Aliens: Dark Descent – Useful Tips and Tricks

Spare yourself the restarts, spoiler free.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some things that i wish i knew before starting.

The game has very little reason to be replayed, other than upping the difficulty level. Maps remain the same and randomness only comes from events (between deployment days). On high difficulties these events are almost always bad.

If played as mostly a stealth game, you have no time limit within missions. The mission will go on until you die or withdraw.

The campaign has a doom clock, unlocked later in the game. You have ~2,5 days to complete each mission (depending on difficulty).

The more you are spotted, the more you fight, the bigger the enemy attacks.

You gain xp for completing objectives. Whether you’ve killed 5 or 500 aliens does not impact the xp screen. Beating boss enemies and special waves can give you +xp

Marines get tired after missions (-10 bravery), if they go on a mission when tired, they are exhausted instead (cannot go on a mission).

Sustaining any damage (even just damage to armor) also can give your marines the wounded debuff, preventing them from attending missions until they are healed.

Your base has a bunch of medics that can be assigned to shorten the wounded debuff by 1 day, you can assign multiple medics to one marine. Medics are quite handy!

Your base has a number of engineers that generate resources (4 or 5 per engineer per day)

  • Upon leveling your marines get a pick out of 3 random positive traits.
  • Always pick the one that makes your marines immune to the tired status if given the option.
  • You can safely to ignore the + resources trait.
  • “Fast” doesn’t stack.
  • “Resourceful” doesn’t stack… and i’m pretty sure it doesn’t even work as of 25/6
  • Accuracy is always a solid pick, as is the one that reduces trauma on its own.

Marines get to pick one of 2 random classes at level 3. Each class gets a skill right off the bat. a second skill on level 6 and third on level 10. These skills are preset, no options to pick from.

Item progression is locked behind resources and marine levels. Want to use the smart gun? Get a gunner class. Want a rocket launcher? Get a level 6 marine.

You have primary, secondary and special weapons. Flamethrower is a level 2 special weapon, that you want to take with you at all times. Special weapons cost CP to use, an infinite resource. Abusing CP is the easiest way to break the game. (infinite mines, motion sensors, sniper shots and overwhelming firepower for short encounters).

Your marines can equip “upgrades” in the armory. These are permanent. Wait with selecting upgrades until your marines get classes, as this unlocks a whole lot of other upgrades. After finishing the first mission the game forces you to upgrade a single marine and unless you have some characters with levels, you will only get 2 options.

The first real mission of the game cannot be completed in one go, to progress you need to return to base at least once to unlock progression. On your very first deployment you can get to level 3 on 3 of your marines and level 2 on the 4th one (he has a debuff that makes him earn 1 less xp per mission). Meaning you can unlock 3 class rolls on the first “go”.

Alternatively you can return to base instantly after taking an elevator up. Find a new elevator going down and get out. I recommend at least reaching level 2 before returning.

As of 25/6 there is a bug in barracks, that lower your marine bravery and accuracy by any debuff they have sustained in any of the previous missions. Your starting marines do not have 0 bravery or -10 accuracy.

When you pause the game on the map menu, one of the tabs allows you to inspect your marine stats (unlike map this screen is paused).

That said, starting marines are awful. Very low bravery, terrible accuracy, a random negative trait (some are meaningless, others absolutely terrible. Jinx and -10 accuracy to name a few) and no tools to deal with anything. Unlock classes asap.

  • Medic class allows you to heal when resting, heal downed marines.
  • Sergeant speeds up CP generation and lowers stress buildup.
  • Gunner is better at shooting big swarms n ♥♥♥.
  • Recon can kill aliens without breaking stealth (uses 1 CP, requires sniper rifle).
  • Tecker.. flies a drone around.. Can open encrypted doors (as can a trait) and can upgrade turrets. On level 10 tecker can open encrypted doors without using a wrench… Unless you like to multitask (you can control the drone separately through a skill and create distractions etc.) the class is the least important of the 5.

You unlock the ability to deploy 5 marines later in the game, until then you’re stuck with 4 or less.

Enemies break open welded doors if they hear a noise behind those, or if their pathing randomly tells them to. Don’t waste wrenches on random welds in the wild. Instead place random mines which cost CP.

CP = Time. Every other resource is finite.

Best ways to deal with stress are, in order from best to worst:

  • Don’t have stress in the first place. Avoid fights, sneak about.
  • No, really, avoid stress.
  • Get a level 6 sergeant, their CP-using ability allows you to ignore stress buildup for 30 seconds.
  • Weld a single-doored room shut and rest in it to recover 100 stress on all marines. (costs 1 wrench)
  • Use 1 medicine to reduce stress by 100 for a single marine.

Don’t let your stress reach high levels, this is the easiest way to lose a run. Stress debuffs can get nasty, and the higher your buildup the more trauma you will suffer after the mission.

  • Enemies try not to run through fire if they have an option to do so. Alien AI is very basic.
  • Boss enemies also try not to run through fire.
  • Fire.
  • Just grab the damn flamethrower.

One turret is worthless, always stack them up. Don’t forget to pick them up later. A bunch of turrets in a corner / corridor, coupled with suppressing fire and flamethrower will beat any encounter the game can throw at you.

Your ARC (the tank thing) has infinite ammo and doesn’t aggro enemies. Luring enemies to it (or having it drive TO enemies) is a good way to thin out the map some.

You bring wrenches, medkits, turrets and biosamples back to base, you can then bring them with you on future deployments.

Your squad brings 4 ammo units with them. Any ammo you bring back home disappears forever If the mission isn’t over leave some ammo behind for the next squad.

Corpses can have:

  • +1 ammo.
  • +1 wrench.
  • +1 medkit.
  • +3 resources.
  • Plot item.
  • Nothing.

If you are maxed on a resource (wrenches, medkits) the corpse will not be lootable. It will enter the pause screen and tell you that you cannot loot any more, it will still be a question mark on the minimap.

That’s all!

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 823 Articles
A lifelong gamer Jan Bakowski, also known as Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. He lives in Poland (Wrocław). His passion for games began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Proud owner of Steam Deck, which has become his primary gaming platform. He’s been making guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job.

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