Throughout the walkthrough I will assume you are playing on very hard difficulty. If you are doing a play through on a lower difficulty, the enemies will have less health and deal less damage than I am assuming they do in my walkthrough.
In the game, you will control of squad of 2-3 characters who explore smaller individual maps in the Zone connected to each other. Each map area is small enough to fully explore yourself, and while I will point out as much loot as I can for you to pickup, I encourage you to explore each area yourself as you may find loot that I missed. At the end of each map area in the walkthrough, I say how many weapons parts (used to upgrade weapons) and scrap (used to buy items) I find in each area, so that you can compare with how much you found yourself.
Within each area, there are enemies scattered about that we will attack and kill. Every enemy has a detection radius which is very clearly visible via a red or white line circling the enemy. If you move the squad member you are controlling inside an enemy's detection radius, they will be alerted to your position. Not only does this make them attack you, but they will also alert all nearby enemies to your location. This can cause combat to spiral out of control for you very quickly. You never ever want this to happen. Instead, for every single combat encounter in this game, you want to actually ambush the enemies to enter combat with them. Doing so allows you to kill them during your combat turn which prevents them attacking you and also alerting any nearby enemies. Note that only the squad member you are actually controlling is capable of alerting an enemy. If your other squad members are inside the enemy's detection radius while the one you are controlling is outside of it, then the enemy will not be alerted.
There are two types of weapons in the game, silent and loud weapons. There are only a few silent weapons and are labelled as such when you look at them in your inventory. Using silent weapons on an enemy will not alert any other enemy units in the area. However, using a loud weapon on an enemy can potentially alert other enemy units in the area to your location. Whether or not the other enemy units are alerted depends on how far away they are from where you shot the loud weapon. I do not know the exact distance away you need to be from an enemy to be able to use a loud weapon without alerting other, but generally a distance of 20 spaces seems to work. When we are ambushing enemies, most of the time we will be using silent weapons to kill them. I will let you know when it is ok to use loud weapons or not. Pay attention to which weapon I specify to use in the walk through. Silent and loud weapons can also be upgraded using both weapons parts to deal more damage and mods to improve weapon range, critical damage, or add modifiers to the weapon. In the walk through, I will tell you which weapons to level up and what modifiers to put on each weapon.
At your disposal you also have grenades you can use during combat. The two most useful are the hand grenade and EMP grenades. Make sure you save any hand grenades and EMP grenades you find for when I say to use them in the walkthrough. Without them, there are a number of combat encounters that will be much more difficult. If you are running low, you can actually purchase more grenades from Iridia's shop at the Ark using scrap. The only thing you should ever purchase from Iridia's shop (not including med-kits) are these hand and EMP grenades as we can never have too many of them. Do not bother using your scrap on anything else in the shop.
In addition to your weapons and grenades, you characters also have mutations which are special abilities to help yourself during combat. Only a few are useful and will be actually used in the course of the walk through. There are achievements related to using some of these mutations on enemies. After using a mutation however, it needs to be recharged until you can use it again. Mutations are recharged by killing enemies. Generally killing three enemies will recharge your mutation. There are a few combat encounters where we will need to use specific mutations in order avoid taking any damage. I would recommend skimming ahead a bit in the walkthrough to see if a mutation is needed during an upcoming encounter. This way you won't accidentally use a mutation earlier and have it be disabled when we actually need to use it.
The best strategy for the game is to maximize how much damage we can do with our silent weapons. The more silent weapon damage we can do, the more isolated high level enemies we can silently kill without alerting other enemies to our location. When we have cleared all of the isolated enemies in an area and just have a smaller group of enemies remaining, we can use our loud weapons to finish them off as there is no one we need to worry about them alerting.
If during combat, your character's health drops to 0, they will begin bleeding out. What this means is that you have a few turns where you can use a med-kit to heal them otherwise they will die. Since we are going to be playing on Iron Mutant, if they die, that death is permanent. You will also void the related achievement if that happens. If however, you finish combat before they bleed out and die, then after combat they will be revived with just 1 health point at which point you can heal them. Therefore, if a squad member begins bleeding out, either finish combat within the next turn, or rush to go heal them with a med-kit and proceed with finishing the combat encounter with your squad fully alive. However, healing a squad member during combat though is not the optimal way to heal them. Obviously, if they are about to bleed out, then heal them. But healing a squad member during combat only heals them for a handful of health points. If you heal the squad member outside of combat (which done by going to the inventory tab and pressing ), then you will heal the squad member to full health, no matter what their original health level was.
My final note about gameplay is that I have written this walk through using the techniques I used to get through the game. There are numerous ways to play through this game, and I am sure some of you may find or see more optimal strategies than mine. That being said, following the strategies I have laid in the walk through will allow you to get through the game on the hardest difficulty without too much trouble.
Save file tricks
Before we get started playing the game, I want to share a save file trick that can help you significantly during your play-through where Iron Mutant is enabled. Because Iron Mutant disables manual saves, your game will only autosave any time you enter/leave an area, open a chest, or after every combat turn. The 'trick' allows you to reload a combat turn even though we are playing with Iron Mutant enabled. If you mess up an attack during your combat turn, you can press , go to the Mutant Year Zero game tile, press , and then quit the game. When you restart the game, it will bring you back to the last auto-save point giving you a chance to redo your turn which should have autosaved right after the previous combat turn. This is a great way to try out a few different positioning without committing yourself too much in case you make a mistake. NOTE: If you try and do this for a mistake made during the very last move of your combat turn, this will not work as the game will autosave right after your move as it passes the turn to the enemy now, and your mistake will be locked in. So make sure you only do this if the mistake is made early in the turn.
Now, if you made a mistake and want to undo some gameplay from several minutes ago instead (or even undo a full combat encounter that did not go quite as well as you wanted), we can make that happen as well. For instance, say I engaged a group of enemies to try and kill them, but I made a few mistakes during combat with positioning and my squad members were not behind any protective cover. Now two of my squad members are about to bleed out from enemies getting critical hits on them. Well I cannot use the trick I just mentioned above because if I quit the game, it will autosave to the last combat turn, and I will be stuck in the same position I was just in when I reload the game. However, we can make use of the fact that Microsoft syncs your cloud data only every 30 minutes or so. Press , go to the Mutant Year Zero game tile, press , and select Manage Game & Attachments. Go to the Saved Data tab, and delete the saved data for the game. Restart the game and it will sync the latest cloud save data which should be 10-20 minutes behind where you were before. You may have to do some trekking to get back to where you were before, but 10-20 minutes is a lot less time than starting over the entire campaign because of a fatal mistake which caused a squad member to die. NOTE: Be careful not to accidentally quit the game while you are doing this as the cloud save will sync immediately upon quitting the game. This means when you delete the save data and reload in, you will be stuck right back where you were.
With all of that out of the way, let's dive into the walkthrough!
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