The goal in battle is, as with every RPG battle, is to lower the opponent's HP to 0, though in some rare cases Luka must perform some sort of feat to become either victorious or to simply progress with the story.
Luka will always have the first turn, but in very few battles the monster will have a preemptive strike.
At the beginning of every turn, Luka is given a series of options. Some of these options, however, become available or unavailable as events happen.
Attack allows Luka to strike at the enemy dealing a small amount of damage while also allowing him to gain 1 SP. Sometimes when normal attacking Luka will miss the target and deal no damage, or score a Critical Hit which deals more damage than usual. Every regular Attack also generates 1 SP, regardless of whether it hits or misses. Also, sometimes when bound, depending on the monster and/or attack, regular Attacking may be the key to breaking free instead of struggle, but the damage of attacking while bound is severely reduced.
All Four Spirits have the ability to enhance normal attacks:
- Sylph at level 2 (Playful Wind, Fallen Angel Dance after reunion with Sylph) makes normal attacks 100% accurate.
- Sylph at level 3 (Devastating Gale and Fallen Angel Dance: Gale) allows him to attack the enemy twice, both with separate critical hit rates, however he still only gains 1 SP.
- Gnome at level 2 (Breath of the Earth) also slightly increases critical hit rate.
- Gnome at level 3 (Wild Lands) increases his critical hit rate to 100%.
- Undine at level 2 (Serene Mind) changes his regular attack to Blade of Still Water. This attack always hits and has power intermediate between a normal attack and a Critical Hit.
- Undine at level 3 (Serene Mind 2) has Blade of Still Water damage amplified by Wild Lands and/or Purgatory Flame.
- Salamander at level 1 (Blade of Flame) increases overall damage by a fairly small amount.
- Salamander at level 2 (Hellfire Blade) increases overall damage by a larger amount than Blade of Flame.
- Salamander at level 3 (Purgatory Flame) again increases overall damage by a larger amount then Hellfire Blade.
Two more factors are:
- Chances to make a Critical Hit are increased if Luka has less then 20% of his max HP (to be more precise - this bonus works only without Sylph at level 3).
- Zylphe lowers Luka's accuracy (though Blade of Still Water and Sylph level 3 will not miss).
Skill allows Luka to use any skill that he has learned throughout his journey. At first this list will be small, but as Luka progresses through the story, he will gain more skills which range from dealing extra damage, summoning one of the Four Spirits or healing himself. Skills use SP to activate. Unlike regular Attacks, Skills cannot be dodged and ergo will always hit, with a few exceptions.
Struggle is available when Luka has been bound and restrained by the enemy and will have Luka attempt to force the enemy off him. Most monsters can be shaken off with Struggle but some require for Luka to continue attacking the enemy instead. Gnome is able to aid Luka when he is attempting to Struggle.
Guard allows Luka to defend himself against any possible attack the enemy may launch this turn. Unless the enemy's attack is meant to cut through any and all defenses, the damage received will be cut in half. Some enemies will also charge an attack in which by Guarding Luka avoids the otherwise powerful attack.
Having Luka Wait also makes Luka not make any offensive movements like Guard but instead Luka simply does nothing and will take any damage head-on. This serves no purpose other than for losing, or waiting out an enemy's counter stance.
Surrender has Luka surrender to the enemy in which no more actions will be performed by Luka and instead the enemy will continue to attack him until his HP reaches 0 resulting in a Game Over.
In some cases it is not possible to Surrender.
By choosing Request Luka surrenders to his opponent by a specific attack by the player's choice. Much like Surrendering, Luka will make no further actions and allow himself to be defeated, but the monster will continuously use that specific attack until Luka has fallen. Requested moves can only be done if Luka has been attacked and hit by them. There are also some moves that cannot be requested, or the monster may not have any requestable moves at all.
During most fights of Chapter 3, a sealed Alice will be on standby waiting to assist. Luka can use a turn to request her to use Omega Blaze, Frost Ozma, Monster Lord’s Cruelty, or Eye of Recovery. The Alice option can only be used once per battle, so the player should carefully consider her actions.
As stated before, the goal of the battle is to lower the opponent's HP to 0 while keeping Luka's HP above 0. Both the monster and Luka have ways to continuously damage one another, and likewise have ways to survive.
Luka gains many powerful offensive skills throughout his journey as well as defensive and supportive skills. Sylph at level 1 (Wind Protection) as well as Undine at level 2 and 3 (Serene Mind 1 and 2) grant Luka the ability to dodge and nullify the opponent's attacks, and Gnome level 2 (Breath of the Earth) reduces the damage he receives. Furthermore, Meditation allows Luka to regenerate half of his maximum health, further bolstering his survival. Finally, Salamander at level 3 (Purgatory Flame) allows him to completely restore SP which allows Luka to continuously reapply his spirits, heal, and attack.
Monsters on the other hand have nasty Status Ailments to either damage Luka over time or severely hamper his ability to fight and retaliate by stunning or binding him in some way which thus wastes his turns to struggle or do nothing at all. Few monsters also have the ability to drain Luka's HP and make it their own or even outright heal a large amount of their lost HP.
After Luka's battle phase ends, the enemy will attack in various ways but can be broken down into either: damage-only attacks, status-inducing, binding attacks, high damage, 1-hit knockout that usually requires several turns to charge, or using an artificial spirit. Monsters may give an indication as to what attack they are or plan to use. In very few cases the enemy may do nothing at all and waste a turn. However, monsters will never attempt to evade or block any of Luka's attacks outside of scripted events (the only exceptions are Alma Elma (2 and 3), Tamamo (2), and Granberia (3 and 4), should Luka not have the active spirit necessary to hit them).
After the enemy has performed their turn and Luka have survived it, his next turn starts and the cycle continues until either one of them has been defeated.
There are extremely rare battles where Luka receives aid in the fight who will damage the enemy using their own attacks. However, in most cases the monster will still focus their attention on Luka, so the ally may not take any heat off of him.
Sara will help against Mummy Girl and Cobra Girl. However, the damage she does is very little and does not use any skills, so Luka will do the majority of the fighting. She will, however, keep fighting even while Luka is bound.
Alice jumps in the fight with the Beelzebubs once Luka lowers their health by a third and defeats one of them, and also comes in to help with Seraph Eden, Promestein (Final Form), Black Alice (Second, Third, and Final Forms), and Goddess Ilias (3 and Final Form). Alice attacks with normal attacks, Omega Blaze, Frost Ozma, and Monster Lord’s Cruelty at random, and is initially stronger than Luka during the Beelzebubs but slightly weaker during the rest of the fights. Unlike Sara, Alice will not attack the enemy while Luka is bound. The Beelzebubs will focus their attacks on Alice and Ilias's Final Form's random attacks hit a specific target, some involving Alice or both Alice and Luka, though Alice is "immortal" and cannot be defeated regardless of how much HP she loses.
A sealed Alice will also help during Promestein (1), but only uses normal attacks which are weaker than Luka's.
The Four Heavenly Knights and Micaela will also help during Ilias's Final Form, but her random attacks may specifically target them or all of her attackers. The Heavenly Knights will leave once their normal mode HP has been completely exhausted.