The battle system in Star Ocean 3 is very unique. Battles occur in real time, not turn based so there’s always something going on. In order to initiate a battle either:
When in battle you can do numerous things, you can attack with and which will cause you to automatically run up and swing at the enemy you are targeting. You can also press to bring up the menu where you can cast magic, use items, change equipment, change your tactics, use tactical skills or run away.You can also cycle quickly between your other party members with and . It is possible to have up to three people in battle at once.
As mentioned before you can attack with both the and :circle: button. will initiate a quick attack which can be blocked by the enemy, circle will initiate a slower attack that cannot be blocked by the enemy, and will break his shield in the event that he is blocking.
Another difference between attacks is the range. At the top left of the battle screen it will tell you if you’re in short or long range mode, which is determined by how close you are to your target enemy. Depending on the range you will do different attacks, there are four basic attacks:
The fury gauge is a limiter as well as a helper. Everything you do in this game consumes a bit of fury, whether it’s running or attacking. When your fury reaches 0% you cannot attack and must wait for it to charge (which is does in about 1 second.) Enemies also have a fury meter which you can see in all difficulties except Fourth Dimension. When your fury meter is at 100% you will be shielded and cannot be hurt by weak attacks. Also fury is responsible for keeping you alive at 1 Hp when you would have otherwise died.
Up to four battle skills can be set up per character:
Just like the attacks, except skills are activated when you hold down the button rather than tap it. Each battle skill you equip takes up a certain amount of Cp of which you will steadily increase until you reach your max of 15. You cannot equip skills that will raise your cp above that number.
You also have skills called support skills which can be equipped below the battle skills, these too cost cp but are always active and do not need to be used manually.
There are four status skills in this game:
Every time you level up you will get a number of skill points that can be distributed to increase each of these factors.
Anti-Attack Auras are what surround you when you have 100% fury and counter all weak attacks. You can set up other types of anti-attack auras in the tactical skills menu when you find more textbooks, just by having the books in your inventory will allow you to use the new skills. You start off stunning the enemy when you get attacked with the AAA up, but there are many others that can deal damage, or heal etc.
Cancel bonus occurs when you go directly form an attack to a battle skill, or a battle skill to another battle skill. Say you attack with x, then hold x and immediately use Blade of Fury, it will say ‘Cancel Bonus 175%’ meaning your Blade of Fury did 175% normal damage, and will increase if you go from skill to skill. It increases in the following manner:
It remains at 300% for all other skills you chain after that.
Symbology is just a fancy word for magic. Magic is cast in real time and resolves while you continue to fight. Some non-primary magic users get spells as well but in order to use them in battle, the skills “Common Attack Symbols” or “Common Support Symbols” must be equipped.
Bonus battles occur when you fill the bonus gauge. It increases automatically as you fight enemies. You can get the following bonuses from it:
You get each of those respectively if that attack that fills the gauge is a strong attack, weak attack, Symbology spell or battle skill. Another one will be added at random every five battles. The chain will be broken if you are hit with a critical hit, die, or run away.
You receive the Ring of Disintegration in the Urssa Lava Caves near the end of disc 1. It is capable of removing debris and broken walls from your path leading to treasure chests and unexplored areas of the map. Press square to turn it on, then circle to use it when you see a green wireframe box around something. Some maps cannot be 100% explored without this item.
Private Actions, a classic element of Star Ocean are back but work differently now. Instead of activating them manually when you reach a town, your party automatically splits up. You can interact with them in the towns, or sometimes with other people. There is no real ‘indicator’ of whether you are participating in a private action or not, but if you’re speaking to someone in your party and you have to choose between two or more responses, that virtually always indicates a private action which will change the emotion level with your party and affect the ending you get.