DmC SSS Rankings And Weapons Guide
DmC guide on how to hit the highest ranks and unlock each weapon's potential…
Published on Jan 11, 2013
He’s a capable chap, that Dante. But there’s little point in assessing his initial set of moves, on account of things like the ability to jump are sort of essential to the game. What we can do, though, is run through the upgrades and new moves available to give you a better idea of where your hard-earned Upgrade Points should be going.
In previous games, this used to serve as a poor main’s Air Hike (read: double jump) until you could afford the real deal. So now you start with a double jump, Enemy Step must be pointless, right? Wrong, wrong and thrice wrong.
Its mobility boost may not be needed but there’s a crucial factor that makes it an early go-to for hardcore players – hopping off an enemy totally resets all aerial activity, meaning you can perform additional jumps and Boosts or restart combos.
In short, you can jump cancel just about anything and with proper timing, it’s possible to use this technique to attack far quicker and pull off otherwise impossible feats of combo showboating. One for the hardcore, then – most won’t get the full benefits.
Just get it. Get it now. Chuck two points into this ability as soon as humanly possible and never look back. While a little on the fiddly side at first, this accentuates a well-timed dodge roll with slow-motion coolness and temporary flaming mitts for Dante.
The damage boost (particularly at Level 2) is kind of obscene, allowing you to make short work of most anything that stands in your way and tries to attack you. Which is pretty much everything in the game. Got it yet? Good.
While far less useful than its demonic counterpart, this enhanced dodge adds both distance and invulnerability to the regular evade – useful for getting out of the way of fast or wide-area attacks.
In most situations, though, you’d be better off going for the Demon Evade’s power-up or just getting up and out of the way of bigger attacks. Certainly not something you should be prioritising, unless your timing is all over the shop and you frequently miss Demon Evade and/or get hit.
The ability to automatically cancel a grapple into a free launcher isn’t overly useful on lower difficulties though as things get tougher, enemies will start blocking or evading your other grapple follow-ups. Still, most tougher enemies can’t even be grappled normally, so it’s still not all that useful. One to grab once your preferred weapons are already maxed out, then.
The flashier of the two whip follow-ups, Kicker lose out to Payoff simply because a knockback is far less useful than a launcher. It deals decent damage but it’s reliant on being able to pull enemies towards you and that only works on the smaller ones. Get the timing down and you can pretty much loop kicks and drags endlessly, plus dragging an enemy out of the air just pops them up a little rather than blasting them away. There are some uses but there are far more deserving abilities to unlock first.
Take advantage of the opening made by grappling an enemy by… jumping? Outside of showing off (which we’re entirely behind), this really serves little practical purpose. Can quite comfortably be the last upgrade you buy – don’t expect to ever use it, though.
Dante’s trademark blade returns, a devilish combination of speed and power making it a safe go-to weapon to use on any enemy that doesn’t outright resist it. Combos are easy to execute and can be interrupted with jumps and dodges at pretty much any time, making most Rebellion attacks safe. Most of your early upgrade points will likely be poured into your trusty blade and with good reason – she’s going to be seeing an awful lot of action.
The stock ‘mash Y’ combo comes as standard on this model, though the upgraded version is an easy recommendation. Rebellion is Dante’s bread-and-butter and this simple combo (or at least parts thereof) will likely be one of you most used moves, so why wouldn’t you want it to be more powerful? It’s also worth noting that the first two hits of Death Coil (before the input delay) count as Hacker hits, meaning both Rebellion’s ground combos benefit from this boost.
In the early stages, Death Coil is an important part of your arsenal as it extends Rebellion’s reach to tackle slightly larger groups and gives you a tool with which to mix up your ground combos and grow your Style Rank. As such, it’s a solid early investment and the free respec ability means you can always take the Upgrade Point out of it and put it into something more useful once your arsenal starts filling up.
Taking the fight to the air is one of the best ways to stay alive in DmC, so upgrading Dante’s basic air combo should be pretty high on your list. At Level 2, this does tasty damage and given that you’ll often need to be off the ground to reach bosses’ weak spots a lot of the time, it’s a shrewd investment.
Anything that gives you a little extra hangtime is okay by us, even if the Angel Lift ability is already capable of setting up practically infinite air combos. Still, this is a nifty way of getting a bit more height – perfect if you’re juggling perilously close to any grounded enemies’ attacks – and a neat way to mix up air combos for Style Points.
Dante isn’t exactly crying out for any more ranged moves, especially not one with such horrible start-up. That said, this can be reduced by starting the charge during a different move or combo – Trillion Stabs, for instance – and it does nice damage, though finding opportunities to use it during a hectic fight can be problematic. Which is a shame, because…
…is pretty awesome. When upgraded, the additional attacks travel miles and knock enemies down too, plus it can still be buffered from other moves. At least until you get Aquila and the outstanding Round Trip, Drive/Overdrive will be your best ranged damage-dealer provided you can make enough space to use it effectively.
The simpler solution, though, is just to close the distance and Stinger is perfect for doing that. The forward dash is often enough to get you out of harm's way and it's perfect for chasing juggled foes that get blasted away by a powerful finisher. Meaty damage and extra mobility in one package – there’s nothing bad to say about Stinger, really.
Make your Stinger dash even cooler by ending it with a flurry of stabs rather than a powerful blowback. Mash like crazy for more hits and watch the Style Points flood in. The finishing blow is the regular Stinger strike, though it doesn’t have to be – Trillion Stab’s best feature is that it can be interrupted at any point before the final hit, allowing you to hold an enemy in place, score a bunch of points then launch into whatever other attack or launcher you see fit. Yes please.
When you want a little more force behind your attacks than Rebellion can offer, Arbiter is a safe bet. This giant axe has the power to interrupt more powerful enemies and can even break through their blocks, making it useful as a combo starter before switching to something a little more graceful to continue the assault. Despite its speed, some of Arbiter’s unique attacks actually combo quite well and although we preferred Eryx as a go-to damage factory. Arbiter has some stylish ways to keep the punishment flowing…
Just as with Rebellion, investing in an upgrade to Arbiter’s basic combo is probably the best way to start building up the weapon. The damage boost plays to the weapon’s main strength (which is strength) and when beefed up, the two hits before the pause are usually enough to break guard before you revert to Rebellion or another weapon to seamlessly continue the brutality. It’s not the prettiest of attacks but it’ll serve you well.
Given that the first Upgrade Points just slightly alters the third hit of the combo, it’s pretty hard to recommend investing here early on. But once you have points to spare, the second upgrade gives Trinity Smash far more reason to exist. A ground tremor on impact helps overcome the weapon’s low speed by rocking and repelling other nearby foes, though it still works out pretty expensive in relation to other upgrades and abilities.
A tremendous ground pound sends out a fault line – enemies along this line are launched crazy high. It’s great move but one that doesn’t really need to be upgraded any time soon – the improved version sends out a longer fissure, though the slow speed of the weapon means that you’ll be fighting most of your battles at close range anyway. The extra distance might launch the odd extra enemy once in a while or help in continuing combos after long-distance knockdowns, but it’s far from essential.
Unsurprisingly, Arbiter isn’t exactly the greatest tool for pulling off slick air combos. Well, it just can’t do it. Instead of any kind of aerial rave, it gets something slightly different – the axe is hurled down at the nearest enemy, sending them flying and dealing huge damage. Works well as a combo finishers but whether or not you should get the upgrade depends on how you play. It makes the axe explode on impact which, if you’re not clever with your attacks, can just scatter enemies and make them harder to keep under control.
An aerial version of Tremor, basically, and an even better combo finisher than Aerial Flush. Again, it’s an awesome move but we can’t recommend rushing to upgrade it – it’s main purpose is to finish an air combo on a single opponent by relaunching them, so that extended fault line is next to useless. Well, unless you’re the kind of player that likes to juggle several enemies at once, in case more power to you.
Arbiter’s version of Rebellion’s Drive attack, this sees Dante lob the axe in a straight line along the ground. It’s slightly more functional than it first appears, too – the initial downwards slash can relaunch a juggles enemy with the right timing, while the tossed axe will spin off to clear a path along which you can continue your juggle combo.
Additionally, close range hits with it can be followed up with a chasing attack like Rebellion’s Stinger, or you can just use the whip to rein the struck foe back in. The upgraded version gains additional power, making it ideal for chucking into crowds as fights begin to weaken a bunch of enemies at once.
Dante’s angelic scythe is unique in that it has a passive ability built into it, Feed, which powers it up the more it is used in a battle. Couple that with some useful area attacks and great aerial potential and you’ve got a really interesting weapon on your hands, outclassed by Aquila in terms of crowd control but easily the more powerful of the two Angel arms. Oh, and Prop is pretty much worth using Osiris for alone – it’s effectively an automatic parry on most attacks. Lovely.
While it focuses on a single target, Karma’s arcing swipes will also catch and interrupt other nearby foes that might be trying to spoil your fun. The first two hits (up to the delay) can be useful to clear a bit of space before switching weapons and carrying on with a different combo, though the full thing is equally useful when in the middle of a pack of enemies. If you can land this a few times, you should be able to fully charge Osiris, making any fight that much easier.
This alternate combo isn’t all that different to the basic one, although it does do more hits to your main target and extend the area effect slightly, making it slightly better suited for focusing on an enemy leader amid a crowd. It’s an awesome-looking string too, which counts for a lot and two full rotations will get Osiris to full charge. Handy, if not essential.
If Osiris only had this one move, it’d still be worth using. When it comes to parrying enemy attacks and returning projectiles, Prop has pretty much the biggest window in which moves can be repelled – most projectiles can be flung back to their source at any time during the move while the moment just after the move starts is the part that can reject just about any blow. Learn to switch to Osiris when you see the warning signs of an obvious attack and you'll have a lot more openings to work with.
A follow-up to Prop that might look no different but does substantially more damage. Useful in keeping juggles going for longer or really laying into bosses after you've fully charged Osiris and/or have a Demon Evade buff to amplify the damage further. Nowhere near as useful as Prop (but then what is?) but if Osiris is to be your Angel weapon of choice, this is one of its best direct damage options when you can be sure you'll catch your target in the entire spin.
Osiris's basic air combo comes out extremely fast, but there's little more to say about it than that, sadly - it lacks the damage of other air combos and happens so fast that the knockback of the third hit can often accidentally interrupt combos, or at least make them a little more fiddly. Those with fleet fingers can land the first two hits before switching to Aquila for its delayed air attack, Buy In, which draws in more enemies to be caught in the whirling blades.
If you want to get crazy air in combat, this is the way to do it. A flashier version of Rebellion's Roulette, effectively, but that won't stop Double Up from being a key part of many players' games – by combining the two, you can keep the Style Rank rising and send enemies to ridiculous heights. Knowing when to use these height-gaining moves is the key, though. Wait until you predict an incoming attack then unleash to rise above and continue your combo in safety.
This is a highly situational move but it can also be a life-saving one. Low-altitude air combos always run the risk of being interrupted by enemies on the ground, so a move like this – which picks them up into the air with you – can avert that with good reactions or prediction. It becomes even more useful when faced with enemies that only take damage from Angel gear, since you can juggle somebody else but have Hanger ready for when you see a grounded Angel-weak enemy prepping an attack.
Tired of launching enemies one at a time? Say hello to Raze, a move that can be charged to send Dante skywards with all surrounding enemies in tow. Keeping them all up there is another matter (it's called juggling for a reason) but the fact that their limp, airborne bodies can't do a thing to hurt you is reason enough to bust this out when you can find time. Like Rebellion's Drive, it can be buffered off other attacks – simply hold LT and Y while other attacks end to get it primed then unleash the beast!
If, on the other hand, you're using Osiris as more of a grounded crowd control tool, this will be the one for you. This dashing sweep covers crazy distance (especially at Level 2) and hits a lot of targets at once, making it a solid way to dive into a crowd. Additionally, it can be cancelled into Raze simply by holding down the button as you dash in, devastating a group and then taking most of them into the air with you. Useful on large groups of weaker enemies and for closing distance quickly, though the whip already lets you do that.
Osiris’ passive ability, Feed governs what kind of bonus you get from charging up the scythe by continually attacking with it. Whether or not it’s worth two Upgrade Points to max out will depend on how (or even if) you use Osiris – if you only really use it for Prop’s godlike parrying and the odd bit of aerial slicing, it’s probably not worth it. But if you can start a fight with a couple of solid scythe combos to charge it up, Level 3 Feed grants it a huge damage boost.
If it's pure damage you want, look no further than Eryx. These flaming fists are Dante's best bet for raw punishment and although it doesn't offer much in the way of combo potential on its own, its slow yet hard-hitting moves are awesome for setting up and finishing combos. Every one of its attacks can also be charged for additional damage, while many can also parry enemy attacks if released at the right time – it might seem like the simplest weapon of the lot but Eryx is actual one of the more technical of the bunch.
Eryx's staple three-hit combo, this does great damage even when mashed out but can be charged on every hit to make it even more powerful and, more importantly, more useful. Vulnerable foes can be pummelled with the delayed version while you're still free to just lay a couple of quick hits on them when the pressure is on. There's no upgraded version, though adding points into the passive Eryx Charge ability instead will sort you out with greater damage potential.
Replacing the third hit with a ground pound doesn't do much for Eryx's damage output but it does give an otherwise focussed weapon a way of dealing with crowds, if only temporarily. You're probably better off leaving this for a while and just using the later parts of other delayed combos after the second hit instead – Rebellion's Death Coil and Osiris's Cleaver follow-ups both serve the same purpose and arguably do it better, saving a few Upgrade Points for other places where they can do more immediate good.
Get your Ryu on with this Dragon Punch in all but name. Uncharged it just acts as a simple launcher, while a level one charge sees Dante follow the opponent into the air, Shoryuken style, and a full charge adds a bunch more hits and a ton more damage. After a knockdown or a stagger – or even after hanging an airborne enemy out to dry with Aquila's Round Trip – this should be your go-to move. There's no more powerful way to get opponents into the air or meet them up there, so finding ways to make time for the charge should be a priority.
Like Arbiter, Eryx doesn't really have much in the way of traditional air combo potential. Instead, it gets this – a potent slam that re-bounces enemies slightly so that the combo can be continued if you're close enough to the ground. If you're above that height, we're not sure why you wouldn't just use Stomp to slam them to the ground instead, unless you really like being in the air. You can always get back up there, you know...
After longer air combos, enemies have a habit of loitering underneath you ready to pounce as soon as you land. Get the jump on these opportunistic fools by hurtling to the ground with a bang and clearing the area in the process. This is an important part of Eryx's arsenal and the enhanced version only makes dropping back into the fray even less stressful.
It took a while for us to warm to this neat little move, mainly because it seemed like it was better on paper than in practice. But knowing what charge level to use in each situation is crucial to using Snake Eye well – uncharged, it can be used (with good spacing) to duck out of harm's way and crash back in with a heavy counter but at full charge, it becomes a monstrous dash punch that serves as a kind of nuclear Stinger that is perfect for punishing Hell Knights and Blood Rages. A potent tool in the right hands.
If you plan on using Eryx for more than the occasional slap, this should be one of the first things you upgrade. Charged attacks are what make the fists such a useful weapon and by increasing the potency of delaying your strikes, you're really tapping into its core strength. And, for that matter, making it stronger. Turns moves like Snake Eye and Uppercut from decent attacks to among the best in the game, so what are you waiting for?
He might only be holding two glaives but when Dante lets loose with this curious weapon, there are a lot more than that flying around. Dishing out less damage than Osiris, Aquila is all about control – you can take command of the battlefield with its basic ground attacks, move enemies around with Buy In or even lock them down with Round Trip. Round Trip is the key move of the set, effectively able to extend any combo far beyond its natural length, although being able to control other aspects of combat turns out to be no less useful.
It'd be somewhat remiss to call this a four-hit combo when there are so many blade on the screen but it's the best way to break it down. The third is by far the most useful, sending a wave of discs out all around Dante, while the three other hits are all more frontally focused. Certainly worth levelling up for the range boost, since area control is what Aquila is all about.
On its own, Buy In is extremely risky - most other weapons focus on knocking enemies away, while this cheeky move pulls them in. But couple it with powerful area attacks – be it Eryx's Stomp, Revenant's Fireworks or Osiris's Raze – and you'll start to see some outstanding multi-enemy combos in the making. If you're feeling brave, it makes a great combo finisher from any other weapon's first two ground hits as well – wail on one guy with two charger Eryx Brawler punches, for instance, before switching to Aquila to make with the audience participation.
Aquila's star move by far. The quick version can be used like Dante's firearms (only it juggles/locks down enemies for far longer) while the charged version does fair additional damage and lasts for ages. By lobbing a couple of these out periodically during a fight, you can control how many enemies (and which ones) you take on at any given time, plus Round Trip can even interrupt and freeze some enemies and some attacks, including an enraged Ravager's saw dash. Get them in the air and Round Trip will ensure that they never, ever have to come down.
One of the few air combos capable of juggling multiple enemies at once, making it the perfect follow up to Osiris's Raze so long as your thumb is quick enough to toggle back and forth on the D-pad in time. As with all of Aquila's attacks, it sacrifices power for range, so don't expect anything to die from this. Still, it can be good for dragging wander Bathos, Pathos and even Harpies into combos that they might otherwise have escaped.
Aerial Buy In
Effectively Aquila's version of Osiris's Rake, allowing you to pull enemies up into the air with you. It's not as useful as Rake on account of being a delayed combo finisher rather than a standalone move, plus Aquila doesn't really do terribly well in terms of dishing out aerial damage. But if you're using it as a little something extra with other main weapons, it's a handy option to have, especially since you'll often have Aquila on standby due to the usefulness of Round Trip.
A strange air attack that sends Dante flying forwards in a flurry of blades. Vaguely useful in making your way stylishly between several airborne opponents (particularly effective during Devil Trigger), we found this worked best when coupled with Arbiter's Tremor – safely launch enemies from afar, then dive through the air to meet them and continue the combo. We're not sure about the upgraded version either – with the range boost, it has an annoying habit of overshooting targets.
Incredibly weak but piling on the hits at an incredible rate, this spin is another great move that showcases what Aquila is all about. After pulling everyone in at once with Buy In, this can really do a number on a crowd, plus its no slouch on solo targets either – the timing of the charge means it comes out perfectly to catch enemies hit by any of the other weapons' launchers. Be wary about using this near shielded foes, though. They won't think twice about parrying you out of it and coming back at you with their own attacks.
A launcher of sorts, Big Slick is most useful for relocating one or two enemies from a group – pop them up with this then drag one even further away from their friends with Caliber in order to make space in a slightly different way to what Aquila does best. Situational, then, and not necessarily the weapon's best move, though it is a nice flashy way of taking to the skies after an already launched enemy and leaving the ground around you safe in the process.
Ebony & Ivory
Dante's signature handguns remain his best all-round sidearm, not least because you'll go through more than half the game with no alternative. Damage is pretty much negligible but the rapid-fire hail of bullets can keep combos going at a distance and even interrupt smaller foes effortlessly, not to mention being handy for stripping Harpies of their wings.
Bullets come out of the guns. Yes, yes, very good, but is it worth upgrading? Not really, no. Even when maxed out, the handguns do pitiful damage so there's really little point in wasting two Upgrade Points here. Demon Shards and Harpies are the only reasons you might do so and even then, Revenant handles both way better once you get it.
We want so badly to love Ricoshot but we just can't. And it's not even the move's fault – it's the controls. In order for this to be useful, you'd need the shoot button mapped to a trigger so it could be held down while performing other combos and released (for the Aquila Round Trip-lite juggle it offers) when needed. But with whip moves mapped to Devil/Angel modes and shoot, it all gets far too fiddly. Round Trip is better anyway, so it's no major loss.
This classic Gunslinger move from DMC3 is slower and less focused than it once was but still has its uses, largely as a more delicate alternative to Eryx's Stomp to let you safely re-enter the fray after a lengthy juggle string. Handily, it can be cancelled at any time into any other move too, making it a decent way to catch an enemy that has slipped out of a combo and continue the attack.
The same thing, only it goes up instead of down. Only really useful as a showboating alternative to holding Y to launch and follow with Rebellion's Hightime – tap Y to launch instead then chase the victim skywards with this. Sadly, it can't be cancelled until the peak of the jump and it's quite slow too, making it highly situational and often quite risky.
A kick in the face with a trigger, Revenant works like every other shotgun – get in close and make someone pay. Range is predictably pitiful but damage up close is brutal, making this the perfect firearm for those that like to get up close and personal.
While upping the damage on Ebony & Ivory's shots is mostly pointless, sticking a point into upgrading Revenant's damage is almost essential. With even more bang for your buck, it becomes an even more practical instrument of death, especially useful considering the aerial shot is awesome for extending combos.
Has the same issues as E&I's chargeable shots in that it's pretty much Finger Twister to use properly. And just as Ebony & Ivory's version is outclassed by Aquila's Round Trip, this is made all but redundant as soon as you get Kablooey – the demon flare gun thing does exactly the same thing in a more useful and controllable manner.
Now this is more like it. Three quick shots cover the entire area around Dante, making this a great way to avoid being crowded and outnumbered. It has amazing synergy with Aquila's Buy In, too – pull everyone in then pepper them with buckshot. Can be used in the air too, but only hits enemies on the same level as Dante.
A pistol that fires remote mines - what's not to like? Somewhere between Halo's Needler and Sticky Detonator, this can layer enemies with explosive charges before setting them off at will – whether you use this to extend a combo, finish one in style or turn an enemy into an active grenade is entirely up to you.
Fire an explosive dart at the target. Darts have no actual impact themselves (so can't be used for traditional juggling) and deactivate if they don't hit a live target, making Kablooey a tool for experts only. Fire rate is also incredibly slow, though this can be improved. by cancelling the recovery into another attack then cancelling that into another shot. Upgrades increase the number of active darts you can have - handy, but only if you're good enough with it to get more than four into play in the first place.
Hit A and X together to explode the dart. If you tap on impact, this can be used basically like a pocket-sized rocket launcher and if you are planning on using this properly, it's worth switching to a control scheme that has a dedicated 'Gun Special' button – hitting two buttons at once always leaves a little more room for error than we'd like.
With such a freeform combat system, there's really no right or wrong way to play DmC. Still, it'd be rude for us to play it for so long and then not share with you some of our findings, so hopefully some of this will help you become better players and best friends with that all-important SSS rank.
If you really want to show off, you're going to have to get used to using the D-pad to switch weapon types mid-combo. A simple example is to pull off Osiris's Prop, then while the blade is spinning, tap left on the D-pad to change your Angel weapon to Aquila and launch off a Round Trip before the enemy lands. Demon arms have similar tricks - like using Eryx's Showdown several times to bounce a foe near the ground, then tapping right to set up Arbiter's Drop for a relaunch. It even works with guns and Kablooey darts remain active while you switch to another weapon (though they can't be detonated until you cycle back), so play around with it and get used to on-the-fly switching.
Many attacks and abilities can be chained together faster or in ways previously impossible thanks to this sneaky little trick. It comes in two basic flavours (though there are bound to be more in there), namely switch cancelling and jump cancelling. The former is the art of cancelling the recovery time of an attack by switching to a different weapon – this mainly works with cancelling melee strikes into gun attacks and vice versa, though there are exceptions.
For example, Kablooey's long shot recovery can be cancelled into a single Rebellion Y attack, which in turn can be cancelled into another shot, letting you fill a target with darts twice as quick. Jump cancelling, meanwhile, is the art of using Enemy Step to reset air activity by jumping, which can allow crazy tricks like landing multiple Rebellion Helm Splitters in rapid succession on the same target, but this requires silly good timing. Something to practice, certainly.
Dante's Angel Boost is useful for covering large distances, but it can be tricky to judge. A neat trick to learn is to use the Evade to correct yourself – overshoot a platform and you can pull yourself back in in the nick of time with a backwards Evade (which can interrupt the Boost at any time, handily) while fall short and you can add a little distance with a last-minute forwards Evade.
The Angel Evade can add even more distance if needed and chances are you finger will already be on the left trigger from using Boost, plus you can drop straight down simply by releasing the trigger and tapping B for Helm Splitter. You need never miss another platform again.
If you're really looking to up your Style Rank and score, you'll want to pull Upgrade Points out of any move that use them to enhance damage. By dealing less harm, you're able to extend combos further and get more time showing off at the higher end of the grading scale, where everything you do is worth more points. Bear in mind that time is a factor in your score too, though, so you might need to get a little practice in before you do this.
And since collectibles now factor into your grade and score, it's a good idea to round up most (if not all) of the collectibles before you invest any serious time into score attacking.
Returning players are likely to want to get stuck into leaderboard dominance as soon as possible, making having all the Keys, Secret Missions and Lost Souls under your belt that much more important.