RDR2 100% Completion Strategy Guide (2022)

A) Overall Strategy


First it is worth considering the full list of activities that you need to complete according to the in game checklist. Expand the spoiler to see the complete list.

Spoiler

Missions and events:

  • Missions
  • 10 Strangers
  • 5 Bounties
  • 25 Chance Encounters
  • Bushwhacked
  • 6 Gang Hideouts


Collectibles

  • 1 Points of Interest
  • 9 Graves
  • 144 Cigarette Cards
  • 30 Dinosaur Bones
  • 13 Legendary Fish
  • All Exotics
  • 10 Rock Carvings
  • All Hunting Requests
  • 1 Treasure Hunter Chain
  • 20 Dreamcatchers


Compendium

  • 50 Animals
  • 10 Equipment
  • 10 Fish
  • 6 Gangs
  • 10 Horses
  • 20 Plants
  • 48 Weapons


Player

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  • Maximum Health, Stamina and Dead Eye
  • Horse Bonding Level 4
  • All 9 Challenges Completed


Miscellaneous

  • 5 Shacks
  • 5 Legendary Animals
  • 4 Table Games
  • 5 Ranters, Ravers, and Campaigners
  • 1 Bath
  • 1 Show
  • 1 Theater
  • 6 Recipes crafted: 1 cooking recipe, 1 tonic, 1 type of ammunition, 1 hunting item, 1 horse care item, and 1 weapon
  • 4 Robberies: Coach Robbery, Home Robbery, Shop Robbery, Train Robbery

It's obviously a long list. However we can actually ignore some of these, since there is actually quite a significant overlap between these tasks - completing some will automatically lead to the completion of others.

Superfluous tasks:

There's actually some overlap, where completing some tasks will automatically tick others off the list for you.

  • 10 Fish (Survivalist Challenge 10 will cover this)
  • 10 Horses (Horseman Challenge 10 will cover this)
  • 20 Plants (Herbalist Challenge 9 will cover this)
  • 4 Table Games(The Gambler Challenges will cover this)
  • 6 Recipes crafted: 1 cooking recipe, 1 tonic, 1 type of ammunition, 1 hunting item, 1 horse care item, and 1 weapon (Challenges and Missions will cover this).
  • 1 Treasure Hunter Chain (The Explorer Challenge will cover this)

So the above can effectively be ignored in your planning.

Tasks that require no planning:

There are also tasks that you will almost certainly get in a play through without any planning - they'll just happen naturally as you are doing story missions or completing other tasks. These are:

  • Complete All Story Missions
  • 25 Chance Encounters (just look out for white dots on your map - whenever you see one, approach and interact).
  • Bushwhacked (you will almost certainly get ambushed early on and get this. Expect it to happen in cuttings or bridges where you have no side escape, and dead-eye your attackers)
  • 50 Animals (it would be very hard to miss this - story mode and challenges will probably get you most of the way there, but still study animals in the wild at every opportunity).
  • 10 Equipment (you will get this given to you in the story).
  • 6 Gangs (this will happen in story missions if you don't meet them in the free roam)
  • Horse Bonding Level 4 (virtually impossible for this not to happen. Just keep patting your horse and calming it regularly).
  • 5 Ranters, Ravers, and Campaigners (like the chance encounters, just approach an white dots on your radar when you see them and interact).

That leaves a remaining list that you must consciously aim for - even though some, like taking a bath, are absurdly easy.


However, some tasks are much easier to complete at certain times than others. For example, a lot of the Weapons Expert and Sharpshooter challenges are easy to complete using the Gang Hideout "Six Point Cabin". However, this is no longer available after the Chapter 6 Story Mission "Goodbye, Dear Friend", so it makes a lot of sense to complete these challenges before that point - they are not impossible to get later of course, but you are likely to find them to be much more of a pain.

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Conversely there are some tasks that literally cannot befinished until after Chapter 6 is completed. This obviously marks a major point of change in the story, and it's therefore helpful to consider which tasks you should aim to achieve before, after, and which should straddle this point.

Tasks you should plan to complete before the end of Chapter 6:

  • 10 Stranger Missions
  • 5 Bounties
  • 1 Points of Interest
  • 144 Cigarette Cards
  • All Exotics
  • 10 Rock Carvings
  • 20 Dreamcatchers
  • 5 Shacks
  • 5 Legendary Animals
  • 1 Bath
  • 1 Show
  • 1 Theater
  • 4 Robberies: Coach Robbery, Home Robbery, Shop Robbery, Train Robbery
  • Bandit Challenges
  • Explorer Challenges
  • Gambler Challenges
  • Master Hunter Challenges
  • Sharpshooter Challenges
  • Survivalist Challenges
  • Weapons Expert Challenges

Complete as far as possible up to Chapter 6 and finish the remainder after:

  • 30 Dinosaur Bones
  • 13 Legendary Fish
  • All Hunting Requests (The first four can be done before)
  • Herbalist Challenges (Up to Challenge 8 can be done before)
  • Horseman Challenges (Up to Challenge 8 can be done before)

Well, this isn't strictly speaking correct. You can do Horseman 9 before the Epilogue, it's just a lot harder. And you can do Herbalist 9 before the end of Chapter 6 using an exploit (I wouldn't describe this as a glitch, but it's clearly not something the developers intended), and it requires some significant practice to pull this off. If you'd like to complete these early, please check out these guides (but keep in mind it's much easier simply to wait to the Epilogue).

Complete after Chapter 6:

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  • 9 Graves
  • Maximum Health, Stamina and Dead Eye (note you can reach rank 8 through doing normal in-game activities - and certainly will. But to unlock ranks 9 and 10 you must complete ALL challenges, and buy the reinforced equipment from the Trapper to get the boost).
  • 6 Gang Hideouts (you will actually get 4 of these during the story - the remaining ones are only accessible after Chapter 6)
  • 48 Weapons (you will get most of these, but you'll have more options to pick up the remainder after Chapter 6).

There is some flex in this, but I would advise prioritising getting stuff done early where possible. Spreading out challenges and hunting tasks between story missions will be easy on your sanity levels. Plus completing some of these tasks will provide gameplay benefits that will make the later story mission easier to tackle.

Beyond this the devil is very much in the detail. If planned correctly some activities can be done more or less simultaneously. For example, Horseman Challenge 1 and Master Hunter Challenge 2 effectively overlap, and also partially with Mr's Hobb's first request. So now you only have to find 5 rabbits instead of 9 - or actually, if you get one in a story mission too, only 4. That's a massive time saver, not wasted spinning around in the wilderness.


The sections below are set into Chapters following the game's story in an attempt to fully exploit this type of logic


There are however, some tasks that are a particular pain - your should be aware of them, plan for them, and be opportunistic. Others that are particularly important because they have an impact on how easy it is to achieve the rest.


Keep the following in mind before you start out:


Kill the Legendary Buck and craft the Buck Antler Trinket at the earliest opportunity
This improves the quality of the pelt you get killing animals - and since many tasks require a 3 star (perfect) pelt, this is absolutely essential. If you have this and kill a 3 star animal, you'll probably get away with one of the following misdemeanours, and still comeaway with a perfect pelt:

  • Using the wrong weapon, or
  • Not hitting the animal in the correct critical location

Killing small animals have a particularly high success rate with the trinket, whereas without they will spoil. Don't start any hunting tasks until you have it!

The Legend of the East Satchel- should you craft it early?

This is not required for 100%. However I've now done 4 100% play-throughs of the game, crafting this at various stages, and my conclusion is you should do it as early as possible. There are obvious benefits when it comes to Herbalist 7 and completing the Smoking and Other Hobbies side quest. However, the overall capacity will make everything in the game so much easier - you'll run out of supplies less often, becausewhen you loot fallen enemies or go to the shops, you won't be limited as to how much you can pick up. And in the long run, if you know where to hunt the animals required, this will save a lot of time if you invest in getting this. However, you shouldn't go out of your way to get perfect pelts before crafting the buck antler trinket above, and also you will need to complete "Money Lending and Other Sins - II" to unlock the ledger and buy the Leather working tools for Pearson. That said, if you bag a perfect pelt before then, donate it to Pearson for crafting. The guide recommends a point in time when you should proactively go after this, and a side playlist of the requirements is here:

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That said, if you want to ignore my advice and skip this, you should postpone doing Herbalist Challenges 7 & 8 and Smoking and Other Hobbies until the Epilogue when you can buy it - as they will be insufferable without it.

The Exotics
It's actually quite easy to find most of the exotic birds when you know where to look. You also don't require perfect pelts, so you can just use dead eye and let rip with a repeater to kill as many as you can when you find a bunch.
The problem is just how many you need. And compared to the original RDR, corpses tend to last a lot longer before disappearing altogether - saving and re-loading doesn't seem to get rid of them either. Why does that matter? Well there are only a few places where Egrets, Herons and Spoonbills spawn - and from observation I find more won't spawn back if there are animal corpses there.
The bottom line is you need to break this one up significantly with other tasks and come back later. Not spend hours of real time hanging around the same places. Do other activity for a few in game days before returning.

Hunting Requests (from Mrs Hobbs via the train station)
Finding so many little blighters with three star pelts again can be a pain. However, it definitely helps if you know where to look, and some spots recommended by various YouTuber etc are much better than others.
Nevertheless, it pays to activate these early and be opportunistic. Know what you're after and if you just happen to find the right animal on your route from A to B, so much the better. Whilst it can be completed before Chapter 6 is over, I recommend activating this early to capitalise on any good fortune you might get.

Gambler Challenge 8
You have to win Blackjack 3 times with 5 cards. It's completely down to luck, but the probability of getting it is very low - so you'll have to sink a lot of time into this, and it gets very boring. It is easily, IMHO, the most annoying thing about the whole quest.
My only advice for this one is save it for when you are in an unproductive mood and unlikely to accomplish anything in game or real life for a couple of hours. I ground this one out whilst desperately hung-over on a Saturday morning. I certainly wasn't going to be doing the Sharpshooter challenges, or going out for a 5k run - you get the picture.
Note where the challenge says "hit three times" it is actually incorrectly worded. Otherwise you could potentially split a pair and win with two hands of four - but that doesn't work.

Other considerations
At the end of Chapter 6 you will retain any valuables and trinkets, but lose any cash and consumables, and any horses you own. It's therefore worth buying any remaining weapons you don't own before this point, and purchasing enough Premium Cigarettes to get the remaining cards you need (again, opportunistically pick up any you find as you go up to this point). Gold Bars can be a great way to retain wealth as you won't lose them - so don't sell them before this point unless you need the cash. You don't need to do all Stranger missions to get the necessary 10, but "The Veteran" can be done after Chapter 6. It is probably best saved to then because you will be rewarded with a good horse at the end - do this before Chapter 6 and you'll lose it anyway.

Edited by Jimbatron

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