11 things I wish I knew before playing the Metal Gear Survive beta

There's not long to wait until Metal Gear Survive's February 20 release date, but if you want a sneak peek at its crystal-zombie defense action then the open beta is here to let you go hands on with it over the weekend. To be victorious you'll need to guard your Wormhole Digger against the (not so shambling) hordes, which is easier said than done. Arm yourself with knowledge by reading our top tips, to master taking down enemies and defending your base.

Don't skip the tutorials

Unsurprisingly for a Metal Gear game, Survive is hella complicated. Even if you've played a ton of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, there are many new systems in place and it's worth reading up on them before jumping into the action. In the main menu, go to the Personal tab then choose Database > Tutorials to see how everything works.

Pro-tip for getting started: Grab some resources then head to the Gadgets Workbench, where you can craft fences and barricades under the Defense Units tab. You can then equip these to your gadget slots and use them to fortify the openings leading into your base.

You absolutely need to work together

This might sound like a stupidly obviously suggestion, but you’re not going to survive in this horde mode multiplayer unless you communicate and work with your fellow soldiers. The base needs to be defending from all angles, and if the Wanderers manage to sneak through an exposed gap in your defences, your Wormhole Digger is going down - and not into the ground like it’s supposed to. The better you work together, the more loot you’ll earn at the end, and the better prepared you’ll be for the next round.

You can hurt each other so be careful of your weapon aim

Before you start going charging into the oncoming Wanderers with your pointy stick, wait. You can actually harm each other in Metal Gear Survive, and it’s not just a case of respawning if you die. If you go down and someone doesn’t rescue you, you’ll need to use a revive pill to get yourself back on your feet - and they’re not easy to find or make. So look before you stab/shoot/set ablaze, make sure your pals are clear first, or you’re at least ready to revive them.

Don't construct defenses when the timer is running out

See that red ring encircling your Wormhole Digger? It gets wider as you harvest more Iris Energy, and it's important - at the end of each wave a blast gets sent out, destroying any defenses you've constructed within the circled area. Therefore, there's no point in putting up new fences or barricades when there's little time left on the clock, as they'll be wiped out before they're any use. Rally your squad to plug any last minute gaps and you'll save resources for the following wave.

Prepare and rebuild between waves

Don’t just skip the parts in between waves. This is your prime fortifying base time. Craft some more fences, patch up all the holes, gather up additional resources and restock your ammo. Trust us, you’ll need it.

Always check out the side-quests

Sometimes between waves, you’ll notice that small blue circles will appear on your mini-map. Always take time to go explore what’s going on out there, splitting your team between half investigation and half defence. It’s usually the case that inside these locations marked on the map you’ll find incredibly useful items, whether that’s ammo, resources or even a pair of brilliant D-Walkers. Suddenly those waves of Wanderers aren’t as big of an issue.

Travel fast with a Wormhole Generator

You don't get a lot of spare time to explore and look for resources, but you can make things easier for yourself using a personal Wormhole Generator. Found in your gadget menu, you can place one of these devices anywhere then warp to it for fast travel. Place one in your base before you head out into the wilderness, then warp home when you're done to buy yourself extra time. If you go to the map screen you can also use Wormhole Generators placed by other squad members, so by coordinating with your team you can set up a small travel network between you.

You can pay to speed up the Wormhole Digger

If you’ve managed to accumulate a lot of Kuban Crystals from the downed Wanderers and winning tonnes of matches, you can use them to speed up the Digger if things are getting a little hairy out in the wilderness. There are more ways to win that just killing the Wanderers.

It’s best to use stealth tactics on the Bomber

You’ll mostly be up against the normal Wanderers in the horde mode, but occasionally you’ll spot a bigger blighter called a Bomber. He’s pretty recognisable from the big bulbous red sack on his head. If you irritate him too much he’ll start glowing and eventually explode, dealing you some serious HP damage. But if you manage to get behind him, you can get a knife in to pop that sack, dispatching your foe without a large detonation. It’s the best way to deal with a Bomber unless you’ve got a D-Walker.

Know when to withdraw

Despite the best efforts of you and your squad, you may reach a point where your Wormhole Digger is badly damaged and you're getting overrun, meaning it's only a matter of time before your defenses fail. If you find yourself in this position, you can interact with the Digger and use the Request Withdrawal option to initiate pulling the operation. You'll need majority agreement from the rest of your squad before it goes ahead, but a successful withdrawal will earn you greater rewards than ending the mission with your defenses being destroyed by the enemies.

Don’t forget to level up your character in the Staging Area

Once you earned yourself some Kuban Energy, you’ll want to try and upgrade your character using the Skill Trainer in the Staging Area between matches. This doesn’t just raise the difficulty level of the actual multiplayer, but will also let you unlock skill points for your character. Add extra HP or stamina to your bars, improve your speed or add other useful skills to your arsenal before you next deploy, and you’ll find yourself much better prepared to face the Wanderers.