For Hi-Fi RUSH players, this is a guide on how Jam Combos work exactly, and how to hit consistent S rank scores.
Do note that this guide is for those who have finished the game and have all companion Jam Combos unlocked. It will also assume Xbox controls.
Quick Glossary (because the terms in this game get a little dumb):
Combo: Chai’s XY chains.
Beat Hit: Hitting X or Y at the end of a combo.
Jam Combo: Hitting RT at the end of a combo.
Summon: Hitting RT outside of a beat hit.
How Scoring and S Ranks work
Every time you die, your chapter rank will go down – one death will kick you out of S rank. If you ever feel like you’re about to die, just return to hideout and try again.
Just Beats will come naturally the longer you play the game, and you can always practice in the training room to get the timings down.
Assuming you’re playing somewhat well, I found it very rare to not get an S rank in kill speed. The only times it happened were either in Track 1 and 2, where the game assumes you’re playing without many of the tools at your disposal and adjusts kill speed/combat score requirements accordingly, or when I went insane and chained a combo five times longer than necessary.
That means that for the majority of your S rank hunts, the difference maker will be if you can get a high combat score. How high it needs to be varies from each encounter, but they generally scale with the amount of enemies they throw at you. If you’re ever over 120k points, you’re safe to just end it ASAP. The key to getting a high combat score is…using your reverb gauge. That might sound obvious, but let me break it down a little more.
You can obviously use it for Special Attacks, and many times, just getting a decent AOE special attack in a large enough group of enemies is enough to get an S rank, but that’s not always an option. Sometimes, the game will simply not throw enough enemies at you for you to build up the reverb needed for a big Special Attack.
That’s when Jam Combos come in, and it’s generally far better for scoring with the trade-off of taking way longer. Using the same amount of reverb for Jam Combos vs Special Attacks will usually favor the Jam Combos. However, the game really doesn’t do a good job explaining exactly how Jam Combos work or how to maximize them, so I’m going to dedicate an entire section to it.
Understanding Jam Combos
This will start an attack animation during which you’re invincible. After the animation, you can grapple to the enemy and hit them with another full combo, at the end of which you can choose to spend another reverb to Jam Combo again or to end the combo with a Beat Hit.
Do note that Chai’s normal combo finisher will still apply damage right before the Jam Combo animation. This means you can accidentally kill them, and then jam combo nothing, wasting it. On lower difficulties, even XXXX is enough to kill the low tier enemies. In those cases, I recommend XYY instead, as it has low single-target damage.
If the enemy dies during the Jam Combo or the combo directly after, they will be put into an Overkill state that will prevent them from fully exploding long enough for you to grapple to them and combo them again. The only way they’ll die is if you hit them with a beat hit, drop a combo, or ignore them for too long. Putting them into an Overkill state by itself gives way more points than simply destroying them. For instance, the basic ranged enemy from Track 1 will give 280 points when destroyed, and 1600 when Overkilled.
However, since they will stay on the field for as long as you Jam Combo them, this is also the main source of racking up the combo count. Every time you hit a combo count in multiples of 20 (might stop after 100 but I never paid enough attention), you get a big influx of points. Since the enemy is practically guaranteed to be in an Overkill state from the sheer amount of hits you’re raining down on them, damage takes a backseat. Multihits are generally far better for your points.
What Each Companion Jam Combo Does
Do note that after two air combos, gravity will increase for you and the enemy to prevent infinite juggling. You can still just barely manage to squeak a third in if you’re fast, but never a fourth.
If I’m being honest, I find that two seem to be disproportionately better – Ground Macaron and Air Korsica. They both hit a ton of times and if you want to transition from air-ground, using an XYXY combo to start Ground Macaron is better than spending the reverb for Air Macaron.
So what role does Peppermint fulfill in a Jam Combo chain? You can summon her during Chai’s normal combo for 10+ hits, then swap back to one of the other two for their jam combo. She will come off cooldown as the Jam Combo animation ends, and you can do it again. This is one of the most mechanical things you can do in this game and not even necessary, but it is how you optimize your combo.
What to do about those annoying rage states
In my experience, there’s only one way to fully prevent this from happening – killing them with a special attack before the rage state ever triggers. Otherwise, you’ll kinda just have to deal with it. You need the rage state to end to actually get points from them, and the only way their rage state will end is if you avoid/parry their standoff initiation (the AOE shout) twice or if you full parry the standoff but elect not to instakill them. The problem with both is that they will have a full stun gauge, so you’ll have to use Korsica’s normal summon to apply her stun buff so your jam combos will actually break and hitstun them.
If you’re fighting bosses, the reverb gauge becomes much less useful as just not dying and spamming them with normal summons is more than enough to S rank. I would recommend something like High Risk, High return level 3 (you unlock this after finishing all the Spectra challenges) and Korsica stun+.
- For short encounters where they barely give you enough enemies to build up reverb, using Macaron’s hold summon to stun a group of enemies and using your X+mash Y combo will give you enough batteries to get started. If you have to, use it at a distance so you only hit enemies with the beat hit that generates all the batteries, but not hurt them so badly that you can’t jam combo them.
- Some multi-stage fights will have enemies with full shielding in the latter stages. Saving reverb for an AOE special attack would be better than Jam Comboing in those cases.
- Jam combos kind of suck in Rhythm Tower because of the long animations. I recommend just spamming summons like mad instead so you just kill everybody ASAP. This is enough for an itemless S rank.
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