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10 things I wish I knew before I started Stellar Blade

My Stellar Blade tips are forged from the fires of a thousand errors, so take note of my notes when it comes to Shift Up’s PS5 exclusive.

Stellar Blade tips: Eve looking back over her shoulder, next to Orcal

Stellar Blade is finally in the hands of the masses, with PlayStation players now tucking into Eve’s Naytiba-hunting adventure for the first time. I have, fortunately, been able to plunge into Shift Up’s triple-A debut ahead of time, and after over 30 hours with the rather excellent PS5 exclusive, I’m here to share my (often hard-learned) Stellar Blade tips in the hopes you won’t make the same mistakes I did.

Below I’ve outlined ten top tips that you should heed (or not, I’m not your dad) as you explore Xion and beyond in the sensational space game. There are some very minor gameplay-related spoilers ahead, but nothing that will have you in my email inbox wishing plague and famine upon my bloodline. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Here are the ten things I wish I knew before I started Stellar Blade:

Stellar Blade tips: Eve wearing glasses and a gold outfit

Get to know the settings menu

I have already waxed lyrical about Stellar Blade’s settings in a more comprehensive think piece, but I do want to touch on them again here. I must’ve been about five hours in before I discovered the ‘auto-gather’ setting, which as the name suggests will let Eve hoover up everything on the ground by simply walking over it.

Why on Earth Shift Up made this a manual action by default is beyond me, especially considering weight limit, inventory capacity, and other mechanics that would usually cause you to be picky about loot simply don’t exist in the new PS5 game.

Grumbling aside, there are loads of great QoL tweaks and some approachability-aiding assists available – check out my article for more on those.

Prioritize survival skills above all else

Stellar Blade’s combat is a staunch blend of systems found in the likes of Devil May Cry, God of War, and Sekiro – needless to say, it’s quite the mix. However, if you think you can simply wombo combo your way through every encounter, you’re sorely mistaken. Stellar Blade is firmly grounded in the principles of act and react that constitute some of the best Soulslike games, so be prepared to block and dodge a lot.

As such, much of your early game experience will be spent getting acquainted with Stellar Blade’s core survival skills – Perfect Dodge and Perfect Parry. From my expanded thoughts on the game’s combat – you can read those here – you can perhaps understand why I’ve put so much stock into prioritizing skill upgrades that will help you stay alive. I’ve just put together a list of the best Stellar Blade skills to pick first for our sister site, PCGamesN, which further cements my philosophy on the gameplay.

Stellar Blade tips: Eve staring down a hog-like Naytiba

Destroy shields first

The Shield Breaker Beta skill is one of the most important abilities you can unlock early on in Stellar Blade, and that’s because shields – that grey bar you’ll see below health bars – are a real pain in the ass. As Eve takes reduced damage while her own shield is up, so too do enemy Naytiba – especially bosses.

As such, you should always look to use shield-destroying moves and consumables first, before full-sending it on your most devastating abilities. I initially decided that reading tooltips and primers was for nerds and was mercilessly punished for it – don’t do an Aaron.

Train before you obtain

Opportunities to earn extra SP become scarce by the time you get to Stellar Blade’s endgame. Depending on how much of a completionist you are (more on that in a moment), you may not have enough points available to unlock everything the game’s five skill trees have to offer.

When you go to upgrade your skills at a terminal, you’ll be able to press Square on new moves to preview and train them. This is amazing not only because it allows you to master your freshly unlocked move, but you can also try before you buy. Throughout my run there were several skills I put points into, only to leave them untouched as they didn’t fit my playstyle. You can, of course, use an SP Initialiser to refund them, but you’ll then have to go through the effort of redoing your upgrades.

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Side quest, side quest, side quest

Stellar Blade’s side quests are one of my favorite aspects of the game. They not only reward you with more SP, important materials required for unlocking costumes and upgrading
Eve’s gear, and a host of other goodies, but the story beats for the biggest ones are excellent, too.

Shift Up wants you to experience Eve’s world in its entirety, and the quality of its secondary and tertiary content makes it easy to want to do just that. Stellar Blade is a marathon, not a sprint, and you’ll have a far more enriching time by taking it slow.

Scan as much as you can

Scanning is broken OP in Stellar Blade. That sounds like an odd claim, but hear me out. Not only can scanning reveal interactable corpses, enemies lying in wait to ambush you, and side paths to explore, but when upgraded this handy little feature will ping nearby collectibles. If you’re trying to collect all of the Stellar Blade cans to secure Eve’s most… risque costume, then scan, scan, and scan some more – be it in Xion or out in the field.

Stellar Blade tips: a bald man with a big, bushy white beard

Listen out for Body and Beta Cores

Body Cores and Beta Cores are incredibly important materials. For every three of each collected, Eve’s health and Beta Energy capacity will expand respectively – and Mother Sphere knows you’re going to need all the juice you can get to hack it in the PS5 exclusive.

Cores can be found on a unique corpse type – these corpses will be revealed on your scan, but there’s also another nifty way to know when one’s nearby. As you close in on a Core corpse your DualSense controller will begin to vibrate, and you’ll start to hear a low hum. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through my first playthrough that it dawned on me what the source of the humming actually was – I’m currently rectifying my sins in New Game+, I don’t wanna talk about it.

Max out your vendor affinity

Increasing your reputation with Stellar Blade’s vendors is incredibly easy, as all you have to do is buy stuff. Vendors have three levels of affinity, with their available inventory expanding at each tier. This is super important not only because you gain access to more top-tier accessories to deck Eve out in, but also because vendors will send you out on special quests that yield excellent rewards. Don’t be stingy, splash that cash.

Stellar Blade tips: a purple-haired girl wearing a green jacket

Watch out for the point of no return

As you close in on Stellar Blade’s endgame you’ll be given the option to stay in Xion or set off down the path to the finale – this is a clearly signposted choice, so you’ll know it when you see it.

It is imperative that you finish all your side questing and exploration before choosing to proceed, as beyond this point you will lose access to the town altogether. From my testing, I’ve at least been able to get back into some of the areas adjacent to it, but you really do need to tread carefully and hoover up as many collectibles as you can. If you’re still trying to max out your skill trees, do as much as possible before you surrender the opportunity.

New Game+ is so much more than a not-so-fresh start

Shift Up has somehow managed to wrangle Stellar Blade’s New Game+ in at the last minute which, for me at least, is an absolute necessity considering I still had unfinished business before jettisoning off into the sunset. But the mode doesn’t just offer an opportunity to fix my mistakes – it’s a vastly expanded experience.

Featuring a punishing ‘Hard’ mode, over 30 new costumes for Eve, expanded skill trees, and a host of new upgrade tiers for her equipment, Stellar Blade’s New Game+ is a different beast to the base game that you shouldn’t sleep on. Yes, this is a good 25-30 hours away if you’re hopping in for the first time, but keep its existence in the back of your mind as you proceed – it’ll certainly aid your Trophy hunting endeavors at the very least.

And that’s my rundown of Aaron-approved tricks of the trade that will help you shape your Stellar Blade experience. If you’ve gone big and picked up the Deluxe Edition, here’s how to access your bonus loot. Before you go, don’t forget to drop us a follow on Google News – there’ll be more from The Loadout crew and I on Stellar Blade over the coming days and weeks, so don’t miss out.