This guide covers some basic tips, tricks, and advice that can help you out of tough spots, improve your playthroughs, or simply teach you about a mechanic you did not know about! Many of these tips will be obvious to experienced players but you never know what you might have never noticed! The guide is generally spoiler free save for minor references about gameplay, no major spoilers will be given.
Table of Contents
Do not stress about headshots!
While headshots are always a big deal in modern RE games, in a situation where you are being swarmed or cornered it is ALWAYS better to unload on the target and go for the kill or a flinch. RE8 is pretty forgiving in regards to ammo unless you have really gone out of your way to make ammunition hard on yourself. NOTE: There is a challenge for 150 headshot kills so still go for them when you can afford to!
Blocking speeds up healing and reloading.
Your block animation cancels out the back-end of the animations for healing and reloading. Observe your ammo count in the bottom right and then block once the ammo is at the amount you expect it to be. This is most useful for shotguns without magazines and less useful for weapons like pistols which tend to have their ammo load in towards the end of the animation anyway. This tactic is VERY important when healing. The heal animation is very long and the actual “healing” effect is immediate. Use this trick to save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
Use Your Block!
I really cannot stress how powerful Ethan’s block is in keeping you alive. Many players do not use it as much as they should. In RE8 you now get to push back foes after blocking most melee attacks which is HUGE in setting up for more shots or avoiding getting hit multiple times in succession. I have heard that blocking with larger weapons in-hand reduces the damage you take but I have not confirmed this myself and regardless, it is not that important compared to just blocking in general.
Certain enemies are best dealt with by certain weapons/weapon combos
While the enemy variety is relatively low in each level of the game, there are a few tricks you can apply to get the best bang for your buck.
- Lycans take a lot of pistol rounds compared to one or two shotgun shells, consider saving your pistol rounds for situations where you are only dealing with one or two lycans or enemies like the moroaica (the female “vampires” that look like undead monks) as well as basic soldats (the anemic Star Trek fans you meet near the end of the game)
- Armored enemies lose their armor from explosive blasts (ANY explosive except flashbangs will work). It is generally wasteful to hit armored enemies with more explosives once their armor is removed. Switch to something with more direct and concentrated damage like a shotgun or sniper rifle.
- Conserve but do not hoard your magnum ammo
A common pitfall RE players get into is overvaluing their magnum rounds. Obviously don’t waste them on cheap little lycans you could drop with a shotgun, but do not be afraid to use them on big enemies that you know are going to take a lot of hits to drop otherwise. It is a valid choice to conserve your magnum rounds for boss fights only, just make sure you actually get some use out of them during those fights. NOTE: There is an in-game challenge to accumulate over all your runs a couple dozen magnum kills so only using them to knock off the first half of a boss’ HP every time is going to leave you stuck having to go back later and get it done.
Varcolacs (The giant black werewolves) are cheesed by buildings
Varcolacs, especially the Alpha, are very dangerous and hard to combat on higher difficulties. There are bunch of strats but if you want something simple and easy that anyone can use, fight them by popping in and out of a doorway. The game codes Varcolacs to quickly flee when you duck into a house to reduce this cheesing but it still works well enough if you struggle with fighting them more fairly. Varcolacs do not regain their health and if you fully de-aggro them to where they go back into their patrol routine there is a prolonged “startling” animation you can enjoy free shots during if you attack them without being detected first.
Wait to upgrade ammo capacity when your weapon is empty or near-empty
The ammo capacity upgrades in the shop fill your weapon to maximum for free. It is not a required thing to succeed by any means but it is often a great morale boost and can help you out if you are for some reason scrapped for rounds. You will quickly learn to predict when you are near the next shop or will be returning to the game’s “hub” and can plan accordingly by not reloading if you dont think you will need to. The earlier tip on cancelling reload animations can also help setting up for this trick by controlling how many rounds you load back into something like your shotgun.
Wait to install extended magazine parts
In a similar sense to the last tip, you can get free ammo by waiting for your weapon to be empty to install the new extended mag for a firearm. This tactic is much easier because you can just choose to not equip your purchased part and keep it in your inventory to apply to the weapon whenever you next empty it.
Crow hunting 101:
Throughout the game you will encounter crows that are perched on objects or even just the ground. These crows drop money but will flee when you get close or pop off a round at one. They can be kind of hard to hit for some folks but here is a neat trick! Crows only have 1 HP and the flashbang seems to deal only 1 damage so after shooting a crow, quickly switch to the grenade launcher and fire a flashbang to drop the rest as they flee. There is an achievement for killing 5 crows that are specifically mid-flight (NOT on the ground or perched). I am unsure if this trick works towards that or if you have to hit them directly while mid-flight for it to count since I already had the achievement using this other method: In NG+ runs you will likely start having a surplus of pistol ammo and will also likely have the V61. Do not bother wasting more precious pistol ammo early in your playing if you do not feel up to it. Once you have a well-levelled V61 and a bunch of pistol rounds, you can just spray down the fleeing crows and get the achievement easily.
Learn what crafting resources are valuable and which ones are not
This varies based on playstyle and skill-level but in general, Metal Scrap (not the rusted kind) is the most valuable crafting resource in the game. It is used for most of the high-value craftables like magnum rounds and explosives. The game has a set amount of environmental spawns for each resource and the resource drops from enemies are scaled with a probability that helps maintain the same rarity you see reflected in the environment. This creates a bottleneck where the more playthroughs you do, the more of the common resources like rusted scrap that will pile up compared to your couple of herbs or metal scraps. NOTE: Crafting resources do not take up inventory space so there is no need to worry about the common ones piling up.
The game caters its resource drops based on how you are playing
There is a pretty robust code system for how enemy resource drops work as I alluded to in the previous tip. The most notable takeaway about this is that the game will almost always give you an herb from killed enemies if you are hurt badly or are injured a bit and have no healing items on you. This can technically be exploited at least to a minor degree but in practice it just means that if you are in dire need of a heal and have no herbs your best bet is usually to hunker down and try to take something out to get the game to throw you an herb.
General Progression / Completion Tips
Play the game on Standard first.
Unless you are very new to RE games, generally not a great FPS player, or just want the easier time of Casual, start on Standard to avoid being bored. The game is VERY easy for most gamers if you try on Casual. There are some good reasons why everyone should go play Casual at least once or twice but not the first time, more on that later.
Do Not play the game on Hardcore first.
This is likely going to be the most contentious advice I give in the whole guide. It is absolutely possible to play through RE8 on NG Hardcore but I do not suggest it for first time players who are looking to have an enjoyable first experience playing the game. The game’s progression and leveling is designed so that Hardcore is a fun experience for your first NG+ run or an experienced player looking for a challenge on a later NG playthrough.
Do Not play Village of Shadows on your first NG+ run.
Village of Shadows is quite challenging even for experienced players and while I pulled through (barely) doing VoS on my first NG+ I would not suggest you do that to yourself. Beat the game on standard, then do an NG+ run on Hardcore prior to NG+ VoS. A 100% or near-100% completionist player has to do at least three runs of the game anyway, more on that later.
You will collect a variety of item in the game that only serve as cash injections to sell at the shop as a reward for exploring, progressing, or besting powerful optional foes. When in the sell menu of the shop all items are referenced with some variation on the word “valuable”. You can (and should) always sell these items at your next visit to the shop as their price does not go up or anything if you hold onto them. The exception to this is when they say “combinable”, which means there is more treasure out there to put with the item you found for an even greater award (and progress towards an achievement). Even if you find and combine two items, if it STILL says “combinable” then do not sell it yet. The word will go away when you have collected all the pieces.
Regarding the NG+ weapons
You can unlock Chris’ USM handgun and Dragoon assault rifle for Ethan to purchase for dirt cheap in the shop. If you are a completionist or near-completionist I suggest NOT buying these weapons as it makes it less fun to watch the progression of your advancements and the final versions of Ethan’s top pistol and assault rifle are actually better anyway. I am unsure if you need them for the weapon completion achievement but if so, then just buy them at the very end of your weapon leveling to pop the achievement and then either sell them right back to conserve inventory or keep them around if you think they are not too much of a burden. For non-completionists it is a matter of choice on if you want to use them or not. They are pretty cheap to buy and re-buy so it is not the end of the world to change your mind on them.
Points of No Return for Collectibles and Resources (Minor Spoilers):
First and foremost, the main village area is returned to multiple times so do not worry if it seems like you missed something in a certain neighborhood of the village. Your last chance is bullet #7
The indications of “minor” or “major” are not in regards to spoilers, they are in regards to how much of a big deal it is that you are going through that point of no return.
- Minor: Putting Rose in her crib.
- Minor: Sliding down a steep slope overlooking the village.
- Major: Picking up a knife in a coffin.
- Major: Riding the elevator back to the village after collecting the second flask.
- Major: Riding the elevator back to the village after collecting the third flask.
- Minor: After running a gauntlet of enemies in a stronghold, you will crawl through a narrow crevice and see some lycans enjoying a snack. There is a save point you can use and then you will see a ledge to drop down from. This ledge is the point of no-return.
- MAJOR: Placing the completed “Giant’s Chalice” on its new pedestal at the ceremony site.
- Major: Balancing across a crane beam to operate the controls in its bucket.
- Minor: Holding down F for a very long time to get into your new ride.
- Minor: Breaking a padlock on a jail cell.
Achievements / Challenges
This is not an achievement guide and most of these achievements have dedicated guides available for you to reference if you are looking for more hand-holdy type assistance. This is meant to be more of an explanation of how the achievements work and how to approach/attempt them without excessive wasting of time or frustration.
Plan a dedicated achievement run on NG+ Casual
As I mentioned previously, it is worth it for everyone to do at least one run of the game on Casual to bang out a bunch of the challenge-run achievements. Even if you are an experienced player who is scoffing at the idea, I encourage you to consider that there is actually a nice balance of skillful challenge, time saving, and reduction of frustration if you attempt to do virtually all the challenge-runs at once on Casual NG+. I suggest making this your third run (2nd NG+ run) of the game for reasons I will explain below. This is important: Check the Basic Combat section of this guide for tips on melee combat and blocking that will be key for this run! A breakdown of what challenges I mean is below:
- The 4 heals or less run
This is actually very doable if you make it a point to avoid engagements and just RUN. You will be trying for the sub-3 hours run anyway and cannot afford to be fighting everything. Having a fully levelled up health and block and USING the block will be key to this as well. There are certain points where Ethan will heal himself in a cutscene that I have not confirmed whether or not they heal you or not but they DO NOT count toward your 4 allowed heals so I suspect they heal you at least partially for free. Remember the challenge screen tracks your number of heals!
- The knife-only run
- DO Check the challenge menu screen whenever you question if you just did something that could have disqualified you for the run, obviously this also means SAVE OFTEN.
- DO use the laser pointer for attacking the fort (since you have to)
- DO NOT use the laser pointer against the Giant Mace Boss
- DO use pistols to shoot explosive barrels and scenery objects like birdcages
- DO use the self-propelled artillery vehicle (since you have to)
- DO use your guns at the very end of the final boss when it forces you to (this means you need to still bring a good bit of ammo into that fight)
- DO NOT use flashbangs, they deal at least one damage because they can kill crows. I am not sure if you can kill animals with guns and it still be a valid knife run but you do not have the time to hunt them in this run anyway, feel free to let me know if you find out.
This is the primary reason to do these runs on both Casual and as your 2nd NG+ run. I suggest you attempt this with the Karambit (if you have the lightsaber then obviously use that instead since its free heals, a perfect block, and better damage) which you should buy on your first NG+ run and therefore have in your inventory right at the start of this subsequent challenge run. All enemies can be killed by knives (including bosses) but I suggest skipping optional sections of the game since you are going for speed anyway. For bosses, run around behind them and knife them from behind, rest assured you ARE doing damage. The one exception to this is the last major hurdle of a knife playthrough, the boss with a giant mace near the end of the game when you are playing as Chris. This is REALLY tough even on Casual to do with a knife because he has a LOT of health and is armored, forcing you to go for his HAND. It is key you have at least two heals allowed still so that you can do one here and still have one for the final boss if needed. Most common enemies like moroaicas can be more easily beaten with knives by looping around them in a circle while you knife them and try to stay on their backs. The enemy becomes stuck trying to get their front facing you so they can attack. Don’t forget the trick that speeds up your DPS with knives using blocks to interrupt the winddown animation.
- The less than 3 hours run
Skip all optional side areas and do not go around picking everything up. Optimally you want to have started this with a completion file that had a few first-aids in the inventory already but you can just grab ones that are given to you along the required path. Do not even go into the shop until the very last time you can. Upon which, sell everything you were forcibly given in regards to loot in a single menuing session. I was able to do it in 2 hours, 30 minutes with pretty much no stress or difficulty by just knowing the game’s route and not wasting time grabbing a ton of crap I did not need.
- The no-crafting run
Self-explanatory, this is why it is key though to have a few first-aids in your completion file’s inventory to tide you over until you run across one or two that on the required path.
- The no inventory management run
Make sure on your NG+ run prior to this that you go into the final boss with a properly sorted inventory, this will then allow you to go around picking up one or two first aids without fear and NOTHING ELSE. Do not pick up pipe bombs or landmines unless you are confident in the look and space of your inventory. Ammo for guns is absolutely not needed beyond a couple shotgun shells or pistol rounds for the required sequence at the end of the final boss.
All of the challenge runs can be referenced from the “Challenges” menu in the pause screen and they will tell you if you have failed them or not. Use the keyboard keys instead of the mouse’s scroll wheel to move more efficiently through the menu.
Killing a Samca (flying vampire) with a landmine
This is doable on any difficulty but I suggest trying to do it on Normal. Samcas become stunned on the ground for a pretty long time after they are flashbanged. Pick a specific Samca to target, put a couple pistol rounds into her and then fire a flashbang. Run up to the thing and plant a landmine directly on it, you have a few I-frames when placing that should avoid causing self-damage. The Samca should die and you will get the achievement.
Weapon kill-total achievements
The game challenges you to accumulate across all your runs of the game a certain number of kills with each class of weapon. Some of these will happen naturally from playing while others require you to be specifically going for them. The more tricky ones are listed below with some tips:
- Landmines: This is the one that asks the most out of you as the player. Landmines are strong but uncommon in the environment and costly in regards to crafting resources as they need the valued Metal Scrap resource. You will generally want to attempt to wrack up progress when you encounter groups of enemies. Try to pump a few rounds from your pistol into each foe or, if you know they can survive a shotgun shell, hit them once with one and then try to kite them into a bunch so that when one sets off a mine the others will also be hit. The game likes to coax you into using mines against bosses, DO NOT do this if you want the landmine challenge.
- Magnums: As mentioned in an earlier section, it is important you actually kill stuff with the magnum instead of just using it to get a head-start on boss’ health bars. Make a judgement based on how you are doing to decide whether you can afford to commit some magnum rounds to the killing blows on medium/large size foes like the armored lycans and varcolacs.
- Automatic Rifles: The machine guns in the game are NG+ items save for a specific sequence towards the end of the game that you can rack up a couple dozen kills each time do you do it in a run. There is no ammo in the main game’s environment for machine guns, you HAVE to craft ammo. This means you need to make a choice on what your focus is going to be as machine gun ammo overlaps with the resources for other kill challenges.