2. Enchanted Arms (JP) General hints and tips

The first thing I want to point out is that there are substantial differences between the XBox360 and PS3 versions of this game. Skills, commands and even enemies and parts of the dungeons are different from one version to the other one. This guide is obviously written for the Xbox360 version of the game.

Generalities

Tactical-RolePlayingGames are a very particular sub-category of RPGs, and you will easily get familiar with the gameplay system after few minutes in the game, also thanks to the many tutorials included in the first phases of the game. There are however many aspects of the gameplay mechanics, specifically those of this game, which are important to remember in order to take advantage of them as you play the game.

You can save the game almost anywhere and at any time. Simply open the main menu (Y button) and use the "Save" function. There are no "save points" in this game. The only exception are very few locations where saving might be dangerous -- say you have a boss to face ahead and you can't backtrack to fight enemies and train more: if the game let you save you could theoretically never be able to proceed if the boss was too strong for you -- and therefore the developers decided (wisely) not to allow you to save.

You can skip the cutscenes (not the dialogues) by pressing Start.

There is a non-return point in the game, and it's openly declared when you reach it: make sure you don't save the game on your previous data when you go past that point, because it would really be a pity to be stuck against the final bosses and be unable to backtrack to level up.

You always recover full HP and EP after each fight. What you lose as you fight are the VP (read below about them).

EP are a name for what in most the other RPGs is known as "MP": they are the magic/mana points, and any action (except using items or special techniques called "EX Skills") will consume EP. The stronger the action, the higher the cost of EP. You can recover EP automatically in the fight if you decide to "Standby" (that is to say, do nothing), besides using items or skills which can recover them of course.

VP are vitality points which are consumed as you fight. Vitality points can be restored at "Recharge Stations" (they can be used as many times as you want) found here and there in the dungeons. You usually find Recharge Stations near the beginning of the areas, so it's always important to be conservative about your VP. VP don't affect directly anything, and it's the same thing if you have 100 VP or 1 VP. Things completely change when you have 0 VP: a character with 0 VP will start the fights with 1 HP and 1 EP, meaning he's highly at risk of death and needs to wait at least a turn before being able to recover EP and act, unless you plan on using an EX Skill or Items with him/her.
VP can be restored also using the item "God's Vigor", but this item isn't available in the first part of the game.
Each character has a specific amount of VP (the amount can't be increased), and a certain amount of VP will be subtracted at the end of each fight. The longer a fight lasts, the more VP you will lose; if the character died in the fight, he will lose more VP. On the contrary, a quick kill of the enemies (one turn) can result in 0 VP lost, which is of course the best thing which can happen. No VP can be recovered for a "good performance" in fight anyway: God's Vigor, Recharge Stations are the only way to recover VP. Later in the game you will be able to get and learn a skill, "Cut VP Use", which will reduce the VP spent in battles by 50%.
If you escape a fight, every deployed character's VP will lose 5 VP (not permanently of course): sometimes fights may last so long as to result in a loss of 15-20 VP, so losing 5 VP isn't that bad after all.

While the encounter rate is quite high, I suggest you fight every encounter until a specific point, a "Casino" (read about it at the bottom of this page), is available for a cheap boost of parameters. After that point you can start skipping fights using the "Escape" function, but keep in mind that even if you fight all the fights you may still be underleveled for some boss fights. In the walkthrough I will give you a rough idea when it's time to relax, skipping more fights, but at least for the first part (about 30% of the game; you can see the Progression of the game at any time, for instance when you save the game) please make sure not to skip fights. There's a quick way to fight after all, using the "Automatic" fight feature which I'll explain soon below.

Shand Alk3 added some information about skipping the random encounters if you want to do so:

If you have a turbo controller (or the means to simply do it yourself) you can press Y to avoid encounters. Basically, a battle can't occur if your minimap in the top right hasn't appeared yet after you exit the Status screen. You can't open this screen again until it's there either BUT you can still move in the few seconds between the time you exit the Status screen and the time the minimap appears. So if you turbo the Y button as you run through parts where random encounters happen, it will put you in the status screen before a battle can happen. You press B to get out of the screen, run forward for a few seconds, and then repeat. Since the screen comes up the moment the minimap does, you wont get any battles.

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Battle Mechanics
Now let's have a look at the most noteworthy aspects of the fights.

The analysis of the enemies is important. When you navigate on the grid of a battlefield, you can select your characters using the A button, then decide where to move them and then how to act; this is obvious. If you select an enemy, you can see how big the enemy is (his "Size"; typically "1", but some enemies or even allies might occupy more than a square; for instance a "Size 4" character would stand on four squares), his movement range and also his skills. If you select his skills you can even see the range and power of the skills.

The "PP" value of a skill, in battle (and not in the field menu!), will tell you almost always the exact amount of damage that skill can deal. Say you read "Slash" has a "PP" value of 70 in battle, you can bet that skill will deal exactly 70 HP of damage to any enemy attacked with it (unless they have some defensive protections), and this is possible since there's no "Defense" parameter. The "PP" value of a skill in battle is influenced by the standard power of that skill (there are stronger skills than others of course) and by the parameters of your character. The main exception to the "exact amount of damage" is when enemies have elements, and your attacks are elemental too.

Elements are very easy to remember: Fire beats Water, Earth beats Wind, Light beats Dark. Attacking an enemy with an attack of the opposite element of his will result in dealing twice as much damage, while attacking an enemy with an attack of his same element will deal half the damage. You won't need to pay much attention to this in the game (you will probably stick to some attack patterns for most the fights), but in some boss fights it might be important to keep it in mind.

While you fight you can press the Y button to open a three-choices menu, which is very important. The three options here are: Quick Start, Auto, Escape.
Escape will instantly let you escape from the fight, and has a success percentage of 100%, unless it is a forced fight (like a boss fight) where this command can't be used at all.
Quick Start will start the next turn even if you haven't finished giving commands to your characters. It's the equivalent of choosing not to move characters and act telling them to stand-by. It isn't very helpful, but you can use Quick Start after moving, and choosing the actions, of part of your characters. Say you have only one enemy left to kill and he has 10 HP left: instead of moving a character and telling him to kill the enemy, and then manually command the other characters telling them to do something they won't even be able to do since the enemy will die before they can act, you could just move a character and tell him to kill the enemy, and then use the Quick Start to avoid giving useless commands to the other ones. Note that using LT in the fight equals to using the "Quick Start" command -- handy shortcut.
Auto is a great option to use in Enchanted Arms. As you press Auto, regardless of if you gave some commands to your characters or not, the CPU will act in your place. This means they will be moved and commanded, for the next turn, by the CPU itself. There are two considerations to make about this thing now. First, the CPU isn't very smart (to be honest, it acts weird to say the least in some situations), but is smart enough to dispatch the regular enemies successfully (not as good as you could do by yourself of course). Second, this means the game will basically auto-run for most of it. Now, if I have to be honest, the frequency of enemy encounters in this game is very high, and you hardly want to spend dozens of hours to manually select the actions your characters will do in each fight. You're free to decide whether to Auto-play almost every encounter (except the boss fights and few more) or to manually fight, but I suggest to auto-play it. How much this game appeals to you is what will make you decide, anyway. It's also important to mention that RT in the fight equals to using the "Auto" command, and it saves you some time.

Turnation in this game isn't affected by parameters such as "Speed" or "Agility". There is an "Agility" parameter, but it has another role (see below about parameters). In almost every fight, except very few boss fights where the main opponent will be able to act first, your characters will act first. The order of their actions will be the same as the commands you give them: if you give command to character "A" first and to character "B" next, "A" will execute his movement/action before "B". After all your characters, all the enemies will act.
One exception is when you get "Caught Off Guard": in this case, the enemies have an extra turn before you can fight the rest of the match with the usual turnation. Both the difference of level between you and the enemies and the Agility parameter affect your chances of being caught off guard: enemies having a higher level than yours will trigger Caught-Off-Guard fights more easily, and having a lower Agility will also increase the chances of being caught off guard. That's why you obviously want to level up and to increase your agility parameter every now and then: no need to overdo it, but raise it from time to time.

Calculating the damage you (or the enemies) will deal can be important to plan advanced strategies, especially in boss fights. I already mentioned this, but it's worth saying it again: the "PP" value equals almost every time to the damage/recovery that attack will deal, with the main exception of element changes. The "PP" value not-in-battle (the one you see in your main menu when you check your skills) will always be lower than the "PP" in the fight, because it's the rough power of that skill without calculating the additional power of your parameters.

Dead characters will disappear from the battlefield after three consecutive turns of being knocked out. You can revive them using some items or skills, though it's usually not worth spending the time for it. It's important to know that dead characters (removed or not from the fight) won't gain SP at the end of the fight, but they still get Experience Points.

Overbreak and Overbreak Upper kills will trigger if you deal, in a single hit or a single combo (see "Combination Attacks" below), more than the max HP of the enemy/more than twice the max HP of the enemy respectively. There are two results: one is that you receive a bonus on the Exp, SP and TB given by enemies killed in Overbreak/Overbreak Upper (the higher the damage, the higher the bonus); another is that, if you manage to score an Overbreak Upper, the enemy will be immediately removed from the field without waiting the usual three turns.
This rule applies to your characters too -- there isn't much you can do to prevent this, but there is a support skill ("Cancel Overbreak") which could prevent the instant-removal effect of the Overbreak Upper. To be honest, it's not very important since Overbreak Uppers rarely (if ever) happen to your characters.

You can deploy a max amount of four characters at once on the battlefield. Extra characters will be left out, in the reserve party, and they won't gain SP. Characters in the reserves will gain the same Exp as the four deployed members.

Losing Battles is really no big deal. If you lose, a three-options menu will prompt: "Retry", "Load" and "Quit to the main menu". The last doesn't need extra explanation, as well as "Load" since it just means loading a file of your game. On the contrary, "Retry" will let you fight the same fight again from the beginning of it. In addition to this, characters will be placed on the grid in a different starting position (this can make the difference between a win or loss in some fights), giving you potentially limitless fights to attempt winning. If it is a non-forced-fight you can even decide to "Escape" on your "Retry" match if you see that the enemies are too strong for you, and this means that, unless you have a problem against a particular boss, you can't seriously experience a game over.

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Parameters
In this game there are six parameters. To raise parameters you can use SP (obtained at the end of each fight and also by means of "Skill Gems" and "Mega Skill Gems", available in Shops only after specific events of the main story) or level up. Using SP is your main source of parameter increase.
The parameters you can see are: HP, EP, Direct, Ranged, Support and Agility. You can increase HP and EP by +15 units every time, while the rest of the parameters will be increased by +5 units every time. The cost for the "next" parameter increase will be higher and higher (it caps at almost 14,000): at first it takes you 30 SP to increase, say, your HP; the next upgrade for your HP will cost 90 SP, the one after it will cost 180, and so on.

HP and EP are self explained.
Direct will increase the amount of damage you deal with "Direct" type of attacks (see below).
Ranged will increase the amount of damage you deal with "Ranged" type of attacks (see below).
Support will increase the amount of damage you deal with "Support" type of attacks or increase the amount of HP/EP recovered using "Support" types of skills (see below).
Agility will decrease the chances of being caught off guard.

It's important to raise HP and EP on your characters, as well as Direct/Ranged/Support according to the type of character. For instance, Atsuma has very few "Ranged" attacks, and most of his attacks are Direct: you want to spend points on "Direct" for him.

Here's how the values will increase:

30
90
180
300
450
630
840
1,080
1,350
1,650
1,980
2,340
2,730
3,150
3,600
4,080
4,590
5,130
5,700
6,300
6,930
7,590
8,280
9,000
9,750
10,530
11,340
12,180
13,050
13,950

Defense, as a parameter, doesn't exist in this game. There are however Defense boosts which don't really affect your Defense, but they affect the damage output of the incoming attacks. The result is less damage taken anyway.

Parameter enhancements are possible during the battle, and you will clearly read "DMG -n%" or "PRM +n%" near a character if any enhancement is on. Keep in mind that any character can only have one single enhancement. If you add another enhancement, it will overwrite the previous one. Say you have DMG -25% and you use a skill which gives PRM +25%: that character will lose the DMG -25% bonus and will gain the PRM +25% bonus. Even if you use the same "type" of enhancement the second one will overwrite the first: say you have DMG -50% and then use a skill which gives DMG -25%, you will lose DMG -50% and be down-graded to DMG -25%.

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Types of Attacks
There are three types of attacks in the game, each affected by different parameters.

Direct: the icon is a simple fist. Direct attacks are boosted by the Direct parameter and their damage output is decreased if other enemies are on the way. Say you target three enemies in line one after another: with a direct attack the first one would take full damage; the second one would take half the damage; the third one would take no damage.

Ranged: the icon is a smaller fist with a white arrow and red dot nearby. They are boosted by the Ranged parameter and their damage output is not decreased if other enemies are on the way.

Support: the icon is a white/blue sphere with a red "+" nearby. They are boosted by the Support parameter, although some of them have the same effect regardless of the Support parameter (for example those which give a stat boost such as Defense +25%).

These attacks can have also another icon near them, on their left: it can be any of the six elements icon. When an element attribute is added to that skill, it means that it will always keep that element inside. If the skill, for instance, has Fire element, and you attack an enemy with Water element, the damage will be doubled; if you attack an enemy with Fire element the damage will be halved; in all the other four cases the damage doesn't change.

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Skills, EX Skills and Combination Attacks
Skills can be learned using SP. Regular skills won't be acquired leveling up: you either need to purchase the skill in a shop, or find it in a dungeon, to be able to learn it (using SP, again) and then "Equip" it (which means "turn the skill on" for that character). There are two sub-groups of skills: "Skills" and "Support". The "Skills" skills (sorry about the pun) are active Skills you can use in battle, while "Support" skills are the passive skills such as "HP +20%". There is a limited and not-to-be-increased amount of skills you can equip on each of your main characters. "Golem" characters (read about them below) can't learn new skills.

EX Skills are special attacks which won't consume EP, but they will consume the "EX Gauge". They aren't available for every character at first, but you will acquire your EX Skills (more and stronger) as you progress through the game. The EX Gauge is filled as you fight, and it can fill up to 100 Points. EX Skills will use part of that gauge, for instance "35 points", leaving you with the rest of the gauge for other EX Skills to be used later. Regular fights will rarely if ever require the use of EX Skills, so it's usually a good idea not to use your EX Skills until you reach the end of the dungeons, typically fighting against a boss, so you can unleash your most powerful skills (the EX Skills, that is) when you need them the most.
If you read somewhere on the internet about the "Enchant Dance" (which should refill the EX Gauge if you shake the controller), don't bother trying it: it's a PS3-exclusive feature.

Atsuma learns his EX Skills progressing through the game. The other four characters will unlock their EX Skills leveling up. The PP values referred below are of course those "outside the battlefield", the "row value" without including the additional power calculated on your parameters.

In particular, the first female character who joins will learn:

- Lohengrin (Ranged; Water based; PP 92; 28 EX Points used) at level 8
- Floral Steps (Support; 56 EX Points used; complete recovery of every character, but doesn't revive them from K.O.) at level 24
- Buster Shoot (Ranged; Water based; PP 164; 100 EX Points used) at level 38

The character who joins with the previous one will learn:

- Levatane (Support; 25 EX Points used; boosts own parameters by 100%) at level 10
- World Creation (Ranged; Earth based; PP 144; 52 EX Points used) at level 26
- Tiara Crusade (Support; 100 EX Points used; boosts everyone's Defense +75%) at level 40

The last character who joins (this character joins during the events in Dolmen Ruins) will learn:

- Moon Trigger (Ranged; PP 120; 35 EX Points used) by default
- Potluck (Support; 45 EX Points used; random effects on everyone on the battlefield) at level 25
- Lunatic Dance (Ranged; PP 160; 100 EX Points used) at level 39

Combination Attacks are very powerful attacks which can trigger when more characters attack the same enemy in the fight. In the fight you can see this "Combination" gauge (it's blue): if it's full on more characters, and they attack the same enemy, a "combination attack" will trigger. Combination attacks are very powerful (the longer the combo, the higher the damage boost percentage) and could completely turn the events of a fight, especially if it's a lifelong boss fight. The gauge is refilled mainly if you get hit (the stronger the hit, the higher the recovery of this gauge) or if your characters attack the same enemy (like they would do to trigger the Combination Attack) in the same turn. After using a Combination Attack the "Combination" gauges will be deplenished.
FP, "friend points", can save you some "Combination" points after you use Combination Attacks, reducing the amount consumed by the Combination Attack performed. It's not a very important parameter and is easy to max out.

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Casino Grinding Method
Since your first time in London City you will be able to play at a "Casino". The Casino offers several minigames, but the most important one is the Roulette.
You can exchange TB, the coin of the game, for Chips (Chips being the value used in the Casino circuit, to play and exchange them for prizes), but doing the opposite isn't directly possible. You can however purchase items using Chips, and then sell those items in any Shop (there is one very close to the Casino) to gain TB this way. The last step is purchasing the "Skill Gems" in the Shop and then use them on your characters to increase their SP and use them to boost your parameters/learn skills very quickly and free of battle.

How to play the Casino effectively will be explained in the Story Walkthrough pages, when its time will come. It's important to point out now that there are three main "situations" when you can play the Casino:
- The first time you access the Casino you will be able to purchase up to 9x Recovery Powders at once and then sell them all for a total of 5,400 TB every trip
- After some events you will eventually be able to purchase up to 9x God's Ambrosia at once and then sell them for a total of 21,600 TB every trip
- After more events you will be able to purchase the Mega Skill Gems in the Shops: they are more expensive, but also much more effective

In particular, the Skill Gems cost 1,200 TB and earn you +1,200 SP (on a single character), while the Mega Skill Gems cost 4,200 TB and will earn you 8,000 SP (on a single character). The process is therefore much faster and better done when the "third moment" comes. It doesn't mean that it's not worth doing it early in the game though: it's obviously a great thing if you can gain so many TB, and SP as a result, easily and quickly, and I strongly suggest that you exploit this method at least for a good bunch of SP which will let you learn the new stocks of skills and increase your parameters by a decent amount. After all, you don't have much to choose: this game is based much on leveling up (as the high encounter frequence witnesses), and you can either level up in repetitive fights, or using this system. Most of the bosses can be defeated with low parameters if you use a good strategy, but in some serious fights you may seriously regret not exploiting the Casino to get a little sprint.

Then again, it's your choice: either fight or use this system. If you decide not to use it, be prepared to spend some extra hours to fight extra encounters in addition to those (many) you already trigger naturally on the way to your next destination.

It's also advisable, if you decide to use this method, not to overdo it too early: get your little sprint, then try to hold on without it until the next "update" is available -- that is to say, don't spend 2 hours doing this the first time you reach the Casino: spend an hour maybe, then move on and try to hold on until the Casino gets the update (when it sells the God's Ambrosia it basically quadruples your income), spend another 20-30 minutes when it's available, then hold on for another part of the game and when the Mega Skill Gems are finally available, feel free to spend a large amount of time (1-2 hours) to grind much with this method as to be able to fly through the rest of the game.

As a rough indication, the Mega Skill Gems will be available when your "Progress" percentage will be around 75%.

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Golems
At last, a few words on the Golems. Golems are "characters" which can be both your opponents and your allies. As for the opponents, they're just regular enemies like in any other game of this kind, and there's not much to say about them. About the ones on your side, there is only a way to obtain a Golem: synthesize him in any Shop.

To synthesize a Golem you need the "Core" of that Golem (which can be considered as the "Recipe") and some "Gems" (Power/Mind/Speed Gems), commonly found in battles and occasionally in destroyable items, besides being available for purchase (they can be considered the "Ingredients"). When you have both the Core and the required Gems, you can synthesize your Golem in a shop (there's no additional cost other than using the materials).

The Cores can be obtained in two ways. One is by purchasing them from the Shop (or, for some Golems, the Cores are sold in the Casino, so you'll need Chips and not TB), and another is defeating a "Lost Golem". Lost Golem will be introduced to you early in the game, and they are simply enemies which you can see on the field, as you walk around. When you see one of these enemies, go near him and press " A " to engage a fight. If you win, you will obtain the "Core" of that specific Golem you just defeated.

The whole Golem system is simple, but you should always consider which Golems are worth the cost and which aren't. I will give you suggestions in the Story Walkthroughs, telling you when it's time to get a new Golem, but keep in mind that there are dozens and dozens of Golems in this game. You're free to use whatever Golem you want, but if you deploy those I suggest you will hardly have problems getting through the game (specifically for the hardest boss fights). It goes without saying that some strategies I will describe will be based on the Golems I've suggested to keep. If you want to use other Golems, at least make sure you keep the Golems I suggest in the reserves, so they get at least Experience points.

The most important Golem I will suggest to synthesize as soon as possible is "Apo", whose Core is available in the Casino for "many" Chips (they are no problem with the Roulette system though). I will suggest to keep him in the reserve party all the time so he can level up passively and be ready when, at the end of the game, you will need him. Having a leveled up Apo could make a huge difference (some hours) in the time you'll need to grind before being able to get through the hardest of the final bosses, so please make sure you follow at least this suggestion.

You will also soon realize that Golems have a fixed amount of Skills: they can't learn new Skills, they have no EX Skill, and will usually result, for these reasons, worse than the four main characters who will join your party during the course of the events. It's also true that some Golems will result more effective than characters in some situations, but you will mainly use your "person"-characters rather than Golems as soon as you get the chance of deploying characters.

The amount of Golems you can carry in your reserves is limited, but you can "park" them at the Shop and switch the Golems in your reserves with those you "parked" at any time, provided you can reach a Shop from your position to actually do so. "Parked" Golems will not gain Experience points (the reserves will).

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