Part 23: Empyrean and the Divine Grind
Gameplay Notes: Empyrean And The Divine Grind
I'm going to get Persona Notes out of the way, since I've got some other things to talk about.
Persona MVPs: Surt, Chernobog, and Melchizedek. We fused these last door and they'll largely carry us through this one. Not much to say except the first two are awesome on the bosses and Melchizedek is amazing on trash thanks to the almighty power of Akasha Arts.
Personas To Fuse: All the ones mentioned last time if you don't have them yet are on the list. Get them, they rock. Especially Odin.
Kohryu: Kohryu is awesome and can inherit all sorts of good abilities. The real reason to use him, though, is that he learns skills to Null both Strike and Pierce. Combined with Chernobogs Null Slash accessory, this means you're immune to all physical attacks. That simple. I get him Odin's Thunder Reign and Spell Master because this makes things even more ridiculous.
Cybele: A solid support Persona that gets some nice skills for when you don't need to be totally immune to physical attacks.
Basically Anything Else: Every high level Persona pretty much rocks and could be worth fusing if you see a use for their skills or resistances. Feel free to go nuts.
General Persona Strategy: Almost all trash falls to Melchizedek's power, so you can largely design your other Personas solely for boss fighting. I just go for a good solid powerful set of Personas. You've got a lot of opportunity to increase your level in Empyrean so go to town. On that note, let's talk about what being in Empyrean means for us as far as our options for becoming more powerful.
Leveling Up: We All Grind Down Here
So, we're late in the game and wanting to level up for the final challenges. How do we do this and maintain our sanity, though? Obviously we want to get only Wands from Shuffle Time. Ideally we want to only fight Shadows we can destroy in one round with either an All-Out or Akasha Arts, because that gives us an instant Shuffle Time and chance at an eight or nine of Wands. We want to avoid small Shadows that will be bad EXP/time. We also probably want to avoid the large Red Shadows, because they're annoying to fight and worth a surprisingly small amount of EXP (though we do have a chance at a ten of Wands, which would make them worthwhile). Our real money battle requires us to have the Thunder Reign skill Odin gets. The small Red Shadow is a single battle with the world's strongest Maya. This crazy rainbow monster is nearly invulnerable to anything that's not Almighty and will surely destroy you if you try to fight it straight up. So we won't be doing that. The method to kill it is simplicity itself. Step one is to ambush it. We want a full round of attacks before it gets to go. Then we hit it with a Thunder Reign. This will Shock it. Our allies will always Attack Shocked enemies, which is basically a guaranteed critical. This will knock down the Maya, allowing an All-Out Attack. The All-Out Attack will leave it standing up again, which lets the next person also crit it and trigger an All-Out Attack. If all goes well before it even gets a turn you've killed it with the third All-Out Attack. If you can get a Wands card from Shuffle Time on this enemy you will easily gain a full level or more on everyone (depends on the level you're at).
Ultimate Equipment: Bullets Made of Matter Are For Sissies
The best equipment in the game, just as in Persona 3, isn't something we can buy. It comes out of rare chests on specific floors of Empyrean. We have a pretty high (maybe 50ish percent) chance of seeing the rare chest that drops legs on floor 24, and we always see two of the chests that drop the best weapons and armor on floor 25. Sounds great, right? Well, both have a bit of a downside. Let's start on the floor 24 chest. There are four possible legs that can spawn, the best male legs, the best female legs, the Aigis Legs v.100, and Metis' Centurion. Early on we're good, because all of these are potentially useful. But once we start just needing one of these, we're at the point of having a 50% chance of seeing the chest and then we need to also see the specific one we want. In my experience the Centurion is rarer than the Aigis Legs which in turn is rarer than either of the other two. The weapons and armor are even worse in their own way. While we get two spawns of each, we have a much deeper pool to draw from. There's a weapon for each character, male and female armor, armor for Aigis, armor for Metis, and then there's two items we can't equip. The first of these is a Soma, which would always be welcome. The second is the vastly unwelcome Shadow Crystal, which can be sold for large amounts of now-useless money. My general thoughts on it were to get an Antimatter Cannon, Aigis Armor v100, and Aigis Legs v100. Anything else was gravy. Then I got fantastically bad luck and even managed to get a Centurion before I had Aigis Armor v100. You can run from the location of the second Shadow boss to 25 pretty fast once the enemies start running, but the time still adds up when you need a lot of runs. While having the best equipment is hardly necessary, it's also not hard to get and gives you more shots at getting those awesome and valuable Red Shadow mayas.
Added Effects: Does This Cannon Make My Butt Look Big?
One nice thing that happens if we end up getting like eight Antimatter Cannons or Armors or whatever until we get an item we want is that some of them have variable added effects. The Antimatter Cannon is a good example of this. It can spawn with a range of effects including SP+100, HP+100, and +Crit (high). Getting these gives us options as to what we want to increase, which is nice. Just use whatever you feel is most valuable to your playstyle.
Mythology Fun Facts: Empyrean is also in the Divine Comedy, but not in Inferno. It's the very heart of Paradiso.