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‘Metal Gear Survive’ beginner’s guide

13 tips to help keep you alive in 'Metal Gear Survive'

Metal Gear Survive might look like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain when you first start it up, but the zombie-filled survival game is filled with systems and idiosyncrasies that make it very different from its predecessor. The biggest change is its major focus on survival, forcing you to constantly keep an eye on meters that measure your food and water intake. Unlike MGS V, it’s also filled with crafting and base-building mechanics that can be tough to navigate, to say nothing of exploring its zombie-filled world.

While much of the experience of Metal Gear Survive is about exploring and figuring out how to keep yourself alive while you’re in it, there are plenty of little things the game does not tell you that can help you along the way. Here are 13 essential tips that can help you survive and thrive in the strange world of Dite.

Open all crates

metal gear survive beginners guide open crates

The main way you will get new, useful gear in Metal Gear Survive is by finding and unlocking crates. If it’s possible, you want to prioritize opening crates no matter what you’re doing. Crates are where you find the recipes necessary for things like new weapons and gear, which are really the most important things you can find out in the world. You often find them in the buildings near wormhole transporters, but they’re scattered around the game world as well. If you see two blue lights in the dust, that is almost always a crate. Just keep in mind that crates usually have hidden Wanderers nearby, waiting to pounce on you if you make too much noise opening them. If you mess up on the lockpicking minigame to open a crate, you probably need to quickly get away from it to avoid being attacked, before doubling back to make another try at it.

Wanderers can’t get you if you’re above them

metal gear attack from above

Fighting more than one or two Wanderers head-on is a losing proposition. It’s not that the zombies are especially smart or effective — they aren’t — but the trouble is, your character, the Captain, is not an especially great melee fighter, either. You move slowly whenever you swing weapons, and that means fighting will get you hurt or even killed a lot of the time. You will want to bob and weave as much as possible, but if you can find something high to climb like a cargo container, get on top of it. Wanderers can’t climb, and thus can’t reach you if you stand above them. Together with a thrusting weapon like a pole, you will be able to kill a whole mess of them from complete safety.

Your greatest ability is the backstab

metal gear survive backstab

Early in the game, Metal Gear Survive will teach you that if you can sneak up behind a Wanderer, you can instantly kill it by stabbing it in the back. This doesn’t work against all enemies — later in the game, there are bigger, tougher Wanderers that will resist the move — but in all other cases, it should be your go-to in combat. The thing about the backstab is that you can execute it anytime you’re behind an enemy. That makes it very useful when you’re in a fight or defending a location; if you can dodge an enemy’s attack and get behind it, you can kill it with a backstab instead of engaging in combat head-on. When you are spotted, circle around an enemy and you can take them out pretty quickly in most cases.

Nighttime is useful

metal gear survive beginners guide nighttime is useful

Metal Gear Survive‘s loading screen tips will suggest that you can sleep in Home Base once you add shelters or tents because visibility is limited at night, especially in the Dust. Really, though, nighttime is the best time to run your operations, especially if you’re headed into the Dust. Wanderers’ ability to see is greatly limited by the Dust, and even more by the darkness, which means if you crouch and keep your noise down, you can get very close to enemies. You can also easily lose guys who spot you if they can’t hear you at nighttime. Keep in mind that Metal Gear Survive is more of a stealth game than a combat game, so use the night to your advantage.

Always bring fences

metal gear survive beginners guide always bring fences

Most of Metal Gear Survive‘s story missions are either sneaking into a location to find something like a Memory Board, or holding down a position as Wanderers flood toward it. No matter what kind of mission you anticipate, though, make sure you constantly have Normal Fences (or your preferred alternative) in your inventory. You can carry as many as six, and if you ever get into trouble in combat, you can drop them to give yourself a breather. Fences are essential for any defense mission you need to run, which includes opening various wormhole transports, but they’re also likely to save your life if things ever get hairy.

Grab everything you can carry before returning to base

metal gear survive beginners guide grab what you can

Almost every single thing you need or use in Metal Gear Survive comes from crafting. Finding any complete items in the wild is extremely rare, so most of the time you’re going to need lots of materials in order to make weapons and ammo. The trouble is, you can only carry so much junk around before it starts to impact your ability to run or sprint. If you’re headed out on a mission, hold off on grabbing materials unless you’re seeing rarer things. By the same token, though, as soon as you’re preparing to head back to base, it’s worth grabbing every single thing you can carry. All your materials are immediately dumped into your base’s repository when you return, and playing Metal Gear Survive is a lot more fun when you’re not hunting the one specific resource you need.

Use wormhole transporters to quickly gather gear

metal gear search near wormhole transporters

Occasionally you need to gather materials for things like building base defenses before major moments in the story campaign. When that happens, the best way to get together a lot of materials quickly is just to bounce around to each of the wormhole transporters you’ve unlocked across the map and scavenge all the stuff that’s in the small bases that surround them. You will often find iron, water, and wood in just about all these places and you can instantly transport it all back to your base as soon as you grab it by stepping back through the transporter. For most of the materials you might need in the game, this is the quickest way to get them with the least amount of frustration.

If you need food, try logging out

metal gear survive beginners log out for food

Especially early in the Metal Gear Survive story campaign, you’re likely to find yourself struggling to keep enough food around and avoid dying. If you’re starving, though, one neat trick is that you can log out of the game and then log back in. Usually, this will cause the gerbils, sheep and occasionally goats that are located near the Home Base to respawn, which means you can run out to the west side of the base and get some more food. It will also usually make animals that are often found at other locations pop up, which can help if you’re struggling to find reliable food sources early on. Another useful trick: Once you unlock and build the cook fire with a hanging pot for your base, you can make clean water and use it to make soups. They will replenish both your thirst and your hunger stats, making them much more useful when you’re out in the field.

You can’t leave fortifications behind, so don’t try

metal gear survive beginners guide don't leave fortifications

It’s tempting to start fortifying a position for some of Metal Gear Survive‘s bigger defense missions, then leave to go craft more materials in your base to bring back. Don’t do it, though: Any fences or other defensive items you leave outside of your base will be gone when you return. Your defense capabilities in the field are limited to what you can carry, and that goes for items such as mines as well. If you lay down a bunch of defenses in a place and then leave, they will be gone when you return and you lose all the resources you spent to create them. So make sure when you’re going to prep to hold a position, you bring everything you need with you. In fact, it’s worth it to over-prepare in most cases when you have to defend a position in the field, like when you dig at a singularity.

Don’t bother building base fortifications until you absolutely have to

metal gear survive beginners dont build base defenses

As you go through the campaign in Metal Gear Survive, you unlock more and more things you can build in your Home Base. In addition to crafting stations, you will start to have options to build defensive additions, including fences and towers. Don’t bother building them early in the story campaign, though. There are specific moments in the story when you need to defend your base, but otherwise, you can save your resources for other endeavors. Keeping your base well-defended is only really important after you’ve finished the campaign’s story, so don’t go crazy investing in defenses.

Copper, gunpowder, and bottles are some of your most important resources

metal gear survive beginners gunpowder copper bottles

When you’re out in the world looking for resources, the things you probably want more than anything else are gunpowder and copper. Those are the key elements for making most bullets in the game. Ammo is hard to come by, so you want to save your guns for tougher missions and emergency situations. Keep an eye out for the stuff you need to make ammunition and prioritize it over other materials. You’re always going to wish you had more bullets for your guns, so do yourself a favor and try to gather what you need to make ammo before you’re hurting for it.

Probably the most important other items you can find are empty bottles. You can’t draw water from out in the world without bottles to put it in, and you can’t clean it at your campfire to avoid infection without bottles as well. If you ever see empty bottles in the world, grab them. You’re likely to wind up with double-digit extra bottles in your base inventory before long, but you will always need them and finding them as you’re dying of thirst is always a major pain.

Don’t forget to repair

metal gear survive beginners guide repair

All of your gear — from your oxygen tank to your weapons to your clothes — degrades over time. Whenever you return to Home Base, you likely want to replenish all of your consumable items, like food and fences, at various crafting stations. While you’re here, though, don’t forget to repair your gear. Early in the game, it’s likely you will damage your oxygen tank by refilling it with Kuban energy in the field, which makes it less efficient. You’ll always want to make sure you fix it up when you return to base. Your weapons are also something you need to keep an eye on, though. Even when you use melee weapons to bash things like drums and boxes to get iron and wood, you damage them. Weapons become significantly less effective as they take damage, so make sure they’re always in good condition. You’ll find that a bow or a spear at less than 50 percent durability becomes pretty close to useless in an emergency, for instance, so don’t forget to top them off when you come back for a breather.

Accept your daily orders

metal gear survive beginners guide accept daily orders

When you fire up Metal Gear Survive each day, your first stop should be to talk to Virgil in your Home Base and go to the “Orders” menu. Here you’find daily tasks, which include things like hunting certain animals, gathering certain plants or killing a set number of Wanderers, that reward you with small amounts of supplies for completing them. It’s important to remember to grab your orders before you start playing in earnest because most of the daily tasks will be things you will probably end up doing anyway. It’s a system that basically offers you free resources just for playing the game as you normally would, but if you forget to accept your slate of daily (or weekly) orders, you have to repeat the actions to get the rewards.

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Phil Hornshaw
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Phil Hornshaw is an author, freelance writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of The Space Hero's…
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