From Before I Play
- When leveling, go Holy. It gives you a projectile weapon that, frankly, rips apart enemy encounter design up until the final boss.
- The soul saving minigame never really gets appreciably harder so don't even worry about it and accept the absolute tedium of a minigame as the rewards are more useful for the one playthrough you'll do.
- Always explore both ends of each bone pole and rope to make sure to get all relics, damned souls and experience fountains. Same goes with running towards the camera or in the opposite direction the camera points to whenever entering a new room or "scene". Pretty much standard GOW "secret location logic".
- There's enough Holy/Damned experience in the game to max out one of the two skill trees at level 7 and get the other one to level 5. This can be done without grinding, just make sure to level up the two relics granting up to 30% extra experience early in the game. Maybe 6/6 is also possible, but why would one want to do that?
- You can game these +x% Holy/Unholy XP relics, due to how the Holy/Unholy XP and leveling up of relics work. The (Un)Holy XP is awarded immediately when the activity finishes. The associated souls, which are what levels the relics, have a travel time and will hit 1-2 seconds later. In that time window, one can switch the bonus XP relic out for one that still needs leveling.
- The Holy side of the skill tree is focused on defensive magic, survival and and ranged attacks via the cross, the Unholy one is more focused on offensive magic and melee attacks via the scythe.
- You'll want to have the Soul Stabber/Crusher/Shatter triplet of Unholy skills for the final boss and two other types of elite enemies in the second half of the game. Not having these will make your life a pain.
- On the holy side, definitely get the upgrades that lower damage taken as well as the ones that make the Holy Shield magic restore your HP. Fully upgraded, this almost fully refills a 3x upgraded health bar.
- Easiest path through the game in my opinion is Unholy to level 1, then Holy to level 3, then Unholy to 3, then Holy to 5 (3rd relic slot), Unholy to 4 (4th relic slot), Holy to 7, rest into Unholy. With this path, I have about half a dozen damned souls left when I reached Holy level 7.
- Lastly, the question marks on the very left of the Unholy tree relate to magics you get later in the game, so unless you want to go heavy into offensive magic, don't save up for them.
- One relic to definitely upgrade is the one that extends the combo hit timer (Coin of Plutos). Without this, you will hate your life in the 8th circle of hell.
- Other relics of note that should be leveled on higher difficulty are the mana regeneration one, increased scythe and cross damage (the former will make the end boss easier) and defensive ones like decreased damage received, chance to absorb damage or increase of counter attack window, as there are a few enemy types that will sooner or later hit you.