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Follow the dark path or use the light

Battle Mechanics Guide

by VertigOne

                     X E N O S A G A   E P I S O D E   I I
               J E N S E I T S   V O N   G U T   U N D   B O S E
                  B A T T L E   M E C H A N I C S   G U I D E

      Game: Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose
  Platform: PlayStation 2
    Region: North American Release (NTSC)
Guide Type: Battle Mechanics Guide
Written by: Darrin Ackerman (VertigOne) <onevertigo1(at)yahoo(dot)com>
   Version: v1.02 - March 17, 2005

This document was written with the font Courier New, Size 10, 79 characters per
line. Best viewed with Courier New, Size 10. Notepad, WordPad, Word, UltraEdit
and any text editor/viewer work great for viewing.

MINOR SPOILER WARNING: There are some extremely minor spoilers in this guide,
however, they are spoilers nonetheless, so I felt it necessary to warn you. I
talk about some Skills you can learn, as well as give some detailed information
about characters and E.S. Robots. That's the total extent of the spoilers.
You have been warned!

==> i.  L E G A L   I N F O R M A T I O N                                 SLI01

First and foremost let's get the legal stuff out of the way.

This document is a copyrighted work and is intended solely for PERSONAL USE.
You may print a copy for yourself and you may give copies to your family and
friends so long as you do NOT change a single thing.



==> ii.  D I S T R I B U T I O N   A N D   H O S T I N G                 SDAH01

Distribution and hosting of this document is limited to the following websites.
Developers and/or publishers of the game are most welcome to host this guide
and need no permission from me to do so. No other sources are allowed!

-> (and its affiliates)

If you would like to host this FAQ on your website, drop me an e-mail at the
address listed above, and we'll see what we can do. You MAY NOT host this guide
without being listed in this section or my written permission!

-[ Hosting Rules ]-
1.  The guide must be displayed in plain-text format. However, it can be
    wrapped in a frame, table, or whatever. This is primarily to keep the
    proper formatting of the guide.
2.  The guide must be publicly available for FREE. No charges of any kind may
    be applied for access to this guide! NO EXCEPTIONS!

==> iii.  L A T E S T   U P D A T E S                                     SLU01

Last Updated: March 17, 2005

- Added a Tips & Tricks section.
- Added a section detailing Items, the Item command, and their uses.
- Added a section detailing the Change command and its uses.

- More minor corrections, revisions, etc.

==> iv.  T A B L E   O F   C O N T E N T S                               STOC01

Welcome to the Table of Contents! Here you can see a quick outline of all the
sections in this FAQ. Each section has a Search Code, as does any of its sub-
sections. To use the Search Codes, press CTRL+F and enter the code into the
Find box that pops up. That will then take you right to the section! If CTRL+F
doesn't work for you, use the Edit or Search menu, then Find. You may have a
magnifying glass or binoculars button on your toolbar which works, too.

Sec#   Section Title                                                Search Code
   i   Legal Information                                                  SLI01
  ii   Distribution and Hosting                                          SDAH01
 iii   Latest Updates                                                     SLU01
  iv   Table of Contents                                                 STOC01
   I   Introduction                                                        SI01
  II   Battle Mechanics                                                   SBM01
         a. Changes From Episode I                                       SBM01A
         b. Screen Layout                                                SBM01B
         c. Command Menu                                                 SBM01C
         d. Action Sequence                                              SBM01D
         e. Event Slot                                                   SBM01E
         f. Information Window Details                                   SBM01F
         g. Basic Attacks                                                SBM01G
         h. Zones                                                        SBM01H
         i. Movement                                                     SBM01I
         j. Weaknesses                                                   SBM01J
         k. Stock                                                        SBM01K
         l. Boost                                                        SBM01L
         m. Air & Down                                                   SBM01M
         n. Elemental Chains                                             SBM01N
         o. Double Attacks                                               SBM01O
         p. Special Attacks                                              SBM01P
         q. Ether                                                        SBM01Q
         r. Ether Combos                                                 SBM01R
         s. Status Effects                                               SBM01S
         t. Escape!                                                      SBM01T
         u. Change                                                       SBM01U
         v. Items                                                        SBM01V
         w. Tips & Tricks                                                SBM01W
 III   E-Mail and Submissions                                            SEMS01
  IV   Version History                                                    SVH01
   V   Credits and Special Thanks                                        SCST01

==> I.  I N T R O D U C T I O N                                            SI01

Welcome to my Xenosaga Episode II Battle Mechanics Guide! This guide was
written with the sole intention to bring you all sorts of knowledge about the
battle system within Xenosaga Episode II (XS2).

Since the battle system in XS2 is fairly new compared to that of XS1, there's
much to be learned about it. The new system is far more complex and has much
more depth than the previous iteration in Episode I. With that in mind, there's
also a pretty decent learning curve with the new system.

I've written this guide because of all the issues people seem to be having with
the new system. While it's not overly complex, there's several elements that
you absolutely must grasp in order to fully understand to make proper use of
the new battle system. Since many of the elements present in the new battle
system are totally different (or were simply non-existent) from Episode I, I
felt a Battle Guide would be very helpful -- to those new to the series and to
those simply having a hard time with the new system.

This is my attempt at explaining the battle system in a complete and
comprehensive manner. Some things I am not entirely sure of myself, however, in
those cases I've made note of that. If anything you see here is incorrect,
misleading or otherwise out of context, please do let me know so I can make the
necessary changes!

==> II.  B A T T L E   M E C H A N I C S                                  SBM01

Battles are a major part of XS2, as with many RPGs. You'll be doing battle
throughout the game, so obviously you're going to need a good understanding of
the battle system.

I've covered (or attempted to, at least) every aspect of the battle system and
the mechanics of it in this section. Everything from screen layout, to in depth
analysis of every aspect of battle.

You may want to have the manual handy as you read this. I can't show you
screenshots to help you visualize what I'm talking about -- but the manual
already has some fairly good shots for you to examine. Some of what's here is
from the manual, in part or whole, but I've gone a step further to help clarify
things I thought were vague, or just to simply add more information.

Anyway, let's get on with it.

--> II-a.  Changes From Episode I                                        SBM01A

While the battle system is fairly similar to the Episode I battle system, there
are many changes and new additions. This section simply lists what relevant
changes there are from Episode I to Episode II.

-[ AP ]-
AP is no longer, it's gone. Instead, each character can perform two normal
attacks (or one single attack) each turn. However, there is a new feature
called "Stock" which allows you to stock up attacks so you can execute up to 5
attacks in one turn. More on Stock, later.

-[ Techs ]-
Techs can no longer be upgraded or chosen. Each character has a set of Techs,
and that's all they get. Techs are called "single attacks" throughout this

-[ Positions ]-
Characters and enemies have slightly different positioning now. You have more
freedom to where you can move on the battlefield. You (or an enemy) may have
your back to another character or enemy (which could end up very bad or very
good depending on who's back is facing whom).

-[ Scope ]-
There is no more Scope accessory or skill. You always see the enemy name and HP
info now.

-[ Boosts ]-
Boosts are now shared between your entire party. There is only one Boost Gauge
for your party, and so long as you have at least one Boost, anybody can take
it. This also means that you'll generally get more Boosts and be using them
more often. They still work the same as in Episode I. The character must NOT be
in the Group Turn Window and nobody else can be Boosted.

Also, enemies now have an onscreen Boost Gauge you can see (below the GTW). Now
you can always tell how many Boosts an enemy has. These are also shared between
all enemies on the screen.

NOTE: The Boost Gauge maxes out at 3, however there are items you can use to
increase it all the way up to 5.

-[ Status Effects ]-
Statuses are still here, however they come in two flavors now. L or "low" for
weaker statuses, and "H" for "high" or stronger statuses. This also means that
there are now two types of ethers and items for removing statuses. More on
Statuses later.

-[ A.G.W.S. ]-
The A.G.W.S. are also no more, having been replaced by E.S. Robots. These newer
robots are much larger and piloted by 2 people (pilot and copilot). You cannot
bring them in to a normal battle anymore. Rather, there are certain dungeons
(and other points) throughout the game where you use them.

-[ Event Slot ]-
The Event Slot is back, but this time is slightly different from Episode I. It
has the same three from Episode I (Crit up, boost up, points up) as well as 3
new slots: Ether damage up, turn cancel and reverse. More info on these later.

--> II-b.  Screen Layout                                                 SBM01B

The battle screen (the screen you see when in battle) is split up into eight
different sections. It's very similar to the Episode I battle screen, with some
minor changes. I've made up a quick and dirty diagram of the battle screen,
though the manual has some nice screen shots which will make things easier for
you to see (page 11). If you don't have the manual, my horrible drawings will
have to be enough! Also, for reference, everything covered here is also covered
a bit in the manual on pages 11-16.

-[ Character Status Window ]-
 -------  HP       xx/xx    -------  HP       xx/xx    -------  HP       xx/xx
| Char  | [============]   | Char  | [============]   | Char  | [============]
|       | EP       xx/xx   |       | EP       xx/xx   |       | EP       xx/xx
| Pic 1 | [============]   | Pic 2 | [============]   | Pic 3 | [============]
 -------  ST ---/---/---    -------  ST ---/---/---    -------  ST ---/---/---

-[ Information Window ]-
-[ Status Info Window ]-

-[ Main Battlefield Area ]-
All enemies and players shown here.

-[ Target Cursor ]-
Displayed above head of currently selected target.

-[ Attack Command Info ]-                              -[ Target Data Window ]-
Buttons  Attack Type                                   Lists Name, HP, Statuses
 SS      SS attack                                     and Zone.
 ST      ST attack
 TS      TS attack                                     [=======Player BG======]
 TT      TT attack                [Boosted]    [Event] [ Group Turn Window    ]
  O      O attack                 [Person ]    [Slot ] [ (Action Sequence)    ]
  X      Menu                     [Display]            [=======Enemy BG=======]

-[ Character Status Window ]-
Along the very top of the screen is the Character Status Window (CSW -- also
known as "status window" or "status bar"). This window lists character
information for each of your characters (or E.S.) that are in battle.
Information such as HP/EP and Stock is listed.

-[ Target Cursor ]-
The Target Cursor is the little arrow facing down above the currently selected
target. This points at who the actions will effect. This also lists which
direction the character or enemy is facing (Front or Back).

If you attack an enemy with their Back to you, your hit rate rises to 100%
(meaning you'll never miss) and the critical rate goes up by 50%. This also
effects enemies if YOUR back is to them, so watch out!

-[ Command Buttons and Attack Information ]-
On the bottom left of the screen is the Command Buttons and the Attack
Information for each of those buttons. This window lists which buttons you must
press for an attack and what kind of attack it is. Pressing X brings up (or
cancels out of) the Command Menu.

-[ Command Menu ]-
Pressing X brings up (or cancels out of) the Command Menu. Here you may perform
several actions including: Stock, use an Item, use Ether, Move around the
battlefield, Change a character out for one in Reserve and Escape.

-[ Target Data Window ]-
On the bottom right of the screen, the very top part of it is the Target Data
window. This displays some information about the currently targeted character
or enemy. Information listed includes: HP remaining, SC (status condition -- L,
H or S [enhanced status] as well as Zone information.

The Zone is only listed when you discover the right combination for the enemies
weak zone. More on Zones later.

-[ Boost Gauges and Action Sequence ]-
Just below the Target Data is the Player Boost Gauge (PBG). The PBG is for your
entire party, meaning as long as there's 1 Boost available, anyone in your
party may use it.

Below the PBG is the Action Sequence Window (ASW). The ASW lists the characters
and enemies turn order. Enemies appear as icons either: M for mechanical, B for
biological or G for Gnosis. The left-most character or enemy gets the next
turn, while the one after goes next, and so on.

Below the ASW is the Enemy Boost Gauge (EBG). This shows you how many Boosts
the enemies have. Just like the PBG, all the enemies share one gauge.

NOTE: The Action Sequence Window (ASW) is also referred to as the "group turn
window (GTW)" or simply "turn window" throughout this guide.

-[ Information Window ]-
Displayed during battle, when you hit a target or are attacked. While in the
command menu, the Status Window is displayed, if any statuses are on that

The Information Window displays information about the attacks that are being
performed. Zone information, evasion, guarding, elemental chains and any other
attack-specific information is displayed here.

-[ Status Effects ]-
Just below the CSW is the Status Effects window. This window is only displayed
when you enter the Command Menu, and lists any Status Effects the character may
have on them. This window does not show up if the character has no status

-[ Event Slot ]-
This shows the current icon for the current event slot. There are a total of 7
possible slots. For more information, see the Event Slot section below.

-[ Boost Person Display ]-
If anyone (player or enemy) has boosted, it will show the icon of the boosted
person here. For enemies, it only shows the enemy type (B/G/M). Normal boosts
are yellow, while counter and combo boosts are displayed in red.

--> II-c.  Command Menu                                                  SBM01C

You can access the Command Menu by pressing X when your turn comes up. The
Command Menu lets you perform several actions beyond the normal attacks.

Here's a list of the following choices you have and what they do:

  Stock -- Build up one Stock. When operating an E.S., this builds up 100 EC.
           Defense is also improved while Stocking.

  Ether -- Use an Ether skill that you have learned. If you're operating an
           E.S., the E.S. Zebulun is the only E.S. that can use Ethers,
           otherwise this is unavailable.

 Double -- Perform an acquired Double Attack. Certain conditions must be met to
           execute these attacks (more on that later). Not available while
           piloting an E.S.

   Move -- Change the characters position on the battlefield. You can sometimes
           move behind enemies to gain a tactical advantage.

 Change -- change out the current party member for a party member in the

 Escape -- Flee the battle. Some battles cannot be escaped from. Only Shion,
           MOMO and the E.S. Zebulun can perform this action.

Special -- Perform a unique attack (KOS-MOS only). Stock is required. When
           piloting an E.S., performs a special attack of your choosing,
           provided you have enough EC.

--> II-d.  Action Sequence                                               SBM01D

Battles take place in a turn-based system, in which faster characters move
first and more often, as determined by their Agility (AGL). The AS Window is in
the lower-right corner of the screen and goes from left to right. Characters or
enemies listed on the left go first.

Characters have their portraits in the AS window, while enemies have icons
representing what type of enemy they are. The icons are:

M -- mechanical
B -- biological
G -- Gnosis

The icon that is slightly raised is the currently targeted character or enemy.
If no icon is raised, that character or enemy simply isn't listed on the AS

NOTE: The Action Sequence Window is also called the "group turn window" or
simply "turn window" throughout this guide.

--> II-e.  Event Slot                                                    SBM01E

Just left of the Action Sequence window is the Event Slot. This "slot" changes
each turn and provides a random effect during that turn. Generally, the effects
are beneficial to you, unless it happens on the enemy turn, but even then
sometimes they are beneficial.

The Event Slot has the following icons:

-[ Normal Slots ]-
Red. Plus sign with the letters "CTC" below it -- this is critical rate up,
which gives you (or the enemy) a better chance of landing a critical blow.

Purple. Three arrows pointing right with the letters "BST" below it -- Boost
Gauge Up. Attack while this icon is displayed and your BG will fill quicker.

Green. Fist with the letters "SKL" below it -- this is skill points up. Kill an
enemy with this icon displayed and you'll get bonus skill points for killing
that enemy (ONLY the enemy(ies) you killed while the icon was displayed!). You
can get random values from x2, x4 and x10.

-[ Random Slots ]-
Yellow. Sphere surrounded by two crescents with the letters "ETR" below it --
ether up. Ether damage and recovery increased by 50%.

Gray. A hollow rectangle with a solid rectangle behind with the letters "T-C"
below it -- target will lose its turn if hit by an attack.

Red (or pink). Curved arrow with the letters "RV" below it. Boost Gauge of
target increases if attacked.

Gray. Empty icon with the letters "NON" below it -- none. Nothing special

The order of the Event Slot is always the same. It goes in the following order:

CTC -> BST -> SKL -> (random)

NOTE: (random) can be any of the above listed Random Slots.

Paying attention to the AS window and properly using your Boosts will allow you
to manipulate the Event Slot for your benefit. The slot is fairly easy to
memorize and you should most certainly try to, so that you may get the most
benefit from it. The best effect, by far, is the SKL slot. Extra S.Pts are

--> II-f.  Information Window Details                                    SBM01F

For lack of a better term, I'm calling this the Info Window. This "window" is
displayed on the top-left of the screen, just below the left-most character
info portrait. This window lists information about hits, breaks, zones,
critical hits and such.

The following information explains what is displayed and the meanings.

-[ Zone <letters> ]-
Example: Zone B C B B
This tells you which zone you are hitting. Zones listed in Red are weak zones
and if you get the combination right, you'll "Break" the enemy.

-[ AC <element> x <number> ]-
Example: AC Thunder x 02
Attribute Chain. This indicates what element you're chaining and how many times
you hit. Each time you deal a consecutive hit with the same element, you start
a chain. The more hits you do with that element, the more damage they do as the
chain gets higher. I'm not sure of the exact formula, but from my own
observations, the formula appears to be: "chain# * 1%" -- so a chain of 10
would be doing 10% more damage than normal.

-[ Air ]-
Means the enemy is in the "Air" state. Everyone except Ziggy/chaos can hit
enemies in the Air state. Some enemy attacks will cause Air on your characters.
While in this state, 1.5x damage is dealt.

-[ Air Block ]-
The enemy is blocking attacks with the Air attribute. These attacks will still
do damage, but they will not launch the enemy into the Air.

-[ Down ]-
Means the enemy (or character) is in the "Down" state. Everyone can hit enemies
in the Down state. Some enemy attacks will cause Down on your characters. While
in this state, 1.5x damage is dealt.

-[ Back Hit ]-
Target was hit from behind. Back Hits can deal as much as 1.5x the normal
damage, and the critical rate rises by 50%, meaning you have a 50% greater
chance to get a critical if you hit something in the back. The same applies for
enemies. Back Hits cannot be evaded.

-[ Break ]-
While this is displayed, the currently targeted enemy is in a "Break" state
and any damage they take will be 1.5x the normal damage.

-[ Break Block ]-
The attempt to break the enemy was blocked. This means even if you hit the weak
zone, the enemy will not go into a Break state.

-[ Break Bonus ]-
This indicates a bonus given to the character that just broke the enemy's zone.
The bonus is +1 to their Stock.

-[ Critical ]-
A critical hit has been dealt, which is 1.5x damage.

-[ Hi-Critical ]-
A hi-critical hit has been dealt, which is 2x damage.

-[ Guard ]-
Whoever was hit Guarded against the attack and took only half damage from it.
Unlike Episode I you can't invoke a Guard state, it happens randomly based on
your defense. However, when you Stock, your defense gets raised slightly, so
you have a better chance of Guarding after a Stock.

-[ Evasion ]-
Whoever was attacked, dodged the attack. No damage taken.

-[ Intercept ]-
Only during E.S. Battles. This indicates that the attack was intercepted and
returned against the attacker. Happens randomly depending on the IA of whatever
is being attacked. Higher IA means it's more likely to Intercept an attack.
Healing can be intercepted and will be applied to the interceptor.

-[ Turn Cancel ]-
The character or enemy that was just attacked lost their next turn.

--> II-g.  Basic Attacks                                                SBM01G

Basic Attacks are performed with the Square (S) and Triangle (T) buttons. Each
character has different attacks for the S and T buttons, while some characters
do not have any basic attacks at all.

During battle, a character can use a combination of S and T to perform an
attack, or optionally perform a single attack (tech) with the Circle (O)
button. Two S/T attacks or one O attack can be performed in a turn.

While piloting an E.S., S is short-range attack while T is a long-range attack.
Special Attacks can be executed from the Special option in the Command Menu.

Characters can perform up to 5 attacks in one turn using the Stock feature.
First the character must use the Stock option from the command menu. Then, on
the next turn, they can perform two O attacks, or an S/T and a O attack (three
attacks total). Players can Stock up to 3, which gives you a final total of 5
attacks. If the character has no S/T attacks, then the maximum they can stock
is four O attacks. E.S. must use Stock to charge their EC, which is what
Special Attacks use. Normal attacks add 25% to the EC bar, while Stock will
increase it by 100%. See the Stock section below for more details on Stocking.

The attacks a character or E.S. may use are listed on the bottom-left of the
screen. Each attack has a series of icons beside it indicated what type of
attack it is, what attributes it has and if it's Air/Down.

The icons are as follows:

   Physical Attack -- purple P in a circle
      Ether Attack -- yellow E in a circle

Short Range Attack -- green running legs
 Long Range Attack -- green wing

     Strike Attack -- purple with gray fist
      Slash Attack -- purple with gray sword
     Pierce Attack -- purple with blue gun

       Fire Attack -- yellow with orange fireball
        Ice Attack -- yellow with blue ice crystals
    Thunder Attack -- yellow with pink lightning bolt
       Aura Attack -- yellow with yellow circle surrounded by two crescents
       Beam Attack -- yellow with a pink beam

        Air Attack -- yellow with green arrow pointing up
       Down Attack -- yellow with purple arrow pointing down

<------[ Basic Attacks - In Depth ]------------------------------------------>

Attacking is the primary feature of battle -- that's what you battle for -- to
attack and defeat your enemies. However, this task has an extremely basic
foundation, which can be expanded upon with other types of attacks. This
section is only going to deal with your standard, non-chained attacks.

Attacks are executed with the Square (S), Triangle (T) and Circle (O) buttons.
S and T attacks are considered "normal attacks" while O attacks are considered
"single" attacks. Normal attacks are executed in pairs, meaning you must do a
two button combination (consisting of S and T) to perform a normal attack.
Single attacks require one button press, and are usually (but not always)
stronger than normal attacks.

Each attack button also corresponds to a hit on an enemies Zone. Zones are new
to Episode 2, and you can basically consider them weak spots. When you hit the
enemies weak zone (each enemy has a different one) you'll knock them into a
"Break" state. Any consecutive hits will deal more damage than usual. For now,
all you need to know is that each button (S/T/O) corresponds to a different
zone. I'll go into more details on Zones later.

Some characters, such as Shion and MOMO have only Single attacks. They have no
normal attacks. This doesn't make them any better or worse than the other
characters, but it does limit which zones they can hit. Again, I'll get into
that more later.

All of your characters have different properties to their attacks. Ziggy, for
example, has Strike and Fire on all of his attacks. MOMO's attacks are Ether
and Pierce. Jr. has just Pierce. You will need to at least memorize what kind
of attacks your characters have, as these attributes (that's what they're
called) will be vital to your battling.

Enemies have different attributes on their attacks, but unfortunately, you
can't see them unless they attack you. The game will tell you the name of the
attack and what its attribute is (displayed in bottom-left corner of screen).

Now, I'm telling you this, not to get off topic, but because it's so on topic.
When you attack an enemy, you want to do the most damage you can. See, the
battles are different now and normal/single attacks aren't going to cut it by
themselves. You need to know what weaknesses the enemy has (to what attributes)
and then use the proper characters and ether to exploit said weaknesses. I'll
get into weaknesses (not the same as Zones) more a bit later.

Finally, your attacks can also be chained together. You can Stock up your turns
and then unleash 4-5 attacks in a row. Combined with boosting other fully
stocked characters, you can unleash 15 or more hits on an enemy before they
even get a turn. This is going to be something you will most definitely need to
get the hang of. Stocking and Boosting play extremely important roles in battle
(more so than in Episode 1). I'll go into detail on both those topics soon.

--> II-h.  Zones                                                         SBM01H

Alright, now, enough of the basic stuff. Zones are actually very simple to
understand and grasp, once you've seen them in action. They are a new feature
to Episode 2, and while adding some depth to the battle, they're not overly
complex or anything. Since it's new, however, there's bound to be some

Zones are different parts of an enemy split into 3 main parts: A, B and C. A
can be considered High, B is Mid while C is low. That is, when you're talking
about the height. Zone C is someones legs/feet basically. Zone A would be their
head while Zone B is their midsection.

Almost every enemy has a weak zone. The weak zone is a combination of two or
more individual zones. When you hit this zone, you will "Break" the enemy.
While the enemy is in the "Break" state, they will take 1.5x damage. Which is
very good. However, the Break state ends after the current turn. You must boost
your characters to continue taking advantage of the Break state.

I told you earlier that each of your attack buttons (S/T/O) correspond to a
certain zone, and they do. You have to chain together S,T and sometimes O
attacks in order to exploit an enemy's weak zone. But before I go too far, let
me give you a quick look at what buttons are which zones:

Button     Zone
------     ----
   O       A, B or C (B more than A or C, depending on enemy)
   S       B
   T       C

Now, when you press any combination of buttons, they will attack the zones of
an enemy. For example, if you press S then T, you're performing an attack
against the "BC" zone. If the enemy is weak against this zone, you'll break
them. If you've Stocked and have multiple attacks available, you can press
something like: TTOOO and that will be against the CCBBB zone. Generally,
however, enemies are weak against two or three zones. Some bosses are weak
against more, so you'll have to work harder to break them.

As I said, enemies are generally only weak to 2 or 3 zones. This makes your job
easier because every normal enemy can be broke with just one of your
characters. Some 3 zone and all 4 zone enemies will need the use of two
characters to break the zone.

Some zones may require two characters to break it. For example, if an enemy has
a BCBC zone, there's no way one character can break it. So in order to break
this zone, you would have to start with BC (attack buttons S then T) and then
boost another character to finish with the final BC blow. After that, in order
to continue to take advantage of the Break state, you must continue boosting

I'll get into Boosts in more detail later, but there's one point I need to
make. A turn is considered over when nobody boosts. If you boost your
characters, it's all considered the same turn (even though it's really not).
For all intents and purposes, when I talk about something happening when the
turn ends, that means the turn ended, provided you didn't boost any of your
characters. If you have boosted, the turn ends when the character finishes
their turn. It may be confusing, and when I think about it, it is... but it's
the games fault -- not mine. They describe it the same way I do, and for
whatever reason, I don't know.

Once again, once you've hit an enemy's weak zone and they are in the Break
state (you'll see the word Break in the top-left corner). You must boost your
characters to take advantage of this. If you do not, and the turn ends, even if
one of your characters has the very next turn, the enemy will no longer be in a
Break state, and you'll have to hit their weak zone all over again.

Since every enemy has different zones, you will want to learn the Memory (1C)
skill as soon as possible. Characters with this skill always remember the
enemy's weak zones, so you don't have to waste time guessing and messing with
attacks -- that is, once you've already figured out what the weak zone is. The
weak zone is displayed in the Target Data Window on the bottom right of the
screen (just above the turn window).

Just remember, not every enemy has a weak zone. Some do not. The easiest way to
tell is to look at the enemy info window. If the enemy has a weak zone, it'll
either display the letters of the zone (provided you figured it out already) or
it'll display a question mark "?" -- which means you haven't figured out the
weak zone. If it says "Zone" with a blank, that means the enemy has no weak
zone, so you can use whatever attacks you want.

Finally, as you attack an enemy with the different attack buttons, the zones
you are hitting will be displayed in the top-left corner (just under the left-
most character portrait). Zones listed in Red are zones the enemy is weak
against. White zones are the ones they are not weak against. So if you're
experimenting and you hit BB, and it's displayed as Red B, White B -- you know
the zone starts with B, since the first B was displayed in Red. Now, on your
next turn, you try a different combination (BC) and they're both displayed in
red. Provided the enemies weak zone is just "BC" you'll then Break them!

Now, you may not totally understand all of this just yet, and that's okay. The
only way you can really learn the battle system is to experiment. You should
have a good understanding of zones now, and with that, you'll be able to
exploit them in battle!

--> II-i.  Movement

Before we get too in depth, I need to tell you about the Move command and what
role movement can play in battles. Unlike Episode I, you have more freedom in
movement than just front/rear of your line. You can actually get behind an
enemy -- but they can get behind you, too!

Moving is simple. You just open up the Command Menu, then select Move. A target
cursor will appear and you can use your stick or d-pad to move it around the
field. Select the position you want to move to, then hit O to confirm. The
character will move there and then their turn ends.

Unlike you, enemies cannot move. Wherever they start battle is where they'll
remain until they die. Keep that in mind.

The benefits to moving around the battlefield can be great. Normally, face to
face battles don't require moving, and usually don't let you move. Pincer
attacks (surrounded from both sides) are also fairly common, and either you or
the enemy can be in the center. Instances like that are when you want to jockey
for position.

Moving gives you two real benefits: moving behind an enemy so you may hit them
in the back and moving one of your characters so their back isn't to an enemy.

Hitting something in the back (either you or your enemy) gives these benefits:

- Up to 1.5x damage
- Critical rate rises by 50%
- Back hits cannot be evaded

Alright, so what does all that mean? Well, first, to make things easier,
everything I've said so far also applies to enemies. They get the same benefits
you would when they hit your characters in the back. Remember that!

Damage dealt can be up to 1.5x -- that doesn't mean every hit will be 1.5x
damage, but it could do that much.

Critical rate rises by 50% -- this means there is a 50% greater chance of a
critical hit being dealt on a Back Hit.

Back Hits cannot be evaded. Simple as that. Back hits always succeed. This
should be obvious as the enemy's (or your) back is facing the attack, which
cannot be seen. You can't dodge what you can't see!

Often times you will not be able to move around the field unless you kill an
enemy or two. Moving isn't always necessary so this isn't usually an issue. If
you find yourself wanting to move, but cannot, kill an enemy or two and try
again. Some battles do not allow the freedom of movement, so you'll be stuck
where you are, regardless of how many enemies you kill.

Moving can be very helpful in getting a tactical advantage in battle, but I
find it's not needed very often. You may think differently, however, and that's
fine -- play how you like! Just remember, you use up a turn just to move! Also,
if anything, you should try to move characters with their backs to enemies.
Sometimes this can't be avoided, so instead have them attack the stronger enemy
so they face that one. Then their back will be to a weak(er) enemy, which will
hopefully deal less damage.

--> II-j.  Weaknesses                                                    SBM01J

Almost all enemies have weaknesses. These are the types of attacks that they
are weak against. These attacks will do more damage, obviously, than attacks
that they aren't weak against.

Weaknesses (not zones) are combinations of physical and ether attacks, as well
as attributes such as Fire, Ice or Thunder. Most enemies have multiple
weaknesses, and the more of these you exploit, the more damage you'll do. The
easiest way to find out what an enemy is weak against, is to use the Analyze
(1C) ether to scan them. A window will pop up with some information about that
enemy, which includes what they are weak against.

Enemies can be weak against certain attacks (physical or ether), certain
attributes (pierce, slash, fire, etc.) or a combination of both. When you scan
an enemy with Analyze, you'll see what they're weak against.

First, a quick diagram of the Analyze window:

                    |    HP  9999/9999               |
                    | W.ATK  Physical/Ether          |
                    | W.ATR  Au/Bm/Fi/Ic/Pc/Sl/St/Th |
                    |   EXP  999                     |
                    |  S.Pt  99                      |
                    |  C.Pt  99                      |
                    |  Rare  SomeRareItem            |
                    |  Item  SomeNormalItem          |

Here's the information on "W.ATK" (attack type) and "W.ATR" (attribute type):

Attack Types:
Physical -- means physical attacks. Most of your characters have these types of
            attacks. Jr., Jin, KOS-MOS and Ziggy all have physical attacks.
   Ether -- means Ether based attacks. This isn't the same as Ether spells.
            Basically, some attacks are imbued with the Ether "spirit."
            Shion, MOMO and chaos have Ether-based attacks.

Attribute Types:

   Aura -- Listed as "Au"
   Beam -- Listed as "Bm"
   Fire -- Listed as "Fi"
    Ice -- Listed as "Ic"
Thunder -- Listed as "Th"

 Pierce -- Listed as "Pc"
  Slash -- Listed as "Sl"
 Strike -- Listed as "St"

When you've scanned an enemy with Analyze, let's say for example that under
their weaknesses, you saw: Physical, Fire and Pierce. This means the enemy is
weak against those three things. Physical being the attack type, while Fire and
Pierece are the attributes. So if you use MOMO or Jr. (both have Pierce type
attacks) you would be exploiting the Pierce weakness of the enemy.

With the above in mind, let's say you use Ziggy to attack. His attacks are
Physical and Fire, so you'd be exploiting two of the enemies weaknesses and
dealing even more damage than you would if you used MOMO to attack. Since Jr.
has Physical and Pierce type attacks, you'd also be exploiting two of the
enemy's weaknesses.

There are also Sword ethers which you can learn. When you cast one of these
ethers on a character, they will gain an attribute on their attacks. They are:
Flame Sword (fire), Ice Sword (ice), Thunder Sword (thunder) and Aura Sword
(aura). The only characters that can use the Sword ethers are characters that
don't already have one of these attributes on their attacks. Basically, Shion,
chaos and Ziggy have no use for these as they already have one of these
attributes on their attacks. chaos has Aura, Shion has Beam and Thunder and
Ziggy has fire. Even if you cast a Sword ether on one of them, it wouldn't

Now, keeping with the above example, let's say we're using Jr. to attack. We
already know he has Physical and Pierce on his attacks, so he's exploiting two
of the enemy's weaknesses. You can still exploit more! Cast Flame Sword on Jr.
and now he also has the Fire attribute on his attacks. His attacks will now
deal Physical, Pierce and Fire damage. When he hits this enemy now, he's
exploiting three of the enemy's weaknesses and he'll be doing much more damage!

Once again, you must learn what attacks your characters have. When you have
this information memorized, and you know what weaknesses an enemy has, you will
know which characters and/or Sword ethers to use to get the maximum damage out
of all of your attacks. I simply cannot stress enough how important it is for
you to exploit enemy weaknesses. It is one of the more vital parts to battle,
and if you aren't exploiting weaknesses, you're going to dread battles.

Weaknesses aren't different from Episode 1, or any other RPG. They are,
however, much more important in this game than either Episode 1 or most other
RPGs. The battle system is designed as such so that you really do need to take
advantage of weaknesses in order to do well. For the most part, you can
generally get away with not exploiting them, but this has its limits. Battles
will also take substantially longer to finish if you're not exploiting

Again -- last time -- learn to exploit enemy weaknesses. This means you must
learn your characters attack types, and learn what enemies are weak against
what. I know this may sound repetitive (I've said it, what, 3 times now?) but
you seriously cannot ignore weaknesses. You'll be sorry if you do!

--> II-k. Stock                                                          SBM01K

A new feature to Episode 2 is the ability to Stock. To Stock is to simply save
your current turn (hence, stock up) and use it later. You can Stock up to 3
times, and with that, you'll be able to launch 4-5 attacks in one turn. This is
extremely handy, because most times you can break an enemy's zone with your
first two attacks, then your remaining two or three will be dealing 1.5x damage
(because of the Break).

Stock is something you're going to need to do quite often in order to do well
in battle. The way the battle system is designed is that you need to exploit
weaknesses and break zones. Since there's a lot you need to do, you need
multiple attacks to be able to do it. The normal and single attacks aren't
going to cut it, you need more.

If you want to Stock, you hit X to open up the Command Menu, then select Stock.
Your character will Stock (basically, save this turn to be used later) and your
turn ends. While Stocking, your character's defense will be raised a bit, so
it's sort of like using Guard (from Episode 1) to save up AP. Same basic

While Stocking is basically "save this turn to be used later" -- to be more
precise, it's more like "save this turn to be used as an attack later." By
stocking you won't get more turns, but instead, you'll be able to unleash more
attacks in one turn. Without stocking, you can either use a normal (S/T button
combination attack) or single (O button attack) and then your turn ends. If
you've Stocked before this turn, you'll be able to use a normal AND single
attack, or two single attacks. With a maximum of 3 Stock, you can unleash up to
5 attacks in one turn (normal attacks are considered two attacks).

There are two other ways you can get more Stock. There's an Ether you can use
called "Stock 1" which adds 1 Stock to whoever it was cast on. The other method
you don't have to do anything for. Sometimes, when you break an enemies zone,
you'll see "Break Bonus" displayed. A Break Bonus gives you +1 Stock. It's
completely random to get a Break Bonus. You may have already noticed this in
battle. There are also two skills you can learn: "Break B10" and "Break B15."
These skills will increase your chances of getting a free stock from a Break
Bonus. Plus, if you learn them both, you get a +25% chance to get a free stock!

If you've played Episode 1 and you are familiar with the Guard command (it gave
you +2 AP), Stock is very similar to that. Instead of attacks using AP, they
use Stock instead. You can even envision it like AP. Just think that each
character always has 1 Stock per turn (but you can't see it, it's just there).
This would be akin to the 4 AP in Episode 1 that you had per turn. While
Guarding in Episode 1 would allow you to get 3 attacks at a maximum, Stock goes
a step further and allows you to get up to 5 per turn!

Once again, to put it simply, Stocking is just saving your turn to be used
later. This action is also very vital to battles. Enemies are stronger and
faster in this game, and they will generally get more turns than you. So, if
you can unleash 5 attacks in one turn, it's better. Just plain better. Now you
also may be thinking, "but I'm wasting turns stocking!!" While this is true to
some extent, you really aren't. Play a battle using just normal/single attacks,
with no Stocking. It will take forever. Then, play a battle where all your
characters Stock to 3. You'll see that while it took a few extra turns to Stock
up, you were able to defeat the enemy much faster.

Stocking, combined with zone breaks, weaknesses and Boosting is the real method
for defeating enemies. The idea is, stock to 3. Exploit weaknesses (which means
you may need to cast a Sword ether). Attack with everything, which will break
the enemies zone. Then boost your remaining characters to take advantage of the
zone break AND unleash their 4-5 attacks. With that style of attacking (it's
basically a chained combo attack), you will deal immense amounts of damage to
an enemy and dispatch them quickly.

--> II-l.  Boost                                                         SBM01L

Boosting is the act of cutting in line and, basically, stealing the next turn.
There are many uses to Boost, and it has many advantages for you (and the
baddies alike!). Understanding what Boost is, how to use it and when to use it
is extremely important. Earlier I said the real method to battles is: Stock,
Zone Break, Weaknesses and Boosting. This is so true. You may not believe me at
first, but trust me on this one, it's the way of the day.

Everyone has a shared Boost Gauge (BG). This gauge is displayed at the top of
the turn window (for you) and below the turn window (for the enemy). Your party
shares the BG, as do all enemies on the field. This means that as long as you
have 1 Boost, anyone in your party may use it. If the enemy has at least 1
Boost, any enemy on the field may use it.

You get more Boosts by attacking. The more you attack, the more Boosts you get.
Normally there is a maximum of 3 Boosts, however with items, you can get as
many as 5. Furthermore, if you attack the enemy while the BST slot is displayed
on the Event Slot, you'll get even more Boost for your attack. Each time the BG
fills, you get 1 Boost. The number to the right of the BG is the amount of
Boosts you have available.

Remember, Boosting is simply the act of cutting in line and stealing the next
turn. This is extremely handy, in more ways than one. You can chain together
several attacks when you Boost your characters. Also, let's say you're about to
die... have someone Boost and then you can heal before the enemy gets their
next turn to smack ya more.

There are 3 basic forms of Boost: The standard Boost which you must activate to
use; the Counter Boost, which is only activated when you get attacked, and the
Combo Boost. Combo Boosting is the act of boosting the character with the
current turn. Basically, it let's you get two turns in a row.

In order to Boost, you must have a BG of 1 or more. The character you wish to
Boost must also NOT be displayed on the turn window (you can only cut in line
if you're not already on line, basically). Finally, nobody (player or enemy)
may already be boosted. Then you simply press and hold L1 or R1. A small window
will pop up next to the turn window with portraits of your characters. Whoever
is displayed here can be boosted. The colors of the boxes correspond to the
colors of the buttons you need to press (Square, Triangle or Circle). Also, you
can simply tell by their location. The left-most box is the Square button
(which is also the left-most character displayed up top). The middle box is the
Triangle button, while the right most box is the Circle button. Simply press
one of the Square/Triangle/Circle buttons and that character will be Boosted.
Then, they will get the next turn.

Any boosts are displayed to the left of the turn window. For your characters,
you'll see their portrait. For enemies, you'll see a gray box with either B, G
or M (denoting their type). The word "Boost" displayed above the portrait lets
you know what type of boost it is. Yellow is for normal boosts, while red is
for Counter and Combo boosts.

Counter Boosts can be done over normal boosts, and take priority. This means
regardless of whoever boosted, if someone else counter boosts, the counter
boost takes priority and will get the next turn.

As I said, Combo Boosting basically let's you get two turns in a row. This
means your current character (the one who has the turn right now) can actually
boost themselves (normally this isn't possible). They'll get two turns (after
the initial turn used to Boost). You need not worry about this much, because
you won't be able to use Combo Boost until the end of the game. However, the
enemy will be able to (and they will use it) early and often. So if you're
wondering how the hell they're getting so many turns and boosting themselves,
well, they're Combo Boosting -- not cheating. Though I guess you could consider
it cheating, because you can't friggen do it until after the game is over!
Cheap, I know.

There is also an Ether you can use, called "Boost 1." This ether increases your
BG by 1 every time you cast it. This ether is extremely handy, because while
you're busy stocking or whatever, you can still increase your BG. This is also
extremely handy if you want to chain a bunch of attacks together. Stock to 3,
cast Boost 1 a few times, then unleash your attacks and boosts and totally
cream the hell out of the baddies. Though, for some, you'll have to do that
quite a few times!

Just remember, Boosting is simply the act of cutting in line and stealing the
next turn. So many people seem to either not understand completely or totally
misunderstand the concept behind Boosting. It's extremely simple, and now you
should have a good idea of what it's about.

--> II-m.  Air & Down                                                    SBM01M

Air and Down are both weaknesses, however to fully exploit them, you had to
understand Stock and Boost. That is why I've separated them and we're going to
talk about them now!

Air and Down are things you can do to an enemy. To Air an enemy is to throw
them up into the air. To Down an enemy is to knock them to the ground. While
the enemy is in an Air/Down state, they will take 1.5x damage.

Only certain characters can perform Air/Down attacks. KOS-MOS and Jin can do
Air attacks, while Ziggy and chaos can do Down attacks. Also, chaos and Ziggy
cannot hit Air'd targets, but anyone can hit Down'd targets.

Similar to zone breaks, Air/Down only last for the current turn. Remember, that
is when the turn ends. To have other characters exploit the Air/Down state, you
must Boost them. Also, after Air, the enemy will fall and be in a Down state.

To Air or Down an enemy, you need to use a character who has the ability to Air
or Down. Air/Down attacks are only done with the O button, and more often than
not, you must break the enemy's zone in order to Air/Down them. This means you
generally have to have at least 1 Stock to Air/Down an enemy (so you can do a
normal attack to break the zone, then the O attack to Air/Down them).

Air and Down are also very vital to battle. Combined with zone breaks and other
weaknesses, you'll be dealing tons of damage against enemies that are Air'd or
Down'd. Let's take Ziggy for example. He has 3 stock, and the ability to Down
enemies. He's attacking an enemy that's weak against Fire. He unleashes his
attacks, breaks the enemies zone, then has 3 attacks while the enemy is down.
Chances are, Ziggy just owned the hell out of that enemy. If not, you can boost
another character to take advantage of the Down state and finish owning the
hell out of the enemy.

Not all enemies can be put in the Air/Down states and some bosses cannot be put
in Air/Down states either. You'll have to experiment (or use a FAQ) to tell if
an enemy or boss can be Air or Down.

Just remember that Ziggy and chaos cannot hit targets that are in the air. So
if you're going to use Air, make sure you don't Boost either of them, or just
don't use them in your party. But, everybody can hit Down targets.

--> II-n.  Elemental Chains                                              SBM01N

Elemental Chains are another way to increase the damage you do to an enemy.
When an enemy is weak against a certain element, chaining works even better.
Chains are performed by hitting an enemy consecutively with the same element,
such as Aura, Fire, Ice or Thunder. When you do this, you'll see the following
displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen:

   AC <element> x ##

AC means Attribute Chain, but it's really an elemental chain, because you don't
get this chain (or the bonuses from it) from anything except the four elements.

<element> is the element of the chain; Aura, Fire, Ice or Thunder.

"x ##" is the number of hits you've done with that element, starting at "x 02."
"x 01" is the first hit and isn't displayed. For example, if you started a
chain of Fire and had hit the enemy three times with fire, it'd be displayed

   AC Fire x 03

The more hits you do with fire-based attacks, the higher the chain goes, and
the more damage you do per hit. I'm not sure of the exact formula, but I'm
guessing it's something like chain number times 1%. This seems to be a fair
estimate, as a chain of 10 does around 10% more damage. Again, I'm not sure,
it's just a guess from what I've seen. Feel free to correct me if you have some
proof otherwise.

The chain ends when the turn ends, so you need to boost your characters to keep
making a chain. The chain also ends if you hit with another element. So if
you've started the chain with fire, then someone (like chaos) hits with Aura,
the chain ends and an Aura chain starts. So you must be careful and make sure
everyone has the same element on their attacks to keep the chain going.

You won't really need to chain much through most of the game, however, boss
fights can be made extremely easy when you use elemental chains. Especially in
the post-game, elemental chains will be vital to helping you defeat some of the
extra bosses. However, don't neglect to use it. Even against normal enemies,
elemental chains can be very helpful in dispatching them quickly.

Remember, most of your characters don't already have elements associated with
their attacks, and to get these elements on their attacks, you will need to use
the Sword ethers (Aura, Flame, Ice and Thunder Sword). I strongly recommend you
have everyone learn those ether skills!

--> II-o.  Double Attacks                                                SBM01O

Double Attacks are attacks performed by two characters, simultaneously. I've
left these until now because you needed to know about Boosting and Stocking,
since you need to use both to perform a Double Attack.

All of your characters will get one or more Double Attacks that they can
perform with another character. Most will be learned from GS Campaigns, while
some can be learned from "Awakening" manuals which can be stolen from some

To use a Double Attack, you obviously must first have learned the Double
Attack. One of the characters to perform the attack must have the current turn,
and then you must boost the other character who will perform the attack. You
can then hit X to enter the Command Menu and select Double. The attack will be
performed and both characters turns will end.

Double Attacks also cost Stock to use, so both characters will need a certain
amount of stock to perform the attack. When you enter the Double menu, the
number displayed to the right of the attack is the Stock cost of the attack. If
both characters do not have enough stock, you won't be able to perform the

While Double Attacks can be useful, I've found them to be more of a novelty
than anything. You can usually do a lot more damage if you just used the Stock
for each character, instead of a Double Attack. They do look good, though, and
can be a good way to break up the monotony of battle.

--> II-p.  Special Attacks                                               SBM01P

Special Attacks are, well, special. These attacks are similar to Double
Attacks, however they are only performed by one character or E.S. These attacks
require Stock to perform and generally do much more damage than normal attacks.

KOS-MOS is the only character that has Special Attacks. She starts with three,
but there is a fourth you can learn from doing the GS Campaigns. To use Special
Attacks, you must first Stock. Then select the Command Menu, then Special, and
select the attack you wish to use. Each attack costs a different amount of
Stock and that is displayed to the right of the name of the attack in the
Special menu.

All E.S. Robots have Special Attacks, and by swapping the co-pilots around, you
can get access to different Special Attacks. You must also Stock with your E.S.
in order to use Special Attacks. Each Special Attack consumes a different
amount of EC, which is also displayed next to the attack name in the Special

Instead of actual Stocks, E.S. have EC, which is Energy Charge. Each attack you
perform will increase your EC by 25. Stocking will increase the EC by 100. The
max EC is 200, or 300 with an accessory.

Using a Special Attack while in an E.S. is just the same as it is with KOS-MOS.
Stock up, then enter the Command Menu, select Special, then choose your attack.

Remember that you can get different attacks for your E.S. by changing the co-
pilots. You can see what attacks the E.S. has and which character is needed to
be a co-pilot to perform those attacks from the Status menu.

--> II-q.  Ether                                                         SBM01Q

Ether is much the same as it was in Episode 1. Ether is your "magic" you can
cast. There are tons of ethers you can use, and some you won't be able to live
without. Ethers consist of buffs, debuffs, attacks and healing. The nice thing
is, now everyone can learn every skill, so all of your characters can learn all
the ethers.

To use Ether in battle, you must have already learned some, and have enough EP
to use Ether. Once those requirements are fulfilled, simply hit X to enter the
Command Menu, then select Ether, and then choose an ether to use. At the bottom
of the screen you'll see a brief description of what the Ether does.

Buffs are ethers which give a status effect. Any ether that gives a status,
such as Quick or Flame Sword, etc., can be considered a buff. This also applies
to ethers you use against an enemy, such as Break Sensors. Even though it gives
the enemy a bad status effect (which is really good for you) it's considered a

Debuffs are ethers that remove status effects (the buff, remember?). There
aren't many of these, but one ether can remove many statuses.

Attack Ethers are ethers which will cause damage against an enemy. There are
several of these, ranging from elemental to non-elemental. Any ether which can
cause damage is considered an Attack ether.

Healing. There's lots of these and this should be obvious. Healing spells
either revive your dead characters or heal your living characters HP. You won't
be able to live without these, and I suggest you learn these first. Ethers such
as Medica, Medica 2 and Mecica All are ethers you simply cannot live without
(pun intended).

Ethers will play a vital role in battle as well, so it's suggested you learn
them and get the hang of using them. It's nothing too complex, and if you've
ever played any RPG or otherwise with spells or magic, you'll get the hang of
it really quickly.

--> II-r.  Ether Combos                                                  SBM01R

This relates to Ethers, but because you need to Boost in order to use Ether
Combos, I figured it would be best to discuss it after I had talked about

Ether Combos are two characters combining two ethers to form a new and more
powerful Ether. It's something new to Episode 2, and it can be an extremely
handy feature.

To use an Ether Combo, one character must have the current turn. Then you must
Boost another character (one whom you wish to combine ethers with). After that,
you enter the Ether menu and select the Ether you wish to combine and press the
Triangle button. If the ether can be combined, you'll see a list of the newly
available ethers. Select the one you want to cast and press Circle. Both
characters will cast their own ethers, simultaneously, thus creating a combined
Ether. After that, both characters turns end.

Two restrictions are: they both must have enough EP to cast the single ethers,
and they both must have single ethers that can be combined. Not all ethers can
be combined, however, many can.

Here's a real quick list of what you can combine:

Medica 2 + Medica 2 = Double Medica 2, which casts Medica 2 on the entire
party. Heals much more than Medica All would.

Medica + Medica = Double Medica, which casts Medica on the entire party.
Similar to Medica All.

Analyze + Psycho Pocket = Pocket Rare, which steals Rare items from enemies.
You could use Psycho Pocket alone to do this, but that sometimes fails and
you'd need multiple turns to get the Rare. Pocket Rare always steals the rare
item and doesn't fail. ever.

Now to use these ethers I've listed here, it's really simple. For Double Medica
or Double Medica 2, both characters you use must have Medica or Medica 2. To
use Pocket Rare, one character must know Analyze and the other must know Pocket
Rare. It doesn't matter who knows what, so long as they both know at least one
part of the combination.

There are far more combinations that what I've listed here. This was just a
quick example of what's possible with Ether Combos and gives you more details
about the requirements to performing an Ether Combo.

While Ether Combos are handy, they aren't a major part of battle. That is, you
won't be using them constantly. Though, something like Double Medica 2 is
extremely handy, so I'm sure you'll find yourself using that more often than
not. Pocket Rare comes in handy for stealing Rares from Boss enemies!

--> II-S.  Status Effects                                                SBM01S

Status Effects are nearly the last thing to talk about, because I often find
that they are the least important part of battle -- in any game. While there
are some that are really bad (like H Stop, or H Lost), and some that are very
good (the Sword ethers), most are just minor annoyances that you can ignore. In
fact, almost every L-type status can be safely ignored as they wear off after
five turns. Some of the H-type statuses can also be ignored as they don't
really affect you as much as you would think.

That in mind, statuses are still a part of battle, and you need to know how to
use them, and how to deal with them. Many enemies will put statuses on you and
a trick to quite a few boss battles can be inflicting a status on the boss, to
give you more of an edge.

There are three types of statuses:
- L is a "low" type status, and they're generally very minor and will wear off
  after five turns.
- H is a "High" type status and they are stronger than L types, plus they don't
  wear off until after battle.
- S types are "special" statuses, such as the Sword ethers, Quick, and other
  buff type statuses. S-type statuses can't be removed, but they can be
  countered with other L or H type statuses. S-type statuses will wear off
  after a few turns, depending on the status.

Status Effects are indicated above a character (or enemy's) head. They'll have
either a gray sphere (low) or a red sphere (high) to indicate which type of
status effect they have.

Curing these statuses is fairly easy. L-type statuses can be removed with the
"Antidote L" item, or the "Refresh L" ether. H-type statuses can be removed
with the "Antidote H" item or the "Refresh H" ether.

The Low-level status effects are:

Status         Effect
------         ------
L Slow         Decreased Agility
L Poison       HP decreases (10% of max) each turn
L Blind        Slightly decreased Dexterity & Evasion
L Heavy        Slightly decreased physical attack strength
L Weak         Slightly decreased physical defense strength
L Stun         Immobilized (50% chance to break free when attacked)
L Ether PD     Slightly decreased Ether attack
L Ether DD     Slightly decreased Ether defense
L Poison EP    EP decreases by 5/turn
L Charge Down  EC decreases by 25% (E.S. Robots only)

The High-level status effects are:

Status         Effect
------         ------
H Stop         Immobilized (turn skipped; if everyone has H Stop, game over!)
H Poison       HP decreases by 25% of max each turn
H Blind        Greatly decreases Dexterity and Evasion
H Heavy        Greatly decreased physical attack
H Weak         Greatly decreased physical defense
H Stun         Immobilized (10% chance to break free when attacked)
H Ether PD     Greatly decreased Ether Attack
H Ether DD     Greatly decreased Ether defense
H Poison EP    EP consumption doubled
H Charge Down  EC decreased by 50% (E.S. Robots only)
H Bind         S/T/O buttons unusable
H Lost         Cannot use Ether
H Boost Lock   Cannot Boost
Curse          Inflicted with the same amount of damage dealt to enemies
               (If 100 HP damage dealt, then 100 HP damage received.)

The Special status effects are:

Status         Effect
------         ------
Aura Sword     Adds Aura element to attacks
Flame Sword    Adds Fire element to attacks
Ice Sword      Adds Ice element to attacks
Thunder Sword  Adds Thunder element to attacks
Quick          Increased Agility

--> II-t.  Escape!                                                       SBM01T

Run! Run for your lives!! RUUUNN!!!

Yep. Sometimes, you just gotta know when to get the hell out of dodge! To your
rescue, comes the Escape command!

Escaping from battle can actually be more useful than you'd think. While the
immediate benefit is running away to fight another day (thereby not dying
today), there are also a couple of other reasons why you might want to escape
from a battle.

First, let's talk about how to escape. To do so, you need to have either Shion
or MOMO in your party, as they're they only ones capable of using the Escape
command. I have no idea why -- it's something the developers chose to do.

At any rate, once either of those girls is in your party and has a turn, you
simply open up the Command Menu and select Escape (you have to hit right or
left first to bring up more options). Your people run away, to live and fight
another day!

Some things to note about Escaping:
- Only Shion or MOMO can do it.
- You will gain EXP/S.Pts from any enemies you killed during the battle.
- You will get items any enemies you killed during battle dropped.
- Once you escape from battle, the enemy will be at full strength again: fully
  healed, any enemies you killed revived, and they'll have all their items. It
  would be like you never fought them in the first place.

Now that you know the basics, what are the other uses of Escape? Well, there
are two major ones, and both are related to item farming (repeatedly collecting

First, you can have everyone in your party learn the Prayer ether. When you
cast this ether, you get a free item. So you enter a battle, cast Prayer until
you run out of EP, then Escape and heal up. You can repeat this over and over
without having to wander around to find enemies to battle just to cast Prayer,
since it cannot be casted anywhere but battle!

Second, there are a couple of bosses in the GS Campaign sidequests that can be
escaped from (normally you cannot escape from boss battles). These bosses have
some very nice rare items. So what you do is steal the items, escape, and
repeat over and over.

Well, there you go. Now you know how to use Escape and you know that it can
save more than just your hide! Just remember only Shion or MOMO can escape from
battles -- nobody else can use the command!

--> II-u. Change                                                         SBM01U

The Change command is a new feature to Episode II, and it allows you to change
out any party member in battle, for any other member of the reserves. This has
many benefits and is extremely useful. Change also works in E.S. battles.

To Change out a party member, once it's their turn, open up the Command Menu,
then hit right or left to see more commands. Select Change, then select the
character you want to bring into battle. The new character will come in and
will be ready to use on their next turn.

There are two main benefits to Change. If a character isn't dealing good damage
against an enemy, or is simply getting their ass handed to them, you might want
to change them out for a more powerful character. Plus, if a character is about
to die and you don't want to (or simply can't) heal them, you can swap them out
for a new fresh character. Sometimes, though, a character in the active party
simply isn't suited for the enemy and you'll want to change them out for
someone that is.

One last thing to note about change -- well, more about the Reserve --
characters in the reserve get 25% HP and EP restored after each battle. So you
could leave your main healer in the Reserve, bring them into battle to heal,
then stick them back in the Reserve and you won't have to waste time or items
bringing their HP or EP back up.

There are also some limitations to Change. Characters inflicted with H-type
status effects are not able to be removed from the party, so you must cure the
status first. The same applies to E.S. Robots.

Change is very handy, especially in dire situations. Don't forget about it!!

--> II-v.  Items                                                         SBM01V

Since there is no money or shops in the game, you will be relying on battles to
get most of your items. Many can be found throughout the various areas and
dungeons in the game, but not that many. Furthermore, items may prove useful to
you during battle, for various reasons.

Getting items is fairly simple. All you have to do is fight. Almost every
single enemy drops some sort of item for you. Beyond hoping for drops, there
are two other ways to get items: Stealing and the Prayer Ether.

Before we get too far, I should tell you how to use the items during battle.
It's very simple and only requires you to open up the Command Menu. Then select
the Item menu. You'll be presented with a list of items that can be used during
battle. Simply select the item, then select the person to use it on. That's it!
After the item is used, the characters turn ends.

Items will provide you with various benefits. Besides the Med Kits to heal,
Ether Packs to regain EP and Revives to bring dead characters back to life,
there are other items you can use during battle. "Boost Max" is one such item,
and when you use this item, your maximum BG increases. You can get a maximum of
5 boosts using the Boost Max item! There are many more, and that is for you to

There are three ways to get items from battle: Drops, Steals and Prayer. Drops
are simply killing enemies and waiting until after battle to see if they
dropped any items. Nothing major, and requires no thought on your part. I'm not
sure of the drop rates at this time, so I can't give you that information.

Stealing requires the Psycho Pocket ether. You can learn this ether once you
collect the Secret Key from the GS Campaign #1 sidequest. Casting it will steal
an item from an enemy. It will steal either Rare or Normal items, however you
may have to try a few times to steal a rare item. Psycho Pocket can also be
combined with the Analyze ether to give you the Pocket Rare ether. This ether
combo will always, without fail, steal rare items.

Finally, there's Prayer. This ether, when cast, gives you an item. You can cast
it over and over and get as many items as your EP permits. Check out the
section "Tips & Tricks" for more info on how to abuse the Prayer ether!

That's about all there is to items. For the most part, you should have pleanty
of ethers to use, instead of items. Since there are no shops, items are
somewhat limited (see the "Tips & Tricks" section for easy ways to get items).
There will be times when you have no choice (or just want to) and must use an
item. Don't hesitate, they're there for you to use!

--> II-w.  Tips & Tricks                                                 SBM01W

Hopefully by now you have, at the least, a better understanding of the battle
system. In this section, I will give you some tips and tricks for doing battle.
There are many ways to exploit the system, and I'll show you how!

If you have some of your own tips and tricks that aren't listed here, feel free
to submit them! If they're good enough, I'll add them in!

-> Experience, C.Pts and S.Pts. Obviously, battle is generally the only way to
   get these points (aside from upgrades for C/S.Pts). You need battles to
   level up your characters and get stronger! So fight everything, and fight a
   lot. You won't be sorry! Also, only the characters that are alive and in the
   active party when the battle ends will get C.Pts/S.Pts. Anyone in the
   reserves only gets 75% of the Experience earned from that battle.

-> Stock. Don't underestimate the power of Stock. Besides it's obvious use, it
   increases your defense slightly. You can learn "Focus 1" and "Focus 2"
   skills which will regenerate some of your EP when you Stock!

-> Learn Attacks. Learn the attacks and attributes associated with those
   attacks for each of your characters. Memorizing this information will allow
   you to quickly form the right party for taking out baddies. Also, don't
   neglect your E.S. Robots. Learn their attacks, too, and what specials they
   have, along with what co-pilots give those specials. All of this information
   can be reviewed from the Status menu within the Main Menu.

-> Chaining Attacks. If you want to chain a bunch of attacks together, you're
   going to need to stock and boost. However, before you attempt to start the
   chain, you should try to have your BG maxed out. Smack the enemy with weak
   attacks to get it filled or use the "Boost 1" Ether. Plus, have someone
   start the chain on the CRTC slot (even if you need to use a boost to do so)
   this way your next character will get the BST slot, and you'll be able to
   fill your BG again!

-> The Sword Ethers. Aura, Flame, Ice and Thunder Sword ethers are your best
   friend! They'll help you exploit weaknesses in enemies quite easily. Just
   remember, they wear off after a few turns!

-> SKL slot. This bad boy gives you either x2, x4, or x10 skill points for
   every enemy you kill while the slot is displayed. Absolute best way to get
   more Skill Points. Always try to kill enemies (especially bosses!) on the
   SKL slot so you can get all those extra S.Pts! Just remember, the bonus only
   applies to enemies that you kill while the slot is displayed!

-> The Event Slot. Besides the SKL slot, you need to learn the Event Slot. Know
   what each of the slots do and time your attacks/healing to make the most
   use of it. The order is always the same so that's easy enough to learn. You
   should also take advantage of the CRTC slot, and the ETR slot. Use ethers
   (healing or otherwise) on the ETR slot, and they'll be 50% more powerful!
   The CRTC slot gives you a higher chance to land critical blows! Don't forget
   that the enemy will get the exact same bonuses and benefits you do, so you
   must also know when and how to manipulate the slot for your own gains, and
   to keep the enemy from getting much (if any) of the benefits!

-> Skills. There are a ton of skills in the game. You want to learn many of
   them (and eventually all if you're a completionist) and there are some you
   should learn right from the start: Medica, Medica 2, Medica All, Anaylze,
   Memory, the Sword ethers, all of the +2 skills (STR+2, VIT+2, etc.). Beyond
   that, it's up to you to decide what you need most. You should most
   definitely learn all the Mastered Skills as they are very beneficial!

-> Elemental Chains. Don't forget the value of Elemental Chains. While they
   themselves do not give much of a damage boost, between the zone breaks,
   weakness exploits AND the Elemental Chain, you'll be doing some serious
   damage to any baddies that make the mistake of crossing your path!

-> MOVE! Don't forget about the Move command! It's extremely useful to use it
   and get behind an enemy to deal extra damage, or to move a character out of
   the way so they aren't getting hit in the back! It might just save your
   collective asses one day, so don't forget about it!

-> Change. Don't forget that you can swap out party members on the fly. If
   someone isn't doing good damage against an enemy, change them out. Maybe one
   of your characters is about to die, and you can't or don't want to heal
   them, so just swap them out! Change works in normal character battles and in
   E.S. battles.

-> Stealing. While there are no shops, you have to hope for item drops from
   enemies to get items. This works well, for the most part, unless you're
   talking about Rare items. These aren't dropped often at all, and some are
   even very rare. The easiest way to get them is to steal! You can learn the
   Psycho Pocket ether from the Secret Key you get for doing GS Campaign #1.
   The skill doesn't cost much S.Pts, so have a few people (or everyone) learn
   it! You won't be sorry!

-> Equipment. There isn't any real equipment, per se, but there are skills you
   can equip to give various effects. Figure out the attacks an enemy uses in a
   given area, then equip the proper skills to deal with it. Hammer Coat cuts
   Strike damage by 25%, so if enemies use a lot of Strike attacks, you'll want
   to learn and equip that! There are many equipped skills you can use to give
   you various benefits, so don't neglect them!

-> The Reserve. The reserve is where your characters that aren't in the active
   party sit. Besides the obvious benefit (or not) that they're not in battle
   getting beat up on, you can also use the reserve to heal everyone up if you
   are low on items or EP. Characters in the Reserve get 25% of their HP and EP
   restored after each battle (even if you just escape) so you can use the
   reserve to heal your people! After battles, characters that died are revived
   automatically with 1 HP, so even if your party is seriously hurt, you can
   still use the reserve to get everyone back to tip-top shape!

-> Prayer Item Farming. Battle can be used to farm for items, that is, collect
   lots of items. Prayer is an ether skill, and when you cast it, you get an
   item. That, combined with the "EP Half" skill (ether costs half EP), and
   having all your active party members learn Prayer, will give you an item
   hoarding machine. Simply find a weak enemy near a save point somewhere,
   enter battle, cast Prayer until EP runs out, escape, touch save point to
   restore EP, rinse and repeat! Since there's no stores, this is the absolute
   easiest way to get items!

-> Skill Upgrade Farming. There are two optional bosses in the GS Campaign
   sidequests that have Skill Upgrades for you to steal (they give you extra
   S.Pts). These battles can also be escaped from, so you can enter the battle,
   steal items, escape and repeat until your fingers go numb.

==> III.  E - M A I L   A N D   S U B M I S S I O N S                    SEMS01

Alright, in an effort to keep myself from getting a clogged inbox, here's a
quick E-Mail policy and a guideline to submitting stuff to me. PLEASE read this
before E-Mailing me.

Be SURE to include the title of this guide in the subject of your e-mail! I get
tons of e-mails and if your e-mail subject doesn't relate to this guide in any
way, it'll be deleted instantly without even being looked at!

What You Can E-Mail

-> Additions (new information) for anything not included in the FAQ.
-> Corrections (spelling errors, incorrect information, etc.)
-> Questions regarding battles in XS:E2 and this guide. (Please read through
   the FAQ to see if your question has already be answered before E-Mailing
   me. If something is already covered in the FAQ, I will NOT reply!)
-> Constructive criticism. Don't flame me. I'll delete the mail and block your
   address. However, if you wish to tell me how I could improve the guide, or
   how you think something should be done, go right ahead. But again, DON'T
   FLAME ME, you'll get NO RESPONSE.

What You CANNOT E-Mail

-> Flames. Personal insults and the likes. Don't bother. These type of E-Mails
   will immediately be deleted and your E-Mail address blocked. Continued
   attempts at harassment of any form will be forwarded to your ISP.
-> Questions on stuff already in the FAQ. READ THE FAQ. Don't mail me questions
   that I've already covered. These E-Mails will be deleted on sight! Repeated
   attempts will get your E-Mail blocked.
-> Anything not related to this FAQ. I don't care, no exceptions. These E-Mails
   will be deleted. Repeated attempts will get your address blocked.
-> Files. Attachments. I don't want any of your viruses, pictures, haikus or
   any of that stuff, sorry. Any E-Mails with attachments or files of ANY kind
   will immediately be deleted regardless of the content!
-> Plagerism. Don't steal someone elses work and submit it as your own. First
   of all, that's stealing and it's wrong. Second of all, I don't want any
   grief because you stole someone elses work and now they're bitching at me
   because I gave you credit. So don't do it. I'll be more than happy to give
   up your e-mail address to the person you stole from.

How and What to Submit

If you have some information I don't have, or any corrections or whatever,
please do submit them. If I include anything you've submitted, you will be
given credit in the FAQ. If you do not wish to be listed in the document,
please let me know. I will not be including E-Mail addresses with submissions

Now here are some quick guidelines:

-> ENGLISH ONLY PLEASE. I can't read any other languages (unfortunately) so
   please submit only in English. I'm pretty good at figuring out bad english,
   but try to be clear.

-> BE AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE. Don't make me guess. I hate guessing. Please be
   as detailed as you can be. If you don't know some information, let me
   know. Again, I hate guessing, so don't make me do it!

-> MAKE SURE IT'S NOT ALREADY IN THE FAQ. You should always check the FAQ
   thoroughly before submitting something, to make sure it's not already in
   there. Please, save both of us time, and check!

-> I will include your name (or nickname) in the FAQ. I strongly believe credit
   should be given. I WILL NOT include your E-Mail address unless you
   SPECIFICALLY ASK ME TO. If you don't want to be mentioned at all, YOU MUST

Okay, well, that's about all there is. Follow these FEW simple rules and we'll
both be happy! Please understand, I get lots of e-mail regarding the FAQs I
write, so it may take a few days for me to respond. I promise I will respond
(may take up to a week, though). So please be patient and don't spam me!

Oh and in case you're too lazy to scroll back to the top (CTRL+HOME is easy) my
e-mail address is: onevertigo1(at)yahoo(dot)com

==> IV.  V E R S I O N   H I S T O R Y                                    SVH01

--> v1.01 - March 16, 2005 <---

- Added a section detailing the Move command.
- Added a section detailing the Escape command.
- Added some Special status effects to the "Status Effects" section.

- Updated the "Weaknesses" section with some more information.
- Minor corrections throughout the guide.
- Removed "Things Left To Do" section.

--> v1.00 - March 15, 2005 <---

- First version of the FAQ completed and released!!

==> V.  C R E D I T S   A N D   S P E C I A L   T H A N K S              SCST01

This guide was written by and is (c) 2005 Darrin Ackerman (VertigOne).
All game content is Copyright (c) 2001,2004 Namco, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Much thanks go to:

-> Sony   - 'cause the PS2 rocks and without it, there'd be no XS!!
-> Namco  - they brought us XS:E2!
-> M.S.I. - they MADE XS:E2!

-----------------------[ E N D   O F   D O C U M E N T ]-----------------------