Duxcom: Mutant Year Zero


#1

I’ve played for 5 hours and am enjoying it so far. The characters aren’t revolutionary but are fun enough. The game play is a really great improvement on the ‘X:Com’ formula. Real time movement and all the sneaking are great.

I have also been enjoying that the game is set in Sweden, there are all these little non-localized touches like music that plays in a few places and some signage. The further a game is set from NYC the more interested in that setting I get :).

I can tell there are some incoming twists in the story and am excited to play it through to the end. The lack of enemy variety hasn’t bothered me much yet because the level design has been varied enough to keep me entertained.

My only real complaint is that the game is quite hard even on the lowest difficulty setting so that I have become a serial save scummer. If you are picking off enemies around the edges of the main group and miss one important shot. failing to kill that enemy on the first turn, every enemy will quickly swarm and kill you. There are a few abilities that mitigate this but as a result I feel limited in character selection. Still overall a refreshing take on xcom and a solid, fun game.


#2

As a Swede (who grew up where the game is set) who has also played the pen-and-paper RPG this is based on quite a bit, I’m really excited to get stuck into this once I finish my thesis! Bold choice to bring it out on gamepass right at launch.

I’m looking forward to seeing for how long the cycle of “Set up ambush” -> “Firefight” -> “Explore” remains interesting. Hopefully there are some variation thrown in there at fairly regular intervals.


#3

I’m having the most luck with equipping a silenced weapon on all my Stalkers and sneaking around to find all the single enemies wandering away from their group with low HP that I can get right up on and put down in one turn. If you kill them in one turn they don’t alert their friends and you go back into sneaking.

Then once I’ve whittled the enemy force down a bit, posting up for an ambush, swapping in loud weapons and frags if I have em for more damage to try and take at least one enemy down in that first turn and hopefully putting damage on another.


#4

I finished the game up on Normal over the weekend and quite loved it. The stealth-tactics loop never outstays its welcome through the 15-ish hour runtime. I especially liked that there isn’t enough experience in the game world to outpace the difficulty curve, thereby disincentivizing grinding while also making each encounter tense. I did all the side quests, but even that only gave me a slight advantage in the final encounter.

The only thing that was annoying was that I couldn’t figure out how to activate abilities of my characters beyond the first two that show up in the combat UI. Like, with one character I leveled up to mind control and sneak first, but when I then leveled up to chain lighting I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to activate it. I’m not sure if it’s a bug or just poor UI, but it did make the last stretch a bit repetitive using the same abilities I started with.


#5

You swap out mutations in the inventory section, you can only have one major, one minor and one passive active at a time


#6

Huh, completely missed that somehow.


#7

Ok so I got this on release and I’ve been playing a bunch more since then and I’m still having fun. As others have already said the stealth/ambush loop is good and doesn’t get old. But there’s something about the comparison to XCOM that has caused me to interrogate what it is about specific tactics games that I really love vs those that I merely like.

What I’ve realized is that even though the strategy layer in XCOM is pretty lightweight, there’s just enough pressure there to make the tactical layer a lot more engaging for me. On the “hard” difficulty level, Mutant Year Zero’s story/exploration-layer does have quite significant pressure to manage resources, mostly in the form of your stalkers’ HP: if an engagement goes badly you might have to spend what little scrap you have on medkits instead of upgrades. This made each fight feel tense for me, but after a while I just had to knock the difficulty down. Playing on “hard” is… really hard.

I enjoy the stealthy tactical puzzle of trying to whittle down the enemies before “going loud”, but that experience became a little too puzzle-y for me, and on “hard” it was frustrating in a not satisfying way. I think what is lacking is more interesting options during the real time stealth bits (like distracting enemies) and some way of de-escalating after accidentally entering combat. But I suspect that might make it too easy, I’m sure the balancing act would be hard. (as it is I just save scum which is a different kind of challenge that I don’t even mind, although I wish there was a quick save/quick load shortcut)

I think if I’d gone into it knowing this was more like Shadow Tactics but with turn based combat, I would have enjoyed it more from the get-go. That’s not really the game’s fault so much as me getting heart eyes any time someone says the X-word…

edit: I re-read this and realized I come off a bit negative. just want to add that I still love Dux and Bormin and they are my good sneaky boys who I want to protect and want them to protect me.


#8

This thread title is one of the best/worst things I have seen in a hot minute and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it.


#9

Honestly, “best/worst” is a great descriptor of this game’s whole aesthetic. It’s offputting to look at, but you can’t help admire the craft put into making it that way.


#10

Not that Switch ports for any game come as a shock these days, but I was very pleased to read recently that the developers for MYZ:RtE were looking into getting the game on Nintendo’s platform.


#11

I haven’t really gotten into strategy games since the original Advance Wars but this has its claws/beak/hords etc into me. I just love the idea of. There was a few moments where I had a “That’s DuX-Com, baby” with my Stalkers missing three shots in a row with 80% hit percentage and had to rely on good old fashioned PC save scumming. But it’s that magical moment of setting off a perfect ambush. Knocking a Hunter off a high spot with a gaper blast to draw out the medical droid who then drawn over completely out of cover so I can snipe them and get the EMP crit boost I applied to the stealth pistol that just feels so beautifully rewarding.

I think some mechanics could be better explained. Like if you are using pad you can use up and down on the DPad to bring the movement grid up and down which is essential for getting Dux in position and getting Selma around once you unlock her mutation and the leveling system is a bit harsh (That “high road” fight with the Shaman Ghoul is nasty the first time you come across it). But it’s just so earnestly done and leans into its ugliness so much its so charming.


#12

I’m playing this at the moment, and both loving it but also really struggling with the difficulty (Note: I’m a huge tactical dumbass :p) Anyone has any basic tips and pointers? I want to get better :3


#13

Some most basic tips (i.e. if you don’t do these things, you will have a terrible time):

  • Equip a silent weapon on every character. Bormin doesn’t have one at the start, but you can find one for him pretty early. I put the silent weapon in the top slot for each character, because I had a tendency to forget to switch if I didn’t. Upgrade these weapons first.

  • Look for enemies that can be taken out one at a time. As long as they are outside the vision cone of all other enemies, you can take them out without alerting anyone.

  • You have one turn to take them out before they alert anyone. That means that after you trigger your ambush, you can get spotted by the enemy as long as you kill them before your turn ends. You can prevent them from alerting other enemies with stun effects, too.

  • High ground gives both a bonus to hit and reduces your chance to get hit. Use it whenever possible.

  • Take out enemies that can call reinforcements (shamans, zone dog mothers, etc) first.

  • Notice how each mutation is one of three shapes? And how on the inventory screen, there are three slots in three different shapes? You can swap them out there, one of each shape equipped at a time.

  • Buy lots of medkits.

  • If it’s plainly obvious from the first two turns that you are in trouble, reload your save. No point dragging out a fight for twenty minutes that you have no chance with.

Even with all this stuff, I’ve run into some difficulty spikes that have been frustrating and basically make all these tips moot. Still, it’s a very fun, satisfying game. I really like the setting and style, and when a plan does come together, it feels great.


#14

(edit: oops actually this it just elaborating on something mentioned in the previous post but oh well hopefully it’s helpful anyway)

WastelandHound’s post already covers almost everything I would write, but there’s one thing I would add. This is something that I think is a crucial strategy that I completely missed early on in the game.

When you are trying to do a stealth takedown of an enemy, you don’t have to kill them in one turn. It’s possible in the early game and with weaker enemies for all 3 of your Stalkers to have silent weapons and have the damage add up to a single turn takedown, but later you won’t be able to do enough damage for this to work. So you have to use the disabling abilities to buy you more time. For example, Bormin’s Hog Rush ability will knock them down and give you an extra turn (or two, I can’t remember) to shoot them a bunch more with your silent weapons. Multiple characters have disabling abilities for robots which work the same way.

This was something that I just totally missed when I first started playing it. I have to give credit where it’s due, I learned this after getting stuck and looking up a walkthrough. (Note that these videos really are straight up walkthroughs and since the levels are almost like puzzles there’s a spoilery element to the solutions, just in case anyone reading is averse to that kind of thing)

Maybe this is obvious, but figuring this out made the game significantly more fun for me.


#15

Beat you by a few minutes, I guess. But the point about knockdowns and stuns is a good one. There are points in the game where area levels basically double enemy’s hit points. I almost quit in frustration before figuring this stuff out.

Also, to expand a bit in my tip about the three different mutation shapes: DO NOT just buy mutations as you get enough points to unlock them. Plan your way down the skill tree. Don’t waste points on a second mutation for the same slot if you can save up and unlock one for an empty slot first.


#16

Thanks for the help! :slight_smile: <3 Made some progress today.


#17

I’m coming late to the game and getting good info from this thread. Thanks, all! So far I’m having a great time – just a couple of missions in. I had an interesting experience learning how the game’s difficulty settings work, though:

I didn’t realize that the “iron” setting was a toggle that applied to the other three settings, and had selected each in turn just to see how the descriptions changed. I’m Midlife Baby Tactics Gamer, so I returned to Normal after reading through the descriptions, and didn’t catch that I hadn’t turned off Iron. How surprised I was, when: In a last-ditch effort to beat a ghoul I used Bormin’s run and gun move but was cut down by overwatch; the game tried to give me the second move but of course I was bleeding out (Dux already out of commission, mortally wounded just behind a nearby tree trunk), and the game treated that as a turn … and autosaved moments before the game ended! Turns out there’s no way to exit that state, as trying to load that save results in immediate game over without any ability to back out to menus! I had to hard-quit the game, and I couldn’t understand what happened until I restarted and realized that Iron was independent of the difficulty settings.

Restarting turned out to be good for me, though, as there was lots of loot I missed the first time through. Good game.


#18

I ended up restarting after a few hours, too, once I realized I had wasted a whole bunch of ability points and weapon parts.

If there’s one thing I really wish they would patch in, it would be the ability to hotswap loadouts. I’ve reached a point where the mutations I need to use while in stealth are different than the ones I need during open combat, and going into the menus to change them between every encounter gets tedious.


#19

Yeah that would’ve saved me a lot of time. That and an easier way to swap equipment between your squad. Still really dug this game though.


#20

I went through a phase were every time I played it, I thought “Nope! Can’t do it! Too hard!” and then of course, right before quitting I won a battle and with rekindled spirit I went on. Slowly but steadily getting the hang of it now, I think XD