Red Dead Redemption 2: 36 Tips, Tricks & Hidden Mechanics | Everything The Game Doesn’t Explain

The developers at Rockstar have completely lost their minds — Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just an open-world wild west adventure, it’s an incredibly detailed simulation of outlaw life, with systems stacked on top of systems. From your horse alone, you have three different inventory menus to scroll through, filled with lanterns, bandanas, horse brushes, fishing rods, camps, and more. There are so many features and mechanics in this game, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of everything.

To help you better understand the truly insane breadth of features in Red Dead Redemption 2, here’s an extremely quick list of 36 tips, tricks, and mechanics you absolutely, 100% need to know about right now. I tried to limit myself to just a single sentence per tip, but some of these things required just a little bit extra explanation. They’re still really short, and I’ve highlighted the important parts for fast browsing. Giddyup, cow-pokes!

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36 Tips, Tricks & Hidden Mechanics | Everything The Game Doesn’t Explain


  1. Press [D-Pad: Up] while aiming to point your pistol in the sky. Firing shots will warn NPCs or scare away predators.
  2. Double-tap [L1 / LB] to perform a trick when holstering a revolver.
  3. While aiming, press [Square / X] to dive-dodge quickly. Perfect for escaping incoming fire.
  4. Tap gallop [Cross / A] in time with your horse, and you won’t deplete stamina.
  5. Set a waypoint, and enter Cinematic Mode. When following the red / yellow path, you will automatically follow the path while in Cinematic Mode.
  6. Arthur and your horse must eat food to maintain your cores. There are other ways to heal your cores, but if you don’t eat food, you’ll get skinny and suffer negative effects. Same for your horse.
  7. Guns carried by enemy NPCs are always worse than guns you purchase. If you collect a gun from an enemy, it will usually be “Worn” — these cannot be fully repaired.
  8. Your weapons will slowly lose condition. Press [R3] from the weapon wheel to get the [Clean] option. Cleaning your weapon with oil will repair it. Purchase oil from any General Store or Gun Store.
  9. After unlocking the Ledger, purchase Leather Working Tools to craft unique items at the base camp workbench.
  10. Purchase the upgrade to Dutch’s Lodgings to get more money daily in the base camp funds.
  11. Purchase the upgrade to Arthur’s Lodgings to get a free fast-travel map.
  12. Hold [Options / Start] to go straight to the map from in-game.
  13. The Horse Reviver medicine will save your horse if it dies. Always keep some on hand.
  14. Use Dead Eye to highlight safe regions to target when hunting — and get easier headshots with a bow.
  15. While on horseback, use your lasso on medium / large prey. While roped-up, you can approach and stab the animal for a clean kill.
  16. Complete [Challenges] to unlock special craftable items at the Trapper.
  17. Hold [D-Pad: Down] to open mini-map options. You can toggle off the mini-map, or swap to a compass only. Tap [D-Pad: Down] to temporarily bring up the standard mini-map while in compass mode.
  18. Don’t walk behind your horse! Or you’ll get a deadly kick in the head.
  19. When collecting items, you may get a message stating that your inventory is full, and you need to ditch items to pick up more. Ignore these messages — it actually means that you have a full stack of one particular item. Ex. When skinning an animal, if you have a full stack of meat, this message will pop up. You will still collect the skin, heart, antlers, etc.
  20. You can change your movement controls. In [Settings -> Controls], you can change [Cross / A] to toggle run, instead of tapping to run.
  21. You can sell full animal corpses to Trappers or Butchers directly. A complete corpse will slowly decompose, so sell it fast.
  22. You don’t need to remove animal corpses / pelts from your horse to sell them. If your horse is nearby, all pelts / bodies in your Horse Inventory will be available to sell.
  23. You need to sell Legendary pelts to a Trapper to craft unique gear. You don’t keep it or craft it yourself. Instead, sell the right ingredients to the Trapper, and you’ll unlock the ability to purchase special items.
  24. Uncooked meat will mature in your inventory, too.
  25. You can store three outfits on your horse. Go to the wardrobe in Arthur’s Lodgings in the Base Camp to set clothing — be sure to bring clothes for different temperatures.
  26. Your horse is always carrying a hat. If you lose your hat, you can retrieve it from your horse.
  27. If you’re stealing a horse or carriage, whistle while riding the non-primary mount, and your primary horse will follow you. Keep whistling if it stays behind for too long.
  28. Hold down whistle for a longer call. If your horse doesn’t respond to a quick whistle, try a longer whistle.
  29. Select the [Brush] in your Horse Inventory menu to clean your horse periodically. If your horse is too dirty, it will lose stamina faster.
    • Running through water will also clean your horse.
  30. Your horse can carry multiple skins, but only one body or rider. If you have a body on your horse, you can still store multiple skins.
  31. There are treasures everywhere! Certain secret areas have puzzles to solve that aren’t connected to any log entry or activity. Solving the puzzle will usually reward you with several gold bars.
    • Find one of these puzzles northeast of Bacchus Bridge, near the “Mysterious Hill House”.
  32. Wearing a bandana makes you anonymous. Your Honor will go down when committing crimes, but you will not get a bounty on your head. Wear it before and after escaping a crime scene. If you put on a mask and someone witnesses it, you will still get a bounty.
  33. Every mission gives you a medal rating — bronze, silver or gold. There are hidden objectives to complete for every mission, and you can find them in the Story menu. You can also replay any main mission from this menu.
  34. There are three red symbols when you enter camp. These are your camp supplies — you can refill each with a Ledger purchase.
  35. There are secret cheat codes printed on newspapers you can buy in towns and settlements. You can input cheats in the Setting menu.
  36. At the end of most gunfights, the remaining enemies will try to retreat from the area. Retreating enemies might bring back gang reinforcements or alert the local law. Try to shoot them before they escape!