The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight

by Ragnar Homsar, Dr. Fetus

Part 157: Force

Speaking of Force, that happened to be the game mechanics post I was writing up!

Game Mechanics: Force, or "Atlus balances something smartly for once"

Let's go back to the original EO2 for a second. In that game, there was a specific mechanic called Force. Basically, every action a party member did would slowly fill up a gauge at the bottom of their command menu. When that gauge was fully filled, that character would gain access to their class's Force skill, a one-use-per-filled-gauge skill that ranged wildly in usefulness depending on the class. Some Force skills, like the Landsknecht's All Out, the Survivalist's Airwalk, or the War Magus's Invoke, were very useless and would not affect a battle that much. On the other hand, you had Force skills like the Protector's Painless, which completely nullified all damage and status ailments to the party for one turn, the Dark Hunter's Dominate, which was a guaranteed bind on every body part of the target, and the Gunner's Riot Gun, which was a guaranteed stun on one target, all of which could be used to completely snap the game's difficulty in half.

So, when the time came to make EO2U, Atlus decided to heavily rework the Force system to be less tedious and difficulty-breaking. Instead of having to slowly fill up a gauge that resets when you leave the Labyrinth, every party member starts with a fully-filled Force gauge, which is fully restored upon leaving the Labyrinth. Additionally, instead of just having one Force skill that resets the gauge, Force is now divided into two different commands:

The big takeaways from this are: Force is much less tedious to manage, benefits pretty much every class instead of just a select few, and opens up quite a few unique ways to utilize the system.

Let's go over each class's Force Boost and Breaks. Note that while Force Boosts do not require any body parts, Force Breaks do, and can thus be disabled by binds.

Pretty decent all around. Full Charge is actually a very nice damage boost; remember that Force Boosts aren't buffs, so ATK UP buffs stack fully with them. Landsknechts can actually output some pretty serious damage with it.

Full Gain's also nice too, although it's pretty plain as far as Force Breaks go.

Illusion Step's evasion increase is actually really significant; a Survivalist under the effects of it will dodge almost everything thrown at them. In combination with Chain Dance (a Survivalist skill that increases the likelihood they'll be targeted for one turn, along with boosting their evasion), you can actually make a very effective dodge tank out of a Survivalist. The follow-up hit on bow attacks/skills is nice, but not really worth much.

Summer Rain is a pretty nice Force Break. It fills the niche a lot of Force Breaks do of being an effective panic button for encounters that are going badly or encounters you just don't want to deal with. It's also incredibly useful for certain boss fights later on, but that's for another time.

Shield Protect is...well, it's useful for Keep Guard and Sentinel Guard, which disable Guard skills for a turn and don't block quite as much as Front/Rear Guard do. For Front and Rear Guard though, they already block enough that Shield Protect doesn't do much for them.

Perfect Defense is where it's at, though. Even if it's not as obscene as Painless was (which completely cancelled status ailments and binds in addition to damage), it still has a lot of utility.

Dark Hunter:
Trance is a very, very nice Force Boost. Dark Hunters already have very high damage options against enemies that are disabled in some way, and a 200% boost (that, again, stacks fully with normal buffs) just makes it even more absurd.

Rose Prison is meh. While the chance to inflict the binds and poison is quite high, bear in mind it's still subject to enemy resistances, meaning it's not guaranteed and, more importantly, cannot bypass enemies that nullify a given bind type or poison, unlike Dominate in EO2.

Steady Hands is a decent Force Boost. Its problem is using it means you could potentially not have Medical Miracle.

Oh boy, Medical Miracle. Medical Miracle is an incredibly powerful Force Break; proper use of it can very easily turn around what would've otherwise been a crushing game over. Its only downside is you have to be very, very sure when you use it; using it at the wrong time will most likely result in bad things, and you probably kicking yourself as a result. It's worth noting that if you have Overheal active when you use Medical Miracle, and revive someone with it, they will be healed up to the maximum amount Overheal allows.

Analysis is very, very powerful. Like Full Charge and Trance, it works fully with normal buffs, and remember that you're already boosting your damage if you're hitting an enemy's weakness.

Eschaton is, much like Summer Rain, mostly useful as a panic button for random encounters. Note that it's incredibly slow, however, and it's possible for your Alchemist to die before Eschaton goes off.

War Song is nice enough, I guess. Not a lot of enemies in EO2U dispel buffs, though.

Crusade is incredibly fucking powerful and enables a lot of really cheesy strategies where you can burst down a very high HP boss in a turn or two. Note that it's not a buff, just a temporary modifier, so it interacts without any caveats with buffs and Force Boosts.

Immovable is a godsend for Ronin. Pausing stance duration is nice enough, but cutting TP costs for katana skills in half matters a lot to Ronin, who have pretty bad TP pools.

Issen is...interesting. It's pretty bad in boss fights, but is a pretty much guaranteed "get out of jail free" card for random encounters, and the <20% HP proc chance can even reliably kill FOEs.

Creeping Curse is meh for random encounters, but incredible for FOEs and bosses. You can semi-reliably inflict even resisted ailments while Creeping Curse is active.

Black Mist is similarly powerful. If you can somehow fully bind an enemy and maybe throw a status ailment on, then throw Black Mist at them, you've pretty much won the fight; the enemy won't be recovering from those disables any time soon.

Action Boost is effectively a 60% damage buff for the duration of the Force Boost. It has a very powerful interaction with a certain Gunner passive that we'll see later that boosts its damage even further, however.

Supreme Bolt not only deals significant damage, but the chance to inflict stun is high enough that unless an enemy completely nullifies stun, you can generally expect to stun them, giving you a free turn to do whatever you want.

War Magus:
War Edge Power is very useful against enemies that resist multiple status ailments, mostly bosses and FOEs. Not a lot else to say about it.

Fairy Robe...well, just read the bolded bit and you should get why it's powerful against a lot of bosses.

Desperation is what makes Beasts even better at tanking than they already naturally are. Not much else to say about it.

True Endurance is very useful for enemy attacks that are either designed to overkill your party, or have high-chance ailment/bind inflictions attached.

Victory Vow is useful not only for saving your Sovereign some turns casting buffs on both rows, but it's also good for Orders where the entire party having it is incredibly important.

Proof of Nobility's useful for sustain in both exploration and boss fights. Do note that's it not a heal on the level of Medical Miracle or Fairy Robe, however; it's fairly minor in comparison.

Hero Battle's another Force Boost that increases the user's damage. The heal is actually pretty significant though; Highlanders tend to be very burst-heavy, so 25% of their damage is still a large amount.

Yes, Gae Bolg is bugged, in a good way though: it's untyped damage instead of stab damage. While this means you don't get bonus damage against enemies weak to stab, it also means it can't be resisted at all. Aside from that, it's another Force Break useful for clearing out groups of enemies.

Hoo boy. You know how most Force Boosts have just been niceties that help a particular class do something? Transform is absolutely integral to how Fafnir works, and is the entire reason he is supremely broken. Fafnir relies on Transform so much he even has an entire skill tree, Force Mastery, dedicated to manipulating Force in various ways. I won't list all the skills that are enabled by Transform, but here's the ones granted by progressing through the story:

If you're looking at Accelerate and thinking "that sounds so incredibly fucking broken," you have no idea. Transform turns Fafnir into...not even one of, he flat-out is the best damage dealer in the game (once you give him enough skill points in everything).

Ignition Ray/Akashic Nova are kind of boring by comparison. The only neat things about them is that they're Fire/Ice/Volt damage; whatever element deals more damage to a given enemy is what the attack is treated as.

So yeah, that's the Force system. Much improved from EO2 overall, even if it is basically balanced entirely around one class that's exclusive to Story mode.

(thanks to Hobgoblin2099, who reminded me that Meteor Smash is only once per Transform too)