In Kena: Bridge of Spirits you have your main weapon from the very beginning. Using the staff Kena can unleash physical, spiritual, and hybrid physical-spiritual attacks.
Kena also has a unique buddy system in the Rot. The more Rot you reveal and collect, the more powerful they become. They can play an integral part in combat, particularly with bosses or larger foes.
Below are some tips to help make battling a challenging yet fun endeavor.
1. Choose your best difficulty to keep it entertaining
Kena has three initial difficulty settings: Story Mode, Spirit Guide, and Expert Spirit Guide. However, even on Story Mode, the difficulty of battles can be challenging.
In Story Mode, enemies are less aggressive and deal less damage. Your Rot Abilities meter will recharge passively and when taking damage. It gives you the most leeway while still providing a challenge.
In Spirit Guide, enemies become more aggressive. Further, your Rot Abilities meter only recharges when dealing damage.
Expert Spirit Guide ups the aggressiveness and damage of enemies while maintaining Rot Abilities recharging when dealing damage.
After defeating the game on any difficulty, you will unlock Master Spirit Guide difficulty. Completing the game on this difficulty is necessary if you are going for the Platinum Trophy. On this difficulty setting, courage is lost when taking damage, meaning your Rot meter depletes (Rot are timid creatures). Enemies are even more aggressive and deal even more damage. The kicker is that, unlike the others, you cannot lower the difficulty once you choose this setting.
2. Avoid pure button mashing
It is very easy to just hit light attack over and over for a five-hit combo on your enemies. However, what happens when you are surrounded by enemies, or facing an enemy who resists staggering?
Combine light and heavy attacks for added emphasis when dealing damage. If surrounded, aim in the direction of a particular enemy and your combo should hit them. Jump – and double jump – away from your enemies to regroup. Importantly, become familiar with the Evade button (Circle) and Block/Parry functions (L1 in combat).
A perfectly timed parry will give you a brief opening to land a counter, and the Abilities tree has an upgrade to the perfect parry. Your Spirit Shield is a great tool to block attacks but can only take so much damage, indicated by the bottom bar in your HUD. You can upgrade the shield strength in the Abilities tree.
3. Know your enemies
Your simple corrupted grunts can be downed with a simple combo, but they might be the only ones. You will encounter these grunts with shields, flying Furby-like creatures, wizard types, knight equivalents, and even simian-looking enemies, all corrupted. Some throw bombs, some rush you, others swing in a sweeping motion. A strategy that works on a shielded character will not work on the knight. You must know strategies for each enemy.
For example, it is unlikely you will reach the flying creatures even with a double jump to attack with your staff. Once you unlock the bow, quickly take them out (hold R2 for a stronger arrow). It might help to jump and then aim, which slows time down just enough to get an accurate shot away.
4. Check your surroundings
At certain points in the game, you will find yourself in battle high atop the trees against a multitude of enemies with long-range capabilities. One misstep and you will fall. However, if you look around, you will see a plant you can shoot to transport yourself quickly across to fight your enemies. You can then use the expanded platform to shoot down your enemies from afar while giving you more time to avoid their long range attacks. Always use your environment to your advantage.
5. Utilize abilities from the Upgrades tree
The Upgrades tab in your menu should be studied so you can prioritize your preferred style. There are upgrades to the staff itself, the Spirit Shield, Rot, and more. The first upgrades are a sprinting attack that cuts a wide swath and an aerial smashing attack, but further into the game you can upgrade to strengthen the Spirit Shield and perfect parry.
There is also a vertical Rot Abilities upgrade tree that will enhance the abilities of your Rot. One to target immediately is to always start battle with a Rot Abilities meter charged. This will help make combat smoother, particularly on higher difficulties.
Rot Hammer and Rot Arrow are powerful attacks that should make boss and mini-boss fights easier, but come with the caveat that each takes a Rot Abilities meter to use. Be judicious when you utilize these abilities – hopefully in conjunction with other upgrades.
6. Try, try, and try some more
There are no penalties in Kena for dying. You will immediately begin from the most recent save point, either autosave or manual save. Take as many times as needed to conquer a certain battle, doing your best to better understand the tendencies of the enemies and improve upon your previous outing.
The only negative byproduct might be growing frustration on your part that it took too long to beat a certain area, particularly after the answer was so simple.