This is a guide for complete beginners who really have no idea what they are doing and end up spending the whole night trembling in the corner of a dark building chain smoking on their first expedition into the radius…
Guide for Newbies
Set in an apocalyptic future, Into the Radius is a VR survival shooter game which is very challenging to play, especially as a complete beginner. This guide is designed to give you some useful tips and hints, without containing any specific spoilers, which would detract from the experience. The tips should help you from the start up to Security Level 2 (of 5) when it gets a bit easier to survive.
To begin with you should play through all of the tutorials and spend plenty of time at the shooting range to familiarise yourself with how the weapons work. I recommend playing on normal difficulty and never reloading a save, living (or dying) with the consequences of your actions make the game more challenging/rewarding. When you start you will only have a basic pistol, some ammunition and a knife. These are enough to deal with the first few enemies you will meet.
The best way to kill the slow walking entities is to shoot them in the heart from close range and then stab the remaining sphere with your knife. The spider like creatures move very fast and jump at you, but if you sidestep you can avoid them and then shoot them as they recover. The first thing you will realise is that you will quickly run out of ammunition, and your gun, magazines and knife degrade with use and have to be repaired or replaced. You can fix them yourself using a can of oil/toothbrush or a rod/paper tissue and it is worth doing this after every expedition. If you let them degrade too much they will jam or fail at the worst possible moment, so regular maintenance is essential.
If you die whilst in the Radius (and click continue) you will lose everything in your backpack and appear back at the safe house. However your body will remain in the Radius and you can travel back to recover the items later on. You can however store a pistol, rifle, magazines and a few other items in body holsters and these will not be lost. You can also safely store a lot of items in the small leather pouch on your left side. This is a good place to keep healing injectors, spare magazines, boxes of ammo and small but valuable loot – because it will not be lost if you die.
Assuming you survive you will then realise that managing your supplies is very important. If you fire too many bullets or use too many healing injectors you will not recover the costs from the loot you find – so you will end up in a poverty loop that is difficult to get out of. There are missions you can do for extra cash, but you can also just explore the maps freestyle and see what you can find.
Before you venture into the Radius be aware that time goes much faster there that at the base. Whilst in the safe house time flows normally, in the Radius it runs 24 times faster so 1 hour in the Radius is equivalent to 24 hours on the clock. This is important because the Radius is much more dangerous at night – the enemies are all jet black and almost impossible to see at night, although the anomalies are much more visible. If you find yourself a long way from the base when it starts to go dark the best thing to do is hole up in a building and chain smoke till dawn.
The other thing to keep in mind is the Tide – every 5 days the whole Radius is reset, all enemies and loot etc. If you are in the Radius when the Tide hits you will be randomly teleported to another place on the map. This maybe safer or more dangerous than where you are when it hits, and running into the mist at the edge of any map will do the same.
The first enemies which are really challenging are the ones that fire at you with guns. Initially you will only have a pistol and after reaching Security level 1 a sawn-off shotgun. Neither of these weapons is accurate at a distance so you generally have to hide behind cover and pop off the odd shot with the pistol. You can find better weapons out in the Radius, these tend to be in wooden or metal crates but there are also a few hidden caches of more powerful weapons.
You will find notes which will give you clues as to where these are. If you are lucky you will find a hunting shotgun or a sub-machine gun – the hunting shotgun is much better at distance, and the sub-machine gun is great for close quarter combat with multiple enemies. However the shotgun can only hold two shells at a time and the sub-machine gun empties its magazine really fast, so you need to pick the right weapon for the job. In terms of ammunition you are most likely to find 9x18mm rounds and buckshot cartridges, so it is more economical to use weapons that use these as much as possible.
The other main danger in the Radius are the anomalies. Many of these are visible and easy to avoid but some are hidden and you need to throw metal probes ahead of you as you go in areas you are unfamiliar with. It is also very easy to drop the probes by accident, because if you take out the map or a knife etc, it automatically drops to the floor leaving you potentially blind to the dangers ahead. When you encounter enemies in built up areas you will often encounter a static anomaly that crackles loudly – you need to take this out as soon as possible because it will keep spawning new enemies whilst it is active.
As you complete missions you will accumulate cash and then be able to buy new weapons or upgrade existing weapons. My recommendation would be to buy the G18c pistol that has an 18 round magazine, as death is most likely when you are fumbling to reload in combat. Some prefer the TT33 which is more accurate but has a smaller magazine and more expensive/rarer ammo. I would also recommend buying plenty of extra magazines as these are easier to change than carrying around ammo boxes.
If you can afford upgrades I would recommend improving the reliability of the pistol and/or reducing the spread of the hunting shotgun/fire rate of the sub-machine gun or you could just save your money for better weapons later on. If you are lucky enough to find one of the hidden weapon caches then these are much better weapons, but the ammunition is harder to find and more expensive to buy, so it is worth holding onto the starter pistol for easy encounters and reserving the better weapons for dealing with armed enemies.
Eventually you will be given a mission in a second zone, and successful completion of this mission will unlock Security Level 2. However you need to spend time building up supplies of ammunition and healing injectors before you attempt this as there are new enemies and in much higher numbers than on the first map. I found that a good tactic was to hole up in a building and let them come to you (attracted by the gunfire) and pick them off one by one.
Once you have Security Level 2 clearance you have access to much better weapons and equipment. There is a lot of debate about which the best weapon choices are, and many of these only apply in terms of the end game. However at Security Level 2 these are things to consider: the cost of ammunition, the magazine size and the accuracy at distance. I recommend spending a lot of time in the shooting range comparing weapons in pairs, side by side. Your primary weapon at this level is still likely to be a pistol, because a sub-machine gun isn’t economically viable. Many people recommend the M9 which does the most damage and is the most accurate etc, but the OC33 has nearly double the magazine capacity, full auto mode and the cheapest/most commonly found ammunition.
In terms of picking enemies off from a distance you have a choice between the SKS and the PPSh Full (in single mode), which is technically a sub-machine gun. The SKS is by far the more accurate at distance, but it only has a ten bullet magazine and the ammunition is more expensive and harder to find, but the PPSh has a 30 round magazine capacity and a full auto mode when required. I personally prefer the SKS, it has a concentration steadying mode and I rarely miss a clear shot.
In terms of accessories it is definitely worth having a suppressor on any pistol and this reduces the chances of more enemies being alerted near by, I don’t think the subsonic ammo is worth it because of the reduced damage and greater expense etc. The laser pointer is also a good investment if you don’t want to be looking down the sights all the time, I also upgrade the reliability of all weapons and reduce the fire rate of sub-machine guns to preserve ammunition.
You will also now be able to buy a head torch which will free up a holster, although it will allow enemies to detect you at night, so I advise keeping the red/green light for night time jaunts. Grenades, Lightning anomalies, Black Grass and gas cylinders are worth talking about. In this game grenades are really powerful and can take out multiple enemies in one go, but they are very easy to drop or mis-throw and then you are blown into oblivion.
So if you plan on using them spend a lot of time practising before you risk using them in combat. Lightening anomalies are the hardest to deal with – you will hear them crackling and if they trigger you drop anything you are holding and trigger any grenade that isn’t in your backpack. Trying to get an item back will result in more shocks and a re-dropping of the item. Ironically you can take out one of these with a grenade if you can throw one accurately from a safe distance.
A better method is to throw a fast stream of probes into them one after the other which will give you a few seconds to retrieve any items. Black Grass can take you by surprise, you may not see it or may forget to shine your torch on it to hide it. One way to deal this early on is to place a torch (or two) on a chest holster pointing downwards and this will create a small circle of light around your feet. Gas cylinders explode if shot – so don’t stand near one whilst fighting enemies that shoot at you. But you can pick them up and move them, so it is possible to place them and then lead enemies onto them before shooting the tank from a safe distance.
Once you have better weapons you will quickly realise that the ammunition is a lot more expensive and rarely found as loot. So my advice is to carry a cheap ‘burner’ weapon which you can use for easier encounters and if you drop or lose it in the chaos of battle so be it. This way you can conserve the more expensive ammunition for the harder encounters.
In terms of what equipment to carry with you: I always carry three spare magazines for my main pistol in the holsters and one for my rifle, with a red/green lamp on my chest (left) and a knife on the right. I have the anomaly detector on my left arm and a bag of probes on my right. In the small pouch I cram in two spare boxes of pistol ammunition, one box of rifle ammunition, two health injectors, one can of food and one packet of cigarettes/lighter. In the backpack I always carry a toilet roll, cleaning rod, toothbrush and can of oil.
Then depending on the situation I may carry a burner weapon/magazines as well as I can often find enough ammo for these in loot boxes, without ever having to buy any. Finally, it is always a good idea doing some easy missions and/or free exploration in order to build up enough supplies for the harder missions.
My strategy is to first clear all the enemies from the map without looting anything – then I can then take my time looting cases and finding artefacts at my leisure even in the dark. I also leave a stash of items at all the safe houses: gun cleaning equipment as well as ammunition, an emergency weapon and some food etc. This way if you find yourself stuck or low on supplies you can pop into the safe house to recover, maintain your weapons and restock.
The only two ways to recover health are Health Injectors, which are very expensive, and sleep – which is free and only requires one full hour to fully restore your health. Hopefully all this advice will help you get to Security Level 2 safely and from that point on-wards you can find your own path depending on your preferred playing style. In my case this is the Brave Sir Robin ‘anxious sniveling coward’ approach were I spend a lot of my time huddled in the dark corner of a room, chain-smoking and trying politely ignore the disturbing voices in my head…