Red Dead Redemption 2's New Features: Gun Durability, Swimming, Fishing, Horse Bonding, And More
By Edmond Tran on
Red Dead Redemption 2: All The New Features
Red Dead Redemption 2's release is now just days away, with it set to arrive for PS4 and Xbox One on October 26. Recently, a number of us here at GameSpot had a chance to try out the game, and despite some initial familiarity as a Rockstar game, we discovered a wealth of new features and systems once we scratched the surface. There are a lot of mechanics to tell you about, a lot of stuff that we haven't seen the full scope of, and potentially a lot of things we haven't even seen yet. And that's without diving into Red Dead Online, which largely remains a mystery and won't launch until November (and even then, only as a beta).
Rockstar recently released a second gameplay trailer that shows off a few other new features that we didn't get the chance to see first hand, but it's easy to imagine how they might fit into the game based on our experience. We'll continue to update this gallery as Rockstar releases new details up to launch. Please note that due to the limited amount of available media, not all images will be completely representative of the features they're depicting.
If you haven't already seen our primary Red Dead Redemption 2 preview covering the story missions we saw, make sure you read: Red Dead Redemption 2: We Played It, Here's Everything We Saw.
What do you think of all these new additions? Lets us know in the comments below, and check out all of our coverage through the following links.
Red Dead Redemption 2 News And Details
- Red Dead Redemption 2: We Played It On PS4, Here's Everything We Saw
- Watch: We Played Red Dead Redemption 2
- Red Dead Redemption 2: All The New Features
- Red Dead Redemption 2's Most Surprising Features And Details
- Red Dead Redemption 2: Everything We Just Learned
- Like GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Playable In First-Person
- Here Are Red Dead Redemption 2's HUD Options
- Red Dead Redemption 2's Arthur Can Swim, Unlike John Marston
- Here's 27 New Red Dead Redemption 2 Screens
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Will Feature Woody Jackson's Music Again
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Has A Selfie Camera
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Lets You Drift On A Horse
- Red Dead Redemption 2's New Animal-Skinning Animation Is Truly A Sight To Behold
- Red Dead Redemption 2's Online Mode Gets A Beta A Month After Release Day
- Why Red Dead Redemption 2's Online Mode Is Launching After The Main Game
- Rockstar Will Stagger GTA 5 Online And Red Dead Online Update Releases
- Red Dead Online Learns Its Lessons From GTA Online
- Red Dead Redemption 2's NPC Encounters Take Unexpected Turns
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Watching Your Personal Hygiene
- This Is How Red Dead Redemption 2's Stats, Health, And Cores Work
You Can Play The Whole Game In First Person
The entirety of Red Dead Redemption 2 can be played in first-person, much like Grand Theft Auto V when it was released on PS4, Xbox One, and later, PC.
Like GTA V, this feels like a much more involved first-person experience than a conventional FPS because your actions feel more weighty, and animations are more confronting. We were trampled by a horse at one point, and it felt awful.
You Can Disable The HUD
The HUD is minimal by default, only showing the mini-map in the bottom left corner, with meters fading in as it becomes necessary. An expanded HUD option shows you a larger minimap, but there's also the option to turn everything off, as well as an option to only have a compass on the screen.
Cinematic Camera Has A New Implementation
If you're familiar with Rockstar open-world games, then you're probably familiar with the cinematic camera mode, which can be triggered while you're driving and activates when you're fast-traveling in a cab.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, the cinematic camera will now automatically trigger in certain instances, like the long journey to a mission location, and will frame the journey with a montage of shots that emphasize the landscape and traveling group.
You can break out of it at any time, but it's a nice touch, an enjoyable filmic framing of what might have otherwise been a standard journey. As long as you hold X on PS4 or A on Xbox One to keep pace with the pack (like RDR1), you can just sit back and enjoy the naturally-flowing conversation and scenery.
This feature can also be triggered manually during gameplay.
You Can Inspect Everything
We spent a lot of time in town exploring stores, where items could be examined and purchased off the shelf individually, or via a catalog at the front counter.
Switching to first person, you can make Arthur manipulate the object in his hands as he takes a close look at it. This is also how you'll interact with environmental narrative objects like notes and photographs.
You can also inspect your weapons, which is great for appreciating any customizations you've made to them.
There Are A Variety of Business, Activities, and Secret Stores
We spent time in town browsing the gunsmith and general store, sitting down for a bowl of oatmeal and playing some Five Finger Fillet. Rockstar told us that some stores would have more illicit secret businesses in back rooms.
You Can Discover Secret Passages
The latest trailer showed Arthur moving a bookcase to reveal a secret stairwell. Could this be how you get to the aforementioned secret shops, or could it lead to some a secret stash of riches?
Your Weapons Are Visible On Your Person
Drawing on learnings from Max Payne 3, all of the weapons Arthur carries will be visible on his body. You'll be limited to carrying two long guns (or one long gun and one bow), two sidearms, a knife, a lasso, and a bunch of throwables.
When we switched weapons in the demo, Arthur would carry his rifle in his left hand while he used his pistol in the other.
There's A Kill Cam That Changes Depending On Your Honor
Visible weapons aren't the only Max Payne 3 DNA in the game--when you take out the final opponent during a gunfight, a kill cam will frame that final blow.
This will change depending on Arthur's moral standing: If you've been a naughty cowboy, these kill cams will be gorier. If you've been upstanding and honorable, they'll be framed in a more heroic fashion.
You Can Break Enemy Weapons
Speaking of heroic behavior, if you want to go the more non-lethal route, it's possible to shoot weapons out of enemy hands. Not only that, but you can even shoot directly at their weapons and break them. This seems like a handy technique if you're looking to be an outlaw with a heart of gold as opposed to a straight-up cold-blooded killer.
Dead Eye Has Five Levels Now
Red Dead Redemption's version of bullet time-style slowdown returns in the sequel, and it has more levels to it. We were able to deduce that Level 1 allows for slowdown, Level 2 allows you to paint targets and unleash a barrage of shots, and Level 3 allows you to manually pick your shooting points.
However, Rockstar also mentioned that you had the ability to highlight critical hit points with higher levels, which will come in very handy for making clean kills when hunting animals.
You Can Customise Your Guns
In Red Dead Redemption 2, you're able to examine environmental objects in great detail, and you can do the same to your weapons, by clicking the right analog stick from the weapon wheel. That's handy because it lets you admire the customizations you can perform on them at gunsmiths, like personalized engravings and leather wraps.
You Can Craft Weapons
Aside from gun customization, you can craft special kinds of weapons and ammo. For example, you can craft molotovs and split-point bullets. This should make the going easier when caught up in firefights.
Your Guns Can Degrade And Jam
You need to take care of your weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2. You have the option to clean it, which is incredibly important to do regularly because guns can rust and jam due to disrepair and environmental conditions. This one's sure to be a controversial feature, if Far Cry 2, which also featured gun jamming, was anything to go by.
You Can Fire Warning Shots
By having your gun unholstered and holding Up on the d-pad, you can fire warning shots into the air. This is handy for intimidating people, scaring off animals, or generally being a rowdy buffoon while you're riding around.
Shooting Is Not Your Only Option, Try Talking
Aiming at people with your gun holstered will give you access to a contextual menu, which lets you chat to people in the world. You'll often find the option to verbally defuse or agitate situations with other inhabitants in the world, and these interactions seemed quite fluid and natural during our short time with the game.
For example, when a carriage rode past us, we had the option to call out to them to stop, greet them in a friendly manner, or antagonize them. We called out to the carriage and were then given the option to hitch a ride among other things, but we took too long to make a decision and the driver rode off. We called out again, and Arthur's dialogue was more unsure and desperate.
You Can Donate Money To Those In Need
About halfway through the second gameplay trailer, we can see Arthur donating money to a beggar on the sidewalk, following a button prompt. Odds are that this will impact Arthur in some way, whether it be related to his reputation stats or a potential quest down the road.
The Eyewitness System Returns
The eyewitness system means that nearby onlookers to a crime can report you to lawmen, and like the first Red Dead Redemption, the effect of eyewitnesses can be mitigated if you manage to catch up with them and either kill or bribe them before they report the crime.
In the sequel, however, you have more options. You can speak to them in various temperaments in an attempt to intimidate or convince them not to report you, or you can beat them like a heartless jerk.
Melee Combat Has Been Expanded
We weren't able to get into the mechanical intricacies of this one during our demo, but Rockstar reps mentioned that melee combat had been expanded. We were shown a fistfight where Arthur used grapple moves, blocks, and a variety of different punches to knock out his opponent.
Hunting Is More Realistic, Laborious, And Confronting
The ability to hunt animals and sell their meat and pelts returns, but with a more realistic (and therefore more confronting) presentation.
Once you successfully kill an animal, you can skin it. But where Red Dead Redemption's skinning animation didn't focus on the animal, Red Dead Redemption 2's most certainly does.
You'll see Arthur pull his knife out, get on his hands and knees, plunge his knife into the poor beast, carve the pelt from its flesh, peel it off the body, and roll it up into a bundle. You'll almost certainly wince the first time you see it. Arthur actually carries the pelt now, and he'll need to store it on his horse to free up his hands.
Similarly, to get the meat off a hunted animal, you'll manually have to pick up the bloodied carcass and carry it to a butcher. We had to load a hunted deer on our horse and ride it into the nearest town, where we had the option of getting it chopped up into cookable components or simply selling it whole.
You Can Fish
If the gruesome realities of hunting and cleaning your kill are too much for you to stomach, you can opt to fish instead.
You Can Herd Cattle
Life in the old west isn't all about looting and shooting and running away from bounty hunters. Sometimes you need to take in some fresh air and get to work on some good, old-fashioned chores. Herding cattle could be the relaxing respite from hard livin' we need. After all, what's a cowboy without cows?
Time Is Cruel
Rockstar reps wanted us to know that these meat components had an expiration date--time would eventually take its toll and both the fresh pelt and carcass would start to rot and attract vermin, reducing its value and making us generally unpleasant to be around.
Time To Shave
Time also has an effect on Arthur's hair, which will grow longer over time. Customizing Arthur's haircut and facial hair styling is also dependent on length since you're allowed to cut things shorter, but won't have access to anything that requires more hair--a more realistic take on personal grooming compared to GTA V.
Time To Open
Time will also affect towns over the course of the game. While exploring, we noticed a half-constructed building and were told that these would eventually become new storefronts as days passed.
NPCs will certainly react to the stink of your rotting deer corpse if you've been around it too long, or just haven't taken a bath in a while. Arthur needs to get clean and change his clothes every once in a while, since townsfolk may refuse to talk or serve him based on his appearance--having a lot of blood on your jacket doesn't attract the best reactions.
You Can Layer Your Clothes
Rockstar reps explained that the game's clothing customization options will be comprehensive--each character will have different sets to coincide with weather conditions, while customizations would allow layering and minor adjustments, like the option to roll up your sleeves or tuck your pants into your boots.
It's unclear whether outfits will have perks like RDR1, but we know that the type of clothes you wear will affect Arthur's performance. For example, if you wear a weighty jacket during a hot summer day, your running stamina will take a big hit.
You Get A Camera. Yes, You Can Take Selfies
We started a side quest during our time with Red Dead Redemption 2, and the mission giver handed Arthur a camera. This camera could be used at any time via your inventory, and yes, the first thing we did was take a selfie.
These aren't arm-out handheld selfies, though. The mode is titled "self-portrait" and will frame Arthur's whole body as if the camera was set up on a tripod. You'll be able to adjust expressions and poses, too--expect to see a whole bunch of self-portraits depicting Arthur squatting in front of various things.
You Need To Eat
Arthur's core meters are health, stamina, and dead eye, and you'll need to keep him fed with snacks and meals to keep his well-being topped up. If your health or stamina falls below a certain level, Arthur will experience dizziness--he'll have trouble walking, and his vision will be blurry.
Arthur can carry snacks on him for a quick boost, but eating meals in town areas and in camp are more effective.
You Can Gain And Lose Weight
Sure, you need to eat. But don't overdo it! Arthur can both lose and gain weight, much like Carl Johnson in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Presumably, you'll also lose weight by performing strenuous physical activities like sprinting.
Get Better By Doing
In our demo, we noticed that stamina limit could be raised by running. This suggests a similar progression system to previous Rockstar Games where your skill with something increases the more you perform that action.
This manifests itself in a new way via what's known as the Core system. Although health, stamina, and Deadeye meters are separate from the Cores, how they perform depends on the state of a corresponding Core. For instance, the health Core dictates how quickly health regenerates, and likewise for stamina. If you're low on health but the corresponding health Core has been maintained well, the rate at which you generate health will be increased.
To keep your individual cores in good shape, you'll need to level up Arthur's strength, grit, dexterity, and instinct attributes. Leveling up Cores is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which reflected the way CJ behaved on the character itself; if you ate too much junk food, you'd gain weight, or if you spent a lot of time sprinting around the city, you'd have better stamina. Similarly, in Red Dead Redemption 2 there are activities that you'll do simply by playing the game which, over time, will improve your Core. Running, for example, once again improves your stamina, while taking damage and then restoring health will build your Health core.
Horses Are Complex Creatures
Your horse will have its own set of health and stamina meters, and like Arthur, you'll need to keep it fed as well. You'll also need to keep it clean and brushed, since it can become less effective, and you can pet your horse, which acts as a mechanism to calm it down after it's been spooked.
We were told that bonding with your horse by caring for it and riding it regularly can unlock additional skills and improve responsiveness. During our hands-on, we were able to rear our horse on its hind legs, perform drifts to change direction quickly (apologies to equestrian enthusiasts), and move our horse precisely by performing dressage techniques.
You can bond with multiple horses and stable them in different locations around the world, as different breeds will be better suited to certain situations. A Clydesdale warhorse, for example, would be more suitable in a battle than the Tennessee walking horse, which is more of an all-rounder.
And yes, they poop.
Your Horse's Saddlebags Hold Everything
Because Arthur can only carry a limited amount of weapons, your horse also acts as your storage. Being in close proximity to your horse will give you access to your entire arsenal, but you'll need to transfer guns onto your person if you decide to stray.
You can move your horse without mounting it, thankfully, by grabbing the reins and leading it on foot. This gamut of horse interactions is accessed by Red Dead Redemption 2's new contextual menu, by holding L2 with your gun holstered and aiming at your horse.
Also, you can also rob other people's saddlebags. Just make sure no-one is watching.
Side Missions Are Potentially More Involved
The aforementioned side quest was a multi-part mission that we weren't allowed the time to pursue. In it, a biographer fed up with his drunken subject asked Arthur to track down a number of famed gunslingers to ask them about who was the best, with the strong insinuation that we would have to duel them ourselves.
We were handed a number of photographs of the targets, each with some handwritten notes on the back. Physically analyzing these notes and photographs was likely the key to narrowing down our search, reminiscent of the Treasure Maps from the first Red Dead Redemption.
Camps Are Complex And Affected By Time
Your camp will not wait for you. We were told that the members of your gang who reside at camp will come and go, and finding out where exactly they've gone from others will be the basis of a number of quests and side quests.
We found that the day and night cycle will also affect who you're able to interact with at camp. For example, we looked for our gang's cook to try and fix up some of the deer we had prepared earlier, but he was sleeping, and though we prodded him awake, we didn't feel mean enough to make him cook.
The stockpiling of supplies like these is just one of the ways you can affect camp morale. We're told camp morale is an optional mechanic, but keeping this raised can provide Arthur with additional supplies and bonuses.
You Can Dance (If You Want To!)
If you find yourself at camp and the mood strikes you, you can break a leg and dance with your gang. The simple moves in the trailer seems fairly traditional, but we'll put good money on there being sillier options whenever Red Dead Online launches.
Catch A Stage Show
Assuming he isn't too stinky to make it past the ushers, Arthur can kick back and catch a show at the local theater.
Gang Members Can Join You In Free-Roam
Rockstar told us that if available, gang members will offer to join you on free-roam activities, giving you access to the same kind of assistance saw in the story missions, like asking them to go ahead and take out an enemy.
You can also spend time talking to gang members at camp, including Read Dead 1 protagonist John Martson, and even butt into conversations midway to add your two cents. Unfortunately, due to the time of day in our demo, we didn't have many of these opportunities to explore.
You Can Swim
Unlike John Marston, it's possible for Arthur to swim. Though, it's worth noting that he isn't all that great at it.
You Have An Instinct Vision Called Eagle Eye
When you're tracking and hunting animals, you can activate what's called the Eagle Eye system. This displays key details in the environment that can help you close in on nearby game. It can also be used to see the scent coming off your body; a handy detail you can use to determine whether or not you should approach animals who might catch onto your presence.
You Can Swap Your Hat
Last, but certainly not least, we noted that while you can easily lose your hat in the midst of a shootout, Arthur can swap his hat for any other hat that just happened to fall off someone else's head by no doing of your own.
Because at the end of the day, if you can't wear the hat you want, what is the point of even playing?
We'll continue to update this gallery as we discover more things about Red Dead Redemption 2. If you haven't already seen our primary Red Dead Redemption 2 preview covering the story missions we saw, make sure you read Red Dead Redemption 2: We Played It, Here's Everything We Saw.