Shining Ark’s battle system will be similar to the Valkyria Chronicles system, which Sega calls a “Turn based Action Command Battle”. Rather than a player and enemy phase, both sides will be part of the mix for an ongoing battle flow. The order of the attackers can be seen on the bottom right of the screen.
An added a strategic twist, is the ‘Move Down’ effect, which lets players play with the turn order kind of like Final Fantasy X. There will be special attacks that can allow the player to dictate the order of the battle. The above image shows enemy A being third in line, but pushed way back to seventh after being hit by the attack. This special ability will come in handy to allow the player to win fights while taking minimal damage.
The ‘Chain Bonus’ can be achieved by doing continuous actions against an enemy, which adds a bonus damage. A good tactic will be to stay near your enemies and keep moving their turns down for multiple attacks and bonuses to go with it.
Character movements in Shining Ark are limited to the half-circle bar, known as the move-gauge. They’ll be able to continue moving through the battlefield, until it runs out. Additionally, they’ve added the dash feature, which uses up a lot more of the move-gauge, but is much faster and allows the player to be immune from all attacks during the course of the dash. It’ll be a great way to get yourself out of a pinch.
The guarding feature will also use the character’s move-gauge. It can be used to intercept damage and cover allies.
Most of the attacks are split into regular attacks and ‘Force’ attacks. The basic attacks can be aimed towards several parts of the enemies. It also has a short and long ranged variety, depending on the character and weapon. Force attacks use up your Force Gauge, they are your character’s special attacks which include various abilities and magic.
Being within vicinity of an ally during your attack will allow for a ‘Link Attack’. Linking your attacks with allies lets them to join the fight to add more damage. Up to four characters can be linked at the same time.
To make it easier to link, the Duo feature allows you to have a nearby ally follow you. Not only will it help for the extra Link Attack damage, but it can also be handy to give extra movements.
Shining Ark also factors character personalities in each battle. Different personalities can bring out different random abilities in your characters. The ability is selected at random and may require something to trigger them at times.
Freed is the protagonist in Shining Ark. In combat, Freed is a magic knight who relies on his sword skill and lightning magic attacks to help his party. His personality type is ‘Leader’ which can be activated simply by fighting alongside allies.
Freed has many lightning Force attacks, which can also be used to attack enemies from a distance to go with his sword skills to take on enemies in close range.
When the right conditions are met, Freed can activate his special ability, known as Overmove. When it is activated, Freed will have 3 turns in a row, which can be used to move, attack and support the rest of the crew.
Here’s a look at some of the newly introduced boss monsters:
Astron uses its mighty forearms to crush all enemies. It can also use a roar to call out reinforcement, so players will definitely want to finish the battle before it gets too hectic. Its powerful stomps will also be something you might want to look out for.
Haagis has the appearance of something we might see in a monster movie. It flies above the party and uses its long tentacles to attack anything below. It will also pounce on players from the air.
Sega’s Shining Ark will set sail on February 28th, 2013 for the PSP.