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(Pocket-lint) - Owners of the ultimate edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 gained access to the Red Dead Online beta yesterday and each day this week it will be opened to a wider audience.

Today, Wednesday 28 November, those who played the game on launch day - 26 October - will gain access. Then it's the turn of those who played it between 26 October and 29 October. Finally, this Friday, all players will be able to jump in. It is completely free to play.

We've played it ourselves already and, like the main game, it goes through a series of tutorial missions to get anywhere and therefore we're yet to see the myriad of options available in the beta. However, Rockstar has detailed five PVP competition modes it calls Showdowns.

PVP Showdown modes

As well as the wide open world and stranger encounters you can interact with and explore, the beta contains the following modes to compete in, either individually or in teams - and one of them is a battle royale mode, yee-haw:

Make it Count is the Red Dead version of PUBG or Fortnite. It arms you with either a bow and arrows or just throwing knives and you have to be the last man standing. Naturally, the play area gradually shrinks, like any good BR mode.

Shootout and Team Shootout are classic gunfight modes that give you and/or your team unlimited lives and a time in which to rack up the most kills.

Most Wanted features a leaderboard system where you want to finish at the top of the pile, gaining points for each kill. However, the higher up the table you are, the more points everyone else gets for killing you.

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Hostile Territory basically tasks teams with capturing and keeping territories of the map.

Finally, Name your Weapon is a free-for-all or team based match that rewards bigger point scores depending on weapons used to defeat opponents.

These game modes will be available to you once you have created your character and completed several "story" missions and unlock the Showdowns. There are also races you can undertake on your horse.

Beta warning

Rockstar has issued an important warning about the beta. It could take weeks or months to test everything required to make a stable, fully-featured Red Dead Online mode and it will be pushing updates regularly that could add new modes and bug fixes along the way.

During this time, it says, your character stats and/or level can be reset. The developer hopes this won't be necessary but it is wise that you don't get too attached to your RDO avatar's abilities.

To that end, in-game purchases will not be available during the beta stage - so at least you won't lose any real-world money in the process.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 28 November 2018.