- Allegretto: "One more thing. From now on, the more Echoes you build up, the more power your special attacks will have when you hit an enemy."
- Beat: "Echoes?"
- Allegretto: "An Echo is what you get when your hit count reaches a certain number. And they just keep accumulating right over here."
- — Allegretto explains Echoes to Beat.
Echoes are a battle element in Eternal Sonata. Beginning at Party Level 2, attacks by a playable character can build echoes, up to a total of 32. Echoes are built in either groups of 4 or 8. For example, if a character has built up an Echo total of 16, but fails to build an additional 8 before the end of their turn, then the Echo total will end at 16 for that turn. Echoes are indicated by a set of green & later yellow stars and a number at the bottom right of the battle screen, which will pulse throughout the battle. A characters' attacks will not build up echoes if either the enemy Guards against the attack or the enemy's defense is such that the attack deals zero damage. Echoes are based on hits landed, so if a character attacks multiple opponents at one time, then an Echo will be granted for each hit landed (i.e. a single strike on two opponents grants two Echoes.)
Echoes and Special AttacksEdit
- Beat: "But how can you ever get enough Echoes to use them with your special attacks? It must be really hard for one person to build up so many all by himself."
- Allegretto: "That's right. And that's why we have to work together to build them up. Echoes don't just belong to you, they belong to everyone who's fighting."
- Beat: "But then, that means that you could use up all the Echoes that I had worked so hard to build up. That doesn't sound very fair, you know."
- Allegretto: "Come on, don't say things like that! I'm counting on you, partner!"
- — Allegretto explains to Beat how anyone in the party can use Echoes that have been built up.
Echoes are shared by all party members, with all accumulated Echoes retained at the end of a characters' turn. Echoes will remain as they are until a character executes a Special Attack, which expends all of the Echoes that have been accumulated. The power of the Special Attack is directly dependent upon the number of Echoes built, with Special Attacks executed with no or four Echoes only dealing weak damage or healing, while those with 24 to 32 Echoes built dealing the greatest damage. These are considered to be "charged-up" Special Attacks and the characters will utter special lines prior to executing them. While Echoes are reduced to zero by executing a Special Attack, each hit of a Special Attack has the possibility to build up new Echoes, which will be retained at the end of a Special Attack. Some characters possess multi-hit Special Attacks that can build up a large number of Echoes and it is considered a good idea to use these at the end of a characters' turn, particularly if the current Echo total is equal to or lesser than what using that particular Special Attack would generate.
As previously mentioned, some opponents possess high defense and attacks by weaker characters will deal zero damage. In those cases, it is often advisable to simply use Special Attacks without first building Echoes. Alternatively, a strong character can deal damage to build Echoes, thus allowing a weaker character to unleash a Special Attack. Viola's Hawk Eye (which marks a target for damage) and Salsa's Shadow Silhouette (which increases the power of Special Attacks) are also powerful equalizers in dealing with such opponents. Equipping a weaker character with a weapon or accessory that causes Burst status (or using a Hell Mustard item to temporary inflict it) can also provide that character with sufficient strength to cut through the defense of a strong opponent.
Party Level and Effect on EchoesEdit
Beginning at Party Level 4, Echoes carry even greater importance, as this is the first Party Level in which Harmony Chains are available. A Harmony Chain gives characters the option to execute an additional Special Attack following one, provided that Echoes have been raised to either 24 or 32. At Party Level 5, the number of potential Specials is increased to three, while Party Level 6 allows a total of six, provided that there are allies within range. Additionally, Echoes generated during a set of Harmony Chains will be retained at the end of the chain, meaning that one could generate enough Echoes within one set to immediately launch another series of Special Attacks with the next character. At Party Level 6, any Echoes that are left over at the end of a battle will be retained for use in the next battle. They will remain even if the battle ends with the party's escape, though they will reset to zero if the player saves the game and then reloads, or is forced to reload the game because of a Game Over. Once the player has reached Party Level 6, it is generally recommended to build up 32, or at least 24 Echoes, prior to entering any boss battle in order to be able to immediately execute Harmony Chains. These additional options are considered key to beating the more challenging opponents of Encore Mode without having to spend unreasonable amounts of time gaining levels.
Accessories, Weapons and Building Additional EchoesEdit
Certain accessories, as well as some characters' weapons, add an extra hit to each of their attacks. These benefits can allow a character to land enough Echoes to execute a charged-up Special Attack in a single turn, but they only apply to hits landed from normal attacks, not from specials.
Jazz, March and Salsa all possess weapons that allow them get two hits for each blow landed. While Jazz can only attack a few times in each turn, both March and Salsa can generate enough hits in a single turn to launch Harmony Chains, even without any special equipment. The following accessories and weapons also add additional hits, allowing characters to quickly build Echoes:
- Werewolf Choker (Accessory, Win third battle with Dolce, Guitar and Bass in the basement of Baroque City's pub)
- Silver Bullet (Accessory for Beat, play Score Piece 6 for S Rank with Easygoing Flat in Tenuto Village [Chapter 6 or 7, Encore Mode only])
- Lord's Reign (Falsetto's ultimate weapon, Basement Level 11 of Mysterious Unison)
- Retaliator (Claves's ultimate weapon, Basement Level 11 of Mysterious Unison)