Tips to Complete the Game on Hardcore No Merchant
The most important thing to remember, is you need to save your Combat Knife. I honestly would recommend storing it into your typewriter and forgetting you have it until you’re coming up around the Krauser fight(s). I tried to focus on saving my knives as long as possible, and would even regularly just eat a grab rather than stab and lose a knife depending on how much healing I had.
Early game, you will have little problems running past most everything, so take advantage of the village section to really build up your supplies. As there’s lots of un-avoidable combat situations in castle/island, they will begin to deplete fast from ch7 and on. Get BOTH Golden Eggs, since you won’t need the spinels from selling one (or even able to sell one, period) you can dump them both on Salazar for an EZ win. As for weapons, you won’t have much room to carry more than pistol/shotgun/cqbr, and even then, without the skullshaker as your shotgun you might find it hard to keep the cqbr on hand at all times. The good news is that the CQBR will be all you need in terms of power weapons, it does incredible dmg at base stats compared to your other guns, and you’ll likely have a few stacks of guaranteed rifle ammo you’ve picked up by the time you get it. Try to also focus all your gunpowder/L resources into rifle ammo as well, since you won’t be able to craft flash/heavy grenades on this run, rifle ammo is your best bet.
Otherwise, honestly, the game plays pretty normally to a standard fresh pro run other than the fact that you will absolutely notice no combat vest, and monsters will feel very tanky compared to what you’re used to. Don’t be too stubborn to re-load sections a few times to find a route that works that allows you to hit certain item pickups/avoid enemies until you get a run that gains you supplies rather than lose them, especially if it’s not a scripted major combat event.
Honestly, the hardest part for me was remembering to not instinctively buy a RL and blast Saddler in the face instantly in ch16…
Also to add, might be wrong on this, not sure as I haven’t run the actual math on it, but at base values the SG/Sent9 is the pistol you’ll wanna use on boss fights/mini bosses if you feel the need to pull out the pistol. I tried using the Red9 as my main pistol as soon as I got it, but it really felt like the DPS was significantly lower than the stock pistols, due to the firing/reload rate. Red 9 is still great for normal enemies, however.