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Nearly impossible Red Dead Redemption 2 missions

Red Dead Redemption 2 made its mark on 2018 with its intricately detailed open world and believable cast of characters. Rockstar Games' odyssey through the dying Wild West took the community by storm, and for a couple weeks, it was the game on everyone's mind. The engaging story dug its spurred heels deep into fans, rewarding them with a fulfilling albeit heart-wrenching ending.

During the lengthy cowboy journey, however, some snags occasionally interrupt the overall narrative. The gameplay and combat are simple enough for the most part, but certain secondary objectives bog down the experience, leading to some mission failures. There's nothing like starting a mission after a few hours of free roaming only to be blocked by some artificial difficulty. You can waste hours on the same mission, trying multiple times to stop seeing a game over screen.

So here are some of the toughest missions to complete in Red Dead Redemption 2. Spoilers await below, so if you haven't seen the credits roll, this is your only warning.

Don't lose your head over this mission

While traveling between camp and Valentine in the early parts of the game, you might run across a gruesome scene under a small train bridge. In the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, a gory killer lurks in the shadows, ending lives and leaving mangled bodies behind to be found. Examining the victim's severed head yields one-third of a map, implying there are two other parts to find at two other bloody locations. Collecting all three creates a map leading to the serial killer's hideout and a morbidly delightful encounter.

This mission, called "American Dreams," has one flaw that makes it hard to do organically: finding the parts of the map. None of the crime scenes leave hints pointing to the other ones. Arthur has to stumble upon three bloody aftermaths by pure chance, and considering how large the world is, it's easy to miss this stranger mission entirely. While the other missions in this list might be hard to finish, this one dares to be the one that's hard to even start.

This race ends in a draw

Throughout Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur encounters his former lover, Mary Linton. Their relationship fizzles out, considering his gunslinging outlaw lifestyle. She serves to flesh out Arthur's character arc later in the game, and it starts with "We Loved Once and True." You can turn down the quest, but where's the fun or romance in that?

Mary's brother, Jamie, has been taken by the Chelonians, a cult of religious fanatics. It's up to Arthur to liberate the impressionable youngster from these kooky zealots, forcibly if necessary. No matter how you convince the cult leader to step aside, Jamie always flees on horseback, and boy howdy does he know how to ride. Not only does he move quickly, he takes you down a path full of obstacles. One false move knocks you off your horse, risking the entire mission.

The final leg of the mission proves tricky if you're not careful. After catching up to Jamie, Arthur pleads with the boy, asking him to go back to Mary. Jamie instead threatens to shoot himself in the head with a revolver. Now, Arthur has to use the newly introduced draw mechanic to shoot the gun out of the boy's hand. This moment leaves little room for error, making it one of the more delicate segments early in the game.

Starting a fight you can't finish

Micah Bell does everything in his power to make the player hate every fiber of his being, and he succeeds with flying colors. His debaucherous odyssey begins in "Blessed Are the Meek?" The infamous mission leads to the slaughter of Strawberry, a sizeable bounty on your head, and a second holster. Arthur goes on a solo mission to break Micah out of jail. After the prison wall literally breaks, Micah shoots his cellmate. He runs into town and guns officers down, all while Arthur tries to leave quickly. Instead, he reluctantly joins Micah's bloody crusade, perpetrated for the sake of some extra guns.

Micah himself is the biggest threat to the mission. To succeed, Micah needs to stay alive. That's not easy when he consistently rushes ahead of Arthur. In another example of classic Rockstar game design, companions flail about in the face of enemies. The player always racks up the highest kill count, making you the driving force to every mission. While that design choice makes you feel important, it also leads to dead companions when they charge forward. When a companion dies, the mission ends.

With as much hassle this mission gives you, that second holster barely serves as a just reward.

The Wild West, uh, finds a way

For a cowboy with a lot of blood on his hands, Arthur does some pretty absurd odd jobs. One of the weirder missions comes from Deborah McGuiness, the self-proclaimed "leading amateur paleontologist" in the nation. She starts the aptly named mission "A Test of Faith." She wants to find all the dinosaur bones in the area, so she does what any sensible person would: hire a cowboy. The buck passes onto Arthur, who now has to scour the land for 30 well-hidden dinosaur bones.

If you played Red Dead Redemption 2, you know most missions hold your hand at every juncture. At the very least, a search radius pops up on the mini map, giving you an idea of where to go. But the game gives neither a quest marker nor a verbal hint as to the fossils' whereabouts, so you're relying on your own observations of the landscape around you (or a walkthrough). This mission, much like the few other fetch quests you find, flies in the face of Rockstar's primary game design, and it's tedious to boot.

Fish out of illegal waters

When you think about the people Arthur meets on his travels, he leads a pretty eclectic life for an uneducated cowboy. He mingles with a French artist, the mayor of a major city, a mad scientist, and an amputated Civil War veteran, sometimes all within a single day. One of these friends is Jeremy Gill, a famous fisherman. Jeremy wants to make wall-mounted trophies out of the 13 legendary fish in the area, and who better to catch them than a gruff, amateur fisherman? This kicks off the mission "A Fisher of Fish."

For the most part, catching the fish is pretty easy, but one of them can give you a lot of trouble, especially with the law. The legendary bullheaded catfish lives in a river delta in the western part of Sisika Penitentiary. To reach the island, you need to get lucky and find a nice boat off the west coast of the mainland. Then you position yourself and cast a line, but keep in mind that you're in illegal waters at this point. If a guard so much as sees you, your wanted level goes up. Believe it or not, fishing gets hard when you're being hunted.

Stabbed through the heart, and Murfree's to blame

Toward the last chapter of the game, the gang needs to move camp one last time before the ending tears everyone apart. In "That's Murfree Country," Arthur and Charles Smith scout out a place called Beaver Hollow to see if it's suitable for their needs. Everything checks out except for one little snag: an inbred family of crazies called the Murfree Brood call the cave home. Arthur and Charles do what any sensible outlaw would and proceed to murder the Murfrees.

You can choose to go in stealthily with arrows and knives, but helping the Murfrees go out with a dynamite bang is also an option. Regardless of your choice, the fight ends loudly, and you'll rely on your guns. The savage hillbillies go with a more Braveheart-inspired solution, charging at Arthur and Charles with machetes in hand. The cave gets narrow in spaces, and maneuvering around feels limited. Unfortunately, when a Murfree catches you, he'll stab you with the machete, most likely killing you in one hit. The same goes for Charles, whose death also leads to a game over. So sling some lead accurately and quickly before the cold steel of a big knife takes your life.

Arthur's no good very bad day

Red Dead Redemption 2 wouldn't be a modern Rockstar game without a little bit of torture, and Arthur goes through his fair share of it. In "Blessed are the Peacemakers," our favorite cowboy takes one of the worst beatings he's ever received. The mission starts as Micah, Dutch, and Arthur ride to a neutral location to meet Colm O'Driscoll, the leader of a rival outlaw gang. On the surface, both parties harbored peaceful intentions. In truth, however, Arthur and his sniper rifle acted as Dutch's insurance, in case the meeting went south.

After posting up on a cliff overlooking the meeting, you wait around for a bit while watching the tense negotiations. Then you get captured and taken hostage, becoming bait for Dutch and the gang. Arthur's new scars paint a ruthless picture of Colm, who clearly isn't afraid to bring his captive close to death.

When the game puts control in your hands, you must guide a broken, beaten Arthur to freedom. Unfortunately, hanging upside down for hours, suffering some serious hits, and cauterizing a fresh stab wound leaves your character woozy and disoriented. Your vision gets blurry and dark in the already poorly lit night. Some of O'Driscoll's men patrol the camp, and they have guns. You don't. It's a harrowing, humbling situation that might take a few retries to get through.

Try kicking this unhealthy addiction

Arthur Morgan likes his nicotine. The unhealthy addiction becomes more apparent when he finds a man named Phineas T. Ramsbottom and triggers the "Smoking and Other Hobbies" mission. Aside from the amusing last name, Ramsbottom starts one of the worst missions in Red Dead Redemption 2. He collects cigarette trading cards, and he's willing to pay a pretty penny for complete sets of cards.

Here's the issue though: there are 12 sets with 12 cards apiece. In other words, 144 cards await in the vast wilderness. The cards like to hide inside buildings, so you might find them along the myriad quests throughout the game. However, you likely won't finish even one set unless you go out of your way to do so.

The only alternative way to finish this quest is to open a bunch of premium cigarettes, which cost $2.50 per pack at a general store. If you luck out and get all 144 without any duplicates, it costs you $360. But anyone with an addiction to collectable card games knows no one is that lucky. Even then, this process requires patience and perseverance, considering Arthur can only hold a handful of packs in his satchel at a time. Turning in all 12 sets nets you $1,000 and an assortment of small rewards, but it's hard to justify the time and effort.

I would do anything for love, but ...

Penelope Braithwaite and Beau Gray found love in each other, but their families have feuded for generations. They rarely if ever see each other, but thanks to a wandering cowboy who doesn't have anything better to do, their story ends happily ever after. It just takes a lot of work from Arthur.

Early in their relationship, Arthur acts as the middleman and sole mediator between the two. Beau at one point asks him to deliver a love letter to Penelope, but none of the other Braithwaites can know about it. Of course, Penelope awaits at a gazebo in the deepest part of her family's territory. To top it all off, Braithwaite patrols keep watch over the manor grounds. For once, shooting everything isn't the answer, but instead of being a welcome change, the pacing grinds to a halt.

Sniper, no sniping

Let's jump into the epilogue chapters of Red Dead Redemption 2, where you play as our old friend John. The mission "A Quick Favor for an Old Friend" wins the award for most misleading mission title, considering how many hoops you have to jump through. It all starts with Uncle, who recommends building a barn for John's newly acquired ranch. However, John's short on cash, and the bank shows little interest in extending his line of credit. With serendipitous timing, Sadie Adler approaches with another bounty mission and asks John to help.

The duo chases down Ramone Cortez, and long story short, the culprit almost escapes twice before being brought to justice. The real frustrating part of the missions starts after his first escape. Our bounty hunters track him down to a small ravine, where Sadie asks John to cover her from afar with a sniper rifle. Almost immediately after the gunfire begins, she insists that her sniper join the front lines.

To put this in a player perspective, you now have to sprint to Sadie, who's at risk of dying and ending the mission. She's under fire at the bottom of a ravine while Del Lobos gang members rain lead down on her, and you're about to join her in that disadvantageous situation. Despite pushing through a downhill ravine, this mission is an uphill battle, forcing you to run through a small army with a large tactical advantage.

When there's no cover, charge!

In the final story mission of Red Dead Redemption 2, John, Sadie, and Charles track down Micah to his last known location. The three hunger for vengeance, aiming to bring the traitor, who broke up the gang, to justice. The mission, called "American Venom," features an incredible remix of the first game's theme, which accompanies the last leg of the climactic finish. With Sadie and Charles injured, John single-handedly storms the mountain, slaughtering every last one of these no-name cronies as he yells for Micah Bell.

While the power fantasy feels fantastic, it becomes hampered down by one of the most frustrating shooting galleries in the game. While running through this winter wonderland, John finds himself being shot at from all sides. Some enemies take position at the top of nearby mountains, gaining the high ground. Another group will spawn behind you, with one going in for a sneaky tackle that disarms (and more importantly, de-hats) John.

But what's the sour cherry on top of this snowy mountain? You can't take cover anywhere because there isn't any cover. You need to rely on your skills and be quick on the draw, taking out as many enemies as quickly as possible. Leaning on the Dead Eye mechanic makes this section significantly easier, but the finite resource only lasts so long.