On this page of the Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden guide, we've contained various starting tips, which should be helpful to learn the most important game elements and to survive a few first battles. We've paid extra attention to unusual game mechanics, which can be difficult to understand.
You can find the descriptions of specific fights in the walkthrough section and in the world atlas. They're especially helpful when you're fighting the enemies with unusual abilities.
- Start the game on normal or hard difficulty level
- Save your progress constantly
- Use stealth and do a reconnaissance before each battle
- Choose the party members and their equipment before a fight
- Use the environment during the fights
- Overwatch can be your foe or friend
- You can kill single enemies without alarming the others
- Quickly kill or stop the problematic enemies
- Use mind control on the strongest opponents
- Carefully search the locations you visit
- Return to the Ark as often as you can
Start the game on normal or hard difficulty level
Mutant Year Zero is a game with a high level of difficulty. While a few initial fights can be won without major problems, most of the later battles will put the team in difficult situations. You can be outnumbered, the health bars of the enemies can be long, or you can meet opponents with unique abilities (e.g. piercing walls or mind control).
If you don't have much experience with tactical turn-based games, choose the normal difficulty. The opponents deal the least damage on it, but more importantly, the regeneration of the health and active abilities occurs after each won battle. For people who've spent a lot of time on the XCOM-like titles, we recommend choosing the hard difficulty. On hard, the enemies deal greater damage, only 50% of health is restored after the fight and cooldown for active abilities doesn't reset. If you want to complete the game on this level of difficulty, you have to be stealthy, plan your actions, ambush the enemies, and use your weapons and abilities wisely. However, you should avoid a situation in which you have to repeat almost every fight, or you are constantly out of stock.
You can change the difficulty level in the pause menu. We recommend you to do it only in extreme cases (if you're short on the supplies or your party is weakened). Before you decide to change the difficulty, try to play the battle in a different way (change the position of your characters, use different party members or other weapons and abilities).
If you're playing the game for the first time, you better ignore the very hard level of difficulty or the Iron Mutant modifier. Especially the latter one since it makes the game extremely difficult. Try to finish the game on normal or hard before you decide to take up the challenge.
Save your progress constantly
In Mutant Year Zero, you can save the game without any limits. The only requirement is to play the campaign without the Iron Mutant modifier because it completely blocks the possibility of creating manual saves. Frequent saving can be viewed as cheating, but by relying on it, you can win many battles without causing serious damage to the team and keep the valuable single-use items.
You should save the game manually:
- After reaching a new location.
- When you approach a group of enemies. Save the game before the fight, i.e. before you start it yourself or before the team members get detected (avoid this type of situation, because you "lose" a turn).
- After your every new turn. It's worth saving the progress using many slots (there are 99 slots in the PC version) because predicting what will happen in the next few turns is very difficult. For example, the enemies can gain an advantage which can make it impossible to win the battle without severe losses. Saving on different slots eliminates this problem because you can return to any moment of the battle without repeating it from the beginning.
- After finishing the battle. Sometimes, you can forget about saving before the next fight, so it's safer to do it that way.
Use stealth and do a reconnaissance before each battle
In the Mutant Year Zero preparations for each battle are crucial. One step is to scout the area to determine the position of opponents and to plan a surprise attack. Each time you see enemies in the distance, do these three things:
- Turn the flashlight off. The team will go into the stealth mode, and it will be harder for the enemies to spot the heroes.
- Save the game.
- Split the party up. Scouting is best when done separately. Only after you come up with a plan, lead the other heroes to the desired places.
During the reconnaissance, try to determine what kind of opponents you are dealing with, where they are or what areas they patrol. Also, pay attention to the elements of the environment that may help you to lead a successful attack - it's worth looking for tall covers (e.g. trees) and for high constructions (e.g. roofs of buildings).
A red circle around an enemy symbolizes their field of view. Do not enter it in an exposed position, because the fight will start immediately and the opponents will take the initiative (make the first move). It's worth knowing that you can hide behind a cover and wait for the opponent to come closer. That way you won't be detected even if the team member is inside the red circle (look at the picture above). It's a good way to get closer to enemies before starting the fight.
Choose the party members and their equipment before a fight
One of the important features of Mutant Year Zero is that you don't have to get back to the base if you want to change the party or their equipment. You can do it at any moment before starting the combat. Any changes should be considered before a new fight and they can involve:
- Active party members. You should change party members considering their abilities. For example, if you are dealing with mutants, it's worth choosing a team member with skills aimed at organic creatures. You can also replace a weakened team member with one who has a full health bar.
- Weapons. Equip your party with more firearms when you are about to have a long-distance fight. Check the attachments of owned guns. For example, when you fight robots, use attachments that guarantee a high chance of stunning them.
- Grenades. By default, each party member can have only two grenades in the active inventory. Chose the type of the grenade that will help you in the fight. For example, equip at least one EMP grenade when fighting robots, and if enemies are standing next to each other, it's worth choosing a Molotov cocktail.
- Abilities. Each character can have only one ability (mutation) from each group (main, sub and passive) at once. If you've unlocked two or more skills from the same category, think what will be more useful to you.
Use the environment during the fights
You should be familiar with this feature if you played the XCOM series. You can use the environment to increase your chances of successful attacks and to better protect your team members against enemy fire.
- Place the heroes behind full covers, i.e. those marked with the completely filled white shield icon (e.g. large trees, caravans or buildings). These covers reduce the damage by providing 75% protection (for a low cover, the protection is only 25%). Note - the hero can still be exposed or weakened by a hostile flanking attack, the destruction of the cover or by the explosives.
- Try to attack the enemies by flanking them or from heights. Attacks from the flank and high surfaces (such as a wagon or building roof) are more likely to succeed. Certain abilities or weapon attachments can increase the chance of critical damage received during this type of attack. When planning a fight or moving the heroes on the battlefield, look for a chance to use it.
- Many elements from the environment are completely destructible. This involves not only walls or fences but also trees or walls of some buildings. You can destroy enemies' covers by using grenades or abilities. However, it works both ways. Be careful during battles in which the Tank appears. His main skill is a charge which allows him to break easily even through larger covers.
Overwatch can be your foe or friend
Overwatch is a mechanism well known from the XCOM series - it allows you to end your own round by going into a standby mode. During the opponent's round, a character on Overwatch can shot someone who enters their field of view. Note that the Overwatch also can be activated by the enemies!
- In Mutant Year Zero, use the Overwatch option always when moving from a cover is associated with a high risk. Unlike in the XCOM 2, you don't have to finish the battle within a certain number of turns. Cautious planning is therefore highly recommended. The exception is when a stronger enemy is heading towards the fighting area. It's worth behaving aggressively and to weaken the other enemies before the stronger one arrives.
- Always observe the behavior of the opponents at the end of their turn. If an enemy enters the Overwatch mode (an example is shown in the picture above), avoid moving to the open field because you can be hit easily. In such situations, it's better to attack from the same place or to activate the Overwatch yourself.
You can kill single enemies without alarming the others
During the scouting, you can spot single enemies that are busy patrolling the area away from the main camp. You can try to eliminate them without alerting the others. There are two main ways to achieve this:
- Using silent weapons - for example, a crossbow (you can buy a second one in the store) and a pistol with a silencer (Selma, who can be found at beginning of the game, uses it). If you manage to eliminate an opponent in a single turn, they won't be able to alert others. Remember to upgrade silent weapons to deal as much damage as possible. It would be helpful if each of the three characters could use a silent weapon in one turn.
- Attacking outside the enemies' hearing range - This is problematic because the game doesn't inform you whether the attack will be heard. It's worth to save the game manually before trying. The advantage of this method is the possibility to use "normal" stronger weapons. This also helps when the selected opponent has a lot of health.
Quickly kill or stop the problematic enemies
A problematic enemy is one who:
- Can call for the reinforcements - for example, Shamans.
- Can heal or resurrect the allies - for example, Med-Bots.
- Can use unique abilities - like mind control.
In battles in which these types of enemies appear, you should attack them using all of the party members. Otherwise, the fight may be significantly longer, and winning can be more difficult.
If there is only one problematic enemy on the battlefield, try planning the first attack to be an ambush. At the end of the first turn, they'll be eliminated or severely weakened. Using abilities such as Knee Shot (available to Dux - it temporarily immobilizes the enemy) and equipment (like EMP Grenade that can stun the Med-Bot for several turns) can be really helpful.
Use mind control on the strongest opponents
The mind control will be available after you release Magnus in the House of Bones and unlock a Puppeteer ability. You have to use this powerful mutation cleverly.
Always use it on the strongest enemy, like mini-boss or Tank (as shown in the picture above). Such action has a few advantages:
- The enemy will stop attacking your party (for a few turns).
- You gain control over the opponent, and you can now attack other enemies.
- Former teammates will attack the controlled enemy. It's worth moving the enemy to an open field, so they'll lose more health points. Even if they regain the control, killing them should be easier.
Carefully search the locations you visit
Every exploration of the map in Mutant Year Zero should involve these steps:
- Explore the area cursorily and do a reconnaissance to determine the location of enemies.
- Attack the groups of enemies and gradually get rid of them.
- Search the area thoroughly only AFTER you killed all of the opponents.
During the exploration, look into the buildings and wagons, and examine the peripheries of the area. These are the easiest places to find something. Loot in the game glows, which helps to locate it. You can find:
- Scrap, electronic parts, destroyed weapons, etc. - you'll need this kind of loot to purchase equipment, supplies and to upgrade a weapon in the Ark.
- A chest with unique treasures (like the one shown in the picture above) - each chest contains a unique weapon or a piece of armor.
- Weapon attachments - they can be dropped by killed enemies. You have to return to the Ark to install them.
- Grenades and first aid kits - it's very important to collect disposable items. You use them all the time, and they are quite expensive in the Ark's store.
- Letters - one of the types of secrets in the game.
- Artifacts - another type of secrets but more valuable than letters. Artifacts can be traded for artifacts skills (e.g. better health regeneration after using a first aid kit).
Return to the Ark as often as you can
The Ark is the only safe location in Mutant Year Zero. You'll reach it for the first time soon after beginning the game. From this moment, you can return to the Ark any time you want to go shopping or restock. Often return to this place - fast travel is free. You can get back to the Ark provided you aren't fighting at the moment (you don't have to return to the area's exits). You don't have to worry about random encounters during the fast travel to the Ark. It's best to return to it after securing and fully exploring each new location on the world map.
After every return to the Ark, do the following:
- Install new attachments on your weapons. Try to install them where they are the most useful, e.g. extend the sniper range or add a chance to stun enemies after using a shotgun.
- Upgrade weapons using weapon parts. Don't rush to upgrade the weapon to the highest level (III). It's better to spend 30 parts to develop a few weapons to the level II.
- Use the artifacts for artifact skills. The most important of them are Deal Maker (better prices in the store), Medic (increased effectiveness of first aid kits), Blaster Master (increased damage from grenades), and Zapper (extended duration of EMP grenades).
- Visit the store and restock your supplies. We don't recommend spending large amounts of scrap on new weapons, armors or upgrades for weapons, because you can find them while exploring the map. Unnecessary items can't be sold. Remember to stock up on grenades (mainly frag grenades and EMP) and first aid kits (at least 4-5) before each new trip.