Shadow Warrior 2

From Before I Play
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  • Yellow missions are story missions, blue missions are side missions, and orange missions are bounties. You get the first by moving the story along, the second from seeking out other !s on your minimap, the last from the Wang Cave.
  • Progressing through story missions frequently blocks off side missions, but the game warns you about this. They also turn off bounties but you can resume them from the Wang Cave later. Therefore, do the side missions as you get them before progressing the story. There's a lot of good gear/skills in the side missions.
  • All of the main mechanics do not fully unlock until after a story mission named "Big Trouble in Calamity" so try to mainline that as much as possible without missing side missions. Bounties are a little tough at first until you get a fuller palette of skills/gear, and many only have money/skill point rewards anyway.
  • That said there are Bounties that unlock useful new skills/gear so keep an eye out for those.
  • Pay attention to the costs and benefits of each level of each skill. It's very easy to get in on the ground floor of many skills and get a lot of initial benefits from them. Your overall survivability will improve as a result. The experience booster skill is not super necessary (+15% at highest level) but if you're going to get it, get it first, obviously.
  • The crafting system is not super robust but is an alternative to simply buying/selling upgrade gems. Gems are color-coded (grey/blue/yellow/orange) by quality and also have different categories for what they affect. You mix like colors together in a category, pay the crafting fee in money, you get a random (better color) gem in that category. Mix like colors from across categories you get a random (better color) gem in a random category. It's not super great but once in a while you get something useful. The crafting anvil can pull gems from your junk pile so don't be afraid to mark crappy gems as junk to keep on top of things.
  • Generally you will want to (eventually) have your weapon wheel with one good high DPS melee weapon (all melee weapons can use chi skills equally), a high damage projectile weapon (bow/gauss rifle), a high damage shotgun, a high DPS pistol, and one weapon geared towards each of the 4 elements and 4 different ammo sources. Enemies have resistances/vulnerabilities, including physical resistance, so this is a must by midgame.
  • The game calculates DPS of weapons to assist in deciding on gem slotting/etc but not all weapons types/modes are going to benefit from that calculation depending on your use. For example, a high damage sniping projectile weapon for alpha strikes doesn't really need a good fire/reload rate.
  • Although it's rather against the spirit of things, you don't need to use melee/chi attacks much at normal difficulty levels, and you can spec towards ranged weapons instead if that's your jam.
  • There are expansions to the crafting system in the form of challenges that unlock the ability to improve core stats of weapons, but it's not necessary to complete the story. Besides, you keep getting better and better weapons through the story anyway, and you'd want to wait for the best ones before you start that kind of upgrading.