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Crossing the bridge between dreams and reality - Let's Play Eternal Sonata!


Mellotron enthusiast
Oh, this is the bonus dungeon? I missed that somehow. It does explain why enemies are dropping millions of gold, though!

I probably should have made that clearer, but yes. We're almost done with it, speaking of! Just a couple more updates of dungeon-crawling, then we can move on to other things.


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse VIII-IV: A Reunion with Death

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time the party descended further into Mysterious Unison, picking up some Soul Shards and a whole bunch of good loot… and that’s pretty much it!


♪♪~ The Unreasonable Theory

Today we’re going to clear out the rest of basement level 10.


We’ll start off by heading east of the T-intersection where we picked up the Skofnung, then south.


This leads to another intersection, where we will keep going south.



We get a pretty good shield for Crescendo out of it.


Back at the intersection, we take the eastern path.


On the following screen, we turn south at the intersection.



This gives us the strongest dark-elemental weapon in the game, but unlike Salsa, March at least has Pervius to fall back on for general use.


Going east at the intersection now.


This brings us to another intersection, where we want to keep going east.



This gives us a new accessory for Viola, a sorely needed upgrade over the Flare Head.


Back at the intersection, we head north.


We reach another T-intersection, where we keep going north.



This in turn gives us a new accessory for Beat.



That obtained, we head west back at the intersection, then north at the next one.


We’ve opened all the chests on this floor, so we can keep going north at this intersection.


This takes us to the exit to this floor!
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Mellotron enthusiast

Basement level 11 is back to the normal white color scheme, and the screen name is rather ominous. Got a bad feeling about this floor, y’all.


North of the teleporter, we come across a T-intersection and the final new enemy of the labyrinth; let’s take a look.




Astral Lieds are the final variant of Rayman statue. All of their attacks have a chance of knockdown; Level Spank and God Fist can both hit multiple characters in a line, and it has another attack called Glancing Ray with the same effect. They have low defenses and HP for this point of the game, and overall aren’t much of a problem if you take them out swiftly. They occasionally drop Spade Clovers.


♪♪~ Well Done

However, the real prize is the absurd amount of money they drop; each Astral Lied drops 4 million gold, and they typically appear in pairs. We’ll reach the gold cap in no time!


Anyway, we head west at the intersection.



From there we move west a screen and come to another intersection, where we move south.


“DEF +164
The armor that belonged to the hero Achilles.”

There we find a sweet new set of armor that I give to Claves, passing off the Dragon Armor she was wearing to Crescendo.


Back at the intersection, we move west.



We then follow the path for a while, moving north.


At another intersection, we keep moving north.


Along the way, we hit the gold cap! We could go buy the Soul Shard from Mute now, but I want to at least grab all the treasures on this floor first.



From the intersection, we move north and then east.


We arrive at another intersection, where we head north.


We then reach another intersection, where we move west.


The path moves northwest…



And at the end of it we find Falsetto’s ultimate weapon! With these knuckles she can reliably build enough Echoes for a Harmony Chain single-handedly, and while that was true with Tyr’s Left Arm this lets her keep up with everyone else in terms of ATK as well.


Mellotron enthusiast


Back at the intersection, we head east for a couple screens.



We then follow the path south and reach a four-way intersection, where we want to go west.


This lets us find Solomon’s Ring, an accessory that increases the wearer’s ATK by 10 points and gives them Burst status as well. It’s pretty much a strict upgrade over the Crimson Brooch.


Back at the intersection, we move east.


Another ominous screen name… we’re getting close to something, although exactly what it is remains to be seen.




For once the path is pretty straightforward, and we follow it for a while.



Eventually we reach a T-intersection, where we go west.


This takes us to another intersection, where we move north.



Doing so leads to a chest with Claves’s ultimate weapon, which also lets her build up a Harmony Chain by herself. With this we’ve found all the chests on the floor, so I’ll backtrack to basement level 6 offscreen.


I don’t know what you’ll possibly do with all this money, but here you go!

Mute: “Great! Here, I hope you like it.”


That makes five Soul Shards! Only two more to go. If we talk to Mute again, we get this:

Mute: “Oh, back again? Welcome. Ready for a shower?”


The price for a full heal has gone way up, I guess because Mute knows we can actually afford it. But we don’t need it, so we’ll leave them be and head back to basement level 11.


Back at the T-intersection before the one that led to the Retaliator, we move east.


♪♪~ Well Done

March: “I hope I’m being helpful!”

Along the way, March learns her final special attack! I didn’t get a chance to use it here, so we’ll have to look at it next time.


♪♪~ The Unreasonable Theory

We reach another intersection, and head north.


We’re getting very close to what is almost certainly a boss fight.




After a few more screens, we arrive at this update’s namesake. Before we continue, I set up a party of Claves, Falsetto, and Jazz. Claves gets the Pocket Watch and Bubbly Hat (+10% max SPD); Falsetto equips the Spell Book and Athena’s Tear; and Jazz gets the Peace Earring and Recovery Orb. I also put a few Saint’s Mirrors into the Item Set just in case.


Just ahead, guarding the teleporter to the next floor, we see another familiar face…


Rondo: “Humph. Falsetto, is it? After you defeated me, I woke up here, lost in this maze.”


Well that’s not great…


(This is Claves doing her Feather Spin animation.)

Rondo: “Hmph.”



boss fight time! (recommended viewing)
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Mellotron enthusiast

♪♪~ I Bet My Belief

Boss: Rondo (surprise rematch)
HP: 3,220,090 (Xbox 360)/1,808,000 (PS3)
Exp: 1,500,000 (Xbox 360)/460,000 (PS3)
Gold: 0 (Xbox 360)/10,000,000 (PS3)

(My apologies for the compression artifacts on the above and following two screenshots; as far as I can tell it happened during recording, and I’m not sure why, nor is there much I can do to fix it.)


Rondo: “Writhe in pain!”


Falsetto: “I promise you, I will not be defeated!”

Rondo is back from the dead and ready to try to kill us all again, but we’re not going to make it easy for her. She’s gotten a bit of a downgrade from the original game, but she can still give you trouble if you aren’t careful.



Her attacks have gotten a big damage buff and now carry a fiery appearance instead of ice; the latter is just a cosmetic change, but the former is a much bigger problem. She has the same moveset as when we fought her in Aria Temple, but that was a while ago so it wouldn’t hurt to go over her moves again. To start with, Bombardment is a five-hit combo, with the final hit sending out a huge wave of molten rock in a horizontal line in front of Rondo; this can cause knockdown if unguarded.


Grand Venom is her least worrisome move, being a single-hit attack at a slight distance that causes Slow if unguarded. Falsetto doesn’t have to worry about that since she’s wearing the Peacock Dress, but you still want to guard to prevent taking a decent chunk of damage.



In between her volleys we fire off some attacks of our own. Pictured above Bird Swarm is Raven Blast, the light version of Jazz’s Magma Pillar special; it’s very powerful, especially at higher Echo counts as seen here, and it covers a wide radius.



Fer-De-Lance is a two-hit stab with her kunai that’s practically a guaranteed knockdown if you don’t guard against it, and it does a lot of damage besides.


It can be pretty dangerous to fight Rondo without a dedicated healer, so I made sure to bring plenty of items. If you try mitigating this by using one or more long-distance attackers, you should be wary; Rondo is still the fastest opponent in the game, and she can cross the battlefield incredibly quickly, even despite its size.



Her standard combos are also quite fast, making the guard timing incredibly tricky if you don’t remember it from the battle in Aria Temple. Rondo’s stabs are fast enough that they can wear you down just as quickly as any of her stronger attacks.



Since we all started out in the middle of the battlefield, we end up spending the entire fight by this lamppost. If you planned on using somebody with particularly strong dark specials – like, say, Allegretto – you might want to equip them with a Dark Brooch.



Hell Eruption is a single-hit attack that affects everyone in range. In the original fight it was her most dangerous attack, because it could potentially inflict Stop on your entire party at once if you messed up the guard input; here, it can no longer inflict Stop but can instead be used at infinite range, meaning not even Viola or Beat are entirely safe in this fight.




Unfortunately for Rondo, despite her best efforts (she managed to put Slow on Jazz here), she’s only one person, and most of the hardest boss fights in this game have multiple opponents.


Claves: “Come on now, look over here!”

I think it’s only proper that Claves initiates the final Harmony Chain here.





She does just that, and Falsetto deals the final blow. Interestingly, instead of collapsing to the ground like all the other human bosses (including the first time we fought her), when you defeat her here Rondo explodes into light like a monster boss would.


♪♪~ Well Done

Claves: “That was really tough.”

For our victory we obtain the sixth Soul Shard and a whole boatload of exp and gold. And it’s not often that you get to avenge your own murder!


Is it possible for someone to be double-dead? Because I’m pretty sure Rondo is double-dead.


In any case, we’ve almost reached the bottom of Unison, and there’s only one more Soul Shard to find. Whatever is waiting for us below, we’ll meet it head-on.

Next time: The bottom of Mysterious Unison and the final Soul Shard both await...


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse VIII-V: Reunification

Hello and welcome back to Aferlife Dungeon-Crawl Simulator 2007 Eternal Sonata! Last time the party descended to basement level 11 of Mysterious Unison and had a surprise encounter with Rondo, back from the dead and ready to try to do them all in. Claves led the charge in avenging her own death, and having done that (and acquired a Soul Shard in the process), we now continue deeper into the labyrinth:


♪♪~ The Unreasonable Theory

We’re starting off today in basement level 12, which is an eerie shade of red.


We head west from the teleporter and follow the path south. It’s worth noting that the path is absolutely choked with enemies – this has been the case since at least basement levels 8 and 9, but it’s especially prevalent here. I’m avoiding most fights on this level; battling one or two enemies should be good for exp purposes, since the party is all around level 70 at this point.



We follow the path where it takes us, heading south and then west.




Eventually we come to a T-intersection, where we turn north.




We then continue down the path until it comes to a four-way intersection, where we turn back south.



This leads to a very good weapon for Allegretto; the Sheol Sword will let him be more self-sufficient in battle and not have to rely as much on items for healing.



Back at the intersection, we proceed north.


This leads to another four-way intersection, where we keep going north.


Doing so lets us pick up the third and final Score Piece inside Mysterious Unison, bringing our total to 25 out of 32. You might be wondering where the other seven Score Pieces are, and the answer is I’m getting to it, gosh



Back at the intersection, we turn west and then follow the path north past the huge mobs of enemies.



Eventually we come to another T-intersection, where we turn west.



This leads to Jazz’s ultimate weapon! Of course, the argument could be made that Skofnung is the better broadsword, and really both options are equally good: do you equip the Skofnung for permanent Burst and free up both accessory slots, or do you use Bezwell’s Sword and turn Jazz into a self-sufficient engine of destruction that will pretty much never run out of HP? It’s up to you, dear reader.


Mellotron enthusiast


Back at the intersection, we take the eastern path.


This leads to another T-intersection, but we’ll keep going east. We’re almost at the end of the floor, so this is as good a time as any to go over the special that March learned last update.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Illumination is the light version of Eclipse Gaze; March throws her moon rings at the target, and the resulting blast extends in a horizontal line in front of her. This has the potential to hit the primary target twice if they’re large enough, and is all around pretty good.


Back in the labyrinth, we follow the path south.




This continues for a while; there are no more branching paths from here to the exit.


Speaking of which, we’ve just reached the teleporter room, which is very ominously named indeed.


But that hasn’t stopped us before, and we aren’t about to let it now.


Y’all heard it straight from the game: we’ve reached the 13th and final basement level of Mysterious Unison.


This is the smallest floor aside from the entrance, consisting only of two teleporter rooms. This one here will take us back to the entrance…


But we have to go through a dangerous opponent first. Before we do, let’s talk party setup.


Claves will lead the party. She has her ultimate rapier and the strongest armor that Mysterious Unison has to offer; in addition, she has the Crimson Brooch for Burst (because I forgot about Solomon’s Ring), and the Recovery Orb to offset the damage she’ll be taking.


Falsetto is in the middle spot, armed with the Lord’s Reign and the Peacock Dress. She’ll be wearing the Spell Book to give her specials some extra oomph, and Athena’s Tear for some defense.


Crescendo will bring up the rear, equipped with the Royal Staff, Antelope Armor, and Mirror Shield. He’ll also be wearing the Werewolf Choker so that he can build Echoes at roughly the same pace as the other two party members. I also load up the Item Set with all the Saint’s Mirrors I found throughout the labyrinth (ten, to be exact), and fill the rest of the empty slots with Heart Clovers and Floral Powders.

Now then, let’s go get the final Soul Shard.


I believe this is the only cutscene in the game where you actually see the whole party ready to use their weapons.


Very dangerous boss time! (recommended viewing)


Mellotron enthusiast

♪♪~ Broken Balance

Boss: Annihilator
HP: 4,958,710 (Xbox 360)/2,450,000 (PS3)
Exp: 1,800,000 (Xbox 360)/532,000 (PS3)
Gold: 0


Crescendo: “Is this the only way?”

The Annihilator is, obviously, a palette swap of Ruined Body. It’s a good thing it isn’t paired up with Count Waltz, because it’s very dangerous on its own, and indeed even though our party is pushing level 70 it can still wreck us pretty fast if we’re caught off-guard.


Annihilator has the same moveset as Ruined Body, only drastically more powerful. Notice how Claves is blocking its basic attack and still took almost 3,000 damage? Yeah, you’re going to be hurting a lot in this fight.



Blood Sink is still the very dangerous AoE that it was in Double Reed Tower, and it still lowers every affected character’s ATK slightly even if you guard against it (and knocks you down if you don’t). Annihilator doesn’t seem to spam it as much as Ruined Body did, though, preferring instead to mix up its attacks more often.



Incidentally, it didn’t come up back in the Ruined Body fight because none of my party members had knockdown specials, but you can knock both it and Annihilator to the ground, which is both useful and hilarious.




Crop Top is a vastly more powerful version of Ruined Body’s Mortal Cleave, being a three-hit combo with a large AoE blast as the finishing blow. Seriously, if you don’t guard against it it’s entirely possible that a character will just be KO’ed if their HP is low enough, especially someone under Burst status.




Claves: “Come on now, look over here!”

Unlike everywhere else in Mysterious Unison, the battlefield you fight Annihilator in doesn’t have a lamppost in the middle, meaning unless you lure it over to a corner you’re almost certainly fighting it in the darkness. This is fine for the party we’re using here since all their strongest attacks are dark specials anyway, but keep that in mind if you bring someone like Polka or Frederic into the battle.



Unfortunately for me, I screw up guarding soon after the Harmony Chain, and Claves and Falsetto both immediately pay for my mistake. This is how quickly you can find yourself in a bad situation if you screw up in this fight!


This is the perfect time to use those Saint’s Mirrors we’ve accumulated. Like I said a couple updates ago, you’re bound to have at least a few of them by the time you reach the bottom of Unison, and there’s no reason not to bring them along into the battle.





Crescendo: “Lightning cuts a jagged path across the sky!”

It will never not be funny to me to knock the superboss flat on its butt.



More seriously, Scorcher sends out a huge jet of flame that hits everyone in front of the boss, while Provoked is a slow, single hit on one target that has a chance of knockdown unguarded. You could probably counterattack against the latter move pretty easily, but like hell I’m trying that here. Maybe someday!



Eventually it uses Reclaim, which it only does when it’s nearly defeated; this is your cue that the fight is almost over. After it uses Reclaim, it’ll heal for 49,000 HP per turn, but this only lasts a few turns, and Annihilator can only use it once. From here I try to stall the fight a bit to have Claves initiate the last Harmony Chain, but the turn order wasn’t lining up for me (and I forgot that skipping turns is a thing you can do)…


Falsetto: “By lightning and thunder will you be thrown, by wind will you be scattered. Heaven and earth!”

So I have Falsetto do it instead. Take it away, Falsetto!





Claves at least gets to land the final blow, which I think is appropriate.


♪♪~ Well Done

Falsetto: “I won’t lose to the likes of you!”

We did it! We found all the Soul Shards! That means…


Mellotron enthusiast

click to watch the cutscene (recommended viewing)

♪♪~ No music


Jazz: “Claves?!”



Claves: “...”


Viola: “You’re back, Claves!”
Falsetto: “Congratulations, Claves!”
Allegretto: “Now you are free to go outside again!”
Claves: “Falsetto…. Viola….”



A unique jingle plays that isn’t heard anywhere else in the game. And with that, Claves is back in the party for good!


♪♪~ The Unreasonable Theory

Small problem with that: there isn’t anything left to do right now besides head back to Double Reed Tower and go through the portal to the endgame. If we want to use Claves for more than just seeing the ending, we’ll have to take some extra steps…


But that will come later. For now, let’s get the hell out of this labyrinth.



♪♪~ Heroic (Polonaise in A Flat Major, Op. 53)

“The word polonaise means ‘Polish.’ In other words, the hero, Polonaise, represents the greatness of Poland.”


“During this period, Chopin’s tuberculosis flared up, and he was sometimes overcome by fierce coughing and forced into bed for weeks at a time.”


“Majestic, strong, and proud.”


“The courage of his comrades who had bound together.”


“The pride Chopin felt for the country of his birth could be expressed in no grander or more heroic music than this.”


“The pastoral vistas that spread across the land there resembled those near the village of Zelazowa Wola, where Chopin had been born.”


“On the outskirts of Nohant there lay a mansion.”


“that was purchased by Marie-Aurore Dupin, George Sand’s grandmother.”



“never needing to worry about anything but his piano playing.”


“It was difficult for him to focus on composing while in Paris.”


“The power of Nohant temporarily staved off Chopin’s terrible illness and revived the memories of his homeland.”


“It was there that this masterpiece was born.”


“but one can feel a kind of power and persuasiveness in this piece that is hard to imagine originating from a performance on a single piano.”


“If one ever wondered just how proud Chopin was of his home country,”



Next time: ????


Mellotron enthusiast
Glossary of Musical Terms

Unison – When two or more instruments are playing either the same pitch or a given note at different octaves, usually at the same time.

Mute – A device that you attach to an instrument to change its timbre and/or lower its volume. You can also mute some instruments by hand to immediately stop the sound if necessary.

Lied – The German word for “song”, used to refer to setting poetry to music. Among English-speaking musicians the term is mainly used to refer to German art songs in general, regardless of whether or not the song in question is specifically setting the text of a poem to music.

Polonaise – A Polish dance in ¾ time. Chopin helped popularize the polonaise as a genre of classical music, and the ones he published are the most famous examples in the repertoire.


Mellotron enthusiast
If you were wondering precisely how long this dungeon took to finish, here's an exact timestamp:


The top save was made just after defeating Count Waltz and Legato at the top of Double Reed Tower; the save that the cursor is highlighting was made right after defeating Annihilator. All told, this one dungeon took nearly twelve hours, which is pretty beefy considering the main game was just under thirty-five hours of total playtime.

As for what's coming after this, you'll just have to wait and see. I should be able to post the next update in about a week; see you then!
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Round and round I go
Staff member
Ten hours to raise the dead is a pretty good deal, though.


Mellotron enthusiast
Ten hours to raise the dead is a pretty good deal, though.

Man, it just seems so out of place for so many reasons. Nice to have a party member back though!


Anyway, here's some more art to look at until the next update:



Another look at Rondo, and the last bestiary page from the JP strategy guide.



And some more art of Claves, including what looks like an early draft of a much different design than what's in the final game. The second image interests me, in that it seems like a possible idea for a palette swapped look that might have been used in Mysterious Unison, like what happened to Rondo.


Mellotron enthusiast
As for what's coming after this, you'll just have to wait and see. I should be able to post the next update in about a week; see you then!

Alas, 'twas not to be, but I will be posting the next update tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to showing off this part of the game.


Mellotron enthusiast
Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time the party reached the very bottom of Mysterious Unison and defeated the monster therein, netting them the final Soul Shard. Having found all seven, Claves was successfully brought back to life, and we’re now free to use her for the rest of the game.

Problem is, there’s not much game left, just whatever is on the other side of the portal in Double Reed Tower. Not to mention there are still several unresolved sidequests – we still haven’t found all the Score Pieces, the Dolce treasure hunt just kind of ended abruptly, and we never figured out what the deal with EZI was either. (And there’s more than that, too.) So what are we supposed to do?

Well, Eternal Sonata is weird, in that it lets you start most of the sidequests, but you can’t actually finish them your first time through the game, except for Mysterious Unison. To do that, we’re going to have to start a New Game Plus file, which is usually called Encore Mode by most players.


After you beat the game, you get this prompt letting you know that you can save a Game Clear file.


When you save the Game Clear file, you get a nifty little medal on the save to signify this. Loading this file will either let you watch the ending or immediately launch into a new game, with some changes. It’s worth noting that this file isn’t called Encore Mode or even New Game Plus in the game itself at all; the only indication that the save is different from a normal game (besides the changes within the game itself) is the medal. The term “Encore Mode” was actually coined by the Bradygames strategy guide that was published alongside the original release of the game, and it fits Eternal Sonata pretty well, so it’s stuck.


Encore Mode lets you keep a few things from your original file. For starters, you have access to the highest Party Level that you reached your first time through the game, and you can freely switch between Party Levels whenever you want. For this reason, it’s worth at least dipping your toes into Mysterious Unison to defeat the Mercurius at the entrance, even if you don’t finish the rest of the dungeon.


You also have the maximum Item Set points from whatever your highest Party Level was, even if you aren’t using it – so we still have 50 points even if we’re using, say, Party Level 2. This will let us use items much more freely in the first half of the game.


In addition, you start the game with the Hero’s Crest already in your inventory, so you can enter Mysterious Unison as soon as you can reach it. The game also lets you keep all of the Score Pieces you found in your original file, the alternate costumes you found, and all the music you heard will already be unlocked in the “Music” and “Piano Music” menus.


Everything else is gone – we don’t get to keep any of the powerful endgame equipment or accessories, the huge pile of Gold, or our stockpile of items, and character levels and specials are in their initial states like in a fresh save file. We have to earn all of it back, and it won’t be trivial.

Now that most of the rules have been established (I'll be covering more new things as we encounter them), let's get properly underway.


Mellotron enthusiast
Verse IX-I: Chapter 1 Redux


The cutscenes are unchanged, so for this Encore Mode playthrough I’ll be fast-forwarding through most of the plot since we’ve seen it already. That said, if you’d like a refresher, I’ll be uploading compilations of all the cutscenes and boss fights in a given chapter as we go along; these compilations will have timestamps for easy access to any given scene, and I’ll be using the JP audio track so you aren’t quite watching the same cutscenes twice. Here’s the Chapter 1 video.


We still don’t know what this scene is about, but we’ll find out later, I’m sure.


♪♪~ Relaxing Place

Sometime before the scene at the cliff, Polka is just returning from Ritardando, having tried unsuccessfully to sell floral powder from her home village of Tenuto.


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Along the way we run into some enemies, and I have to talk about another important change in Encore Mode: all enemies’ stats are 1.5 times higher than in a normal playthrough, and they have increased HP values as well, although how much more HP seems to vary from enemy to enemy.



Enemies are also smarter, being more likely to attack you from behind and use their full arsenal of moves; you would never see A Terre in a normal playthrough. All that being said, these Very Very Empties are still the weakest enemies in the game, they just take an extra combo to kill is all. Polka only has two specials right now, so fighting these enemies at Party Level 2 is the way to go here – that way she still has access to the Echo Meter, pseudo-infinite Tactical Time, and a full five-second turn.


Further along the path, Polka rests for a bit and has a flashback to earlier in the day…


Something I didn’t point out the first time we saw this cutscene is that you can see Beat and Allegretto in the top-right corner, before you’re properly introduced to them. I’ve always liked that detail.


♪♪~ Well Done

It turns out that after you watch that cutscene, all the enemies behind you respawn, so I fight just one extra battle to bring Polka to level 2 before we reach Tenuto. It’s not critical that I do this, but it is helpful.


♪♪~ Reflect the Sky, Bloom the Life


There’s nothing different in Tenuto – yet – so I scoop up the few items I can before heading to Polka’s house. Most of the NPC dialogue remains the same in this playthrough, so I won’t be posting it again. If you really want to reread the NPC chatter, you’ll just have to go back and read previous updates! =V


♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Inside Polka’s house, Solfège tries to reassure her after Polka’s unpleasant episode in Ritardando.


♪♪~ The Mediocrity Sought Out by Everyone

Meanwhile in Ritardando, Allegretto and Beat have just stolen some bread to take to some orphans living in the city sewers.


Nothing much different here either, although I don’t remember that strange stone being there before…


♪♪~ Underground for Underhand

Right, time to go through some sewers. It’s worth noting that the first two combat tutorials in this chapter automatically set your Party Level to 1, so be sure to change it back to whatever you had it on afterwards. Alas, you also can't skip them, for whatever reason, but you can at least skip the explanatory dialogue to win the fight faster.



The rats aren’t a big deal since we have access to Echoes before we’re normally supposed to. I also take some pictures of the enemies here so we have some extra cash.



While doing so, Allegretto and Beat both reach level 4 before fighting the boss; this would let us use Harmony Chains against it if we wanted, but I don’t think that’s necessary here.


Soon enough we reach the end of the sewers…


♪♪~ Rapid Fire

And encounter Bread Gang once again.




♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

Bread Gang is more likely to use its specials instead of just attacking us, but overall isn’t too much harder.



I only spend a couple turns taking pictures, then I have Beat spend the rest of his time building Echoes so Allegretto can deal big damage.


Like so!


Annoyingly, the boss heals itself once, but by this point it’s almost defeated.



There, wasn’t too bad!


♪♪~ Well Done

Enemies in Encore Mode give the same amount of exp and gold they did in the first playthrough, so don’t expect to level up any faster than normal – the main point of Encore Mode (besides unlocking all the sidequests) is to be more challenging than the first playthrough.
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Mellotron enthusiast

Allegretto and Beat give the bread to the kids, and observe that it’s kind of weird that mineral powder is the only thing in Ritardando that isn’t taxed.


Back in Tenuto, Polka is still upset about what happened in Ritardando…


Later that day, Beat and Allegretto talk about having seen Polka, and Allegretto gets on Beat’s case for having a camera, for some reason.


The opening credits happen…


And Polka meets Frederic.


Back at Polka’s house, Polka introduces Frederic to Solfège…


And there’s something new in Polka’s bedroom – and I’m not just talking about the cat.


Polka: “Hm? There’s something on the floor underneath. Oh! I’ve been looking all over for this!”





You can only find this costume in Encore Mode. And now we have all of them!


Before we go into Heaven’s Mirror Forest, I believe Violentvixen asked quite a while ago what happens if you pick the “Cumquats” option here, since that word is technically misspelled.


Rano: “Come whats?”

Uh, turns out not much, alas. I guess the misspelling was part of the joke here? Anyway…


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Inside Heaven’s Mirror Forest, the L’Opera Knights’ attacks hurt more than usual, so it’s important to keep your HP up as much as you can.





Here are some Action Shots of Polka’s new costume while I’m here.



♪♪~ Illuminant Lives

We make our way through Heaven’s Mirror Forest, picking up items and fighting swan knights along the way.


♪♪~ Rapid Fire

Time to fight us a boar!


♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

Poisoning the Forest Boar with a Poison Whitecap will help us defeat it faster, which is good…



Because its attacks hurt a lot more than the first time we fought it.


Having a huge stash of items really comes in handy here, because neither of our characters’ healing specials can keep up with the damage, not without using Echoes that are better spent ending the fight as quickly as possible.




Speaking of, fully-charged specials are doing a lot of heavy lifting in this fight – if we were to try using Party Level 1 we’d be here for several more minutes at least.



Way to go, Polka! I’m pretty sure she dealt the final blow the last time we fought the Forest Boar as well, so that’s two for two. Not bad!
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♪♪~ Your Circumstances

Afterwards, Polka shows Frederic the Heaven’s Mirror flower field, and states her intent to set out for Forte and speak to Count Waltz about the high taxes on floral powder.


The next day, Allegretto and Beat are also, coincidentally, heading for Forte themselves to do much the same thing.


Before we set off, we head back into the sewers to trade the Rat Tail we got from Bread Gang for this Stick…


And then trade that for these Dentures. I’m doing this trading quest again because the Spell Book at the end of it will be quite useful, but since we’ve already seen it I’ll be leaving out most of the details.


♪♪~ Innumerable Animals

The pair then head to Agogo Forest, to pass through it on their way to Forte. The combat tutorial shortly afterwards automatically sets your Party Level to 2, so keep that in mind if you were using something different.



The forest poses no difficulty for us, and we pass through uneventfully.


♪♪~ Rapid Fire

Baby Dragon time!




♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the Baby Dragon is just as much of a jerk in Encore Mode as it is in a standard playthrough, if not more so thanks to the stat buff.


Once again, poison is going to be doing a lot of work for us in this fight.


Neither Allegretto nor Beat have healing specials to fall back on (or not yet, in Beat’s case), so it’s doubly important for them to keep your Item Set well-stocked.


Like with Bread Gang, Beat is only going to spend a couple turns taking pictures before spending the rest of the fight building Echoes for Allegretto.



The key difference between the two fights is that here I’m using Party Level 4 so we can use Harmony Chains, the better to get rid of the Baby Dragon as soon as I can.



But the funny thing is, it was actually the poison that defeated the boss! I had no idea that could happen. You learn something new every day, I guess.


The two of them head deeper into the forest...


♪♪~ Raindrops (Prelude in D Flat Major, Op. 28 No. 15)

And we get the first history lesson about one of Chopin’s pieces.


Meanwhile, the rain has started falling in earnest, much to Frederic and Polka’s chagrin.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The Great Coconuts here are the first truly challenging standard enemies in Encore Mode, with lots of HP and high attack power.



The solution is to fight smart! Using a Glowing Tail will both heal a character and give them Shining Body, transforming the Great Coconut into a harmless VVE. It’s invaluable for when you run into groups of 3 GC’s, which might otherwise be an overwhelming fight.



Polka and Frederic make their way through the forest…


♪♪~ Pressure

And meet this asshole.


♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Fugue then proceeds to beat them up for no reason.
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♪♪~ Innumerable Animals

The rain stops soon after, much to Beat’s relief.


We hand the Dentures to this old man, who repays us with some Green Paint.


We then backtrack to a previous area and hand the paint to this painter, who gives us a pair of Long Johns in return.


Afterwards we exit the forest and arrive in Agogo Village.


♪♪~ Can We Be Both Different and Alike

Beat and Agogo meet March, and soon enough Polka as well.


However, they make an offhand comment about Polka’s magic, which upsets her, and she runs off, only to be attacked by some unseen monster.


♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

After shopping for equipment offscreen, the boys rush to Polka’s rescue, and it’s time to fight the end boss of Chapter 1!


As always, we start by getting rid of the adds; if playing this game over the years has taught me anything, it’s to Always Get Rid of the Adds (or AGRA, if you want).




Most of the Ogre Champ’s attacks are pretty manageable, but you really want to watch out for Decapitate; if you fail to guard against it, it could KO a character if they’re at anything less than full HP. Luckily the guard timing is pretty easy to get down, and once you do you should be fine.


Unfortunately the boss resisted the effects of the Poison Whitecap, but since we have a full party and access to Party Level 4 it’s not a crucial part of the battle strategy.



Allegretto is our heavy hitter in this fight, so the other two characters will build up Echoes for him.



The fight goes pretty smoothly, and Frederic lands the finishing blow with a particularly beefy Coup de Grace.


The party encounters a glowing agogo for the first time after the fight, then everyone reconvenes at March’s house.


While there, Polka thinks back to when she argued with her mother about going to Forte.


She resolves to use the short amount of time she has left to help others…


And back in the present, agrees to go to Forte with the rest of the party. March also asks the group to find her twin sister Salsa, who has her own business in the city, and give Salsa her hat, which the party agrees to.


And so Polka, Frederic, Allegretto, and Beat all set off for Forte together, leaving March to wonder about the glowing agogo that they mentioned.

And that’s Chapter 1 of Encore Mode! The first half of the game is going to go much like this – I’ll slow down for the changes and new content, but will otherwise only go over the highlights of each chapter, since we’ve seen most of it before. Once we get to Chapter 6 I’ll slow down the pace considerably since that’s where most of the sidequests are hiding. Hope to see you then!

Next time: Encore Mode Chapter 2!


This game is SO WEIRD structurally.


Before we go into Heaven’s Mirror Forest, I believe Violentvixen asked quite a while ago what happens if you pick the “Cumquats” option here, since that word is technically misspelled.


Rano: “Come whats?”

Uh, turns out not much, alas. I guess the misspelling was part of the joke here? Anyway…

Holy crap I'm impressed you remembered that! And thank you for trying that option.


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This game is SO WEIRD structurally.

You're not wrong, but at the same time I kind of like it? Setting up New Game Plus like this gives you more of an incentive to replay the game, beyond just playing it again. And since it's more challenging than the first playthrough, all the stuff we'll be getting from sidequests will be extra useful.

On the other hand... that's all kind of undermined by the game not telling you that any of this is here, for reasons I'm not clear on. I really wish the developers would have added in an explanation of some kind for the PS3 port - just put another text box on the Game Clear Data screen that explains the rules of this second playthrough, or something like that. I find myself wondering how many players weren't aware that Encore Mode was any different than the original game, at least back when the game was new; I don't think the wiki existed back then, and GameFAQs is long past its heyday at this point.

Holy crap I'm impressed you remembered that! And thank you for trying that option.

No problem! I have a pretty decent long-term memory, and I was curious about it myself.


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Now there's more art! Specifically some art of Polka from the JP strategy guide.


An earlier design for Polka, with a different dress and head scarf.


Some close-up details of her parasol.


A turnaround...



And more detailed looks at younger Polka, who is just adorable.
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Verse IX-II: Chapter 2 Redux

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we started a New Game Plus playthrough of the game, commonly called Encore Mode by most players; we went through Chapter 1, fighting tougher versions of the bosses therein and picking up a new costume for Polka along the way. Today we’ll be going through Chapter 2, which in Encore Mode has some of the hardest fights in the entire game.


♪♪~ Strategy

Chapter 2 begins with Count Waltz dismissing Andantino as being any kind of threat. It’s worth noting that in the original Japanese audio, Waltz sounds more like a teenager, whereas in the English dub he sounds more like a young adult. I suppose then that the original performance would technically be more accurate – Count Waltz is, canonically, sixteen years old – but Liam O’Brien’s performance in the English dub is fantastic, so I don’t see one as being strictly superior to the other. Here’s the video compilation for Chapter 2, if you're interested in hearing the difference.


♪♪~ Revolution (Étude in C Minor, Op. 10 No. 12)

We’re then treated to the next Chopin history lesson…


And Waltz makes an ominous foreshadowy statement about Claves’s role in the story.


♪♪~ Dive into the Vast Expanse of Plains

But enough about that, it’s time to run through the Chorus Plains!


♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

As you can see here, Angel Goats are more dangerous than they were in the first playthrough, and they’re even faster now. If you’re having trouble fighting them, it might be worth doing the “run away from the battle and then immediately ambush the enemy on the map” trick to give yourself more room to breathe.


Speaking of goats, these goats here don’t want to kill us, but they aren’t moving off the bridge until we give them something to eat.


So we pick up some stray paper that’s lying around…


And bribe the goats off the bridge.



In the next section of the plains we encounter Earth Shakers, which are very bad news if they land their attacks on you; luckily we have the advantage of Harmony Chains so we don’t have to spend forever fighting them.


As we travel across the plains we hand the Long Johns over to this shepherd, who gives us some Goat’s Milk in return.


We then circle around the lake…


And encounter Viola, who’s being menaced by the next boss fight.



♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

The Maledictors aren’t too much harder in Encore Mode; sure they deal more damage, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.


And besides, we have the overwhelming advantage that is Viola, who can still chew through HP effortlessly.


Allegretto finishes off the other Maledictor for a relatively easy victory.


Viola thanks us for saving her and her goats, but then reveals the horrible side effects of prolonged mineral powder use. It’s never made explicit how exactly she learned this information, but I think we can draw our own conclusions; Fort Fermata is right next door, after all, and we learn a little later that Forte dumps the results of its mineral powder experiments there.


The group reconvene at Viola’s house and discuss what to do next, concluding that the next course of action should be continuing on to Forte and speaking to Count Waltz directly.


And luckily for us, Viola decides to come along.


With a plan decided upon, the party leaves Viola’s house…


And reach Cabasa Bridge, which connects Fort Fermata to the Chorus Plains. Beat also makes an astute observation, foreshadowing the end of the chapter in the process.


Allegretto and Polka have a cute moment as the party crosses the bridge.


♪♪~ Strategy

Meanwhile at Forte Castle, Waltz chews out Fugue for failing to find any glowing agogos.


Back at Fort Fermata, the party remarks that it’s a little odd that there aren’t any soldiers guarding the place, but this makes some amount of sense given that the fort hasn’t actually been used for a long time, except to dump the results of mineral powder experiments here.



♪♪~ A Wall with No Front or Back

And now we have to make our way through the place. The main door is locked, so we have to take the long way around.
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♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Lords of Darkness are actually kind of dangerous now; they have access to a wide variety of attacks for a standard enemy, all of which can take a good chunk of HP off if they aren’t guarded against, and they tend to appear in big groups, especially early on. However, even in Encore Mode they still don’t have that much HP, and we can always put Viola in the party to wreck shop.


Maledictors still aren’t a big deal now that they’re a standard enemy, as long as you pay attention.



We make our way through Fort Fermata, crossing back and forth between the two sides of the dungeon and flipping switches to move a particular room around, both to reach treasure and to make forward progress.


On our way through the fort, we pass by this room. Remember this room for later.



Eventually we reach the end, where an obvious boss fight awaits.


♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Let’s rumble!




Killer Knight isn’t that much harder in Encore Mode, despite my initial failure to block most of its attacks. We can’t just fumble our way through the fight, but as long as we’re at least paying attention we should be okay.


Remember AGRA, kids!



As always, Beat builds up Echoes for us, and Viola hangs in the back taking potshots.



For this battle I set our Party Level to 6, and I’ll be keeping it there for the rest of the game; everyone in the party has access to two light and dark specials each at this point, and the damage potential is too great to not make use of it.




One last Harmony Chain seals the deal for us.


Afterwards, the party talks about Andantino for a bit.


Meanwhile, in their hideout at Lake Reverb, the actual high-ranking members of Andantino discuss their plan to rescue Salsa from Forte Castle; during the conversation, Claves pretends to be extra mindful of all the details, while secretly memorizing said details to feed the information to Forte later.


♪♪~ Breeze the Conductor

The party exit Fort Fermata and start traveling through Hanon Hills.


Along the way, Allegretto notices a peculiar rock that will come into play later.


About halfway through the hills, the party notices someone in trouble and goes to help.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Eternal Greens aren’t much more difficult than the Angel Goats we fought earlier; just try not to get hit by their charge attack too much and you should be fine.


Earth Shakers are still the same as they were in the Chorus Plains, only we have several additional levels under our belt to make fighting them easier. However, if they transform in the dark into a Dark Bat, they become way more dangerous.


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We save the merchant and rest and resupply.


At the top of the hill we hand the Goat’s Milk to this traveler, who thanks us with a Piggy Bank he picked up in Forte.


Some uneventful traveling later, and we’ve reached the city at last.


♪♪~ Trembling Homefront

However, it’s too late in the day to visit the castle, so the party decides to find a place to stay for the night.


Before we do that, though, we can poke around the city a bit. We run into this jerk again, who refuses to let Polka help him. Remember him for later, as well.


We then hand the Piggy Bank to this kid who had lost his money, and he repays us with a pair of Speed Shoes.


Remember this guy? He was our introduction to the Score Piece sidequest. Back when we first played through Chapter 2 we only had two Score Pieces, and playing them in a session with Gentlemanly Pop got us a Peach Cookie and an EZI Cracker. We can still get those now, but with the addition of all the Score Pieces we got to carry over from the first playthrough, we can get lots of good stuff from various sessions throughout Encore Mode.



“Hey! I heard some new sounds in that session!”

Playing Score Piece 8 with Gentlemanly Pop gets us a Lion’s Mane, much earlier than we would normally first have access to one. The session rewards will get better from here, trust me.


That done, we head to the inn, but we can’t stay for the night just yet because nobody’s watching the front desk. Koto here asks us to find her friend Phil, who seems to be missing.


We ask the owner of the local bar about him, and she points us to an old man…


Who eventually says that Phil ran off near Glissando Cliffs.


The party rushes over, but only finds Phil’s shoe; they’ll have to make their way down to the bottom of the cliffs to find Phil himself.


♪♪~ The Posture You Do Not Despise

Down we go!




Sweet Whispers are annoying to deal with, but if they manage to land Constant Shadow on you they’ll turn into the much worse Caravan Crab, so try not to let that happen.


Partway down the cliffs we encounter this old man; in our first playthrough we couldn’t do much with him, but with our much larger stockpile of Score Pieces we can change that.


“You’ve got it! That’s just right! You’re not too shabby, if you set your mind to it!”

Playing Score Piece 5 with Maracas here results in an A-rank and an EZI Certificate, an accessory that grants the wearer permanent Poison status. Which is… not great, admittedly! Let’s try that again:

“There’s something I want to tell you before we play. You may not have noticed, but I’m not really a guru at all. I’m just an ordinary old man!”



“You’ve still got some learning to do.”

Playing Score Piece 23 with the ordinary old man results in a B-rank and a free set of Tailored Clothes, which is the best set of light armor we currently have access to. More more useful!



Armor obtained, we continue climbing down the cliffs, fighting a whole bunch of bats and picking up a second pair of Speed Shoes along the way.


Eventually we reach the bottom and rescue Phil, who had fortunately been caught by a tree before landing on the ground. He thanks us and heads back to the inn, and the party is automatically warped back to Forte City.


As thanks for saving him, Phil lets us stay at the inn for free.





♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The next day I head back down the cliffs to grab an item that only appears at this point, which is mostly an excuse to get more exp from fighting monsters. As previously stated, Caravan Crabs are pretty dangerous, being able to use several deadly attacks and heal allies. Your best bet is to either keep Viola in your active party to pierce their high defense, or use high-knockback specials like Void Edge to push them into the light and turn them back into Sweet Whispers.



Climbing back down to the bottom lets us find this Star Clock, which if you’ll recall will reset a character’s Action Gauge upon use. It’s tricky to use effectively – I find it works best if you need to spend a turn throwing items around but still want to attack afterwards.

As for this Elder Chapper, they're sort of part of a sidequest? I say sort of because we’ll only encounter a message from them one more time in the game, much later on; it feels like this whole thing was supposed to be longer and more involved, but future interactions got cut for whatever reason.
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In any case, it’s time to seek out an audience with Count Waltz.


Of course, that’s not happening today, because Tuba here immediately assumes we’re working for Andantino, backhands Beat, and starts a fight with us.


♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Encore Mode Tuba is incredibly dangerous, because all of his attacks deal substantially more damage than they did in the first playthrough. Mega Mash in particular is nasty, because if you don’t block it that character is pretty much guaranteed to be KO’ed even from full HP, like Frederic here. You should definitely bring a whole bunch of Angel Trumpets to this fight!



Tuba’s other attacks are no joke, either; Demonic Embrace lets him attack at range, and Gigantic Slam allows him to close the distance on anybody and send out an AoE shockwave at the same time.



My strategy is to move Viola over to the far corner and use a Hell Mustard, which will let her deal even more damage than usual and hopefully end the fight faster. Meanwhile, Frederic and Allegretto will try to survive long enough to build up the Echoes to fire off Harmony Chains.




Luckily for me, the plan works!


Tuba proceeds to throw the party in the castle dungeons.


Inside, they meet Salsa, who is initially not enthused at their presence.


But they work things out while Allegretto picks the lock to their cell.


As they’re searching for a way out, Salsa finds a mirror and proves that she is in fact taller than Beat, which is technically only true because of her hat.


Last time we were in the dungeons we couldn’t do much with Slur here, but now we can.


“No, that’s not quite right. It’s missing the tension you feel right before a big heist.”

Playing Score Piece 14 or 16 gives us a B-rank and a third Copper Necklace. Let’s try one more time:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just remember that.”



“That was amazing. You really tugged on this old thief’s heartstrings.”

Playing Score Piece 17 results in an A-rank and the Emerald Bracelet, an accessory that makes the wearer immune to Poison. This should come in handy later on.


That done, the party finds a large hole in the wall that leads to a secret passage.


♪♪~ From Strength to Kindness

I tried to record this chapter in two chunks, with the second chunk starting here… but I lost the footage and had to rerecord it, leaving me not much choice but to skip to the end of Andantino’s Secret Passage. This mishap is the main reason why this update took so long to finish, because losing an hour-and-a-half of footage is kind of demoralizing!



Anyway, the Bolbos aren’t too dangerous, although they’re even bulkier than usual, so Harmony Chains are the way to go here. They can poison you, but strangely they never used that particular move, even in the lost footage. Not complaining about it, though!

Caravan Crabs are the same as they were back on Glissando Cliffs, but they're easier to fight with Salsa in the party, both because she starts out with a weapon effective against dark-elemental monsters and because of Shadow Silhouette's special-buffing properties.


Let’s get the heck out of here.



Outside, the party meets up with Andantino, and everyone decides to head back to Viola’s house together.


♪♪~ Breeze the Conductor

I didn’t do this during the first playthrough, but for Encore Mode I head back to the caravan merchant and stock up on items, since we’re using them more frequently and it’ll be a while before we reach another shop. I managed to take some good pictures in the secret passage, giving us plenty of gold to work with.


While I’m in the area, I decide to head to the city entrance to see if you could reenter the place. Turns out you can’t! I’d bet that most players don’t see this particular message, since you have to go so out of the way for it, but I appreciate the attention to detail.


Moving on, we give a pair of Speed Shoes to the traveler from before, who gives us a Fruit Basket in return.
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♪♪~ Strategy

Back at Forte Castle, Waltz is quite upset at Tuba for letting the party escape.


Meanwhile in Fort Fermata, the party question why Frederic is traveling with them, and a long discussion on the nature of reality ensues.


Before we leave the place, I get into a fight to build up a full Echo Meter for the boss battle ahead of us.


We exit the Killer Knight chamber, and Falsetto tells the story of why the fortress was built in the first place.


The party stop on Cabasa Bridge to go over what they know about mineral powder, and conclude that Count Waltz plans on using glowing agogos to supercharge the powder and make an army of magic soldiers to invade Baroque. But Salsa, despite being the guardian of Agogo Forest, has never heard of or seen glowing agogos before, and wonders what this could mean.


♪♪~ Pursuit

Unfortunately, all this talking has given Tuba time to catch up to the party, and it’s time to fight him once again.




♪♪~ I Bet My Belief

Encore Mode Rematch Tuba is one of the most dangerous opponents in the entire game; he has the same attacks as last time, but they’re even stronger now, and it’s highly likely you’ll need to use at least a couple Angel Trumpets.


I start the fight off by using an Odd Chocolate, which will take a little (but not a lot) of the sting out of Tuba’s attacks.


I then repeat the tactic of moving Viola to the far corner of the battlefield and using a Hell Mustard on herself.




It’s easier to build Echoes for Harmony Chains in this fight since you’re required to use Beat, provided you survive long enough to use one anyway. I don’t bother taking any pictures, because Tuba is far too dangerous to not spend every second of the fight trying to end it as quickly as possible.




Eventually we pull off a win, and since Beat was standing in Tuba’s shadow he gets to land the final blow with a well-timed Sledgehammer. Strangely, Tuba never used his Full Power move (which puts him into Burst status), even though he’s more likely to do so in Encore Mode; in fact, I don’t recall ever seeing it the entire time I’ve been working on this LP. Guess I’ve just been really lucky!


♪♪~ Pursuit

Whatever the case may be, Tuba doesn’t take his defeat very gracefully, and he retaliates by destroying Cabasa Bridge, sending everyone plummeting to the river below.


Allegretto tries to swim against the current to grab Polka, but he is unsuccessful…


And the party is swept away in the current and separated from one another.

Much like the previous chapter, Chapter 2 isn't much different in Encore Mode besides having tougher fights (in some cases way tougher). We did at least get a couple things from Score Piece sessions, and we'll be getting more and better rewards from that particular sidequest as Encore Mode goes on. Hopefully the next update won't take so long to put together, since Chapter 3 is one of the shorter chapters in the game.

Next time: Encore Mode Chapter 3!
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Next update goes up tomorrow, unless I get impatient and decide to post it today instead, but in the meantime I can at least post some more art:


A turnaround for Allegretto.


I wonder what he's confused about.


Some closeup details of his fancy sword...


And a much earlier design, featuring a different outfit and hair.