In this page I will describe everything you want to do on your first playthrough of Devil May Cry 4. I suggest playing on Human first, to build your strength up for harder modes. Your first playthrough will focus on accomplishing Secret Missions and finding Blue Orb Fragments (other than common items in the dungeons), besides learning the basics of the game to be prepared for S-Ranking. The reason why there are two walkthroughs (this one, all-inclusive, and a shorter one) is that when you attempt to S-Rank missions, you will only want a quick summary of where to go, enemies and red orbs to collect on the stages, and using a comprehensive walkthrough would make it harder to find the key information you seek.
In both the pages you will also find videos of performances on Human mode; in this page, their use is just in case you get stuck on something; in the other walkthrough, they're also to show you how to deal with enemies to achieve an S Rank more easily. For boss fights I've also added a video of the fight on Dante Must Die difficulty, with performances which you can imitate without being an expert.
Orb locations will be put in bold text to highlight them.
You can find a video with the location of all the Blue Orb Fragments of the game here. What is not included are the Blue Orbs of Secret Missions (check the specific guide for them) and the Blue Orbs of Combat Adjudicators, which are really always on your way (with one exception on Mission 12) and are included in the text walkthrough anyway.
Sometimes enemies will be different according to the difficulty. You will always find the same enemies on Human and Devil Hunter, as well as the same on Son of Sparda and Dante Must Die, but for example in a certain mission you will fight a Blitz enemy with Nero on Son of Sparda/Dante Must Die modes, while there are no Blitz enemies as Nero on Human/Devil Hunter. For this page you will find information on what you can find on your first run, on "easier difficulties" (most of the times, with weaker enemies).
S Rank on Human
S Rank on Dante Must Die
There isn't much about this mission. You start with some tutorials (if you get hit during the tutorials, this won't count, so you can still get the no-damage bonus; the time spent in the tutorial is also not counted for the clear time) which give you the very essential basics of the game, and then you have to actually fight.
As soon as the tutorials are over, press Start, then choose the Options, Game Options, and here's where you can change your Target Type if you ever need. From the Options then go to the Control menu and change the Gun Attack from X to RT. It is very important.
There are 10x benches to destroy -- do so while keeping an eye at your opponent (release charged shots after dodging if he's using the "automatic fire") and you won't have problems.
When you use a Buster attack (press B near the enemy to perform it), just for this particular boss, a sword-crossing minigame may trigger. There are many theories about this minigame, but none has been confirmed. It's very possible that the chances of winning it rather than losing it are simply random, so there's no need to button-mash during that sequence.
S Rank on Human
Opera House Plaza
You start facing 3x Scarecrow enemies.
Scarecrows (Nero) - To deal with them, load your Ex-Gauge to three gauges and use the Ex High Roller skill of the Red Queen (inputs: RB+LS_Backward+Y; make sure you hold all the buttons until the end of the move) near one enemy (the effect will be more powerful when you purchase the EXCEED 3 skill from the shop); you will raise in the air, hitting and raising the enemy in the process too; in the air, shoot a few (2-3) bullets with the gun, and then use a Buster (input: B) still mid-air to defeat one Scarecrow. When one is down, Devil-Bringer the next one (inputs: RB+B+LS_Forward; you will get this ability soon in this mission) and use a Taunt (input: Back) on him, and then work on him in the same way (refill your Ex-Gauge every time). Make sure that you are near the third enemy before you defeat the second enemy, so the game doesn't think the fight is over until you kill all the three of them (remember that when a fight is over, the style meter is reset, and this means losing Stylish Points).
In this first area, destroy 4x trash cans, 6x benches (four at first and four past the fountain) and collect the single 1x red orb on the way before proceeding.
There are 2x barrels at the bottom floor.
Before proceeding upstairs, look at your mini-map and face the North wall and 4-5 stairs: jump with A towards the wall, then jump again on A using the wall itself as a platform for the jump; you will reach an alcove in the wall, where lies 1x Gold Orb.
Make your way up and prepare the Ex-Gauge again: 3x Scarecrows will attack you as you go. When the fight is over, destroy everything here: 5x shelves, 3x barrels and 5x boxes; then proceed.
Nothing here, take the next door.
Go straight in front of the door where you start and jump towards the gate with A; then jump on the gate itself with A again (about the same thing you did for the previous Gold Orb) to get a quite hidden 1x red orb.
Then go downstairs all the way to the bottom (if you see a red orb as you go, ignore it for now) and you will find a total of 10x chairs to destroy; examine the blue pillar near them to get the Evil Legacy, a key item which gives you the Devil-Bringer ability for the first time.
Go back up a couple of sets of stairs and check the right side of the room (South on the mini-map) to find a cell which has 1x Vital Star S inside: grab it with the Devil-Bringer ability (RB+B+LS_Forward).
Now proceed using the blue grip and use another one to continue. At this point, destroy 4x benches and get 1x red orb with the Devil-Bringer; finally exit through the door.
Terrace - II
Proceed with the blue grip and you will come to a pillar as you continue. This is the first secret mission.
Secret Mission 01 - Annihilation
Task: destroy all demons within the time limit!
Strategy: there isn't much to explain here. You can easily accomplish this one even on your first playthrough: use a four-hit combo (input: YYYY; try to press LT to automatically Exceed after every hit, so you deal more damage) and follow it by a Buster (input: B) to finish off each enemy.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 01/32.
Continue with another grip and rout 2x Scarecrows which will spawn. Defeat them, proceed and fight 5x Scarecrows; if you optimize your moves you should come out of the fight with an S on stylish meter, but anyway. Continue forward to the next area after the fight.
Here there are several items to destroy for red orbs (they're just on your way, all before where the giant red statue is). Speaking of the red statue, it doesn't count for the total orbs, so feel free to ignore it when you're attempting the S-Rank. Now that you're not going for it, smash it as much as possible (it automatically destroys when a fixed amount of time elapses after your first hit) to gain extra red orbs for your purchases; in particular, save all your Red Orbs for Purple Orbs.
Defeat 3x Scarecrows here (make sure you're near the next one before killing them, so you keep them all in the same fight and keep the style meter up for everyone, as usual), then take a turn left to find 3x red orbs up a side path.
After getting them, pick up Blue Orb Fragment # 02/32 in the same "alcove" as the last of these three orbs.
Then proceed into a more open area and destroy 1x trash container; in this area there are also 2x secret orb spots, up the wooden turret in this same open area. You can wall-jump on the turret itself to reach the first spot, but you will need something more than the default skills to reach the second one too (Air-Hike is the skill I've used in the video). If you can't succesfully climb up, use a charged Ex High Roller like in this video to reach these spots more easily; this is not possible your first time here of course, but keep it as a reminder for later.
When it's all earned, proceed to the next area.
As you're out of the tunnel, go immediately left and wall-jump to find and reach 1x red orb floating in the air, then continue forward (ignore the path going right) to another 1x red orb, on the ground this time. Grip-forward to eventually reach another building.
Load your Ex Gauge and step on to trigger a fight with the usual 3x Scarecrows. After the fight, smash the blue switch until it's completely turned on, opening the way. Get the 2x red orbs as you jump upwards to continue to a balcony where you will activate a panel. Then backtrack outside.
3x Scarecrows will welcome you outside (the third spawns as you kill one of the first two). Then backtrack again and this time proceed left (where I told you not to go yet earlier) to trigger a "large" fight against 7x Scarecrows (four at first and three respawns). Beat them up, coming out of the fight with your good S Rank, and proceed; destroy 2x trash containers as you go to the next area.
First Mining Area
Move forward and drop in the water at one point: standing in the water, in the Northwest corner of the mini-map, you will find and collect 6x red orbs.
Use two grips to go up and you will find your first Combat Adjudicator.
Combat Adjudicators are "enemies" which you can smash freely; they won't attack you, they're just there to be smashed. You have to raise your style meter against them (they won't earn you style points, so they're useless from the ranking point of view), and you will be rewarded with blue orb fragments (only the first time you do so, of course). It's an easy task with such a steady enemy, so I'll leave it to you after this first sample shown in the video.
After getting Blue Orb Fragment # 03/32 from it, continue to the next area.
Load your Ex Gauge and proceed further to trigger your first boss fight.
Nero vs Berial
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.
Strategy: Berial is the second-to-hardest boss of the game, and also the second-to-most aggressive. His giant size can make him a problem the first time you face him, especially if you don't play carefully. Along with the other hard boss of the game, found on Mission 10, he's the only one for which I recommend being patient and using a slow but safe strategy instead of a full assault.
On your first playthrough, with no special skills available, simply attack his back/sides, avoiding his hits, and if you see that his flames are completely off (his color clearly changes), perform a buster on him and immediately run to him again after the animation, attempting a second buster after the first one (you may even manage to land a third buster, but you usually don't have enough time). Jump at any time he tries to hit you, and you should come out without being beaten up too much thanks to the invincibility frames given by the jumps.
S Rank on Human
Second Mining Area
As you start, defeat the 3x Scarecrows, ignore the red orbs statue on the left (smash it if you're on your first playthrough), and then make your way to the top using the devil bringer. At the top, go left and collect the lonely red orb by jumping down to reach it; then jump back up.
From the last grip you used to go up, before proceeding to the next part of the area, jump left and continue left/up instead of falling down (as you did to get the orb) to find more grips. Use two of them to reach a "wall" and jump on this wall to go higher and find more grips; mid-air after the jump, use the devil-bringer to use these grips too to reach Blue Orb Fragment # 04/32. It can be tricky to use the grips in the correct way to succeed, but you will, eventually. In particular, after jumping on the wall, use the last three grips as soon as possible (I was basically tapping B while holding RB), and this should give you the correct momentum and position to land correctly.
There is also another blue orb fragment available here, but you need Streak, Roulette Spin and Air Hike to get to it; you'll be able to get it more easily later on mission 16.
Afterwards, proceed and fight 4x Scarecrows. Then move on and check on the left side before exiting the area to find an alcove with Vital Star S inside.
Fortuna Castle Gate
Before proceeding right, take the side path on the left and jump up some rocks to get 1x red orb; continue and destroy 3x tiny pillars (the ones you can destroy are clearly smaller than those you can't destroy; they give you green orbs, but you need them anyway for the Orbs Found percentage). A cutscene will trigger as you approach a bridge, and you will fight 2x Frosts.
Frosts (Nero) - These are among the strongest regular enemies of the game. They can hardly be stunned, they are very aggressive, and they can teleport around you. In addition to this, they have long ranged attacks which are quite hard to dodge unless you're in a simple 1v1 situation. They can also defend themselves in an "ice shield": smash it before they un-freeze to get extra points and defeat them. To stun a Frost with your default arsenal, rely on Snatches (Devil Bringer) and then immediately attack him to continue with a Buster. While performing the buster, hit B and rotate LS to aim the direction where you will throw them.
After the fight, destroy the 10x tiny pillars around the place and jump on two of the bigger pillars to collect 2x secret orb spots. There are 3x red orbs to collect if you backtrack, but it's a waste of time and you don't need them to achieve the minimum 95% of orbs required for the S Rank. So, just know that they're there, but don't collect them and instead proceed past the bridge (as a side note, Nero will probably sprint - provided you have the Speed skill - as you continue, since you'll be holding LS in the same direction when you continue on the bridge; when the cutscene plays, keep LS held and skip the cutscene with Start; if you keep LS held you will continue to sprint after the cutscene, saving a few extra seconds).
Destroy all the 19x chairs, 4x benches and 3x fences on both the sides of the area (for a total of 38+8+6 objects), then take the door Southeast.
Here there will be several Scarecrows to deal with: they're found about everywhere in the narrow hallway, and you want to fight them with the usual technique explained at the beginning of the second mission. For the usual reason, make sure that you drag the last Scarecrow you're facing with snatches so you can reach the next group of enemies, and keep the style meter up as you defeat all the enemies of the hallway. Although boring, this is an extremely rewarding method for stylish points, and it's very important for S Ranks on Human.
After defeating them all (you should be in the Southwest part of the hallway now), go back to the Southeast part of it and destroy the 2x candle stands before a gate. Inside the gate there are also 4x candle stands and 5x chairs: you can reach some with the sword, but you will need to aim with your snatch to reach the furthest ones. You can still get S on orbs without these ones, so don't give them too much worries if you can't aim properly. Go around to the Southwest side again, ignore a door on the right (it leads to the Dining Room area which you don't want to visit now; if you do by mistake, destroy the items on the table and the chairs around it) and continue. In the Northern-most part of the Large Hall there are 4x candle stands; then continue Southwest and you will find 2x candle stands. In the Southwest-most part of the area there's a mirror you can break to find 2x red orbs (it's just before a black and blue barrier).
Southwest there are two exits: one leads back to the Grand Hall, another one (more North from the last one I mentioned) to the Torture Chamber.
A large fight against Scarecrows will trigger: they're in a perfect position to start with an Ex Streak attack (inputs: RB+Y+LS_Forward; hold all the buttons until the end of the move), which will hit a lot of them, giving you an extremely high multiplier in no time. After this start, work on them the usual way and you will probably achieve an SSS meter. If you don't have Streak yet, just go the normal way. Be careful in this room, by the way: if you hit the ceiling, you will get hit by some spikes (just don't jump too high - something you probably can't do anyway right now - to avoid this).
When they're dead, continue (if you notice a crack on the floor, don't bother with it; it'll be of interest later) and go upstairs.
There will be some grips: use them to make your way out. On higher difficulties, be aware that the grips will move and vanish, making it slightly harder. Should you fall down, you'd have to fight the Scarecrows again. While this may seem a good idea to increase the stylish points, it is not: these forced respawns will give you less points than the original group, and the more you respawn them, the less style points the enemies will give you. For this reason, one respawn might not be a terrible idea (although this means increasing your Clear Time, which is more a damage than a positive aspect, especially on Human), but don't try to boost the score with multiple falls, because it won't work. Anyway, you'll eventually get through.
Go North to find 2x red orbs; you can get one easily, and the other one too by wall-jumping and then snatching towards it. There is also 1x secret orb spot though, and to get this one you will need Ex High Roller (Lv 3), which probably won't be possible your first time here. When you have it, make sure you hold all the buttons of the attack (RB+LS_Backward+Y) until Nero reaches the top, so you can get where the secret spot is like I did in the video.
Continue through the next door.
Move on and 2x Frosts will spawn; defeat them and continue.
Go downstairs and proceed North to find a pillar with Vital Star S above it; you can "wall"-jump on the pillar itself to go high, and then perform a buster in the air to collect this item (try to "hit" the item with the devil arm).
Then go towards the East side and you will find a "red" combat adjudicator: you can't smash it, so just go on.
Central Courtyard - II
Fight 2x Frosts ahead and move on.
Head South and you will find a similar platform to the one where the last secret red orb spot was: wall-jump on it and snatch the Holy Water (no need to use the Ex High Roller, but it can make it easier for you to reach this item).
Activate the blue switch by smashing it as usual, and then go Southeast (while being on the upper floor) to find another mirror to break to get Blue Orb Fragment # 05/32. Then continue through the door right.
A large amount of Scarecrows will attack you here; defeat them as usual and destroy everything in the room; in particular, watch out for a couple of boxes in the Northwest side of the mini-map, since they're a bit hidden in the darkness and you may not notice them. Then exit.
There's 1x secret orb spot out here (check the video for the exact location), and you need Air Hike to reach it. Continue South, and after a couple of cutscenes you will fight 4x Bianco Angelos (one at first, then another one, then two together last).
Bianco Angelos (Nero) - These enemies have an offensive charge attack, which they can perform also while standing in mid-air, and they have a shield which they use to guard against your attacks and then immediately counter. You can Buster them from their back (or even from the front if they're hovering), as well as perform safe combos, since that's their weak spot. While bustering them, you can tap B for extra damage and style points, but be careful when doing this since it's another "long" animation and you don't want to perform it if there are other enemies ready to attack you. They also have some regular sword attacks, but that's a minor problem. Your style meter will be particularly happy if you manage to break their shield (which can regenerate afterwards though): use a simple attack with Y first, and then buster them from the front (B): they will try to hit you with their shield and then with the lance immediately after, but you can easily jump away to avoid it. After their counter, do the same again (Y and then B) and their shield will be completely broken (on higher difficulties you'll need to do this more than just twice, but it still works). Now that they are guardless you can also buster them from the front side. For extra variety, you can also perform the Red Queen Combo C (YY, pause, YYYY) from their back, and shoot Lv 3 Charged Shots. Another way to break their shield (slightly more risky, but in fact totally safe if you get the timing right) is using Y, then B, then release a Lv 2/3 Charged Shot which also breaks their shield (one of these combos is enough on Human), and then perform a simple buster to defeat one. You probably have nothing like this right now, but save this information for later encounters.
When they are gone, destroy 2x pots on the left and right side of the gyro blades in the room (West side); jump up on the West side to find 2x benches; still on the upper part of the room, but on the Southeast side, there is 1x bench; in the Northeast corner, but down, there's another 1x bench. Finally go North and examine the pillar to get Anima Mercury (key item) and end the mission.
S Rank on Human
At this point you should be able to do some skill-shopping with your Proud Souls: try to purchase Charge Shot and Charge Shot 2 first of all; then, after some more missions, purchase Streak; then start saving Proud Souls for Air Hike.
The areas and orbs of this mission are the same as previously, although some enemies are different. In the library, destroy the 4x benches and 2x pots; then activate the gyro blades on the West side by using a Buster on them.
Gyro Blades are found for the first time on this level, and they work very easily. Using busters on them will (after activating them with a buster in the first place) make them move, as it's obvious since you're punching them forward. The distance that they will cover is different according to how much you've "charged" the gyro blades. Use one hit of your Red Queen and the blades will spin; use two hits and the blades will spin even more. A Streak (RB+Y+LS_Forward) attack and some others will count as two "charges" on the gyro blades. Anyway, unless you have a good aim, it's usually a good thing to use only one charge, so that if you aim in the wrong direction you won't cause the gyro blades to bounce everywhere, possibly even backtracking after touching a wall in front of you, causing a waste of time to go back and move them again.
Exit outside and get the 1x secret orb spot; then backtrack.
Fight a few Scarecrows and 2x Frosts (one after another) and destroy every object of the room like you did on the previous mission. You could use the gyro blades in this room to massively damage the enemies, but you would waste all their potential Stylish Points and it's therefore all but a good idea to make things quicker with the gyro blades. Work on the enemies the usual way (defeat the Frosts first or keep them out of your sight) and you'll be fine. Exit the room to backtrack again.
A cutscene shows a gyro blade here, but you can ignore this one. Instead, on the upper floor, get 2x red orbs and 1x secret orb spot (the one which you can reach with Ex High Roller) in the Northwest part.
Then jump down and destroy all the chairs, benches and fences like you did your first time here; you could use the gyro blades to speed things up, but you would only save a few seconds, provided your aim is perfect - since it's probably not, do yourself a favour and destroy them with Streaks/any sword attack. You could also destroy (with the gyro blades only) the black and blue platform in the middle of the room, but you wouldn't find anything, so it's really not worth the time.
After destroying the objects, take the Southwest door to enter the Large Hall.
On your S-Rank playthrough on Human, enter the Torture Chamber (the room on the West side) for an extra fight against Scarecrows: they die quickly, easily, and will net you a lot of extra Stylish Points. When they're all dead, return to the Large Hall.
Ignore the objects to destroy at first, and enter the room to the East instead.
Fight 2x Bianco Angelo and destroy 8x chairs and 4x sets of objects on the table.
Proceed after the fight, and take a left to find another gyro blade; activate it and use it as a shield and weapon to proceed through the fireball-attacked hallway. You will eventually punch the gyro blades all the way South, destroying the source of the fireball. Before exiting, there's the second secret mission.
Secret Mission 02 - Alley-Oop
Task: succesfully execute a mid-air Buster 5 (consecutive) times without touching the ground!
Strategy: not much to say about this one either. You have a limited amount of enemies to "use" to accomplish this task, which is very easy: jump once, snatch an enemy and buster him in the air; immediately snatch another enemy (also the same one) and buster him too; do so five times in a row without landing and you'll clear the mission. The only difficulty here is represented by Scarecrows defending with their blades: aim your snatch on those which aren't guarding and you'll be fine.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 06/32.
When it's clear, exit through the door on the right.
You're now behind the gated area. There will be a large fight with Scarecrows, and there are also gyro blades here. Do not use them to defeat the enemies, so you get all the possible stylish points from them.
When the fight is over, smash the blue switch to open the gate; this will spawn more Scarecrows in the hallway, and you want to defeat them in a single fight, snatching the last of one group to the next group, so you keep your style meter up by involving each of them in the same fight (as usual).
When they are all defeated, make sure you destroy/get everything on your way moving the gyro blade in the gated area all the way to the Southwest corner of the hallway: 4x candle stands and 5x chairs inside the gate area, 2x candle stands just near the gate, then 4x candle stands North, 2x candle stands in the Southwest part, and the 2x red orbs behind the mirror to the Southwest.
Use the gyro blade (the ones in the gate area) to destroy the Southwestern-most black and blue barrier, so you can reach another gyro blade. This will spawn a few more Scarecrows from here to the North part of the area (defeat them as usual).
Then place both these two gyro blades (one by one) in their specific location in the North part of the area to complete this simple puzzle and unlock the way. Move on through the door North to reach the next area.
Central Courtyard - II
After a few steps you will trigger a boss fight.
Nero vs Bael
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.
Strategy: damaging the antennae is the most tricky part of the fight. To do so, jump and aerial-snatch them. They will often dodge, but eventually they will get caught by your arm; when this happens, Buster the fairy and follow the buster with an immediate Charged Shot (the highest level of charge you can). It's important to release the shot as soon as you finish the buster, otherwise they will dodge the hit. You can also succesfully deal damage by using Split attacks (RB+Y+LS_Forward while in the air), but it is more risky. If an antenna is about to hit you (especially if they're trying to grab and freeze Nero), they are completely open for the snatch and buster.
Once they are gone and you're against Bael, the fight will be very simple: run away if he's using the icicle attack, jump if he's using other attacks, and smash him from the sides. Doing so will prevent, as it was for Berial, his most typical attacks, and he will also try to rotate his body to face you, giving you more time to smash him. A useful attack to quickly reach and possibly damage Bael when he jumps away is the attack Calibur of the Red Queen (RB+LS_Back_to_Forward+Y while in the air), but you probably don't have it right now. Release Charged Shots as soon as you have them ready at their highest level of charge, and if you see that he's collapsed, Buster him from his front like you would obviously do. While bustering him, button-mash on your controller (tap Y and B) for extra damage and Stylish Points. If you buster him from his tail, button-mashing won't make any difference.
The fight is easier than it may look at first, just be patient against the antennae. To some extent, his "vanishing" attack is similar to Berial's shockwave, although there's a consistent difference since it will not damage you this time. The similar aspect is that Bael will use it when he's about to get stunned, just like Berial used it to recover his flame shield. For this reason, if you feel that he's about to vanish, go full assault and devastate him to stun him before he can run away; then use the buster and you'll deal high damage.
After the fight you will get the Rusalka Corpse (key item; it makes your arm glow when you're near secret orb locations, blue orb fragments or secret mission locations): go West to find a door to complete the mission.
S Rank on Human
Start the mission by loading your gunshot, and proceed to trigger a fight against 2x Mephisto.
Mephistos (Nero) - These enemies have a darkness shield/cloak: to take it off, your best bet is using Buster attacks (also aerial busters) on their "cloaks". Devil Bringer attacks also work good, but they're about half as powerful as a buster. Gunshot attacks (especially Lv 3 Charged Shots) will also devastate their cloaks. When they are without the darkness cloak, they will land on the ground as harmless spiders: they will run away from you and eventually recover their cloak, but until then you can damage these foes very seriously with busters and any other attack. Just be careful about their "cloak recovery": sometimes they regenerate the cloak instantly, in the middle of your combos, and this may cause you to get hit. Their attacks are easy to dodge: they usually use a nail/laser, very predictable, which you can also "attack" for some extra style meter. Anyway, they can also spin mid-air and attack you. These are their two main attacks; they can also slash sometimes. Overall, these are probably the least aggressive enemies of the game.
Once they are no more, destroy everything around you, including statues, gravestones and a main statue at the top of a fountain. Afterward, make sure you also collect the lonely 1x red orb, either as shown in the video, or by jumping/air-hike and using an aerial snatch on it. If you want, get 1x Gold Orb with the same procedure (jump left instead of right as you would do for the red orb; you can't just snatch this one though). Try to do all this as quickly as possible. Lastly, collect 2x secret orb spots on the East side of the area.
Below the staircase leading South there is the third secret mission, but you can't tackle it on your first time here. At the end of mission 08 you will get something (the Hold ability) to be ready to replay this mission and attempt the secret mission, but until then, just proceed on. I'll add it here for record.
Secret Mission 03 - Nonviolent Resistance
Task: raise your stylish ranking (to Carnage) without using attacks!
Strategy: your best chance is grabbing an enemy with B and Hold him (instead of performing a buster on him) by holding B. Then face the other enemies, and let them hit your "enemy-shield". Help yourself by performing a Taunt when you see that you've reached the Deadly rank (don't do it before then, or you will waste it) and do your best to avoid being hit.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 07/32.
Defeat 3x Bianco Angelos and destroy every piece of furniture opposite and on a side of the bed. Smash the mirror on the East side to find another secret mission, doable your first time here.
Secret Mission 10 - Puppet Master
Task: manipulate the Gyro Blades and raze everything!
Strategy: it's very simple and self-explained. One target is in front of you, in the hallway; another one is found in the North part of the hallway. The third is just past the gate-area, the fourth is opposite the gate (before the door leading to the Grand Hall), and the fifth is in the gate area itself.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 08/32.
Torture Chamber - II
Smash the blue switch to lift a gate, then use the gyro blade here to destroy an item and continue.
As you're free-falling, start loading the gun since there will be 2x Mephisto waiting for you at the bottom. Defeat them, then retrieve the Wing Talisman (key item) from the red column here. You can also see a blue switch behind a gate, but it's not useful in this mission, so just ignore it.
After getting the talisman, use the red jumpers to climb back up, collecting various red orbs floating in the air as you move from one jumper (platform) to the next. In addition to this, after the second jumper, land on the West side of the room to find 1x secret orb spot. After the third jumper you will see a blue light: it's not just a lamp, but also 1x Holy Water; there's also a red orb statue on this ledge, anyway. After another jumper you will also be able to land on the North side and get 1x Vital Star S inside a cell (snatch it). Finally go all the way up with the last jumper.
A mixed fight of Scarecrows and 2x Mephistos will trigger: give the Mephistos priority, and deal with the enemies the usual way (use Ex Streaks if they're gathered). Return to the Large Hall after the fight.
3x Frosts will spawn: fight them just near the door from where you come, but don't stay too close to the door itself or you may accidentally press a button near it, causing the game to make you return to the torture chamber. If you stay in this tiny place you will probably manage to fight only one of them at the time; feel free to unleash your Devil Trigger as soon as the first Frost(s) spawns, so you can avoid taking damage when the risk is the highest.
After the fight, once again, destroy everything here: 2x candle stands in the Southwest part, 2x red orbs behind the mirror Southwest, 4x candle stands to the North, 2x candle stands near the gate and 4x candle stands and 5x chairs inside the gate area. Return to the Grand Hall afterwards (in the Dining Room, for your information, there are still the 2x Bianco Angelos; avoid wasting time with them).
Once again, destroy the two sets of chairs, benches and fences; then (or actually before then) use the gyro blade on the North side to break the black and blue platform in the middle of the room and reveal a red jumper behind it. After your first playthrough, the platform will be already broken and this will save you some time as you replay for S Ranks.
Slash the chandelier where you land after jumping, so you reach the second floor. Before completing the mission, collect 2x red orbs and 1x secret orb spot (the one with Ex High Roller) Northwest, on the upper floor.
Then get through the now-broken wall North and continue to go. Before another door there will be two cells on the left: snatch 1x Vital Star S in one of them and continue through the door.
Just continue North to complete the mission.
S Rank on Human
As you start, walk around to find 1x barrel and Blue Orb Fragment # 09/32. As you descend, destroy a total of 7x barrels on three different ledges, and at the bottom ignore the red combat adjudicator. Move on to the next room.
3x Cutlasses will attack you as you continue.
Cutlasses (Nero) - They are giant "land shark" enemies. They can attack you popping up from the ground (showing their entire, huge size), and this is always preceeded by a red mark on the ground itself and by a sound; they can also (but more rarely and typically only on higher difficulties) turn "red" (they're usually blue) and attack with the fin, charging at you. For both the situations, jump away and always keep in mind that their size is really bigger than the fin may let you imagine, so you need to keep distance from them. About your attacks, you can use Lv 3 Charged Shots on the fins to deal massive damage, and pull them out of the ground with more attacks. Until they're out, stunned, they're harmless. Another effective offensive move is the devil bringer: when they jump out of the ground, jump away but be ready to snatch them while they're in the air; this will also stun them and let you smash them to death. Using charged shots when they are in the air is also a great attack. Be as offensive as possible, and keep the volume of your TV high enough to hear their attacks coming.
Destroy 3x debris (two on the left and one on the right; they're more than likely to be destroyed in the fight without even trying), then follow the tunnel to enter the next area.
First get 1x red orb on the North side of the room.
Dice game - The dice in front of you will continuously spin, having a specific number at its top, in this fixed order: 1 - 4 - 2 - 6 - 3 - 5 - 1 - 4 - ...
When you hit the dice with any attack (I suggest the buster in close range, since it's the quickest), the dice will roll away and the resulting number will be the same which was on its top face when you first landed your hit. This lets you decide the result of this minigame: if you want to land two circles forward, you want to wait for the number "1" on its top surface, then will come the "4" - get your thumb ready on B - and finally "2": immediately strike to make the dice roll and end with the result of 2, which will move your "statue" two positions forward.
The circles where you land have different colors. The white ones have no effect; the red ones will spawn a random fight with regular enemies (extremely useful to increase your Stylish Points, although you may be unlucky and spawn Frosts; on higher difficulties they can even be bosses, and you will be warped to the specific arena if that's the case); the blue ones will spawn goodies (either a special item such as a Vital Star, or red and few green orbs; none of these will count for the total Orb Found percentage); the yellow ones will create a link between other yellow circles. Sometimes these links will lead you to the next yellow circle, other times they will lead you back to the previous yellow circles, depending on which specific circle you land. On higher difficulties you will also find purple circles, which will also spawn enemies or trigger a boss fight.
Given these instructions, you shouldn't need the extra fights, but if you do, you know how to proceed (land on red circles on purpose). The quickest order to get through this short "puzzle" without fighting or getting extra goodies is: 2, 5, 3, 6, 3/4/5/6 (you don't need to land exactly in the last circle, so any number higher than 3 will also complete the puzzle). After unlocking the way, exit through the door to the North/Northwest.
Step forwards to trigger a special fight. It will be a sort of boss fight, with a specific health bar, and you'll be able to damage the enemy by using Busters to throw the Gladius enemies, found in this fight for the first (and unfortunately not last) time. You could also damage the screen (your main enemy) with other regular hits, but throwing Gladiuses is a much stronger attack.
Gladiuses (Nero) - They are flying swords: if they're yellow-ish and spinning, they're about to attack you. Charged shots will stop and heavily damage them. Any random combo is good on these enemies, since they're weak. The problem is, they are always found in hordes, and this means that you need to work carefully to hide them from the camera, and shoot down any of them which are ready to attack/jump away carefully to avoid them. It's almost essential to have Target Type 1 when fighting these enemies: if you don't have it set, absolutely do so any time you find them.
While fighting, watch out for both the attacks of the Gladiuses, and for the occasional electric shockwaves created on the ground by the external enemy of this place. When the shockwave is coming, you will clearly see yellow thunders on the floor: try to stay airborne while this happens, by performing busters on the Gladiuses, or you will suffer from heavy damage. This will be a consistent problem on higher difficulties (you will barely notice, or you may not even trigger a single shockwave attack, on Human). As a reminder for your later playthroughs, feel also free to activate the Devil Trigger to exploit its invincibility frames (use it in the instant before a Gladius is about to attack you to guard against it; of course if you can just avoid it and save your devil trigger, much better; it's just an emergency plan) and stay airborne more easily with the busters.
After the fight, destroy 2x chairs (one on the left, one on the right side of the room) and get 1x secret orb spot in the middle of the blue stream. On your first playthrough, this is when you first acquire the Devil Trigger power: use it wisely with LB when you need an extra hand for massive carnage. Exit outside.
Foris Falls - II
Destroy 6x explosive canisters and activate the blue switch (it will be already activated on your secondary playthroughs, saving some time) and go upstairs to find 2x explosive canisters.
Approach the edge in front of the next door and you will see a Blue Orb Fragment # 10/32 floating in the air. You need specific abilities to get this one, since it's quite far away; you either need Snatch 2 and Air Hike, or Streak. If you have the first two, double-jump forward and try to aim for it with the snatch; you will eventually succeed. If you have the latter, approach the edge and use the Streak (no need to use Ex Streak) to make a long jump forward and either reach it, or come close enough to reach it with your devil arm. This second procedure is the one shown in the video.
When it's obtained, continue through the next door (upstairs).
Fight 3x Bianco Angelo and destroy 1x explosive canister (on the left, facing the small stairs you will take to proceed). In the Northeast corner of the room there's another secret mission.
Secret Mission 04 - Tracking Treasure Down
Task: find all the hidden orbs!
Strategy: the orbs can be found in random locations which are different every time you play this mission; for this reason, and also because there's not a real need for it, no video has been added. The spots can net you 30 or 60 orbs, depending on which ones are spawned. Your arm will glow near the ones which have been spawned.
On the first floor you can find a group of orbs before the entrance door (all the way South); another group is on the left of the fallen chandelier (somewhere in the middle of where the chairs were); another in the spot where the gyro blade is (move it away; this is one which nets 60 orbs); another in the Northeast corner. Another one can also be found if you wall-jump on the arch between two columns in the Southwest side (this nets 60 orbs).
On the second floor (wall-jump near the gyro blade to go up) they can be found just in front of the blue switch in the Northeast part; behind a mirror, in the alcove where a blue orb fragment was, on the East side (this nets 60 orbs).
Another spot (which nets also 60 orbs) is before the door leading to the Underground Laboratory, past the broken picture/wall.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 11/32.
Back in the Angel Creation, defeat 2x Bianco Angelo in a circular area, and then drop below.
Look at your mini-map: there's a circle (you just jumped off from that circular platform). Move so you go exactly South of the circle to find 1x secret orb spot. Continue and another fight against 3+2 Bianco Angelos will trigger. Dispatch of them and destroy 1x explosive canister on the right of the small hallway before the next door.
You can now go up and destroy the barrels you may have missed your first time here. Return to the Grand Hall...
...and in here, get the usual orbs: 2x red orbs and 1x secret orb spot (the Ex High Roller one) on the upper floor, the two sets of chairs, benches and fences at the bottom floor, and then go through either of the two doors on the sides of the broken picture/wall (on the upper floor).
You will find 3x Frosts on your way to Foris Falls (two spawn at first, then another one when one of the first two is dead), regardless of which of the two exits you chose. They both lead to the Foris Falls anyway, so it really makes no difference which of the two paths you choose (I prefer the left one, because there I find it easier to hide the Frosts with the camera, but anyway).
Here you can now go North thanks to the bridge you created few moments ago.
Continue forward to end the mission.
S Rank on Human
As you start, destroy 2x eggs (they're attached to each other) on your left, then move on and destroy 7x eggs inside a big log cavity. Inside this cavity you will see a green light coming from the top of it: jump through the hole inside the log to get 1x Vital Star M. Out of the log, check the Southwest part of this area (it's on the right side of the screen) to find 3x eggs (again attached to each other). At the center of this place there's also a secret mission, but you can't deal with it in this mission. Move on to the next area.
Proceed and go left before jumping off the cliff to find 1x egg; there's also 1x Holy Water on the left-most side of the cliff. Then drop below from the right side and you will see (as the camera changes point of view) 1x egg attached to the mountain. Meanwhile, the Chimera Seeds will be introduced to you.
Chimera Seeds (Nero) - These are the weakest and nastiest enemies of the game. The Chimera Seeds are not aggressive at all (they rarely make a quick run and rush at you, but they will often just ignore you), but they can infect other enemies (Scarecrows or Assaults, which you will find later in the game), making them much more powerful. We'll deal with these hybrids in due time. As far as for the Chimera Seeds are concerned, they will instantly die with a buster, and they take priority in mixed fights (to avoid them infecting other monsters). Don't bother getting Stylish Points from them, and just destroy them with any attack you want (even just buster attacks if the context is not safe and you need to kill them quickly).
Defeat the 3x Chimera Seeds, then break 1x egg and 2x eggs at the bottom of the mountain. As you go towards some small stairs, check on the right side (facing them) to find 2x eggs. Up the stairs there will be a fountain: check somewhere Northwest of it to find 2x eggs. Enter the church afterward.
Make a couple of steps and a cutscene will prepare you for 3x Chimera Scarecrow enemies.
Chimera Scarecrows (Nero) - These enemies will frequently use the blades inside their body to attack you/guard from your attacks. Your best friend here is the Lv 3 Charged Shot, since it will break through the blades and open the guard of the enemies. After releasing the shot, quickly perform a buster on the opponent, and get away (the shot will burst by now, dealing probably all the damage you need to defeat one; if not, repeat). You can also devil-bringer these enemies and wait until you see that they are using their blades on the ground; as soon as they stop swinging their blades around, you have a short span of time to attack before the blades can be active again. During this span of time you can perform the good old Ex High Roller + Buster combo. On higher difficulties, the gunshot is the only reliable way to tackle these opponents. Lv 2 Charged Shots, which you should have by now, are also good, although you can't count on the bullet bursting part of course).
Destroy 1x egg in this area, then break any of the glasses to be able to reach and destroy 17x eggs. Destroy 1x egg before some stairs and go up the same stairs to reach a blue switch which will let you reach the next exit.
Go on and smash another blue switch to create platforms. 2x Mephistos will attack you on the way: defeat them mainly with gunshots and try not to fall down, because this would lead you to an optional area (the Ruined Lowlands) where you would have to fight some enemies to come back. On Human it's just a bunch of Scarecrows. Should you fall down by accident, make sure to break the four eggs of this place, and go Northwest of the ruined lowlands to also find a secret orb spot. If you don't fall here by accident, don't fall here on purpose, because you would only waste time and you don't need extra stylish points. If you fall here 3 or more times on Human, you will have to fight Chimera Scarecrows before making your way back.
As you cross the platforms you will also see Blue Orb Fragment # 12/32 in the air: you must have Air Hike (or Roulette Spin) to reach it. When you're to the other side, exit to the next area.
There's 1x egg on the right as you continue, at the bottom of a tree, and then 2x eggs near another tree if you go South (they are opposite a red-cursed tree). Cross the bridge and you will find 1x egg on a pillar just on the right as soon as you're past the bridge. Below the bridge there are 4x eggs, and 4x eggs are also altogether on the right side as you make your way to the Northwest exit. Before going there though, go all the way Southwest to find a secret mission behind a tree.
Secret Mission 05 - Sky Scraper
Task: reach the goal by rising to the top!
Strategy: you need Nero's devil bringer ability for this mission, but your regular "snatch" is enough. Air Hike can also help, but it's not necessary. The mission works very easily, but it's quite tricky because your landing after a grip depends on your momentum and position in the instant when you used the devil bringer move to reach the grip itself. Keep trying and you will eventually make your way to the top.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 13/32.
Exit Northwest when you've finished with everything else.
Destroy 2x eggs in front of you, near a tree (you should find your first white orbs here; they are the ones which regenerate your devil trigger). Move forward and a fight of Scarecrows and Chimera Seeds will trigger: defeat the Chimeras before they can infect the Scarecrows and you will then achieve an easy victory (watch out for respawns).
After the fight, destroy all the eggs of the area. Looking at the mini-map, there's a circle in the middle of the area: East/Southeast of the circle you will find 1x egg near a tree; due West from the circle you will find 2x eggs near another tree; all the way West of the circle you will find 2x eggs attached to a mountain; due South from the circle there are then 2x eggs near a bunch of small rocks (these ones are on a slightly upper level, after some small wooden stairs).
When it's all done, exit Southwest.
Activate the gyro blade here and use it to destroy a barricade; past the barricade there are (clearly visible as long as you didn't destroy them with the gyro blades), on the left mountain as you go, 2x eggs. Break another barricade and defeat the several Chimera Scarecrows; then continue by breaking another barricade.
On the left as you go, before some small stairs, there will be 2x eggs attached to the mountain (they're smaller and attached higher than the previous ones): destroy them and exit through the new door.
Ruined Valley - II
Go on and a monster will start chasing after you: you can't deal damage to this monster, and you only have to run. As you run, destroy the various eggs on your way (use Streak attacks or regular quick sword attacks; there are more than 15), trying to be as quick as possible to avoid being hit by the monster. You will eventually reach the opposite side of the area.
Destroy 1x egg as you continue, near a plant.
Then deal with the second Combat Adjudicator (requires an Atomic meter) to get Blue Orb Fragment # 14/32.
Continue past a tunnel and break 1x egg just out of it; 2x Scarecrows and 2x Chimera Seeds will spawn as you go, and 2x Chimera Scarecrows will also spawn later in the same fight. Defeat them all and proceed; destroy 2x eggs in front of the shop statue and continue to the next area.
Den of the She Viper
Here you will fight Echidna.
Nero vs Echidna
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 antennae 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).
Strategy: she is actually an easy boss to deal with. 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.
She has quite an arsenal of moves and situations, but if you know what to do she is probably the easiest (or one of the easiest) bosses of the game. Most of the damage you deal will probably come from her planted-position, since she will spend most of the time (especially on long fights of higher difficulties) in this position.
A couple more notes about this fight. One is about the Chimera Seed which she can "spawn": defeat it as soon as possible, so you avoid problems of mis-targeting the seed instead of Echidna. Another one is that there's a little trick about Echidna (though you really don't need it), which can net you an easy, but style-less and boring, victory. When she plants in the ground, you can use continuously the combination Y followed by B to keep damaging her without being attacked. The "Y" part is when you damage her; the "B" part is the buster when she's not stunned. If she isn't stunned, she will guard against the attack, but she won't attack you; for this reason, you can attack her again with another single Y hit and then perform another buster to cause her to guard against the attack and so on. This creates a loop of invincibility, but then again, it's very boring, slow, style-less and only worth mentioning if you are having serious problems of health in the fight.
After the fight you will get the key item Sephirothic Fruit (it doesn't give special powers, it only lets you continue with the story). Destroy various eggs in the arena where you fought (some may have been destroyed during the fight): 3x eggs Northwest, 3x eggs Southeast and 2x eggs Southwest. Then exit Southwest through the cursed tree to end the mission.
S Rank on Human
Ancient Training Ground
Destroy 1x egg as you go, then on the left before a tunnel you will find 2x eggs. Inside the tunnel there's 1x egg on its ceiling, and Blue Orb Fragment # 15/32 behind it. Before exiting the tunnel, destroy 1x egg and then just out of the tunnel another 1x egg. Out of the tunnel there will be also 2x Chimera Seeds and 2x Scarecrows. Continue after defeating them.
Get through the cursed tree and then destroy the various eggs you destroyed earlier: 2x eggs in front of you, 1x egg North from these two, then 1x egg past the bridge on a pillar, 4x eggs below the bridge and 4x eggs near the Northwest exit.
Take the Northwest exit afterward.
Continue and you'll have to fight a bunch of Assaults.
Assaults (Nero) - These are very aggressive enemies, and they move very quickly too. Their attacks are quick, and besides the typical melee slash they also have two other dangerous attacks. One is when they go underground and pop up below you, damaging you in the process; another is when they start to spin mid-air and then charge at you. They even have projectile attacks, although these are not a common attack on lower difficulties. They can also guard with their shields, and at last they have an attack (used very rarely), a sort of scream, which creates a small shockwave around them for few seconds. The buster animation against them is quite long and exposes you to other enemies' attacks. High Rollers, Streaks and Splits are good attacks; avoid long combos and busters unless you feel that no enemy is going to attack you anytime soon, and most of all rely on your charged shots. Jump away to avoid their attacks and stubbornly attack their face if they try to guard with the shield.
Destroy all the 9x eggs of the area (2x in front of you as you enter, 1x on the left side facing the central circle, 2x West of the central circle near a tree and 2x far West of the central circle attached to the mountain, and 2x more near some rocks as you go up the small wooden stairs), then exit.
Destroy 2x eggs on the left as you continue, then go forward and you will see 2x eggs at the bottom of a mountain in front of you and 1x egg on the left, again at the bottom of the mountains. Destroy them and climb up the mountain in the Northwest part of the area (as if you were backtracking to the entrance of the forest) to destroy 1x egg attached to the mountain and then another 1x egg on a cliff (the one which was on the left where you first came here, before dropping below to fight the Chimera Seeds).
Then return down and destroy 2x eggs on the right of the stairs leading to the fountain, and proceed South from them to find and break again the 2x eggs on the left side, attached high on the mountain.
Finally break the 2x eggs near the fountain and then enter the church.
Fight 1x Assault and 3x Scarecrows; 2x Assaults will spawn afterward. Destroy the 19x eggs (1+1+17) and then proceed below the stairs through the cursed tree.
Go on and destroy four groups of 2x eggs each for a total of 8x eggs; the groups are located on the four possible ways you can take from the center of this area.
The Lost Woods are a tricky place: you need to head where the sun light comes from, and you will use the shadows of the objects as a reference. In particular, head to the center for a clear shadow: the first time you enter, the shadow will point from where you came (West), and therefore to continue you'll have to go East. You want to get lost at least once though.
Take a wrong path (any path which isn't the one from where the light comes; for instance, go North the first time you're here) and you'll end in the Hidden Pit optional area. Here you'll have to fight 3x Chimera Scarecrows, destroy 5x eggs and collect Blue Orb Fragment # 16/32. When it's all done, use the warp to return to the lost woods.
The correct path from the first area is: East, South, North.
You're on the top bridge of this area now. You can destroy 2x eggs on the right as you go, and you could also destroy more eggs if you dropped from the small balcony opposite those two eggs. You would be able to reach a total of 4x eggs, but they are not necessary for the S rank on orbs (you can get 95+% of orbs also without those four), and therefore you want to ignore them to save precious time. Proceed forward (South) through another door.
Ancient Training Ground
Defeat 2x Scarecrows and 2x Assaults, then proceed onwards to destroy 2x eggs. You can also notice a broken fence on the left now, through which you can jump below; if that happens, you can jump back up using a pillar as platform to stand and jump further up.
Anyway, go South past the shop statue to reach the next area.
Grand Album Bridge
Make your way to the stage of the next boss fight.
Nero vs Angelo Credo
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.
Strategy: it's a very simple fight. 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 even 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.
Being very predictable, it's an easy fight, and snatching the spears will guarantee a high multiplier during the whole battle.
You will receive Aegis Shield (key item), which now allows you to hold a bustered enemy and use him as a shield from other enemies' attacks. This also allows you to finally complete the secret mission found on mission 05.
S Rank on Human
The beginning of this mission allows you to earn a lot of stylish points immediately; since the proud souls are directly related to stylish points, this makes mission 09 the best place to grind proud souls. On your first playthrough, I suggest spending like 20-30 minutes to replay the beginning of this mission over and over to grind some proud souls and get important skills for Nero (such as Air Hike, Charge Shot 3, Exceed 2, Exceed 3, Roulette Spin and anything else you like). Do not spend too much time here though, because grinding with the same method on Dante Must Die will net you a far higher income.
Grand Album Bridge
As you start, go on and destroy a total of 6x separators and 4x small drawers in a room, then sprint forward until you trigger the first fight against an Alto Angelo.
Alto Angelos (Nero) - These enemies are the "leaders" of the Angelos, typically the Bianco Angelos. They can make the Bianco Angelos set in defensive formations, they can order them to attack, and on higher difficulties they can even order them to suicide (this move costs you a lot of stylish points though, it's not a good thing to "waste" Bianco Angelos like this and you should always try to avoid it). The best part is however an energy ball attack which can be performed by Alto Angelo + 2x (or more) Bianco Angelos. If Alto Angelo decides to perform this attack, you will feel it in your controller which will start vibrating. When the energy ball is released, you need a "strong" attack to send it back. Ex attacks are good, and you probably noticed an Ex Streak sending a ball back in the random footage which plays automatically when you turn on your console; you also probably noticed that it instantly earned an SSS meter. Ex Streak is not a safe way though: Lv 3 Charged Shot is a much better and safer way. What you want to do, in short, is keep it ready for use, and when the energy ball is coming at you, release the shot (make sure Nero is facing the group of Angelos) to send it back and get the SSS meter.
Speaking of Alto Angelos alone, you can break their shields in a similar way you could do with the Bianco Angelos, but they usually won't counter with the shield-lance combination (like the Bianco Angelos do instead), and this makes it harder for you to break it. Try that nonetheless, and when the shield is broken they will be open for a buster. You can't buster them from their back if they still have the shield; to be honest, sometimes you can even buster them if they have the shield, but it happens much more rarely. Do not attempt aerial busters either; jump when they attack, and counter a lot with Split (RB+Y+LS_Forward when in the air) to knock them to the ground. Charged Shots also work wonders as usual.
Defeat 1x Alto Angelo and 2x Bianco Angelo, possibly sending back the energy ball for a great boost of Stylish Points, and then continue.
Destroy a total of 6x benches and 2x grey pots (the pots are on the sides of the door leading South).
Check the Northwest corner of the room to find 1x Devil Star S, and stay in the Southwest corner to find 1x secret orb spot.
Fight against the Combat Adjudicator located Northeast and raise the meter up to Smokin'! to get Blue Orb Fragment # 17/32.
Then go South and examine the black and red small pillar to trigger a cutscene.
Return to the previous room, avoid the lasers and jump to take the East exit.
Destroy a total of 4x separators (2x near where you come, 2x near where you'll go) and fight against another group of 1x Alto Angelo + 2x Bianco Angelo (a third Bianco Angelo may join as respawn); this time the space is really limited and it may be worth fighting regularly (give priority to Bianco Angelos since they're weaker) to avoid wasting time waiting for that attack; if you stay on the North side of the room you may manage to trigger the energy ball attack (which should come from the South side), but then again, I'd rather suggest to defeat them regularly.
Examine the purple pillar in the North to get the Key of Cronus (key item to progress with the story), so you can now examine another small pillar in the middle of the room to slow the time and be able to get through the lasers (the exit is West, with the stairs leading up).
Go on and stay in the middle of a circular area to get 1x secret orb spot; ignore the red combat adjudicator and use the blue switch to call a cage elevator.
Enter the cage and it will automatically rise: defeat 4x Scarecrows and you will move to the next floor.
Use another device to slow down the time (you can see a blue orb fragment here, but ignore it at first) and get through more lasers to reach a second cage. Inside of this one, 3x Frosts (2x and 1x respawn) will attack you.
Now you could proceed left, but there's also an open part of the cage on the right side: go right to fall down and reach the platform where you will find and get Blue Orb Fragment # 18/32. Then fall down and call the elevator again with the blue switch (you won't have to fight the Scarecrows and Frosts again), and after the second ride-up, this time go left.
Use another device and get through more lasers; the next cage will be the arena where you'll fight 4x Assaults (one of which is a respawn).
Finally exit to Agnus's Room.
Destroy 2x chairs on the right, 1x chair, 1x table and 1x candle stand on the left; then go forward to trigger a boss fight. During the boss fight you should also try to destroy 1x cage on the East side, and 2x cages on the West side of the arena.
Nero vs Angelo Agnus
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. 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...".
Strategy: 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 have only few seconds to come close to him and perform the buster animation.
S Rank on Human
Destroy again the last items you broke: a total of 3x cages, 1x table, 1x candle stand, 3x chairs. Then backtrack.
Here you will fight 2x Mephistos and 1x Faust.
Fausts (Nero) - This is one of the strongest enemies of the game. A Faust is more than a stronger Mephisto: besides having a much more resistant cloak (three times as much), he also has far stronger attacks which include a long ranged laser nail attack (two slashes) and several summoned lasers. A particular type of attack by the lasers is easily the hardest-to-dodge attack of the game, and other than having perfect reflexes and luck, the best thing you can do is avoiding that he uses them in the first place. Whenever a Faust is around, always try to hide him from the camera, so he can't attack you. Load a Lv 3 Charged Shot meanwhile, and release it on him while still keeping a certain safety distance. When his cloak is off, you can smash him as you prefer; there's however a particularly style-rewarding attack you can do while in Devil Trigger mode: Showdown. After purchasing this attack, you can perform it by holding RB+Y+B+LS_Forward; it will automatically release when it's at full power. Unfortunately it takes a while to charge: to avoid the "spider" running away, hold RT to charge the summoned swords of the Yamato power, and release RT as soon as you're about to start loading Showdown: if done correctly, then up-to-six summoned blades will stab him repeatedly, thus buying you all the time you need to charge and then release Showdown. Make sure you jump away from a Faust after a long combo like Showdown, because he will always damage you if you stay near his "spider" form while he's recovering his cloak (and this happens much more frequently than with the Mephistos).
After the fight, use the time device to get through the lasers and reach a blue switch; then operate another time device to return from where you came and drop off the platform from the right side.
At the bottom, collect 1x secret orb spot (in that central circular area) and backtrack again.
Destroy 4x separators and defeat another bunch of Angelos (1x Alto + 3x Bianco): this time you can also operate the time device in the middle of the room to take great advantage over the enemies. Exit East afterward.
Luckily the benches are standing just where the lasers can't go, so you'll have an easy time destroying 6x benches, collecting 1x secret orb spot Southwest and destroying the 2x pots on your way to the bridge in the South, leading to the next area.
As you start, destroy 1x bench near a huge pillar, and check opposite this bench to find and destroy another 1x bench which is at first hidden from your sight because it's just behind another pillar. After getting them, activate the time device and cross the laser area. Destroy 1x fence in front of you before proceeding, and check on the right side to find a secret mission.
Secret Mission 06 - Vermifuge
Task: eliminate all the Chimera before the Scarecrow is taken over!
Strategy: as soon as the Scarecrow spawns, use the "hold" ability (press and hold B to use him as a shield) and drag him away, safely, somewhere far enough from the Chimera Seeds (the fountain area works fine). Once he's at a safe distance, release B (this will damage, but not kill him) and quickly go to waste the Chimera Seeds.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 19/32.
Jump below to an area with big spinning fans and fight 2x Mephistos first and 1x Faust then. Destroy 3x wooden boxes in the Northeast, then activate a time device on the West side and use the fans to jump to the top of the area (you'll be able to see two possible landings; one is fenced and points North; you want to head South, where there's a door.
Fight 2x Bianco Angelos first and two more then; unfortunately it's extremely hard (if ever possible) to link the two fights together (even if you stay near a red orb statue where one of the other Bianco Angelos spawn, you probably won't involve them all in the same fight), but anyway. As a side note, it might be a good idea to attack the red orb statue with a single hit of your sword, so it automatically breaks after few seconds and you won't have problems of mis-targeting while you fight the Bianco Angelos. Or simply stay away from the statue, anyway.
Break 4x stone statues and continue South to ride a purple platform up.
Then break 1x fence and 2x stone statues and proceed through another door.
Defeat the 2x Alto Angelos and destroy the table/chair in the middle of the arena; then destroy 4x candle stands and proceed to the next area where a boss fight will trigger (you could attempt the secret mission on the left before the door, but it's not recommended right now).
Nero vs Dante (Mission 10 fight)
Dante's attacks: too many to be listed.
Strategy: 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, so let's have a preview on how that will look like.
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 mis-calculate 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 gun 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.
In short, the safest method consists in using snatches and busters only if he's in Royal Guard style, and deal the rest of the damage with Lv 3 Charged Shots which you will land when he's using any of his combos to attack you and when he's using the Pandora to attack. Should you ever fall victim of his deadly combos, immediately activate devil trigger to defend yourself, and take it as a chance to buster Dante as soon as he's landing from the shockwave attack of your devil trigger. Please keep in mind that "Method three", while being by far the safest and most recommended on higher difficulties, works terribly on Human because Dante's combos won't be long enough to have him "busy" with them, and therefore your charged shots will land rarely to say the least; he doesn't use the Pandora either. Method two is probably the best on Human and Devil Hunter.
During the fight you also have to try to destroy some objects of the room, and this is why S on orbs isn't guaranteed. If you can, while Dante walks around the room to reach you, try to destroy the objects: 2x candle stands on the sides of a door and two sets of 2x pots, 2x candle stands and 1x small drawer each on the sides of the room.
S Rank on Human
From where you start, go all the way South to find a Combat Adjudicator: strike to build your meter to SSS and you will obtain Blue Orb Fragment # 20/32.
Then use the blue switch on the East side to spawn some grips and use them to climb up. Fight against 2x Mephisto and 1x Faust to continue, then examine the small pillar near an elevator to make it work, and then ride the elevator up.
When you're up, go right and grab one of the two Scarecrows with a snatch, so he lands and stays on the switch-platform just on the opposite side of the gate; you will stay on your switch-platform before the gate, so it can open when both the switches are activated.
Continue and check before the next shop statue to break 1x fence and get 1x secret orb spot from the non-working elevator just behind this fence.
As you go there will be 2x red orbs above two grips; get them, but make sure you also fall down from the grips to get 1x red orb below them.
Move on to find more grips and 2x red orbs above them: they are a bit tricky, and if you fall down (it's likely to happen), a fight against 3x Bianco Angelos will trigger. It's a good chance to get some extra stylish points, so make sure you trigger this fight if you accidentally don't do so in the process of getting the orbs. Below here there won't be other red orbs, but there is 1x Devil Star S.
Anyway, use the three grips to get to the opposite side, and check on the edge of where you land after the third grip (before jumping down to continue) to find 1x secret orb spot.
Defeat 1x Alto Angelo near another blue switch, but ignore this one at first and sprint to the opposite side instead to reach the Northwest end; jump up to find 1x red orb. Then activate the blue switch to spawn more grips and go up. A fight of Alto and Bianco Angelos will trigger (the Alto spawns when you kill one of the Bianco) as you examine a pillar here: either wait for the energy ball, or just defeat them as you prefer.
Jump left and backtrack: a large fight of Scarecrows and various Angelos will trigger. Defeat them all as quickly as possible, and feel free to actually skip some of them (especially on higher difficulties) if you see that you already have enough Stylish Points.
Lastly, take the elevator (now available) where the secret orb spot was earlier, and ride it up to the next floor where a boss fight will trigger.
Nero vs Sanctus
Enemy attacks: the two "lamps" before the enemy can attack you and respawn. The main enemy can use a shockwave attack (stay airborne to avoid it), can attack with fireballs, with some vertical lasers (jump away in this case), and with some horizontal lines of fire on the ground. Each of these attacks can be easily dodged with jumps or by running. The enemy can also regenerate his shield after you break it, and this creates a little shockwave; stay away from him when this happens.
Strategy: use snatches on the lamps to quickly reach the boss; you'll have to grip on them multiple times to eventually reach him for good. Walking to him is sometimes a better idea than using the grips, because he tends to run away less if you're running instead of gripping. On the other hand it may take you too much time to reach him if you run, so try to balance the two things and use snatches on the lamps when he's far, and run to him when he's already decently close to you.
To deal damage to him, you first have to break his two-layered shield. Roulette Spin works wonders on that, and you also want to help yourself by exceeding the hits whenever possible. When his two shields are down, smash him a bit and then perform a Devil-Triggered Buster for massive damage. He will always regenerate his shield afterward, so don't even bother trying a second buster or other attacks and instead use the time of his shield regeneration to reload your exceed gauge. Use your Lv 3 Charged Shots on him (even when he still has the shield), so you can buy some time to reach him when the shot bursts (this is very important on higher difficulties, to have enough time to reach him before he runs away to regenerate his shield just when you were about to destroy it). Another way to take down the shield is by using a Lv 3 Ex Calibur (Calibur with three exceed gauges and the skill Excdeed 3) followed by Roulette Spin: if everything connects, this may take down almost completely his two shields even on higher difficulties. It's not very easy to do though.
When he's about to die, he will take cover inside the statue; the statue will punch you: jump away on time to avoid the hit. He will be available again after the punch. On lower difficulties you only have to smash him some more after this happens. On higher difficulties you may not be able to finish him off immediately as he comes back. If you're not quick enough to destroy his shield, in this second phase of the fight he will be able to take cover inside the statue again and regenerate the shield inside of it. If this happens, the statue will try to punch you again: instead of jumping away, perform a buster to tackle the punch of the statue and make the enemy come out of the statue, already stunned and shield-less, ready for your strong buster.
S Rank on Human
The new character
You now have control of Dante. He's much "harder" to master than Nero, and becoming good at using him will take "a lot" of practice. The reason why I'm using the quotation marks is that you will actually get used to his controls after a bunch of missions, and although you will probably think "OMG I'm never going to be good with him, please give me Nero back!" at first, it's not that terrible after all.
As the game explains, the life bar, devil gauge, items and red orbs are all shared with Nero, so you won't lose anything in the change. The proud souls will all be refunded, that is to say that the total amount of proud souls is the same for Nero and for Dante, but they will be able to independently use them. Say you have 10,000 Proud Souls total: you will be able to purchase skills as Nero for a total of 10,000 Proud Souls, and at the same time you can purchase skills as Dante for a total of 10,000 Proud Souls. Nothing is lost, and therefore there's no need to un-learn skills as either of the two characters to learn more skills as the other one, because this simply won't give the other one more proud souls to spend.
There are many skills to learn as Dante, and many more will be available as you progress with the game. Differently from the "simple" arsenal of Nero's, Dante starts with one sword (the Rebellion), two guns (Ebony & Ivory and Coyote-A; you can switch between the two by using LT) and four styles (Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Royalguard; you can switch between them by using the D-Pad; they are mainly related to the use of B, which won't be a buster but a special command according to the weapon/gun and style you're using).
Suggested skills to learn are: Air Hike, Speed (Ability), Charge Shot "1", 2 and 3 of the Coyote-A, Stinger and Stinger 2 (Rebellion) and then, depending on your proud souls availability, Style Level Up 2/3/4 of the styles you prefer. Gunslinger and Royal Guard take easily the least priority, so I suggest Trickster and Swordmaster, which are respectively the best style to avoid being hit and the best style to deal damage, start combos and have a variety of moves. If you have to choose, my suggestion is to upgrade Swordmaster first and then Trickster, since on your first playthrough you will need to deal more damage than actually dodging, which is also important sometimes though. Lastly, Gunslinger actually deserves Style Level Up 2, which should be cheap enough, and gives you access to a useful attack (Rain Storm). You should be able to get everything with about 20,000 Proud Souls; if you have less, either grind a bit on Mission 09 or just go on with Swordmaster/Trickster upgraded, leaving the rest for later.
Some Scarecrows will let you test your new character.
Scarecrows (Dante) - Use Rebellion Combo B (Y, pause, YY; tap the last Y for extra damage) and then use a Stinger (RB+Y+LS_Forward) to take one down. Then approach the next Scarecrow, shoot him with the Coyote-A (a simple shot, don't charge it) and taunt him afterward. A great and possibly even more simple combo is RB+B+LS_Forward (tap B) with the Rebellion and Swordmaster style, which is an amazing set of automatic combos called "Dance Macabre".
Another style-rewarding method is, especially when more enemies are around you, a charged Drive and Over Drive (Rebellion and Swordmaster; RB+B+LS_Backward; hold B to charge and tap it a couple of times to hit with two extra slashes).
Remember to destroy the objects of the room too: 2x candle stands on the sides of a door and two sets of 2x pots, 2x candle stands and 1x small drawer each on the sides of the room. By the way, the Coyote-A shots are a great way to destroy objects as Dante, since the multiple bullets will hit almost certainly whatever you're aiming at, differently from Nero's gun (and also differently from the Ebony & Ivory which we you will probably use rarely).
Backtrack after doing everything.
On your secondary playthroughs, as Dante you can tackle the secret mission here easily. You'll need the Pandora gun.
Secret Mission 07 - Free Running
Task: reach the goal without falling through the vanishing floor!
Strategy: with Gunslinger (possibly level 2) and a filled up Disaster Gauge of the Pandora gun, double-jump and press B to use Pandora's Argument attack and hover to the opposite side of the area without caring about the enemies. Another way is using Stinger near the edge of the area (just as the platforms are appearing) while in Trickster, then use Devil Trigger, make a double aerial jump and double Sky Star, then switch to Gunslinger and use Argument even with an empty gauge. This sounds probably too elaborated now that you just got started, anyway.
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 21/32.
Destroy 4x candle stands and later the chairs and table of the room. As you approach the central area (with the table), move your camera so you look left: this will let you start the next fight with only one of the three new enemies in your sight, allowing you to take care of one of them alone. The enemies are 3x Mega Scarecrows.
Mega Scarecrows (Dante) - These are slow, big and "stupid" enemies. Somehow cute for the way you will beat them up, they get stunned very easily and also have a lot of health (which is a good thing because this means you'll get a lot of stylish points from them). The problem is: if you let them attack you, it's serious danger. Always either keep them out of your camera view, or stun them. I personally deal with each of them the way I deal with a group of Scarecrows, more or less. That is to say, Rebellion Combo B, Stinger, High Time and gun shots; as a note for later, also Kick 13 with Gilgamesh and Lucifer's Pin-Up. I also use a charged attack of the Gilgamesh, "Draw/Straight" (that's the name of the move; hold Y to charge the shot; also RB+Y+LS_Backward holding Y; when the charge of the shot is ready, release; this is very style-rewarding and also powerful). Keep these notes for later missions, when you'll face them with these new weapons.
Anything you want is good: with them almost always stunned, it's a pleasure to use any combo on their big poor body. Be careful when you kill them though: the giant blade inside their body will be thrown in the air and will fall exactly where the Mega Scarecrow died. You want to be away from that spot by the time the blade hits.
A simple way to deal with them on Human is (with the Rebellion and Swordmaster) Rebellion Combo B followed by Dance Macabre, and a shot of your gun. Also throw in some "high roller" (called "High Time" in Dante's skill-set; the input is RB+Y+LS_Backward), Stingers and "split" (called "Helm Breaker" in Dante's skill-set, the input is simply Y while in the air) to add some variety to your combos, but with these moves alone you should end with an S (or even higher) rank.
Continue to backtrack.
Destroy 1x fence and 2x stone statues, then move on to get the Wing Talisman left here by Nero and go down. Destroy 4x stone statues afterward: a timer will start now, and if it goes to zero it's game over. You won't even come close to a risk of not making it in time, but on your first run you'll have to go off-track .
You may have spotted a blue orb fragment near the elevator: use Trickster style (it needs to be upgraded) and Air Hike: from the elevator platform, jump and press B+LS_Forward to make an aerial dash on the first ring of the elevator. Then make another Air Hike and dash in the air to reach the second ring, where Blue Orb Fragment # 22/32 is.
Here's also a part of the stage that you can skip: instead of falling down past the statues, you can jump to the opposite side by using several means. One is Devil Trigger and Trickster style: perform a stinger near the edge of the platform where you're standing, so you make a long jump, and then use the double jump and double Sky Star (B+LS_Forward in the air). Another way is to use Gunslinger and Pandora, and after making the long jump you will just press B to use the Pandora to "fly" to the opposite side. It's very possible to juse use Air Hike and one Sky Star after the long jump of Stinger, as long as you use Air Hike when you reach the furthest point of the long jump (you'll be starting to descend by then).
If you fall down you will find 1x Gold Orb and a blue switch to activate in order to call an elevator. Ride it to fight 2x Frosts.
Frosts (Dante) - They were annoying when you fought them as Nero, but they are even more annoying when you fight them as Dante. Without Lv 3 Charged Shots and Busters, stunning them (especially on higher difficulties) is really hard (you can try with the Pandora and with several charged shots of Coyote-A), and they will often come in places where hiding them from the camera is hard. Don't bother with stylish points against them, focus on their defeat. Without other weapons other than the Rebellion, go freestyle with whatever you want (Stinger, High Time, Helm Breaker, quick combos and Coyote-A shots). Coyote-A shots will always knock them down if you shoot them while they're in the air (to attack you).
More information on how to deal with them with your full arsenal are found in the third page of the walkthrough.
After the cage ride/long jump you will return to the security corridor through a door.
There are the previous 3x wooden boxes here, and you will fight 3x Mephistos.
Mephistos (Dante) - You can instantly take off the cloaks of the Mephistos (and Fausts) on any difficulty by using Omen (Pandora and Gunslinger style; RB+B+LS_Forward). Another way to get the cloaks off rather quickly is by using gunslinger using B in the air either with Coyote-A or with Ebony & Ivory (one of the rare times you will need them); or, also, charge the Coyote-A and shoot the cloaks normally with X. Another great move is the Rain Storm with charged Ebony & Ivory (charge by holding X, then jump in the air and press B). When the cloaks are off, you can use the usual combos (Kick 13, Dance Macabre, stingers, Rebellion Combo B and so on). On higher difficulties, a good move for them is also Prop (Rebellion and Swordmaster style), performed simply by pressing B, since it will send the opponent in the air and allow you to perform a Real Impact on them before they have a chance to flee and recover their shield.
Retrieve the Key of Cronus from where Nero left it and climb up the fans. At the top, destroy 1x fence, activate the time device and cross the laser zone (use Trickster to make use of its dashes for an extra plan), and break 2x benches on the opposite side of the hallway. Continue to backtrack.
Run on the bridge to reach the hall itself; destroy 2x pots, 6x benches and get 1x secret orb spot in the Southwest corner, but only after dealing with some Angelos.
Bianco Angelo and Alto Angelo (Dante) - The best way to send back the energy ball, without an Exceed gauge or efficient charged shots, is the Pandora: its simple basic shot will perfectly send it back. The Angelos alone are relatively easy enemies to deal with: High Time and especially Helm Breaker will work perfectly, and Gilgamesh charged shots will work wonders on their shields too. Gilgamesh's aerial Y attack (Full House) is also an excellent move to smash them to the ground. Lucifer stingers are good too since they open their guard for a moment, and they will also interrupt their charge attacks. Anyway, don't focus much on destroying their shields, and just eliminate them. Apart from the usual moves from their back (Dance Macabre, Kick 13 and company), especially on higher difficulties it wil be very important to use Prop (Rebellion and Swordmaster; use B on the ground) to send them in the air, and load your Real Impact (Gilgamesh and Swordmaster; RB+B+LS_Backward) for an instant kill.
Right now, without these things, go freestyle with High Time, Rebellion Combo B and especially Dance Macabre from their back (this last one only if you don't see any other enemy ready to attack you meanwhile).
In this case you will face 4x Bianco Angelos (one is a respawn) and 1x Alto Angelo (spawns later too): since you can't send the energy ball back (the best way with Dante is by using a shot of the Pandora gun), try to avoid this and finish them off quickly with anything you've got.
When they are all dead, your first time here you want to go off the path (you should exit North and continue to end the mission after breaking the last items on Grand Album Bridge) and head East from the Grand Hall.
Destroy 4x separators and deal with the Gladiuses in the room.
Gladiuses (Dante) - Other than shooting them down with Coyote-A and then attacking them when they're stunned with whatever you want (the Gilgamesh's charged attack helps to raise the style with a single hit, which is in fact about all they can take before dying), absolutely use Trickster style when they are around, as well as Target Type 1, to make your life easier.
Actually, you can skip the fight (or make it easier by using the time device in the middle of the room), that is what I suggest to avoid a nuisance. Exit East when you're ready.
Here's 1x secret orb spot where it was earlier (below the cage's location), but most important there is a Combat Adjudicator; a mere Brutal rank will be enough to get Blue Orb Fragment # 23/32 from it. Now just return to the Key Chamber and exit West to the Grand Hall again; from the Grand Hall, exit North.
Grand Album Bridge
Destroy 6x separators and 2x small drawers and then sprint to the forest to end the mission.
S Rank on Human
Ancient Training Ground
The forest has warp devices which you must take to move around in a different order than your first time here. Follow my directions, so you don't get lost.
Quick direction reference: exit East.
From where you start, break 2x eggs on your way and jump down on the right side. As you're down, turn to go towards West and shoot 1x egg in the tunnel, 1x egg in the tunnel attached to its ceiling, and 1x egg past the tunnel; then turn East and break 2x eggs before the tunnel. Go all the way East and break another egg before exiting through the warp to the East.
Quick direction reference: exit Southeast.
Break 2x eggs and jump down from the small balcony opposite them. Fight 2x Chimera Seeds and 2x Scarecrows.
Chimera Seeds and Chimera Scarecrows (Dante) - Feel free to kill the seeds as you prefer; anything is ok, but possibly don't use long combos (such as Dance Macabre) on them, because it would be a "waste". Quick Drive (Rebellion and Swordmaster; B+Y at once) is ok.
About the Chimera Scarecrows, you can keep some distance from them and use Drive/Over Drive for massive damage and instant-kills. If you want to keep them away, charge and release shots of Coyote-A. Lucifer stingers are the safest method to deal with them, especially on higher difficulties, but if you want you can also wait until their blades automatically swing, and then perform a Dance Macabre on them since you'll have enough time before the next automatic blade-swing.
After defeating the enemies, destroy 1x egg before the tunnel, then go through the tunnel West and destroy 1x egg; now turn around and exit Southeast through another warp gate.
Quick direction reference: exit East.
From where you start, break 1x egg on the cliff on the right, then break 1x egg attached to the mountain, on the left. When you go down there will be 1x+2x eggs at the bottom of the mountain, and then there will be 2x big eggs on each of the paths going South for a total of 4x eggs. As you destroy these eggs, a fight against Chimera Assaults will trigger.
Chimera Assaults (Dante) - Extremely aggressive enemies, they have about all the attacks of the Assaults and are even stronger (when they roll in the air they will strike three times before dying). Their incorporated blades are not as frequent as the Chimera Scarecrows, but they still hit from time to time. Lucifer's stingers are excellent again, and Dance Macabre is also good, although sometimes you will be interrupted by their blades (it's still worth the risk, especially on Human). Coyote-A charged shots will knock them on their backs, buying you some time to prepare good attacks such as Draw/Straight of Gilgamesh or even a Real Impact if you feel like; you can also prepare an Over Drive if you want, although you'll have to release it earlier than its full charge. You should probably try to pretend that they don't have blades, because about every attack is worth the risk on them. Kick 13 and Rebellion Combo B are great attacks too, if they are not knocked out. Quick Drives and Over Drives are up to you and how safe you feel. On higher difficulties it might even be a good idea to defeat them purely using Lucifer after knocking them on their back; not very cool, but safety takes priority to conserve your No Item bonus.
Your first time against them, Stinger, High Time, Prop and Shredder can be rather good.
When they are all dead, head through the warp in the East (as if you were heading to the church).
Quick direction reference: exit North.
Here you will fight your first Assaults as Dante.
Assaults (Dante) - You can deal with them similarly as you did with the Mega Scarecrows: Kick 13, charged punches of Gilgamesh, Coyote-A charged shots, Rebellion Combo B, Dance Macabre and, if you feel like, Over Drive (charge it after knocking one of them on his back, then release as soon as you see he's getting up); Lucifer needles are also excellent once again, since they will open their guards and keep them calm for a while. As you perform Dance Macabre they may actually get out of the combo, but it's worth the risk anyway. Always be ready to use High Time and Helm Breaker when you don't know what to do or if too many of them are surronding you. To knock them down it's usually enough to use Stinger, High Time or Helm Breaker; or just a couple of shots by Coyote-A. As a note for later fights, Prop/High Time followed by Real Impact is also very good for them (keep this in mind for higher difficulties, as it won't be safe to consider them as "hyperactive Scarecrows" anymore.
Destroy all the 9x eggs of the area (2x in front of you as you enter, 1x on the right side facing the central circle as you come in, 2x West of the central circle near a tree and 2x far West of the central circle attached to the mountain, and 2x more near a tree as you're about to exit), then exit North.
Quick direction reference: exit through the warp (either of the two) below the bridge.
A couple of Mephistos will attack you here: get rid of them, then destroy all the 12x eggs of the area: 4x on the left as you enter, 1x on a pillar near the bridge, then 2x on the Southeast side of the area, 1x North from these two, and then 4x eggs below the bridge (destroy 2x from one side and 2x from the opposite side). Then enter the warp below the bridge itself (either side).
You're in the fountain-area now: break 2x eggs and enter the church.
Break 1x+1x+17x eggs and deal with the Combat Adjudicator to achieve an Atomic rank and get Blue Orb Fragment # 24/32. Exit South afterward.
Quick direction reference: East, West, South, South.
Deal with 2x Chimera Assaults and break a total of 8x eggs (2x on each path). You'll have to exit forward, then immediately exit from where you spawn, then right and right again (or, with the compass, East, West, South, South).
Destroy 2x eggs and exit East.
Den of the She Viper
Fight Echidna and break 3x eggs Northwest, 3x eggs Southeast and 2x eggs Southwest.
Dante vs Echidna
Strategy: my suggestion for all the boss fights as Dante will be almost the same, and the key will be Lucifer's Pin-Up. Echidna can throw seeds as she moves around/attacks when she goes berserker this time, but that's the only difference from the previous fight against her as Nero. That, and the fact that you don't have busters and charged shots.
For your first time against her, without Lucifer, Aerial Rave in her default form is perfect; then you want to use Rebellion Combo B and Stinger (possibly while in Devil Trigger) when she plants herself in the ground; then use Over Drives from far when she plants her roots to lay the egg. With your default weapons the best you can do when she rushes all over the arena is staying Trickster and use dashes to avoid being hit until she finally comes back to fight. Do not attempt long combos (like Dance Macabre), because she may un-root and damage you while you're busy with it. Try to stay Trickster almost all the time, unless you need to use Over Drive or Aerial Rave.
After the fight you will obtain Gilgamesh. End the mission by going where Nero went after the fight too.
S Rank on Human
Purchase Kick 13 from the skill shop (Flush has no priority at all) and get it started. By the way, you can change your main weapon with RT.
Ancient Training Groud
The forest was set free from the curse, so you'll "only" have to backtrack to Fortuna Castle now. Step forward and a short cutscene will show you a blue plant.
Faults (Dante) - They are traps found only on two missions (this one and mission 18). If they swallow you, you'll be teleported to a side area (Ruined Lowlands) where you'll have to fight enemies to spawn a warp device to get back; remember to break the 4x eggs and 1x secret orb spot before returning through the warp device. All the enemies of the area will be respawned if you get swallowed, and this is a serious problem when the areas are filled with these traps. To defeat a Fault, and annihilate the risk of being swallowed by him, two punches of Gilgamesh are your best bet. You can punch them only as soon as they try to eat you. Try to mop up a part of the arena, and use only that part of the arena to fight the enemies; this should allow you to be relatively safe without the risk of being swallowed and having to restart the fight from scratch. On the other hand, they are also useful to respawn enemies on purpose and gain extra stylish points at the cost of some minutes on your clear time. I'll tell you when to get swallowed.
Ignore the Faults on the way (it's not worth beating them up, it'd just be a waste of time) and destroy all the eggs: 1x egg as you go, 2x eggs before the tunnel, 2x eggs inside the tunnel and 1x egg just past it; jump on the right column before the tunnel to go up and break 2x eggs on the left , then jump back down and proceed past the tunnel. Kill the Fault here to move freely as you defeat a couple of Chimera Seeds and Scarecrows (watch out for another Fault as you go West), then exit West.
You should know the location of the 12x eggs here by now. Before hunting them, go to the bridge and defeat the Fault on it: you'll use the bridge to fight the 2x Mephisto and 1x Faust. The reason why you want to defeat them on the bridge is that the Faust will spawn just on the bridge, and if you're far from the bridge when you defeat your last Mephisto, he will be considered as a different fight. Moreover, the bridge has only that Fault there, while the rest of the area is filled with traps. Anyway...
Fausts (Dante) - Same notes as those said about the Mephistos, but once their cloak is off, it's highly advisable to stay in Swordmaster style and use Prop (Rebellion; press B) to send the spider in the air, and prepare a Distorted Real Impact with the Gilgamesh (RB+B+LS_Backward) as soon as the spider lands; on Human, a regular Real Impact is enough.
Exit Northwest after the fight.
Beat up a Fault in front of you as you enter, and then another on the left side; try to stay in this area to fight a bunch of Assaults. Destroy 9x eggs when they are all dead, then proceed Southwest.
If you see that your stylish points aren't high enough, it's in this area that you want to get swallowed by a Fault; remember to get 4x eggs and 1x egg spot in the Ruined Lowland, after defeating the enemies, and then fight the Assaults again. This is the most convenient fight to repeat.
Here's the mess. Destroy all the 13x eggs, before and after a fight against Chimera Scarecrows and Chimera Assaults.
Chimera Assaults take priority here, and you want to blast them down as quickly as possible (go all the way with Devil Trigger if you want; multiple Stingers with Devil Trigger activated are devastating), especially on higher difficulties. Possibly avoid long combos, because the massive amount of Faults here (some will spawn basically on each other, that's how many they are!) can make it a nightmarish fight. Beat the Faults up if you have a free second, and rely on your Coyote-A to shoot away the opponents. Prop followed by Real Impact is always a nice choice too, especially if you are in Devil Trigger mode (so even if you get hit by their blades in the process, you don't get knocked back; you still take damage though).
When they are all dead, and all the eggs are destroyed, climb the rocks up to return to the forest entrance.
Destroy 3x eggs Southwest, the 7x eggs in the trunk, and 2x eggs as you backtrack to Fortuna Castle. There is a secret mission at the center of this place, but it can seriously hurt you (in fact, you will probably die the first time you attempt it). Well, avoid the death of Dante, because the last checkpoint is before the fight against the Assaults in the Ancient Plaza.
Secret Mission 08 - Royal Blocker
Task: succesfully execut a Royal Block 5 times!
Strategy: the hardest secret mission is in the hardest level, alright. Timing is everything, and there's no other strategy than timing (the only extra tip is: eliminate one Mephisto, so you have to deal only with a set of attacks). The easiest attack to block is the laser attack; it's a good idea to dodge the other ones. The laser attack is accompanied by a clear noise, and all I can suggest is to watch a slowed down video of it being performed. I've also added one of the other attacks of the Mephistos which is easy to block in my opinion; the other two attacks (the high slash and the spinning attack) are harder to dodge, but if you feel at ease with them, block them too instead of dodging. The laser is the best choice anyway.
Reward for your first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 25/32.
Sprint to the castle to end the mission.
S Rank on Human
There is a Combat Adjudicator as you go East (the path West is blocked): rank up to Smokin' Style!! and you will get Blue Orb Fragment # 26/32. Backtrack Southeast.
Here you will fight your first Blitz.
Blitz (Dante) - These enemies will warp away constantly, and then they will appear from nowhere to slash you. They can also stop in a specific place and use a thunder beam which you can easily dodge by jumping. Their offense is mainly this one, but they also have a powerful defensive shield made of thunders. If you get close, you'll get knocked back. Sometimes his position will be announced by vibration of the controller, and a yellow light will come from the ground: stay away, because he will spawn there and stay idle for a few seconds. There are several ways to deal with the shield, but one is by far the easiest and safest: when the Blitz stops for a few seconds, stay on Royal Guard and use the Gilgamesh; jump in the air and press Y to strike on the enemy, and immediately press B when the hit connects. You could also try to immediately press A to perform "Enemy Step" (if you have this ability) and then immediately use another Full House of Gilgamesh (the aerial Y attack) to continue with a quicker loop; it takes a lot to master this, just take it as a secondary strategy you don't have to replicate.
When his shield is off, use a Distorted Real Impact (on higher difficulties you will need more than one; remember to switch to Swordmaster to perform this attack), and make sure that every hit connects. If done succesfully, the health of the Blitz will be taken down to the minimum you can (he can't be killed at first): he will now start to transform, becoming "red". After a while chasing after you, trying to grab you (if this happens, absolutely activate Devil Trigger to avoid taking massive damage), he will detonate himself, ending the fight. However, there's a better thing to do instead of just letting him suicide: defeat him before he can do so, and you will instantly achieve an SSS style meter and a ton of stylish points from his kill. To defeat him, especially on lower difficulties, it's enough to spam a lot of needles with the Lucifer while he's transforming, and then detonate them. Any other attack is also ok, but this one works the best. Without the Lucifer, a Draw/half charged Straight is great too. If you don't manage to finish him off with it, load your Coyote-A and try to shoot him with charged shots; if you're lucky, he'll die; if you're not, he won't die and will suicide.
For higher difficulties, you'd better try a different approach with Lucifer. Check the third page of the walkthrough for more information.
Try to defeat him before he suicides, so you start the mission with a lot of points (it's advisable to restart if you fail; you just started, after all). The reason is, besides that you want to practise, that you can probably achieve an S Rank on this mission on your first run; this first fight has a big role in the score of course (that's already 2,000 stylish points after all). Make also sure to save some Devil Trigger, because you'll need it right after. Exit South after the fight.
Here you will find 2x red orbs and 1x red orb spot, the one which required an Ex High Roller when you came here as Nero. Since you don't have that attack now, you'll need to activate Devil Trigger and triple-jump up to get them. Take the door on the East side afterward.
Destroy everything in the room, including the usual 2x wooden boxes in the Northwest corner, then exit to the library.
Jump up the correct pillar outside to get 1x secret orb spot, then enter the building to fight some Angelos: you can wait for the energy ball if you want (it should come from the North side). Then destroy 2x pots West, 1x bench East, jump up and destroy 1x bench East and 2x benches West. Go South and drop below to find a secret mission.
Secret Mission 09 - Unbreakable
Task: eliminate all enemies without taking damage and without being captured by a Fault!
Strategy: you can make this task easier by using Trickster and attacking with the Pandora (especially from the air) to build up its gauge and then switch to Gunslinger to unleash the Argument attack (jump and press B in the air) to deal high damage and stay airborne to avoid damage and Faults. Without these two aids, the task is harder since your enemies are Chimera Seeds and Assaults first (three of each) and then 3x Chimera Assaults. In that case, start by defeating two Chimera Seeds (try to defeat 3/3, but you probably won't make it in time) with Kick 13, then use the charged Coyote-A for the Chimera Assault which was created (shoot after jumping), and then take care of the two Assaults either with shots alone, or also with some Kick 13/Stingers. When the three hybrids spawn, use only aerial charged shots of your Coyote-A to eventually defeat them all; it goes without saying, but make sure to hide them all from your camera whenever possible.
Reward for your first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 27/32.
Exit through the door at the bottom of the hole afterward.
Destroy the items you can reach here (a total of 6x candle stands and 5x chairs), then go through the only available door to enter the dining room.
As you continue, a fight against several Scarecrows and Mega Scarecrows will trigger; it's a tiny area, but you should manage to make it easy work thanks to the camera hiding the enemies. Make sure to destroy the 4x candle sets and 8x chairs around the table, then take the next exit.
Large Hall - II
In this part of the hall you can break 4x candle stands first, then 2x candle stands and 2x red orbs behind the mirror Southwest. Exit West to the torture chamber.
A fight against 5x Frosts will trigger here: do your best to keep them down, then jump through another broken floor.
At the bottom, use the blue switch to activate a special jumping platform; you still want to use the red ones though, so you can collect the various red orbs and 1x secret orb spot after the second red jumper; then use the special jumper down.
Torture Chamber - II
On the upper floor of the room, continue North to exit through a door and enter the master's chamber.
Here you will fight 4x Scarecrows and a Blitz which spawns after killing some, but not necessarily all, the Scarecrows (two down and he will appear); having other enemies around doesn't help to fight the Blitz, so especially on higher difficulties it can be a good idea to damage all the Scarecrows a lot, and quickly finish them off so the area is clear for the fight against the Blitz. You know how the fight against the Blitz works for the rest.
Destroy every piece of furniture in the room, then exit outside.
Destroy everything here, including the usual horse statue at the top of the fountain. To reach 1x red orb you will need Devil Trigger again (jump, from the fountain, to the arch in front of you; then jump right to reach the orb). If you don't get this orb here, you won't get S on orbs even if you get the rest. By the way, if you have Fireworks (Gunslinger at least level 2; press B with the Coyote-A), it's a very effective way to destroy the items here. Don't forget about 2x secret orb spots on the East side too. Then exit Northeast.
Central Courtyard - II
Here you will fight against Bael. Technically, the name of this second one is Dagon.
Dante vs Dagon
The attacks are the same as Bael's. For your first fight against him, use Gilgamesh and stick with its most powerful attacks: Kick 13 (especially for the antennae), Straight, (Distorted) Real Impact. The best opening for the latter is after he tries to stomp/eat you or after his ice-breath attack: quickly run to his side to perform it. It's even possible to land a Real Impact while he's vanishing, but anyway, it'll be an easy fight.
After the fight you will obtain Pandora and end up here. There aren't the barrels which used to be here, so just fall down to end the mission. With the Pandora you can now replay mission 12 to accomplish its secret mission.
S Rank on Human
Purchase Hatred and Revenge in the shop (Pandora menu; it's a gun), since you will need them for a secret mission on this very mission.
The poison in the air damages you, but it doesn't count for the No Damage bonus; therefore you can achieve it (provided you don't get hit by monsters of course). As a side note, on Heaven or Hell and Hell and Hell modes, this poison will not instant-kill you (that would be brutal), but only drain your health like it does in the other "normal" modes.
Anyway, beat up the Combat Adjudicator here to score Smokin'! and get Blue Orb Fragment # 28/32. Prepare Trickster style, Rebellion and the Ebony & Ivory, then proceed through the door.
Here you will find 3x Cutlasses.
Cutlasses (Dante) - Your best attack to get them out of the ground is a stinger, but you need to slow them down to manage to actually hit them. Use the Ebony & Ivory, tapping X to slow one down, then immediately use a Stinger on a Cutlass to get him out. Defeat him as you prefer afterward: the charged attack (use only one charge, or they will recover!) and Kick 13 by Gilgamesh, quick combos with the Rebellion or anything you want; just try to be quick, because the other enemies won't stand by and watch you while you're killing one of them.
Continue on the only possible way.
This place is haunted by Gladiuses: my suggestion is to simply proceed ignoring them, since they give few Stylish Points and are far more annoying than rewarding. Get 1x red orb on the North side anyway before exiting North/Northwest.
Here you will fight Bianco Angelos and Gladiuses: given the high amount of Gladiuses and only two Angelos, it's not a bad idea to focus on the Angelos first (Swordmaster; Prop with the Rebellion and then Real Impact) and then deal with the Gladiuses on Trickster and with shots of Coyote-A.
When it's clear, get 1x secret orb spot in the blue stream in the middle of the room, then destroy 2x chairs on the sides before exiting.
Foris Falls - II
Destroy 2x+1x+2x+1x explosive canisters, then jump up and destroy 2x explosive canisters; exit through the door upstairs.
In this area there will be 1x explosive canister and a fight against 3x Bianco Angelos (one is a respawn). Proceed to another fight against a group of 3x Bianco Angelos and 2x Alto Angelo (1x of each is a respawn) will trigger; remember to get 1x secret orb spot just South of the circle, as you drop down a circular platform, and break another 1x explosive canister on the right before exiting. I would suggest to wait for the energy ball (should come from North) this time, which you can now send back with the standard attack of the Pandora while on the ground ("Epidemic").
Underground Laboratory - II
From this point, the poisonous gas is gone. Use the red jumping platforms, but this time make sure you stop by the edges to break the barrels: after the second platform there are 2x barrels Southwest; after the third, there are 3x barrels South; after the fifth there are 2x+1x barrels West, and at the top there is 1x barrel Northwest. Exit South afterward.
Get the usual 2x red orbs and 1x secret orb spot Northwest on the upper floor, then break the two sets of chairs, benches and fences and exit outside (South).
Fortuna Castle Gate
Backtrack on the bridge and you will find your first Basilisks.
Basilisks (Dante) - Stinger, stinger, stinger. These enemies are annoying because their attacks are extremely accurate and fast, and they are projectiles. They also run around quickly. Trickster and Target Type 1 are recommended against them; if you stun one of them with a stinger, either continue with more style-less stingers, or use a quick attack like Kick 13. They are worth the use of Devil Trigger to increase the damage of the Stinger.
Destroy the various tiny pillars here, then jump back up to the mining area; on the way, pick up 3x red orbs (the ones which you may have not picked up on mission 03, to save time) and continue upwards to fight 3x Basilisks and destroy 3x tiny pillars.
From the top of the broken stairs, go Gunslinger, equip the Pandora, jump and press B to use "Argument" and fly all the way right to reach a secret alcove where secret mission is. Telling the truth, you could also just triple-jump (with Devil Trigger) from like a couple of steps on the right of the last stairs, basically following the red orbs, and (if needed) Sky-Star right.
Secret Mission 11 - Point of Impact
Task: use Pandora to destroy distant objects!
Strategy: there are various ways to tackle this mission. Some people prefer to go downstairs on the bridge and use Round Trip (an attack of the Rebellion) to hit the first statue, and then run to the other and shoot it down. You need good timing though, and it's easy to miss it if you don't have Speed active all the time. The other classic way is by shooting a Revenge attack with the Pandora (press X to fire, then rotate LS_720° to change the shape of the gun twice; Revenge is a sort of cannon) from far, like the background picture of this secret mission shows. The best spot for this is at the top of the stairs, but not straight: stay a bit on the left side to compensate for the not-so-straight aim of the Pandora. It takes a couple of tries, but you will eventually manage to do it as soon as the mission starts; after this, you have a lot of time to run to the other statue and shoot it down/swing it down with your regular weapons (Rebellion).
Reward for the first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 29/32 (in the area where you fought against Angelo Credo).
Backtrack to the mining area afterward.
Second Mining Area
Continue to backtrack until you are facing the first (which was the last when you climbed up as Nero) grip. In front of you, you should clearly see another platform. To reach it as Nero you would have had to make a long jump (either run to the edge, quite difficult in this little area, or using a Streak by the edge), then use a Roulette Spin and then Air Hike. As Dante it's much easier: use Trickster's aerial dash to get there after using a Stinger by the edge (it's about the same as when you skipped a section of mission 12, but the gap is shorter and you don't need to use Devil Trigger). When you get to the opposite side you will access Blue Orb Fragment # 30/32.
Backtrack once again, of course expecting...
...to fight against Berial here. If you had Lucifer, spamming Pin-Up would be a safe way out. Now that you don't have it, charge Over Drive from afar and you should manage (on lower difficulties) even to take down all his flames with this. Then run to him and go with a Distorted Real Impact for massive damage until he dies. Aerial Rave also works fine if you want to change a bit/need to finish him off. You can run to the opposite side of the arena from where he's standing to charge more Over Drives if you need, but stay ready to jump/dash away if you see that he's in the stance ready to rush at you.
You will finally obtain Lucifer after the fight. Now just go South to end the mission.
S Rank on Human
There will be a secret mission here which is best tackled with a Pandora gauge filled up, possibly at least with Gunslinger Lv 2's upgrade.
First Mining Area
Get 6x red orbs Northwest after jumping down, then backtrack.
Destroy 2x trash containers and move on to fight against some Scarecrows: after defeating some of them, 2x Bianco Angelos will spawn; after more kills, 1x Alto Angelo will also join. The energy ball may come from South, and since you've just started the level it's a good idea to wait for it for a bunch of extra stylish points.
After the fight, make a turn right to get 1x red orb, then go left and get 1x red orb in the air before entering the tunnel; finally proceed to backtrack.
Here there will be 1x trash container and 2x secret orb spots (one above the other, on the turret; help yourself with Trickster's aerial dashes. As you continue to backtrack, destroy the various market objects and fight against Assaults and Mephistos: the best spot is IMHO up the stairs (almost near the exit), since it's the spot which hides most of the enemies and physically prevents them to reach you by jamming the passage (don't count on this too much though).
Remember to get 3x red orbs on the side passage on the left (South from the red orb statue; they were leading to a blue orb fragment earlier), and exit through a "new" door below the balcony from where you jumped down as Nero.
A large fight against Scarecrows, Mega Scarecrows, and later also Basilisks, will trigger. When the Basilisks spawn, give them priority.
At the end of the fight you'll be able to destroy a bunch of trash canisters and benches on both the sides of the road.
On the left side (East side) there is also 1x red orb (you may have foreseen this one in the background image of Mission 17 before starting it) on a curtain; jump further up from the curtain (help yourself with Trickster's dashes) to reach Blue Orb Fragment # 31/32. Then continue to the square area.
Opera House Plaza
Here you will find 1x trash can on your way, and another 1x trash can is found on the right side (West): destroy it to reveal the last secret mission.
Secret Mission 12 - Steeplechase
Task: reach the goal without taking damage!
Strategy: if you have the Pandora's gauge filled up as suggested, it will be an easy task since you only have to go Gunslinger, jump and hover to the opposite side of the arena. Otherwise it's a considerably harder task, and you'll have to do your best with Trickster, reflexes and luck; it's not advisable to say the least.
Reward for your first success: Blue Orb Fragment # 32/32.
If this is your 12th completed mission, you will unlock Nothing Left Unsaid.
Continue to go on to trigger a fight against 2x Mephistos; as you defeat one, 2x Alto Angelos will spawn; defeat more enemies and 1x Faust will also join. I suggest you take care of a Mephisto and then the two Alto Angelos, then the other Mephisto and finally the Faust.
Side note - you could now go to the Storehouse (destroy everything here), from here exit to the top (as you did as Nero) to the Terrace, then enter the Cathedral through another door; then continue to follow the path you took as Nero (since you can't use the grips, you have to activate Devil Trigger and make a triple jump to get on the upper floor, on the North side) to finally go out to another section of the Terrace and get 1x Gold Orb. You probably already have 3x of them though (which is the max), and therefore it's probably a better idea to just ignore it.
After the fight, destroy another 1x trash container in the middle of the path before the stairs, and then go right to enter the church.
Here you will fight against Angelo Agnus. In three words: Distorted Real Impact. Stay behind him, possibly, so you also damage the Gladiuses he summons in the process (you also damage them from the front, but they won't take full damage; they still die on lower difficulties, but on higher difficulties they may not). Every now and then you can also use some stingers of Lucifer instead of Gilgamesh's most powerful attack, that only depends on the situation: if the opponent is standing there, ready to summon something or simply doing nothing, use the Distorted Real Impact; if he's wandering around, use the stingers, sending them to the opponent with the usual RB+B+LS_Forward attack (Bondage) in Swordmaster style. Should he want to grab you, charge and release shots of the Coyote-A to stop him, or detonate the needles of Lucifer (a couple of aerial combos will stick in the enemy more than enough stingers).
S Rank on Human
As the mission starts you will unlock Dark Slayer, the last style for Dante (to go to this style you have to press twice the same direction of the D-Pad; for example D-Pad_Left twice; if you are, say, Trickster, and you press D-Pad_Up, you will go Dark Slayer; if you are Swordmaster you have to press the D-Pad_Right to go Dark Slayer, and so on). It's not an excellent style to be honest, and it's difficult to make concrete use of it except maybe for some extra combos to add some extra style (especially the aerial ones).
This mission is a whole big boss fight with minions around every now and then. Minions are always Angelos (either of the two types, but never in a good combination for the energy ball attack), and on a couple of platforms of the arena there are also some Faults on the ground (if you get eaten you will end in a hidden pit and have to fight for a warp device; absolutely avoid this).
The fight has three phases, but the attacks of the opponent are always the same except for a special attack available only in the last two phases. He can use punches, kicks, summon minor and major energy balls to throw against you. The minor energy balls come in large amounts and can be broken for a lot of boost on your style meter (even Ebony & Ivory can break them), while the bigger ones must just be avoided by jumping away. Kicks can be dodged, but they will eventually break the platform where you are standing (you would fall down to another platform, with a malus on your style meter even if you don't get directly hit). Punches can be dodged too (they won't destroy the platforms), and you can also "get on" his left hand/arm after his attack, to reach a couple of cores (one near the hand, the other near the shoulder) and also a third core, on his head.
In addition to this, the enemy can be stunned by several means. What the game gives you are a cannon and a laser beam, which can both be activated through a blue switch near them. The lasers will block the hand of the enemy, stunning him and allowing you to get on the arm (either of the two; he always strikes with the right arm first, and then the left one) and reach the two cores on it. The cannon will stun his whole body, allowing you to reach all his cores, including those on his legs.
Other than that, you can also use Revenge instead of the rare cannon of the platforms; you have to be quick and aim for his body (and hope that he doesn't move), but you can land the shots and quickly stun him (not so quickly on higher difficulties, but this works wonders on Human mode). The best opening for this is when he's loading the bigger energy balls, since he won't move and he will give you enough time to do so.
After stunning him, your task is to break the blue cores everywhere. In particular, besides the 2x blue cores on each arm, you also have to break 1x blue core on each of his legs and 1x blue core on his back, and finally also the core on his head.
As soon as you stun him, there will be two blue jumping platforms near you: jump on the left one. You will now have two platforms near you: a red one and a blue one. The red ones leads upwards, where Faults and Angelos are, and it lets you reach the right arm (both the cores can be hit from here, although the one near the shoulder is quite far and will take many more hits to be destroyed). The blue one leads you to a platform from which you can break the core of one of his legs (the right one) and fight against an Alto Angelo; then use another jumper on this very platform to reach the core of his left leg and fight another Alto Angelo. From here, another jumper will lead you near the core of his left arm (the one closest to the hand) and this time there will be only Faults. Another jumping platform from here leads you to the core on his back and two Alto Angelos. From here, another jumping platform will bring you back to the blue and red jumping platforms.
When he's not stunned, the arena is a bunch of random platforms with the lasers and cannons lost on some of them. It's not a very good idea to jump around, because this means finding a lot of other Angelos and most of all, wasting time.
The most advisable pattern to defeat him is therefore: stun; blue jumper to destroy the cores on his legs (2/8), back (3/8), one of those of the left arm (4/8); at this point he will probably recover from the stun. Stun him again, and this time take the red jumper to destroy the two cores of his right arm (6/8). Now you only have to wait for him to recover, and then wait for his left punch: "ride" his arm, so to speak, and break the second core of his left arm and finally also the core on his head (8/8). It goes without saying that if you have the chance of getting on his left arm while you're attempting to stun him, you should definitely do so and aim mainly for the cores on his shoulder and head. He will blow you away after a while (or you will automatically get off when you destroy the core on his head).
You may notice a core on his breast, but it's not of your interest for the first phase of the fight. Breaking the core of his head also triggers a cutscene, but nevermind about it (it was probably supposed to be the last one you'd break, but it doesn't have to be the last one).
After this first phase (very easy on Human, quite a pain on higher difficulties), there will be a "linking phase" where you only have to run from his devastating attack (the area changes color and you will clearly notice him loading it): use the jumping platforms on either side to move away. You will eventually reach a platform with a shop statue. From this platform, move on the last blue jumper to trigger another short scene.
The third and final phase of the fight starts with another of his most powerful attack, and you will also start seeing his health bar. You'll now have two possible directions; take either of them and stick with it (you obviously don't want to use a left jumper after using a right one, because you would only go back). Your goal now is to stun him again, and the Pandora is again a great choice. When he's stunned, you can finally reach the core on his chest: devastate it with Distorted Real Impacts and you will earn an easy victory.
Especially on higher difficulties, some extra damage can come from another good spot from where you can perform a Distorted Real Impact: if you go on the highest of the platforms, the enemy will come to you, but since you're very high he will need to raise himself to reach you. To do so, he will raise slowly just in front of your platform, and you will be able to smash his head-core first, and then his breast-core too, dealing heavy damage and also probably stunning him. When the third phase of the fight starts, use the right blue jumper and you will land on this platform (in the video I'm on it about at 4:18, but I keep running past it to rank up the style meter; on higher difficulties it's better to use the platform for Distorted Real Impacts as soon as you can).
Make sure that you don't mistake the path to take, and stay on Trickster whenever you're not fighting (or also if you're fighting, why not). Clear the mission as quickly as possible, and do your best to avoid being damaged, because you won't have many chances (apart from shooting the smaller energy balls he throws at you) to raise your style meter up again if you get hit and lose it.
S Rank on Human
This whole place is a set of "game rooms" with a dice to hit and enemies to fight. It works exactly as the game room on mission 06. For a quick memo, the spinning order is: 1 - 4 - 2 - 6 - 3 - 5 - 1 - 4 - ...; the white circles have no effect, the yellow ones will bring you to the one before the door, the blue ones will spawn orbs (red ones won't count for the ending percentage of the level, but you can use the green ones for free healing), the red ones will spawn enemies and the circle before the door will let you proceed.
The only difference with the previous game is that you need to hit exactly the circle in front of a dimensional gate in order to proceed; since the yellow circles will bring you there, landing on them means proceeding. The statue representing Nero will move always anti-clockwise (facing the gate), and this time all the yellow circles will immediately warp you to the last circle.
As you land on the last circle, a fight will trigger; apart from the first fight, there will be four boss fights. During the waves you can land deliberately on the blue circles to get free green orbs until you're fully healed again, and you can also boost your Stylish Score a lot by landing on the red circles on purpose. Among the four bosses there isn't Dante. Could we expect anything better?
First level: hit (5-1-)4. You will fight 4x Bianco Angelos and 1x Alto Angelo. Wait for their energy ball and send it back with a Lv 3 Charged Shot; if they don't do so, you can just restart the mission. You don't "have to" wait for the energy ball, although it's the best possible start for this mission, and also a very quick way.
Second level: hit (4-2-)6. Berial here.
Third level: hit (5-1-)4; you'll land on a yellow dot, and it will send you straight to the purple dot in front of the door: Bael/Dagon here
Fourth level: hit (5-1)4; again, you'll land on the yellow one and be sent to the next enemy: defeat Echidna, and then destroy the 8x eggs in this arena.
Fifth level: hit (4-2-)6; yellow dot to the end: Agnus. Destroy also the 3x cages in the arena, if they survived the fireworks of the fight.
Here break the 4x pillars and finish the mission (you have to break the lava stones on your way).
S Rank on Human
S Rank on Dante Must Die
There will be two parts of this mission. The main part is the boss fight; then you'll have to time two easy busters ("easy" as long as you know the timing) to end the mission. While the credits are rolling, you will also be fighting against some enemies, but these ones do not count (and you can skip them and the credits by pressing Start as you would skip any cutscene).
Nero vs Sanctus in Mission 20 is somehow easier than the previous fight in Mission 11, because the arena is much smaller and you won't spend half of the time chasing Sanctus; if you know how to get to him, that is.
Sanctus attacks: he can send two shockwaves, shoot fireballs (the number increases as you take his health down), create an electric shockwave on the ground, summon vertical lasers, regenerate his shields (creating a shockwave around him in the process), send the lamps to attack you. That's the same as earlier, so far. In addition to this, he can now also disappear from the arena and summon lamps to surround you: just jump when they're closing the circle on you to avoid the hit. Lastly, he can now also warp to the ground (only after taking down part of his shield) and attack with one or (as you're taking down his health) two swings of his scythe. He can also guard against your attacks by using his scythe: if he does so, use a buster to break his guard instantly, then attack again with the Red Queen/Blue Rose.
Strategy: the key of the fight is once again your trusted Lv 3 Charged Shot. Instead of using the lamps to reach him, it's VERY important to run to him, because this will often make the lamps hide behind him and avoid him running away (he will attack you with something you can easily dodge). To take down his shield, use Roulette Spin (YY, pause, Y; all in the air), possibly exceeded of course. When you take down his first shield, take down the second one too, but make sure to shoot your Lv 3 Charged Shot like I do in the video (this is particularly important on higher difficulties), because the bursting bullet will buy you enough time (stunning him) to let you reach him without him going away, so you can break his second shield too and finally attack with a buster for massive damage. After the buster he will always recover his shield, as it was on Mission 11.
This is pretty much all you have to know about the fight. Roulette Spin for the first layer; run to him and shoot a Lv 3 Charged Shot, and take advantage of the short stunning moment of the enemy after the shot explodes to take down his second shield; then Devil Trigger and buster the enemy.
After the first buster, his health will already be low enough (I'm speaking of higher difficulties here) to make him teleport to the ground. When this happens, let your shot go on him when he's attacking, so he gets stunned (that's the same thing you would do if he was in the air); make sure you Air-Hike to be safely out of his scythe's range.
When the fight is almost over, unless you finish him off before this can happen, he will come to the ground and start a special attack. He will be charging for a few seconds, and then rush at you: time your Buster to intercept him and finish him off with it.
With practice you will be able to replicate a run similar to the video shown on Dante Must Die difficulty: remember to run to him instead of snatching the lamps, because this is what makes the difference most of the times.
After this fight, you'll have to punch-back with your buster the attacks of the giant statue. The timing is shown in the video, but anyway: the first arm (the right arm of the statue) will first raise up a bit, and then start to descend; you want to press B a blink after it's descending. The second arm (his left one) will also first raise up a bit and then descend, but you want to wait another couple of blinks before pressing B this time.
After blocking both the arms, jump and press B near his fallen head to end the game.