- "Our Party Level has gone up and we're getting better at real fighting, so now I'm gonna teach you something else that's really important."
- —Allegretto tutors Beat in the basics of fighting.
Party Level is a gameplay feature of Eternal Sonata. It is used to determine the abilities that the player's party has access to in battle, as well as the general flow of gameplay. These include how much Tactical Time is granted at the beginning of a player's turn (if any), how many Special Attack slots the player has, whether or not counterattacks may be used, and whether or not the player may execute Harmony Chains. A total of six party levels are available. The first five are mandatory and are obtained by progressing through the story. The sixth is obtained by defeating the first boss monster of the Mysterious Unison dungeon.
In an initial playthrough, the party level is fixed and may be checked in the menu by the player, but cannot be changed. In Encore Mode, the party level may be changed from the menu at any time it is available outside of battle. The highest party level obtained by the player will be carried over to Encore Mode, either 5 or 6.
Party Level 1Edit
The initial party level granted to the player at the beginning of the game. Tactical Time is infinite and the action gauge for each turn is five seconds and stopped, meaning that time only flows when a character moves or uses an attack. Two special attacks are available to each character, one light and one dark. A total of ten item slots are available.
Party Level 2Edit
Granted to the player following the game's second boss battle, with Forest Boar. Tactical Time remains infinite, but once a character moves, time will continue to flow until the end of their turn, regardless of whether they continue to move or not. Beginning with this party level, characters may build up echoes which can greatly increase the power of their special attacks
Party Level 3Edit
Granted to the player following the boss battle at the end of Fort Fermata with Killer Knight and Maledictor x 2. Tactical Time is reduced to three seconds and the action gauge is now four seconds for each turn. Each character now has access to four special attacks, two light and two dark. A total of twenty item slots are now available.
Party Level 4Edit
Granted to the player following the first battle with Fugue, in Agogo Village. There is now only one second of Tactical Time. Counterattacks are now available, though only a characters' normal attacks may be used during a counterattack. Up to two Harmony Chains may now be performed during a special attack sequence, once Echoes reach either 24 or 32. Item slots are now at 30.
Party Level 5Edit
Granted to the player following the boss battle with Count Waltz and Calamity Wilhm at the summit of Mt. Rock. Tactical Time has now been eliminated entirely. Special attacks may now be used during counterattacks and up to three Harmony Chains may now be used. The player characters' movement speed on the battlefield is increased by 50%. Item slots are increased to forty.
Party Level 6Edit
Granted to the player after battling the first Mercurius in the optional dungeon Mysterious Unison. Up to six Harmony Chains may be used in a sequence if there are allies within range. As an offset, however, the configuration of the commands entered by the control buttons for everything except item usage may be altered randomly after each chain and will remain altered at the end of the sequence, but will reset to default after each battle. Echoes built up during a Harmony Chain are retained at the end the Harmony Chain, and are even retained after battle, so long as the player does not save and reset.
Behind the scenesEdit
- While Tactical Time is eliminated entirely by Party Levels 5 and 6, certain armor and accessories, such as the Alice's Watch, can be used to grant Tactical Time to one or more individual characters even when using those Party Levels.
- While it is possible to continue to Encore Mode on Party Level 5, it is strongly recommended to visit the Mysterious Unison dungeon on the first playthrough and beat at least the first boss, in order to gain Party Level 6. Once the player has mastered moving commands, the ability to execute up to six Harmony Chains grants a massive advantage in battling the tougher opponents of Encore Mode, as well as the increased item slots and the ability to retain echoes after a battle.
- When changing Party Levels in Encore Mode, item slots will always remain the same, either 40 or 50 depending on whether the player obtained Party Level 6.