As a developer of the game I would like to post a simple guide to help players get the best out of their combat experiences in the game. This should be especially helpful for those who don't want to wait to go through all the single player campaign tutorials, and want to get right into the tower challenge battles.
I won't go over the very basic aspects of combat, but rather give tips on techniques that some players might miss which can be very effective when dealing with tougher foes. Here they go:
***Most of these techniques apply for the original game as well***
1) Linking strong attacks in the regular 3 punch combo.
One of the most effective ways of dealing a lot of damage and having better chances of stunning opponents is using strong attacks within the regular 3 hit combo string. This is very simple: Holding the right trigger throws a regular 3 punch combo, but if you decide to press the left trigger after the first or second punch of this combination, you will replace the next punch with a slightly slower *but much more powerful* strong attack.
2) Good Eluding and Deflecting is key to excel in combat.
Some people go through the game not realizing the real potential of eluding attacks and how effective counterattacks can be. These two skills require timing, but are very useful. A skilled Zeno Clash player usually tries to perform these instead of blocking (you can actually not even try to block much in the whole game at all). When locked on to an opponent if you dodge an attack you can immediately use any of your attack buttons to counterattack with a left or right hook. If you have really good timing you can block immediately before being hit and get a deflect (and counter with either a straight kick or a roundhouse).
I really recommend practicing elude and deflect skills with the enemy ‘Gastornis’ (who appears in both the first level of the game and the first tower challenge. All his close attacks have a similar timing and he doesn’t feint attacks – he is a rather weak fighter. Take out the other enemies and just stay locked on to him and dodge or deflect all his blows. You’ll get the hang of it really fast and then you can start out figuring the timings of other enemies.
3) Run a lot! Use that shoulder and elbow bash.
If you stay in the same spot in this game, as fights get harder you will start to get surrounded and enemies won’t respectfully wait to attack one by one. Most fights also have a weapon or two involved and enemies try to take advantage of them whenever they can. What to do? Run! Use the environment – it’s not just their to be pretty. Learn to break from a lock-on and flee if you have too many baddies around you. (You can quickly unlock from combat with back+run or just simply use the manual-lock on system selectable from the game controls menu).
The shoulder bash (run + right trigger) is very effective & quick and if blocked you can follow-up with a kick (just press the right trigger after any blocked strong attack). The elbow bash (run + left trigger) requires more timing as it comes out slow, but it drops enemies down to the floor if it connects. Enemies take a while to stand up, so it can be very useful to clear the area a bit by smashing enemies to the ground if they are all on their feet or dispersed.
4) Lock on to an enemy and throw powerful attacks at other enemies that get in the way.
The back-charged punch (Back + Left Trigger) is slow but cannot be blocked by enemies. However – the tougher they get the more they elude it. A great way to connect this attack is this: Lock-on in combat with an enemy and then sidestep and move around so that you put a second enemy in between you and your locked opponent… Then throw the super punch. This connects very easily and many times you get the hit enemy to land over the tagged one (which brings both down to the ground). It may sound like cheating but it is a great technique and we use it often to get out of difficult situations. The same can be done with finishers when your target is stunned.
5) Use projectile weapons from a distance / Avoid getting them hit off from your hands.
Remember that you will always holster your weapon if you lock-on in close combat. If someone is too near you can avoid getting that weapon hit off your hands by just locking into close combat. Or you can throw it (block button) and use that moment to start into a combo.
6) Throw grenades at stunned or kneeling enemies.
Grenades may feel a bit useless at first (enemies seem to evade them often), but you can always throw them at either:
-Enemies you just stunned. (Just move back and throw)
-An enemy that kneels into a pre-fire weapon aim. They take longer to run away and almost always get caught by the blast.
…So, I hope people enjoy the game and find these tips useful. Feel free to add new techniques or tips of your own in this thread. Most of us at ACE Team play the game very differently and I’m sure lots of you will find your own ways to make the most out of the game’s combat. Enjoy!