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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Yuunaru! The Battle System

Yuunaru!'s battle system is not only complicated, but also fairly important to envisioning how the game is supposed to look and play. For this reason, I'd like to try and portray it to you as accurately as I can, so you can get an idea of what all these random characters and skills I'm throwing at you are.

Let's pretend you're only shortly into Yuunaru! Inferno, the first game/ chapter in the concept. Your party currently consists of Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu, Shimei, and Ai Len. A story battle is about to start, so you are preparing your battle teams beforehand in the Status menu.

Battles in Yuunaru! take place on an isometric grid, in traditional SRPG style. Your characters take to the field divided up into various "teams." Each team consists of up to three characters and moves and attacks as one contiguous unit. There is no limit to how many teams can be fielded every battle, so you can deploy all of your available characters every map should you so choose.

On the status screen, you would be viewing the sprites of your characters grouped into their teams. At maximum, by the end of the game, you will have thirty characters; as such, the screen has room for ten teams in two columns across the screen. It would look something like this:

   Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu         Shimei, Ai Len, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____

...only with sprites instead of plain, boring names, of course.

The cursor will be pointing to Hiro's team, as they are the first team on the screen. Select them with the confirmation button and a small list of options will appear opposite their team:

   Character Status: This allows you to view the status of the characters making up this team. This includes factoids such as parameters, skills, and current equipment.
   Equip Gem: Traditional equipment does not exist in Yuunaru! All characters come with an initial and unchangeable weapon and armor, listed under the Character Status screen for completion's sake but not actually alterable. To influence your characters' parameters, resistances, and skillsets, the player equips them with customizable Gems by using this option. More on Gems in a later update.
   Arrange Units: A self-explanatory option, this allows you to change the location of the characters comprising a particular team. You can put units into different teams or rearrange their position on their current team using this command.
   Unison Attacks: Yuunaru! is chock-full of Unison Attacks that can be activated when certain characters are part of the same team together. For example, when Hiro and Mizumaki are both in the same team, the "Friends Attack" Unison Attack can be selected as an option in battle. You can check what Unison Attacks are available to the current team by selecting this option.
   Bench Units: If there are characters you don't want to use, or you only want to send full teams into the coming battle, or you're doing some kind of self-inflicted challenge, use the Bench Units command to take characters "out of" your teams altogether. Benched units will not participate in the coming battle in any way.
   Mobilize Units: This command simply allows you to take characters off of the bench and place them back into an active team.

Okay. So you've checked your status, double-checked your gems, and decided that Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu and Shimei, Ai Len will be fine teams for your battle. You initiate the fight by leaving the menu and, first thing, are called upon to select the starting positions of all deployed teams. This is a step that should be familiar to most SRPG players. With your teams placed, the battle begins in earnest.

As in Soul Nomad (and, in fact, most Nippon Ichi SRPGS,) Yuunaru!'s battles are turn-based by side. The first turn in battle is the player's, and the player may move all of his or her teams and decide upon their actions during this time. When the player ends their turn, the enemy teams all move simultaneously against the player; then it is the player's turn again, and so on. When you select one of your teams on the field, the following options are available to you:

   Move: Self-explanatory; this allows you to move the selected team about the field. Movement distance is equal to the average of the movement parameters of the characters in the team.
   Attack: Also self-explanatory, this allows you to initiate an attack against an enemy unit within range. While attack range is 1 for most characters, only allowing them to attack adjacent enemies, a few characters (i.e. Raye, Fuma, Zen) have a range of 2, allowing whichever team they are on to attack from two squares away rather than one. Certain Gems will also increase the range of a team, although it is important to note that these Gems' effects will not stack. More on what happens during an attack in a bit.
   Field Skill: Skills learned by characters are solely activated during battle. However, many Gems grant special additional skills to those equipped with them, and some of those skills can be used on the battlefield (for example, the highly useful Flash Step, which lets you teleport after moving, or Revitalize, which heals all allied teams adjacent to the user's).
   Item: Still pretty self-explanatory, this allows the selected team to use an offensive or defensive item. Offensive items, such as bombs, deal damage to an enemy unit within a certain range without danger of counterattack. Defensive items tend to recover health to the utilizing team or a nearby ally, increase parameters, or both.

Let's say that you decide to move Hiro's team within range to engage an enemy team comprised of two Tsukumogami and a Yuki-onna. Upon selecting Attack, the battlefield switches to a more traditional turn-based, Final-Fantasy-esque battlefield, with your allied team's individual characters on the right and the enemy team's on the left. This confrontation is called a Skirmish. This is similar to what happens when engaging enemies in Soul Nomad, or La Pucelle, or some of the Fire Emblem games. However, unlike these games, this sub-battle mode does not run on auto-pilot; it has commands of its own.

   Attack: In most games, "Attack" provides you with a simple physical attack to use to save on MP usage. However, Yuunaru! doesn't have MP, and its "Attack" function is not quite so simple. Instead of hitting one enemy, the character will actually use unleash a physical combo on their target. This combo increases at set levels that differ for each character; more physically-oriented characters will upgrade their physical attack more frequently, resulting in a longer and more powerful combo, while more magically-oriented characters will end up with weaker combos but stronger spells.
   Skill: Each character in Yuunaru! learns five spells as they level: three offensive spells related to their innate element, and two "special effect" spells that serve other purposes, such as recovering HP or lowering enemy defenses. These skills do not require any resource, such as MP, and can be used whenever you wish. Skills are important even for characters with low magic, as higher-level enemies will usually have special shields in place that need to be broken using specific elemental skills. Higher-level offensive skills can also be useful for their ability to hit all enemies in an opposing team.
   Defend: Selecting this command causes the character to take a defensive stance for the skirmish's duration. A defending character takes half damage from all attacks and recovers 10% of their maximum HP by defending, allowing them to stay in the game longer.

Upon selecting all commands for your side of the Skirmish, if your team has access to Unison Attacks, you may choose whether or not to use them and which one to use. Only one Unison Attack can be used per Skirmish. After this step is completed, all of your allies will attack; then the Unison Attack will be used; then the enemies will attack; then an enemy Unison Attack, if available, will be used. At this point, the Skirmish is over and the game returns to the main battlefield.

And so goes the battle system! Sorry for the miles of text. Thanks for sticking with it, though!

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