have on your adventure, sometimes it can be more of a hindrance than a help. If you’re finding this to be the case, you can turn it off by pressing the Options button on PS4 or Menu button on Xbox One, heading to the Settings option, Controls, and the Aim Assist.
Here, you’ll find two different switches you can turn on or off for both auto-aim on foot and on a mount.
Of course, Dead Eye helps a ton here. You can press R3 to enter Dead Eye while aiming and then line up headshots easily when you can paint them not long after the game starts by pressing R1/RB.
That does it for our combat guide for Red Dead Redemption 2. Be sure to check out our Duel, gun & weapon, and horse wellness guides for more help with fighting in general in Red Dead Redemption 2. Alternatively, check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide wiki for all of our tips & tricks for the game.