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.
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.