SuperEffective I would second “use a guide.” There is a website called “Welcome To Greenvale” (I’ve linked the side missions page, which is the most useful. Watch out for spoilers though.) The in-game side quest menu tells you who to talk to to start it, so this guide is really only important if you find yourself pretty stuck, which is likely because sometimes things aren’t explained well. The menu also tells you when the deadlines are for certain quests, so try to make sure to complete them in time! Most of them have a fairly large window but some are very narrow.
Note that when it says on screen that you have to be at the Art gallery at 18:00, for example, you don’t have to go. You can just skip it, and run around for an extra day, and come back tomorrow. None of the story missions are time sensitive in that way.
To get the best weapons, and some of the trading cards, you have to replay the combat missions! They will show up as a purple circle on your map. This is how you get most of the infinite-durability weapons.
There is a side quest early on for George. Completing it will give you a fast-travel item if you want. Personally, I preferred just driving around, but some people find it comes in handy. (I’ve never actually used it, I don’t think, lol.)
Side quests and re-doing the missions are the most important thing. Also, yeah, wandering around and looking at the funny signs on the walls of buildings, and hanging out at the grocery store, peeking in windows… that’s the best part of the game. So good to see that you are having fun with that! Definitely check out people’s houses, and go to the Mechanic Guy and buy their cars! They all have their own theme song. It’s fun. And go eat lunch at the police station sometimes! There are hidden cutscenes.
Always keep a flare and watch your gas meter…. Being stranded way out on one of the highways is hilarious but also it takes forever to run back to civilization lol.
I think that’s all I’ve got.