This is a zombie survival/base building game. You adventure through the plot, build your party and base along the way. However, the way the game is currently designed in EA (version 0.4.0) is a bit quirky.
After playing for 25+ hours on Normal mode over 6 runs, I have found it to be a fun, but somewhat frustrating game in its current state.
As it is still early in development, there are plenty of room for improvement. Hopefully it will mature into a great indy game.
Below are some tips I would like to share with new players:
One thing I would add is that the pistol skill “Head Shot” and shotgun combat skill “Burst” are awesome. For your range characters, those two skills are are ASAP must gets to take out pesky range mobs in the enemy back row. The skills on the pistol and shotgun trees after those two are currently meh and you don’t need to rush for it.
2. Adventuring & Day/Night Cycle:
On the map adventuring is necessary for the party to earn exp and gather resources. The game is divided into Day/Night cycles. The tutorial makes it sound like you should spend the evening building stuff in base, but that’s not the optimal way to go. Because the game has a timed event on Day 27 that will could result in a bad end, maximizing resources, party level, and faction favor during this time window is essential. Thus, plan on having a party out there adventuring Day and Night to the maximum extent possible (subject to members’ health and base building needs).
3. Party members:
Party members in the first part of game (up to Day 27) appears to be limited to 4 NPCs (Lance, Fernando, Sarah, Tessa). A forum post indicated that Issa, who was at Smuggler’s camp, can also join the survivor’s group if you get Smuggler’s factional standing high enough (over 60) and explore the area near Smuggler’s HQ.
However, I had poor standing with the Smugglers during my runs (now I know better), so I didn’t get the chance to recruit her.
But even with Issa, you don’t have a lot of recruitible NPCs available. So keep your party members alive!
This game on normal mode is barely doable with the PC and other 4 NPCs (3 adventuring and 2 manning the camp). So if any of your part members die early on, just kill your PC and start a new run because once you lose a character in early game, things will quickly spiral downwards.
2 of your NPCs should be leveled as adventurers who will accompany the main PC on the road most of the time. The other two should be leveled as base support NPCs who stay at behind guarding base and crafting things.
4. Non-Combat Skills:
There are 4 non-combat skills for map events/camp activities and crafting: Survival, Handywork, Biology, and Alertness.
Survival is used for sneaking events, hunting event on food spots and camp hunting stand. One party member should have it maxed out and that’s should be enough. You can also have other party member to have a point in it so you have someone who can make ammo in camp when the main survival character is busy with other things.
Handywork is used for crafting weapons and armor in camp. One base support NPC with maxed out skill is enough.
Biology is used for crafting medical supplies, gardening, etc. One of your base support NPCs should have it high for gardening.
Alertness is probably the most necessary skill out of the four. It’s needed for lockpicking events on the adventuring map, which give out some really good loots. It’s also critical for guarding the base, because otherwise looters will start showing up after Day 8 or so and steal your hard earned supplies. Moreover, after day 20 or so, if you don’t have a Rank 3 guard (Alertness level 9) posted at your camp in the evenings, the punk will still steal 10% of your supplies on a regular basis even if you have a Rank 2 guard posted. So you need 2 characters with very high (level 9) Alertness skills. The main character to go adventuring, and a NPC to stay at base and guard it 24/7.
5. Camp Building:
The game will have quests for you to build up your camp facilities. Once you have survived past Day 8 event, try to upgrade Outfitter to level 2 and one of your base support NPCs’ Handywork skill to lvl 10 then start upgrading your adventuring party’s armors. The Tier 2/level 4 armor pieces make a huge difference in combat survival (dont worry about Tier 3 since you won’t have enough materials to build them yet). Forge is a close second for upgrade to get better weapons.
Rest of the facilities seem to be so-so in the current version, so upgrade them as you see fit.
6. Factional Standing and Plot Advancement
The game has 3 survivor factions: Independents, U.S. Army, and Smugglers. You start the game at 30 points with each faction (with 100 being the max and 60 being what’s necessary to earn the basic trust of each faction). Each faction has some hostility with the other factions, so the quest you do for one faction may result in negative points to another faction.
The problem is that in order to advance the storyline and not get a bad end on Day 27 in the current version, you need to have a Factional Standing of 70+ with 2 out of 3 factions. Additionally, you still need to have a high enough factional standing with the 3rd party to be able to visit their HQ for plot discussions.
This is how I ended my most recent run at Day 27. While I had a well upgraded base and a party of combat machines in rank 4 armor pieces, I couldn’t get my factional standings high enough to satisfy the plot device. So I got the Bad End 1 accomplishment and decided to write this guide for everyone else.
Based on what I have seen of the game so far, I doubt anyone is able to get past Day 27 on their first couple runs without reading a strategy guide or an online walkthrough.
7. Medals and Subsequent runs:
Rougelike element of this game. You earn Medals from game accomplishments, so once your PC dies this run, you can use the medals to upgrade your PC for subsequent runs. These career upgrades carry over run after run, so the game will gradually get earlier as you unlock more and more of them.
One of the most important career upgrades is the enhanced factional standing and free faction armor at the beginning of the game, which requires maxing out a particular upgrade branch AND achieve factional standing of 60 during a run. So tool tip over the upgrade screen’s level 10 box and make sure you know which faction’s favor you need to curry to max out the skill branch you’re interested in.
Once you max out a particular skill tree (I recommend either melee or ranged first) and get the enhanced faction favor and armor at the beginning of the game, things get much easier. However, that’s a bit of a cold comfort when it took 20+ hours and 6 runs to figure it out.
But overall, this has been a fun game and I enjoyed the time I spent playing it. So even with all these frustrations, I can recommend this game to the fans of the genre. Hopefully this guide has been helpful and will reduce your frustration level.