Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips: Tips & Tricks for Beginners

Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips

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Get the Expensive Camp Upgrades First

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During my early hours with Red Dead Redemption 2, I made a big boo-boo by not paying more attention to the camp ledger and the upgrades I could get for it. This is one of the core mechanics of Red Dead Redemption 2, and one of the very best beginner tips I can impart from my hours of play.

Basically, the camp serves as your home base. Take good care of it, and it’ll reward you well. Once you’ve got your camp set up at Horseshoe Overlook in chapter 2, you’ll be informed that you can start donating money or items to the camp funds.

Next to the money box, you’ll also see the camp ledger, which lets you purchase crucial upgrades that will enhance your gameplay experience and make things go a little smoother. When you interact with the ledger, you’ll see that the first two pages are allocated to medicine and provisions.

These are cheap, and it might be tempting to get those upgrades early on, but I recommend holding off.

Flip to the third and fourth pages, and you’ll see that you can upgrade your ammo reserves, as well as general camp lodgings. The first lodgings upgrade is for Dutch and it’ll cost you a few hundred dollars.

This is expensive, but it’s one of the best upgrades to get first in Red Dead Redemption 2 because it encourages other gang members to donate more as well. This means that you’ll be filling up the money box more quickly, and it’s great in the long run.

Another good upgrade to get can be found on the fifth page, where you can spend another couple hundred dollars on leather working tools. Purchase these, and Pearson will be able to start crafting satchel upgrades for Arthur.

He’ll only be able to craft stuff with perfect animal pelts, which can be hard to get, but if you hand him perfect pelts, he’ll also save them for future crafting use. This means that you don’t have to get all the required perfect pelts in one go; just hand them over as you get them, and you’ll be good.

With the leather working tools, Pearson can also craft cosmetics for camp decoration, if you’re into that.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips

Take Good Care of Your Horse

So, after you’ve gotten a good sense of what to do around camp in Red Dead Redemption 2, you’ll want to turn your attention to your horse. Because there’s no easy method of fast travel in the game, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your horse.

You can reach up to bond level 4 with your horse. Each level increases the horse’s health and stamina bars, which are important for getting around quickly, and running away from dicey situations.

You can increase the level quickly by patting the horse, feeding it, and brushing it when it gets dirty.

At the same time, don’t get too attached to your starter horse. The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is huge, and full of other potential horses that you can take under your wing.

Whenever you see wild horses, examine them to check their stats. If their potential stat growth surpasses that of your current horse’s, it might be worth to grab that one instead, and start increasing your bond with it. Well-bred horses can also be bought from stables, though these are going to cost you a bit of money.

Lastly, don’t forget to carry a few Horse Revivers with you at all times. If your horse gets hit by a train or something (it happens), you’ll have a few seconds to quickly revive it, or it’ll die, forcing you to remove the saddle and put it on another horse.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips

Do the Stranger Quests and Help NPCs

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As you travel across the map in Red Dead Redemption 2, you will occasionally see question mark icons on your radar. These are Strangers that you can interact with, and they’ll give you optional quests to pursue.

Most of the early Stranger quests are just massive collectible quest chains, but some of the later ones are more involved, and will help flesh out the world and Arthur quite a bit. They can also be good sources of money and other materials, and some can even lead you to good hunting or fishing spots.

There will also be NPCs who ask for your help or attention from time to time. These are much less involved than the Stranger quests, but they can also be very rewarding.

For instance, you might come across an NPC whose horse has died, and you’ll be able to give them a ride back home.

Most of the time, they’ll reward you with some items or a bit of money. Whenever you hear someone calling out for help, look out for a small white blip on your mini-map to pinpoint their exact location.

Oh, and a new feature introduced in Red Dead Redemption 2 is Arthur’s ability to interact with every single NPC in the game. By focusing on an NPC with L2 or LT, you can push a face button to either Greet or Antagonize them.

Greeting an NPC basically has Arthur reply to them in a polite manner, while Antagonizing them will likely piss them off. If you Antagonize an NPC too much, you can also get into a fight with them. These options can be used when doing Stranger quests or helping NPCs in the world, so keep them in mind.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips

Bond With Your Gang

Doing main missions in Red Dead Redemption 2 is great and all, but you’ll also need to bond with your fellow gang members from time to time. Whenever you’re at camp, look out for white icons on your mini-map.

Some of your gang members might be looking to hunt or fish, or even rob a stagecoach together with you. This is a great way to get to know your buddies a little bit more, and even though they’re short, they also provide a lot of context to the story and give you a better idea of what the gang thinks of what’s going on so far.

And of course, doing these side missions are also a good way to get some money. Robbery missions will provide you with some cash, while the hunting/fishing missions will provide you with pelts and meat.

And once you get your pelts and meat, and you can donate them to Pearson, who will then cook them up for the gang. This is a good way to provide food for the camp, and it’ll also help to raise their morale.

Whenever you’ve got a chance, consider going hunting and fishing by yourself as well, and bring back some food.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Beginner Tips

Get Used to the Crafting System

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The crafting system in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be a little obtuse, and the game doesn’t really do a very good job of explaining how it works. Firstly, satchel and inventory upgrades can be crafted by talking to Pearson, but only after getting the leather working tools, as mentioned before. Normal item and food crafting, however, has to be done elsewhere.

Whenever you see a campfire out in the world, you’ll be able to interact with it and start crafting stuff. Alternatively, if you’ve got your camping set and bedroll on your horse, you can set up camp anywhere in the wilderness.

Once you interact with the campfire, you’ll bring up a crafting menu on the left side of your screen, where you can craft food items, which are great for restoring your health, stamina, and dead eye cores.

You can also craft more powerful ammo for your guns, and better arrows to increase your chances of getting better pelts when hunting animals.

On top of that, you can also craft special tonics to help with mid-battle heals and other enhancements. Every time you’re about to embark on a major mission, take the time to set up camp and stock up on crafted items.

And that’s all the beginner tips we have for players getting started in Red Dead Redemption 2. Be sure to check our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide wiki for more information on the game.

About the author

Zhiqing Wan

Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.