Rise of the Ronin: Developer tips for your first few hours

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Rise of the Ronin: Developer tips for your first few hours

Master combat styles, bond building, and more with this guide for Team Ninja’s latest adventure.

For Team Ninja veterans and newcomers alike, Rise of the Ronin offers a deep and satisfying combat system, set to the backdrop of the Bakumatsu era of Japan. With the game now less than a day away, I spoke to Rise of the Ronin’s Producer, Yosuke Hayashi, and Game Producer and Director, Fumihiko Yasuda, who offered their tips for players joining the Veiled Edge tomorrow.

Experiment with Combat Styles

Rise of the Ronin allows you to wield one main weapon – blades, fists and spears – and sub weapon at a time, such as revolvers, shurikens, bows, rifles and more. When starting out, you’ll have just one combat style available to you for each main weapon, and as you progress, you’ll unlock additional styles which can be attached to them, offering completely different ways to go on the offensive.

But it’s not just you using combat styles – your enemies will have their own styles too, which you will need to adapt to. Recognizing which style your opponent is using will allow you to choose an advantageous opposing style, and can help overwhelm them far quicker. Changing style on the fly is key to being successful in combat.

New styles can be learned through story progression, facing off against tougher enemies, and through bond-building with certain characters and factions. Experiment with different types to find a combination that works for you.

Counterspark is important, but…

The Counterspark – activated with the Triangle button – is both an attack, and a parry. With the right timing, it can be used to deflect most of your enemies moves, even their glowing red murderous attacks. But using the Counterspark isn’t your only tool to defend yourself; combining it with your block and dodge moves will help keep opponents on their toes.

Some enemies will be extremely aggressive, others will wait for an opening to attack, and some may even leap through the air to grab you. Choosing whether you deflect, block, or roll out of the way, and recognizing which works best for the attack you’re facing, can be the difference between success or swift death.

Wander off the beaten path

Rise of the Ronin features a rich narrative throughout, but across the open world, you’ll find a wealth of side missions, characters you can bond with, landmarks to visit, and cats to pet. Engaging in this and taking on quests for monks, fellow travelers, merchants and more will not only ensure you see more of the gorgeous world, but it will help you further your progress through the game’s RPG elements, allowing you to create a build that compliments your chosen playstyle. There’s so much to be discovered away from the main story, and you shouldn’t overlook it.

Make friends and influence people

The opening hours of Rise of the Ronin will bring you to Yokohama, a port city which saw an increasing level of Western influence during the Bakumatsu period. As a result, you’ll come across a wide range of characters, all with unique beliefs on the future of Japan. Much of the story centers around this clash of views, and you’ll find yourself moving between pro and anti-Shogunate groups, as well as Western forces.

How you build your relationships with members of these factions is core to the adventure, driving a Bonds system that can affect how you experience the game. Increase your Bond with certain people and you’ll unlock new skills, weapons and items, which you would otherwise be locked out from. Your choice of faction support will drastically alter the games’ narrative and how you experience key story missions, as well as the people you can team up with during your adventures.

You can also increase your bond with each region of the map by clearing out unruly bandit bases, running errands for locals and chasing off dangerous fugitives. A high bond with each region results in discounts at merchants’ stores and other benefits.

Explore what could have been

Your choices affect how the story plays out in Rise of the Ronin, and you’ll see the consequences of your actions throughout your entire time as the Ronin. But what if you chose differently?

Unlocked once you reach the city of Edo, the Testaments of Soul feature allows you replay previously-completed missions and see what could have been had you followed a different path, making different choices and potentially altering the story you’ve previously experienced. So if you come up against a decision you really struggle with, fear not – the option to explore other outcomes is open to you.

Choose a difficulty setting that works for you

From the offset, Rise of the Ronin offers three different difficulty settings:

  • Dawn – enables features such as increased recovery item effect and reduced ki consumption from attacks, this mode is perfect for those mostly interested in the story and world exploration
  • Dusk – the default settings, offering a balanced challenge to all players
  • Twilight – the toughest challenge offered, this mode is ramps up the difficult, making enemies extra aggressive and attacks even more lethal

Difficulty can be reset at any point in the world, or you can increase or decrease the difficulty for key story  moments as you set out on your mission. Just be sure you’re prepared for the challenge if you decide to step up to Twilight!

With these tips, you should be well prepared for the journey ahead when Rise of the Ronin launches on PS5 on March 22.

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