Champions: Return to Arms Walkthrough :
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Walkthrough - Dark Elf Shadowknight Guide
PS2: Champions: Return to Arms Dark Elf Shadowknight Guide Intro: I decided to write a FAQ for the Shadowknight because I have read through all of the character FAQs (For CofN also) and I havenít found one to be very helpful. Iíve played this game many times, beat it on Legendary, and I usually play the Shadow Knight because I think he is by far the coolest character in the game. I plan to share some strategies for using the Shadowknight as well as some general tips to help for any character you may choose to play with. Strengths: (some people just like to write in what the manual says for this part) -A tank in the melee department, second to only the Berserker and Warrior. He can use any weapon in the game making for a formidable melee character. Can get Bind Wound very early in game. -Has some incredibly useful spells/skills that if used wisely can really wreak some havoc. Most of the useful spells come early in game. -Can use any ranged weapon making him the best all around character. -Can get some cool character only weapons and armor -Just looks badassed Weaknesses: (not too many) -Does not have a critical hit spell, but if your playing solo just equip some whetstones on your weapons and if your playing multiplayer chances are someone will have it worked up so you can benefit from it. -Magic costs a lot (but there are ways to work around this) -Canít think of any more Where to Allocate Points: Basically I like to have strength beefed up a lot so I can have a mean attack and be able to carry a decent amount of weight. I also sink a ton in intelligence because it costs more to cast Shadowknight spells. You need a hefty sum of mana to make the spell casting really benefit. Here is how I generally distribute at any given level up, but do what you like: I usually do all out Strength for the first few levels, maybe up until level 12 or so, then I start doing 2 Strength 1 Intelligence for a while, then when I find Iím using more demanding spells or more magic then I might sink all into to magic or 1 Strength to 2 Magic Points. Sometimes I hit him up with some Dexterity for a more all around character, I love using the Ranger as well so Iím used to using arrows so I always have my Shadowknight equipped with a bow and arrow. Sometimes my build goes 2 Strength points and 1 Intelligence, then next time 2 Strength and 1 Dexterity or just 1 of each depending on where my character is lacking. I never do stamina because I really donít die too often, and once you get bind wound going it really doesnít matter. Plus stamina doesnít benefit your attack so I usually stay away, I almost always sacrifice defense for better attack for a more powerful character. Skill Tree: (Here is where I have been very disappointed in the other Faqs. People either describe the skills as in the manual or say, oh this skill is good, and donít describe it well, or the skill sucks and they say it rules) First off Iíll describe the skills as I perceive them: Blunt/Slashing Weapons: I always go Slashing because there are way more Slashing weapons in the game, and more often then not they dish out the most damage (generally axes are the best). But if you like Blunt weapons then go for it, but I would highly advise against putting points into both, unless youíve already filled everything you want. Disease Bolt: This spell rocks. It doesnít do much damage, but thatís not its purpose. Itís purpose is to disease enemies, which can interrupt their movements. When a character is diseased they may ďtwitchĒ, which leaves them vulnerable to attacks so you can get free hits. It also gives them damage for the time they are diseased, itís only a few damage points per second but every bit helps. Fire this into a large group for effective use, for when one enemy is diseased they all succumb to it if they touch each other (even if dead). Once this reaches higher levels the bolt does more damage, maxing out in the 200ís and it will begin to track enemies, so you donít have to be quite as accurate when you fire. More points means more mana though, so keep this low for a while until you build some intelligence. Bind Wound: Very crucial to your Shadowknight. It allows him to regenerate much faster, starting out at 120% and ending on 310% (if i recall correctly). This gives you insane regenerative powers and you consume WAY less potions once this is beefed up. Also, the Shadowknight is the only character to get it on the 2nd branch of the skill tree (I think?)so it enables you to be a better tank in melee early on. Life Tap: Very cool. Not an amazing skill by any means but it definitely can help. Basically when you kill an enemy you have a chance of getting some mana or health back from them. All you have to do is hit block to suck in the energy when you see the red or blue fire leave their body. Disease Trail: Can be useful, but I donít find myself running away very often. I have used it on bosses like Rallok Zek, and the first time I beat the game I solely defeated Mithaniel Marr (and Shadow Step) with this skill lol! (I dove into the last battle with 2 health potions but like 15 mana potions and never saved it before I fought him...opps) Iíd sink a point into it so you at least have it, and if you find yourself needing to run and want to get some damage with it, use it. Endurance: Luckily, since your a Strength guy, you should have plenty of weight to carry, but if you find yourself having to gate to sell stuff rather quickly, a few points of endurance can be helpful. I usually sink some points into this fairly early (Because I hate gate scrolling a lot), then top it off later when I have spare points, I usually leave it at about 12. Engulfing Darkness: By far the most useful Shadowknight spell. This sucker is your bread and butter. Unlike most of the other confusion and stun spells that give you a % chance to work, this ball of black cloud sticks around, so as long as the enemy is on the cloud he will be confused eventually because it keeps working until the cloud is gone. This works better opposed to blinding light/unspoken word (cleric) that only works purely on chance. If that confuses you donít worry about it, basically it stuns/confuses enemies for you for free hits and it can get you out of some tight situations. I always have this on my quick cast spell setting. Best used on groups for if you stun all your enemies you can just go to town on them melee style for a few seconds. Itís also useful for hitting mages and elemental archers to prevent resurrection spells or some mean elemental damage. I only put 1 point into it for a while so I can cast it numerous times. When you work it up, it costs a lot more, but the cloud is bigger. But itís not even close to a good trade off for being able to cast it more times. Doesnít work on bosses though, but great on the Helldemon guys, Robots, and the Yeti/Snowbeasts and basically anyone else. Disease Shield: Not as great as everyone thinks it is. Itís a cool concept, and if you donít care much for defense you can work this up, use it, and start swinging. I find it more of a bother, because when itís worked up so high, you canít even see what's going on. Sure it hits each guy for 20-40 disease damage frequently, but I like to be able to block and see my characters movements. It is useful though, if you want free hits while your blocking. Iíd stay away from it for a while, points are better off invested elsewhere early in the game. Shadow Step: A great spell! By far the best spell addition to any character from the last game. People may think this spell is cool because it confuses, but the teleporting feature is so incredibly useful, especially in multiplayer. You can actually move faster than any character with this spell. Only put 1 point into this so you can use it over and over. If a cool item drops and you want to beat someone too it, use this and you can warp to it in no time! Also, if you enter a room and there is a mage, you can warp through the melee enemies, avoiding damage, right to the mage and kill him! It works so well. Then if you warp into a tight spot just simply warp again and you go back. You can own the Depth Scurry with this spell too. Just keep warping to the Shells and Air Bubbles to make it much faster. I also warp through archer arrows and enemy spells all the time. If an archer is shooting you from far away, wait until the arrow comes near you, warp, then you are that much closer to the archer and have completely dodged an arrow. This skill takes a little practice but you can use your Shadowknight with style when you master it. Not to mention the obvious perk of this spell, you can warp behind an enemy, while confusing him for a second and hit him from behind. It works great on shield bearing enemies as well. Just experiment with this skill for you will find it to be extremely useful. Once you build it up you can leave some flames behind, but they are kind of annoying if you ask me. Riposte: I think this skill is sadly underrated. You get damage on enemies for nothing. Basically if an enemy strikes you with any melee or ranged attack (magic doesn't count), you have a chance for a counter hit. Now here's the best perk, it works even if your blocking. So if you work this up, you can add about 100 damage to a counter hit. I block so many attacks that this skill does more damage to guys then any of my other spells. Itís especially rewarding when I notice an enemy getting killed off a counter hit. So if you walk into a room with 5 or more archers, just blocking will do some good damage on them, for it works more frequently than you would think. Put at least one point into it when itís available so you can at least activate it. Summon Skeleton: This is overrated. Once you get better at the game you donít need the skeleton, but for your first time through he can be helpful. Basically heís a great distraction for enemies, so if you encounter multiple baddies you can use the skeleton to attract half of them or so. Eventually he can get enchanted weapons almost all of the time, but Iíd rather put my points elsewhere, I find this more entertaining than anything. On harder difficulties he is practically useless for he will die with 1 or 2 hits. Use Raise Army for aid in battle. Shield Bash: I never use shields unless I challenge myself and use only 1 handed weapons. Extremely useful when itís built up for it stuns enemies for longer than any spell will, but leaves you open to attack and doesnít always work. I wish the shield bash animation was like that of the Horsemenís shield bash, short and sweet. Then it would be more effective because you wouldnít be so open to attack. You should form your own opinion on this one, I hardly ever use it. Convert Undead: This is basically useless. It costs a decent amount of magic, and doesnít work that often. Stay away from it, itís probably the worst skill, since it pales in comparison to Raise Dead. Disease Blade: This is ok, but still, I would only throw points into it if I was maxed out with everything I already want. It adds disease damage to your weapon, and you teammates if they are close enough. The only catch is that you need an open slot on your weapon for it to work. If you (or teammate) have a weapon with an open slot, mainly if you want to save it for something such as attack speed or a critical hit, then I suggest you use Disease Blade to pass the time until you find one. Itís like having a Mummy Tongue bonus on your weapon that you can remove. Harm Touch: This spell is very deceptive. It says massive damage, and that it would be if it was added to the attack of your weapon. Unfortunately it only deals 500+ damage, and by the time you get that you will be hitting almost as hard as that with your weapon. Plus you can only use it once every four seconds or so. Itís not worth it, even if built up it doesnít seem to get as high as what you will be capable of hitting, especially if you have a whetstone on your weapon. The only time I could really see this being worth it, was if you decided to go for a ranger/mage build, where you sunk your points into dexterity for bow attacks and intelligence for magic attacks. Then when enemies got close to you, hit em with the harm touch to hopefully kill them, since you wouldnít have much strength to hit big anyways. Raise Army: This spell is pretty cool. Not amazing by any means. It has more of an entertainment value, but does have itís uses. This is also way better to sink points into instead of a Skeleton or Converting Undead because it works on almost any fallen enemy. If you raise a guy with decent health and attack he can really help you out. The cool thing is it always works, and has a pretty long duration (You cannot raise mini bosses). If you work the ranks up a little you can have a whole legion fighting for you, although it can get a tad confusing, especially if they are all the same characters. It consumes a decent amount of magic, but by that point you will have your intelligence built up enough to make it useful. Which Skills to Invest In: A common mistake, especially in new players is to sink points into a bunch of different stats. This ends up giving you a lot of weak spells and a much less effective character. Here is how I build up my Shadowknight: First off, I always sink most of my early points into Sharp Weapons. That is the first thing I max out. Once you get to a certain point, you will not be able to put all your points into it because the level required is too high, so then you can build other skills slowly. I throw in 1 point on Disease Bolt when it is available. Disease bolt always diseases enemies (Except Undead), and the only real difference when you sink points into it, is that it hits for more damage, but takes more magic to cast. Well since I donít really case about the damage to begin with, I just keep it at 1 point for a while, so I can use it numerous times without costing too much mana. Next, I get Bind Wound going a little. Just sinking 1 point into Bind Wound gives you an extra 20% regeneration. Every point after that gives another 5% so 1 point will do you for a little while. Then I sink another point into Life Tap just to enable the ability. So basically I sink 1 point into Disease Bolt, Bind Wound, Life Tap, and then Engulfing Darkness while also increasing my Sharp Weapons (since you get 2 points @ earlier levels) Once all of these are activated I put a point into Bind Wound and Slashing each level up. Any spares picked up in Bonus Levels I usually put into Bind Wound if Slashing weapons cannot be done. Then once I hit level 15 I toss one point into Riposte and Shadow Step, again to enable the abilities. Some skills are much better off if you just put 1 point into them, and some are much better when you build them up. After all this, I finish up Bind Wound and Slashing weapons so they are maxed out to 20. Once these are maxed out I try to max out Riposte and toss the occasional point into my Disease Bolt and maybe some Endurance. Once Riposte is maxed, then I try to max out Disease Bolt, for your Shadowknights magic can handle it. I also hit up Engulfing Darkness occasionally so it reaches about 8. I might throw one into Disease Trail just to enact it for some tougher boss battles. Then I like to max out Life Tap after all this. The only real ability left that I like is Raise Army. So basically the bulk of your Shadowknight kicking ass will be Slashing/Disease Bolt/Bind Wound/Riposte and perhaps Life Tap all maxed out, and then 1 point into Shadow Step, 8 or so in Engulfing Darkness and 1 point into Disease Trail. Once you Achieve this you can consider yourself beefed up. Now this style of play means you need to be proficient in melee combat. I will explain more on this later. After this, itís your choice, I like to max Raise Army, then just fill in the gaps. Strategies to Attack With Shadowknight: Basically, your a melee guy with some spells to weaken opponents. I usually fire a Disease Bolt into a few guys so they are diseased. Fight a few of em, then once undiseased, fire another bolt. You donít need to constantly fire Disease Bolts, just hit em once, then when the effect wear off, hit em again. You can also sit back and pummel them with some arrows while diseased. Use Engulfing Darkness on archers or elemental swordsmen and mages. You can also use it on big groups to get free hits, but its kind of boring that way, its too easy. Your going to want to use confusion on quicker enemies, such as Ghouls and larger enemies such as Yetis and Hell Demons, (I donít know the ďtechnical termsĒ for them but youíll know who I mean) basically any heavy hitters. Shadow Step over any enemies to get to archers or mages if you canít get a clear confusion shot. Also use it on the double bladed shadow warriors that pop out of walls, it works great on them. You can also use it to get out of tight situations. Thatís my basic strategy for the Shadowknight, used like this he will be a formidable character. Setting Up Your Spell Book: Another key element to using the Shadowknight correctly is to place your spells in good locations on your spell book. The quick casting ability added to the game (not available in last one) was the best possible addition to Return to Arms. Now you can cast any spell on the fly by simply clicking it on the spellbook menu and hitting the square button! What an ingenious idea, why they hell wasnít it in the last game?! Anyways, the 2 spells you always want equipped to your Circle and Triangle buttons are Disease Bolt and Engulfing Darkness. These are the only spells you need to aim and to use multiple times in a row. You could argue that Shadow Step could be part of this, but I use the quick cast for that because once you warp you have enough time to use your left and right thumb in sync. Make sure these two spells are in a diagonal slot, say upper right and lower right. This way you can reserve your up, down, left or right for a quicker cast. Itís kind of hard to explain this but you should be able to get the idea. Then I put Shadow Step to the right, Disease Trail to the bottom setting, Raise army on the upper setting, and Disease Shield/Blade on the left. (once I get all of them of course). This allows you to conveniently cast the spells by just holding one of the directional buttons and hitting square. It takes some getting used to but once mastered your will be far more efficient in your spell casting. Mastering Combat/Blocking: To be a great Champions player, you must know how to stay alive. And staying alive involves knowing how to block. It doesnít matter how good you are at attacking or killing, you need to be great on defense. Now, you can block almost any attack in the game, so when in doubt...block! It can give you a breather in a tight situation, say being pummeled by a half dozen archers. Now there are very subtle melee tricks that can make you a killing machine. I hope to share some of these with you, and you will be able to make it through 30+ orcs without getting hit once. First off, you need to know that with the right timing, you can almost always get the first hit on an enemy approaching you. There are some exceptions, but fighting say, an orc for instance, you have the advantage. So take a swing when the orc is a few feet away from you, then you can immediately block. You donít have to follow through with your swing either. The good thing about the blocking system in Champions is that you can go to the block immediately after you hit the R1 button. so you can get a half swing in to hit the enemy and then hit block. Now you are in a blocking position with no sweat. This allows you to get a quick hit in, even when certain enemies are in a multiple attacks cycle. Now, this requires you to know your enemies attacks. A good way to get to know your enemies attacks is to isolate them one on one, and just hold block. Then you get to see your enemies various attacks and learn them fairly quickly. So if you get an opportunity to get a quick swing in, and block immediately, you will kill a lot more efficiently. Fight the Four Horsemen battle a couple times and practice this kind of stuff. Now, there is a way to hit an enemy, like one of the Horsemen, without them even hitting you, even if you are blocking. It takes a little practice but hereís how it goes, if you master this you will be a powerhouse melee player in Champions. Let the enemy approach you. When he gets near range, take a swing, once you hit him immediately hold block and then press L1. This will have your character take a step back. If you time it right, the enemy will swing and not even hit you. Then you repeat the process over and over. Even if he does hit you, youíre blocking and will be protected. Learn the enemies attacks and you will know when you can get 2 or more free hits in. So basically itís X, then hold R1 and tap L1, and repeat. Knowing how many hits will kill an enemy is also important. If you are attacking an enemy, then another one is slowing closing in behind him, you can kill your current enemy then get a free hit on the enclosing one. If you know 1 more hit will kill your first enemy, hit him, then swing again, hit the 2nd enemy then block. You can learn to do all kinds of things like this in melee for more efficient killing. If you are fighting a group of enemies, keep track of how many times youíve hit certain ones. If you have beat up on one enemy enough in a group, but then he gets out of range for you to hit him safely, fire a Disease Bolt at him, and perhaps it will be just enough to kill him, plus all the other guys will be effected as well. The key to doing all this is to be aware of it, and do not button mash. The only time I ever button mash is to pick up items with square if a ton of stuff falls. There are also cool tricks you can pull by swinging, stepping back, firing a ranged spell, then swinging again to maximize your attack. So experiment with this through trial and error and practice on the Four Horsemen battle. You will need to use the L1 Step Back move constantly in this game to position yourself. It is extremely useful and can get you out of tight jams while consistently blocking. You just need to practice facing the right way. You must also be aware of archers. Know where the arrows are coming, and time your blocks of the arrows along with the blocks of the melee attacks. Hold block if your not sure. Just keep calm and take it slowly until you fluidly become comfortable in the blocking attacking transition. What to Equip: Basically for the Shadowknight your going to want to customize your armor/weapons in the following ways: Any Rings/Earrings or Chokers you use should have Strength or Intelligence Bonusí on them. Occasionally I throw on a Dexterity one if my attack and magic are already mean, and I want a little extra ranged damage. All the other resistance's, regenerations etc. are basically crap. On your weapons put Whetstones and Misty Globes on them. I always end up using a 2 handed Axe or Sword, since they tend to hit the hardest. If there's room, I toss on a Storm Shard or a Carapace for more armor. Poison damage is ideal though for any additions, though harden to get. Cold and Fire damage donít really do it for me for they take up 2 slots. On Armor I tend to put anything I can get on them. If I have a bunch of slots I toss on some resistances, but for the most part this is a chance to beef up any Stamina you may need, as Bloodstones are fairly common. Bull Runes and Star Glyphs are great to enhance some of your Strength and Intelligence stats. Appartently though Health and Mana bonuses are no good for this is a glitch and they donít seem to work. (thanks for the info from Joshua Bell for the bonuses glitch). I assume though regeneration and rejuvenation bonuses work. Hopefully more info on this later. Dexterity is cool if you got room, though thatís another rare one. I almost always choose stat enhancers over better armor, but there is a fine line between it, itís all preference. Generally Iíd take a helmet with 50 Strength but only 100 armor over a helmet with 200 Armor and a cold resistance for example, but thatís if you are good at keeping yourself alive. Closing Thoughts: So that about does it for the Shadowknight Guide. If you have any questions, or would like me to describe how I beat any bosses or situations with him feel free to email me @ email@example.com. If I get good feedback on this guide I can always write others if any one is interested. I know the Cleric, Shaman, and Ranger quite well, I also know the Warrior/Beserker, though I never reached really high levels with them. The Wizard I donít like using. Anyone interested in a Walkthrough or General Strategies let me know as well. Thanks for reading. Authorized Websites: Neoseeker/Gamefaq related sites, and if anyone else would like to use the FAQ, once again contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org