Like other JRPG's today, Tales of Graces f has gone away with the random encounter system. This means that you can avoid battles by simply avoiding touching the 3d avatar on screen. On a side note, the in-game tutorials give you a lot of information on the battle system. Make sure to read these, as well as my notes, if you are having trouble with battles.
The battle has some basic info that it will give you throughout the first chapter, but I will cover some tips here:
- You can open the battle menu by hitting Triangle. This allows you to manual use items, change equipment, and even change your artes.
- Hold R1 to view enemy info and change targets
- Use the directional pad to change your active character
-- Moving the Character --
Characters move in a straight line toward or away from their target at zero CC cost. This is different than previous Tales games, but the good news is that you can hold down L2 and move freely around the area. The bad news is that this takes up your valuable CC.
Luckily, for a happy medium we have the side-step. If you hold down the Square button and hit the Left Analog, your character will side-step around your targeted enemy.
See Chain Capacity (CC) below for more information.
-- HP Gauge --
Like all RPG's, your characters have a certain amount of Hit Points (HP). When this reaches zero they are rendered unconscious.
-- Guarding & Auras --
When guarding by holding Square, you not only get decreased damage, but you get aura effects around your character that give bonuses.
- Blue - Critical Gauge Increase
- Green - Enemies cannot stagger you when you start to attack (Iron Stance)
- Red - Break through enemy guard when you attack
-- Critical Gauge --
This gauge is located under the characters HP. When full, characters will perform a critical hit and Chain Capacity (CC) will increase by one. This can be done multiple times to increase your Max CC in battle, allowing you to do more chains. Note that getting hit will lower the gauge as well.
-- Eleth Gauge & Eleth Burst --
During the games progression you will gain access to the Eleth Gauge, a bar on the left side of your battle screen. It is divided into two colors (blue for your party and red for the enemies).
The player can increase the blue bar by performing actions such as attacking, guarding, sidestepping, or defeating enemies. When the bar is full, the Eleth Burst will occur, granting unlimited Chain Capacity (CC) and immunity to knockback for a limited time. Your party will also have all critical hits negated, but any damage taken while guarding will do normal damage.
On the flip side, the enemies receive a similar bonus called Eleth Break when their gauge fills.
See Mystic Artes below for more information.
-- Chain Capacity (CC) --
Each character has a set value of CC based on their current equipment and level. This number donates how many actions outside of basic movement and defense that each character can perform. Each action requires 1 CC, but can cost more (see Artes).
You can refill your CC by standing still / guarding or performing specific actions during battle. You can also increase your maximum CC by changing equipment, gaining levels or by filling your Critical Gauge.
-- Combo Counter --
The number in the upper right corner of your battle screen represents the number of attacks that have been chained together. Attacking an enemy's weakness will increase the damage output you do within a combo chain, while hitting all of an enemy's weaknesses will multiply your damage output even further.
-- Artes --
There are two kinds of artes in Tales of Graces f: Assault and Burst. The major difference between the two is that A-Artes are your physical attacks and B-Artes are generally magical. Other differences are that A-Artes have a smaller range than B-Artes, but are quicker, and A-Artes use Physical Attack, while B-Artes use Cryas Attack power.
A-Artes are set up like a tree chain. You start with a 1 CC cost skill and work your way up to a 4 CC cost skill. This means that a full chain costs you 10 CC (1 CC + 2 CC + 3 CC + 4 CC = 10 CC). You start with only a few A-Artes, but can learn more through titles or levels.
B-Artes are accessed in adulthood and can be unleashed by using O instead of X to attack.
- There is a lot of hidden info when it comes to Asbel's unsheathe and sheathing his sword. Make sure to read the tips on this in your library.
- Some B-Artes require you to charge them by holding O. You can continue to hold O even once ready to add an attribute or unleash it when you want.
- Note that many spells cast time can be lowered by using A-Artes and then a B-Arte at the end. The more A-Artes you chain to a B-Arte, the lower the cast time.
-- Mystic Artes --
When the Eleth Burst occurs there is an added bonus, other than just unlimited CC, called Mystic Artes. Mystic Artes are learned from titles and adds a new gauge on the left hand side of the screen during an Eleth Burst, which tracks your Mystic Arts' ability to go off. As long as it is 1 or higher you can perform a Mystic Arte by pressing L1, unleashing a devastating combo.
- The number on the Mystic Artes gauge determines which Mystic Arte you'll use if you have more than 1.