Crystar may have a large focus on its narrative, but that doesn’t mean the game is lacking in the combat department. Like many JRPGs, Crystar has players battling through all manner of weird and wonderful enemies to reach the end credits.
Whilst the game has plenty of combat, the combat in question is not particularly complex in the grand scheme. That being said, there are a few tricks here and there that can be put to good use, and having some knowledge of the game's systems helps smooth things out. Not to mention the game’s bosses ramping up in difficulty as you fight through the various layers of Purgatory.
Basics Of Combat
For the most part, Crystar has you duking it out with enemies with your feet firmly placed on the ground. You want to get in, smack things around, and get out before you take too much – if any – damage.
Crystar mostly operates with a two-button combat system, allowing you to input Light and Heavy attacks to pull off various combos. These combos are very simplistic, and often boil down to hitting Light attack a bunch, before ending it with a Heavy attack. This pattern does change from character to character, however.
There is no block button, so if you want to avoid getting a slap, dodging is the way to go. Dodging gives you buckets of invincibility frames, allowing you to move through attacks as if they weren’t there. The distance moved is significant to boot, making it a fantastic tool for repositioning.
Be aware that Crystar has a noticeable amount of input delay, especially on Nintendo Switch. This makes the game feel a little clunky at times. To mitigate this, don’t push your luck too far when attacking, and prioritize dodging when things get too hairy.
How To Do Aerials
Certain combo strings will result in an enemy being launched into the air. This not only gets the enemy out of the way for a short time, but it opens them up for some aerial combat. If you jump into the air, you can input Light attacks to juggle your opponent, and deal bonus damage. Inputting a heavy attack will end the combo, and result in your slamming down on top of them for some AOE damage.
Like with ground combat, there can be some pretty serious input delay. This makes jumping into the air and hitting enemies awkward. Just remember to factor in that delay when you are hitting buttons, and press buttons earlier than you normally would.
What Are Skills, And How To Use Them
Each character comes with a plethora of skills, and these skills can be woven into your basic combo strings to deal bonus damage. For the most part, however, these skills are best used on their own and can dish out serious damage.
Skills cost SP, and SP drains fast if you start spamming your abilities like no tomorrow. Regaining SP is as simple as hitting enemies with basic attacks. You can also apply various modifications to make your SP go that little extra if you spend the resources.
You can only take four skills per character, giving you some customization with your builds. Unfortunately, many of the skills you unlock on your way to Level 99 are more powerful variants of skills you already know.
Don't Forget Your Guardian
You will eventually unlock Guardians and these act as a super-state. Once your Tear gauge is full, you can summon your Guardian, and they will attack alongside/instead of your main character. This state drastically increases your damage output and damage mitigation, whilst also preventing pesky things like knockbacks and interruptions.
Guardians will only persist for as long as you have Tears in your gauge. Once you are out of juice, you return to your normal form. Optionally, you can reactivate your Guardian whilst it’s still active, and perform your character's specific Guardian Combo. This will empty your gauge upon use, but will also deal incredible amounts of damage.
Filling your Tear Gauge is as simple as getting hurt, or inflicting damage. Alternatively, you can spend SP rapidly filling your gauge, giving you plenty of ways to activate your Guardian.
How To Build Chains
Every time you hit an enemy you will increase your Chain. In Crystar, Chains can climb into the hundreds, and the higher your Chain, the more your attacks will generate Tears – the resource used to access your Guardian.
The more attacks you string together without a significant gap between blows, the faster you generate Tears, and the more damage you will inflict due to being able to access your Guardian more often.
One nice touch is that damage does not break your chain – only time.
Stock Up On Healing
Healing can be done at any time in Crystar providing you are quick on the pause button. Entering your items menu allows you to use curatives and restore health or clear status conditions. You can also set certain items to auto, which will result in a healing item being consumed whenever your health drops too low.
Because there is no other way to heal in Crystar, having a stockpile of healing items is a must. Set them all to auto, and as long as you have one item in your inventory, you won’t die. This lets you play more aggressively at the cost of money.
Healing items can be bought in bulk at the item shop at the start of each Ordeal (mission).
Understand Your Characters
Crystar has four unique characters: Rei, Kokoro, Sen, and Nanana. Rei is your jack-of-all-trades, master of all, Kokoro is your physical brawler, Sen is a katana-wielding DPS, and Nanana acts more like a ranged mage. Each character has its strengths and weaknesses, and each character scales differently and gains new skills when leveling up.
The characters you want to be focusing on when playing Crystar are Rei and Nanana. Rei and Nanana have great stat scaling, amazing skills, and tend to do well in every scenario. Nanana in particular will eventually grow into a character who can end boss fights in seconds, so making sure she is packing the best gear is advised.
Unfortunately, Kokoro is awful to play due to her lack of range, limited combos, and poor skills. Whilst she technically deals more damage than Rei, she feels substantially weaker due to her glaring flaws. Sen on the other hand starts powerful but has the worst scalings in the entire game. Her damage falls off almost immediately, and she quickly becomes useless.
Because half the cast isn’t worth the effort, you can focus more on mastering Rei and Nanana, which is economically sound, and much better from a fun perspective.
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