All right, the combat mechanics in general are definitely a bright spot. The sidequests, on the other hand, are soul-crushingly tedious fetch quests, and trying to do them all isn’t only difficult because of the weird way they update (sometimes you get new ones after finishing a different sidequest, sometimes you only get new ones once the main story moves forward, and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to know if you missed the small window to take and complete certain ones which often requires ignoring the main story mid-peril), but also because of how large the areas you have to search are. I’m liking this game much more than expected, especially now that I have a proper quintet capable of producing a dizzying chain of attacks, but the mandatory-for-good-ending sidequests are threatening to ruin the entire experience.
These sidequests are killing me
This is where I’m at right now. Dealing with tons of random sidequests, most of which revolve around killing something or obtaining an item dropped by a killed enemy. Problem is, it’s never really obvious where the thing you’re looking for is, and you can easily spend 30 minutes slowly running around areas trying to find it. Areas are incredibly difficult to navigate, and quest information like “west of Verdant Greenbelt’s Misty Plateau” isn’t especially helpful when I’ve yet to find such a place. The “show me a skill” quests are far more decent, only requiring performing a specific Harmonic Chain Skill. That requires unlocking certain moves, especially early on, but you get used to it, and these are the sidequests that upgrade characters’ special abilities (all the more important now that I have all five). This is what makes the fact that I’m apparently on “show me a skill #6” absolutely terrifying; I went from #3 straight to #6, and I’m worried that I somehow managed to miss a couple of these quests despite obsessively checking the town screen and accepting/finishing every single available quest. That would definitely explain why I suddenly can’t find this Misty Plateau, though it makes no sense that I could have missed a single one, much less four. Basically, this is designed in an incredibly confusing, counterintuitive way regardless of whether I missed something or not, and finishing your game’s good ending shouldn’t require following a guide online.
Still figuring things out
I have a much better sense of how to use Harmonics and Chain Skills and all of that stuff now, but this Live Concert option also popped up. Basically, the “voltage” meter at the bottom-right has five possible levels, and you can activate live concert mode up to however many levels you’re at for bonuses. This goes great with Harmonic chains, naturally, though I could swear that the live concert mode preoccupies certain characters so that they can’t be used. Or maybe it was something else. Either way, this live concert thing can apparently be customized, but I don’t really have any idea how to use it yet. Mostly because I never know how much voltage I’ll go into combat with or what determines what level you’re at. One interesting thing about the live concert thing is that you get randomly generated fan requests (since the whole thing is televised) and can fulfill their requests. Possibly for a bonus, but there’s so much going on that it’s incredibly difficult to tell what’s affecting what.
(Also, the music in the video got copyright claimed, so they might put ads on it.)
One of the things I’ve figured out is that the girls level up their ability to use certain weapon types (I think there are five) parallel to their normal jRPG levels, though you can switch out weapons to have them learn something else instead. The interesting thing about this is that their proficiency with the weapon they’re using determines how many attacks they have per turn, so a character using a weapon they’re at a level 1 proficiency with will give them a single attack, while a character using a weapon they have a level 4 proficiency with might give them 2. Or possibly more; I haven’t been keeping track, but right now my characters attack 3-4 times, and can earn extra attacks by defeating smaller enemies before going for the big ones.
And that’s it, really. I’ve mostly just been doing sidequests to see if it’s reasonably possible to obtain the “true” ending without following a guide, and they’re really starting to get on my nerves because of how pointless and time-consuming they are.