Just a collection of helpful tips for anybody who wants to challenge themselves in this game, as well as good strategies for staying alive, best weapon combos and so on.
How to Beat Hard Bastard without Dying
The start of Hard Bastard on Ironman is the most difficult part, a lot of it relies on your luck and RNG, so there isn't anything wrong with restarting a couple of times until you get a good starting perk.
Here are top tier perks from my experience:
- Less oxygen consumption. This is the most essential one. On certain ships you'll have less than a minute without oxygen upgrades without this, and honestly running out of air is going to be one of the biggest concerns with this difficulty, so securing this one is a must!
- Being able to see enemies/security on the map. Either one of these would ensure that you never get a surprise Screw/Sentry in your face, but if you had to choose between Enemy/Security, I'd go with the security, since one barely visible camera can ruin your entire ship haul if you're not careful.
- Being able to carry a random 4th weapon (if you have one) with you. Ammo is scarce, and carrying 3 guns is not always optimal and sometimes you will need just more firepower, this is literally the most op perk in the game as it would allow you to randomly bring 33% more firepower with you.
Those are the best possible set up, but you could always swap one for extra health perk at the start, or being able to pick up nearby things automatically (helps greatly in maps with bad visibility or when you're in a rush), and silent running.
1. Don't rush. Don't waste ammo. You'll be weak as a kitten for quite some time, so best starting strategy would be to sneak around, trying to conserve ammo as much as possible. Get the items, get out. Prioritize getting more health and oxygen ASAP, then go with firepower. You don't NEED to always destroy every single turret and enemy, if you can just run past them and save ammo and time - do it. They don't even drop good loot until late game when you have the upgrades.
2. Farm carefully on Level 1 Depth ships. Get a few upgrades and weapons going before attempting to go beyond Depth 1. There is no ticking clock and you can take as much time as you need getting the quest items.
3. Strafe around corners to get cheeky head-shots on enemies. This is a very core strategy that you must learn if you don't want to constantly lose all of your health. Enemy shots are hard to doge, and the best way to avoid damage is to kite them around corners or cover and then chip them one with a 1-2 combo pistol shot.
4. Try to lock the rifts in a cleared room, this is a general tip, but if you see a rift, you try to close the room it is located in, lock the doors around it if possible. Another good idea would be to put a mine on it, if you don't want a Zec to spawn too soon while you're on a big ship.
5. Try to avoid ships with really bad stats. A lot of security elements and a shedload of Janitors? Nope! If the power on a ship is out and you have time, a good idea is to quickly run around and destroy all the key security elements before restoring power. Avoid fire at all costs, it will literally eat away your health, and if you're absolutely going for a ship with a lot of fire hazards, you'll almost certainly need to spend merits to get full protection from hazards as quickly as possible. Ships with no enemies but a lot of rifts are deceitfully dangerous! You'll have to rush as fast as you can before dozens of enemies start swarming you, don't waste a second on these ships! Conversely, fire and electric hazards also harm every enemy except Patients, so if you can get immunity to hazards on a ship, and then camp around a corner that's covered in fire, you can safely avoid wasting ammo.
6. Don't waste merits early game. Save them for when you really need to get an advantage in a bad situation, you'll get all the items as you slowly farm each ship, but I would recommend going to ships with a lot of merits and then stocking up on pistol ammo in the ships if you're running low.
Know Enemy Weakness
I'll give you a few examples of how to counter tough enemies:
Toxin is their weakness. Shoot and forget. Alternatively, zap them and 2 pistol headshots will kill them, don't be aggressive with them, as they can be deadly when combined with other alerted enemies, so always bring a toxin gun if you expect a lot of Spooks.
Rad gun is their kryptonite, can't be poisoned but radiation drops them like flies, they're more annoying than dangerous, but still can be difficult to deal with otherwise. Rivet gun is also a good option if you don't have a lot of rad ammo, but that weapon is kinda weak in other areas, so I wouldn't recommend it. Grenades can also work, but aiming them is tricky and most of the time you'll just have to throw a grenade under your feet and run away since it's the most reliable way to not overshoot it.
Avoid a confrontation with them. Waste of bullets and way too much hp on high Dept levels. Either lock them in a room, shoot them with the mindwash gun, but the best option would be to use the teleport gun and shoot them in a locked room when you get that weapon
Rad gun hurts them even through the shield, otherwise throw grenades behind their shields or use rocket lounger. Teleport gun also is best used on them as well.
If you alerted the cameras and you know secbot is coming and you can't rush to deactivate the alarms, you'll have to deal with him somehow. Teleport gun, obviously. Alternatively drop a lot of mines in a doorway you know he'll be coming through (you can tell by the sound effects displayed over them) or use a reflective shield, otherwise dont try to fight it without stunning since it can mow you down in 5 seconds with 2k hp. However, if you can spare the ammo, you could always just blow him up if you find him, but generally it's not a good idea since he can heal unless you deal a lot of damage fast. Rocket launcher or mines.
Know Your Weapons!
I'll share my thoughts on most weapons and their prons and cons.
Good against cameras, Juves, Janitors, stunned sentries and blowing up Tourists if you can't bait them in tight spots. Invest in increasing damage, as you won't be able to 1 shot security cameras later in the game, unless you maxed out damage. Scribes are somewhat harder to headshot, so I wouldn't recommend using it on them.
Switch out a pistol for a stapler when you run out of ammo, it can pretty much 1 shot every regular enemy on shallow Depth if you run and gun it. Good for taking out cameras on Depth 3+, as well as stunned sentries.
Basically, your bread and butter, good at getting you out of most situations. Stuns every enemy, except Zecs and Patients. Good combo with the Stapler, if you need to take down sentries or quickly dispatch stunned spooks.
Early game essential. Use those to dispatch sentries by throwing them in the radius and shooting at it, or just wait for an enemy to get near. Doesn't always work with Zecs. Use them to trap doors behind you if you're expecting trouble.
It's like mine, but much worse. Deals less damage, hard to aim. only use it against Patients, and sentries if you have no mines left. Last ditch effort against Zecs, but not reliable at all.
Very good early-mid game. Particularly against scribes and spooks. 'Fire-and-forget' stealthing around pretty much can weed out enemies in locations with a lot of free space, not optimal for close quarters. Can shoot multiple darts to stack poison, but typical 1 dart can kill basic enemies if you just leave them alone. Not very good against Juves and Janitors, but can still work if you stealth. Doesn't work on machinery.
Basically a better version of Toxin dart. Can put a toxin cloud on a ship area that will poison all enemies passing through it. Ideal for crowded maps, narrow corridors. Deadly against Zecs. Shoots through their shield. Always pick it when there is a lot of patients. But try to not get irradiated yourself.
Exit to Main Menu!
Okay, this is basically the most important part. If you think you're about to die, or are dying, or if you're unhappy with how the mission is going. Then just quit to main menu and you'll start right before the mission. They patched it, because before you would die if you tried to quit while on a ship, so now you can freely abuse this system at every opportunity!