Welcome to Achievement Mastery 101, a new weekly feature in which I will find a tough achievement, and create a guide that will help you on your way to nailing it down. For our first class, we will focus on the “Redeemed” achievement for Rockstar’s new smash hit Red Dead Redemption. In order to obtain this achievement, you will have to attain 100% completion in the single player story mode. This bad boy will tack on 100g to your gamer score, so it is a big one, and you will most definitely earn a ton of other achievements along the way.
Before we proceed, there is the possibility of spoilers in this guide, and I will identify them so that you can try to skip over it if you don’t want to spoil parts for yourself.
Finishing all of the events for 100% seems like it would be easy enough, but I can assure you that is definitely not the case. My estimate is that it will take at least 60 hours of game play to secure this achievement, if not more. I wish I had a guide to follow as I was going for it, because the whole thing will go faster if you go after certain parts as the story progresses. That means, try to nail down the things you can do in New Austin while you are cruising through New Austin, and do the same while you are in Mexico and West Elizabeth. Going back and forth from the three places is time consuming and tedious and will really wear on you no matter how incredible this game is.
Another reason you might want to consider getting stuff done before the game ends is that John Marston is a great character to play with, and*spoiler alert* there will be a point in time in this game that he is no longer available to you. That will not have any effect on the talent of your playable character, but I’d rather be roaming around with the quintessential badass on my mount instead of the other option.
A main chunk of the 100% completion is the main story itself. There are 57 missions to complete in Red Dead Redemption as part of the main story. The first 25 will take place in New Austin. Bonnie McFarlane has eight missions for you. While the option is there to roam around and do the missions in any order you want, I would go ahead and do all of Bonnie’s missions first. At the least, I would stay on her farm until you get the lasso. This will come in handy for when you try to bring back bounties alive.
Once you move into Armadillo, Marshall Johnson will have five missions for you. One of them will be to look for West Nigel Dickens, who will have five missions of his own. Seth will give you three missions, and Irish will give you four. You will have to do these in a certain order as dictated by the game, because some of the people you meet are dependent on doing certain missions.
Moving into Mexico, there will be 16 missions to complete. You get the option to work with Landon Ricketts or Vicente De Santa first, but it doesn’t matter which order you do them. My best advice is to go ahead and start with Ricketts, who has four missions for you. De Santa has five. You will also meet Luisa Fortuna, who has four missions for you, and Abraham Reyes, who has three.
The last part of the main story is in West Elizabeth, and there are seven missions to complete. Agent Edgar Ross gives you four and Professor Harold McDougal gives you three. This will complete the main part of the story, but you will still have nine missions to complete before you get all 57. The next part will contain spoilers, so you may want to skip a paragraph if you are not this far into the game.
Once defeating Dutch, you will be reunited with your family at your family ranch on Beecher’s Hope. Your wife Abigail will have two missions for you, as does “Uncle.” Your son Jack will have four missions before we head the final mission, which will be one of the most epic video game endings you will ever experience. Once the 57 missions are complete, you will be able to mop up anything you didn’t complete with Jack Marston. Jack is an OK character, but he definitely has a long way to go before he stacks up with the old man.
There are 94 different locations throughout the sandbox of Red Dead Redemption, and you will need to “find” them all, and upon doing so, you will earn 10 g for the “On The Trail Of Da Vaca” achievement. At first, I thought this meant I would literally have to roll through each and every one of these 94 locations, and I actually spent like an hour trying to do just that in New Austin, but it is way, way easier than that. Whenever you go into a town that has a general store, check and see if they are selling area maps. If they are, purchase the map, hit the back button to bring up your consumable menu and activate the map. This will “discover” every location on the map. I want to say there are six or seven of these maps that you will need to buy. In New Austin, I know I got two in Armadillo and one in Thieves Landing. In Mexico, I know I got one in Chuparosa and another in Escalera. In West Elizabeth, I believe you get one in Blackwater and one in Manzanita Post.
There are seven gang hideouts, and they unlock at various points in the story. Some of them you have to do in order to obtain scraps for outfits and some will have to be done as part of the main missions, leaving the possibility that you will have to do some of these twice in order to get certain outfits. There are also three achievements related to completing the hideouts. I will break them down based on the achievement:
“Austin Overpowered” – Twin Rocks, Pike’s Basin and Gaptooth Breach gang hideouts. All three are located in New Austin.
“Evil Spirits” – Tumbleweed (New Austin) and Tesoro Azul (Mexico) gang hideouts.
“Instinto Asesino” – Fort Mercer (New Austin) and Nosalida (Mexico) gang hideouts.
There are five jobs that you will need to do in order to obtain 100% completion. These are pretty easy and straight forward. You will need to do the Nightwatch job in Blackwater, Chuparosa and on McFarlane ranch at least once, as well as the Horse Breaking at Ridgewood Farm and Chuparosa. Easy enough.
This is the part that I procrastinated on the most, and I am feeling the burnout from it now. Whenever you are in a town and see a flashing skull pop up on the screen, go ahead and get that bounty hunt out of the way. I stopped doing them, and now I am cruising around Mexico trying to mop up, and it just isn’t as exciting. Had I blended them in with the actual game play, it would have been a little less tedious.
You will need to complete 20 bounty missions to obtain 100% completion. You will need to do eight in New Austin and Mexico and four in West Elizabeth. You can bring the bounties back dead or alive depending on how much trouble you want to go through and how much cash you want to make. Remember, you need to do the mission with Bonnie where she gives you the lasso in order to take a bounty back alive. Also, there are a few that you will want to take back alive as an added part of the 100% completion mission, as they give you scraps that go towards certain outfits that John and Jack can wear. So before you accept the bounty, look at the poster to see who you are going after. You will need to bring back a member of the Bollard Twins Gang, Walton Gang, a Treasure Hunter and a Bandito alive in order to get scraps for their outfits.
You can do more than 20 bounties, so if you miss bringing one back alive, no worries.
There are 15 wearable outfits for John and Jack, but only nine of them count towards the 100% completion. Some of them are story related and you will get without even paying attention, others you will have to go out of your way to snag. You can track where the next scraps can be found by going into the outfit menu and pressing X on the suit you want to track.
Elegant Suit: This can be obtained by purchasing the elegant suit scrap from the Thieves Landing tailor. You also earn 10 g for the “He Cleans Up Well” achievement upon purchase, and this suit will let you cheat in poker.
Mexican Poncho: This is obtained by purchasing a property in Mexico.
Bollard Twins Outfit: There are six scraps total, and the list is pretty easy to get. Just remember to bring back a member of the gang alive on a bounty mission.
Treasure Hunter Outfit: Again, there are six scraps to obtain here, and again, you will want to make sure you bring back a Treasure Hunter bounty alive.
Bandito Outfit: Six scraps, bring back a bandito bounty alive.
Reyes Rebels Outfit: Six scraps total. Winning a game of Five Finger Filet at Torquemada took years off my life.
US Army Uniform: Six scraps total. The one you will need to pay the closest attention to is defeating ALL players at the table at poker in Blackwater. Sometimes you will go to the table and find four people sitting there. To make it easier on yourself, unless you really love playing poker, equip your melee attack and ball up your fists like you want to fight someone. This will scare everyone at the table and they will all leave. Then run upstairs to your room and save the game. When you go back downstairs, there should only be one person sitting at the table. It will be much easier to get one person to bust out then a full table. Also, this is a good time to get the “High Roller” achievement for winning 2000 chips in a game of poker. Just go all in right after dealing. Eventually, the other player will match and you will see what happens. Just do this until you get the achievement and you will also grab the scrap at the same time. It can be difficult getting the pot up to 2000, because the computer usually won’t play if they don’t have a good hand.
US Marshalls Outfit: I have not obtained this one yet, but I can see it being one of the most annoying parts of getting my last 3% of game completion. In order to get this outfit, you need to complete all five US gang hideouts in one 24 hour period. That will mean going to Pike’s Basin, Twin Rocks, Gaptooth Breach, Tumbleweed and Fort Mercer and completing the gang hideouts. This will have to be done after completing the main quest, because the gang hideouts unlock at various points during the game.
Legend Of The West Outfit: This is the outfit that will piss you off the most. I honestly had no intention of getting it until I realized I had to for 100% completion. In order to get this outfit, you will need to attain rank 10 in all four Ambient Challenges. Let me tell you know, this is going to be a bitch. The easiest one to complete is the Treasure Hunter challenge. Again, try to do this in context with the game, because I didn’t do any of them until after and it became very boring. There are nine different locations where you will find buried treasure throughout the game, with three locations in West Austin, four in Mexico and two in West Elizabeth. Use this video as a guide to finding each location:
The Sharpshooter challenge is the one I finished first and got the “Frontiersman” achievement for. For the level ten challenge, you have to do six disarms without reloading. This sounds like it will be impossible, but it actually isn’t. Use either the Mauser or the Evans Repeater since they both have around 20 bullets per clip and go to the Gaptooth Breach gang hideout. When you enter the cave, the treasure hunters usually come at you two at a time. Use dead eye and go slowly so that it can build back up, and aim for the hands. After shooting the gun out of their hand, wait. If they had a rifle, they will immediately switch to a revolver. If they were already using a revolver, they will either pick it back up or put their hands up and surrender. When you shoot and disarm them a second time, it will also kill them. You can very easily get the first four disarms on the first two people you see. Then move on down the tunnel to rinse and repeat. This is fool proof.
The Survivalist challenge is by far the most annoying. This involves picking flowers. As long as you do this throughout the course of the game, it will make life easy on you… that is until you get to the level 10 challenge. For the final challenge, not only do you have to pick up 10 violet snowdrops, but you also have to go back and get two of every single flower in the game. Now 10 violet snowdrops are hard enough to get because of their location, but going back to get two of the other nine flowers is definitely one of the more boring parts of the game. A hint on getting the violet snowdrops: buy two horses. As soon as you pick a flower, go into your consumable menu and switch to your second horse. This will result in an instant save. Because the violet snowdrops are in the Tall Trees area, which is full of mountains and hills, you will have a hard time saving in the area otherwise with the camp site. Trust me, you will want to save after every flower, because you will have packs of wolves and bears come at you from out of nowhere in this area.
The final challenge to complete is the Hunter challenge. This is pretty easy for the most part, I just don’t like hunting for bears. The last two levels will require you to kill and skin the four legendary animals: Khan the Jaguar in Mexico, and then Lobo the Wolf, Gordo the Boar and Brumas the Bear in that order in West Elizabeth. You will also have to melee kill a bear with your knife along the way, which I have yet to do and am not looking forward to. I have read that if you put two shots in their leg with a revolver, it will slow them down and weaken them, allowing you to run up and knife them for the kill.
One way or another, in order to get 100% completion, you will need to earn legendary status in all four categories, so just keep that in mind as you progress through the game.
There are six different ways to gamble, and you will have to win at all of them in order to get 100% completion. The six games are:
Five Finger Filet
One way or another, you will find yourself playing all of these games in order to get scraps for the outfits, so this shouldn’t be an issue. There are also achievements attached to playing poker, Liar’s Dice and Horse Shoes, so odds are you will be trying to go for these as well.
There are 19 stranger quests in the game, but only 18 of them count towards 100%. The one optional quest is called “I Know You,” and can only be obtained while playing as John Marston. It is definitely a cool mission, so I’d seek it out anyway. The 18 quests you need to make sure you take care of are:
Deadalus and Son
Eva in Peril
Flowers for a Lady
Let No Man Put Asunder
Lights, Camera, Action
Love is the Opiate
Remember My Family
The Wronged Woman
Water and Honesty
Who Are You to Judge?
“California” has been the most frustrating for many to find so far, as it seems to be the only one you really have to go out of the way to find. You can find Sam Odessa next to a rock by a very obvious archway north of the Scratchin Post. “Remember My Family” cannot be completed until after the main story when you are playing as Jack Marston. It will be your favorite part of the game in which you play as Jack Marston. You’ll have to seek out a US Marshall near the train station in Blackwater to get this quest.
There are five rare weapons in the game and they will become available as you progress through the story. Three of them can be purchased in Blackwater (Mauser Pistol, Evans Repeater, Carcano Sniper Rifle) and two can be purchased in Thieves Landing (Lamat Revolver, Semi-Automatic Shotgun). You get an achievement for buying your first one, which for me was the Semi-Auto shotty. If you go to the weapon shop and don’t see any of these available yet, just check back later.
And there you have it folks, everything you will possibly need for 100% in Red Dead Redemption. Here is a quick guide to recap:
Gang Hideouts: 7
Stranger Quests: 18
Rare Weapons: 5
Right now I am sitting at 97% even and hoping to finish up my last 3% this weekend. Best of luck, and stay tuned for our another session of Achievement Mastery 101 next Friday!
UPDATE: Nailed down 100% today:
This review was originally written by me for analoghype.com.