Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and it’s a unique, fun, turn-based adventure, and we’ve come up with a beginner’s guide to help players get started. Combining elements of real-time stealth with the challenging and robust combat system, the game has decently steep learning curve. Even for veterans of the turn-based genre, Mutant Year Zero offers something new and takes a bit of getting used to before a player hits their stride.
Mutant Year Zero provides a few introductory levels before the enemies start getting really challenging, but for some players, it may not be enough time to figure out the balance between using the game’s two dynamic approaches. Even with hints turned on in settings (which we highly recommend doing for beginners), some tactics may not be immediately obvious. Strategies are never fully explained, so there can be a bit of trial and error involved in earlier difficulty-spiking levels in order to progress.
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For those impatient players who just want to see Dux and Bormin make it to Eden safe and sound, Screen Rant has constructed a beginner’s guide. Some tips may be old news to turn-based combat pros, but Mutant Year Zero’s real-time components may need a bit of explaining as well. And with the game’s varying levels of difficulty (including the permadeath “Iron Mode”), players of all backgrounds could always use a little help.
Players traverse the Mutant Year Zero level in real-time, and the game transitions into turn-based combat either once the enemy spots them or when the player decides to ambush. It’s very important to make sure to use the characters’ flashlights sparingly. When they are turned on, the characters move significantly faster and can more easily spot hidden loot, however, the enemy’s radar is larger. Turning the flashlights off means the characters move in stealth; this approach is always better when enemies are nearby.
Once the player notices a group of enemies, they should plan how they want to approach. Thinking about which side flank is best and which areas provide solid cover are key to taking an easy victory. The enemy will not have a turn to attack until the heroes are revealed; use this to your advantage. Even after selecting “ambush,” there’s still a buffer period before attacking, so using turn-based only abilities before an engagement can help provide players the advantage they need. It’s also important to remember that although an enemy might appear to be alone, there are often reinforcements close by. So even if it looks like you might win the numbers game, the tide of the battle can turn in an instant. Always take the stealthy approach.
Know When to Fight
Very early in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, players will encounter an enemy at level 50, a much higher level than the player at that time. Mutant Year Zero warns the player to avoid the fight, because they will most certainly die. It’s a helpful bit of advice that comes in handy more often than one might think. Although the difference in level is never quite as extreme, players will often encounter enemies that are a bit more advanced than their team. Remember, not every engagement is one worth taking. Though it’s sometimes difficult to avoid all of the enemy’s radars, sneaking through them carefully and slowly might be the best option.
In that same vein, it is possible to single out weaker enemies and create different engagements, where not all of the bad guys are fighting together. With a single button press, players can split up their team; moving them around the map separately can provide an advantage before the turn-based combat even starts. When the player has found one spot that works for a single character, they can choose to engage then or regroup with the team for all the firepower in one spot.
Splitting up has its downsides. Enemies might single a specific character out, taking their health down fast. By the time a buddy is in range to revive, it may be too late. Players should keep in mind distance for combat when splitting up. Operate in a range where you aren’t too grouped up and one grenade can impact all characters, but not too far that Dux, Selma, or Bormin can become isolated instantly.
Explore and Retrace Your Steps
Stepping away from combat for a second, its valuable to remember that the only way to pick up valuables in Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is to explore. The levels aren’t vast, so it never takes up too much time, but it is always important. Players will find junk that can be traded in for weapon upgrades and more valuable junk that can be used to upgrade team abilities. Additionally, the world is littered with medkits and grenades, which you can never have enough of, as well as special hats and armor. These latter-mentioned rarer items provide stat boosts and perks, so every character in your party should have one if possible.
Sometimes Mutant Year Zero levels will be locked off because the level cap is too high. Players should make sure that once they’ve leveled up, they retrace their steps and go back to these areas. There will definitely be loot and likely rarer items there as well. Using the map to fast travel makes something that could be tedious quick and fun.
Turn-Based Tactics Tips
It’s helpful to remain stealthy throughout as much of the combat as one possibly can. Right from the start, Dux is equipped with a silent crossbow, allowing him to take out enemies in range without alerting other enemies. Players can wait until a scavenger has moved far away from his friend and isn’t on their radar, then attack. Picking enemies off one-by-one with silent weapons makes fighting the whole group later a lot easier. A 3v3 is a breeze compared to a 3v5. Selma is also equipped with a silent weapon (a pistol) so keep her and Dux apart for maximum silent efficiency. All characters can change their equipped weapons, so giving each of them a silent weapon is best if you want to take this approach.
Another key element to the turn-based combat is taking up the right positions. The game highlights when the character receives half-cover or full cover bonuses. Even though the enemy can shoot through the cover, it’s important to take a stance behind a wall or rock to grant the hit and critical hit bonus. Gaining the high ground in a fight also helps with the characters’ chance to hit, so finding cover on the high ground is often the best bet.
Page 2 of 2: Even More Mutant Year Zero Tips & Tricks
Visit the Ark
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden makes it easy to travel between levels, so players should take full advantage of this opportunity. Go to the Ark (the game’s hub world of sorts) between every single or every couple of levels. Not only will players be treated to a short story from the Ark’s Elder, but they will also have the ability to visit each of the shops housed in the neon city. Mutant Year Zero players should upgrade their weapons, purchase team abilities, and take a look at the wares of the shopkeeper, Iridia. She often has a new weapon for purchase, but if you can’t afford that, then stock up on grenades and medkits. They’re relatively cheap and players can carry as many as they want. In later fights, these items are necessary to survive.
Delta’s upgrades are also very important to keeping guns relevant once players encounter harder enemies. Don’t feel attached to any particular weapon as you will find better ones, but make sure to always equip attachments like scopes to improve the range and damage of your firearms.
Take Out High-Priority Targets First
After the player has set up in a solid position prior to combat, they should identify which enemies should be eliminated first. There are many different enemy types, from pyros that throw grenades, to stalkers that try to flank the heroes and land melee hits. To win the fight, knowing which enemies to prioritize is key. Take out healers and alerters first. Healers can revive dead squad mates or heal heavily damaged ones, and there is nothing worse than seeing all your hard work disappear with a well-placed medkit. Alerters will call in reinforcements, which is always a bad thing, so take them out before they can make a sound.
After those enemies are gone, most of the other enemies can be dealt with in any order, depending on the individual’s playstyle. We’d recommend “putting down” the Zone Dogs fast, as they can move great distances and their bites hurt, then following that up by taking down grenadiers. Their area-of-effect and damage-over-time outputs can make the whole team wish for a re-do.
Use Grenades Effectively
Though Mutant Year Zero focuses on weapons and player abilities as the main tenants of its turn-based approach, there’s a third element that is also key to winning battles: grenades. Each character can equip two grenades prior to a fight, so players should make sure they use these slots efficiently. Vary it with two different items, perhaps a Molotov and a grenade, or a grenade and a smoke bomb. Throw them when enemies are grouped up for maximum damage. And remember to keep a hold of those smoke bombs for when your heroes are affected by burn damage; it nullifies the effects.
Level Up and Equip
Last, but far from least, it’s important to level up heroes and equip the best weapons and loot you have in your arsenal. Do this before every encounter, not just at the start of the level or after visiting the Ark. Players should always have at least one medkit and a few grenades before engaging a group of enemies.
Character abilities are also necessary for later fights, so make sure to spend XP wisely. Mutant Year Zero isn’t generous with its points for abilities, so upgrade the characters to your playstyle, but remember your play-style should always incorporate stealth over pure firepower.
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