Encore Mode is Eternal Sonata's version of New Game Plus, a feature found in many RPGs that allows a player to replay the game with certain bonuses. This can only be unlocked after completing the game on normal mode first. The feature is activated by saving the Game Clear file after beating the game. Loading this file allows the player to either view the game's ending or begin the game in Encore Mode.
Unlike many typical New Game Plus features, however, Encore Mode does not retain characters' levels, abilities, stats, or gear, and is designed generally to provide a more challenging gameplay experience, as well as the ability to access bonus material in the later stages of the game. The items retained are Score Pieces, Hero's Crest, and Party Level. Additionally, any music that the player has heard within a previous playthrough of the game may be accessed from the menu. The record of the best point value obtained for a Photo is also retained. In the PlayStation 3 version of the game, Costumes are retained as well. Polka's second alternate costume can only be found in her bedroom in Encore Mode. In Encore Mode, you can select your party level, while you could not in Normal Mode.
Enemies in Encore Mode are also stronger. Their Attack, Defense, Speed, and Magic are 1.5 times higher in Encore Mode than their Normal Mode counterparts, and their HP is doubled. Additionally, enemies in Encore Mode, particularly bosses, are more likely to use their Special Attacks, and to attack from behind, preventing guarding and counterattacks. While beating the Mysterious Unison in the first playthrough is optional, it is recommended to at least beat the first boss, which unlocks Party Level 6, which is highly useful against many of Encore Mode's stronger opponents.
In the very earliest stages of the game, the main advantage to the player on Encore Mode is the ability to use Special Attacks powered-up by Echoes. A bit later, the greatest advantage will come from the ability to draw from an increased item set. Once regularly playing with three characters in the party, the greatest advantage will come from being able to use Harmony Chains, as well as being able to retain Echoes throughout chains and after battles, if using Party Level 6. While these advantages will likely allow a skilled player to power through opponents in the earlier stages of the game at similar levels to a normal playthrough, they become less powerful once the player starts encountering later opponents, thanks to their proportional increases in all stats, particularly HP, Defense and Speed.
As the Hero's Crest is retained in Encore Mode, you can travel to Mysterious Unison earlier than in Normal Mode, without having to visit Double Reed Tower at all. Baroque City's portal room has also updated, becoming able to transport you to any location you've previously visited in the game. This unlocks certain sidequests not available in an initial playthrough of the game and allows those playing the PlayStation 3 version to access the Church of EZI bonus dungeon.
Behind the scenesEdit
- While this term has been widely adopted by fans to refer to this feature, it appears in neither the game manual, nor anywhere in the game itself. The term was coined in the official strategy guide.
- Game Clear and Encore Mode savefiles are indicated with a medal on the right side of the savefile. This is the same medal seen on Beat's two Costumes.
- The details of Encore Mode, including the increased monster/boss statistics and the fact that the Party Level may be changed freely are never explained by the game itself, with the game simply offering the option to save a Game Clear file which can be used to begin a new game. Furthermore, even in an Encore Mode playthrough, the tutorial is still given in which Allegretto refers to the increasing Party Level.
- If the player obtains the Scrapbook in Encore Mode and then begins a new Encore Mode playthrough from that savefile, then the Scrapbook is retained in that playthrough.