Ninja Theory's much-hailed DmC: Devil May Cry springboards onto shelves tomorrow, and while the game's a more forgiving specimen of hack 'n' slash than Devil May Cry 3, it'll still make jam of your gonads given half the chance.
No, don't bother shielding your privates, Dante - you're simply calling attention to them, you naughty boy. Read the DmC tips below instead. Give us five minutes and you'll be kicking arse like it's coming undone.
Spinning like a dervish to emerge unharmed from a crowd of hostiles is hardly new territory for Dante - after all, he's never seen the point of blocking - but it's more important than ever in DmC thanks to the new manual camera. It does a good job of framing the action for the most part, but sooner or later you'll put your back to something toothy and reap the consequences.
Thankfully, the timing between enemy attacks is reasonably easy to call on the starting three difficulty modes, and there's a smart, subtle array of audio cues to help you anticipate incoming blows. Keep an ear open, and try varying all your extended combos with evasive rolls, just in case.
Nailing the elusive SSS rank in DmC is all about changing your tactics - the more you use a certain attack, the fewer points you'll earn from it. Ideally, a combo should employ all the means at your disposal - guns, blades, scythes, gauntlets, grapples and so forth. Think "kitchen sink". Don't switch things up to the point of exposing yourself, however - there's no swifter way to lose combo juice than by taking a blade to the kidneys.
Relish the hangtime
Ninja Theory loves hangtime, so much so that DmC applies the business end of a Gravity Gun to every enemy you hoik skyward. This makes extending combos into the air relatively straightforward - even if you forget to turn your launcher into a leap by holding the button, you can generally jump up and continue the punishment before the laws of physics kick in.
The great thing about fighting while airborne, of course, is that you're temporarily safe from reprisal... though do be mindful of those pesky flying baby things and their mystical grenade launchers. For best results, prioritise Roulette, which punts an already airborne enemy even higher - when used in concert with the Angelic grapple, this should drastically extend your flight time.
Use Rebellion to set up the other weapons
It's not as showy or powerful as the Osiris or Arbiter, but it's also far more flexible - a wide-angle weapon with short recovery times that's as handy for crowd control as for issuing heavy-duty individual beatdowns. If in doubt, start every encounter with a few Rebellion chops to warm foes up, then segue into the fancier, harder-to-master tools.
Use the grapples to pick demons off...
Enemy approaching? Deploy the Demonic grapple to yank one within range before the rest arrive, or to rip away shields before going on the offensive.
...or to get out of dodge
Up to your neck in pugnacious fallen souls? Grapple the furthest from centre to haul yourself clear, while initiating another beatdown in the process.
Read our DmC: Devil May Cry review for more pointers.