Goddess of Victory: Nikke just launched on PCs, and with an upcoming Chainsaw Man collaboration event on the way, you might be curious as to how to start. Picking up the game is simple enough: Just install it on your platform of choice (PC, Android, or iOS), and run through the tutorial. Following that will come your first roll on the game’s character Recruitment system, from which you can begin assembling a squad of armed cyborgs to help you take back the Earth’s surface for humanity. Of course, not all Nikke characters are built equally. Team composition is a particularly important factor in Nikke‘s shooting-based combat system, so you may want to take advantage of your first free rolls to target a character that’ll make your early-game life easier. To that end, we’ve come up with a quick guide on who best to shoot for when building out your Nikke roster.
A Note on Nikke Characters and Squad-Building
Regardless of their weapon type, element, or even general role classification, all playable characters in Goddess of Victory: Nikke can be classed based on their “Burst Number.” Playable Nikkes are always either Burst I, Burst II, or Burst III units, and this number determines what order they’ll use their Burst Skill in. A Burst Skill is the Nikke’s ultimate ability, and can be triggered by charging it up with regular attacks.
Most of combat in Nikke revolves around charging up your squad’s Burst Skills with regular attacks, then triggering them in succession to achieve “Full Burst”, a temporary state where Nikkes do increased damage, reload faster, and focus their fire. The catch is that Burst Skills must be triggered in order. Thus, a five-character squad needs to have at least one of each Burst number in order to achieve a Full Burst. Keep that in mind as you target characters using the Recruitment banner’s “Wishlist” function, and consider a character’s Burst number alongside their other traits as you assemble squads to tackle the game’s content.
You can see a character’s Burst details, like their Burst Skill number, cooldown, or other factors, in character screen or in-game “Nikkepedia.”
This guide is thus organized by Burst (though not in any particular order), and will include capsule descriptions of each Nikke character. This won’t be an exhaustive list, or cover every possible team composition. Instead, consider it a rundown of some of the most popular or effective units for their given role.
As an aside, you may notice that most of the characters being recommended in the list are of SSR rarity. That’s in part because there are more SSR units in Nikke than there are SR and R units combined. With caps in place on the maximum levels and stats of SR units, having a certain number of well-developed SSRs is currently a core part of Nikke‘s progression. At the moment, “low-rarity” strategies and approaches are only viable in the early game. The game is structured so that you’ll be able to roll for more SSRs relatively frequently, though, so over time you’ll eventually have many SSR Nikke characters. The guide also includes select SR units that can fill in when a preferred SSR isn’t available.
The Best Burst I Nikke Characters
Burst I Nikke characters are at the front line of any burst chain, and most Burst I characters are focused on buffing and healing the party to maximize the effects of follow-up Bursts.
- Noise is a launcher unit with a particular specialty in keeping the party healthy. She can heal the squad and raise her own defense so much that she often out-heals incoming damage. She was such monster in Nikke‘s PVP mode that a recent patch reined in her healing to make parties with Noise a little less…immortal. She has a long cooldown on her Burst Skill, though, which means a backup Burst I unit should be included in her squad to maintain a smooth rotation.
- Pepper is a “harmacist,” a type of Healer that heals her friends… by hurting her enemies. Her healing skills trigger whenever her bullets hit a target, and her Burst does both damage and heals the party. She’s only undermined by the fact that her shotgun limits her range and rate of fire, making her less effective when enemies are farther away.
- Liter is widely hailed among players as one of the most desirable units in the game, and arguable Nikke‘s strongest Burst I character. Her buffs are like a Christmas wishlist of must-have effects: Burst cooldown reduction, boosts to ammo capacity, critical damage, and even attack. She even has the so far unique ability to repair the cover your allies hide behind, giving them a free shield against damage.
- N102 is the patron saint of People Who Don’t Have Liter. Aside from not having cover repair, her buffs mimic Liter’s though at a lesser magnitude. As a launcher unit, she also has synergy with characters who need to “charge” their shots, like launcher and sniper rifle characters. Best of all, N102 is easily available, being an SR-rarity character. Most players will eventually acquire her with little outlay.
- Neon is a freely available story SR, which works in her favor until players acquire their own N102 or Liter. Her firepower obsession also helps her in shotgun-based team compositions, since she can boost their ammo capacity with her Burst.
The Best Burst II Nikke Characters
Burst II characters double down on the act of supporting the party, with the best Burst II units delivering strong buffs or protective shields to bolster the part ahead of the Burst III phase.
- Centi is Nikke‘s top specialist in shielding the party. In the late game and in boss fights, where heavy attacks quickly destroy cover or kill off party members, her shields prove essential for keeping the party in the fight. Her fast-firing launcher also makes for some excellent Burst-charging ability.
- Rupee runs the in-game Arena shop, but the shopaholic Nikke pays it forward in the form of powerful boosts to attack strength as well as field-wide damage effects.
- Poli is a shielder with a particular emphasis on close-range fights, thanks to her shotgun. She combines attack boosts with a party-wide barrier, making her useful in boss fights.
- Dolla dresses the part of a lone wolf like John Wick or Agent 47, but she’s a powerful supportive team member who can speed up the party’s burst cooldown. Dolla and Liter in a team together can cause some team compositions to continuously loop their burst in long battles.
- Anis is technically classified as a Defender, but her skills and abilities are better for rapidly charging the party’s Burst gauge as opposed to saving them from harm. As a freely available story SR, though, her ubiquity in players’ rosters makes her a great option for many teams.
The Best Burst III Nikke Characters
Burst III is where the damage happens. Most Burst III characters specialize in doing heavy damage and will be the source of much of the party’s power projection. Unfortunately, Burst III units invariably have long cooldowns on their Burst skills. To compensate, you’ll usually want at least two Burst IIIs in your average squad, so they can take turns bringing the party to Full Burst.
- Scarlet is one of the most unique units in Nikke, mainly because she literally brings a sword to a gunfight. The good news is is that she’s so good at swordsmanship that she’s technically classified as an assault rifle-wielder. Scarlet has a screen-clearing Burst skill that does more damage the lower her health is. Pair her with a bit of healing so she doesn’t die and she’s one of the strongest units in the game. Her biggest problem is that she’s a member of the Pilgrims, the rarest faction of units in the game, who are even harder to acquire than other SSR units.
- Modernia is a recent addition with quite a bit of story relevance. She’s also quite powerful, wielding a machine gun and toting a burst skill that grants herself unlimited ammunition and even freedom from having to aim accurately during her burst. Unfortunately, as with some other top-tier units like Scarlet and Harran, she’s a Pilgrim, too, making her very rare if she’s not a featured banner unit.
- Privaty is one of the best Burst III units in the game, and is freely available to players who complete the “Day by Day” task checklist that they start a new game with. Privaty combines damage-dealing with strong team support, and a Burst that briefly stuns the entire enemy field.
- Rapi is the poster character for Nikke, and is arguably one of the most story-significant characters available. She’ll also be a core Burst III unit until you manage to roll some higher-tier SSRs.
- Drake is an aspiring “Ultimate Villain”, and is a key component of shotgun-centric team compositions and short-range boss-killing squads. She boosts the team’s attack and does great damage herself, making her quite compatible with mixed squads or teams pushing the main campaign.
- Neve is the first event freebie giveaway, and she’s a good one for anyone looking to succeed in close range. Unlike most other SR units, which are quickly outclassed by their SSR peers, Neve’s pure damage output rivals high-rarity shotgun carriers, making her a fully viable option with the right support.
- Vesti is one of only two Burst III units in the game (at this time) that uses a launcher, and also packs some interesting and rare effects, like a skill that widens the explosion radius of her rockets, and one that boosts her attack, critical rate, and critical damage repeatedly. Oddly her Full Burst duration is actually shorter than others, which sounds like a bad thing, but can be very useful in certain teams, since a shorter Full Burst means a quicker skill rotation.
- Harran and her scythe-turned-sniper rifle is one of the strongest units in Nikke, thanks to her ability to chain her already-high damage to multiple enemies, all the while building up her attack as she cuts through small foes. She can be less effective, though, unless players take manual control of her aiming, since the computer isn’t as good at selecting the right targets. As a Pilgrim unit, she’s also ultra-rare, making her harder to acquire.
Goddess of Victory: Nikke is available on Android devices, iOS devices, and PCs. The Chainsaw Man crossover launches on February 22, 2023.