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UFO: Aftershock iis a real-time strategy game that is similar to Aftermath in that it follows in a similar vein to the X-com games of yore. That said, Aftershock bears even less resemblance to the X-com series than Aftermath did, so let's stop comparing them now. Aftershock, like Aftermath, has many quirks and tricks you must learn in order to succeed. While it's significantly harder to die outright in Aftershock than it was in Aftermath, that's no reason for you to get cocky; mistakes can still screw you over, so you must do your best to avoid making any. With that in mind, here's some tips for people playing the game for the first time. Note that this is just my advice, and not a complete guide on how the game can or should be played.
1. Forget everything you learned while playing Aftermath, if you've played it. Most of it doesn't apply anymore.
2. At the beginning of the game, you'll be kind of short on guns and ammunition, particularly if you're using the non-replenishable reticulan laser weapons often. For that reason, your first priority when the game starts should be to research how to manufacture ammunition and basic firearms. Unlike in Aftermath, you do not automatically replenish ammo you spent from your supply pool.
3. Changes in UFO: Aftershock are mostly time-based, in that you'll often have a warning countdown before a big plot-event happens. All the other triggers are based on your Laputa Lab research; the game will not advance until you have discovered the next part of the plot. If you wish, you can make this work in your favor by putting off plot-important research until you're sure you've got enough weapons to take on whatever the next challenge is.
4. For every character in your group, you've got a choice of three factions: Human, Cyborg, and Psionic. Humans are the only group that can wear customizable armors, making them generally better for defense. Cyborgs can get implants to boost their stats far above average. Psions can use psionic equipment to boost the power of your squad or cripple your enemies, and also detect the presence of other psions. If you want to make life simple for yourself, playing with only humans isn't a bad idea, but a diverse party may be more versatile.
5. Every character in your group can learn up to three professions, each of which enables the character to learn how to use specialized skills and equipment. How useful these professions can be varies, but it's a good idea to pick professions that complement each other, and plan out in advance what professions a given character should have. My assessments:
Commando: Commandos can use katanas, airguns, and other "stealthy" weapons. That said, stealth is overrated, so I recommend not bothering, especially since the commando weapons don't do as much damage as the weapons other classes get.
Cyborg: Only available to Cyborgs. This enables cyborgs to use cyborg implants. Since the implants are the only reason why you'd ever want a cyborg on the team, this is important for all cyborg characters.
Gunman: Gunmen can use heavy armor and big machine guns. In the middle section of the game, this is a fantastic class, but may start to fall out of style by the time you've figured out Warp weapons. Still, it's a class I'd recommend for any human character you expect to be getting close to the enemy a lot.
Leader: Leaders provide stat bonuses to squads they are a part of. Very useful, but mind that you don't put more than 1-2 in a squad; I don't think the powers of multiple leaders stack.
Medic: Useful, but not as useful as you might think it would be. Unlike in Aftermath, you can't just heal battle damage during a mission to reduce a character's hospital time, so while it's a good idea for everyone to carry a medkit, there's no reason for anyone to actually have medic training.
Psionic: Only available to Psionic characters. This enables psions to use psionic equipment, so Psionic is as important to psions as Cyborg is to cyborgs.
Ranger: Rangers get bonuses to close combat and the ability to dual-wield close-range one-handed weapons. Fairly useful, especially if you give a dual-wielder two Colt M4's.
Scout: Scouts can analyze an enemy's stats and use various bits of detection equipment. The stat analysis is nice, but the rest of it is largely useless.
Sniper: Use sniper rifles. Damn useful, especially once you get the ability to shoot people in the head for an automatic critical hit. You can one-shot most living enemies that way.
Stalker: A different kind of Commando, with more stealth and fewer cool weapons. Not any more useful.
Technician: Techies can build drones, plant mines, and use scanners, three things that you will never be required to do and which aren't as effective as simply finding the enemy and shooting him.
Trooper: Troopers can use rocket/grenade launchers, and also get a bonus for using rifles. It's a nice class in theory, but in practice you'll probably find that you don't get a lot of mileage out of explosive weapons in this game. Still better than commando, though.
6. There are many weapons in this game, and they have many different uses, except for those which have no use whatsoever. The most powerful/useful weapons by far are the Warp Rifles, but those are the last guns you'll ever develop. Until then, keep in mind the following advice:
A. Generally, alien weapons do more damage than the equivalent weapons you can make yourself. However, you can't manufacture alien ammo, so be conservative with them.
B. Shotguns do great damage, but only at close range, and don't work well against armored targets. Plasma shotguns, on the other hand, work well on everything, but their range is even shorter and they really guzzle ammo.
C. AP rounds are better than normal rounds. Always.
D. Explosives are hard to aim properly in this game, especially grenades. For this reason, don't expect more than one in three shots to hit near any given target. However, you can do a little to offset the overall inaccuracy of these weapons by using phosphorus/acid types to set an area on fire.
E. non-Warp rifles do not do as much damage as a shotguns and lack the range of sniper rifles. Some, particularly plasma rifles, also have serious accuracy problems. Submachine guns have similar issues on top of an even shorter range. Heavy machine guns, however, work well at close range and medium range, and although they're not the game-breakers they were in Aftermath, they're still relatively effective.
F. Some guns do nonlethal damage, which is great for when you want to capture an enemy and pointless at any other time.
G. All weapons can be improved by adding bits to them to increase their accuracy/damage. I highly recommend under-barrel laser sights and accelerators whenever you can use them.
H. Early in the game, you can save on ammo by using a knife to kill unconscious or stunned enemies. There's not much point do doing that once you can make your own bullets, though.
7. It's a good idea to make sure your squad has weapons suitable for the enemies you expect to encounter. Mutants, cultists, and aliens all have their own preferred weapons and armor types, so outfit your team accordingly.
8. Make sure any given team member has at least two weapons; one short range and one long range, or one laser and one projectile, or one explosive and one non-explosive, or one slow and one fast. The more weapons you carry, the more prepared you'll be.
9. Regarding tracks: tracks cost resources to maintain, and despite what the game and manual tell you, you don't need a lot of them to bring in resources. Tracks don't bring in resources; bases do. Therefore, all you need to do is build tracks between bases. Don't worry overmuch about constructing multiple redundant tracks in case one fails; none of them will fail, ever, if you're diligent about defending your provinces.
10. You can get militia/secret police in this game, but there's not much point to those because all they do is absolve you of the need to do some missions, and generally fail at that. Instead, focus your base-building on research and construction; also keep in mind that regions that have a base with a high knowledge-level output more resources.
11. No matter how hard you try, you cannot completely eradicate the cult. If you destroy their last base territory, they'll just reappear and automatically seize another base elsewhere. Just whittle them down to a single base and then don't bother with them any further.
12. You can only have up to 7 people active in the party at once, and with the Squad system it's easy to swap out people and equipment. Therefore, you shouldn't stress about making piles of equipment for each individual character. Do try to make sure the everyone has plenty of ammo, though.
13. Don't conquer all the unexplored provinces in the entire world until you're prepping to attack the alien space-ship and/or have finished researching plasma weapons. Why? Because the only way to get Warp weapons in this game is to first discover a wild Reticulan who is using one, and if you take over the whole world too early, there won't be any wild Reticulans for you to fight unless you start losing provinces on purpose. It's counter-intuitive, I know, but the payoff is worth it.
14. Remember, you can save in them middle of a mission, and if things are looking bad then you can always reload.
Post edited July 30, 2010 by Prator
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Prator: UFO: Aftershock Note that this is just my advice, and not a complete guide on how the game can or should be played.
2. At the beginning of the game,

First encounter with (many armed and armored) Cultists is the thoughest mission of the game, as you almost have no weapon. Set an ambush and save the game...
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Prator: 5.
Medic: Useful, but not as useful as you might think it would be. Unlike in Aftermath, you can't just heal battle damage during a mission to reduce a character's hospital time, so while it's a good idea for everyone to carry a medkit, there's no reason for anyone to actually have medic training.

Have at last a super medic: a 3rd level Medic greatly reduce hospital time when he is in the Laputa roster.
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Prator: Scout: Scouts can analyze an enemy's stats and use various bits of detection equipment. The stat analysis is nice, but the rest of it is largely useless.

One Scout in a team is great once he can use scanners: Have him scanning, and fire on the afar revealed blips with sniper mates...
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Prator: 6. There are many weapons in this game, and they have many different uses,
7. It's a good idea to make sure your squad has weapons suitable for the enemies you expect to encounter.
8. Make sure any given team member has at least two weapons

Generally, use these weapons against specific mission encounter:
. Mutants: Energy with all range weapons, grenades are good too
. Reticulans: explosive bullets with long-range weapons
. Wargot and Cultists: AP bullets with snipers, and rocket-launchers.
. Starghost: AP bullets and Energy (must have 2 weapons here)
. When protecting civilians, smoke and flash grenades can save their life.
Post edited July 29, 2010 by ERISS
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ERISS: Have at last a super medic: a 3rd level Medic greatly reduce hospital time when he is in the Laputa roster.

Really? The manual specifically says otherwise... but then again, it hasn't proven reliable in other things.
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ERISS: One Scout in a team is great once he can use scanners: Have him scanning, and fire on the afar revealed blips with sniper mates...
That works only if there's no cover between you and the target. Still, I can see the value in knowing where an enemy is located.
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ERISS: Generally, use these weapons against specific mission encounter:
. Mutants: Energy with all range weapons, grenades are good too
. Reticulans: explosive bullets with long-range weapons
. Wargot and Cultists: AP bullets with snipers, and rocket-launchers.
. Starghost: AP bullets and Energy (must have 2 weapons here)
. When protecting civilians, smoke and flash grenades can save their life.
Re: Mutants: with the exception of flatsters, you can usually do more damage with kinetic weapons than with energy weapons, and once you've got armor-piercing bullets the flatsters aren't a big problem, either. Morelmen are vulnerable to sniper critical hits.
Re: Reticulans: What Eriss said. You want to stay out of the reach of their lasers, rocket-launchers, and especially their warp-guns. Sniper headshots, anyone?
Re: Wargots/Cultists: Special notes: while Wargots are somewhat resistant to energy weapons (except Warp), cultists are not. Wargot Power armor is very damage-resistant, but not especially dangerous otherwise. Cultist squads are often accompied by psions; shoot them first, before they start confusing/poisoning/stunning/sniping you. Of course, all of them are vulnerable to sniper headshots.
Re: Starghosts: Different starghost types have different weaknesses. Most can be dropped with AP bullets, but the Sg Soul is immune to bullets and resistant to lasers. Plasma and warp guns seem to work best. On the opposite side, the Sg Defender is highly resistant to energy weapons, so you should ONLY use AP bullets (and maybe warp).
Re: Civilians: The best way to keep them safe is to make sure they're nowhere near the fighting. Let the rest of the party clear the map before leading them off.
Post edited July 30, 2010 by Prator
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Prator: Commando: Commandos can use katanas, airguns, and other "stealthy" weapons. That said, stealth is overrated, so I recommend not bothering, especially since the commando weapons don't do as much damage as the weapons other classes get.
A fully trained commando is incredibly useful, can move at twice the speed of other characters, dodge bullets and kill enemies using no ammo.

I find in missions the fully trained commando can often kill off all the opposition without the rest of the Squad firing a bullet.
Of course I'm only playing on easy and The alien ship has not yet arrived so things may change.
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Sceptical: I find in missions the fully trained commando can often kill off all the opposition without the rest of the Squad firing a bullet.
Of course I'm only playing on easy and The alien ship has not yet arrived so things may change.
Patch 1.3 changed it.
CHANGES IN VERSION 1.3
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Fixed:
* Cultist Code mission now appears properly even if the player has conquered all Cultist bases
* Failure to complete the first Starghost mission no longer renders the game unwinnable
* Speed bonus for 3rd level commandos is now only active when the unit is equipping a commando weapon
* Throwing knives and shurikens are now working properly
* Pillar of Death now spawns properly
* It's no longer possible to use certain items without researching their handling technologies first
* The game now recognizes looted and manufactured items properly and updates the research prerequisites
accordingly
* Factory sorting in the Manufacture screen now works correctly

Changed features:
* DVD check removed (no need to insert the DVD every time you play the game)
* You no longer fail the defence mission if all militia units get killed
* Reduced the commando equipment speed bonus from 1.9 to 1.4
I find that scouts only can use the "psi vision" helmet enhancement, which is way better than the natural psi vision that psionics have. Get a level 3 scout with this, and you'll start most of your games being able to see at least one enemy. It's awesome. That, and being able to see enemy health is totally worth it.
Imma gonna just do some shameless self-promotion and practice thread necromancy by tying this to another thread I started:
http://www.gog.com/en/forum/ufo_series/vital_information_for_new_players_of_aftermath/

At some point, I (or someone else) should make a similar thread for Afterlight, and we can sticky them all.
My two cents on the basics:

1. On higher difficulties scouts can be incredibly useful. If one member of the squad can see a target, all members of the squad can fire on it, assuming they have a line of sight and it is within their maximum weapon range. (Think full party squadsight from XCOM 2014).

2. Psionic soldiers can "see" through walls, terrain, and other obstacles, including up and down z-levels.

3. Combine points one and two; psionic scouts can keep terrain between themselves and targets without being exposed to enemy fire. This allows your snipers to put that incredible range of theirs to use without exposing themselves to danger. With a bit of creative scouting, you can trivialize even the toughest of opponents.

4. Researching the flatster autopsy in the Medlab will dramatically increase the damage to your soldiers inflict on them in the field.

5. Pay attention to where you encounter "rescue" and "capture" targets. The game tends to spawn them in the same locations, allowing you to complete these missions very quickly.

6. If a friendly target becomes incapacitated, they will drop their gear. If you are unscrupulous, you can loot their weaponry before reviving them. If you are *really* unscrupulous, you can be the one who incapacitates them. You can get some advanced ballistic weaponry this way very early on. (Warning: save before you do this. It will occasionally crash the game for some reason.)

7. Make sure a base is worth connecting before you send tracks to it. If you already have +323 cyborg parts coming in, but -22 psionic parts, building tracks to a base that only has cyborg resource nodes in it may not be a great idea. Tailor your track network to your economic needs.

8. You can disable tracks you have built, preventing them from costing you resources, but also preventing you from benefiting from the resources and buildings at no-longer-connected the bases/provinces.

9. Learn to recognize enemy apparel. Enemy resistances are based upon the armor they are wearing. Shotgunning down cloth wearing cultists is a great idea, but if a dude with a 12-gauge and heavy armor heads your way, it might be time to back off and let the snipers handle it.

10. Melee weapons are questionable at best on higher difficulties. Shotguns do the same job, only better.
Post edited September 25, 2016 by shrike.ex
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shrike.ex: 4. Researching the flatster autopsy in the Medlab will dramatically increase the damage to your soldiers inflict on them in the field.
Oh? So that's not bugged? Maybe only the Flatster works, not others. Thanks for the share.

7. Make sure a base is worth connecting before you send tracks to it. Tailor your track network to your economic needs.
An easy trick is to never connect a province (the mines), and to connect a base only when all its provinces are conquiered.

10. Melee weapons are questionable at best on higher difficulties. Shotguns do the same job, only better.
Yes, melee is usually to finish off down targets, to spare ammo in Superheroic difficulty. However a knife weighs nothing, so it's better for each soldier to bring one as a security.
It can be usefull too for Commando running to an heavy weapon ennemy which can't shoot at close range.
Post edited September 25, 2016 by ERISS
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ERISS: An easy trick is to never connect a province (the mines), and to connect a base only when all its provinces are conquiered.
That's exactly what I do; I should have phrased it like you did. :)
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ERISS: Yes, melee is usually to finish off down targets, to spare ammo in Superheroic difficulty. However a knife weighs nothing, so it's better for each soldier to bring one as a security.
It can be usefull too for Commando running to an heavy weapon ennemy which can't shoot at close range.
It's true. Also, if you happen to run a duel wielding ranger, it is extremely fast to switch to a knife. Still, my overall point is more that advanced melee weapons (ones which require research) simply aren't worth pursuing as a research topic over other close range options. Both SMGs and Shotguns provide more utility and firepower with less risk.