Howdy, partner. This guide contains a full breakdown of each character, with detailed explanation of their abilities, including tips and tricks on how to make the best out of each one.
Corpses killed in accidental deaths will not trigger the alarm upon found by enemies. These corpses can be retrieved by the player and used to lure other enemies away from their positions by throwing those bodies in their cone of view; doing so will not ring the alarm since they’re corpses generated from accidental deaths, and the enemy AI will always identify as that. Hector is the best character to do this since he can throw bodies.
Using the space bar to crouch while holding a corpse is actually faster than Ctrl+Click. This can often save the player from a pinch when enemies are about to discover the body.
McCoy and Kate drag bodies while crouching, meaning the player can effectively move bodies around within the enemies dark area of the view cone without being alerted. This is specially effective to cancel lengthy dying animations from other abilities.
John Cooper | The Gunslinger
The son of the late James Cooper, John is a lone wolf and bounty hunter seeking revenge and justice. His sharpshooter skills are unmatched, as are his abilities with the knife, both learned from his father.
As the main character, Cooper is the most balanced and versatile party member. He is tied with Isabelle as the fastest runner, but curiously has the slowest walking speed; walking is generally not very useful in this game since you’ll be either running or crouching, this is irrelevant.
Cooper, alongside Isabelle, are the only characters that can climb ivies and ropes, and also swim. This grealy opens their approach to reach enemies from strategical point; in fact, Cooper and Isabelle work great together.
He carries bodies while standing still, which can be difficult in certain areas crowded with enemy vision from everywhere. Because of that, it is best to dispatch enemies with Cooper and let Kate or McCoy carry the bodies, since they do it crouching, meaning the darker area of the enemy view cone won’t spot them.
Those who played Mimimi Studio’s previous title, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, will recognize Cooper’s abilities as being very similar to Hayato’s.
Cooper boasts the fastest melee attack of the cast (2.0 seconds), both lethal and non-lethal, although his knife stab has the lowest range. This, paired with his movement speed, adds a lot of flexibility in his approaches and makes him one of the best for multiple takedowns with other characters in Showndown mode.
Arguably Cooper’s best ability in his arsenal, his knife throw allows him to quickly and silently kill enemies from safe distances; this attack has a larger noise radius compared to regular melee, so it can be risky to use if enemies are too close to each other.
One bad aspect of the knife is that enemy’s dying duration is much longer (4.4 seconds) compared to melee kills, which can sometimes give other enemies enough time to spot their fallen comrade; the player can negate this duration by quickly picking up the body and dropping it on the ground by crouching.
Much like Hayato’s shuriken in Shadow Tactics, Cooper has to retrive the knife from the enemy’s body after thrown by simply walking near it; if the body is carried by someone else, the knife will be carried alongside it. This can be used strategically if the enemy is at a high ground near other allies; said ally can toss the body downwards, allowing Cooper to safely retrive the knife.
A very effective strategy, specially on higher difficulties, is to throw the knife on one nearby target and use melee on another. This allows the player to quickly dispatch two enemies without risking to trigger the alarm. While this seems hard to pull off manually, it can be easily done with Showdown mode (automated action as the knife throw and manually use melee, or vice-versa).
If Cooper uses his knife throw, his guns go on a 2 second cooldown.
Cooper can throw a fake coin, which he conveniently has unlimited supply of, to distract enemies, making them look where the coin was thrown. While this won’t lure enemies away from their position, it gives enough time (5.0 seconds) for Cooper to sneak around. It is important to note that the fake coin less effective on Ponchos and Long Coats, with a lower duration (around 2.5 seconds).
The coin has other versatile uses. For instance, it can be thrown directly at the enemy to annoy them, often causing them to walk a bit and look to the sides. The coin can also be thrown at horses or bulls to irritate them, which can lead to accidental kills.
Cooper is unique as he carries two guns, with a quite high range, and which function exact the same, and share their ammunition count. He can use both at the same time during Showdown Time, allowing him to take down two targets at once. Combine him and Hector to go full Rambo when the situation allows.
If Cooper shoots with either gun, his knife throw goes on a 2 second cooldown.
Doctor McCoy | The Apothecary Sniper
A cold and distant, yet very skilled doctor and calculist sharpshooter, Doctor McCoy is a professional gun-for-hire, doing carrying on assassinations and using his exceptional knowledge of the human body to kill with precision and efficiency. A man of few words, little is known about his past, and very few people even know his first name.
McCoy is a character with very limited mobility; unable climb ivies and ropes, and can’t swim. He carries bodies very slowly, although done crouching, meaning he can safely sneak past enemy vision while doing so. His poor mobility and flexibility is compensated by fantastic versatility and precision.
McCoy is the only character in the cast capable of lockpicking, being a key in certain missions to open locked doors.
McCoy is not very suited for close-range combat, having the slowest melee of the whole cast (4.1 seconds), both lethal and non-lethal. This, combined with his slow movement, makes McCoy a frail character; his melee should only be used in case the player needs to take down multiple enemies with various party members at once.
McCoy’s true power lies in his colt, which has the highest range out of any ability in the game, and allows him to snipe enemies from afar, with minimal noise. This is specially useful when there are enemies on high ground that can expose any action of the player’s team; McCoy can effectively dispose of them without triggering any alarms, as they’ll be too high to be seen. Be wary, however, of sniping enemies that can be spotted by others, since the dying duration is quite long (3.9 seconds).
Those who played Shadow Tactics will recognize this ability from Mugen, who could lob a bottle of sake to bait enemies.
McCoy can throw his bag in a small radius around him to lure enemies into checking his bag. Only one enemy can be lured at once, who will walk slowly towards the bag; if they open it, a powder trap will explode and briefly blind them, greatly limiting their vision. This won’t trigger alarms nor alert other enemies, and the victim will look around for a few seconds before returning to their patrol route. The player can either allow the enemy to reach the bag or intercept them beforehand.
It is important to note that this ability only lures Gunmen, dogs and civilians; Ponchos and Long Coats will be briefly distracted, but won’t move towards the bag.
Whether the bag detonates or not, McCoy must retrieve it manually.
A potent and non-lethal crowd-control ability. This vial can be thrown at enemies, and incapacitate an entire group, including Long Coats. Fallen enemies will be susceptible to being tied or executed.
The drawback is the very limited count of vials McCoy has available per map, so it should be used wisely and sparringly. Very few maps have crates where the player can stock for more vials.
This ability is exceptional against clustered groups of enemies, and work wonders with Isabelle’s Connect to allow knocking out far away enemies.
Unlike in Shadow Tactics, healing skills are unlimited in this game, but come with a cooldown. This allows the player to be a bit more aggressive and even take a few shots.
McCoy’s bandages heal 2 points of damage at a 20 second cooldown. This ability can be combined with Isabelle’s Connect to heal two characters at the same time.
Hector Mendoza | The Drunkard Brute
Cooper’s old friend, who is helping him hunt down Frank. A drunkard, yet good-natured man and with a distinct sense of humor, Hector’s “gentle giant” appearance shouldn’t be taken lightly. He possesses exceptional strength and resilience, and carries a massive bear trap which he affectionately calls “Bianca”, a weapon he uses to obliterate his unsuspecting victims.
Being large and robust, Hector has the highest health of the cast (five bars), but also has low mobility. His crouching and running speed are very slow, however, his walking speed is actually the fastest in the game; this, combined with the fact he can carry two bodies at the same time, means he can move them around safely. Those who played Shadow Tactics will recognize this trait from Mugen, who could do the same.
One of Hector’s most remarkable abilities is being able to throw bodies. Not only this allows him to dispose of them faster, but this can also be used offensively; throwing bodies directly at living enemies will knock them down and leave them temporarily stunned, allowing for quickly retaliation. This is exceptionally useful in a couple of Challenge Missions from The Baron which limits the use of offensive abilities.
Hector is unable to climb ivies and ropes, and cannot swim.
In many aspects, Hector plays like a combination of Mugen and Yuki from Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, which will be discussed below.
Hector’s melee attacks are the second fastest out of the cast (2.1 seconds) after Cooper’s (2.0 seconds), meaning he can quickly dispose of enemies. He is also the only character that can take on Long Coats head on without requiring other setups; his melee attack, whether it’s lethal or not, will dispose of them.
Because of his speed and power, in many missions Hector will probably be your main killer, given how he can quickly dispose of enemies and grab their corpses and throw at the nearest bush.
Using Showdown Mode with Hector and Cooper is very effective to take down two enemies in melee range at the same time at roughly the same speed.
Similarly to Yuki in Shadow Tactics, Hector can use traps to kill unsuspecting enemies, albeit in a much more brutal manner. Setting up his bear trap, which he calls Bianca, makes noise, meaning that enemies very close to Hector will hear and turn around, exposing him.
Bianca cannot be detected and will kill any enemy who steps on it, except for Long Coats. The dying animation is quite lengthy (5.4 seconds), meaning other patrolling enemies can detect them. The player can then use a character who crouches while carrying bodies (Cooper, McCoy or Kate) to pick them up and cancel the dying animation while ensuring other enemies won’t see.
In a two particular missions, Hector won’t have Bianca available, and will instead use a rake, which he appropriately calls “Not-Bianca”. Mechanically, the rake functions exactly like Bianca, albeit it is actually slightly faster to arm, and it doesn’t kill enemies, instead knocking the out.
Hector must manually retrieve Bianca (and Not-Bianca) by picking the trap up, even after it triggers. The trap only activates once.
One of the cores of Hector’s gameplay is setting up Bianca in safe places (such as bushes and areas out of other enemies field of view) and luring enemies on it with…
Similarly to Yuki’s bird call in Shadow Tactics, Hector can whistle to draw the attention of his targets, which will lure Gunmen, civilians and dogs, but won’t work on Ponchos and Long Coats (although they will be briefly distracted). Lured enemies will slowly walk towards the position where Hector whistled.
Multiple enemies can be lured by the whistle at the same time, and whistling a second time while they’re still investigating will cause them to sprint towards the location. If the Gunmen is too far away from Hector, as in needing to go around and take a longer route to reach it, they will not bother to walk.
If whistling while inside a bush, enemies will approach the bush and take a few seconds to check it; when they do, they’ll be focused on the bush, and their view cone will be reduced drastically. However, they will also spot characters inside bushes much faster.
Arguably the most powerful ability in the game, Hector’s shotgun can kill a large group of enemies in one go, in a massive cone in front of him. Long Coats won’t be instantly killed, and instead be stunned.
The drawback of the shotgun is the large noise radius it causes, which can easily trigger the alarm if the player is not careful. This weapon is actually very effective into killing reinforcements from alarm, since they’ll leave their fort slowly.
Hector’s whiskey fully heals him, at a 20 second cooldown. The drink actually has a pretty funny interaction with Isabelle’s Connect, which will be explained more later.
Kate O’Hara | The Femme Fatale
Kate lived most of her life in the O’Hara family ranch in Colorado, with her uncle, Ian O’Hara. In rough wild west ruled by men, she learned how to survive by using her looks to seduce and manipulate them. A master of disguise, Kate can easily blend in wearing revealing dresses and make the drooling cowboys look the other side… The wrong side.
Similarly to McCoy, Kate is a character with very limited mobility; unable climb ivies and ropes, and can’t swim. She carries bodies very slowly, although done crouching, meaning she can safely sneak past enemy vision while doing so. Her poor mobility and flexibility is compensated by her ability to infiltrate enemy territory, as long she has her disguise available.
Those who played Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, will recognize Kate’s gameplay as being almost exactly to Aiko’s, but a bit more limited.
Kate is the only character in the cast who lacks a lethal takedown; her only option is to deliver a well placed kicked in the groin, which will knock down her victim at a relatively lengthy duration (3.0 seconds). She also doesn’t carry ropes, meaning she cannot tie her opponents.
This means Kate is only limited to dragging the incapacitated enemy around and let other characters deal the killing blow. As long she is holding the enemy, they won’t wake up. She can, however, throw them from high places or in the water will kill them, however.
Similarly to Aiko in Shadow Tactics, Kate can lob perfume vials at her opponents to briefly blind them. The radius is enough to blind at least two enemies standing right next to each other. While blinded they will be briefly distracted and have their view cones drastically reduced, which can give plenty of time for players to sneak around.
The vial is excellent when trying to kill enemies that are in the field of view of other enemies, allowing the party to take down their target without putting their actions at risk.
If Kate throws the perfume while disguised and within enemy field of view, she WILL be detected and attacked.
Similarly to Cooper’s Fake Coin, Kate’s Perfume Vial can also be thrown at horses or bulls to irritate them, which can lead to accidental kills.
In most missions where Kate is featured, she can use disguises to blend in, remaining undetected by all enemies except for dogs and Long Coats, who will see right through the disguise and attack. She will also be revealed if doing anything suspicious, such as throwing her perfume vial or attacking an enemy.
The catch is that Kate must find the disguise in order in the map to wear it, either by finding the clothes hanging around or to beat the civilian wearing them. Knocking out the civilian and picking up the civilian with Kate will automatically steal their clothes; killing is not necessary.
Unlike Aiko in Shadow Tactics, Kate can fully interact with the environment without dropping her disguise. She can crouch, hide in bushes and climb stairs and the disguise stays on, and none of these actions will raise suspicion.
Disguised or not, Kate can use Distract to draw the attention of enemies for unlimited time, who will be stationary. If Kate is in a safe area, she can still use Distract on enemies even without a disguise. Distract can be used to strategically move their viewcone away, depending on Kate’s position, as well halt enemy patrols.
Lure is only available when Kate is disguised, and it allows her to briefly bait enemies, who will follow her for a short period of time. This can be used to move enemies out of others’ sight and execute them. This ability won’t work on Ponchos, however.
Both Distract and Lure only work on male enemies, meaning female enemies won’t even pay attention and dismiss Kate’s advances.
Kate carries a pocket-sized pistol, which has about half the range of Cooper’s pistols (9.0 vs 17.0). On the other hand, it has around 15% the noise radius (3.0) compared to Cooper’s (18.0). This makes Kate one of the best characters to take down unsuspecting enemies at mid-close range, specially considering her ability to infiltrate enemy lines.
The Derringer is also effective into stunning Long Coats in cases of emergency, such as when they’re about to reveal Kate’s position.
Isabelle Moreau | The Voodoo Witch
A mysterious woman from New Orleans, Isabelle is a master of occultism and voodoo, which gave her the reputation of the “swamp witch” among travelers. Employing a different kind of medicine, she can use her voodoo to aid her allies and eliminate her enemies.
Isabelle is an unique character whose gameplay is very rewarding if mastered. She is capable of controlling the battlefield with her voodoo techniques, which completely changes how the player approaches enemies.
She is remarkably mobile, tied with Cooper as the fastest runner, and also having the fastest crouching speed. She can also climb ivies and ropes, and can swim.
However, Isabelle is the only character that lacks a firearm, meaning her ability to take down opponents is usually relegated to melee and Mind Control.
Despite her mobility, Isabelle has the second slowest melee speed of the cast for lethal (3.6 seconds) and non-lethal (3.0), after McCoy. Because of that, she should be handled with care to avoid being exposed during takedowns.
Isabelle’s true power lies in Connect, the most unique ability in the game. With this, she can shoot darts in two living targets, and anything that happens to one of them reflects on the other. For instance, if Isabelle links two enemies and kills one of them with a melee takedown, the other will die in the same manner; if non-lethal, both will be knocked down. Isabelle can cancel Connect at any time by using it one of the marked targets.
Mastering Connect is key to success with Isabelle, and opens many doors to handle various situations, and has many intricacies and details for success:
Any kind of living being can be connected. This includes all enemy types, all player characters (including Isabelle herself), civilians, and even animals.
Connect even works on incapacitated targets, but will not work on the dead.
Distractions, blinds and lures will affect the connected targets in the same way no matter how far they are from each other.
- If the player uses Cooper’s Fake Coin on one the marked targets, the other target will be distracted as well and turn to the same direction.
- If the player lures a connected enemy with McCoy’s Bag, both enemies will move in the same direction. This won’t work if the the other connected target ignores the rules of luring, such as Ponchos and Long Coats, who cannot be lured.
Accidental deaths will effectively kill both connected targets. Enemies will still investigate the connected victim, but will not ring the alarm since the AI will identify the body as an accidental death.
If the player knocks out an enemy, connect them with another enemy, and throw that enemy off a cliff or in water, it will kill both targets.
Long Coats won’t instantly die if the target they were linked to dies; instead, they’ll take one point of damage and be stunned. However, if the Long Coat takes any kind of damage that would stun, the target he is connected to will die. Therefore, if Hector melee kills a Long Coat, it’ll kill both targets (unless the other target is also a Long Coat).
Accidental kills that would otherwise instantly kill Long Coats, like falling rocks or throwing stunned enemies into the water, will still only deal one point of damage and stun them if used on the other connected target.
If two player characters are connected and then healed by McCoy’s Bandages or Isabelle’s Jimson Weed, both characters will be healed.
However, if Hector is one of the connected characters and he drinks his whiskey, the other character will be knocked down, as the tooltip for the whiskey says that it’s “too strong for everyone else”. Curiously, the player can knock down enemies in the same manner, by connecting them to Hector and have him drink.
The player can effectively force the enemy into killing themselves by connecting a player character and an enemy, and have the enemy shoot the player before raising the alarm. This will cause the enemy to take damage directed at the character and die, counting as an accidental death.
This works with Long Coats, but won’t instantly kill them, leaving them stunned as usual.
Hector is the best character for this since he has the highest health and can self-heal with his whiskey.
Stella is Isabelle’s pet cat who will always follow her around. She cannot be killed nor targeted by enemies, and can be used to distract them briefly (6.0 seconds), with a half the duration on Ponchos; Long Coats are immune to it. She can climb ropes, ivies and ladders.
Mind Control is a powerful ability that allows Isabelle to take direct control of non-player character in exchange for one point of damage to herself. The target can be controlled for unlimited duration and move freely within a certain radius around Isabelle. Mind Control will be interrupted if the target moves outside of the control radius, if the player manually cancels it, or after taking any action.
If mind controlled enemies are spotted by other enemies while performing suspicious actions (such as readying to shoot another guard), they’ll be shot by the enemies, but won’t trigger an alarm.
Each enemy and creature has their own unique action while mind controlled:
- Gunmen, Ponchos and Long Coats can use shoot, which various seconds. Long Coats can only be mind controlled after being damaged and stunned beforehand.
- Thugs don’t use ranged weapons, and can only attack with their rakes and shovels.
- Civilians can be made to scream, which will lure all enemies within the radius, including Ponchos and Long Coats.
- Dogs can bite enemies, instantly killing them; if used on Long Coats, they’ll be stunned instead. They can also bark, which functions similarly to Hector’s Whistle.
- Chickens can cluck, which functions similarly to Hector’s Whistle.
- Horses and Oxen cannot move, but can kick behind them and use their horns to attack in front, respectively.
While using Mind Control, Isabelle is completely vulnerable and cannot move. Because of that, it is best to use it while inside bushes or at places where enemies cannot see her.
Mind Control can be combined with Connect to effectively allow Isabelle to kill two enemies simultaneously. She must Connect the targets before using Mind Control. If she mind controls a connected target, the other one will NOT be under mind control too.
Isabelle has limited charges of Mind Control, and cannot use if she is at one health point left. This ability is powerful but should be used wisely since in most maps the player won’t find crates to refill its charges.