With Red Dead Redemption 2’s release on PC last fall, it gained one clear advantage over its console-based predecessor: the ability to add new game tweaks and features via mods. In the months since, the modding community has rallied to release well over a hundred new mods for Red Dead Redemption 2, focusing largely on complete save files and lighting mods, but expanding into more practical adjustments as well.
The following mods, found through the ubiquitous and essential Nexus Mods, offer everything from handy in-game tools, visual adjustments, and even new play modes that bring new challenges outside the base game. Each relies on the installation of additional files to facilitate the new material, and in some cases will need light file editing, so be sure to read the description on each one to learn how to install it. Most will require either one or some combination of ScripthookDRD2, Community ScripthookRDR2, or RDR2SaveEditor. Do your reading and get familiar with the basics before starting the game modding process.
The map for Red Dead Redemption 2 is huge, and while traveling by horse or on foot is a nice way to enjoy the scenery, it also consumes a lot of time. The Blink (Teleportation) mod is nice because it allows you to teleport to the area of your choosing with a click of a button.
Be aware of its limitations, however; it only works within the player character’s field of vision, meaning you can only teleport to places within their range of sight.
The game isn’t just huge, it’s also very dark, not just in its subject matter but also its environments. The day and night cycle, along with certain weather patterns, can make it very hard to see. But with the Illumination Power mod, your nighttime visibility is greatly increased by an ambient light around the player character, with the ability to improve its range and intensity with a simple script edit.
The landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2 are stunning, and if you’re a fan of in-game photography, this mod will make your ability to capture the perfect picture much easier. With it, you can detach the fixed camera and move around it around however you like.
And to supplement the detached camera, try using the Quick Toggle HUD and Minimap mod, which will get rid of those pesky visual elements clogging up your field of view so you can get a clean shot.
As a gameplay mod, They Keep Coming has very little to do with Red Dead Redemption 2. But if you’re looking to do something new in a game you’re not quite ready to quit, it will do. The mod drops the player in the cemetery in Saint Denis, lets them set up traps and mounted weapons, then spawns several waves of enemies until the player is killed. It even keeps track of the high score if you want to compare stats with others.
As with They Keep Coming, Survive The Island doesn’t have a lot to do with the base game. But it does require the tactical skills learned in Red Dead Redemption 2 to guide you through a survival experience. Players are deposited on an island with no weapons and must build up their arsenal and test the limits of their stealth abilities as they attempt to kill a bear.
Lighting mods are a dime a dozen as far as Red Dead Redemption 2 goes, but of the many out there, this is the best. Enhancing the graphics’ color, shadows, tonemapping and sharpness, the results are breathtaking, making the picturesque and tranquil scenery across the game’s fictionalized American landscape just that much better.
Combine it with the FreeCam and Quick Toggle HUD and Minimap for even more marvelous photo opportunities.
If the Illumination Power mod isn’t enough to balance the limited lighting in the game for you, there’s also the Longer Days mod, which extends the hours of the game’s day cycle. This mod is exceptionally helpful if you spend long weeks out on the land, cooking and camping far from the safety of a hotel or the base camp. And of course, the longer the sun is out, the more you can get done, whether collecting orchids in the swamp or hunting bears in the mountains.
It’s simple but oh so sweet: as the name suggests, Fast Walk speeds up the rate at which Arthur Morgan walks. This is an especially good mod for hunting and documenting animals, stealing horses, and getting back to civilization after you’ve lost your own. It’s also perfect if you’re just impatient and want to do chores at the base camp a little faster every morning.
On the list of “things that probably should have been in the game but were inexplicably not”, the titular hunting wagon of this mod is extremely handy for living off the land in Red Dead Redemption 2. It spawns a wagon that will appear at your camp, allowing you to store pelts and hunted animals on the back. It will also show up as an icon on your map and radar so you can find it easily—no losing it no matter how far you have to wander away to catch that Legendary Fox.
If you’re anything like me, you were too heartbroken after the death of Arthur Morgan to finish Red Dead Redemption 2 100%—something about visiting the old haunts and campsites is too sad once he’s gone. If you want to suspend that grief, however briefly, by completely rewriting the game, you can use the 90.1 Percent Healthy Arthur Morgan Save Game mod. It requires the use of a few extra mods to get around that pesky sniper in New Austin and the installation instructions are veritable word salad but it will get the job done.
Alternately, you can do the bewildering and exact opposite thing by using the Play As John mod, which replaces Arthur Morgan’s character model and most of his voice acting with John Marston, the protagonist of the previous game (and of the game’s epilogue).
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.