What is your preferred Skill setup? Also: "Never let go of Guard," and other general combo advice?
Hi! I picked up the game during the most recent Steam sale and have been having a blast. I found a setup I enjoy very much and am curious to see what everyone else is using.
This has been my skill setup since around Day 15 in my first run (I am on Cruel now):
Up: Tears of Sol
Left/Right: Lightning Drop
(For controls, I am using a PS2 pad with Attack on Triangle, Special on Square, Jump on R2 and Guard on L1.)
Tears of Sol and Lightning Drop cover fast movement up and down and combo into each other. Shrike clears everything horizontally at a safe distance. Swallow is instant, no-effort hit stun and additional damage that makes everything safe -and- can be used while blocking (thus, easier approaches for hit-confirms even if I'm forced to turtle).
I chose to put Lightning Drop on Left/Right instead of Down because it makes [Hold Guard] -> Backstep -> Lightning Drop much faster to input, increasing overall attack speed. Likewise, Shrike is -not- on Left/Right any more since I would sometimes accidentally backstep while trying to fire Shrike, making me shoot in the wrong direction. Switching these two moves was two birds with one stone.
Is there a Combo Guide or video somewhere? I know the game is a couple years old, but I didn't see any on Steam. Some of what I'm about to say may already be well-known, but I've found it on my own and would like to share it if it's not common knowledge:
I noticed during my second playthrough that Guard is exceptionally good at -all times-, even while playing extremely aggressively, to the point where I am attacking constantly while simultaneously never letting go of the Guard button unless it is to do multiple Guard cancels (for certain combos) or to avoid Guard break. So long as I am holding Guard, I can move anywhere on the screen while attacking and have the game block for me if I run into anything in the process. It's a very strange realization since the tactic removes a lot of initially perceived threats in the game.
This strategy is enabled primarily by the ability to quickly transition directly from a Guard to any safe aerial attack by using [Hold Guard] -> Forward -> Jump -> [...]. You can also Backstep Cancel out of any* Special Attack if you use it while blocking, which is a major boon for both movement an offense.
For example, these two loops work just fine if you want to spam Lightning Drop or Tears of Sol:
[Hold Guard] -> Back -> Lightning Drop -> Back -> Lightning Drop -> [...xN]
[Hold Guard] -> Up-Back -> Tears of Sol -> Up-Back -> Tears of Sol -> [...xN]
( ^this one will also get you the About 5 Floor High achievement!)
To move and attack quickly, I am using the following combo starter(s):
(A is the Attack button; *notation is influenced partially by my skill placement)
[Hold Guard] -> Forward -> Jump -> A A A -> [...] (very fast forward movement).
[Hold Guard] -> Forward -> Jump -> A A A -> *Back+Lightning Drop.
[Hold Guard] -> Forward -> Jump -> A A A -> *Up-Back+Tears of Sol.
[Hold Guard] -> Down-Forward -> Jump -> A (performs an instant Cataract Ax).
[Hold Guard] -> Up-Forward -> Jump -> A (performs an instant Ether Saber).
Another Guard-based trick is to cancel normals by pressing Guard immediately after you use them, allowing you to chain-fire punches or slashes. It's a little riskier than simply holding Guard for the rest of your life, but Just Guards cover the gap well enough if done right:
[optional: Hold Forward] -> A -> Guard -> A -> Guard -> [...xN; fastest if you don't whiff]
I'm sure there are other applications for Guard cancel, but I would need to spend more time with the game to find them. That statement likewise applies to the various juggle loops I'm sure are in the game. I'll get back to you on this and that, I suppose?
All in all, it turns out Freesia's combo system was enough to support the entire game despite the lack of platforming sections and small enemy roster. I look forward to hearing about other players' skill setups and combos!
Thank you for reading.