This will be a guide for players who are having a tough time with the game and feel like they can’t get the hang of things. This will cover general gameplay tips as well as boss fights. Obvious spoilers ahead.
Know Your Abilities
Knowing how to control your character and use all their abilities to your advantage will give you a huge step up when it comes to general gameplay. First, we’ll cover abilities that every character has that will help you through the whole game.
– Corpus: Your corpus is your health. By default, most characters start with 3 corpus. Corpus works a little differently than most health bars. Each block of corpus you have has a limited amount of damage it can take before it breaks. Breaking a corpus will immediately ragdoll you and give you a small boost to your tac bar. If all of your corpus break, you die. Your corpus, if not broken, can replenish any hits it has taken if you go long enough without taking damage. Sometimes it’s viable to evade enemies and wait for your corpus to regenerate before entering the fight again.
– Basic/Light attack: This attack is your most basic one. Press the left mouse button and your character will perform it. Light attacks can be performed with any melee weapon as well as your hands. These attacks are very fast but don’t do as much damage, these attacks are primarily used for single targets and initiating stunlocks. It’s always a good idea to stunlock a dangerous enemy and prevent them from attacking for as long as possible.
– Heavy Attack: The heavy attack is one of your most useful and reliable abilities in this game. Hold down the shift key and press LMB. Heavy attacks do extra damage and are also able to hit multiple targets at the same time. This makes melee weapons a fantastic crowd control device, allowing you to kill multiple enemies in single strikes. Heavy attacks are also ideal against heavily armored enemies, as light attacking them won’t do much damage and you’ll be there all day.
– Charge Attack: Similar to the heavy attack, charge attacks can hit multiple enemies and be used for crowd control. Hold down lmb and charge your attack, to unleash the attack, simply release the LMB. Your charge attack has two stages, stage 1 will allow you to do a heavy sweep in front of you that will decimate any any foes caught in the way. Stage 2 is a spin attack that will hit enemies surrounding you and also send them flying. Certain characters have special charge attacks, but we’ll get into that later.
– Critical Hits: You may notice while fighting enemies, flashes of light will appear followed by a sound effect. These are critical hits. Critical hits double your damage as well as your combo meter, allowing you to do more damage. Light attacks are most likely to deal critical hits, due to skills involving timing your LMB press just before you strike an enemy. Heavy attacks are capable of critical hits as well, but much less likely. Keep this in mind while using your unarmed attacks.
– Dual Wielding: To dual wield weapons, pick up a weapon into your hand and then hold the Q key. This will highlight any weapons on the ground. To put a weapon into your offhand, press right click on a weapon on the ground. This will allow you to dual wield. Dual wielding tends to result in you doing less damage, but you attack much faster. Heavy attacking with two weapons will also allow you to cover more surface area.
– Blocking: Blocking is a great idea if you want to escape stunlocks as well as avoid damage. By holding down right mouse button, your character will block. This will lessen any oncoming melee damage. If you are caught in a stunlock, timing your block will allow you to escape. Some characters are also capable of blocking and/or deflecting bullets with their block.
– Sweet Spot: The sweet spot only appears if you are holding a ranged weapon. It appears as a small green bar on the ground wherever you point your gun. Some weapons have shorter or longer sweet spots depending on their range. Shooting an enemy while they stand in the sweet spot can bypass their tac bar as well as do critical damage.
– TAC-Bar: Your TAC-Bar is your lifeline in this game when it comes to dealing with ranged opponents. When fighting a ranged enemy, you may notice that when you get shot you don’t always take damage. This is because of your TAC Bar. This bar is visible under the corpus meter as well as around your player character when you are being shot at. The tac bar slowly diminishes as you’re being shot, if the bar reaches zero, you will start taking damage. Certain enemies have skills that can bypass your Tac bar, such as the sweet spot skill. Your tac bar is also 50% less effective if you are shot in the back, so be sure to be facing any ranged enemies you might encounter. To replenish your tac bar, you must kill enemies. Special moves such as executions will give larger increases to tac rather than just killing enemies normally.
– Shootin’: Guns in this game have two things you can do, aim, and then aim for headshots. By holding right mouse button, you can aim your gun for increased accuracy. Some characters have a recoil compensation skill, which will completely nullify recoil if you aim for long enough. Holding shift will allow you to aim for headshots, which can give you can increase in damage against your foes. It’s recommended to always try to hit for headshots.
– Dodge: By tapping the space bar, your character will perform a dodge. High level characters such as protagonists will, by default, do a quick dodge. This move is ideal for escaping stunlocks as well as making distance between you and the enemy. If you are caught in a stunlock, timing your dodge will allow you to escape. If you were to press the space bar again immediately after performing a quick dodge, your character will do a heavy dodge. This dodge allows you to cover more distance, but takes a longer time to perform. If you just want to do a heavy dodge, hold shift and then press space.
– Throwin’ Stuff: By holding down the Q key and pressing LMB, your character will throw whatever item they have in their hand. If you want to throw the weapon in your other hand, press RMB. Throwing weapons can be an effective method of gaining the ranged advantage without using a firearm. There are also throwing specific weapons, which will default to your grenade slot. Press G to throw them.
– Pommel Strike: By pressing the middle mouse button with a ranged weapon, you can pistol whip your enemies with the butt of your gun. This is a good way to deal some quick damage and get them off of you so you can make some distance you might need to use your gun. This attack is also able to kill enemies, but isn’t very effective at it.
– Kicks: You can perform a kick by holding shift and pressing the middle mouse button. This spartan kick is good for getting enemies away from you, or kicking enemy shields out of the way and leave them vulnerable to attack. Some characters do not have this kick, which is replaced with a shove, but it can be used to the same effect.
– Armor: Most characters you play as will be decently well armored, and you’ll notice some differences between your unarmored self and your armored self. Your armor is also only half as effective from behind, which is more incentive to constantly keep your enemies in front of you if you can help it. Armor is much more prevalent in arena mode, but your protagonists do become more well armored as the story progresses.
Know Your Abilities, Part 2
Some characters have special moves they can perform, for example, Dr. Christoff. Due to his Godly powers, Christoff has some special abilities you can do to give you an edge in battle.
– Christoff’s Charge Attack: This charge attack has 2 stages, just as your regular charge attack, but does different things. The stage 1 charge attack does a small force push all around Jeb, which will push any enemies away and potentially send them flying. Stage 2 on this charge attack does an AOE dissonance attack, vaporizing any enemies caught in it.
– Christoff’s Dissonance Bolts: By pressing the G key, Christoff can throw dissonance bolts. These homing projectiles do massive damage to single targets and can vaporize them. Keep in mind though, they are limited, so use them sparingly.
– Christoff’s Long Range Pickup: Christoff can use telekinesis to his advantage, being able to pick up weapons and items without needing to get close. Simply hold Q and press the LMB over the item you want, and it will float into Jeb’s hand.
– Sanford’s Hook: Sanford’s hook is a special weapon as well as having a special ability attached to it. If you throw this hook, it will hook into an enemy and return to Sanford. This can be a great method of closing the distance between you and a ranged enemy, as well as doing heavy damage to single targets. Keep in mind though, enemies that cannot be brought to Sanford will instead bring Sanford to them.
– Deimos’ faster kick: It’s worthy of note that Deimos has a faster kick.
– Large Melee Weapons: Some melee weapons in this game are MASSIVE, and thus they take a very long time to swing. Doing a charge attack with these weapons results in a special animation, this attack in particular is ideal for dealing devastating damage, as well as brutalizing clusters of enemies.
Know Your Weapons
This game has a wide variety of weapons, so I will not be covering each individual weapon, but be covering each type of weapon. Weapons can be divided into these categories:
Light weapons are small weapons, usually capable of being held in one hand. These weapons attack very quickly and tend to be lower on the durability side. These weapons are great for quick use and dishing out damage quickly.
Heavy weapons tend to be held with both hands, but some characters can hold them with one. These weapons tend to deal much more raw damage at the cost of swing speed. Despite this, these weapons are still extremely viable and tend to be a one up over light weapons.
These weapons are gargantuan, meaning they swing extremely slowly. If successful, these weapons can deal devastating damage to multiple targets. Highly recommended to use charge attacks exclusively with these weapons.
Light ranged weapons are your pistols, revolvers, and SMGs. These weapons can usually be held in one hand and are great for taking out single targets. Revolvers fire slower, but do much more damage. SMGs have high capacity at the cost of damage, and are recommended for spraying into large groups of enemies.
Rifles and Shotguns tend to make up the bulk of this category. Rifles have high capacity and high damage, and it’s recommended you use these weapons to their fullest. By aiming down the sights, you can tap the LMB to fire single shots. Otherwise, the weapon will fire 3 round burst. Shotguns do heavy damage at the cost of capacity, being able to do devastating damage to single targets.
LMGs, Anti-Tank rifles, and Explosives make up this category. LMGs have high capacity and are recommended for taking out large groups of enemies or mag-dumping into a tankier foe. The anti-tank rifle is a very large, slow firing weapon, but does insane amounts of damage to single targets. Explosives such as the bazooka can destroy large groups of enemies in an instant, but will also damage you if you’re too close.
Special weapons come in all shapes and sizes, so we’ll cover some individually.
Hook: While useful in the hands of someone without a special skill, this weapon mostly shines in its ability to return to the thrower when cast. This requires a special skill, which can be learned by Arena characters. There are also weapons with a similar function, such as the boomerang, the throwing disk, and the crecent hook.
Dissonance Weapons: Dissonance weapons are weapons that fire dissonance energy, hence the name. These weapons can vaporize targets and do heavy damage extremely quickly. The dissonance Lancer is a fast firing dissonance weapon, firing bursts of dissonance bolts that hone in on targets and vaporize them. The dissonance cannon fires a massive, explosive dissonance bolt, which annihilates anything it hits to terrifying effect. The dissonance scatter gun is a dissonance shotgun, dealing heavy vaporizing damage to multiple targets at once.
Broken Hilt/Shard: The broken hilt is a weapon that can only be obtained by breaking a melee weapon. This weapon will allow you to perform an execution on single targets, dealing heavy damage and potentially killing them.
Screwdriver/Scalpel: These small weapons aren’t much when it comes to actually fighting with them, but they can be used to execute a single target for free.
Know Your Enemies
This game has a wide variety of enemies, too many to cover all at once. I’ll spend most of this portion of the guide covering enemy classes, since they operate mostly the same across all factions.
Stunlocking: This mechanic is extremely important to understand while fighting enemies. The stunlock can work towards your advantage as well as your detriment. Light attacks from a melee weapon will always stunlock enemies, allowing you to pummel them. But, enemies can also stunlock you with their melee attacks. To escape this, time your dodge or your block and make distance from the enemy. A good way to know when an enemy is about to attack is when they flash red.
Weak Enemies/Small Targets: These enemies tend to be on the weaker side and show up in bulk. They can be killed relatively easily with light and/or heavy attacks. Ranged weapons are also ideal for taking out clusters of these types of enemies.
Stronger Enemies: These enemies tend to have tac bars as well as more corpus blocks. To circumvent their tac bar, use melee weapons or shoot them in the sweet spot. Shooting them normally will also drain their tac bar, if it reaches zero, you can shoot them dead.
Big Boys: Big enemies tend to come in the form of G03LMs, which come in different armors. Attacking a G03LM with melee is the deal way to take it down, as enough melee attacks will send it into a frenzy. After it’s done doing its frenzy attack, walk up behind it and perform an execution. Sometimes this execution is required, as some G03LMs have bulletproof armor.
MAG Agents: MAGs are massive enemies, being able to absorb lots of damage. You want to throw everything you have at these enemies, as they are extremely tanky. Heavy melee attacks are ideal for dishing out as much damage as possible. Broken weapons and any weapons that allow executions are also ideal. Power weapons such as dissonance weapons or explosives such as the Bazooka are equally as ideal.
Chargers/Berzerkers: These enemies have a charge attack where they will flash red and then charge at the player. If they successfully charge you, they can ragdoll you or grapple you. To escape a grapple, follow the onscreen prompt and mash attack or dodge.
Grapplers: Grappling enemies tend to come in the form of Zeds, who would try to grab you. To escape their grip, spam the dodge button. Other grappling enemies come in the form of elves or hiveslugs, which will grab onto you and explode. It’s best to avoid getting grabbed by these enemies.
Bossfights And You
This game has quite a few bosses, all of which will be encountered through the campaign. I will try to give proper strategy guides to defeating each boss ideally, but experiences may vary.
This gargantuan bandit is the first boss and thus is the easiest one. It’s highly recommended to kill the spawning bandit minions during this fight in order to obtain weapons that will be useful during this fight. Getting close to MAG Bandit is the best and most reliable way to deal damage to him. I recommend using exclusively heavy attacks here, as they will do the most damage and break your weapons quickly. Using broken weapon shards here is good for dealing a lot of damage to MAG Bandit.
His attacks are relatively straight forward and extremely telegraphed. When it looks like he’s about to attack, move out of the way to avoid taking massive damage.
–Church and Jorge, Round 1–
During this fight, you’ll find yourself in an arena with Church and Jorge. Church is an aggresive physical attacker, honing in on the player and attacking them with devastating melee attacks. During this fight, it’s best to evade him and focus on killing Jorge. Your ally AI partner can act as an excellent distraction here. Killing the MERC Minions that show up during this fight is a great way to get your hands on some guns that will make taking out Jorge easier.
Jorge in this fight has an anti-tank rifle that you wanna get your hands on. Focus on killing Jorge, due to his specialty in ranged weapons, he isn’t much of a physical attacker. Shoot him full of lead and pummel with with melee to kill him quickly. Once he’s dead, grab his rifle and use it to finish off Church.
Phase 1: During this fight, you will encounter the sheriff on the other side of a massive pit. On each side of your side of the pit, there is a lever. Run to the left lever and pull it, which will cause a box to appear from the left side of the Sheriff’s side of the pit. Quickly run over to the lever on the right, and pull it when the box is over the Sheriff’s head. This is how you damage him. Use your AI partner as a distraction from the minions that will be swarming you. Drop another box on the Sheriff’s head and that’s phase 1 complete.
Phase 2: After running away, the Sheriff will hide behind sandbags. During this segment, you’ll have to fight your way through some enemies, one of which will drop some C4. Pick up the C4 and place it on the sandbags to destroy them. I recommend using Sanford’s grenades on the MERC Snipers positioned on top of the building, as they can be the most annoying during this phase.
Phase 3: It’s 1v2 time with the Sheriff. He’ll draw his gun on you and start shooting. My strategy here though is to rush the Sheriff with melee, which will cause him to dodge backwards. This makes it easy for him to corner himself, allowing you to pummel him with melee weapons.
–MAG Bandit, Round 2–
The strategy here is largely the same as last time, use heavy attacks and any guns around the area to deal as much damage as possible, all while dodging his attacks. MAG Bandit’s heavy slam attack will cause rubble to fall down from the ceiling, which you’ll wanna avoid.
–Church and Jorge, Round 2–
During this fight, you’ll be in a much more open arena with the duo. This time, I would recommend focusing on Church, using Sanford’s grenades to ragdoll him which will allow you to pummel him and do a lot of damage. Jorge here has a flamethrower, and it’s recommended you don’t get close. You mostly wanna ignore him here, as he isn’t very threatening. Once Chruch is dead, take out Jorge and end the fight.
The ex-Nexus scientist makes his debut here as a mad cult leader. First he’ll spawn two Gravedigger bandits, which you’ll wanna take out. Then, he’ll try to deal with you personally. I highly recommend melee attacking Crackpot, as it’s the easiest and most reliable way of hurting him. His light armor also makes him very fragile.
Jeb makes his debut wanting to fight Hank. At the start of the fight, Jeb will pull out his revolver and start shooting you. I recommend using any guns you found earlier in the stage and lighting Jeb up with as much lead as possible. After this, he’ll swap to his binary sword, and it’s melee time. Do your best to keep Jeb in a stucklock and evade his melee attacks, as they can be devastating. Overpower and overwhelm him, and this fight should be pretty easy.
–Church and Jorge, Final Round–
This fight is a bit of a doozy. Church here returns wielding a shock harpoon, which makes him a very deadly physical attacker. The small arena here makes it difficult to evade him. I would recommend using the same strategy with the grenades here, as it’s the most reliable way to take him out. Jorge is sporting a sludge gun, which spouts poisonous sludge that slows you down. I would still recommend ignoring him here though, as he still isn’t very threatening.
Ghoul is a giant robotic ant spider thing, I don’t really know how to describe him, I just know he freaks me out. Ghoul will enter the stage from the ceiling, and you’ll wanna pump as much lead into him as possible if you have it. If not, get close and heavy attack.
His second phase has him jumping up and down into the ceiling, where he’ll try to crush you to death. Run around and evade his crushing attacks, to where he’ll eventually knock out a part of the elevator and become stuck. Use this chance to heavy attack his face and deal as much damage as possible. After a few cycles of this, Ghoul should be no more.
This freak of nature isn’t actually all that threatening, and this fight is more an endurance test if anything. Hive is largely invulnerable, save for a few moments that you’ll wanna take advantage of. Hive will do an electricity attack which will leave him open briefly, use this to dish out a little bit of damage. He will also try to shoot missiles at the ground, which are telegraphed, try your best to avoid them. Nexus agents will come in through the windows, kill them and grab their guns.
Eventually, Hive will spit out hiveslugs, which you wanna kill with guns. They die and one hit and you don’t wanna let them get close, or else they’ll explode on you. Hive will then leave his gut open, to where you can heavy attack it with melee to do the most damage possible. Alternatively, you can use Jeb’s dissonance bolts here. After a few cycles, Hive should be no more.
This big bastard has been hounding you the whole game, time to put an end to him. While Jeb is operating the divergence engine, focus on grabbing the plugs and throwing them into the plug slots. Be sure to only throw the second plug into the other slot when Gestalt is in the center of the room, or else the attack won’t work. Once gestalt is vulnerable, get close to his shoe with melee and slash away. Repeat the plug process and break another one of Gestalt’s corpus. The 3rd time around, gestalt has put flesh tentacles over the plug slots. Shoot them away and then repeat the process.
Phase 2: Gestalt’s got wings now, and you gotta take him out. I recommend grabbing the Dissonance Lancer here, as it’s the quickest way to take him. Keep your pointer on Gestalt and keep firing, it should take no more than 2 mags of the Lancer to take him out. He has a beam attack and some dissonance attacks that are pretty easy to evade given how much they’re telegraphed.
Bossfights and You, Part 2
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost! Except this one. This fight is genuinely really difficult and you’ll have to use every skill you’ve learned in order to survive.
Phobos will start by hovering around the stage, grab guns here and shoot him up as best you can. Once he’s lost a few corpus, he’ll throw rubble at you and be invincible while doing it. Use this time to grab any weapons and focus on avoiding the rubble. Then, he’ll spawn enemies, use your weapons to take them out since they’re pretty weak.
After dealing more damage to him, Phobos will spawn a dissonance binary sword which he’ll use and try to vaporize your soul. After this, Phobos will randomly attack from a corner of the screen with terrifying speed. Constantly keep dodging and moving around and try to avoid this attack as best you can. You wanna keep as much distance from him here as possible as he’ll constantly be trying to get close to you. Use guns around the stage to shoot him up as much as possible, melee here should be looked at as a last resort.
During his final phases, Phobos will steal the Halo from Jeb and become supercharged. Usually by this point, you’ll have run out of bullets to sling his way, and you’ll be forced into melee. Put on your big boy britches cuz it’s time to take Phobos on personally. I highly recommend Hank’s katana here, as it attacks very quickly and does a lot of damage. Phobos will do various AOE and sword attacks to get you off him, dodge out of the way and use the brief window to deal damage to him. Once this is done, Phobos is no more.
–Hank J. Wimbleton–
After a stunning display of betrayal, you will be forced to battle Hank. He’ll first move to the far right on the screen, on top of a ledge, I recommend using your grenades here to take out one of his corpus. Then, he’ll run around the floor, shooting at you. Use your gun and try to shoot him as much as you can, if he gets close, pistol whip him.
Then, he’ll get on top of a center piece of the room, I also recommend using your grenades here. If not, you can shoot at him or use Sanford’s hook.
Hank’s back on the ground, do the same thing as before. Shoot him, melee if he gets close.
Hank will then get on top of Gestalt’s head, to where you can shoot him, use grenades, or your hook. Once he’s on the ground for the 3rd time, you should be able to kill him.
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