3. Characters, Monsters and Abilities
The two playable characters of the game, Nero and Dante, have many different abilities and strengths. Story mode doesn't allow you to choose your fighter, but the Bloody Palace does. Knowing how they both work and how they can deal with the enemies is key to getting through the hardest modes, and it will allow you to make the correct choice when you tackle the Bloody Palace challenge.
In this page you will find a list of skills for each character, with some suggestions on their usage, and then a break-down on the enemies fought both as Nero and as Dante (there's only one enemy of the game which doesn't appear in the Bloody Palace). This page is just a more detailed explanation of some aspects of the game, but nothing you absolutely "must" read. My suggestion is to test in-game all the Skills you learn, as you learn them, to see how they look like and how they work on the enemies; take your time to read this page only if you are stuck on something or you want a generic overview on the moves of the characters (Dante's skillset can be confusing at first, and you may underestimate some attacks).
Remember that there are achievements for getting all the skills of Nero's and Dante's, which will take a bit less than 300,000 Proud Souls. Proud Souls are acquired by playing the game. In particular, they are 3% of your Devil Hunter Points scored in a mission.
Skills which can be purchased will be preceeded by this symbol: * .
Nero has three main offensive weapons: Red Queen (the sword), Blue Rose (the gun), Busters (his arm). The default controls assign the Red Queen to Y, the Blue Rose to X and the Busters to B, but it's highly advisable to set the gun on RT to be able to fire and charge your shots at the same time as you're fighting/jumping.
Red Queen has simple and effective combos which can suit every situation of the game.
Red Queen Combo A: default combo, just four swings of the sword; it's not bad at all, and some enemies will be knocked back after the fourth hit. Input: YYYY.
* Red Queen Combo B: not the best one of all, because it's rather slow and not powerful enough to compensate for it. It's probably the only combo you won't use. Inputs: Y, pause, Y, pause, YYY... (tap the last Y)
* Red Queen Combo C: great combo on the ground, it's useful in about any circumstance since Nero will make large circles in the air with his sword, damaging all the nearby enemies. Inputs: YY, pause, YYYY.
Red Queen Combo D: just a variant of Red Queen Combo A, nothing special. Inputs: YYY, pause, Y.
Aerial Combo: a good regular combo. Inputs: (while in the air) YYY.
* Roulette Spin: your best aerial attack, it's very useful when you throw an enemy in the air and it's also very useful against about every boss of the game except the boss of Mission 08. Nero will make a couple of hits in the air, and then a strong circular swing going upwards. This technique also allows you to reach higher heights, and as a matter of fact it will be suggested to reach some locations unreachable if you could have only jumped. Inputs: (while in the air) YY, pause, Y.
* Exceed 2: see Exceed 3.
* Exceed 3: this and the previous ability are passive skills, which enable you to use respectively two and three bars of your Exceed gauge instantly to maximize the damage of some attacks such as High Roller and Streak. They are both very useful since they increase your offensive output a lot.
High Roller: another great attack. It launches the enemies in the air from the ground and also sends you in the air, allowing you to follow this attack with Roulette Spin or other attacks. Its "Exceeded" version with three Ex-gauges is great and will send you in the air even higher than a jump could do, allowing you to reach some particular locations in the dungeons. Inputs: RB+LS_Backward+Y.
Ex High Roller: it's the exceeded version of High Roller I was mentioning a couple of lines earlier. Same inputs as High Roller, but with one or more Exceed Gauges; the more gauges, the stronger the attack and the higher the height you can reach. Make sure to hold all the buttons until the end of the move; if you release them, you won't use its full power.
* Streak: with this powerful attack, Nero will dash forward with his sword and swing at the front line of enemies in front of him. This attack is excellent and powerful, especially when upgraded with Streak 2 and Ex Streak. A Lv 3 Ex Streak is a devastating attack. Input: RB+LS_Forward+Y. Top priority skill.
* Streak 2: a stronger version of Streak.
Ex Streak: it's the exceeded version of Streak (2). Same inputs as Streak, but with one or more Exceed Gauges; the more gauges, the stronger the attack and the longer the distance you will cover while swinging the sword in a burst of flames clearing your way.
* Split: you can consider this as the opposite of High Roller, because from the air you will splat an enemy to the ground. It's simple to perform and can sometimes guard-break enemies. Inputs: (while in the air) RB+LS_Forward+Y. Top priority skill.
Double Down: they could call this one "Ex Split", because it's the exceeded version of Split. Same inputs as Split, but with one or more Exceed Gauges; the more gauges, the stronger the attack and the wider the range of the shockwave you create when you stab the sword in the ground.
* Calibur: not a top priority skill, but it can really help against some enemies (many bosses too) since it's a sort of "aerial Streak". It helps epecially against the bosses of Mission 11 and Mission 20, since they will try to run away from you (and they float in the air) and you can reach them more quickly with this attack. Not very useable against regular enemies (which rarely float), but good for bosses. Inputs: RB+LS_Backward_to_Forward+Y.
Ex Calibur: it's the exceeded version of Calibur. Same inputs as Calibur, but with one or more Exceed Gauges; the more gauges, the stronger the attack.
* Shuffle: if used correctly, it can become a good attack on higher difficulties since it allows to back-step and counter an enemy's attack; if not used correctly, you will trigger wrong combos and probably get into troubles. Inputs: RB+LS_Backward_To_Forward+Y.
Ex Shuffle: it's the exceeded version of Shuffle. Same inputs as Shuffle, but with one or more Exceed Gauges; the more gauges, the stronger the attack and the further the landing point of the enemy after the attack.
Blue Rose is an extremely powerful gun. Not so good with Normal Shots, but deadly with Charge Shots.
* Charge Shot: hold your fire button to charge, and Nero's arm will glow blue/light-purple. This is a stronger shot than the regular ones, but not very powerful.
* Charge Shot 2: hold your fire button to charge and keep it held to continue the charge after the first charge, and Nero's arm will glow even stronger with a more intense purple color. This is a very strong shot which will knock back most of the enemies, besides dealing a lot of damage.
* Charge Shot 3: hold your fire button even longer to charge it to the max; Nero's arm will glow red. This is the ultimate charged shot, which always knocks back the regular enemies, and can even block the attacks of bosses sometimes. There's not a single situation where you can't make good use of this shot, because it also gives a lot of Style Meter boost (you usually rank up of a whole meter for this shot). Its damage will also be dealt in two different moments (each with a stunning effect on the enemies): one when the shot impacts on the enemy, and another one from the explosion of the bullet inside the enemy. When shot on a group of enemies, it can even damage those near your main target.
Devil Bringer is Nero's arm, and it will be useful to move in the arenas and fight the enemies.
Buster: simply by pressing B near an enemy, you will perform a Buster. Busters are attacks which differ from enemy to enemy, and their power is very strong. Not all the enemies can be bustered all the time; for example, bosses can only be bustered after being stunned, and enemies like the Mephistos and Fausts can't be bustered in their "phantom-like" form. In these cases, busters will not trigger the typical animation of the move, but they will still deal some damage to the shield which is protecting the enemies (not allowing you to land a "real" Buster). For instance, just about the Mephistos and Fausts, you can take off their cloak very quickly by using busters on them; against Angelo enemies, a buster on their shield will heavily damage it. Sometimes you can mash some buttons to increase the damage of the animation (for example, tap B while bustering Echidna).
Devil Buster: the animation of a buster will change if you perform it while in Devil Mode (with the Devil Trigger activated). Other than a change in the appearance, the busters will also be more powerful and deadly. The most noticeable case is a buster against Dante, which can normally be blocked by your enemy; a Devil Buster can't be blocked.
Snatch: this is a virtual extension of the arm, and allows you to grab some enemies and bring them to you (this also knocks them on their back). The effect of a snatch is different on some bigger enemies (bosses, but not only them), because you will use the enemy as a grip to quickly reach them by using the arm as a sort of spring becoming shorter to reach them. This also won't knock them on their backs. The range of a snatch changes with the following upgrades. You can also use snatches to grab some blue grips to proceed in specific arenas. The use of this ability is story related, and you will first learn to use it on Mission 02. Input: RB+LS_Forward+B.
* Snatch 2: a Snatch with longer range.
* Snatch 3: a Snatch with even longer range.
Devil Snatch: it's a Snatch performed in Devil Mode. It isn't more powerful, but it can grab more enemies at once. This is probably the least useful bonus given when you activate Devil Trigger.
Hell Bound: a Snatch performed on blue grips (Grim Grips) to move in the arenas. Input: RB+LS_Forward+B.
Hold: this move is available after clearing Mission 08, which earns you the item you need to learn it. You have to press B like if you wanted to do a buster, but instead of just pressing B, hold it to keep the enemy grabbed in front of you and use him as a shield. The only concrete use you will make of this ability is clearing Secret Mission 03, which requires you to raise your style meter without damaging the enemies with your attacks. Other than that, since the enemies can also escape from your Hold (especially stronger enemies), nobody will ever use it in a "real" fight.
Yamato is the special power obtained when you first beat a mini-boss fight on Mission 06.
Devil Trigger: press LB to enter Devil Mode. With a spirit on your side, you will deal more damage while depleting the Devil Gauge. It's not a good idea to use it if you don't need it to significantly increase your damage (for example, when an enemy is stunned or when you want to buster a powerful enemy, that'd be a good chance to use Devil Trigger; a group of simple Scarecrows is not a good moment to use your precious Devil energy). Activating this mode requires at least 3 gauges of the Devil Gauge filled. You can extend the number of gauges by purchasing the Purple Orbs in the Item Shop. Fighting enemies and taking damage will recover your Devil Gauge: the higher the damage/style meter with which you defeat the enemies, the higher the recovery of the gauge.
When using the Devil Trigger you will create a short-ranged shockwave around you, which knocks back most of the regular enemies, dealing little damage to them. The shockwave also gives you invincibility frames, and if you can time exactly the use of Devil Trigger when an attack is about to land on you, you will come out of it without taking damage.
Other than using it in dangerous situations, it's particularly useful for Devil Busters on bosses and also in a boss fight (the one of Mission 08), if the enemy summons a bunch of swords around you (activating the Devil Trigger will instantly destroy them).
*Trigger Heart: passive skill which reduces the amount of Devil Gauge consumed while you have the Devil Trigger activated. Useful.
Summoned Swords: additional attack when you use the gun. While not very powerful, it helps the style meter. If you use a simple bullet, a single sword will be thrown at the enemy; if you use a Charged Shot, two swords will be thrown at the enemy; Lv 2 Charged Shot = four swords; Lv 3 Charged Shot = six swords. You can "fire" the summoned swords even if you're in the middle of an animation (for example, you can release the gun-charge button while performing a Devil Buster to unleash the swords for extra style). A concrete use of them is also to block the enemies from doing anything (while being hit by the swords, they will stand still), buying you time, for example, to charge attacks such as Showdown.
* Maximum Bet: a powerful ranged attack which can also be charged if you hold the buttons before releasing the hit. Not very useful for the average player, but in some situations you can really take advantage of this attack to deal damage or knock back a large group of enemies at once, provided you have enough time to charge and release the attack. It's a memorable attack against Berial, since he's a big-sized enemy which you can easily hit even if you take your time to charge, and using a couple of this attacks can take down his flames instantly even on higher difficulties. Inputs: RB+LS_Backward+Y+B.
* Showdown: an extremely powerful set of combos in short range. It takes a while to charge and release it, and is therefore best used in two circumstances. One is if a boss is stunned, and the other is against Faust enemies (when they have lost their cloak). For the first of the two, you can actually take advantage of the stunning moment to use a Devil Buster instead, which lands more easily and is more rewarding than Showdown, besides being safer. For the second one, Showdown is just perfect: as soon as the Faust is on the ground in his "spider" form, you can charge Showdown in front of him and release the gun button while you charge Showdown; releasing the gun button won't make you shoot if you release it while loading a move (and you want to release it while loading Showdown), but it will unleash the Summoned Swords which will stab the Faust continuously, preventing him from moving away from you.
Abilities of Nero include various dodges. There are several useful abilities you will want to make your life much easier.
Side Roll: dodge an attack by using RB+LS_Left/Right+A.
* Table Hopper: dodge an attack by using RB+LS_Left/Right+A just before it lands; then you can counter.
* Table Hopper 2: after a Table Hopper, press RB+LS+A to continue dodging.
* Table Hopper 3: better version of Table Hopper 2. All the Table Hopper abilities are pretty much useless, since you need a perfect timing and you will probably just Jump when you want to dodge.
Kick Jump: after jumping on a wall, press A to jump again from where you first landed. This allows you to reach higher locations.
* Speed: hold LS in the same direction to have Nero start running. You can change the direction of your run only with slight movements: move LS too far from its position in the moment when you triggered Speed, and Nero will stop sprinting and start running again normally. They probably should have just let us trigger the sprint-run with a button, since triggering it only after some seconds of holding LS in the same exact direction isn't effective at all.
* MAX-Act: a more powerful version of a default ability you have. By pressing LT after using any attack of the Red Queen, you can instantly reload a bar of the Exceed Gauge; with MAX-Act, if your timing is perfect, you will reload all the three gauges of the Exceed Gauge at once. It's useful (not a top priority, but it becomes even more useful on higher difficulties).
Rainbow: while you are sprinting (that is when Speed is triggered), press Back to jump on an enemy's face. You will hardly use this, but on some Missions you may foresee the enemies spawning (for example on Mission 03, against some Frosts spawned on the Central Courtyard upper area) and therefore you may be Speed-running by the time you reach them.
* Get more orbs: this is a great passive skill which automatically collects the orbs you gain (from enemies or shooting items, even if you shoot objects from the furthest possible distance). It won't collect the "free" red orbs in the area automatically, nor it will collect the secret orbs for you, but all the orbs that you can "create" by killing enemies or destroying objects will automatically be added to your profile. It's a very useful skill, but since you can collect the orbs more "manually", it takes a bit less priority than other important active skills.
* Enemy Step: another quite useless ability; press A to use the enemies' bodies as a stepping stone to perform another jump.
* Air Hike: this allows you to make a double jump with Nero. After jumping with A once, jump again in the air with A again, summoning a stepping stone in the air to go higher. It's an excellent ability. Top priority skill.
Dante is a much more complicated character to use and master, and his abilities include five different styles, three main weapons and three guns (you start with four styles, one weapon and two guns). To change style you use the D-Pad in specific directions; to change main weapon you use RT; to change gun you use LT. Leave the controls as they are by default.
The combination of style and weapons (main and gun) changes the effect of the inputs of B and similar commands. You can upgrade the level of your Styles to increase the amount of skills and combos you can do with B. All those skills which are not Level 1 will require the purchase of upgrades in the shop, such as Style Level Up 2/3/4 (you need these three upgrades for each style except Dark Slayer).
To select this style you have to press D-Pad_Up. It's a defensive style which allows you to easily dodge the attacks with dashes giving you invincibility frames. Sometimes this also allows you to reach locations which would normally be out of your reach. It's a good idea to upgrade it to Style Level 3 as soon as possible to unlock Sky Star.
Dash (Trickster Level 1): press LS_Forward+B to dash forward. Simple but also very useful.
Mustand (Trickster Level 2): after dashing towards an enemy, hold B to use him as a stepping stone to jump. You will probably use dashes especially to defend, so this isn't very useful.
Flipper (Trickster Level 2): after being knocked down, press B for a quick flip back to recover.
Sky Star (Trickster Level 3): an aerial dash; while in the air, press LS_Forward+B. Very useful.
Air Trick (Trickster Level 4): a vanishing move performed by pressing RB+LS_Forward+B. Not very useful to be honest.
To select this style you have to press D-Pad_Down. It's an even more defensive style which allows you to completely block the attacks of enemies, filling up the "Royal Gauge" (displayed below the "style circle" in the upper left corner of the screen; it fills with a yellow bar as you accumulate Blocks) in the process. The higher the level of Royal Guard, the bigger the Royal Gauge. You can use the accumulated energy of the Royal Gauge to attack enemies or to create a super powerful armor which will deplete your Royal Gauge (a sort of Devil Trigger which doesn't give extra offensive powers, but guarantees a great armor). Mastering this style is very hard, since you need a perfect timing to make a perfect Royal Block instead than a regular Block. If you want to upgrade this style a bit, stop at Style Level 2, because there's nothing interesting on level 3/4.
Block (Royal Guard Level 1): press and hold B on the ground to guard against enemies' attacks. You will take some damage, but only a small amount; you will also fill the Royal Gauge as you receive damage.
Royal Block (Royal Guard Level 1): press B on the ground exactly when an enemy's attack lands on you to take no damage from it and greatly increase the Royal Gauge.
Release (Royal Guard Level 1): press RB+LS_Forward+B on the ground to attack an enemy with the energy stored in the Royal Gauge. The more the energy stored, the stronger the attack.
Royal Release (Royal Guard Level 1): press RB+LS_Forward+B on the ground exactly when an enemy's attack lands on you to counter and deal massive damage using the energy stored in the Royal Gauge.
Air Block (Royal Guard Level 2): press and hold B in the air to guard against enemies' attacks. You will take some damage, but only a small amount; you will also fill the Royal Gauge as you receive damage.
Air Release (Royal Guard Level 2): press RB+LS_Forward+B in the air to attack an enemy with the energy stored in the Royal Gauge. The more the energy stored, the stronger the attack.
Dreadnaught (Royal Guard Level 4): press RB+LS_Backward+B on the ground to create a perfect armor to guard against any hit. While in this condition, you're less aggressive but you won't be damaged. The Royal Gauge depletes as you are in this form, until it's completely deplenished and you will return normal.
There are no extra skills for Royal Guard Level 3, which is only a bit useful to increase the royal gauge if you really care.
Gunslinger's attacks with B will change according to the gun you're using. Increasing the level of Gunslinger also increases the length of the Disaster Gauge for the Pandora (it's between the two health gauges and fills with a purple color).
Gunslinger with Ebony & Ivory
Twosome Time (Gunslinger Level 1): press B and direct the shots with LS; quite useless.
Rain Storm (Gunslinger Level 2): while in the air, press B for massive shots on the enemies below you. It's a fashionable and powerful attack, and with a charged Ebony & Ivory it can make really quick work of the darkness cloaks of Mephistos and Fausts.
Honeycomb Fire (Gunslinger Level 4): after Twosome Time (which was LS_Forward+B), release LS and tap B for an incredible fast shooting which devastates the enemies. If you can aim this properly on Mephistos/Fausts, with a charged Ebony & Ivory, it's excellent to take down their darkness cloaks.
Gunslinger with Coyote-A
Fireworks (Gunslinger Level 1): press B on the ground to make multiple shots around you. You can also direct the shots with LS, but you will pretty much hit everywhere in 270° from your position (only part of your back will not be shot). It's a decent ability to break lot of items in a room and save some seconds (for example in the Grand Hall of Fortuna Castle, for the many chairs in the area), and is also good to take off the darkness cloaks of Mephistos and Fausts. It is one of the few moves which can knock down a Frost even on Dante Must Die.
Fireworks Air (Gunslinger Level 2): press B in the air to make multiple shots around you. It's even better than Fireworks on the ground for the darkness cloaks of the Mephistos and Fausts, since these enemies usually float and therefore will get hit more if you shoot around you in the air.
Backslide (Gunslinger Level 3): press RB+LS_Backward+B to shoot the enemies behind you. It has a bad accuracy and low power, and is not a good move.
Gun Stinger (Gunslinger Level 4): press RB+LS_Forward+B to "stinger" the enemies with the gunshot. It's quite a funny move, but it's not outstanding for its power. It can also be used to stun Frosts on Dante Must Die (or lower) difficulties, and if you're quick at changing style to Swordmaster when you manage to knock them down, you have a perfect chance for a Distorted Real Impact (especially if you manage to corner them).
Gunslinger with Pandora (the Pandora is obtained after finishing Mission 15 for the first time)
PF594: Argument (Gunslinger Level 1): press B to transform the Pandora in a hovering machine which can fire missiles with X and fly for some distance. While doing this, the Disaster Gauge will deplenish.
PF422: Grief (Gunslinger Level 3): press RB+LS_Backward+B to throw the Pandora box as a boomerang. This attack is weak and not worth using at all. While doing this, the Disaster Gauge will also deplenish, making it a quite counter-producing move.
PF666: Omen (Gunslinger Level 4): press RB+LS_Forward+B to shine the area around you (it has a large range) and massively damage the enemies if you have a full Disaster Gauge. Regardless of the gauge, this move instantly takes off the darkness cloaks of Mephistos and Fausts on any difficulty, but unfortunately Dante wastes a few instants before recovering from the animation of using Omen, and this may give them enough time to run away from you. It's still a great move, especially if you have a good chance to use it against Fausts on Son of Sparda/Dante Must Die modes.
Swordmaster is the most complex style, and it can also change according to the main weapon you are using.
Swordmaster with Rebellion
Prop (Swordmaster Level 1): on the ground, press B to rotate the sword and send most of the enemies in the air. This is a simple and excellent move to buy time against some enemies and prepare them for Real Impact (they land just in front of you). Some enemies won't be thrown in the air at first (for example, the Alto Angelos), but if you try few more times you will finally send them in the air. It's a very important move to always keep in mind.
Shredder (Swordmaster Level 1): after Prop, press and hold B to rotate the sword again in the opposite way, for a longer time than "Prop". This will keep the enemy mid-air in front of you, and he will get a lot of hits by your Rebellion. It's a quite good move, although not the best one.
Aerial Rave (Swordmaster Level 2): in the air, press BBBB to make an aerial combo with the Rebellion. You may have noticed how Dante lacks in default aerial combos (unlike Nero), because pressing Y in the air results in a Helm Breaker; this is your only way to perform aerial combos with the Rebellion, and it's a good skill to keep in mind for extra combos after sending enemies in the air.
Drive (Swordmaster Level 3): on the ground, press RB+LS_Backward+B to charge a devastating projectile attack with the Rebellion. Hold the buttons to charge the attack and increase the damage dealt to the enemies. When extended with Over Drive, this move will guarantee you an extremely high style meter bonus, as well as very good damage. It's best used after knocking down the enemies (for example with the gunshot or with Prop), so you have enough time to aim and charge properly.
Quick Drive (Swordmaster Level 3): on the ground, press B+Y to make a slash and then a quick drive (it's literally what it's named after); it's a less powerful attack than Drive and can't be charged. Usually not very good, but in some situations you may want to deal some extra damage without having to wait for a charged attack.
Over Drive (Swordmaster Level 3): after unleashing a Drive attack, tap B to add up to two Drive attacks. It's amazing, powerful, and will increase your style meter like crazy. It's almost always a good choice.
Dance Macabre (Swordmaster Level 4): with the only input of RB+LS_Forward+B (you can change the direction of your target by moving LS_Forward_another_enemy if you need to) continued by tapping B, Dante will start a long combo on the ground, which ends with a terrifying hit of a "charged" Rebellion. This combo is almost perfect, and its only downsides are that some enemies are able to sneak out of it, and you have a "cool down" period after the last and most powerful hit. Other than this, using it whenever you want is a great way to easily increase your style meter and deal massive damage to enemies. The best part is probably that this combo can't kill an enemy if you don't end it. This means that if you target a Scarecrow who is already almost dead, and use this combo on him, his health won't drop down to 0 until you perform the last hit of the combo (the most powerful one). This means that you can keep smashing the Scarecrow with all the hits of Dance Macabre and raise your style meter against him "for free", and it's a very good thing. If you're getting surrounded by other enemies while the hits of your combo are being performed, you can try to move LS_Forward those enemies surrounding you to stop attacking your first target and attack the other ones instead, thus stunning them and being able to end the combo and damage everyone.
Swordmaster with Gilgamesh (the Gilgamesh is obtained after finishing Mission 13 for the first time)
Shock! (Swordmaster Level 1): on the ground, press B to smash the ground with a fist and create a small shockwave around you. Not a very good move, but sometimes it may help for crowd control purposes. You can hold B to deal extra damage on a wider area with a charged attack.
Shocking! (Swordmaster Level 1): in the air, press B to smash the ground with a fist and create a small shockwave around you. This is a nice "landing" after jumping away to gain some free space from enemies, and you will probably use this one more than "Shock!".
Beast Uppercut (Swordmaster Level 2): on the ground, press RB+LS_Forward+B for a powerful attack which sends the enemy in the air. This can be a perfect opening for Real Impact attacks, although you will prefer Prop (of the Rebellion supported by Swordmaster) when enemies can also be thrown in the air by that (Frosts, for instance, can't be thrown in the air with Prop, but can be thrown in the air by Beast Uppercut if you try 2-3 times).
Rising Dragon (Swordmaster Level 3): while performing a Beast Uppercut, hold the buttons to charge and release an even more powerful attack.
Divine Dragon (Swordmaster Level 3): while performing a Beast Uppercut, hold the buttons even longer to charge even more and release an attack which can easily result deadly. To properly have time to charge, using a Prop to send the enemy in the air before charging is advisable.
Real Impact (Swordmaster Level 4): the most powerful attack is performed with RB+LS_Backward+B. This attack can be distorted (see General hints and tips) for extreme damage. It takes a few instants before attacking, but you can always use Prop to send the enemy in the air and then give him a Real Impact (or, why not, multiple Real Impacts in a row since you will send them in the air again). This is another amazing attack and it will probably be your main offense against Alto Angelos, Bianco Angelos, Blitzes, possibly also Frosts (if you learn how to target them with it) and bosses. Unfortunately on some enemies it's hard to connect all the hits, and the Blitzes are one of those. It's very possible to land a "complete" Real Impact on them, but you need to stand in the correct position (and since they move a lot, it's not very easy). Anyway, this doesn't mean that you can't try at least.
Swordmaster with Lucifer (the Lucifer is obtained after finishing Mission 16 for the first time)
Discipline (Swordmaster Level 1): press B to teleport all the stingers in the air (that is to say, those which are not staggering an enemy) in front of you, and automatically send them straight in front of you; you can direct the attack with LS. Nothing special, it's in fact a toned down version of Bondage. You can hold down B to keep the stingers in front of you as you walk around, and then release when ready.
Climax (Swordmaster Level 2): press RB+LS_Backward+B to teleport all the stingers in the air around you and detonate them automatically after few instants. Not a very good skill either, but it can be a gread crowd controller if you manage to get the most out of it. You will probably not use it anyway.
Bondage (Swordmaster Level 4): press RB+LS_Forward+B to send all the stingers in the air against the enemy you're targeting. This is a great way to attack enemies from a good safety distance, and it's a must-remember attack if you're using the Lucifer. You can also hold B with this attack, but it's usually a better idea to send the stingers on the enemy as soon as possible. Also, if you hold B, this time the stingers won't follow you and won't go (when you release B) in the current position of the enemy; they register the position of the enemy and will head where he first was when you first touched the buttons for this attack, so unless the enemy is standing still it's not a good idea to hold it. An exception can be bosses like Berial, since they start far away from you and you may want to hold B until they are close enough as to be reached by Bondage (which has a long, but limited range), but even in those cases you can simply wait to use Bondage directly when they're close enough. Anyway.
This style is unlocked as you begin Mission 18 for the first time. You have to press the D-Pad twice in the same direction (for example, D-Pad_Up+D-Pad_Up); the first input of D-Pad will change, as usual, to one of the four default styles, but pressing it again in the same direction typical of your style (for Trickster, the direction is D-Pad_Up) will change to Dark Slayer. This style is nothing special, but it can be good to extend the duration of some combos (especially the aerial ones).
Slash Dimension F: this is not a powerful attack as you may think, and it's not very easy to land it on enemies. You usually have an enemy at the correct distance after stingering him with the Rebellion. Input: RB+LS_Forward+B.
Slash Dimension C: it's the same attack as the previous one, but Dante will step-back before using it. Input: RB+LS_Backward+B.
Yamato Combo S: a regular combo on the ground; you can use it for a change on weaker enemies, but don't count on it if you're looking for something to damage them.
Aerial Rave V: probably the only attack for which this style is worth remembering, since you can preceed/follow the Aerial Rave attack of the Swordmaster with Aerial Rave V to stay airborne for longer, deal more damage and increase your style meter/points. You can jump and use Aerial Rave+Aerial Rave V first, then jump again (with Air Hike) and make another combo of the two (you have to change style while you do this of course), for what is one of the longest aerial attacks you can perform as Dante. If you use an Aerial Rave V, then change to Swordmaster with Rebellion and tap B once (first hit of Aerial Rave), then return immediately back to Dark Slayer, you can obviously land a lot of Aerial Rave V in a row, alternated with a touch of Aerial Raves; this requires some training, but it's a good way to tackle some enemies in the air; with Air Hike, the length of such a combo is quite good. Input: (while in the air) BB.
Rebellion is Dante's sword. It has good standard combos, and no aerial combos; to bypass the problem of no aerial combos, use the Aerial Rave attack with the Rebellion while in Swordmaster style. Its best combos and attacks come in Swordmaster style too, and this is what it has by default:
Rebellion Combo A: standard combo, nothing special. Input: YYY.
Rebellion Combo B: a better combo than the previous one, it can also be decent for crowd control and is good against most of the enemies (Frosts and Blitzes excluded). You can increase the number of hits (for extra damage, style meter and style points) of the last "stinger" attack by tapping the last Y continuously. Input: YYY(YYYY...).
Helm Breaker: the only attack available in the air without the support of Swordmaster; it's a quick and rather strong attack which smashes the enemy to the ground. It can knock down some of the more powerful enemies (like the Assaults), although it's still not always enough against Frosts. There is almost no situation where an Helm Breaker isn't a good choice when you don't know what to do/you get surrounded. Input: (while in the air) Y.
High Time: this attack will send the enemies in the air; it's quite good and prepares the enemy for aerial combos (if you are in Swordmaster style). There are better ways to send enemies in the air for stun purposes (such as the Prop attack, available with the Rebellion in Swordmaster style), but this is not bad either. Input: RB+LS_Backward+Y.
* Stinger: a powerful and quick, straight attack against an enemy. It usually knocks down and back the smaller enemies, and some bigger enemies can also get knocked down after several stingers in a row. You can increase the damage, style meter and style points earned with a Stinger by tapping Y when the hit connects on the enemy, triggering "Million Stab". This is "THE" attack against Basilisk enemies. Input: RB+LS_Forward+Y.
* Stinger 2: a better version of Stinger, with longer range.
Million Stab: as the hit of a Stinger connects, release LS and tap Y for a long barrage of stabs against the enemy. This works pretty well against bigger enemies too.
* Round Trip: press and hold Y to "charge" the Rebellion. When it's all red, release Y; Dante will throw the Rebellion as a boomerang against your opponent. The Rebellion will rotate "inside" the enemy, slashing him continuously for style meter and style points (and damage of course), but it's honestly not the best attack ever seen. You can change weapon and make other attacks (also on different enemies) while the Rebellion automatically damages the opponent though, so it can be an extra hand to some extent. You can call back the Rebellion before it kills the enemy/makes all the possible revolutions against the enemy by pressing Y again after releasing it.
Gilgamesh is the second main weapon of Dante, and is very short-ranged. Despite this little handicap, it has some of the strongest attacks of the game, and nothing compares to a Distorted Real Impact (a regular Real Impact is also devastating). You gain this weapon at the end of Mission 13.
Charged attack: this move is not listed, but if you hold Y you will charge a fist. It's a simple but powerful attack, especially if you're facing a stunned enemy and have enough time to properly charge it. The attack "Straight" can be better than this though.
Gilgamesh Combo A: standard combo, nothing special. Input: YYYY.
Gilgamesh Combo B: a more powerful combo than the default one, it's longer, deals more damage and earns more style meter/points. Input: YY, pause, YY.
Full House: while in the air, press Y. The Gilgamesh doesn't have aerial combos even if you're in Swordmaster style. This attack is still quite good, and it's a great attack to deal damage on the thunder shield of Blitzes.
Draw: it is a great attack of the Gilgamesh, because Dante will step back (avoiding an attack) and counter/attack with a powerful fist. Things get even better if you hold Y, using the attack Straight. It's a good finishing move for Blitzes ready to die in their transformation. Input: RB+LS_Backward+Y.
Straight: hold Y while performing a Draw to charge the attack. The damage dealt with Straight is very high, and you can even make a Distorted Straight which can be your best attack against Chimera Hybrids (think of the fight at the end of mission 14) on higher difficulties. This attack is also able, by itself, to break through the blades of most of the Chimera Hybrids (both the Scarecrow and the Assaults; it just rarely can't connect, but it usually works), resulting one of the preferred choices in such fights.
* Kick 13: a good and long combo which send the enemy in the air. While in Devil Mode, this combo is even better. It's not particularly outstanding, but it's usually a good move against any enemy, including Frosts, because its hits can easily connect even if the enemies aren't stunned/standing in the same position. It's surely worth buying. Input: RB+LS_Forward+Y.
* Flush: shabby move which makes you deal damage against the enemies which you touch when you perform a simple jump. The damage you deal with this move is very weak, and although the extra occasional damage is always welcome, this is surely not a skill you want to get before unlocking other, better, skills (about every other skill of Dante's is better than this).
Lucifer is a great weapon, which deals damage when its stingers explode. You can decide when to detonate them. You can summon a limited amount of stingers at the same time (12 max): if you summon more stingers, the older ones will automatically detonate. This is great, because if you can corner an enemy, you could just use stingers on him over and over again to detonate the previous ones and prepare new stingers. The explosions of multiple stingers can knock down even the strongest enemies of the game, making this weapon a cheap choice for boss fights and a great one against Frosts and Blitzes. You get the Lucifer after completing Mission 16. None of its regular combos can compare to Pin-Up.
Lucifer Combo A: an unlimited combo performed by tapping Y.
Lucifer Combo B: wait a moment between two Y attacks, to use more stingers at the same time (this compensates for the moment when you are not attacking).
Lucifer Combo C: by pressing Y, pause, Y, pause, Y, you can perform a more powerful attack on the third hit. Again, it only compensates for the moments when you're not attacking, and it's also quite hard to time.
Lucifer Combo D: press YY, pause, Y for another variant.
Lucifer Combo E: press YYYY, pause, Y; this is the only decent of the five regular combos of the Lucifer (and it's still not as good as Pin-Up).
Splash: a good aerial combo, although Pin-Up followed by Bondage (with the assistance of Swordmaster style) is also better than this. Input: (while in the air) press Y.
Ecstasy: this is the detonation attack. Any stinger, regardless if they are in the air or inside an enemy, will detonate. The explosion will be consecutive, one stinger after another, and the enemies will be damaged and knocked back the more the stingers hit them. Input: RB+LS_Backward+Y. Keep this input in mind, since it's crucial to make good use of the Lucifer.
* Pin-Up: a gamebreaking attack against bosses, even on Dante Must Die difficulty, and also the best way to use the Lucifer. It summons four stingers at once just in front of you, all ready for Bondage/Ecstasy. All the bosses of the game can be pretty much defeated only with this attack over and over. Because of the 12 stinger limit, after using it three times, the fourth time the four new stingers will be summoned after causing the explosions of the oldest four stingers, and so on; in a very short amount of time you will detonate a massive amount of stingers, basically four/second. Input: RB+LS_Forward+Y.
Ebony & Ivory, Coyote-A and Pandora have a very short skillset by themselves. The different combos of these guns are only available in Gunslinger mode.
Ebony & Ivory is not a good gun for most of the situations, but when charged and used in Gunslinger it can be excellent against Mephistos' and Fausts' cloaks (by using Rain Storm). The other great chance to use this gun is against Cutlasses, since the continuous fire of this gun will slow them down and let you come close to them when they are "swimming" in the ground. It won't knock back enemies.
Normal Shot: regular shot, fire with X.
* Charge Shot, * Charge Shot 2, * Charge Shot 3: the charge for Dante's guns is different than that of Nero's. You don't have to hold X for a longer period to use the higher charge level, and the main difference between Charge Shot 3 and a weaker Charge Shot is that Charge Shot 3 will let you shoot charged shots for longer.
Coyote-A is a better gun for most of the situations. It can also be great against the Mephistos' and Fausts' cloaks. Its regular shots are already good enough, but if you fire in the air you get faster fire; when supported by Gunslinger style, Fireworks and Fireworks air are also very good. A couple of shots by this weapon will usually knock down and back Chimera Hybrids, preparing them for other (charged) attacks of your main weapon.
Normal Shot: regular shot, fire with X. It's a good way to destroy items.
* Charge Shot, * Charge Shot 2, * Charge Shot 3: the charge for Dante's guns is different than that of Nero's. You don't have to hold X for a longer period to use the higher charge level, and the main difference between Charge Shot 3 and a weaker Charge Shot is that Charge Shot 3 will let you shoot charged shots for longer.
Pandora is the most powerful gun of the game, and it can also be good without Gunslinger. Along with the gun, you will also get a Distaster Gauge which fills with Pandora's attacks. When filled, it will increase the damage dealt with Pandora's attacks in Gunslinger mode (consuming the gauge). The higher the level of Gunslinger style, the longer the Disaster Gauge. You get this gun at the end of Mission 15.
PF013: Epidemic: while on the ground, press X to fire. It's a regular, yet powerful shot; great to send back the energy balls of Angelo enemies.
* PF124: Hatred: while on the ground, press and hold X; then rotate LS_360° and the previous form of the Pandora will now turn into a small missile battery, ready to shoot. It's obviously more powerful than "Epidemic", and you can use it after Epidemic itself and still get a significant boost of style meter (they are different attacks after all).
* PF398: Revenge: the most powerful version of the Pandora, this one is a cannon which (besides dealing massive damage with the shot) can also deal damage on enemies in front of you when you "place" the cannon to shoot. Since this is even another attack, you can use it after the two previous ones and still increase your style meter. Inputs: on the ground, press and hold X; then rotate LS_720°.
PF262: Jealousy: this is the aerial form of the Pandora. It's not very powerful, but it's by far the best way to fill the Disaster Gauge. Keep this last note in mind if you need to increase it for any reason (for example, before a tough fight for higher difficulties). Inputs: (while in the air) fire with X.
Abilities for Dante are part of those for Nero, and Devil Trigger only consists in a passive skill to improve the length of Devil Mode by decreasing the consumption of the gauge while you're in that mode.
Side Roll: press RB+LS_Left/Right+A to dodge an attack.
Kick Jump: after jumping on a wall with A, press A again to jump even higher.
* Speed: hold LS in the same direction to eventually start sprinting.
* Get more orbs: passive skill which will automatically collect the red orbs you create by killing enemies or destroying objects.
* Enemy Step: jump and press A on the body of an enemy to use him as a stepping stone for another jump. This can be quite good if you manage to master it, because you could, for example, use Full House, then Enemy Step, then Full House again, Enemy Step again, and so on, creating a devastating and long chain of hits. It's very hard to do so properly though.
* Air Hike: after jumping with A, jump again with A to create a virtual stepping stone to jump even higher.
* Trigger Heart: passive skill which decreases the amount of Devil Gauge consumed while in Devil Mode.
Fighting the enemies
In this section I will describe how you can deal with enemies, and this is specially meant for higher difficulties (Son of Sparda and Dante Must Die).
They are the weakest enemies of the game. There are actually two versions of Scarecrows: a type has the blade on the arm, and another type has the blade on the leg; they slightly differ from the amount of damage they take before dying, but they are the same for the rest. Their attacks are weak and slow, but they can cover a long distance from when they start their three-hits-combo to the end of it, and you want to be careful when they attack with that combo because you may get a completely avoidable hit if you stay still from far. They can also guard with their blades: any attack, after some hits, will break their guard.
Nero - On lower difficulties it's very important to use this combo: Lv 3 Ex High Roller followed by few shots (2-3 max) of the gun while in the air (you end up in the air after the High Roller) and then an aerial Buster. Use Taunts and Snatches between one Scarecrow and another one (if you're fighting a group of them, of course) to further increase your style meter on Human. On higher difficulties they are no problem either, just make good use of Lv 3 Ex Streak, Lv 3 Charged Shots, Ex High Rollers and aerial combos (Roulette Spin is the best).
Dante - On lower difficulties, use Dance Macabre or also Rebellion Combo B followed by a Stinger. If there's a group of Scarecrows, use a shot of the Coyote-A on the next one, then Taunt, then charge and release an Over Drive (this also works without the shot or the Taunt, anyway). If you want, after Dance Macabre and Over Drive, change to Gilgamesh for a change and use a Straight, then toss a couple of Pin-Ups on another one and shoot another one with the Pandora. It's very possible to just use Dance Macabre and Over Drives anyway. On higher difficulties it might be worth using Kick 13 of the Gilgamesh, more Stingers and Rebellion Combo B, and less Dance Macabre (avoid this last one especially if you're getting surrounded by enemies). Over Drive is a great way to increase the style meter without killing too many of these weak enemies regardless of the difficulty, just make sure you charge it from far and release it at full power.
They have little if anything in common with the regular Scarecrows, apart from the name. They're big and slow, but when they decide to attack they can be very powerful. Their main attack is a spin: after charging a bit from where they are, they roll quickly towards you, and their size can make it hard to avoid the hit (which is really quick). Another attack, and that's basically all they have, is when they "concentrate" several blades around their body and then they release them in various directions. This is easier to avoid, but keep in mind that you can't hit them while they're loading it, or you'll take damage.
Nero - Because of their huge size, landing attacks is never a problem. The buster animation is good, but it's better to do an aerial buster to avoid being hit by other enemies during the animation, which is quite stationary. Any combo is good, and you fight them only on harder difficulties. Red Queen Combo C works good, and so do all the other attacks (High Roller, Streaks, Roulette Spin, Lv 3 Charged Shots). Go freestyle with them.
Dante - For the same reason, they're also easy as Dante. Dance Macabre is perfect against them, and you can follow it with Over Drive, and then a Straight of the Gilgamesh after the Over Drive (if they are on higher difficulties; you face them also on Human). Coyote-A charged shots can knock them down, though pretty much anything does so (Prop, High Time, Beast Uppercut can also send them in the air very easily, for a perfect chance for a Real Impact).
They are as slow as the Scarecrows; their attacks are also the same as the Scarecrows, but the blades inside them will make the clean-up harder.
Nero - Lv 3 Charged Shots are perfect against these monsters, and Lv 3 Ex Streak is also good (though it doesn't guarantee to avoid being hit by their blades if you hit them straight with the Streak attack). After you release a Lv 3 Charged Shot, you have a considerable amount of time to use combos on them. As a matter of fact, after the shot they will not be able to use their blades; in addition to this, they won't be able to use the blades after the explosion of the bullet. Therefore, from when the shot hits to few seconds after the bullet explodes, you have more than enough time to defeat them with Ex High Roller, Busters and Ex Streaks. If necessary, by the time the bullet explodes, another Lv 3 Charged Shot should be ready. If you can't rely on the charged shot (for example you just used one for another Chimera), you can Snatch them and wait until they swing their swords while knocked down on the ground; after they do so, you are sure that they won't swing the blades for a few seconds, and therefore you can attack them with regular combos. You can also just wait until they swing the blades as they're walking by, but if you Snatch and knock them down they're simply less dangerous than if they were walking, of course.
Dante - Coyote-A charged shots can knock them down easily and keep the situation under control, but unfortunately you will often fight them along with Chimera Assaults. Pin-Up followed by Bondage (and then Ecstasy) is also a good way to stay safe. If you see that they've just swinged the blades, a Real Impact can end the fight easily. Straight is also very good, since it tends to break through the blades.
They are among the strongest non-boss enemies of the game, probably second only to the Blitzes (which are in fact the more powerful version of a Frost). Their attacks are rather fast, and other than the slashes in melee range they can also use a large amount of icicles as projectiles. They can throw two sets of icicles, one after another, and if you're not alone with them it can be difficult to time the dodge. They can also attack in the air, both with slashes and with icicles. Another dangerous attack is when they freeze the floor in front of you, and a variant of this attack is when they freeze spots of the arena that get hit by them. They can teleport near you, and they can literally freeze their body to recover a massive amount of health: when this happens, you can try to destroy the ice where they're taking cover before they un-freeze, to defeat them with a good style meter boost too. A good control of the camera is crucial to keep them as away from your screen as much as possible.
Nero - Lv 3 Charged Shots and Snatches can knock down a Frost, buying you enough time to take the situation under control, possibly helping yourself with the camera. The buster animation is also quite good, since Nero will swing the Frost around him (tap B and rotate with LS to choose the direction and increase the rotations), slightly damaging and keeping away other enemies nearby. On lower difficulties, when you know that a Frost is coming, prepare your Lv 3 Charged Shot and Lv 3 Ex Streak to start with a massive damage on a Frost, and possibly also use the Devil Trigger for extra damage. If you manage to knock down a Frost, never let go of him: even at the cost of using a repetitive Buster over and over again, force him where you are. Possibly save your Lv 3 Charged Shot not to directly attack the Frost you've knocked down, but to keep away the other one(s) approaching you away while you're torturing the other one. On higher difficulties it's just the same, but they will obviously last longer; for this reason, I would rather suggest not to use the Devil Trigger (unless you just want to, of course), because its contribution is not good enough as to make the difference like it did on easier modes.
Dante - On lower difficulties, Beast Uppercut (try more than once) can send them in the air, and prepare them for a Real Impact. On higher difficulties, they won't be thrown in the air that easily. You can knock them down with Fireworks and Gun Stinger, but it's not easy to connect a Real Impact (they recover too quickly) afterward. If they freeze themselves, use a (Distorted) Real Impact (on lower difficulties, an Over Drive is also fine) to finish them off instantly with a bunch of style boost too. If they jump in the air to attack you, shoot with Coyote-A and you should manage to knock them down. For higher difficulties, you either want to go freestyle, or turn on your panic-mode and spam Pin-Up like never before, or use a slightly risky strategy, which can however be the safest. The one I mean is: activate Devil Trigger; go near a Frost, use Real Impact, and according to the situation, try or not to distort it. If you see that you're going to get hit, do not turn off your Devil Trigger, and just complete a Devil Real Impact. This won't kill them on higher difficulties, but now the Frost you've attacked is ready to get a second (distorted) Real Impact: turn off Devil Trigger before the next Real Impact, then perform the Distorted Real Impact to finish him off. On the contrary, if you saw that you were not going to get hit (rare), try to perform a Distorted Real Impact right away, so you will save time and devil gauge.
This strategy is obviously very expensive from the devil gauge point of view, and it can also cost you some health bar; on the other hand, it's also the quickest and easiest way to deal with them. Considering the situations where you come across Frosts in story mode, you should always be able to have a full Devil Gauge for their fight. Here's an example of what I mean; in the video I take way too much damage for hits which I could avoid (and you must try to avoid too), and if done properly it should cost you only about a quarter of full health. The video should give you an idea on how to go: Devil Trigger to resist their attacks, then distorted real impacts whenever possible.
Another great opening for Distorted Real Impacts is also if you manage to shoot them in the air while they're about to make any attack: a Coyote-A shot will knock them down, and if you quickly go where they land, you will manage to perform the Distorted Real Impact and kill them before they get away. To get them slightly more quickly (this could make the difference), try to use a Trickster's dash instead of walking where they landed, then switch immediately back to Swordmaster for the Distorted Real Impact.
While fighting the Frosts, especially with this method, Target Type 2 can help you to avoid all those dumb Shock! attacks which can turn the situation at your disadvantage.
They can be considered mini-bosses, since their health and damage output are by far the greatest of all the enemies. They will quickly teleport around you, and finally spawn and immediately attack you either with a slash, or with a thunder beam. If the second case happens and you get caught, especially on harder difficulties, quickly activate Devil Trigger to get out of it, or you will lose a lot of health. They can also teleport in a fixed place of the arena and do nothing for a few seconds; when they do so, a yellow spot will mark their landing position when they will appear again, and you must stay away from that spot to avoid being hit by a shockwave around that spot.
Blitzes start with a yellow thundershield around them, and as soon as you touch them with an attack you will get hit by their electricity. When the shield is gone, so are their powers of teleporting and using the thunder-beam attack. Being blind enemies, they will have an hard time hitting you; unfortunately they will move around enough as to be hard to hit with attacks which require a charge (such as, unfortunately, Real Impact). When their shield is gone, they also occasionally just cry loudly, which is the best opening for charged attacks. The shield will regenerate after some seconds, regardless whether you hit them or not (sure though, if you keep them "busy" by hitting them they won't be able to regenerate).
Blitzes will always go Berserker when you're about to kill them (you can't kill them before they go Berserker), and their aura will be red instead of yellow now. They will be faster and even more aggressive, and if they grab you they will make a kamikaze attack which on Dante Must Die mode is an instant-kill (for you and for him) if you don't use immediately the Devil Trigger to escape. They can also suicide if they can't grab you within a fixed amount of time. Lastly, if you take down their health after they go Berserker, you will obtain a huge style meter boost, which most of the times brings you up to an instant SSS meter.
They can go Berserker from when they have lost more than half of their health. Your goal is to possibly damage them as much as possible before the transformation, so it will take as less hits as possible to finish them off before they blow themselves up, with or without you. You can't kill a Blitz before his transformation: even if you deal enough damage to take down all his health before he transforms, he will still survive with about 5% of his health; the last 5% can only be taken down when they're transformed/while they're transforming. For this reason, you must avoid triggering their transformation "too early", or you won't be able to finish them off in time before their suicide.
Nero - As Nero, you only fight them on higher difficulties and they are really a joke. Really. The shield will go down easily just with few Lv 3 Charged Shots (make sure you release the shots only after you're sure to hit them, for example after dodging their slash), and once their shield is gone you want to activate Devil Trigger while still holding the gun button, ready to release a charged shot. At this point (after activating Devil Trigger), use Streak (NOT Ex Streaks; just regular Streaks, or you may mess up with the timing and position) and then immediately a Buster (a Devil Buster, that is); then another Streak and immediately another Buster; then another Streak and a last Buster. At this point you can turn off Devil Trigger; the Blitz will start the transformation now. You want to release the Lv 3 Charged Shot when the Blitz is transforming; do not release it as soon as you see that he's turning red, but wait just a blink. If you release the shot too early, it will count as a hit from before his transformation; as I said, you can't take down his last 20% of health without first letting him transform. This is all it takes to defeat a Blitz. On Dante Must Die difficulty you may also want to release the six Summoned Blades while performing the first Devil Buster (first out of three); then start the charge again for the final blow during the transformation. Here's a video showing this being done.
Dante - As Dante, things are more complicated (this sounds new, uh?), because he lacks in charged shots and busters. For the thunder shield, you can either spam Pin-Up/Bondage with Lucifer, or use an aerial attack (such as Full House with the Gilgamesh) while in Royal Guard, and just after your hit connects use B to Block/Royal Block and avoid damage/avoid being knocked back and down by the shockwave which will follow your attack. Either way, the best opening is when he teleports to a specific spot of the area (and you see a yellow dot appearing on the ground), since he will be standing still for a few seconds, which are enough to take the shield down. Another good opening is when he uses the thunder beam attacks; this won't give you all the time you need to destroy the shield if it's completely healthy, but you can still work on it. Coyote-A charged shots are also a way to deal with it, but it's the slowest of all and I'm mentioning this only for your Hell and Hell run where you can't afford the risk of missing a Royal Block.
When his shield is gone, you still have to actually defeat him. There are two main possibilities: you can attempt to connect two Distorted Real Impacts, one after another (good luck), and for this method the best opening is when he cries; if he wants to. Afterward, finish him off during his transformation with Straight/Kick 13/whatever.
The other way is with Pin-Up and Distorted Real Impact; this is the one I truly suggest, and you can see it being performed on Dante Must Die difficulty here. This is for Dante Must Die difficulty, but the mechanics are the same for other difficulties. With his shield still intact, start with Pin-Up; in particular, spam a total of seven Pin-Ups and detonate the last group of three at once. This will take the shield down. Now start using Pin-Up again, and use it seven more times. Detonate the last stingers in his body (hopefully all the possible 12), and he should be knocked down. Sometimes six Pin-Ups might be enough; be watchful if you see him knocked down before the seventh (which is the most common scenario). At this point, switch to Gilgamesh and use a Distorted Real Impact on him; you should manage to connect the hit (attack from his front), because when he gets up he uses his "cry" or stands stil for a moment. After the Distorted Real Impact, he's almost dead: use a Draw (no need to charge it or be in Devil Trigger, if you wonder) and you will succeed.
Of course you want to stay in Swordmaster style all the time.
With the second method, you don't really have to count every Pin-Ups: as long as you reflexes are decent (not good; decent), you can simply wait until he decides to appear with that move when you see the yellow spot on the ground (in the video, he spawns with that move; most of the other times he will just come in the fight without that move, and you'll have to jump away until he uses that move); then spam Pin-Up until he's knocked down; finally switch to Gilgamesh and use the Distorted Real Impact. It's easier done than written (though it's easier watched than done ;p).
They are aggressive enemies with various possible attacks. They jump here and there like a Frost, but they are more vulnerable and get knocked down more easily. They can attack with projectiles (seeds) like the Frosts' icicles, they can slash in melee range, and they can cry loudly creating a shockwave around them. This last attack is rare but extremely strong, and can kill you on Dante Must Die difficulty: watch out. They can also go underground and pop up below you, for some annoying damage and knock down, and they can spin in the air and rush at you up to three times.
Nero - Lv 3 Charged Shots and Snatches will work to knock them down; Streaks, High Rollers and company are all good against them (they are lifelong enough as to go freestyle even on Human), but be careful when using Busters on them because it's a long animation on the ground which leaves you exposed to other enemies' attacks. If you're in trouble because of the high difficulty or a tough circumstance, rely massively on Lv 3 Charged Shots, Ex Streaks and Ex Splits only (try to MAX-Act to prepare a Lv 3 Ex). If they try to spin in the air, a Lv 3 Charged Shot will stop them.
Dante - They are quite tough when you fight them as Dante, especially on higher difficulties, because even though they get easily stunned, they still move quickly and get out of combos such as Dance Macabre. If you can knock one down (for example with Beast Uppercut, Prop, or some Coyote-A charged shots), use Over Drive for massive damage and style meter boost; don't charge it to full power, just reach the first level of charge or they will get away. Dance Macabre is worth using on lower difficulties, but on higher difficulties you probably want to rely more on a cheaper Prop-Real Impact attack/Coyote-A charged shots-Real Impact to make quick work of them. Stinger attacks can also be effective to knock them down. If they try to spin in the air, you can try to use some Coyote-A charged shots, but it's probably a better idea to just dodge and wait.
Just like the Chimera Scarecrows, they have blades in their body. Another major difference is that they are more aggressive and will use the underground and spinning attack more often. The difference in strength between them and a regular Assault is surely higher than the difference of strength between a Scarecrow and a Chimera Scarecrow. The only good thing is that their blades will swing less frequently than those of Chimera Scarecrows.
Nero - Same notes as those for a regular Assault, but of course you want to avoid busters to prevent that unavoidable blades hit you in the animation.
Dante - Some of the toughest enemies, especially because you fight them often in large groups/mixed with other powerful enemies (such as Chimera Scarecrows). The best thing you can do here is to knock them down, keep them down, and go with (Distorted on higher difficulties) Real Impacts all the way. Another possible strategy is to rely on Pin-Up and Bondage to prepare the knock-down, and detonate with Ecstasy; be ready for Real Impact just after that. Straight attacks also work good on them, but you will probably look for cheaper and stronger ways of taking them down (not like Straight isn't powerful, but you can hardly charge it to full power before they jump away). Stay always in Trickster when they are around, except when you are ready to use Bondage/Real Impact. Another method is by using Stinger/High Time/Helm Breaker, then Prop, then (Distorted) Real Impact.
These enemies have shields which they can use to guard your front attacks, and then immediately counter with the shield itself and their long spear. Their main attack, other than this counter or the regular slash within the (rather long) range of the spear, is a charged attack from far (it can also come from the air): after charging for a few seconds, they will rush against you. They are totally weak if tackled from their back, and also if you destroy their shield, which will however regenerate after some seconds. Destroying their shield gives a good boost of style meter.
Nero - Regular attacks from their back are good, and so are Lv 2/3 Charged Shots. To easily destroy their shield you can use this combination: Y, then B, then release a Lv 2/3 Charged Shot. In particular, Y will make them be ready with the shield; B is a buster which will impact on their shield (it usually impacts on the shield even without the previous Y, but sometimes you may connect a buster if they're not ready with the shield); at last, the immediate release of the shot will knock them back a bit, avoiding that they can counter and heavily damaging the shield itself. On higher difficulties, do this twice (the shield won't break after a first Y>B>shot_release). Once their guard is open, perform a buster and enhance it by tapping B: a regular buster will make you "charge" them twice, but an enhanced buster will make you "charge" them four times, for more damage, style meter and style points. Other than this, Red Queen Combo C, (Ex) Streaks and (Ex) High Roller are all good from their back/when they are shield-less. Split attacks are also good if they are in the air. Keep in mind that snatching them won't bring them to you, because they are too heavy; you will land usually on their back after a Snatch. Be careful when in the air, because they can decide to use the spear to stab you when you're above their heads.
Dante - Opening their guard by breaking the shield isn't as easy as it was with Nero. You usually fight them in groups with Alto Angelos, so you can usually rely on the energy ball (see later, about the Alto Angelos) to defeat them instantly. When this is not the case, the best thing to do is attacking from their back, and use Prop followed by Real Impact. This will be enough for a Bianco Angelo; if not, for any reason (the hits will connect almost all the times, but they can very rarely miss some of those of Real Impact), use a second Real Impact. On lower difficulties, especially if there aren't other Angelos (or more powerful) around, you can also use a Dance Macabre from their back. Kick 13 is also good. Straight in their face is probably the best way to attempt to break their shields, although you must be careful because they can always decide to stab you with the spear while you're charging.
More powerful versions of the Bianco Angelos, they also carry shields. They have a sword which they use to attack, and they also charge their rushes at you; other than this, they have a predictable melee attack (the usual slash) and most of the times they won't counter as quickly as a Bianco Angelo after guarding your attacks (they usually start the charge attack). To some extent they are less dangerous than Bianco Angelos, because they are slower and more predictable, and they also can't charge their attack from very long distances like the Bianco Angelos do. They are just harder to stun, but as for the rest, they're the same.
When in a group with Bianco Angelos (at least 2 of them with an Alto Angelo), they will give new powers to the Bianco Angelos. Telling the truth, that's nothing special: the Bianco Angelos will be more aggressive and more coordinated when attacking (often all at once), and they can also be like "soldiers in formation" to protect the Alto Angelo. Other than a funny organization, it's not more dangerous than fighting Bianco Angelos regularly (actually, their attack rate is decreased when they are with an Alto Angelo). The real deal is when they charge an "energy ball" at you. When this happens, your controller will start vibrating (you can also hear a typical sound of dimensional distortion or something like that), and you will clearly see the attack coming. As Nero, always keep a Lv 3 Charged Shot ready, and use it to send the energy ball back. This will instantly net you an SSS style meter, and usually kill all the Angelos. There must be at least one Alto Angelo and two Bianco Angelos for this to happen; more Bianco Angelos can also do the same. When there are more Bianco Angelos (typically in Mission 19), it's harder to send the energy ball back in the correct moment to earn an SSS meter, and it often occurs that only a B meter is gained and some enemies will survive. Just finish them off if that happens, and always rely on this attack to get a lot of stylish points from their fights. Be also aware that there are specific spots of the arena from which they can charge the energy ball; for example, the first time you fight them on the Grand Album Bridge, they can only charge it from the furthest side from where you come, or from the center of the fighting part of the bridge. If you want to trigger this on purpose, try to look ("include in your camera view", that is) only at the Alto Angelo, and stay away from the spot where they will charge the energy ball. Try to be as steady as possible, and only jump to avoid other enemies' attacks. Eventually the Alto Angelo will warp there to charge the attack - bargain.
Unfortunately there's another attack which they can trigger with the same conditions as the energy ball, and it's the worst thing that could ever happen: the Alto Angelo sends all the Bianco Angelos to suicide, earning you no stylish points from their death. You can try to stop this by releasing a charged shot on the Alto Angelo before he can complete his order (you will see the Bianco Angelos getting a red/dark aura when they're sent to death), and then immediately finish off the Bianco Angelos before the Alto gives his order again.
Nero - This time the buster animation can't be enhanced, and most of all it's usually possible only when their shield is destroyed (though sometimes you can land a buster even when it's not). The attacks you want to pull off are the same as the Bianco Angelos, as far as for breaking the shield is concerned; regarding the damage, you want to rely on Lv 3 Charged Shots to deal damage and stun them; after the shot, go with Red Queen Combo C, Streaks and Splits and use a buster whenever possible. On higher difficulties they might be worth the use of Devil Trigger, and after knocking them down you can use a Showdown to deal massive damage/kill them quickly.
Dante - Just what I said for the Bianco Angelos, but this time on higher difficulties you want to use a Distorted Real Impact after Prop; after the Distorted Real Impact, use another Real Impact to finish them off if they're still alive. Also, Prop can be used also from their front side. It may take a couple of Props before finally sending them in the air, but you will succeed; when you do, they're basically dead. To send the energy ball back, use a normal shot of the Pandora (Epidemic) from the ground.
These "phantom" enemies are slow and predictable; they attack rarely and they can go around you and use a laser nail (easy to dodge). Other than this common attack, they can more rarely slash in melee range (it's an announced attack because you see them rotating on themselves before striking) and also spin very quickly on themselves to attack you. This last one is the rarest and strongest attack they have, and it's still nothing hard. They have a cloak which protects them from most of the damage, but once the cloak is destroyed they become completely weak and turn from a "phantom" form to a "spider" form. In their spider form, they will run back to a wall/corner and after few seconds they will regenerate their cloaks. Sometimes they can occasionally just regenerate their cloak suddenly, anywhere and for no reason; you can see this coming because there will be a dark fog around them when this is happening, but be careful because they can hit you just as they're gaining the cloak back. If you hit their laser nail you can get a nice style meter boost.
Nero - Snatches, Busters and Lv 3 Charged Shots will all work for their cloaks. A Buster (probably an aerial buster, since they're floating most of the time) is twice as effective as a Snatch, so always try that if you can. Lv 3 Charged Shots are perfect too; try to combine them with busters and you will make quick work of the cloak. When they turn into a spider, use more Lv 3 Charged Shots, Busters and also (Ex) High Rollers followed by Roulette Spin/aerial buster and try to always keep them in the same position with your attacks (for this reason, Streak isn't the best attack). Avoid slow combos such as Red Queen Combo C, because this may give them time to flee. Try to finish them off before they recover their cloak.
Dante - Charge Ebony & Ivory and go Gunslinger; as such, use Rain Storm after jumping and their cloak will vanish so quickly that you won't even notice this (even on higher difficulties). Charged Coyote-A shots also work, but Rain Storm with a charged Ebony & Ivory is great. Another method, especially for groups of Mephistos, is the attack Omen of the Pandora, but keep in mind that this attack has a slow animation which wastes precious fractions of seconds before you're able to hit again, and this gives the spiders enough time to start escaping. Prefer Rain Storm, and use Omen only if you're on higher difficulties and/or against larger groups of Mephistos. When they're down, Dance Macabre can work well if you're sure that you can finish the combo (i.e. make sure there are no other enemies ready to hit you), but Prop followed by Real Impact is probably just better. On higher difficulties, go with Prop and Real Impact all the way. Also, if you need some particular style boost from them, you can (especially on higher difficulties where you have time to waste) use Aerial Rave and Aerial Rave V while they still have their cloaks, thus dealing little damage and increasing your style meter (you can easily achieve an Atomic meter before killing one, with this method) a lot in the process. Then fight them regularly once you're satisfied with your meter (Atomic is ok, since you'll get up to Smokin'! and above with Prop and Real Impacts).
Stronger versions of the Mephistos, they are stronger in the offensive phase and more resistant when taking the hits. Some of their attacks are almost impossible to dodge (such as a large number of subsequential accurate lasers staggering you), and other attacks have a long range too (the two laser-nail-slashes are quick and long ranged). They are in fact much more dangerous than the Mephistos, but luckily enough you can keep them away by "hiding" them from the camera. This is usually all you need to be safe even against them mixed up with other enemies.
Nero - You can fight them also just by releasing Lv 3 Charged Shots without including them in your view even to shoot (the shot will head on them automatically, after all), and it's also a great way to knock them back when they're attacking with something powerful and hard to dodge (the lasers I was mentioning, for instance). When the cloak is down, on lower difficulties you can just defeat them with a lot of Busters, Lv 3 Charged Shots and powerful Ex-attacks. On harder difficulties (but this might be worth doing even on Human if you want), when they are in their spider form, use a Lv 3 Charged Shot on them to buy some time; reach their position after you shoot them (when the bullet explodes they will fall just where they were), activate Devil Trigger and start charging Showdown; while it's being charged, the bullet should explode, buying you enough time to charge your attack which will probably kill the Faust. If not, finish him off with charged shots in his phantom form. A variant of this method is to charge your shot, Snatch them and load Showdown; while you're loading it, release the gun button to use the Summoned Blades, which will repeatedly stab the Faust and avoid his escape. By the time the sixth and last Summoned Blade hits his body, Showdown will be ready to devastate him.
Dante - Being a stronger version of the Mephistos, all the notes written for them are true here too. All but one: don't use the Aerial Rave (V) method to boost your meter, because they are not enemies against which you can joke around. Cloak off, Prop and (Distorted) Real Impact: quick and clean work.
These enemies are sort of land-sharks which can use mainly two attacks (and only one for most of the fights): they can attack you by popping up in a specific place of the ground, and from there they will rise in the air and "dive" in the ground again; then they can rush at you with their fins if they turn red. Their main attack is easy to dodge as long as you keep in mind that they are big enemies, although the fin alone doesn't let you guess this. Being so big, you want to jump far enough as to avoid their whole body when they come out of the ground. You can pull them off the ground by several means; when pulled off the ground, they can either be completely out or just partially out. For example, after a Stinger with Dante they will only be partially out, and after few seconds they will dive again if you don't attack them continuously; if you do so, they will eventually be pulled out and stunned, thus giving you more time to charge attacks. The key to defeat them is obviously taking them out of the ground and stunning them to work on the damage you will deal.
Nero - Lv 3 Charged Shots while they are "swimming" in the ground is great, and you can also Snatch them while they come out of the ground. Once this happens, use Busters and Lv 3 Charged Shots. They are never very important from the style point of view, so just make sure to defeat them as soon as possible, even at the cost of using the same moves (Busters and Lv 3 Charged Shots) over and over again. The best thing to do is relying on these two attacks and throw in an Ex Streak and other random attacks (High Roller, Splits, anything you want) between a Buster and a charged shot, and then (if they're not dead yet) repeat the cycle. Use quick attacks to avoid them returning in the ground and also to avoid being attacked by their friends (unless it's the last of them of course).
Dante - Fire rapidly with X while using the Ebony & Ivory (no need to charge the gun, but feel free to do so if you want); this will slow them down. When you're close enough, use a Stinger to partially pull them out of the ground. At this point, use a charged attack of the Gilgamesh (one level of charge only! You don't have enough time for two levels of charge), like Straight or just the simple Y fist. After this, the Cutlass should be completely out of the ground, stunned and ready to take something bigger. They don't have much health, but feel free to use a Real Impact on them to dispatch of the problem before the other Cutlasses around you have a chance to strike. Always stay in Trickster, unless you need to use Real Impact or other moves typical of other styles (possibly try to stick with Trickster). Kick 13 and Rebellion Combo B are both good for when they are pulled out.
These are flying swords, which always come in massive groups. Their only attack is throwing themselves at you after a charge period (they spin and glow yellow-ish when they're about to hit). You can knock them down before/while they are attacking, and then do your best to get a high style meter out of their limited health. Actually, it's usually not necessary to focus on style points with them: their contribution for style points is minimal compared to their contribution for nuisance, and therefore you will probably want to defeat them just with the same attacks over and over again. Absolutely make good use of the camera to hide as many of them as possible: avoid rotating the camera, because they will often be everywhere, and rotating the camera will make each of them start the attack, causing all the problems you want to avoid. You also want to use Target Type 1 whenever they are around.
Nero - Charged Shots on them (any charge, but the higher, the better), Streaks and Splits (also Snatches, but possibly not Busters) are all good methods to get rid of them.
Dante - Coyote-A will take them down; possibly charge the gun before shooting, but it's not absolutely necessary. Once they're down, use Stingers on them and also occasionally use Straight (one level of charge; you don't have enough time for the second charge) since it can instantly bring you up to the next style meter grade. Don't try to overdo it with the style meter and points, just do your best to take them down.
These fire dogs are not very powerful, but their attack is a fireball (projectile attack) thrown at high speed and with extreme accuracy. You can easily predict this attack, but you don't have a long span of time to dodge. They die pretty quickly too, so you won't have problems with them as long as you don't let them escape and give you troubles with multiple attacks by groups of them. As it was for the Gladiuses, they're not the chore of your style points and you will probably just want to eliminate them as quickly as possible.
Nero - Avoid the buster animation, because it's relatively slow and leaves you open for the other enemies' attacks. Ex Streaks, Lv 3 Charged Shots, Ex Splits after the Streak/explosion of the bullet; these are the three most typical attacks you want to use to kill them (you only fight them on higher difficulties). Never use the regular combos (such as Red Queen Combo C): although the hits can easily connect and they won't run away, you still deal too little damage in a long span of time to consider these attacks efficient. Snatches are effective, but possibly avoid Busters.
Dante - An endless chain of Stingers is a simple and effective way to tackle them. You can use other attacks too after using a Stinger attack on them, but it's not worth it. If you have some Devil Trigger gauge to use for free, defeat them with "devil Stingers"; it's all worth it.
The weakest enemies of the game: they are not very aggressive but they can infect Scarecrow enemies and Assaults. When this happens, the union of the two will create a Chimera Scarecrow or a Chimera Assault, causing many problems; for this reason you want to kill the Chimera Seeds as soon as you see them. They're another enemy which isn't in the missions for the sake of stylish points, so just eliminate all of them as quickly as possible with anything you have. Their only attack, other than infecting enemies, is a dash towards you; predictable (they usualy start running before striking), yet fast, jump away to avoid it. They can also be in the form of "eggs" (like those you destroy on Mission 07 for Red Orbs, for example) before turning into the real enemy; it's not very important, but keep this in mind if sometimes you think you've defeated every enemy and can't find a missing Chimera Seed in the form of seed. After breaking out of the seed, here's your enemy.
Nero - Buster = one shot kill. That's all.
Dante - Anything is good here, just try to be quick. A Stinger followed by Kick 13 is powerful and quick.
For the bosses I will copy and paste what you will also find in the main walkthrough page. For higher difficulties and the Bloody Palace, make sure you know all the possible attacks of the bosses, because this is the key before even knowing how to damage them.
Berial attacks: he has a couple of different attacks with his giant sword, and it's enough to time your jump away to avoid being hit. In one of his attacks he can also jump and spin 360°: do not stay close to him when he lands, or you will take damage. He can also (especially when he starts losing health) punch the ground, summoning lava columns from the ground (move around the arena to avoid them). He can regenerate his flame-shield with a massive ranged shockwave (he roars when doing this, and it's very easy to understand when it's happening): to avoid this one, either stay away from him, if possible, or look at the ground and you will clearly notice the "damage line" of the shockwave (the ground is erupting or something like that). That damage line will extend radially from Berial; when you see the shockwave is coming at you (again, look at the ground to understand "where" the line of damage is), jump to exploit the invincibility frames of the jump and take no damage. If you try to buster him when he's not stunned, he will counter trying to stomp you (jump with A and you will avoid his attack, getting a nice style meter bonus for the last-second-dodge; since it's risky, it's better to simply not buster him). He can also grab you if you're standing in front of him, though this is a quite rare attack.
Nero - Use the Lv 3 Charged Shots as soon as they are ready, and if you can, start the fight with Maximum Bet and then continue on Devil Trigger to immediately begin by taking off his flames and then go with a Devil Buster. I personally don't prefer this approach, but it's effective if you don't fail at using your Devil gauge (which by the end of this "cycle" will be deplenished). The other way around is using Lv 3 Charged Shots and quick combos on his sides/Roulette Spin in his face (for this second case, never Air Hike for Roulette Spin; just jump once and attack, and save Air Hike in case he attacks you and you need to get away).
Dante - You can wait on his sides and perform a Distorted Real Impact just after his attack (possibly use Trickster to dash and then switch immediately back to Swordmaster), and then continue with more Distorted Real Impacts when he's stunned. Otherwise, you can just spam Pin-Up on his side while staying in Trickster, ready to dash if he attacks in any way. If you feel like it, hit Devil Trigger and use Pin-Up for massive carnage which will probably end with Berial being stunned (and therefore, ready for Distorted Real Impacts).
Bael attacks: Bael is a particular boss who can "hide" from the stage. In particular, you will fight two antenna enemies as soon as the fight starts, and then the "real" enemy will show up. Bael can also go into a corner of the stage, breathe and hide again temporarily until you smash enough of his antennae. He can swing the antennae to attack, he can throw icicles at you, he can spit ice in front of his mouth, he can try to eat you and he can try to splat you by jumping on you. You can easily avoid all these attacks: the icicles and his "stomp" attack will show shadows on the ground in the spot where the icicle/enemy is about to land; the ice-spit attack and his attempt to eat you can be dodged easily by jumping away (Air Hike really helps). Should you get "eaten" on your next playthroughs, activate Devil Trigger to set you free; on your first run you can only prevent it. If you try to buster him when he's not stunned, he will try to stomp you (you can dodge by jumping, just like for Berial). When he's about to die, he will freeze himself: don't stay in front of him, or he will try to eat you as soon as he un-freezes (which happens all of a sudden).
Antennae attacks: while weak and not aggressive, they are still offensive. They can either try to slash you with regular attacks, or to grab you. If an antenna grabs you, you'll be frozen and Bael will immediately come out from nowhere, to eat you: use Devil Trigger to set you free from the ice/mouth of the monster.
Nero - Use aerial Snatches (aerial to be safer) until you finally grab an Antenna; then perform a Buster on it, and finally release a Lv 3 Charged Shot just after the buster. Repeat this until the giant toad comes out. At this point, Streaks and Calibur are two good attacks to reach him when he will try to jump away. Other than this, smash him using Lv 3 Charged Shot massively, and if you see a good opening (like just after his ice-breathing attack), activate Devil Trigger and go full assault to stun him before he can vanish in the darkness. As he's stunned, perform a devil buster in front of him (not on his tail; possibly on his head), and tap Y and B for extra damage/style meter/style points. For your regular attacks, use Roulette Spin, Ex Streaks, Ex Splits.
Dante - After he tries to eat you/after his ice-breathing attack are both good openings for Distorted Real Impacts, but it's better if you start the fight by using Pin-Up 2-3 times. When he jumps on you/reaches you (thus getting stabbed by the stingers you just summoned with Pin-Up), hit Devil Trigger near him and spam Pin-Up: this will quickly stun him. At this point, go in front of him and use Distorted Real Impacts. If this doesn't finish him off, deal with the antennae by using Kick 13 over and over again, and then kill the toad when he's back (use anything you want, even just a bunch of Kick 13 or Pin-Up).
Echidna attacks: this boss has three possible fight positions.
In the default position (as the fight starts), she can use a long tail to sweep most of the arena, but it's enough to jump to avoid it. The boss can also use some antenna-whips, avoidable with jump and possibly Air Hike. From this position, the boss can decide to rush everywhere around the arena: if this happens, use the lock-on button (RB by default) to track her position, and release a Lv 3 Charged Shot in her face when she's trying to charge at you. You can even buster her face when she tries to charge at you, but the charged shot is much safer and equally effective from the style meter point of view.
If Echidna plants herself in the ground, she will attack summoning long roots: staying very close to her is usually enough to be out of the reach of the roots which won't aim against you, but if you see a light purple sphere around Echidna, this means that she has ordered her roots to attack specifically you, and you'll need to jump/Air Hike to avoid them (also release a charged gunshot to deal damage and make the aerial time higher). She can also use the antennae from this position. If you try to buster her when she's not stunned, she will guard the hit but she won't counter. When she comes out of the ground to return to her default position, she will make a rough movement upwards, damaging you if you don't jump away on time.
If Echidna plants her roots in the ground, she will try to lay an egg (a Chimera Seed enemy), but won't attack you directly. If you jump on her instead of staying below her, she can use the antenna attack again. When she's going to come out of the ground to return to her default position, she will make a rough movement upwards, damaging you if you don't jump away on time (this attack can damage you only if you're staying on her; if you're below her, she can't hit you this way either).
On higher difficulties, when she goes berserker (when this happens there will be a yellow-ish spark from her), her body can also shoot fast projectiles as she moves around/plants: be watchful and dodge them by jumping a lot as you move around; against Dante, she can shoot the projectiles even on Human.
Nero - Always keep your Lv 3 Charged Shot ready to shoot her in the face if she tries to rush everywhere in the arena. In her default position, use aerial combos (especially Roulette Spin). Whenever it's ready, release the Lv 3 Charged Shot: doing so will prevent her starting the charge-at-you attack at all; if she manages to start it, release the Lv 3 Charged Shot as already explained to stop her and increase your style meter massively.
If she plants herself in the ground, go as close to her as possible and use any combo you want (Red Queen Combo C is great); release the gunshot if you're jumping to avoid her aimed-root attack.
If she plants her roots in the ground, smash her body below her (hit the purple thing where the seed comes from) but only for a few hits; then immediately use a buster.
This enemy has also a large amount of possible buster animations, and of course you want to use your Devil Trigger before using any of them. In her default position she can only be bustered if she's stunned, which happens regularly as you damage her. You also need to wait until she's stunned to buster her if she plants herself on the ground; in this case, you can increase the damage and style of the buster attack by using the exceed button (RT) and probably also by tapping Y. In her roots-planted position you can buster her bottom (the guard is already open): tap B for extra punches, damages and style in this animation. You can also buster her when she charges at you, as already said (though I still recommend to use the Lv 3 Charged Shots), and increase this damage by tapping the usual buttons.
Dante - Let her plant herself in the ground and use Pin-Up continuously. In her default position, use Lucifer's stingers anyway, so you can detonate them with Ecstasy if she charged at you (detonation will stop her and give you style meter boosts). It's almost impossible to connect a Real Impact, so just stick with Pin-Up.
Angelo Credo attacks: this boss has a very large amount of attacks, which include regular slashes and aerial attacks too. In addition to them, he can guard with the shield and counter (he gives you more than enough time to dodge though). He can teleport to a corner of the arena and throw a spear against you: you can either buster (risky) or devil-bringer the spear for extra style meter. He can throw up to three spears in a row, and every time he will throw them faster than the previous time. When it's low on health, this boss can also summon yellow small blades: these blades can be summoned around you (in this case it's enough to activate Devil Trigger to instantly destroy them all) or in front of him. If it's the second case, simply run away to dodge them. The length and number of hits of his combos will also increase near the end of the fight.
Nero - Attack him with anything and he will guard; dodge his counter, attack again with a short combo and use a buster to damage him and his shield; after the buster, release a Lv 3 Charged Shot for extra damage. It's somehow similar to the strategy used to damage Bianco Angelo's shields, although it's obviously a much stronger shield this time. Be aggressive and always rely on the pattern attack-dodge the counter-attack and buster. If he tries to throw spears at you, lock on to him with RB and be ready to press B to perform a devil bringer, so you guard against the spear and increase your style meter like crazy. You can also buster the spear, but it's very risky; if you do so, aim and release the spear itself against Angelo Credo. In addition to pressing B for the snatch on the spear, you should also press A+LS_Left/Right immediately after B: should you mistake the timing of the snatch, you will still dodge the spear. Keep in mind that the second spear will take him less time to throw, and the third one even less time.
Other than this, try to damage his shield with busters and charged shots. A special buster is available if his shield is completely down, and another buster is available if he falls on his knees, stunned. Make sure you use your Devil Trigger in these situations.
Dante - Straight, or possibly even a Distorted Straight, works perfectly for his shield. It's possible to land a Distorted Real Impact when he's stunned. Pin-Up is a badass move once again, since this enemy is rather slow and lets you summon a lot of stingers to send to him with Bondage for a future detonation. As usual, a storm of Pin-Ups will also stun him rather quickly.
Angelo Agnus attacks: the boss can use a couple of Gladius enemies as swords to swing at you twice; this attack can be easily avoided by jumping away. Unfortunately the Gladiuses will be set free afterward, and you need to destroy them or they will be an extra enemy. The boss can also summon more Gladius enemies from his back; the best thing to do is activating Devil Trigger on his back and smash them to pieces before they can be thrown against you. The boss can also summon fireballs from his back. Especially near the end of the fight, he can summon two Cutlasses which he will use around his body to spin for quite a while: stay away from him, then jump and air hike when he throws the cutlasses as a sort of boomerang. This is the hardest attack to avoid. On higher difficulties he can also summon Basilisk enemies, and the Cutlasses can even take part in the fight. The most dangerous attack of the enemy is however an absorbing attack which he can use in two different ways. He can either stay in the middle of the arena, creating a dark green aura all around the place, draining your health and refilling his own health, or he can grab you and absorb your health directly with his own hands. For both the situations, the best thing to do is releasing a Lv 3 Charged Shot in his face (on higher difficulties you need to add more hits too); if this isn't enough, activate Devil Trigger and smash him before he can land the attack. Jumping away can be enough for the latter too, but not for the former. The controller will vibrate when these absorbing attacks are coming at you, and you will also hear sentences like "Your strength will be mine!" or "Time to die...". His other attacks also have typical sentences announcing them: pay attention and try to learn what he says before a specific attack by the time you challenge him in the Bloody Palace. On higher difficulties he can be very stubborn at the end of the fight, and he will probably keep summoning/using the Cutlasses to keep you away. Lv 3 Charged Shots and Lucifer's stingers can partially fix this problem.
Nero - This boss is aggressive and the extra enemies are the most relevant problem of the fight. Use busters on Gladiuses to throw them directly at the boss (make sure that there aren't other Gladiuses ready to attack you while you do so though), and always be ready to use the Devil Trigger behind him if he's summoning more Gladiuses, so you can destroy them before they can be a problem. Airborne combos are more effective than combos from the ground, since his weak spot is the body and not the legs. The opening for a buster is very short against this enemy: he rarely gets stunned, and when this happens you only have a few seconds to come close to him and perform the buster animation.
Dante - This fight can be heavily luck-based if you want to rely on Distorted Real Impacts. Unfortunately, the chances of landing it are not completely positive, and if the boss stays too high in the air, you will not manage to connect the hits. Pin-Up is a good, but not great, alternative to this. I suggest you to watch some random YouTube videos, searching "Angelo Agnus Dante DMD No Damage" to see different approaches for this fight. You will not find a winning strategy which can definitely break the fight (like, for example, Pin-Up against Echidna), but at least you have an idea on different approaches to use in different situations. Do not "trust" videos showing Agnus defeated with a bunch of Distorted Real Impacts, because it's really just luck and you must be ready to deal with him the hard and long way if he just won't get down to let you connect the hits. In story mode you can partially avoid the problem by using items (you should be able to afford the sacrifice of the No Item bonus on all the modes for Mission 17, even on Human), but should he be in the wrong mood in the Bloody Palace, I really think you would regret having chosen Dante instead of Nero.
He's the strongest boss of the game. Never let him use Omen. Other than this...
Nero - ...you can find a lot of videos showing how to fight against Dante, but they are all difficult to replicate. On Human you can try to snatch him and immediately buster him for massive damage; roll away if he doesn't get snatched, because he'll try to "stinger" you (a fast attack from the ground). You can also perform aerial busters, but they work quite rarely; on the other hand, busters on the ground may result in the sword-crossing random "minigame", while the aerial buster is always effective. If you buster Dante even on the ground while you have the Devil Trigger activated, you'll be able to always deal damage to him because the minigame won't ever trigger. This is expensive from the devil-gauge point of view though. Anyway, he won't be a problem on Human. On higher difficulties, it's a completely different fight.
There are three main ways to deal with Dante in a cheap way. In order of effectiveness, here they are.
Method one - use snatches on Dante and roll to avoid his stinger; immediately snatch him again and continue to roll away until you manage to finally grab him and then use a buster. If you have good reflexes, you can also try to activate Devil Trigger immediately as soon as the snatch connects, so you deal more damage to Dante and you don't risk that the minigame goes wrong. If you can't do so, the minigame can have three results. You can win, smashing Dante away (best scenario); you can "half-win", that is to say you will open Dante's guard and be able to land a couple of hits with Y and quickly perform another buster for another attempt; you can lose, that is to say your guard will be opened: if this happens, jump away.
Method two - shoot continuously with your gun (tap RT) and move forward close to Dante meanwhile. When you're close enough, perform a buster: this avoids the problems with missed snatches, but sometimes you may miscalculate the timing and be open for his counters.
Method three - replicate what is shown in the video. That is to say, only attack Dante after jumping away from his attacks (in one word, counter), and only using Lv 3 Charged Shots. Wait for him to come at you, jump away when he starts his attack, and release your shot. He may or may not get hit; if he doesn't, he may do something else or may (often) use his own gunshot to damage you. This is a minor risk though, and in the long run you will deal far more damage than the minor damage you will take from these occasional shots. Apart from this opening, the only other opening to use the Lv 3 Charged Shot will be when he uses the Pandora's third-form attack (Revenge), the powerful cannon one. His guard is completely open while he loads it, so feel free to devastate him with your shot. If he's using Omen (you will know which is it by the time you'll face him on higher difficulties; it's the attack when the Pandora suitcase lights the whole room anyway), release your shot no-matter-what, because you must avoid that attack at all costs. Other than these two openings for the charged shots, your only other offense will be snatch+buster when he is in Royal Guard style (you can recognise it from his light blue/grey-ish aura, besides that from his position), since he will be totally open for snatches and busters in this style (on the contrary, avoid any other attack by all means). It goes without saying that you want to activate Devil Trigger when he is in Royal Guard style, so you deal more damage with the busters.
Dante - Good luck. Seriously. You can use Devil Stingers (Stinger attacks with Devil Trigger activated, that is) until your gauge lets you, although this means being at high risk in case you get caught by his combos. Always stay in Trickster: Gunslinger and Swordmaster don't give you attacks which can land on Dante (he's too quick to take them of course), and Royal Guard is only good if you're excellent at it (and you feel like attempting a perfect block rather than just jumping away...after 100 stages cleared...). Dark Slayer is totally useless unless you manage to send Dante in the air with High Time and want to deal some extra damage with Aerial Rave (V). Other than this, therefore, Trickster is your best bet to at least try to survive. Shooting Coyote-A charged shots is also a good way to break through his defense. Pin-Up isn't very safe this time, because his counters are too fast and long-ranged (think at his Stinger or his own Coyote-A shot) to let you recover and get away on time after throwing the Lucifer's stingers in front of you.
There's another boss of the game, which I won't name because of spoiler reasons, which you fight only in the story mode, as Nero. You will find the strategy for this boss in the main walkthrough.
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