Stuck inside with -- Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar Games

Stuck Inside With is a new series where, since we're all stuck inside, we venture off the beaten path to explore other parts of the gaming world. This week we're looking at Red Dead Redemption 2

I began playing Red Dead Redemption 2 recently after watching Westworld. After seeing the characters in the show step into a giant theme park that made you feel like you had traveled back in time to the Old West, I was eager to fire up my PS4 and leave my home quarantine to immerse myself in the game's version of the setting.

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Not only is the main mission compelling, but the world is vast and the number of things you can do with your character, Arthur Morgan, is seemingly endless. I remember my roommate telling me when I first bought the game that a friend of his just wanted to play the game so he could go into the woods and wrestle with a bear. I tried that. It didn't go well.

With that in mind, I wanted to write about some of the fun things you can do in this world.

Hunting and fishing

As an outlaw living on the frontiers of America in the 1890s, hunting is going to be one of your biggest pastimes. You can find and hunt up to 178 different kinds of animals in Red Dead Redemption 2, from small critters like rabbits and squirrels to big game like bison and grizzly bears. The game's world is teeming with wildlife.

When you kill something, you'll have the option to pick up the whole carcass if it's a small animal or skin it to harvest its pelt and parts to use in cooking or sell to a merchant. Study every new species you encounter before you actually go in for the kill. The quality of each animal is either poor (one star), average (two) or perfect (three), and it's really only the perfect ones that are worth your time and effort. I'm terrible at shooting, so hunting can be frustrating if your aim is as awful as mine, but fishing is more my speed. You just cast your line and wait for something to bite, and when you feel your controller vibrating if you're on a console, you reel it in with your joystick.

Robberies and bounties

The easiest way to make a lot of cash in the game is through robberies. You can rob individuals fairly easily, but to score a lot of cash, you'll want to go after stagecoaches, banks and trains. You can't really rob banks until later in the game, but stagecoaches and trains are fair game pretty early on. When you get toward the end of Chapter 2 of the main mission you'll even be able to get tips from a couple of postal employees who will point you in the direction of some more lucrative coaches.

Beware though, these crimes will lead to you to become a wanted man and you'll have a bounty on your head. You can easily pay off your bounties at a post office, though and they're generally lower than the amount of cash you'll snag in any of these heists. Speaking of bounties, you can also decide to help the local sheriff collect bounties on other criminals and get some pretty decent rewards that way.

Playing poker and other games

Playing poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 is pretty fun, especially if you enjoy the thrill of making big bets without the fear of losing actual money. Be careful though, because just like in a real game of Texas Hold 'Em, if you try to bet too big, the other NPC players at your table might fold ... or call your bluff if they don't think you have anything. You'll also get a chance to be a high roller on a riverboat in one of the missions once you get to the city of Saint Denis.

You can also play blackjack, dominoes and five finger fillet. You get to play these games at saloons located among the various towns you'll visit. You can play some of these games in the camp with the rest of your outlaw gang, but the stakes will be lower. Just like with hunting, you can easily spend hours sitting at a table, especially if you're winning.

Shaving, buying clothes and other mundane activities

Even the mundane is fun in Red Dead Redemption 2 because of how realistic it all feels. Arthur's beard will grow out after a few days and you can either shave at your camp or at a barber. If you go to a barber you can trim it or fashion it a different way. Want a mustache with fancy curled ends? You can do that. Want mutton chops. Check. Want to look like Abraham Lincoln? Can do.

Arthur comes preloaded with a few different outfits, enough to cover a range of weather. If you go into a town you'll have a wider variety of options to customize Arthur's fashion. At the tailor in Saint Denis, you can choose from six different shirts, four vests, nine pants, 20 hats and 21 boots. That's over 90,000 different combinations. That doesn't even account for the fact that each of these items comes in several different colors and patterns. If you're like me, it can be a bit of an information overload, but it really makes the game feel lived in and personalized for you. When I got to Saint Denis, I got Arthur a burgundy checkered collared overshirt, a burgundy and gold Parisian vest and a white Panama hat.

Riding your horse

One of the most enjoyable things about the game is honestly just riding around on your horse and taking in the beautiful scenery across the six fictional states that comprise the world of Red Dead Redemption 2. I won't tell you how many times my girlfriend laughed at me for falling off my horse while trying to leap over a large boulder or making a hard right while in the midst of a chase. It happens. But you just dust yourself off and get back on the saddle.

From the plains of New Hanover to the more mountainous and forested areas of West Elizabeth and Ambarino to the bayous of Lemoyne, you never know who you'll meet on your way to complete a mission. Sometimes you might just want to fast travel from one place to another to complete your mission, but the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 really makes you want to explore. Part of the fun of riding around is encountering strangers who will take you on new adventures like tracking down dinosaur bones, locating lost animals for a traveling circus or freeing some folks who are victims of a lingering slave trade. Just be careful, some strangers will be looking to rob you, and you can get ambushed by bandits lying in wait. It really is the Wild West after all.