Warning! Reading this guide may irreversibly damage your gameplay experience! Use only if you’ve already completed the game’s story and there is nothing to scare your there anymore.
Tips and Tricks
There are a lot of things in this game that are made to make you think or do whatever game designers were intended to. They’ve used several in-game mechanics to create the necessary “there is no way out” and “we are doomed” setting. They’ve succeeded. There are some game design solutions I’ve never seen before that makes this game interesting. I hope the game will get couple of BAFTA’s awards for this.
Here I’ve tried to describe some of those game design tricks to help you with a more efficient playthrough. Remember! I’ve warned you! This will damage your gameplay experience!
Gameplay in General
The game keeps rotating your radar every time you see a cut scene. For some people it may result in fatal direction-finding mistakes. This significantly adds to claustrophobia and overall “we are doomed” atmosphere. Rotate your radar with Q and E keys and keep your “North” always up. This way you will never miss the right turn.
The Hunt, the Massive onslaughts and Second Tier Xenos are different events and they can be happening simultaneously. So, when you will receive a message that you’ve survived the onslaught – don’t pack your sentry guns – the Hunt and others are still going for you.
Don’t listen to your marines. Don’t trust them. If they say that everything is OK – it’s not. This especially crucial when you have the Hunt and the Massive onslaught happening in the same time. Their voice-over is made this way to confuse you. Trust only your radar and aggression meter – they are your best friends. The Devs made a good job with sounds and voices – its realy confusing and can cost you a reload.
Please, kill me
The game has a very annoying tutorial that prohibits you from choosing your team for the first mission. And all 4 marines on that team sucks. They have only 35% accuracy while other marines on Otago have around 50%. Don’t waste your time leveling them up and don’t put any resources for them. During your first mission in Dead Hills just return to Otago as soon as possible. Pick another 4 marines with better accuracy and return to Dead Hills. OR, if you are a really bad guy – let some of the first marines die. Then get back with a second team to collect their dog tags – this will give you an additional xp for your team.
When you are choosing marines, you will notice that everyone of them has a bad habit/trait. Your first reaction will be to remove those traits with a Redemption. Don’t do this. Actually, there are only a couple of traits that are really bad, for example – Stubborn (when you cannot choose which perks to level up). Everything else is a minor nuisance. Consider those bad traits as a “cost of doing business”. Conspirator – minus 10 stress during rest? You will get the same 10 stress during a fight in a couple of seconds. Minus 20 resources from kleptomaniac? The same 20 resources you may pay for additional med kit or another wrench in the beginning of the mission – it’s not crucial. Same goes for minus 1 ammo for the start – plenty of ammo on locations. Think twice before choosing Redemption – you may find a much better use for this skill point. We tend to go for a perfection. People are not perfect – just let them be.
You may hate me for saying this, but this game is basically a Tower Defense game. The only difference is that your “Tower” here is moving. In all TD games your objective is to kill enemies before they reach your base. This can be achieved by keeping mobs at longer range where they can’t hurt you (avoiding enemies or sniping them from a distance), placing turrets on the enemy’s path, creating a special path for monsters and slowing them down by building barricades and leading them to your turrets. Same goes here.
Corridors VS Cozy Rooms
It’s in our nature when we are afraid, we are trying to make a safe heaven by staying in a small cozy room with just one entrance and a fortified door. In Aliens DA those small rooms are used as a save points where you can rest. But they are not actually safe. If you are in the middle of the Hunt or a Slaughter is coming for you and you don’t have time to wield the doors and hit the “Rest” button – don’t stay in a small room. In this game you need as much line of sight/fire as possible. You need time to kill aliens and that time is defined by the distance they need to cover while under your fire and the time it takes them to get to you. So, try to make your stand In a big room or preferably In a long narrow corridor where aliens will have to run a long distance to reach you and can stay in your line of fire as long as possible. Use Suppression, upgrade your Gunner to have even slower suppression, use Incinerator unit to create hot “traffic jams”. Those are basic tactics for a tower defense game after all.
Skill to Kill
The main objective for you team is to survive. This can be achieved by killing enemies faster. But weapons here won’t help you with that. To make your team more deadly you need more critical shots and better accuracy.
Skills / Attributes
- Dead Eye – if you spent 3 skill points, it will give you 38% critical hit and dismembering chance – that’s a real killer.
- Sharpshooter – 15% to accuracy on level 3, pretty expensive. Use it only if you already have “Dead Eye” lv3 and a “Mind of Steel”
“Aiming Sight” – 5% for just 30 resources it’s a good investment in to your accuracy.
A marine with a 50% of initial accuracy + Aiming Sight + Sharpshooter lv3 will get 70% accuracy. With a level 3 Dead Eye (38% crit) will get around 26% of instant kiil chance per shot. That’s a lot!
It may sound crazy at first, but do not invest in HP or Armor – they won’t save you. As in any tower defense game – if you are at the point when enemies can hit you – you are already lost.
Death by a reload
As all your marines are firing at the same time it means that they will run out of ammo at the same time. In most cases it means death to your squad. Use manual reload for each marine. Consider 30 rounds a threshold – if you have less than 30 and there is a Hunt on the way – reload. There is also an R key to reload all weapons, but use it cautiously or you will lose a lot of ammo.
Well, technically, it reduces stress build-up speed which is good. If you will invest some skill points in let say “Bold” skill on one marine you will have your team in a disbalance. Imagine that you have 30% stress on one marine and 70% on others. To solve this, you can use 1 wrench and spent some time in a shelter or use 3 med kits. But we tend to use med kits because it’s faster and they are available. However, this will result in a situation when you will need those med kits, and there won’t be any around. So, the better solution is to use 1 wrench and rest. And if you are going to rest anyway there is no point in leveling up your bravery.
- “Pouches” – every marine need pockets. Wrenches and med kits are very useful in large quantities.
- “Wider Clip” – 20% to bullets capacity In one clip is much better than just 1 “Ammo Bag”. “Wider Clip” works for all ammo you will find during the mission.
As you may have already read, the game pushes you to have two teams so you can use a deployments while one of the teams is resting. I’ll just add here that you don’t need two identical firing teams. Make one a Recon and another a Firing team. You may have heard, that people are saying that some classes are useless – in example a Medic. Well, it depends on a situation. In a queen fight the Tecker is useless and so on. Start a mission with your “Recon” squad (Sergeant, Recon, Tecker, Newbie), complete non fighting related objectives and then move in with your “Firing” team (Sergeant, Gunner, Gunner, Medic, etc). Yes you can have two all-around teams, but if you want some diversity and more immersible gameplay consider my proposal.
If you want to play your level 10 marines as much as possible and not only in the last two missions, you need more xp than just from a 100% completion. Onboard training is a good thing but it will give you just 2 xp per day and it’s not available on day one. The solution is to get back to a mission for some alien slaughter (remember that you can return any time, even if you have completed every objective on the map). However just killing aliens won’t work. XP is granted for massive onslaughts and bosses like Crusher etc. So find a good place on a map, preferable somewhere in a vicinity of your APC, place your sentry turrets create a shooting gallery and abuse aliens.