Preparing for the Forest
After doing everything we can currently in the Town, it's time to prepare for your first dungeon. With 200 gold in hand, you can't buy much except for some low-level food (which we already have). Matt should equip himself with the Gaia Axe instead of the starting Avenger, Natalie should equip the Red Dress, and Lance should wear the Leather Armor set instead of his starting Soldier clothes.
When you're ready, go north from the town square to start your adventure.
The forest is a place full of vibrant wildlife, such as colourful bees, turtles, crows, and slimes - unfortunately, all of it wants to kill you. An army of Kittens has established a foothold near the rivers, challenging adventures who want to pass through. Our heroes know that the demon's influence is spreading, and they must hurry before this wonder of the world vanishes forever.
By the way, there are some innocent Green Bushes sitting behind the knights, and too bad they're the first things that dared to stand in our way. Engaging the monsters is similar to interacting with other objects; approach the critters using the arrow keys, and press Space to start your first battle.
Your first Battle
The combat system in EBF3 is similar to other turn-based RPGs: Each turn, the players are chosen to perform an action from their available options:
- Attack: Causes the character to hit the selected enemy with his weapon. Normal attacks are usually weaker than Skills and should only be used to finish a weaker foe, although some weapons will grant the players special effects upon using a regular attack.
- Limit: If the character has already learned a Limit Break, s/he will gain a Limit bar located beneath the MP bar that can be filled by taking damage. When the Limit bar is filled up, the Attack option will be replaced by a flashing Limit option, allowing the character to perform a powerful (and visually impressive) skill at the cost of the entire Limit bar.
- Tactics: Shows a list of tactical actions:
- Defend: Causes the character to defend him/herself, forfeiting their turn to halve all damage taken for the turn. Each character's Defend has an unique property: Matt's reduces physical damage by 75%, Natalie's absorbs MP from magical attacks, and Lance's boosts his Evade.
- Order: Select another character that hasn't taken their turn yet. The default order is Matt -> Natalie -> Lance (i.e. top to bottom), so the Order command can greatly increase the versatility of the team based on the situation.
- Flee: Causes the entire party to flee the battle. This will always succeed - even during boss battles - but the team won't receive any experience or loot they might have gained during battle, and all enemies in the battle will reset to full health.
- Skills: Causes the character to perform a special action at the cost of some MP. Skills are divided into different categories for each character: Bushido and Special for Matt, BMagic and WMagic for Natalie, and Shoot and Backup for Lance.
- Items: Allows the character to use a single item, including foods that can heal the character and miscellaneous items that can hurt the enemy (which we will never use).
- Equips: Allow the character to switch their equipment. This takes up a turn, but multiple equipment can be switched at once. If the player decides against switching gear, they can simply cancel the action to avoid losing a turn.
Now, apart from the basic menu, here are some important points to remember:
- Unlike most RPGs, where priority can be altered by character speed and/or spell power, characters in EBF3 perform their action immediately after their action has been chosen.
- Foes come in waves of up to 5 enemies at a time, and there's no indication on the amount of waves each encounter has. Early on, you'll mostly see one-wave battles, but later areas have battles ranging from two to four waves. One way to predict the difficulty of the battle is to listen to the music - if it shares the theme of the level, it's probably not going to be too tough, but if the music changes, expect a rougher fight.
Back to the battle! First, choose Tactics, select Order, and click on Lance. Then, select Backup and use Scan on a random Bush. This will make Lance perform a scan on the enemy, giving you information on its species for the rest of the game. To check this information mid-battle, have someone select a single-target skill and then click the question marks that appear next to the scanned enemies.
Now that you've scanned your first foe, have Matt attack one of the Green Bushes. Have Natalie use Lucky Star (in the BMagic option), and hope that it will kill another Bush - Lucky Star's power is very random. Once everyone has taken their turn, the enemies will start their turn - luckily, these bushes don't have much in the way of threatening abilities. After the Bushes have attacked, have Matt smack the remaining full-health Bush to kill it, while Natalie hits the injured Bush (if it's still alive) with Lucky Star. If the last foe is still alive, have Lance clean it up with his normal attack.
Congratulations on winning your first battle! Listen to the victory music and view the Battle Rewards screen.
We return to the overworld, with one less bush swarm to worry about and a lot of things to do. Kill the other bushes if you want, then go to the screen on the right to continue. Don't worry about those two unreachable chests - we will open them later.
Before we continue, let's think about what we want right now in term of skills. Since this is a forest dungeon, Fire skills such as Matt's Fume and Lance's Flameshot will obviously be useful. The boss of this area is also weak to Thunder, and the next area will feature a lot of water-based enemies, so you should also try to invest in Thunder skills in the later portion of this area. For Natalie, try to put some APs in her healing and support skills, especially Healmore.
In the next screen, we see a lot of adventurers training and having a conversation. They are all NPCs except the snails and the bushes, so don't expect to recruit anyone. You can still talk to them or something to pretend that you're listening to their advice - one will even make a shout-out to an anime franchise while advising us to scan often! Defeat the snails to open two paths to the upper screen, which contain a few chests. Go to the right screen to continue.
- Near target: 100 Gold, 1 Kiwi
- Near snail: 1 Kiwi, 1 Herb, 1 Earthball
- Near the NPCs: 1 Mushroom, 1 Muffin
- Covered by trees: 1 Old Wood, 1 Mushroom, 1 Steel Plate
- Left path: 1 Bug Wing, 1 Ragged Cloth
- Right path, left chest: 3 Muffin, 1 Milk
- Right path, right chest: 5 Kiwi
Bigger, Badder Things
A giant and nasty-looking slime creature is blocking the path to the next screen, and yes, you will have to clean it up. First, kill the smaller slimes for EXP, then speak to Yui the black mage and Jenny to receive their quests. If you fought every encounter up to this point, you should have enough APs to give the team some new spells: Learn Matt's Nettle, Natalie's Healmore and Lance's Flameshot. There are some chests behind the pig, which will give you some stat boosters and the Star Hairclip, which will make your Lucky Star a bit stronger. Give that to Natalie if you want, then fight the slime thing.
- Pig ranch, left chest: 1 Bacon
- Pig ranch, right chest: 1 Coffee, Star Hairclip
- Objective: 2 Jaw Bone, 1 Charcoal
- Reward: Sentinel
- Objective: 8 Bug Wing, 2 Old Wood
- Reward: 20 Kiwi, 10 Pumpkin, 2 Coconut
Giant Green Slime
First of all, note the new music that plays. This indicates a higher-difficulty battle - expect to hear it often. This is also your first multi-wave battle, so save your best moves for the big battle.
The first wave is just a few normal Slimes, which should be little threat to you - especially if you've already scanned and killed the other Slimes around this screen. However, this is a good time to go over multi-wave tactics:
- Try to leave one weak enemy alive so you can set up whatever buffs you can. At the moment, you probably don't have much in the way of buffs, but you can still heal up everyone if they are seriously injured.
- Try to kill the final enemy in the wave at the start of your turn, preferably with Matt. The next wave will arrive the moment the first wave is finished, so if you used your last character to end the wave, the reinforcements get a free round of attacks.
The second wave will feature the real threat - a Giant Green Slime. This thing hits much harder than anything we've yet seen, and on higher difficulties, it has Poison status, which will heal quite a bit of its HP every turn. Don't bother killing the small Slimes, because the Giant Slime can call in backup; instead, focus on the big one with Matt's Tremor and Lance's Flameshot, and try to keep your team alive with Natalie's Healmore. It is also advised to use a Milk on Lance to boost his Magic Attack, if you want to finish the battle quickly.
With the Giant Slime defeated, it's time to go to the upper screen to continue our adventure. We will return to this area to hunt for new gears later on, but that's it for now.
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