Rise of the Ronin – Combat Tips for Slicing Up the Samurai Competition

Rise of the Ronin is the latest joint from Team Ninja, and like most of their games, challenging combat built around a number of unique systems is core to the game. Being successful in combat in Rise of the Ronin requires mastery of parries, stances, Ki, and more, which can be a bit mind boggling at first. But don’t worry too much as we have some tips that will have you slicing off heads in no time…

Keep an eye on you and your opponent’s Ki

They key to Rise of Ronin’s combat is, well, Ki. Both you and your opponent’s Ki is represented by the blue bar underneath the main life bar. Ki essentially acts as both a stamina and stagger bar – if you deplete your opponent’s Ki meter, they’ll be left open for a critical hit, which will usually kill grunts instantly and deplete a decent amount of a boss’ life bar. On the flip side, if your Ki meter gets depleted you’ll be temporarily unable to attack and be stunned yourself. Keeping a close watch on the status of you and your enemy’s Ki is often more important than the standard life bar.

Countersparks are crucial

The best way to reduce your opponent’s Ki is by parrying their attacks, which the game refers to as “Countersparks.” A well-timed parry will not only reduce an opponent’s Ki, but leave them “panicked” and open for you to lay in some extra attacks. On the flip side, if an enemy parries you, you’ll also lose a chunk of Ki. So don’t just button mash, as that’s a surefire way to get parried often and end up Ki-depleted. Parry timing generally isn’t that hard, although some enemies will launch combos and you’ll have to parry multiple shots in quick succession to fully protect yourself and stun them.

Don’t forget about dodging

While you’re usually best focusing on parrying your opponent’s attacks, occasionally they’ll wind up a big attack which will see them start glowing red. While you can sometimes still parry these attacks, they’re much more difficult, and the punishment for missing your timing is higher. If you see red, you’re going to want to use your dodge instead of parrying. The good news is, for a lot of these big attacks, your opponent will be left vulnerable for a few seconds if they miss, so you can still get your licks in.

ABB (Always Be Blocking)

The other way to mitigate incoming damage is block, and frankly, you should pretty much always have your block up. You can still parry while blocking, so there’s really no downside to it.

Get used to swapping stances

While they don’t necessarily matter too much early on, once you get a bit deeper into the game, you’re going to want paying attention to stances. Each weapon you have can have up to three combat styles applied to them, and each of these styles falls under one of three stances – Jin, Chi, and Ten. Each of these stances are strong/weak against enemies with specific weapons.

  • Jin – Effective against sabres and lightweight weapons, not effective against Odachis and heavy weapons.
  • Chi – Effective against odachis and heavy weapons, not effective against sabres and light weapons.
  • Ten – Effective against katanas and medium weapons, not effective against sabres and light weapons.

You can switch your weapon styles and their accompany stances mid-battle. It can be hard to keep track of all this rock-paper-scissors stuff in the heat of battle, but if your stance is effective against an enemy, you’ll see a small blue arrow pointing up next to their life bar (circled in red above). A red arrow pointing down indicates you’re at a disadvantage. So what’s striking the right stance get you? Basically, it allows you to knock off an opponent’s Ki much quicker, so it’s definitely worth it.

Blade Flash after an attack flurry

This one’s easy to overlook – after successfully landing an attack, or series of attacks, tap the R1 button to flick the blood off your sword. This will boost your Ki meter.

Don’t go straight for a critical hit

Once you’ve depleted an enemy’s Ki and they’re open for a critical hit, you may want to race in there and do it immediately. That said, your opponent will actually be vulnerable for a few seconds, allowing you to land some extra hits and damage before going for the big critical hit.

Don’t forget about ranged weapons

In addition to hand-to-hand combat, you can also attack enemies from afar with ranged weapons. Sniping an enemy in the head can take them out immediately and save you a fight, and if a boss fight is coming down to the wire, just play keep away and pepper them with shurikens until they go down. Switching frequently between ranged and close-range weapons can be key to really throwing enemies off their game.

Don’t forget about your grappling hook

Finally, while your grappling hook is mainly used for traversal, it can also be used to grab enemies and drag them into close range, or throw items, like explosive barrels, at opponents.

And there you are! A few tips that should make you a master of 19th Century Japan in no time.

Rise of the Ronin can be played on PS5. You can check out Wccftech’s other Rise of the Ronin guides here.

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