There’s an insane amount of things to see and do while you’re exploring the old west in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2. Even playing through the story will take you a considerable amount of time if you just plough right on through it. Before you really settle into the action, however, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got yourself properly set up and ready for the adventure ahead. Here are 10 things to do first in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Things to Do First in Red Dead Redemption 2
1. Go Hunting and Get Supplies
Red Dead Redemption 2 puts a large emphasis on ensuring that Arthur is fit and healthy. That means watching his weight, keeping him well-groomed, ensuring he’s wearing the right clothes for the weather, and keeping his Health, Stamina, and Dead Eye gauges nice and full at all times. Failing to eat and drink in Red Dead Redemption 2 will see the cores for these stats drop, which slows down the speed at which they all replenish. As such, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on supplies and food so you’re never so massively fatigued in the middle of nowhere.
One of the first missions you’ll do in Red Dead Redemption 2 will see you heading to Valentine, a nearby town to the Horseshoe Lookout camp. You’ll go into the General Store and buy some coffee, but if you’ve got some spare cash a little later on, you should revisit here and get some more supplies to ensure you’re never stuck in a pinch. You’ll likely pick up a few bits and pieces off fallen enemies and from around the world, but it never hurts to be well-prepared.
Similarly, you’ll want to go hunting, particularly around your first camp. You can find plenty of deer and the small rabbits bounding around. Not only can their pelts be sold for a little bit of money, but their meat can be cooked into tasty meals that replenish a good chunk of your cores.
2. Meet Your Gang Members & Go On Their Quests
Once you’re all settled into your new camp at Horseshoe Lookout, you’ll want to spend some time speaking to the different gang members hanging around here. Some of them might have missions for you to embark on, while others may just want to have a little chat with you and tell you about their day.
Going on their quests is something you’ll have to do anyway, but many of these will introduce you to the various different mechanics and things to do in Red Dead Redemption 2. Tutorial missions, if you will. Even if a gang member doesn’t have a quest marker on them, speaking to them can help raise gang morale.
Other gang members may walk over to you to ask you something. While it’s easy enough to just refuse to listen to them, it’s in your best interest to help them out. These are often quests that once again can help boost morale, and are nice little excursions to fill your time in the old west with, too.
3. Explore Your Nearby Surroundings & Interact with Strangers
Heading to the nearest towns or making a beeline for the main missions is enticing, but don’t be tricked into it. Go out and explore the wilderness of Red Dead Redemption 2’s world. There’s so much to see and do, so many strangers to interact with, and long-term quests such as collectibles to be found. If you’re just sticking to the roads, or fast traveling everywhere, you’re going to miss out on a lot of what the game has to offer. Don’t be afraid to take some time out, and go exploring.
For example, nearby your initial camp, it’s possible to find an amateur paleontologist who needs your help finding dinosaur bones all over the world. Other times, you might come across a stranger who needs some medical assistance, or a gun for hire. Don’t let the quest markers control you in Red Dead Redemption 2, and you’ll find plenty more interesting stuff to see and do off the beaten path.
4. Get Some Gun Grease for Weapon Maintenance
We mentioned that you should have supplies for Arthur’s cores, but it’s equally as important that you get some Gun Grease for your weapons, too. This can be bought at General Stores and also at Gun Stores, and is an important part in ensuring your weapons are in the best possible condition.
Failing to use Gun Grease on weapons will result in them getting dirty over time, which can reduce their effectiveness in combat. Always make sure you’ve got some Gun Grease in your inventory so you’re never stuck with a crappy weapon in the middle of an intense firefight.
5. Venture to Towns for Easier Fast Travel
Red Dead Redemption 2’s map is massive, and making your way across it will take some serious time. While exploring the world is something we’d recommend, there are obviously going to be times when going back and forth from one place to another can be time-consuming and a little bit boring. Especially once you’ve spent a good chunk of time exploring already.
Make sure you adventure out to distant towns early on in your adventure. Not only will this mean that you can get an idea of all the different places in the game and what they have to offer, but it’ll also mean you can then fast travel to these locations using the Stagecoach system.
Sure, you can use the trains to get around should you really not want to spend time with your horse, but it’s definitely worth using it as much as possible. More on that a little later, though.
6. Get Your Preorder & DLC Items
Now, this one’s not going to apply to everyone, but if you preordered a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2, be it physical or digital, you’re going to have some DLC items to redeem in the game.
Ensuring that you’ve got your DLC items at the ready will give you a headstart, and if you’ve picked up the Special or Collector’s editions of the game, you’ll have additional missions and more to check out, as well. You don’t want to spend hours on end in Red Dead Redemption 2 and finally have yourself comfortably set up, only to find all of those handy early-game boosters. Ensure you’ve got these redeemed and in your inventory if needed before doing much else in Red Dead Redemption 2.
7. Bond With Your Horse
Your horse isn’t just a handy means of transport in Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s a walking inventory for you, too, and will become an invaluable part of your life out in the old west. Just as it was back in the ol’ days in real-life.
By spending more and more time with your horse, you’ll begin to bond with it. This enables you to not only do cool things like rear it and drift it (yes, there really is a thing you can do on your horse called a drift), but you’ll be able to whistle and call it to your location from further away. Considering horses can get scared by predators out in the wild and buck you off, having the ability to call it right back is incredibly handy.
Not to mention, the more time you spend with your horse, the more its stats are going to improve. Stamina, in particular, will continue to improve the more you ride around on it and gallop, making chasing after NPCs or escaping the law that little bit easier.
8. Get the Dutch Camp Upgrade & Leather Working Tools
After you’ve got a bit of cash in your hands, the game will advise you to take a look at the ledger in your gang’s camp. Here, you can purchase upgrades for camp, and two of the first you should be splashing your cash on are the Dutch Camp upgrade and Leather Working Tools.
The Dutch Camp upgrade will set you back $200, but it’ll result in the other gang members contributing more cash themselves. This means you can spend less of your hard-earned cash providing for the camp, and more on better weapons, clothing, horses, and provisions for Arthur himself.
Getting the Leather Working Tools upgrade will allow Pearson to craft you improved saddlebags, which means you can store more on your horse out in the open. They also allow him to craft cosmetic items for around camp to help keep the place looking nice and pleasant for you and your fellow gang members.
9. Mess Around With Photo Mode
Once you’ve got through the opening tutorial in Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur will be given a camera. By navigating to it within the item menu, you’ll gain access to the game’s photo mode. What’s particularly cool is that the whole thing feels like it’s been ripped straight out of the time period… for the most part. There’s a vintage-feeling filter when you look down the lens, and it really does make your shots look old-timey and classy.
It doesn’t come with the plethora of options to tweak as we’ve seen in other games that incorporate the feature, but familiarize yourself with it early on and you’ll be able to capture all of those iconic moments on your adventure with ease.
10. Complete a Bounty
You don’t always have to be on the wrong side of the law in Red Dead Redemption 2. Sometimes, it pays to help out the law by taking on bounties found on wanted posters at Sheriff’s offices around the world. Doing so not only grants you fun little one-on-one moments with memorable characters, but there’s also good money involved if you manage to complete the task.