Wanting to learn how to conquer the first acts of Chained Echoes? Our Chained Echoes Beginner's Guide will go over what you’ll need to keep an eye out for when beginning your journey through Valandis.
Chained Echoes Has No Traditional Level System
Despite taking inspiration from classic SNES JRPGs, Chained Echoes does not make use of a traditional XP and level-based character progression system. Instead, characters can become more powerful by obtaining Grimoire Shards. Primarily gained by beating bosses, Grimoire Shards can be spent on skills across 3 categories: Action, Passive, and Stats Boosters. It’s possible to have a total of 8 Action and 5 Passive skills equipped per character, with no limit for Stat Boosters.
Both the Action and Passive slots are split into “Character” and “Class” sections. Skills unlocked by your character can be equipped in both sections, while Class Emblem skills can only be put into “Class” slots until they reach Lv. 3.
Equipped skills gain SP, which will cause them to level up once enough is obtained. Characters also obtain SP directly, which can then also be spent to upgrade skills. This character SP pool caps at 999, so it’s always worth spending it as you progress through the story
Chained Echoes Crystals and Gear Upgrades Are Extremely Important
During the first act of Chained Echoes, you’ll get access to equipment upgrading and crystals. Both are incredibly important when it comes to combat, with the former being an easy way to get a quick stat boost before tough encounters. Weapons and armor come in 10 ranks (marked by stars below their names), and each can be upgraded twice. A piece of equipment upgraded twice is usually better than an upgraded piece of equipment that’s a rank higher. This is why you should always be grabbing collectables and fighting enemies when possible — every upgrade helps.
Crystals are also a good way to boost stats, but require a little luck. You get crystals from red crystal sources across each map. These can be slotted into equipment, though each one has a certain size. Gear starts with 2 slots for crystals, with each upgrade adding 1 extra. Gems can also be combined, which is the only way to get Rank V or higher versions.
There are a few limits to combining crystals:
- The base crystal must have a purity of 1 or more (this goes down by 1 every time you combine another gem into it)
- The fuse crystal must be the same type as the base (rank doesn’t matter)
- The fuse crystal must not be one that’s already been combined before (this is marked by an asterisk)
Once you have the crystals you want, they can then be slotted into gear. Equipping multiple of the same type, either on the same piece of gear or across your character’s weapon and armor, will allow you to get higher ranks of that effect (i.e. 2 rank III gems will grant the rank V effect overall).
It’s possible to remove a crystal from equipment too, though this changes its purity to 0 and gives it a much larger size than before (usually size 3). This makes it harder to reuse high rank crystals on later gear.
Respect the Overdrive Meter
During battles, you should always make sure to keep an eye on the Overdrive meter. Keeping it in the green will halve the TP you spend on skills, letting you stay in the fight for longer. This is especially useful early on, as you wont have many easy ways to restore TP outside of certain items. Also, unless you know the fight will end on that turn, never let it get into the red.
While this might sound obvious, there are a number of things that can cause the Overdrive meter to go red quickly. For starters, all enemy turns will move the Overdrive marker to the right. This even applies to enemies that can act twice (or even 3 times) per turn. It’s a problem for large enemy encounters too, so it can sometimes be best to focus on 1 opponent, rather than on group damage.
One way of lowering Overdrive to safe levels that you might overlook is the “X Overdrive” items. These count as triggering the correct Overdrive effect, which is useful if you’re running few (or none) of the correct skill type.
Always Work Towards Goals on the Reward Board
While heading through each town, overworld area or dungeon, it’s always worth taking a detour to find items and other goodies. Red chests will always have something good — usually equipment or key items — though regular chests are always worth it for items and money. In addition, some areas also have hidden caves and buried treasure.
All of this ties into the Reward Board, which gives you money, SP, and items for completing each objective. There are goals for finding chests, buried treasure, or even just for visiting each segment of a map. However, the main draw of the Reward Board are the extra Grimoire Shards and Sacred Water you can get for creating a chain of completed objectives. Grimoire Shards are especially useful since it’s not possible to grind for levels, and can let you unlock some powerful skills earlier than if you just follow the story.
However, don't worry too much if you think you may have missed anything in an area. Once act II starts, you'll be able to find the NPC Vesta from the world map, who is stuck on a small island in the middle of Valandis. Once rescued, any remaining chests, hidden caves, or buried treasure in the current area will be shown in the bottom right of the screen.
Chained Echoes F.A.Q.
How Long is Chained Echoes
Chained Echoes’ main story is roughly 20-25 hours long. For completionists, a 100% Reward Board would likely take around an extra 10 hours or so.
Does Chained Echoes have New Game Plus?
Currently, Chained Echoes does not have a New Game Plus feature. However, it was listed as one of the features that will be added in the game’s Kickstarter campaign.
Does Chained Echoes have Difficulty Settings?
Yes, under Accessibility in the Options menu. It’s possible to increase the green portion of the Overdrive meter, lower enemy stats, and make enemies less likely to pick off weakened party members. All 3 options can be changed at any time.