Aliens: Fireteam Elite Beginners Guide

Aliens: Fireteam Elite Beginners Guide

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Aliens: Fireteam Elite is finally out, and if you’re looking to hunt hundreds of creatures unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality, then the Cold Iron-developed game might just be worth looking into. While the game looks like a simple action experience on the surface, it’s actually full of deep character customization gameplay mechanics, brings a varied collection of enemies, and packs an impressive arsenal of weapons to unlock.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive in the war against the Xenomorphs, as well as explain the game’s various systems for keeping your Colonial Marine powered up and frosty.


Now Playing: Aliens: Fireteam Elite Video Review

Know your role

Aliens: Fireteam Elite has four classes to choose from when you begin the game, as well as a fifth one that unlocks after the main campaign has been completed. So which class is right for you? That all depends on how you prefer to play team-based games, as you’ll be able to choose between offensive, defensive, and support classes to survive the Xenomorph hordes. The Gunner is a well-rounded attacker, the Demolisher is great for clearing out entire swarms of cannon fodder, the Technician provides plenty of support firepower, and the Medic will keep your team in the fight against even the most overwhelming odds.

Having a well-balanced team is the key to success, with each class bringing signature tricks and firepower to each encounter. Nothing’s stopping you from assembling a team of three Demolishers, though, and Aliens: Fireteam Elite allows for even that squad to still have plenty of variety thanks to how you can level up your classes and invest in their core abilities.

Avoid the acid

This one goes without saying, but don’t forget that every Xenomorph has acid blood pumping through its veins. Every dead bug leaves a temporary acidic obstacle in its wake, although if you’re in a rush, you can dodge over it to avoid losing any of your health points. Just be wary of a particular glowing green breed of Xenomorph, as it’s tougher hide allows it to get closer and violently explode when it dies.

Watch out for Prowlers

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Speaking of dangerous Xenomorphs, you’ll want to be wary when walking down a supposedly safe corridor. If one of your marines says: “Hear that?”, that’s a sign to stop and examine the area for a lurking Prowler. These red Xenomorphs hide around corners or hang from ceilings, and if you get close enough, they’ll pounce and deal significant damage. Avoid this trap, focus your firepower on it, and bring it down to size before it can inflict harm on your team.

Keep an eye on the ceilings

When you’re dealing with Xenomorphs, you’re fighting a cunning foe that won’t just rush you from the ground. The perfect killing machines will often bounce around walls, ceilings, and cover spots to get close to you, so keep an eye on your surroundings at all times to avoid being ambushed by the bugs. Yes, they are indeed coming out of the walls.

See an egg? Shoot it

If you’d like to avoid any parasites calling your chest cavity home for a few hours and then explosively leaving the nest, make certain that you keep your eyes open for any eggs that house the dreaded face-hugger. With a bad habit for violating personal space, these eggs will spawn the vile incubators when you get too close, and should they latch onto you, you’ll lose some vital health in the process.

Unless you’re fighting Synths, don’t worry about cover

Alien: Fireteam Elite’s cover may seem pointless as Xenomorphs use their agility to close the distance, but the game’s swerve into cover-based shooter territory is necessary when dealing with Synthetic androids in the later missions. Unlike the Xenomorphs, Synths are well-armed and are able to demolish a fireteam from a distance with their precision aim. Hugging nearby walls to avoid their attention is vital, but you’ll also have to stay alert for heavy Synths who can take more damage and units armed with flamethrowers.

Switch to electrified ammo to disrupt their patterns, let nearby Xenomorphs harass them, and aim for the head when dealing with this crafty threat.

Choose the right ammo

In addition to reliable lead, rockets, and proximity grenades, you’ll be able to load a few rounds of elemental ammunition into your weapons when you find or buy the right consumables. Xenomorphs may be remorseless killing machines, but fire works great on burning through their defenses and dealing damage over time. For synthetic enemies, you’ll want to switch to shock rounds that overload their circuits and leave them open for a counterattack. It’s worth noting that whenever you activate this special ability from your inventory wheel, it’ll only apply to one of the two weapons that you’re currently using, so think carefully about which firearm you want to load the ammo into specifically.

Don’t feel like aiming? Play as the Demolisher

While every class is equipped with weapons and skills that make them valuable, the Demolisher is the go-to class for players having a hard time landing shots on Xenomorphs. Demolishers can choose between the Smartgun and flamethrower as their secondary weapon when starting out, with the former featuring an auto lock-on option that targets the nearest enemy to you and unleashes a barrage of rounds. A Smartgun has a meaty magazine as well, allowing it to easily annihilate an entire horde of Xenomorphs when you hold the trigger down.

The flamethrower barely requires any aiming though, as you merely need to point it in the general direction of anything dangerous and burn it to a crisp when you pull the trigger back. Like the Smartgun, the default magazine size is massive and you’ll be able to clear rooms with this weapon while applying burn effects to heavier enemies.

Level your weapons up

You’ll be able to experiment with different loadouts in your home base aboard the Endeavor, where you can dig into the weapons available in each loadout and find the build that suits you best. Once you’ve got a character wielding weapons that work best for you, stick with them, as you can level your arsenal up. Once you’ve killed a few thousand Xenomorphs, a weapon at its maximum level will deal more damage and handle better, thus also increasing your overall Combat Rating. Spread your selection of weapons across your various classes to have them consistently gain experience.

Experiment with the combat tree to grow your Combat Rating

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It may look confusing at first, but Alien: Fireteam Elite’s system for growing your Marine is actually pretty easy to understand. Leveling up a Marine unlocks slots in their skill tree, as well as new abilities and perks. Some of these skills are locked to a specific class, others benefit all five loadouts that you can choose from. The unifying factor here is that there’s only so much space for you to slot skills into, leaving you the option of investing in being an all-rounder or specializing in a certain field.

For example, the Demolisher’s shoulder-mounted micro-missiles can be upgraded into a wide spread of napalm projectiles that leave a lingering field of fiery death behind after they’ve exploded. If you’d prefer for your core skills to be enhanced instead, you can add tabs that buff your reload speed and the maximum amount of ammo that you can carry. It’s worth checking in with the officer in charge of supplies, as you can grab a few universal perks from him, provided that you have enough currency on-hand.

Focus your firepower on big threats

While your regular Xenomorph is no match for a small burst of high-velocity lead from a tried and trusted M41A pulse rifle, there are plenty of predators behind them that can take a significant amount of damage before they’ll finally fall. Besides hearing your commanding officer frantically shout about these Xenomorph variants appearing, you’ll spot them on your radar as teal or orange blips. These hostiles should be a priority target when they’re in range, as it takes a barrage of firepower to destroy their armor and knock them down.

Keep the battlefield clear, unleash your special abilities, and aim for the weak spots to deal enough damage to take down these brutes before they can disrupt your party.

Stock up on gadgets before you head out

While every ambush point in a level has a crate or two with some useful gear, you never know what you’re going to get, as the inventory is always randomized. Alternatively, it’s always worth spending a few credits at the Requisitions store so that you have access to combat boosts that complement your character. Whether that’s a turret that shoots incendiary rounds or a drone that makes enemies weaker, a small investment before a mission goes a long way towards completing a run and banking the rewards at the end of it.

Keep an eye open for hidden caches and intel files

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There’s a hidden cache in each level, usually tucked away in a section of the map that’s off the beaten path, and it’s worth hunting for. Inside of each cache you’ll usually find a handy consumable item, unlock new cosmetic gear or emotes, and a weapon accessory. If you’re playing with friends, they’ll have to open the cache individually to gain the gear inside so make certain that you pop an alert whenever you find one. Other collectibles in the game include intel files, with each location having a number of them

Stick together

While it’s tempting to go all gung-ho as you take on the Xenomorph and Synthetic hordes, that’s a recipe for a quick death in Aliens: Fireteam Elite. You’ll want to stick close to your teammates, especially those members in your party who can provide several beneficial buffs to the offense-heavy members of your squad. Medics can lay down a drone that provides a constant stream of health, while Recon members of the team will keep your guns loaded with an ammo-generating pod, perfect for when you want to take down a swarm while using the best tools in your arsenal.

Challenge cards are a great way to level up quick

Increasing your character and weapon levels in Aliens: Fireteam Elite can be a grind, but if you’re looking to shortcut the process while adding a fun challenge to the game, then it’s well worth looking at activating a challenge card. Earned through completing Tactical Opportunities and finding hidden caches, and available for purchase from the Requisitions store, these cards can transform how a level plays into a wild experience. Tired of gunning down Runners? There’s a card that turns all of them into explosive Bursters if you’re up to the challenge

Maybe you want to have a Xenomorph Warrior spawn in every single room you’re in, maybe you want to do increased headshot damage at the cost of decreased regular damage to the torso, or maybe you’re brave enough to activate a card where the only weapon you’re allowed to use is a simple handgun. The choice is yours, and the end result is a big increase in the experience points and resources that you earn at the end of an encounter.

If you’re lucky, you might even unlock an exotic card that offers great rewards for merely completing a level. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that only one card can be active at a time, and if all three players activate a challenge card, the game will randomly choose which one to use. Cards are also consumed when you use them, so make sure you’re confident you can handle the increased difficulty.

Check your Tactical Opportunities every day

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Tactical Opportunities offer you special objectives to complete in exchange for resources, experience points, and other rewards. Players having two daily bounties and one weekly extra mission objective to pursue. So far these optional missions have ranged from playing two missions as a different class, shooting a number of Facehugger eggs, or even taking down 300 enemies with a handgun. They’re worth attempting, as the rewards for completing a Tactical Opportunity include a substantial amount of credits and bonus gear. All handy stuff, for building your marine into a lean and mean fighting machine.

Red barrels go boom

There are two constants in the universe: first, in space, no one can hear you scream, and second, red barrels will always be the best makeshift explosive to use when taking on the worst that the galaxy has to offer.

For more about Aliens: Fireteam Elite, be sure to read our full review.

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