I finally found and recruited Knolan and Red Monika, and Knolan’s voice acting has actually mellowed out and isn’t grating like I suspected it might be. As for Monika, she’s now replacing Garrison (Gully and Calibretto are my favorites and will remain on my team forever and ever), and she’s pretty great. Not only does her normal attack cause a random affliction like bleeding or stunned on the enemy, but her primary dungeon ability is a sneak that lets her engage single enemies even when they’re part of a larger group and all near each other. Insanely helpful. She also showed up a level higher than my current party, whereas Knolan was lagging several levels behind when he was recruited. The levels they show up at appear to be fixed rather than scaling to your party like in Final Fantasy 6 and other such games.
Here, have gameplay in your face
You can see Gully using her dungeon ability right before getting into combat in the video above, which damages the enemy slightly in addition to stunning him right off the bat. Her other ability gives everyone a defensive boost, which is arguably even more helpful, but I don’t use that in the video. Anyway, Monika uses her sneaking ability (which counts down while she uses it rather than being a single-use thing like the others) to split up a nearby group into two fights. After that, Calibretto levels up and gets some perk points in addition to some new perks to choose from, so I spend a little time messing with all of that. Nearby, there’s a cube that you can feed a weapon to, and I eventually decide to play dangerously and offer up Monika’s weapon without having a backup. These cubes then vanish and reappear elsewhere in the dungeon, where the item you offered up returns with an enchantment on top. Thankfully, the very next room has the cube in it, so Monika gets her guns back with a perk that gives them a 10% chance of inflicting extra fire damage. Then there’s a switch puzzle. As far as I’ve played, this has been a good representation of what dungeons are like as a whole; lots of combat and mana-and-health preservation strategy with puzzles and boss fights and story bits mixed in. Good stuff.
Speaking of enchantments…
You can manually craft enchantments into your weapons and armor if you find the right place to do so in a dungeon, know a recipe for an enchantment, and have all of the right ingredients. As with crafting flasks, you can brute force it if there’s a non-zero chance of success and you’re only missing one or two things. Speaking of which, crafting in general is something I’m now much more comfortable with. Basically, you loot ingredients all over the place, buy/find/receive books that unlock recipes, and then you craft the stuff when you come across a place that allows you to craft. I really appreciate how straightforward the whole thing is here.
In the video above, I have a bunch of enchantment recipes that I bought and found, so I go through using them one at a time to unlock new enchantments.
This video is almost immediately after the last one. I came across a spot that let me enchant stuff and decided to go through and put enchantments on some of my stuff, including a new one on Monika’s gun. Also, I put one on Calibretto’s weapon (that I brute forced just to make sure it was possible). Something to note is that the previous enchantment that Monika’s gun had was replaced with the new one, so you can apparently only have one enchantment on a weapon or piece of armor at a time.
Shops can be upgraded
I have no idea what upgrading shops accomplishes. The game claims that they’ll occasionally stock better stuff because of it, but I haven’t noticed anything worthwhile yet, and these upgrades cost a lot of money. Enough money that one could be forgiven for expecting something a little more immediate and exciting. Still, I’ll keep my eye on the ones I’ve upgraded to see if anything interesting shows up.
Some minor complaints
While I’m having fun with Battle Chasers, there are a few things here that could be slightly more polished. For example, the movement speed on the overworld map is almost painfully slow. Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are no dead zones on the sticks when using a controller, so the slightest bit of drift causes your party to move. That becomes a problem when opening chests, too, because the smallest bit of movement cancels the opening animation for some reason. That’s admittedly a minor issue, but it can become groan-inducing when it happens over and over.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that while there’s a quick item menu that you can use to avoid having to rummage through the actual menu, it doesn’t have descriptions for the various items you can use. I don’t trust myself to remember the exact benefits of the Scummy Grog or Junker’s Stew yet, so I haven’t found much use for the quick menu outside of the straightforwardly-named healing flasks. The lack of descriptions is a shame given how much screen space there is to the right of the quick menu.
This is a little bit of weirdness that’s more or less mandated by the fact that you can replay dungeons multiple times on different difficulty modes, but that causes a weird disconnect regardless. There’s a dungeon where you have to find a password before you can get to the boss, and you have to find this password—the same password every time—whenever you play through the dungeon. This makes total sense from a “not letting the player run straight to the boss” standpoint, but it’s kind of funny when your characters act like they don’t know the password on their third time through.
I avoided upgrading my fishing gear for quite awhile because all of the new stuff I could buy seemed inferior to what I had, with the red “downgrade” arrow pointing downwards all the time. That thing shows up next to character stats whenever a new piece of equipment is a downgrade, so it only made sense to trust it. Turns out that the arrow is wrong here and probably some kind of visual bug. Rather than showing you the difference between your currently equipped rod/bait and what you’re looking at, the red number next to the arrow reflects the quality of what you currently have equipped, and the non-red number is what you’re looking at. If the non-red number is bigger, what you’re looking at is better fishing gear. Once I realized that and bought an improved rod and some better bait, fishing got a lot easier.
I now know what fishing does
The guy you buy the better fishing gear from is on the northeast corner of the map, or at least what feels like the northeast corner. He gives you coins in return for fish you’ve caught, and these can be spent on a “collector” merchant in the village hub area to buy special items and equipment. My characters are 1 or 2 levels beneath what they need to be to equip the weapons I’ve bought there, but they look really interesting nonetheless. You can also gain coins to spend by selling artifacts (which you’ll find a number of in dungeons) to the collector. Boom, mystery solved.