Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue has a few new tricks up its sleeve, and Phantom Aqua is the first fight in Aqua’s new game that could give gamers some trouble.

Although the bulk of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is made up by its remastered version of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, the collection does present some new challenges to gamers as well. Many fans are calling the collection’s Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage an important preview of Kingdom Hearts 3‘s combat, and it is true that Aqua’s brief adventure is the highlight for many of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8.

Part of what has gamers so excited about the short A Fragmentary Passage gameplay sample is what it promises for the future of the series, and it is especially evident in the game’s many boss battles. Aqua’s journey will make fans happy in its own right, but Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 will also please combat purists who were looking for an evolution in the game’s battle mechanics to match other advancements made by games like Final Fantasy 15.

That being said, some of the boss fights in A Fragmentary Passage can be difficult for gamers who are newer to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8‘ style of extremely fluid combat and on-the-fly decision making. Although the first boss, the Demon Tower, is a relatively easy introduction to the combat, the game ramps up the difficulty immediately when gamers are forced to face down Aqua’s inner demons in a battle against her reflection. While it won’t represent a significant challenge for veterans of Kingdom Hearts games, the battles against Phantom Aqua are the first that really require some efficient timing and attack management, so Game Rant has compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help guide players through the three encounters with Phantom Aqua.

Encounter 1 – Dodge-Roll Like Your Life Depends On It (It Does)

In Aqua’s first encounter with Phantom Aqua, the boss will have two different attack patterns. The first will be when she warps in front of Aqua in an attempt to land melee strikes on her – timing counter properly will prevent any damage, and there will be very obvious moments during this attack pattern where Phantom Aqua slows down and will open herself up to a few counter attacks. Choose these moments wisely and be ready to play defense whenever the warp strike cycle begins again.

The more problematic attack, however, is Phantom Aqua’s second cycle, which sees her teleport into the air and release four glass orbs directed at the player. These don’t hit hard, but their patterns aren’t set, so the player will need to time dodge rolls efficiently and understand the rhythm of this attack. It should only take one phase to get the pattern down, and after cycling through both attack phases and counterattacking during the melee phase, the battle should end and Aqua should emerge victorious.

kingdom hearts 2-8 aqua world within

Encounter 2 – Twice the Niceness

The second encounter will simply see Phantom Aqua lengthen her aerial teleport phase. It’s more important now to avoid standing in the center of the glass orbs, as the chained attacks will make it more difficult to dodge roll effectively after the first four orbs are released. Still, if gamers manage to get a feel for the first encounter with Phantom Aqua, the second should be a relatively easy effort that just requires a bit more timing finesse.

Encounter 3 – All Counter, All the Time

While the first two encounters place equal weight on being able to counter and dodge roll effectively, the third heavily prioritizes countering instead. Phantom Aqua has gained a few new attacks this time, including a spin move that forces both her (and the player, if hit) toward the outside of the arena, which can make it difficult to dodge attacks and time counters for the melee phase effectively. During the spin move, standing in the center until Phantom Aqua closes in and dodging when she gets close should be good enough, while every other attack will require some timely countering. Doing so will present the player with some nice openings for counterattacking.

The only other advantage to be gained in this fight is at the very beginning, where Phantom Aqua will leave the player with enough time to Shotlock her while she begins the boss fight. Take this opportunity to get some damage on Phantom Aqua before the battle starts so that the pressure to counter isn’t so high.

The Phantom Aqua fight, especially on higher difficulties, is the first challenging encounter players of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue are likely to face. With this guide and some well-timed reflexes, however, Phantom Aqua shouldn’t be a problem, and Aqua will be able to continue her journey into the Darkness smoothly.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is available now for PS4.

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