The world of Icenaire is a cold and unforgiving place. Learn to survive with these Vambrace: Cold Soul tips and tricks.
Vambrace: Cold Soul is a game that takes plenty of inspiration from Darkest Dungeon. It’s not a forgiving game, so be ready to do plenty of strategic retreating as you build up your resource reserves. These tips and tricks will help keep your first party alive past the first expedition.
Stats aren’t explained very well in the game’s tutorials. There are several stats that determine success at combat, events, camping, and more. They are represented by icons throughout the game. You’ll need to learn these icons at a glance to be successful.
- Combat Rating – Increases the amount of damage you do to enemies. This rating is different from the ‘true damage’ modifier found in certain skills.
- Sleight Rating – Determines the success rate of opening crates and treasure boxes. High sleight valve can help avoid mimics and other traps. It also increases chances of finding rare loot.
- Merchantry Rating – This stat provides discounts at merchants and increases the chances of the merchant carrying a rare item. This skill isn’t as useful as the others because it doesn’t help you survive in Icenaire at all.
- Awareness Rating – Increases the likelihood that a character will spot a trap. It also determines a character’s starting position in the turn timeline. Awareness is a must-have stat for all companions. The party member with the highest awareness determines whether traps are successfully avoided or not.
- Overwatch Rating – This rating determineshow much health and vigor may be returned through camping activities. Camps allow a chance for sleeping to recover health and entertainment to recover Vigor.
You can open the character screen and tap on debuff icons to see what they do. I’ve found no solution for accessing this information in docked mode, which is an oversight on the developer’s part. You’ll be frequenting this screen to learn abilities of your characters anyway.
How Exploration Works
While Darkest Dungeon controls backtracking through a torch mechanic, Vambrace: Cold Soul uses a frost mechanic. Each character loses a point of vigor upon entering any room. This mechanic discourages entire level exploration early on, when you have few resources.
It’s fine to explore all the rooms available when doing resource runs. But during boss runs, you’ll want to take the shortest path through a level to avoid wasting vigor. That’s also counter -intuitive to how most roguelite games are played, which can cause some frustration with the game if you’re not prepared.
Tactical retreats are necessary early on to preserve the resources you’ve found. You’ll lose your expedition progress, but keep any items you’ve earned.
Each location typically has 10 rooms to explore. These rooms may be any combination of events, such as:
- A place to camp
- A treasure room with lots of crates and chests
- Random enemy encounters
- Random events where the player can make a choice
- Meeting with the ghostly merchant Gerrard
Learning to read the map included in the game is important to avoid wasting vigor. The paths that exit each room are dependent on the up and down arrows featured on the map. You’ll need to complete multiple sections of the town before you arrive at the boss.
Always check the map to make sure you’re traveling in the right direction. You can doom a viable expedition due to too much back tracking. It costs nothing to press Up on the D-Pad and check the direction before you change rooms.
Terror and the Geist-o-meter
The Geist-o-meter keeps track of the parties’ terror as the adventure throughout Icenaire. The terror level rises slowly for each new room you enter. Sleeping and entertaining at camp will also raise the terror level by +5 for each action performed.
If you take to long to reach the end of an area, a green mist will slowly appear. The mist wipes out random encounters and replaces them entirely with fights.
Fights will continue until you reach the exit. Reaching a new area of the dungeon will reset the terror meter. Combat healing abilities don’t work while the Geist-o-meter is full, so you have no way to recover health, either.
Note: If you need ectoplasm for crafting, this is an effective way to get it. Simply explore until the meter is full and then fight until you need to retreat. Each ghostly fight will usually yield at least one ectoplasm.
Progressing in the game means being willing to retreat from these early battles. Your party needs relics and a healthy supply of health and vigor items to survive a full expedition trip to the boss.
Spend your early expeditions exploring heavily to find loot, then retreat to craft relics and refresh your team. If you find too much loot to return with, check rooms for the ghostly merchant Gerrard. You can sell what you can’t carry back to him to make some extra hellion.
You’ll need that extra cash to hire new companions and outfit them with relics, healing, and vigor items. Don’t forget to unload your inventory when you return to base.
You can store items in the chest in your room at the inn or the chest at the back of the workshop. They’re linked, so you don’t have to worry about where items have ended up.
Craft relics for your team and take note of the items you need to gather on your next expedition. It doesn’t hurt to have a few backup relics stored, since you lose the relic a companion is wearing if they die.
Useful Classes to Recruit
There are ten different classes to choose from when assembling a party to explore the surface. Not all of them are useful when combined with other classes. In fact, it’s possible to have a party die due to bad synergy between party members.
Which companions are available to hire at the Hunter’s Camp is entirely random. A good party makeup should have one ally with a high Overwatch skill, one with high Combat, and another for healing or damage mitigation. A party makeup with excellent survivability includes:
- Celestine or Arcaster
The Fusilier is the party’s idea frontman because he can hit enemies in all four positions. If the Fusilier isn’t an available choice at the Camp, the Dragoon or Berserker can also hold the front line well.
The Hedge Mage deals no damage, but comes equipped with healing abilities. She can also wear items that diminish the Combat skill with no negative impact to the party. The Celestine is also a great choice for her damage potential and barrier skill. Finally, the Arcaster is another choice if you want to rely on camp boosts to heal your party.
The Shadowmancer is almost necessary to survive late-game expeditions. High awareness helps this class spot and avoid traps before they end the party. One of his abilities deals poison damage upon successful hit. Poison damage is dealt at the start of the enemy turn, which means it can kill an enemy before they act.
Each class also has two class-specific relics that grant bonuses for that class. Class- specific relics can make certain classes unstoppable powerhouses.
Just remember: if a companion dies, they’re gone forever and so is the relic they were wearing.
Equipping Your Party
Now that you know how to farm effectively, you should focus on crafting a Fine Vest for Lyric to start.
It grants Vigor +4, Health +8, and only reduces Awareness by 1. Lyric is a ranged fighter and should be in the third or fourth position, so the awareness loss isn’t a big deal.
To craft the Fine Vest, you’ll need a regular vest, five needle and thread, and three splints. You can buy the vest and splint items from the merchants in town, or Gerrard while on expedition.
Merchant items are randomly generated the first time you talk to that merchant. That’s why merchant inventory changes after each expedition. If you can’t buy enough vests to outfit all your companions at first, keep checking after each expedition to the surface.
The parties’ leading character should have a high awareness value to detect traps and possibly avoid them. The Overwatch value also matters for camp healing successes.
Note: Because Vambrace: Cold Soul is also an RPG with a story, Lyric must survive every battle. If she dies, it’s an automatic end to that expedition.
You should always retreat if Lyric is low on health to avoid losing the resources you’ve gathered so far.
Vambrace Cold Soul Tips – Conclusion
These Vambrace: Cold Soul tips and tricks should help you better survive while exploring the surface. The game has a quite gloomy but worthy story once you have a party that can survive basic horrors.
The game drastically simplifies positioning compared to Darkest Dungeon. But it more than makes up for that with the narrative experience. Keeping companions viable in Vambrace for longer is much easier, too.
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