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

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Verse IX-VII: The Second Trading Quest

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we took care of some plot stuff at the beginning of Chapter 6 before diving into the Encore Mode-exclusive sidequests in earnest. We’re going to continue with those today.



♪♪~ A Wall With No Front or Back

Today we’re starting off back in Fort Fermata; way back when we first made our way through the place I pointed out this little side room, and now we’re finally going to see what’s inside. (You can open this door earlier, but there won’t be anything here unless you come back during Chapter 6 or 7 in Encore Mode. Also, I technically did this back when I was getting the final score piece from Disappointing Note, I’m just showing it now for pacing purposes.)



Inside is a Maledictor hunched over in the corner…



♪♪~ No music

“Uuh… ahh….”
*She takes a step closer.*
Polka: “Chord! Please listen to me!”
*She holds out the Heart Pendant.*
Polka: “Look, it’s your mother’s pendant! You recognize it, don’t you?”
“Uh… ah, aah… uh….”
*He takes the Heart Pendant from Polka and clutches it to his chest.*



♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

Chord: “Muh… ther…. Mo- ther… Mo- ther. Mother! Mother!”







*Chord’s soul fades away.*
Polka: “Chord….”
Allegretto: “Trapped for years inside a pot like that. It must’ve been terrible.”



For freeing Chord’s soul from eternal torment, we get… this pot. This marks the official start of the second trading quest, exclusive to Encore Mode. A brief recap of the steps needed to reach this point:

- During Chapter 5, as Beat, talk to the Former Developer in the Ritardando Cave before finishing the events in Mandolin Church.
- Later that same chapter, before finishing the events in Aria Temple, talk to the Former Servant in Baroque City.
- Defeat Rondo in Aria Temple to receive the Heart Pendant.
- Gain full access to the warp room in Baroque by defeating Fugue at the start of Chapter 6.

The latter two steps are part of the main plot, but the former two absolutely cannot be missed, or you’re locked out of the quest. Now then, if you’ll recall last update, we talked to a woman who mentioned needing a pot…



♪♪~ Reflect the Sky, Bloom the Life

That woman is in Tenuto Village, in the house near the entrance to Heaven’s Mirror Forest.



“I’ve finished chopping the vegetables, but I’ve got a hole in my cooking pot and I don’t know what I’ll do.”
*Handed over Pot*
“Thank you so much! You’ve been a big help. I’d like to thank you somehow. Why don’t you let me make dinner for you?”
*There’s a brief fade to black as the party has dinner.*
“Well, did you like it? You can take this with you and share it with your friends later.”



“To tell the truth, I think goat stew smells awful and I don’t care for it. But Grandpa just can’t get enough of it.”

Our reward for giving the woman the pot that used to hold a tormented soul inside of it – I’m assuming the party didn’t tell her about that part – is a healthy serving of Goat Stew.



♪♪~ Can We Be Both Different and Alike

In order to successfully pawn off the foul-smelling stew, we need to warp to Agogo Village and head to the Chorus Plains.



♪♪~ Dive into the Vast Expanse of Plains

We can then give it to the goatherd who needed the Long Johns from the first trading quest. (And yes, the conversation starts out like this, giving it to him straight away.)

Goatherd: “Gah! W-what is that smell? Goat stew? You went through all the trouble of bringing me this? T-thank you. But, wow, this smell. How can I describe it? It really turns the nose doesn’t it. Oh, right, let me give you this for your trouble.”



Goatherd: “If you give that to the man with the cart on Hanon Hills he’ll give you something in return.”

He doesn’t seem terribly enthusiastic about the goat stew, but at least there’s no guesswork on where we’re going next. We already had to return to Hanon Hills once last update, and this isn’t the last time we’ll be going back there, either.



♪♪~ Breeze the Conductor

Item Merchant: “Oh, you’ve got a coupon? You just made it before the expiration date. All right, here you go.”



Item Merchant: “Which reminds me, have you heard? There’s a magic candy that lets you communicate with animals. Isn’t that something?”
*He looks at his horse.*
Item Merchant: “If I could talk to animals, I’d like to have a chat with this guy here. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Oops, how rude of me. Let’s do business!”
“What I wouldn’t give for some magic candy.”

Hmm, where to go next? The only hint we get is that the item merchant is talking about magic candy, specifically, and there’s only one person we know who’s at all knowledgeable about magic. Back to Baroque!



♪♪~ An Inspection Which Values Harmony

More specifically, we need to see the Magic Researcher in Baroque Castle.

Magic Researcher: “Hmm.”
*He thinks for a bit.*
Magic Researcher: “Ah, yes, there is such a thing. It’s called odd candy. I recall reading of it in the spell book. What about it?”
Allegretto: “There’s this guy who wants to talk to a horse. I figured he’d be happy if something like that really existed. Where can we find it, anyway?”
Magic Researcher: “I doubt you’ll find it anywhere. But the recipe was written in the book.”



Allegretto: “Will this do for the honey?”
*Handed over Honey*
Magic Researcher: “Well, it didn’t say anything about what kind. I expect any honey would work. If you make it and it doesn’t work, you can just try again using something else. For the magic water, you should be able to use the magic solution that I have slowly and carefully developed.”
Allegretto: “That just leaves the agogo droppings.”
Magic Researcher: “Yes.”



Alright, time to head back to Agogo Village!
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


Agogo Boy: “You’re weird. What do you want that for?”
*Allegretto shakes his head.*
Agogo Boy: “You can’t tell me? Hmm, well, I do have some agogo droppings on me for research purposes, but I can’t just give them away. You hardly see agogos around any more, so there’s no droppings either. They’re valuable. You really want them that badly?”
*nod*



Agogo Boy: “Besides agogos, I’m also interested in the world’s monsters. But I don’t get to leave the village much, so I can’t see them for myself. I really want to get pictures of all sorts of different monsters. Could you take some for me? Please!”
*nod*



This is easily the longest and most involved step in the trading quest, and since you can only hold a maximum of twelve photos at a time you’ll need to return to the Agogo Boy at least twice. Luckily for you readers I’ve been working on this step offscreen and I’m over halfway there already!



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

The requirements for what counts as a proper monster photo are pretty generous – as long as there’s only one type of enemy in the frame, and they’re in the frame at all, you’re good. Both forms of a monster that transforms in light or darkness count as separate monsters, and different versions of a given enemy type (so, say, an Earth Shaker and an Ice Coffin) also count separately. I’m pretty sure bosses count as well, although I’ve never held onto a boss photo long enough to try turning it in.

Anyway, in the Mandolin Church Catacombs I take photos of the Orange Float, Ruby Eye, and Viege, bringing the total to 3.



On the Chorus Plains I take photos of the Angel Goat and Earth Shaker, raising the total to 5.



In Agogo Forest I take photos of the Very Very Empty, Great Coconut, and L’Opera Knight, for a total of 8 different monsters.



In the Hanon Hills I take photos of the Earth Bat, bringing the photo total to 9.



Over in Fort Fermata I take photos of the Maledictor and Lord of Darkness for a total of 11 monsters. I thought I had 12 photos here, but I looked over the recording and it turns out I just forgot to grab a photo of the Eternal Green back in Hanon Hills. Whoops!



Regardless, after turning in the first batch of photos I head over to Wah Lava Cave nearby and take photos of the Fire Antique, Coelacanth, and Haken Büchse, for a revised total of 14 monsters.



In the Sharp Mountains I snap some pictures of the Ice Coffin and Swordfish, bringing the total to 16.



Over in Adagio Swamp I take photos of the Blue Gil and Caravan Crab, for 18 total monsters. Nearly there…



And finally, not quite next door in Woodblock Groves I take photos of the Mushroom Up and Bloody Onion, which makes 20 monsters at long last. Back to Agogo Village!





You can give the Agogo Boy individual photos, or just hand him all the photos you have on hand at once. I’m not sure why you’d pick the first option, it feels like that would just make it take longer, but what do I know, I’m just a doctor!*

*(Note: not actually a doctor.)

Agogo Boy: “You’ll give me all the photos you have?”
*We do this until he has all the photos he wants*
Agogo Boy: “All right! That makes twenty monster photos! Thanks! Oh, yeah, can’t forget to give you what I promised. I’ll give you the biggest one from my collection!”



Agogo Boy: “I’m going to become an agogo and monster expert when I grow up!”

All that work for some poop. That item merchant better be grateful when we’re done with all this!



Magic Researcher: “So these are agogo droppings. They look kind of tasty. All right, all that’s left is to stir these ingredients into my magic solution.”
Allegretto: “Hurry up and brew them.”
Magic Researcher: “Patience. It will be some time before it’s ready. I’ll take care of the rest. Go ahead and get some rest at the hotel and then come back tomorrow.”
Allegretto: “Okay. Thanks.”

We really do have to stay at the Hotel Ensemble specifically – resting elsewhere doesn’t count for the purposes of this quest, for whatever reason.



*One snooze later*
Allegretto: “It might be just about ready. Shall we head to the laboratory?”

Yes, let’s.





Allegretto: “So this is odd candy, huh. It smells sweet.”
Magic Researcher: “Want to try some?”
Allegretto: “Uh, that’s okay. I know what it’s made of.”
Magic Researcher: “Well, go ahead and take it, then. I can’t promise that it will really let you talk to animals, though.”
Allegretto: “Thanks!”

I mean it had better work after all the effort we went to to make the stuff. Now, back to Hanon Hills!



Item Merchant: “You mean to tell me this is magic candy?! No way! What are you doing with it? You’re giving it to me? Seriously?! Woo hoo! Thanks! I’m so happy! Let me give you this in exchange to show you my thanks. I’ll shower you with treasures!”



Item Merchant: “Well, I guess I’ll try it out right away. Munch, munch.”
Allegretto: “Is it good?”
Item Merchant: “Munch. Yeah, it’s not half bad. It’s soft and, munch, melts in your mouth.”
Allegretto: “Really?”
Item Merchant: “Gulp! Well that’s that, I ate it!”
*He looks to his horse.*
Item Merchant: “I should be able to understand you now!”
*whinny*



Item Merchant: “Hey! Did you just say my name? You did, didn’t you!”
*whinny*
Item Merchant: “I can understand him! I can really understand what he’s saying!”
*whinny*
Item Merchant: “Uh-huh, okay. Huh?! That’s what you’ve thought of me all this time?!”
*long pause, then the merchant turns back to Allegretto*
Item Merchant: “Heh, hehe. What? You want to do business? But I want to talk with this guy. Let me enjoy it a little longer.”

Note that we can’t actually purchase anything from the merchant, nor have we been able to since we gave him the coupon. Of course his inventory has long since been outdated, but I digress – where the heck do we take this Glass Ball? You don’t really get any hints for this step in the trading quest, unless the item description tells you something (I didn’t think to check it).
 
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Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


♪♪~ White Mirror

Anyway, the solution is to head back to Baroque and talk to the priest that told us about the legend of Aria Temple.

*Handed over Glass Ball*
Priest: “Hmm, no. This is at the stage before it becomes an orb. It probably needs more spiritual energy. When a beautiful ball like this is filled with strong spiritual energy, we call it an orb.”



Priest: “Although, I’ve also heard that the priest doesn’t actually exist. That he’s just an illusion created by the light. Others say that he does exist, but that he’s not a priest. They say he’s the guardian spirit of Aria. A spirit that appears before those with shining hearts and grants them orbs. I don’t know what the truth is, but perhaps you should try taking this ball to the altar in the temple. Something might happen. I’ll give this back to you.”



Did anyone else get weird vibes from that conversation? Dude is way into orbs. At least our next goal is simple enough – head back to Aria Temple and climb to the top.



♪♪~ The Boundary Between Snow and Ice

Just need to pass through Celesta Forest real quick…





♪♪~ Grim Purpose

Climb the temple while ignoring all the monsters…



It might be tough to make out, but there’s definitely someone standing in front of the inscription.



♪♪~ No music

*Handed over Glass Ball*
*The ball floats into the air, and there’s a flash of light.*






*The shadowy figure disappears.*



That’s a very good question, but at least we have an actual Orb now! Unfortunately we can’t quite finish the trading quest today – we’ll have to wait until Chapter 7 for that. We did at least complete most of it in one go, though!



Allegretto: “...I can’t make heads or tails of it.”

Yeah, that tracks, given the last time he tried to read it. What exactly is this Orb, though?



Huh. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what exactly this is for. In the meantime, we’ve done nearly all we can in Chapter 6 – there’s another sidequest we can finish, but I want to wait until we’re in Chapter 7 and have a few more levels under our belt. See you then!

Next time: Finishing up Encore Mode Chapter 6.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Verse IX-VIII: Chapter 6 Redux

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we started on the second trading quest and managed to finish most of it. We have to progress to Chapter 7 in order to finish it and some other sidequests, so today we’re going to finish up Chapter 6.





♪♪~ Continuous Divider

We start off by taking the right-hand teleporter to the To Coda Ruins to try and catch up to Crescendo and Serenade before they reach Forte.





The ruins are a series of islands connected by teleporters, and as we progress through them we get little snippets of backstory on the place, in the form of these signs talking about past kings.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

We also fight a whole bunch of monsters. The Dark Antique here is one of the more annoying opponents, although they aren’t terribly durable even in Encore Mode; aside from Black Fire, pictured here, they also have Black Stab (a single-target attack) and Black Circle (a long-distance attack that inflicts Stop if not blocked).



Next is the Strong Glory, whose attacks are all quite powerful. In addition to Debacle, it also has Golden Ram (a long-distance attack that can pierce multiple characters) and Overturn (a melee-range move it rarely uses).



In the light, Strong Glories transform into Ancient Fish, which are much easier to defeat. Apart from Abyss Stone, it also has access to Fiery Revolution (a multi-hit spin attack that’s almost guaranteed to drop you if it’s not guarded against) and Dark Below (which inflicts Darkness Body if not blocked).



Finally, the OOPARTS guards each teleporter to the next island, and they roam around towards the end of the ruins. In addition to Left/Right Drill/Blow (which are effectively all the same move), it can also use Popper (a mid-range attack with a small AoE) and Dark Sun (which inflicts Darkness Body unguarded). OOPARTS are incredibly durable in Encore Mode, to the point where weaker characters are better off spamming specials at them instead of using melee combos. (Viola, as always, is helpful, and Burst is another good way of cutting through their defenses.)







Eventually the party make their way to the end of the ruins and find themselves at the Cello Tree, near Mt. Rock.



♪♪~ No music

Soon after arriving, they meet an old fortuneteller, who’s behaving rather strangely – she acts like she knows Polka, and also says that they’ve met before, even though Polka has never been to this place. However, she seems surprised by Frederic’s presence, as if she wasn’t expecting him.



The fortuneteller explains that she’s here to make sure she witnesses Polka drawing a fortune, and states with certainty that she’ll draw a fortune of bad luck.



She talks about the Cello Tree, stating that it has been here for thousands of years without ever aging or withering, and says that if Polka draws a fortune of bad luck, then she is to tie it to the tree. The party expresses its reservation at how weird this all is, but Polka, determined, draws a fortune anyway.



The fortuneteller sends Polka to the base of the tree, and tells Frederic that he should follow her, to see this through to the very end, whatever that means. Allegretto makes to follow her as well, but the fortuneteller says no – only Polka (who’s special somehow) and Frederic (the one who’s dreaming this whole thing, and whose fate lies outside of the dream) are not bound by destiny, according to her. Allegretto, being Allegretto, ignores her and follows Polka anyway.



♪♪~ Your Circumstances

At the base of the tree, Polka and Frederic discover that the fortune is just a blank piece of paper, and furthermore that every single fortune tied to the Cello Tree – at least dozens, possibly hundreds – are all bad luck.



Allegretto arrives soon afterwards and sees the fortune, and says that a blank fortune is way better than one of bad luck. He then leaves.



Polka, reassured by Allegretto, decides to trust in the fortune, and decides not to do anything drastic until the last possible moment. As she leaves to rejoin the party, Frederic is left wondering how he is supposed to help her avoid her fate.



♪♪~ Dive into the Vast Expanse of Plains

That strange business sorted, the party continues onward, through the single-screen-long Cowbell Heights.



♪♪~ No music

At the base of Mt. Rock the party runs into an old friend of Jazz, an item merchant who used to work in the mines. Things are pretty bad here, and the merchant advises caution. We then stock up and continue on our way.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


♪♪~ Rock and Burn You

Time to climb us a mountain!



But first, some more monsters. The Gyaman is the big ball of HP that the mushroom-squids always are. Apart from One Thousand Lashes, it can also use Venom Scatter to poison you and Winding Coil for a single-hit move.





The other two enemies on Mt. Rock are the L’Opera General (in the light) and Standard Bearer (in the dark); they have the same moveset, but L’Opera Generals are far more dangerous, with much greater attack and defense power. It’s a good idea to buy some Cursed Armor for Allegretto and Jazz from the merchant; it puts them under Darkness Body while worn, which makes these enemies much easier to deal with.





♪♪~ No music

The party continues on and reaches a mineshaft, where Jazz reminisces about the mining rebellion he took part in. This is the tunnel where his friend Tenor stayed behind and sacrificed himself to buy time for the rest of the miners to escape. When asked by Polka if he would do something different if given the chance to, Jazz says no – doing so would negate the choices made by the people he’s lost.





Past that tunnel is another one, where we encounter Aloof Fiddle; you can play Score Piece 12 for a free Floral Powder and Score Piece 11 for the Sunlight Guards. No new items to be had, so we’ll be on our way.







Some more climbing and fighting later, and we’re near the summit. Now’s the time to prepare for the upcoming boss – I bring along Viola and Jazz like in our first run through the game, but decide to swap out Allegretto for Beat. Viola and Jazz both have Burst weapons, and Viola is equipped with the Rapture Head and Dark Brooch; Jazz needs to keep wearing the Onyx Bracelet, and I give him the Recovery Orb for survivability; and Beat has the Silver Bullet and Spell Book. I also put a Saint’s Mirror into the Item Set just in case we need it.



All that sorted, we can continue with the plot. The party have just barely caught up with Crescendo and Serenade before they crossed over into Forte. They try to explain themselves...



♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

But the party isn’t having it, and urges them to reconsider – there’s no guarantee Count Waltz will spare them after they surrender, or even agree to stop with his plans for invasion.



♪♪~ Pursuit

But before they can reach a decision about what to do, Count Waltz shows up with a squadron of dragons already planning to invade Baroque!



♪♪~ A Step

Severely outnumbered and with no other options, Crescendo goes ahead with his plan for surrender, trying to save the rest of the party in exchanging for turning himself over to Forte.



Serenade then makes her case, imploring Count Waltz to listen to reason and stop this conflict.



But Waltz isn’t interested in any of that nonsense. He’s here for Polka, he has the upper hand, and he isn’t going to change his mind.



By this point the party have long since put together what Waltz’s real plan is: he’s going to use Polka to find the glowing agogos and supercharge the mineral powder to create an unstoppable army. They don’t want to cooperate, but unfortunately Waltz still has a bunch of dragons at his command, so they have little choice.





♪♪~ Embarrassment Consistency

Polka reluctantly goes with Waltz to save her friends, and Legato confirms that her presence does indeed cause agogos to glow, dumping it into some mineral powder. Pleased with this, Waltz knocks Polka unconscious and orders the dragons to kill the rest of the party.



But before this can happen, March starts bluffing her butt off to try and save everyone, pointing out that none of Waltz’s henchmen have survived their respective encounters with the party.



Amazingly, this works, and Waltz decides to take on the party himself (with the help of his own dragon, of course).
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)






♪♪~ Your Truth Is My False

Like the first time we fought this battle, our first order of business is to get rid of Calamity Wilhm as soon as possible, so it doesn’t have any time to make a nuisance of itself. If you’ll recall, it got a big upgrade to its HP for the PS3 port, and it has even more in Encore Mode, so if you aren’t absolutely hammering it with everything you have it might take a minute.





Not to mention that Waltz is trying to kill you at the same time. All of his attacks have gotten a big damage upgrade, and even if you block everything perfectly you’ll take a bit of a beating. Aure Dominium and Harsh Torment are both single-target attacks; the former can be used from a considerable distance, and the latter inflicts Poison if not blocked.







I have Viola start sniping Waltz and hit him with Hawk Eye, which when combined with Burst will help blow through his HP tremendously. Beat finishes off Calamity Wilhm soon afterwards, leaving just Waltz himself to deal with.



Of course, just because he’s vulnerable doesn’t mean you should underestimate him – he’s now more likely to use Apocalypse Fall more than once in a single turn if he can manage it, and it tends to do a lot of damage even if you guard against it!







Hawk Eye and Burst are putting in a lot of work for us this fight; we’ll be victorious in no time!







Just, you know, be sure to stay on your toes – after the Apocalypse Fall Waltz uses it again, saunters over behind Beat and stabs him unconscious, then he does much the same to Jazz. This is why I brought along the Saint’s Mirror!







I manage to pull off a victory soon afterwards, thank goodness. That went a lot smoother than I thought it would, all things considered!



♪♪~ No music

After the battle, the party seem to have Waltz cornered, but he orders Legato to drink the agogo-infused mineral powder in a last-ditch effort to escape defeat.



♪♪~ Rapid Fire!

Legato reluctantly complies, and turns into this horrible thing as a result.



Legato – now the Ruined Body – tests out his newfound power by wiping out the dragon squadron with a single shot.



Waltz is ecstatic at this turn of events, and is just about to have Ruined Body annihilate the party…



But Polka’s astra suddenly kicks into overdrive with a great burst of light, engulfing the mountaintop.

And that’s it for Chapter 6! Next time we’ll do some plot stuff at the start of Chapter 7 and then dive into more sidequests.

Next time: Encore Mode Chapter 7, and more sidequests!
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Apologies for the wait - I've spent the past week and change editing and rendering videos for the next few updates, and I had to replay the first half of the game to grab some footage for one of them (remember the merchant in Celesta Forest? I'm blaming it on him.) I've finally got the videos ready to go, I just need to write the next few updates, which hopefully shouldn't take too long. In the meantime, here are a couple of things you can watch:


I realize we covered the first trading quest months ago, but I didn't have the video editing software to make a compilation for it until recently.


Much more relevant to recent updates, here's a compilation of all the Score Piece locations in the game. About half the length of the video is taken up by two Score Pieces - #21 (the one you get from talking to the merchant in Celesta Forest after getting the Aria Temple Key) and #31 (the one you get by defeating Tracer).

For both of the videos, you can watch them on youtube and check the video descriptions for detailed instructions on completing each quest. See y'all soon!
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Verse IX-IX: The Pirates' Treasure

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time we finished up Encore Mode Chapter 6 and that’s about it. We’ll be looking at more sidequest content today, but first we have to get some plot stuff out of the way. With that said...



When last we left off, Count Waltz and Ruined Body had disappeared in a flash of light…



And it turns out that Ruined Body’s immense power ripped open a hole in space-time. This is not ideal.



♪♪~ Your Circumstances

Everyone resolves to step through the portal and stop them before they can do anymore damage.



♪♪~ Captured Phantom

On the other side of the portal, the party finds themselves in Elegy of the Moon, a city populated by the souls of people who have died from taking mineral powder.



While exploring the city, they run into this enigmatic spirit, who obliquely tells them that they’ll have to climb to the top of Xylophone Tower in order to catch up to Count Waltz.



Unfortunately for them, they can’t get in without the city elder’s permission, so they’ll have to dip their toes into the Noise Dunes to do that.



♪♪~ Where We End Up

After explaining the situation to the surprisingly chill elder, she gives us the go-ahead to climb Xylophone Tower to deactivate the Noise Dunes barrier.



But before we do, we can perform a session with Glamorous Oboe here.





Glamorous Oboe: “Wow! You’re not half bad! A perfect specimen of young manhood. You remind me of my husband when he was young, sonny! Ah, whoops.”

Playing Score Piece 28 (and ignoring the creepy comments) nets us an A-rank and the EZI Bun, a battle item that recovers exactly 321 HP; there are no other prizes, so we’ll be on our way.



Actually, before we climb Xylophone Tower, we should return to the world of the living for a bit – there are a couple Score Piece musicians that only appear in Chapter 7 of Encore Mode, and they give very good items we’ll want to get asap.



♪♪~ The Posture You Do Not Despise

We’ll start by returning to Sharp Mountains and talking to this gentleman hanging out by the EZI shrine.

Quack Ukulele: “I wonder if I’m really cut out for this. I’m starting to lose confidence. Do you think you could play a session with me to test whether I have any skill for music?”



“Ah, that was a little different than before, wasn’t it!”

You can play Score Pieces 2, 3, 7, 8, or 9 with Quack Ukulele for a B-rank and a free Peacock’s Feather, but obviously that’s not the real prize here.

“I’m starting to feel like I can make it now. I’m going to keep trying a little longer.”





“Whoa! What’s this sensation?! I feel like I’ve just become a whole new person!”

Playing Score Piece 25 gets us an A-rank and the Gold Moon, Polka’s ultimate weapon. How good is it, you might ask?



This good. Not only does this let Polka be more self-sufficient and increase exp gain while she’s in the active party, it also turns her into a physical powerhouse. Gold Moon is real good, y’all.



♪♪~ Trembling Homefront

Next we’ll warp to Forte City one last time.



The musician we’re looking for is none other than Phil’s dad, who doesn’t seem terribly enthusiastic about the prospect of performing with us.

Henpecked Phil’s Dad: “If you want to play music, suit yourself!”



“Huh? The session didn’t sound quite right? Now’s not really a good time, ya know!”

Playing Score Piece 12, 15, or 31 with Phil’s dad gives us a B-rank and another free Peacock’s Feather, but I think we can do better than that:

“The session? So what if it isn’t perfect?!”





“Glad the session went well? Well, good, I’m happy for you.”

Playing Score Piece 26 gives us an A-rank and the Silver Star, Allegretto’s ultimate weapon and hands-down the strongest weapon in the game.



In addition to the ludicrous ATK increase, the Silver Star has a built-in Pocket Watch effect, letting Allegretto build more Echoes and substantially increasing his turn lengths. But the biggest benefit to this weapon is that it gives Allegretto’s attacks a 100% critical hit rate, which includes special attacks. This is exactly as absurd and broken as it sounds – not only does this vastly increase his damage output, Allegretto can freely attack enemies from the front now, since criticals break an enemy’s guard.



♪♪~ The Etudes of Spirit

New superweapons in hand, we can return to Elegy and start climbing Xylophone Tower.

Oh, I should mention before we do, the warp stone that lets us leave Elegy didn’t exist in the Xbox 360 release – meaning that if you wanted to get these weapons, or needed to complete any sidequests, you had to backtrack all the way down Mt. Rock, across Cowbell Heights, and back through the To Coda Ruins. It was a pain in the ass!





Anyway, in order to progress up the tower, we have to pass three trials governed by these sentient torch-things, which involves hitting the correct notes to the tune of Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat Major.





These trials aren’t difficult for me, so I’ll be skipping past them while we climb up the tower.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)




♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

However, we do have to contend with monsters on our way up. The Golden Temple is an absolute tank in Encore Mode, and all of its attacks are designed to knock you down, so watch out and blast them with Harmony Chains. In the dark they transform into Corsescas, which are generally much less bothersome but can still give you trouble if you let them power themselves up.



The Phacops is annoying and their attack power is rather high, but if you keep your wits about you they aren’t too deadly.



Finally, there’s the Black Gold; you mostly encounter them on the stairways between floors, but they also show up in the last area before the bosses of the tower. Most of their attacks cause knockdown, which is annoying, but they’re surprisingly fragile so they shouldn’t last too long.



Eventually we reach the top of the tower. You might see a glimmer of something in the top-left corner of the screenshot; we’ll check that out later.



For now, it’s time to fight!





♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

The biggest challenge when fighting these bosses is trying to keep track of both of them at once. The Wicked Shrub is the bigger problem here – in addition to the above attacks, it also has access to Dander Cloud (an AoE that can inflict Poison) and Assist Life (which will revive the Ogre King for 16,000 HP if you defeat it first). It also has nearly double the HP that Ogre King has, so it’ll be pestering you for longer.







The Ogre King is all about big sweeping attacks that can hit multiple characters at once. The good thing is that they’re all pretty easy to guard against, and as previously stated it has about half the HP that Wicked Shrub does; even if it gets revived you can take it out again in short order.







For this battle I focus my attacks on the Wicked Shrub, but this party has a lot of specials that can hit multiple targets, so I also end up passively wearing down the Ogre King in the process. The Silver Star lets Allegretto put out even more damage than usual, and I don’t have to worry about attacking from behind (although I end up doing that anyway out of habit).







I actually manage to defeat both bosses at the same time with a well-aimed Shade Comet. Nice shot, Polka!



♪♪~ No music

Afterwards we deactivate the Noise Dunes barrier.



In a normal playthrough, we would be automatically taken outside Xylophone Tower, but since this is Encore Mode we’re still hanging around in the boss area.



Now is the time to investigate that glimmer I pointed out earlier, which turns out to be a door being kept shut by some sort of pedestal.

Allegretto: “Oh, yeah! Wouldn’t that orb we have be about that size? Let’s give it a try.”
*Allegretto puts the Orb into the pedestal, and with a flash of light the door slowly opens.*
Allegretto: “It opened!”

If we head inside…



We find the ultimate reward of the second trading quest: the Lion’s Chime.



This accessory dramatically increases the wearer’s critical hit rate; it’s not at 100% like with the Silver Star, but you’ll be seeing red damage numbers with whoever wears it much more often.

At this point we’re automatically taken outside the tower. It’s worth noting that if you don’t have the Orb, then of course you can’t open the door, and you have to walk out of the tower on foot. Which is annoying!



With the barrier deactivated, the elder wishes us luck, and gives us a cryptic hint about reaching the core of Double Reed Tower.



The Noise Dunes largely consist of this one huge area; we’ll be back here to run through Mysterious Unison again later, but for now I want to focus on other things.



Such as monsters! Black Goats are fast, but are otherwise pretty easy to deal with at this point. They also only appear in the first area of Noise Dunes, near the entrance to Elegy.



And the Sand Seer isn’t much of a problem either. I wonder if the developers just programmed dragon-type enemies to use their special attacks less often in the PS3 port? It’s kind of weird how seldom you see them, even in Encore Mode.

There are also Trick Tails/Bronze Arms in the Noise Dunes, but I forgot to fight any during recording. Whoops!



Anyway, outside the entrance to Double Reed Tower we run into Desolate Saburo, the final Score Piece participant in the game; we can play Score Piece 10 for the Shadow Helm and 13 for the Chapel Ezi. There are no new prizes, so that about wraps up the Score Piece sidequest! Kind of an anticlimactic end after getting the Silver Star and Gold Moon, but overall I think this is a really cool and unique quest – I can’t really think of anything comparable in other RPGs off the top of my head.
 
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Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


♪♪~ Spiral Twister

We’re not completing the events in Double Reed Tower today, or fighting any bosses for that matter – I’m just here to loot the place of treasure and gain some levels for our party along the way.



First on the list of enemies here is the Steam Horn, which does what the hovercraft-hamsters always do – run you down from a distance, drop AoE’s on you as shown, etc.



The Garlic Dad is even bulkier than usual in Encore Mode, and it prefers to keep its distance while pelting you with damaging attacks, the most dangerous of which is easily Scattering Burp (still gross).



On higher floors you’ll start encountering the Abyss, which thankfully isn’t quite as sturdy as the Golden Temple. In the dark they transform into the Black Onyx, which has a whole bunch of HP and loves stomping on you. (Somehow I seem to have lost the screenshot actually showing the Black Onyx, but I’ve already covered these enemies in more detail previously so I’m fine with this.)



From the West Tower we pilfer the following:

-Cerberus Canine (a weapon for Beat; increases his SPD by 10%)
-White Star (a weapon for Crescendo; no special properties)
-Storm Shroud (some medium armor; increases the wearer’s movement speed)
-a free Spade Clover



And in the East Tower we find:

-Teardrop Umbrella (we can skip this since we already have Polka’s ultimate weapon)
-Daybreak Cloak (Frederic’s ultimate armor; puts him under permanent Shining Body)
-Nodus (a weapon for Salsa; greatly increases damage against dark-elemental monsters)
-Lech Blade (we can skip this since we have the Silver Star for Allegretto)

With that sorted, we can leave for now and get to the main event for this update: finishing the Dolce sidequest!



♪♪~ Can We Be Both Different and Alike

See, there are actually three rematches against Dolce, but in an original playthrough you can only do the first two, and you have to engage with those fights as soon as you gain access to them or you’re locked out of the quest. In Encore Mode you can complete the quest whenever you want, and the third and final rematch is actually available, so I decided to hold off on fighting Dolce till now and then finish the quest in one go. Let’s get to it!



♪♪~ Rock and Burn You

Our first stop is the Middle 3 section of Wah Lava Cave, to investigate this crack in the ground in front of a large red-orange flower; there’s a Haken Büchse standing in front of the flower to help you find it.



♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

As soon as we inspect the crack in the ground, Dolce and her lackeys show up, and it’s time to throw down!





♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

We first had access to this fight three chapters ago and have gained a whole bunch of levels since then, so this fight isn’t going to last long; Bass and Guitar each go down in a single turn.







Dolce herself only barely survives a single Harmony Chain because I don’t have March close enough to connect with the final blow of Midnight Cloud, and she immediately goes down to Polka’s standard combos soon afterwards. Nothin’ to it!



Dolce and her goons run off, and we find the Pirate’s Paper 2 buried in the ground.



♪♪~ The Mediocrity Sought Out by Everyone

Our next stop is the Mandolin Church Catacombs.



♪♪~ Underground for Underhand

In the South Grotto area is a group of six pillars that, when examined left-to-right, bottom-to-top, triggers the next part of the quest. There’s a pew in Mandolin Church you can inspect to get a hint on where to go next, but we don’t need that.



♪♪~ White Mirror

From there we return to Baroque and head for the wine cellar in the back of the tavern; when prompted, we pick the third dialogue option…



And Dolce and crew show up once again.





I have a bit of a goof at the start of the fight – I accidentally positioned Crescendo at an angle that let Bass block what would have been a finishing blow, and I mistime guarding against Dead Man’s Tale and Salsa bites it.



However, both mistakes are soon remedied, and the fight can continue.







This time my positioning is better, and Dolce doesn’t survive the single Harmony Chain I end up using.



Dolce runs off again, but this time the conversation is different:

Salsa: Hah! You’ll never beat us!”
Polka: “But if doing what this paper says leads us to the pirates, then….”
Allegretto: “It really is a treasure map.”
*He looks at the employee on the floor, who has somehow fallen asleep in the midst of the commotion.*
Allegretto: “This says where your treasure is, doesn’t it?”
Employee: “Zzz… zzz….”
Allegretto: “Hey! Well, does it?”
Employee: “Yes, it does. Zzz….”
Allegretto: “Then that settles it! Let’s go find their treasure before they do!”
Polka: “But we shouldn’t take other people’s things.”
Allegretto: “Don’t worry about it. It’s all stolen to begin with it (sic).”
Salsa: “Yahoo! A treasure hunt! This is gonna be fun!”



Instead of the Peace Earring, we get the Pirate’s Paper 3. It sucks that we have to make do without the best defensive accessory in the game, but I think we’ll manage.

However, I should mention that there is a way to get the Peace Earring in Encore Mode if you really want it, although it’s a pain in the butt. You can actually run through Encore Mode more than once; nothing else changes about the game, but if you go through Encore Mode a second time and do the Tracer sidequest, you’ll get the Peace Earring instead of Score Piece 31 (since you have that already). I love this game, but I’m not going to play the whole thing a third time for a single item, so you’ll just have to trust me on this.



Anyway, this final clue… uh, doesn’t make much sense! You could maybe infer that the repeating letters refer to a code of some kind (and that is indeed the case), but how you’re supposed to figure out where to go next from this is beyond me.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


♪♪~ Relaxing Place

The answer is that we have to go to Woodblock Groves, so we’ll warp to Cantabile Inn and proceed from there.



♪♪~ Wonderland of Wanderer

In the South Center area is a wooden object that looks like a musical note, guarded by a Bloody Onion.



Inspecting it brings up a prompt to enter a number combination. Looking at the Pirate’s Paper again, we can deduce that the repeating letters represent numbers, and enter in the code 3214.



A little fanfare plays, indicating that we put in the correct code; you can even see the notes play onscreen, which is cute.

*Suddenly, a treasure chest drops down from the sky:*



Allegretto: “Whoa!”
Polka: “Is this the pirate treasure?”
Salsa: “All right! We finally found it!”
Beat: “Hurry up, Retto! Let’s open it up!”
*He goes to do so, but when he does...*





Allegretto: “What?!”





♪♪~ Seize the Artifact for Tallness

Salsa: “Here come the monsters!”
*beat*
Beat: “They’re not monsters.”
Bass: “We’re just lucky you’re a pack of fools. Now the treasure is ours!”
Guitar: “Ha! How do you like that! Suckers!”
Salsa: “Grr.”



boss fight time! (recommended viewing)



♪♪~ A Flicker Which Divides Light and Darkness

Boss: Captain Dolce, Guitar and Bass (final showdown)
HP: 555,000
Exp: 85,000 (Xbox 360)/14,250 (PS3)
Gold: 2,000





Dolce’s attacks have all received name changes and big damage boosts. Burning Spindle has become Hurricane Blast, a two-hit kick combo that can cause knockdown; Tempest Swirl, meanwhile, has become Shark Bite, a long-distance knife-throw that leaves her open to back attacks. She also has two other attacks that she didn’t use at all when I recorded this, for some reason: Dead Man’s Tale has changed into Galiote Staver, an extremely deadly long-distance rifle shot; and she’s more likely to use Ruthless, which can either revive Guitar and Bass for 26,700 HP or heal herself for the same amount.



She still loves attacking people from behind, and it hurts more than ever, so be ready to heal when necessary.



Guitar and Bass are the same as always – powered-up pirate enemies with the same moveset you’d expect, plus the ability to revive each other with Guts.







Dolce’s henchmen don’t last long – Bass just barely survives Frederic’s first turn against him but goes down soon afterward, and Guitar stands no chance against Polka packing the Gold Moon and a full Echo Meter.





From there it’s time to focus on Dolce herself. It’s worth equipping the Emerald and Diamond Bracelets to protect two of your party members from the permanent Poison that comes with fighting in Woodblock Groves. For this party setup I let Frederic focus on pure offense, since Polka is more than capable of keeping everyone patched up with Blossom Shower, and Legion Fulminante lets him participate in Harmony Chains from a fair distance away.





Dolce puts up a good fight, but she is weirdly insistent on using Shark Bite to the exclusion of all else, not that I’m complaining.







Soon enough she’s down for the count!



♪♪~ Well Done

For winning, we get the Wilderness, a weapon for Salsa that’s honestly not all that great. But the bigger reward is coming in just a minute…
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


Dolce: “Dammit! I’ll give you that stupid treasure!”

The treasure chest materializes…



And Dolce and crew run off, never to be seen again.

Allegretto: “She was pretty persistent, wasn’t she?”
Salsa: It’s ours! We finally got the real treasure! What are you waiting for Allegretto?!”
*She starts excitedly running in place.*
Salsa: “Allegretto, hurry!”
Allegretto: “All right, all right. Calm down, Salsa.”





A cheesy synth fanfare plays when he opens the chest, and they all do a silly victory dance. And that’s the Dolce sidequest! Our final reward is one of the best accessories in the game, the Seven Stars:



With this equipped, the active party will gain exp much faster than usual, especially when combined with the Gold Moon. This will make leveling everyone up way easier, especially a certain someone waiting inside Mysterious Unison… but that can wait till later.

Next time: Mysterious Unison update any% speedrun
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Here are some more videos you can watch, if you want:


The second trading quest in its entirety. (There's a monster photo montage from 15:36-16:47, so photosensitive viewers beware.)


A compilation of every single reward you can get from Score Piece sessions. Fair warning, this one's just under 50 minutes in length.


And finally, the Dolce sidequest. Skip to 11:21 for the bit relevant to just this update.

Like the last time I posted some videos, you can watch these on youtube and check the video descriptions for detailed instructions on all of them.

Four updates to go.
 
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I, for one, think every game's postgame weapon rewards should include one with 100% critical hit rate. I love the idea of just smashing everything in every game I play.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Verse IX-X: Mysterious Unison Redux

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time the party climbed Xylophone Tower, raided the final dungeon for loot, and swiped Dolce’s treasure for themselves.



Today we’re going to resurrect Claves so she’s in the party for the final bit of Encore Mode-exclusive content, which means we have to go through Mysterious Unison again. I already covered this dungeon in exhaustive detail a few months ago, so I’ll be speeding through it for this update.



♪♪~ A Faint Light Grasped in the Hand

When the party enters, they find Claves, miraculously returned to life – almost. She explains that appearing in Mysterious Unison broke her soul into several fragments which are now scattered throughout the labyrinth. The party agrees to help find all the Soul Shards to return her to life.



In order to get anywhere in this dungeon, we have to defeat this dragon first.





♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

Pictured: the only dragon variant in this game that actually bothers using any of its attacks.



Once again I make a positioning snafu and allow an otherwise easy boss to survive longer than it should.







It’s fine though, we win without any problems.



♪♪~ The Unreasonable Theory

With that out of the way, we can start dungeon-crawling in earnest. For this run of Mysterious Unison I’ll be linking to some good maps of the place, made by GameFAQs user threetimes (who has also written the definitive FAQ on the PS3 port of this game, as it happens).

Basement Level 1 has no special gimmicks, and the only enemies on this floor are the Mercurius; here’s a map of the first half of this dungeon if you want to follow along.



On this floor we find the following treasure:

-Titania’s Bow (Viola’s ultimate weapon; no special properties)
-Soul Shard #1





Onwards to Basement Level 2; the next boss is on this floor, but otherwise there are no special gimmicks.



♪♪~ Leap the Precipice

Roaming Pirates appear on this floor; they have low HP but high attack power, which they can boost even further with Rising Power.



On this floor we wind the following treasure:

-Power Staff (a weapon for Serenade; no special properties)
-Iron Gloves (a weapon for Falsetto; puts her under permanent Slow when equipped)
-Pervius (March’s ultimate weapon; increases her critical hit rate)



Eventually we find the exit to this floor, and prepare for the upcoming boss fight. I bring along a party of Crescendo, Beat, and Viola; Beat has his Silver Bullet (for Echo-building) and the Lion’s Chime; Crescendo has the Crimson Brooch and Pocket Watch; and Viola has the Werewolf Choker and Seven Stars.



Now then, let’s give this weird sentient mountain-ghost what for.









♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

Deep Lurker’s attacks now all hit extremely hard in Encore Mode, which isn’t great, because it loves doing the one-two combo of Trip to Pain followed up with Peek-a-Boo (which also inflicts Passive). It also has Fatal Bite for single-target knockdown and Nasty Roar for a decently strong AoE.







But this fight won’t be too much trouble for this party; Beat and Viola don’t care Deep Lurker’s Trip to Pain shenanigans, and Crescendo is the tankiest character in the game. Plus Viola has Hawk Eye, which will really let us chew through its inflated HP. Speaking of which...



There we go. Let’s make this quick, shall we?





Excellent, good job everybody. Winning this fight with the Seven Stars equipped lets Beat and Viola each gain two levels, and we also receive Soul Shard #2.
 
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Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


Right, moving on.





Basement Levels 3 and 4 are connected with a series of teleporters, but the path to Basement Level 5 is pretty straightforward, with only a couple branching forks for treasure.



Speaking of which, the following treasures are on these two floors:

-Morgenstern (a weapon for Crescendo; no special properties)
-Score Piece #23 (can be skipped since we have it already; the chest would already be opened were we to head that way)
-Soul Shard #3





Onward to Basement Level 5.



This floor has no special gimmicks, but enemies start appearing in greater numbers at this point.



Perfect Melons also start appearing on this floor; they’re very slow-moving, but have a surprising amount of HP, can block attacks from any angle, and are incredibly strong if you let them attack you. They also rarely drop Saint’s Mirrors.



Basement Level 5 has the following items:

-Athena’s Tear (an accessory; raises the wearer’s DEF by 30 points)
-Nagul Fang (a weapon for Beat; increases his SPD by 10%)





Soon enough we reach Basement Level 6.



This floor is tiny, and has no enemies or items; instead Mute is here. They have one of the Soul Shards for sale for the maximum amount of gold you can carry, and you can also pay them 10,000 gold for a full heal.



We’ll move on and come back here later once we have the necessary funds.



Basement Level 7 has no enemies or items, and is a wraparound maze; if you don’t follow the correct path to the exit you could be lost here for quite a while.



But I know my way around the place, and find the exit after about a minute or so.







Basement Levels 8 and 9 are a teleporter maze, and you’ll have to go back and forth between them many times to reach the exit warp. If you want to try following along, you can use this map.



Mercurius and Roaming Pirates stop appearing at this point, and are replaced by the Ryuuguu; they’re bulky but otherwise easy enough to take down, and they drop 600,000 gold apiece.



These two floors have the following treasures:

-Nil Coat (strongest set of light armor in the game)
-Azure Umbrella (a weapon for Polka; can be skipped)
-Dragon Armor (a pretty good set of heavy armor)
-Score Piece #24 (can also be skipped)
-Seven Branched (a weapon for Allegretto; no thanks, we’re good)
-Soul Shard #4





After a lot of teleporting back and forth, we find the exit and arrive on Basement Level 10; here are the maps for this floor, as well as the rest of the dungeon.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)




This floor is one big treasure vault, with every dead-end having an item. We proceed to loot the following items:

-Royal Staff (a weapon for Crescendo, confusingly; no special properties)
-Freudhersch (Frederic’s ultimate weapon; increases his SPD by 30 points and has a chance of inflicting Stop with each hit)
-Alfheim (a weapon for Salsa; the strongest light-elemental weapon in the game)
-Peacock Dress (a set of armor for Falsetto, Viola, or Serenade; prevents all status effects when worn)
-Nemesis Sword (a weapon for Claves; no special properties)
-Skofnung (a weapon for Jazz; puts him in permanent Burst while equipped)
-Mirror Shield (an accessory for Crescendo; increases his DEF by 20 points)
-Niflheim (a weapon for March; the strongest dark-elemental weapon in the game)
-Cupid’s Head (an accessory for Viola; increases her ATK by 30 points)
-Best Lot (an accessory for Beat; increases his ATK by 25 points)





All that looting taken care of, we can proceed to Basement Level 11, which is another boss floor.



Astral Lieds start appearing on this floor; their attacks can all hit multiple characters in a line and cause knockdown, but at this point we can defeat them quite easily, and they drop 4,000,000 gold apiece. With just a few fights against them we hit the gold cap, and go pay for the Soul Shard Mute is holding onto offscreen, bringing our count to 5.



We find the following treasures on this floor:

-Achilles’s Armor (strongest heavy armor in the game)
-Lord’s Reign (Falsetto’s ultimate weapon; lets her build 2 Echoes with each combo hit instead of 1)
-Solomon’s Ring (an accessory; increases the wearer’s ATK by 10 points and grants permanent Burst)
-Retaliator (Claves’s ultimate weapon; same effect as Lord’s Reign)



Soon enough we come face-to-face with Rondo. Last time I fought her with a team of Claves, Jazz, and Falsetto; this time I’m swapping out Jazz for Frederic but otherwise keeping it the same. Frederic has the Werewolf Choker and Seven Stars equipped; Falsetto is wearing the Lion’s Chime and Athena’s Tear; and I give Claves the Pocket Watch and Power Ring.



Rondo wants revenge, and she’s also holding a Soul Shard. We can’t let this stand, obviously.





♪♪~ I Bet My Belief

Rondo is extremely powerful in Encore Mode, and her new HP total is close to what it originally was in the Xbox 360 release; as such, the fight might last longer than you want it to. Hell Eruption no longer inflicts Stop, but Rondo can now use it from any distance; Grand Venom still inflicts Slow, and I have a lot of trouble guarding against it for some reason; not shown (or used), she also has Fer-de-Lance, a two-hit stab that can cause knockdown.







My strategy here is to hit Rondo as hard as I can, as often as possible. This team has absolutely no trouble building Echoes, and Frederic can keep everyone’s HP topped up with Tri-Clementia, in addition to steadily lowering Rondo’s defenses with Phantom Pain.





Which is not to say that things can’t still go wrong. Just like in Chapter 5, I was unprepared for Bombardment, and it wrecked my whole business. This is what Saint’s Mirrors are for!







One long fight later and Rondo is down for the count, awarding Soul Shard #6 and a whole bunch of exp in the process.



Let’s move on, shall we?
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


Basement Level 12 has no special gimmicks but is absolutely stuffed with enemies.



The following items are on this floor:

-Sheol Sword (a weapon for Allegretto; can be skipped)
-Score Piece #25 (can also be skipped)
-Bezwell’s Sword (Jazz’s ultimate weapon; absorbs 20% of inflicted damage as HP)



♪♪~ Well Done

While running around fighting monsters, I also manage to level up Claves enough to learn her final special; indeed this is the last special attack level-up in the game. In the original release Claves learned Wolf Fang at level 64 and instead picked up Beast Meteor at 68 as her final special; for the PS3 port she learns Beast Meteor much earlier (level 35) and Wolf Fang a fair bit later. In either version Claves is the last character to learn all her specials. I don’t get a chance to use Wolf Fang this update, but we’ll see it in action next time.





Anyway, we’re on the final floor now; there’s nothing here except Annihilator. I prepare a party of Claves, Allegretto, and Jazz; Allegretto gets the Recovery Orb and Seven Stars; Claves will be wearing the Pocket Watch and Power Ring; and Jazz has Solomon’s Ring and the Lion’s Chime.



Let’s fight us a superboss!







♪♪~ Broken Balance

Annihilator hits like a speeding truck in Encore Mode, and its new HP total is closer to what it was in the original game (which was nearly 5 million). Even if you block all of its attacks, you’re going to be taking a lot of damage. I kitted out this party to have to heal as little as possible – Jazz is pretty much entirely self-sufficient thanks to Bezwell’s Sword, and Allegretto can go much longer without needing to heal thanks to the Recovery Orb. I also brought along plenty of Floral Powders, and every Saint’s Mirror I had on hand.

As for Annihilator’s attacks, Scorcher is a horizontal fire breath; Provoked is a simple knockdown move; and Crop Top is a very deadly four-hit combo on anyone in range. It also has Blood Sink, an AoE that slightly reduces the attack power of everyone hit by it regardless of whether or not you guard it, but strangely it didn’t use this move during my recording. Finally, once it’s close to defeated, it’ll use Reclaim to start regenerating 49,000 HP every turn, but this doesn’t last more than a few turns and can only be used once.







I don’t want to fight this thing longer than I have to, so I brought along a purely offensive party. These three can build Echoes very quickly, and their specials can regularly hit the damage cap at this point; this plus the Silver Star lets them consistently dish out 500k+-damage Harmony Chains.





Once Annihilator uses Reclaim, that’s your signal that the fight is nearly over.









This time I manage to have Claves initiate the winning Harmony Chain, and we blow Annihilator the hell up, earning a truckload of exp and the final Soul Shard in the process. Which means…



That Claves’s soul is reformed and she is resurrected – and this time there’s still stuff to do with her back in the party!



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

On our way out of Mysterious Unison, we get the final Chopin history lesson.

With that out of the way, next time we’ll run through Double Reed Tower really quick, and then the following update we’ll look at the last bit of Encore Mode-exclusive content. See you all then!

Next time: Double Reed Tower boss rush CAS (Claves-Assisted Speedrun)
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Just one video today:


A compilation of all the bosses in Mysterious Unison, as fought in Encore Mode.

Three more updates till the end.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Verse IX-XI: Once More Through the Tower of Sand

Hello and welcome back to Eternal Sonata! Last time was an abbreviated look at Mysterious Unison…



♪♪~ Spiral Twister

And today will be a similarly brief run-through of Double Reed Tower.



I already raided this dungeon for treasure a couple updates ago, and we’re way too over-leveled to bother with fighting any enemies here, so I’m just going to head straight for the bosses, since we still need to defeat all four to unlock the tower core. I did the West Tower during the original run through the game, so this time I’m starting with the East Tower first, just for funsies.



First on the chopping block is Unrest. Let’s get to it!



♪♪~ Opposition Resignation

I’m not really going to bother covering all the attacks of the bosses in Double Reed Tower; I already did that a few months ago, for one thing, and our party is far too powerful these bosses to be much of a threat anymore. Instead I’ll be doing mini highlight reels for each one, and I’m using Claves in each fight to let her flex on them a little bit now that she’s outside Mysterious Unison.

As for what’s happening in the above screenshot, I tried hitting the boss with Beat’s melee combos, but because he’s short and wasn’t standing as close to it as possible, the game kinda wigged out and assumed I was trying to shoot at the Fire Antique instead. Stuff like this doesn’t happen very often, but it’s annoying when it does come up.







The boss only ends up getting a couple turns, and we easily wipe the floor with it.



♪♪~ When We Are Together

After the battle, Beat expresses worry about what’s going to happen to the world after the party defeats Waltz and Legato – everything won’t magically be better once those two are gone.



Allegretto reassures him, saying that as long as everyone works together, things will work out. Kind of optimistic, but with two of the party being the Baroque royals I’m sure they can smooth some things over.



Frederic very much doubts he’ll be around to help out with the rebuilding process, what with his illness and all, but Allegretto isn’t gonna let him get out of it that easily.





Moving on to the other side of the East Tower, our next target is the White Jewel.



Pictured: The only action this boss gets to take.







The White Jewel was arguably the toughest out of the four bosses in the original playthrough, thanks to its annoying status-effect attacks, so it’s very satisfying to defeat it in about a minute this go-around.



After the fight, March tries to do some sciency things with some scales she harvested from the boss, but Salsa isn’t having any of it – they have more important things to worry about, like their impending battle with a mad tyrant and his pet dimension-rending monstrosity.



But March points out that there are still lots of things they don’t know about, with the agogos being a pretty big example.



March asks Salsa what she wants to do after the adventure is over, and the latter elaborates as shown above. Salsa then asks Frederic the same question, but, well, this journey is probably going to be his last one.



Salsa tries reassuring him in her own way, saying that one thing ending isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s just the start of something else.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)




With the East Tower taken care of, it’s time to head to the opposite end of the dungeon and defeat the bosses therein, starting with Hidden One here.



Here’s Wolf Fang in action – it’s the light version of Obsidian Needle, and it’s Claves’s most powerful special by a pretty fair margin. Use it with a full Echo Meter and you can wreak serious havoc on whoever the unfortunate target happens to be.







Claves and company: 3
Guardians of the teleporter leading to the final confrontation: 0



After wiping the floor with Hidden One, Viola asks Polka and Frederic what has them so downcast all the time.



Polka doesn’t elaborate, but Frederic is concerned what’s going to happen to him once the dream is over.



Viola tries to reassure him by saying that, when a dream ends, you just wake up and start a new day. She tells them both to not try and handle everything on their own, and to let their friends help.



Polka resolves not to give up, and Frederic reflects on the conversation as shown above.





On to the last pre-Waltz boss of the tower, the Herculean Boar.



It tries to be cheeky, but this is the only turns it’s going to get.







So long and thanks for all the exp!



After the fight, Jazz seems a little down, and when Falsetto asks him about it, he says he was thinking about Claves. (I like to imagine that she’s just offscreen in this scene, looking very confused at this conversation.)



Falsetto tells Frederic that, if the world is in fact just a dream he’s having, then it’s a pretty bad dream to have Claves die in it. But she’s only kidding, and doesn’t actually believe that the world is a dream; she points out that she and Jazz have known each other for decades, and that everyone in the party acts out of their own free will.



They talk about Claves a little more, and Jazz says that it’s pointless to compare the living to the dead; he misses her, sure, but he’s trying his hardest to protect the people in his life that he still has.



But Frederic is always thinking of the person he’s lost.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


With the four bosses defeated, the way to Waltz and Legato is clear.



One long walk later, and we’re face to face with the two of them once again. I’ll be using a party of Claves plus the Baroque royals; our equipment doesn’t especially matter since everyone’s levels are so high, but I’m equipping Crescendo and Serenade with the Pocket Watch and Werewolf Choker, respectively, to make Echo-building a bit easier.



♪♪~ Strategy

When the party confronts him, Count Waltz is pretty confused as to why they bothered coming all this way.



Each member of the party in turn interrogates him on why he’s so terrible…



but Count Waltz shoots each of them down. He is entirely unrepentant of any of his actions and isn’t interested in changing in the slightest.



Eventually, Frederic asks Waltz what the hell his goals actually are…







And Waltz kindly elaborates. He wants to be remembered forever, and his only concern is to acquire as much power as possible to achieve this goal, to force the world to acknowledge him, to adore him, to worship him.



♪♪~ Pressure

At this point, the only thing standing in his way is the party, and he aims to wipe them off the face of the earth.









♪♪~ Broken Balance

This is a hell of a fight in the original playthrough, and it still is in Encore Mode… if you come here and do it before clearing Mysterious Unison. Since we waited until afterwards, this battle is going to be very one-sided in our favor.







Count Waltz only gets a single turn, and goes down in two Harmony Chains. Since he was standing so close to Ruined Body, several specials hit both of them during the Chain, and I end up doing over a million damage total – 1,152,263 damage, to be precise. You should really watch the compilation video just for the spectacle of how ludicrous that is.







Ruined Body doesn’t last long after that; it doesn’t even get to use Regenerate. I do believe that we have thoroughly schooled these two jerks, wouldn’t you agree?
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)


♪♪~ Repeated Tide

After the battle, Waltz is pissed at losing to the party.



But he looks over at Ruined Body, gets an idea, and lurches his way over to his throne.







♪♪~ Pursuit

He then orders Ruined Body to destroy the world, and the monster engulfs them both in a massive explosion…



Leaving only a strange portal behind.

But once again we’re going to ignore said portal, in favor of tackling the final bit of optional content in the game. See y’all then!

Next time: 3, 2, 1, crescendo!
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)

Here's the cutscene/boss compilation for Chapter 7, which includes footage of me curb-stomping all the bosses in the final dungeon with Claves in the party.

Two more updates.
 

Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
The next update is going to have a boss fight at the end of it, and I thought it would be fun to let y'all vote on what party I should use as one last fun thing before the end of the game. But before that happens, I think it would be worthwhile to go over every character's combat capabilities in full, now that everyone has learned all their specials (and since I've been itching to do this anyway). In addition to talking about each character's strengths and weaknesses in combat, we'll also take a look at how their stats compare to each other; I'll be pulling these numbers from these two posts. (Every level-up in Eternal Sonata is hard-coded, so if I were to spend some time grinding everybody up to level 99 - which I will not be doing at this time - my party's stats would look like what you see here. Also note that these stats don't factor in equipment or accessories.)

As we go down the line, keep in mind that any perceived deficiencies in character stats can be made up for with equipment and accessories. Now then, I'll be going through every character in roughly the order they first join your party during the story, starting with...

Polka

"I know I can do it!"
HP: 9th
ATK: 8th
DEF: 9th
MAG: 1st
SPD: 10th
Combo speed: Medium
Average Echoes per turn: 12

Polka is hands-down the best healer in the game; with even a modest Echo count, Blossom Shower can bring the party back from the brink effortlessly. Her extremely high MAG stat also lets her deal major damage to unsuspecting enemies, especially with a high Echo count. Polka's specials are more about keeping enemies away from her, with Nether Wave/Disruption Wave being her only melee-range options; her other specials let her fight at a distance (Shade Comet/Shooting Star), give her some crowd-control options (Roundel/Zodiac), or automatically let her hit every enemy on the field at reduced strength (Pure Geyser/Terra Externa). She also has two other healing moves - Orange Glow (a single-target heal) and Earth Heal (which heals everyone except Polka).

Polka's ultimate weapon, Gold Moon, gives her 10% max HP regen and a 5% exp boost to the active party. Her best option for armor is the Nil Coat, which is a good set of light armor but doesn't have any special properties. She is also one of two characters in the game to learn more than 8 special attacks, having access to a total of 11 by level 48. Her other stats might be lacking, but Polka's MAG more than makes up for it, and she can still hold her own in battle just fine.

Allegretto

"So, how 'bout we go a round?"
HP: 4th
ATK: 1st
DEF: 7th
MAG: 6th
SPD: 6th
Combo speed: Medium
Average Echoes per turn: 12

Allegretto is your best physical attacker, no question; he was originally around 3rd place, but got a slight buff in the PS3 port. His specials emphasize this role - Sky Divider/Void Edge have heavy knockback to push away troublesome enemies; Sun Slash/Shadow Assault produce small AoEs; and Starlight Blast/Bloody Plume deal out major damage and are pretty good for Echo-building to boot. He also has two long-range options in Phantom Wave/Fire Wave, but you should be leaving that to other characters and letting Allegretto get in monsters' faces.

Allegretto's ultimate weapon, Silver Star, increases the time added to the Action Gauge with each hit, and it also gives his attacks a 100% critical hit rate. The best armor available to him is Achilles's Armor, the strongest heavy set in the game (but with no other special properties). Allegretto's non-ATK stats (aside from HP) are rather middling, but honestly with the Silver Star he doesn't even have to care - it's just that good, y'all. You don't have to think too much when putting Allegretto in the party; he does his job well, and that's about all you need from him.

Beat

"You're really gonna get it!"
HP: 7th
ATK: 9th
DEF: 10th
MAG: 10th
SPD: 8th
Combo speed: Slow (melee), Fast (long-range)
Average Echoes per turn: 9 (melee), 12 (long-range)

Beat is a clear support character; he doesn't excel in any given stat, and his specials are all designed to help the party out rather than let him have the spotlight (although he can still dish out big damage, as we've seen). Rapid Shooter/Fire Blast can both be used from a considerable distance and let him stay out of harm's way; meanwhile, Power Smash/Sledge Hammer are his big-damage melee attacks, and they have large knockback-inducing AoEs. Vital Drain lets him drain HP from monsters and single-handedly allows him to be entirely self-sufficient, and Sky Fire can be used from any distance and packs a huge wallop.

Beat is also one of two characters that can fight at long range; when not in melee range, he'll shoot his hammer gun rapid-fire at the enemy for minor damage but build Echoes much more quickly. He's also your main source of gold for most of the game; his Vivid Shot and Night Shot specials let you take photos of monsters which you can sell for cash.

Beat's ultimate weapon, Hell's Cannon (which we haven't seen yet, but will soon) increases the time added to the Action Gauge with each hit. His best available armor is also the Nil Coat, or failing that, the Storm Shroud, which increases the wearer's movement speed. He can also equip a series of bullet accessories that are unique to him; of these, the Best Lot increases his ATK by 25 points, and the Silver Bullet increases his ATK by 15 points while also letting him build two Echoes with each hit instead of 1. The Silver Bullet combined with Hell's Cannon turns Beat into an Echo-building machine at either long range or up close.

Frederic

"You dare to turn your sword to me?!"
HP: 6th
ATK: 7th
DEF: 8th
MAG: 4th
SPD: 9th
Combo speed: Fast
Average Echoes per turn: 16

Frederic is the most versatile character in the game, able to fill a variety of roles depending on what the rest of your party looks like (except a tank; maybe don't let Frederic be the dedicated tank). As befitting his versatility, Frederic's specials cover a wide range of effects: Coup de Grace has absurd knockback, while Coup de Jarnac lets him hit any enemies behind him; Piu Grave/Orzel Bialy have pretty decent AoEs; and Legion Fulminante and Crimson Blaze give him some long-range utility (with the latter letting him hit every enemy on the field). He's also one of only a few characters to get access to debuffing moves, with Mirage Blow (that lowers ATK) and Phantom Pain, which in addition to lowering DEF with each hit is also one of the most powerful specials in the game. He gets a few healing moves; Sacred Signature and Spirit's Pathway (especially the latter) are the best single-target heals, and Tri-Clementia, while not as good as Blossom Shower, has a faster casting time and can be used more than once per turn in a pinch.

Frederic's ultimate weapon, Freudhersch, increases his SPD by 30 points and has a chance of inflicting Stop with each hit. His best armor is the Daybreak Cloak, which is unique to him; wearing it puts him under permanent Shining Body, but his best specials are all light attacks anyway so this isn't a big deal. Frederic has the fastest combo speed out of the male party members and is tied with Falsetto for fastest in the game overall, and he can put out pretty decent damage to boot. He's the other character that learns more than 8 specials, having access to a total of 11 by level 60.

Viola

"Well, are you ready or what? Let's get started."
HP: 5th
ATK: 6th
DEF: 11th
MAG: 7th
SPD: 11th
Combo speed: Medium (melee), Slow (long-range)
Average Echoes per turn: 12 (melee), around 6 or so (long-range)

Viola is the other long-range character, and she's kind of the opposite of Beat; whereas he's built more for Echo-building, Viola is all about damage. She's the only character in the game that can deal large amounts of damage completely independently from the Echo Meter; as long as you're a good shot, she can dish out major hurt while staying out of harm's way - and she should stay out of harm's way, because she's pretty fragile. If you find yourself using her in melee range, she has Bone Crumble/White Dagger, which aren't too strong but are decent for Echo-building. Most of her other specials can be used at any distance; Sacred Strike/Evil Strike are both solid single strikes that can also hit other enemies if they're close, and Full Barrage is maybe the biggest long-range AoE in the game.

She also gets a couple healing moves - Heal Arrow is invaluable in the early game but falls off by the time you hit Chapter 5, while Night Arrow can act like a replacement for Earth Heal if you really want to use it. Arguably her best special is Hawk Eye, which drastically decreases the affected enemy's defense until another special is used on them while also making it easier to hit with arrows.

Viola's ultimate weapon, Titania's Bow, doesn't have any special properties, but she doesn't really need any. Her best armor option is the Peacock Dress, which prevents all status effects while worn. She also gets a series of arrowhead accessories that are unique to her, with the best being the Cupid's Head, which increases her ATK by 30 points. It's worth noting that Viola's SPD was heavily nerfed for the PS3 port - originally she had the 5th highest stat in that category. But she doesn't really need to worry about that, or building Echoes; just keep her at a safe distance and fire away.

Salsa

"I'm gonna send you into a flyin' spin!"
HP: 11th
ATK: 11th
DEF: 6th
MAG: 9th
SPD: 5th
Combo speed: Fast
Average Echoes per turn: 15 (20 if she starts her turn close enough to an enemy)

Salsa might not be the strongest attacker, but she can build Echoes like nobody's business, and she can also play keep-away pretty effectively - fully half of her specials have knockback, whether moderate (Grand Slam/Iron Cross) or major (Solar Flare/Dark Nebula). Deadly Orbit/Deadly Circle each build 12 Echoes, letting you maintain your meter while dishing out damage, while Corona Stream lets her hit enemies behind whoever she's fighting. But her real secret weapon is Shadow Silhouette, which hurts little by itself but dramatically buffs the next special of everyone near her; combine this with a hard-hitting character and/or Hawk Eye and you've got yourself a recipe for ludicrous damage numbers.

Salsa's strongest standard weapon is Ruthless, which has no special properties; her ultimate, Alfheim, is the strongest light-elemental weapon in the game, which is unfortunately rather situational. Her best armor option is, again, the Nil Coat, or failing that, the Mist Cape, which is solid but has no special properties. Where she really shines is in Echo-building and buffing the party with Shadow Silhouette. It's worth noting that her SPD was lowered very slightly for the PS3 port, while her DEF was moderately buffed and her ATK moderately lowered.

Falsetto

"C'mon, let's go! Show me what you've got!"
HP: 10th
ATK: 5th
DEF: 12th
MAG: 11th
SPD: 3rd
Combo speed: Fast
Average Echoes per turn: 15

Falsetto is a glass cannon; she's fast and can dish out major damage, but she's also the most fragile character in the game, and she has the shortest melee attack range. (She's overall received the biggest nerfs for the PS3 port; her HP rank was originally 4th, she used to be tied with Claves for highest SPD, and her DEF was 6th.) Despite this, she's pretty much always been my personal favorite character to play as; it's just fun to punch monsters! Her mainstay specials are Snow Claw/Howling Thunder, which each hit 9 times and have small AoEs at the end for easy Echo-Building. Beyond that, she has Shadow Beam/Death Chasm (single big hits), Dragon Blow/Night Fist (which let her attack enemies behind whoever she's facing), and Willow Strike/Phoenix Rising (which let her hit enemies next to the target).

Falsetto's ultimate weapon, Lord's Reign, lets her build 2 Echoes with each hit instead of one. Her best armor option is the Peacock Dress, or failing that the Transeo, which has no special properties. Her main utility is hitting monsters hard and fast, and only a couple characters will get a turn before she does. She has the fastest combo speed out of all the female characters and is tied with Frederic for fastest attack speed overall, so you'll have no trouble building Echoes with her while also piling on the damage.

Jazz

"Go in strong! Don't hold anything back!"
HP: 1st
ATK: 4th
DEF: 5th
MAG: 12th
SPD: 12th
Combo speed: Slow
Average Echoes per turn: 12

Jazz is an HP tank; his defenses are solid, but he has so much health that he can just stand there and take hits all day without worrying too much. His specials are all about crowd control - Magma Pillar/Raven Blast cover a large AoE around him; Whirlwind/Maelstrom give him some long-range options; and Heat Blade/Geo Blade both hit any enemies around him and end with a powerful frontal blast. He also has Plasma Chains/Dimensional Turn to hit any enemies directly behind him, but these are more situational to use. His MAG score is low, but the damage formulas for his specials seem to work out to be pretty effective anyways, so don't let that deter you. He's also unique in that his attacks naturally build 2 Echoes with each hit, to make up for their general slowness.

Jazz's ultimate weapon, Bezwell's Sword, drains 20% of inflicted damage with each hit, letting him be self-sufficient. His best armor option is Achilles's Armor, or if you'd rather Allegretto have that, there's the Dragon Armor, which is good but has no special properties. He's the absolute slowest character in the game - his SPD was lowered slightly for the PS3 port, even - and this extends to his attacks, too; you're not ever gonna get more than two combos out of him in a turn even with the Pocket Watch. Still, when you're as beefy as Jazz you don't really need speed on your side.

March

"Pleased to meet you!"
HP: 12th
ATK: 12th
DEF: 2nd
MAG: 8th
SPD: 7th
Combo speed: Medium
Average Echoes per turn: 14 (21 if she starts her turn close enough to an enemy)

March is just as good at building Echoes as Salsa is, but otherwise the two are opposites; whereas Salsa is faster and more physically powerful, March has higher MAG and a very impressive DEF, which got a pretty substantial buff for the PS3 port (and she was still originally sitting at 3rd). Her already low HP and ATK were lowered as well; putting the Tyrant's Crown and Power Ring on her is highly recommended. Her bread-and-butter specials are Super Nova/Midnight Cloud, which each hit 13 times, letting you very easily maintain your meter while keeping on the offensive. Her other specials are more varied than you'd expect from Salsa's twin - Eclipse Gaze/Illumination give her some long-range options with weird cross-shaped coverage; Luna Stream lets her hit enemies behind her main target; and Full Moon Bind/New Moon Bind are debuffs, inflicting Stop and Slow, respectively. Finally there's Aurora Curtain, which puts a big defense buff on everyone around her; however, it's a bit situational, as it only lasts until the target is hit once.

March's ultimate weapon, Pervius, increases her critical hit rate; she also gets the Niflheim, the strongest dark-elemental weapon in the game. Her best armor option is the Storm Shroud or Mist Cape, or failing those, the Fragment, which increases the wearer's ATK by 3 points. March has surprising utility as a tank, which she can augment with Aurora Curtain, and her Echo-building capabilities will keep the party well supplied with Harmony Chains.

Claves

"I'll teach you manners!"
HP: 3rd
ATK: 3rd
DEF: 4th
MAG: 2nd
SPD: 2nd
Combo speed: Medium
Average Echoes per turn: 12

Claves is flat-out one of the best characters in the game, but you have to get her there first, which requires completing a lengthy optional dungeon (and depending on if you're in Encore Mode or not, there might not be much left for her to do). If you do, though, you have a solid character all around. As for her specials, she starts out with some lackluster ones; Unicorn Horn is an okay group heal, while Feather Spin/Eagle Wing both let Claves hit any enemies standing behind her. Once you start getting some levels under her belt, the rest of Claves's arsenal is extremely good. Beast Meteor/Bird Swarm are powerful infinite-range blasts; Aiatar Horn is a big single-hit slash; and Obsidian Needle/Wolf Fang hit 7 times each for pretty good Echo-building (and the latter is one of the strongest specials in the game).

Claves's ultimate weapon, Retaliator, lets her build 2 Echoes with each hit instead of one. She's the only female character who can equip heavy armor, and as such her best option is Achilles's Armor; if you can't spare it there's always the Lech Armor, which is solid but has no special properties. Claves has the highest ATK and HP of all the female characters, and her other stats are very respectable. She's the worst healer in the game by a fair margin, but really, you shouldn't be using her for that anyway.

Crescendo

"I must become an even stronger shield!"
HP: 2nd
ATK: 2nd
DEF: 1st
MAG: 5th
SPD: 4th
Combo speed: Slow
Average Echoes per turn: 9

Crescendo is the best tank in the game by a wide margin - at level 99 his DEF is almost 100 points higher than March's, for reference - and he's a great attacker as well. He only has 4 specials, but they're all pretty good; Galactic Nebula/Chaos Bolt hit 8 times and produce small AoEs at the end, while Crystal Judgment/Diament are his heavy-hitting moves. Of these, Chaos Bolt and Diament are very powerful, and the former in particular is one of the best specials in the game.

We haven't seen Crescendo's ultimate equipment yet, but I'll discuss it anyway for consistency's sake. His strongest mace, Mjolnir, has no special properties, and indeed he's the only character in the game without any weapons that have additional effects. He gets an exclusive piece of heavy armor called the Sacred Mail that increases his DEF by 20%; he also has a series of shield accessories unique to him, with the best being the Scudetto, which increases his DEF by 50 points and prevents all status effects. All of which is to say, if you need a solid wall for monsters to uselessly throw themselves against, then Crescendo's the man for the job.

Serenade

"I think you had best turn tail and run!"
HP: 8th
ATK: 10th
DEF: 3rd
MAG: 3rd
SPD: 1st
Combo speed: Slow
Average Echoes per turn: 9

Serenade excels at single-target spike damage like no other character does. Of her three offensive specials, two only hit one opponent, and they all greatly depend on high Echo counts for maximum effectiveness; as such, if you have Serenade in the party you're best off using her to start any Harmony Chains. She has the best long-range utility of anyone not named Beat or Viola; Verbum: Celebrus hits 6 times, and Verbum: Expello hits 8, and both can be used from a fair distance away. Her strongest special, Throne of Thorns, hits 4 times, can be used from any distance, can hit multiple targets, and is monstrously powerful. Finally she has access to L'energie du Vent, which lets her act as a backup healer if necessary.

Like with Crescendo, we haven't seen Serenade's ultimate equipment yet, but I'll talk about it now anyway. Her ultimate weapon, Glory, has no special properties; her best armor, the Noble White, is unique to her, and increases her SPD by 20%. Her attacks may be slow, but Serenade herself is a speed demon, and her somewhat limited magical arsenal is nonetheless very powerful.

-----------

If you find yourself overwhelmed by all that information, stay tuned for a followup post looking at some fun team options I came up with.
 
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Albatoss

Dreaming of better days
(She/her, they/them)
Here are said teams:

Team Healbot
Polka + Frederic + Serenade/Viola/Claves
With this team you won't ever have to worry about using any items (although you should still bring along some Angel Trumpets just in case). Frederic has you covered with Echo-building, and any of the three choices for 3rd character can deal respectable damage (and so can Polka and Frederic, for that matter). Claves is only technically a candidate because Unicorn Horn is a healing move, but as previously stated, you shouldn't be using her for that!

Team Echoes for Days
Salsa + March + Frederic/Falsetto
You will be swimming in Harmony Chains with this team. You've got Shadow Silhouette and Aurora Curtain for self-buffs, some great healing if you bring Frederic along, and a powerful attacker in Falsetto. The major downside is that this team is on the fragile end of things, but March can pick up the slack if necessary.

Team Andantino
Falsetto + Jazz + Claves
This team is pretty versatile. You won't have to worry about Echoes thanks to Falsetto and Claves, and they're all powerful attackers; you've got pretty decent long-range coverage, too. The only major drawback is that you'll have to rely on items for healing.

Team Hang on These Are Children, What Are You Doing
Salsa + March + Beat
You want Echoes? You got 'em! Salsa and March still work well together, and Beat is a great support character in any team, not to mention that he has Vital Drain to remain self-sufficient. The other two will have to rely on items for healing, though.

Team Keep-away
Viola + Beat + Serenade
The two long-range characters plus the melee character with the strongest ranged attacks. This team has pretty good healing options, and you certainly won't be hurting for big damage numbers. Beat will be your main Echo-builder, but with his Silver Bullet this shouldn't be a problem.

Team Speed Demons
Serenade + Claves + Falsetto, or Falsetto + Frederic + Salsa
The three statistically fastest characters, or the three fastest attackers. (Falsetto qualifies for both!) The first team has better long-range options and is sturdier, but the second team can build Echoes much faster. Both have good healing, but the second team is squishier so be careful of that.

Team Slowpokes
Polka + Viola + Jazz, or Jazz + Serenade + Crescendo
Either the three characters that are the slowest statistically, or the three characters with the slowest combo speed. (Poor Jazz qualifies for both!) They both have good healing and long-range options, but they're going to have a hell of a time building Echoes if you don't use the Pocket Watch and Werewolf Choker. But that's what those accessories are for, right? The second team is practially a brick wall in terms of defenses, which is nice.

Team Tank
Crescendo + March + Serenade
The three highest-DEF characters, and it makes for a pretty well-rounded party! You've got March for Echoes, Crescendo to take all the hits, and Serenade for backup healing and single-target spike damage. March is noticeably slower than the royals, but not enough for me to consider replacing her; plus with Aurora Curtain this team will be even tankier.

Team Nuclear Option
Polka + Claves + Serenade
The three highest-MAG characters. This is a pretty good party! Healing is more than covered, and Claves equipped with the Retaliator can handle Echo-building pretty well. Claves and Serenade can cover for Polka if need be, and they all have strong attack options.

Team Swole
Crescendo + Claves + Allegretto/Jazz
Either the three highest-ATK or highest-HP characters. Both teams are lacking in healing but more than make up for it in sheer power, and you've got some good tanks in there as well. Claves and Jazz on the same team gives you some good long-range coverage.

Team Squishy
Beat + Viola + Falsetto
The three lowest-DEF characters. This is nearly the same party as Team Keep-away, swapping Serenade for Falsetto. With this team it would be smart to have Beat fight in melee more often to take some of the pressure off Falsetto. The healing in this party is decent, but you should pack some items just in case. But hey, if you want big damage, you got it, and this team won't have any Echo problems either. (I would have included Falsetto + Salsa + March as an alternate team since they're the three lowest-HP characters, but that's literally just Team Echoes for Days again.)

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These are just some ideas I came up with to get the ball rolling, but I'm sure I missed some fun combinations. I'll give y'all a couple days to vote on what party you want to see for the boss fight; it can be any party listed here, or any party you come up with. There are no bad answers! Eternal Sonata is a pretty well-balanced game, and no character is outright bad; I'm confident that I can make any combination of characters work. And remember, any stat handicaps can be overcome with the right equipment and accessories. (However, I will note that putting Frederic in the party will make the boss more difficult, for reasons I will explain when the time comes. Don't let that stop you from voting for him, though!)

If there aren’t any votes, I’ve got a party idea in mind. In either case, hopefully I’ll see y’all with the update in about a week!
 
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