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ShockwaveSwirl SO2

Claude C. Kenny using an art called Shockwave Swirl.

Special Arts (必殺技, Hissatsu Waza?, lit. Sure-Killing Arts), also known as Battle Skills, Killer Moves and Special Attacks, are physical techniques developed for combat. They are the alternative to symbology for characters that cannot or do not use spells. Special Arts rely on the ATK/STR stats and mostly require MP to used. The majority of Special Arts are offensive abilities meant to damage opponents but they sometimes can boost character attributes or even heal wounds.

Unlike symbology, special arts must be assigned to a button or they cannot be used in battle. All arts adhere to range; depending on if the character is at short or long range, a different art may be used, or the art itself may change functionality to accommodate the current range.

Appearances

Star Ocean/Star Ocean: First Departure

Special Arts were used by assigning them to the L and R buttons in two sets: short and long range. The amount of skill slots could be increased by using the Link Combo personal skill. These slots were useless to symbologists.

Star Ocean: The Second Story/Second Evolution

Known as Killer Moves in The Second Story, the amount of slots were reduced to two and assigned to either the L1 and R1 buttons. Most arts accomodated this by altering their effects based on range, allowing a skilled player to control which version of an art would activate by keeping track of the distance from their intended target. The Cancel ability was introduced, though it was based on chance depending on the skill's level. Proficiency was also introduced, allowing characters to level special arts and symbology through steady usage.

Star Ocean: Blue Sphere

Special Arts are learned through leveling skills with Skill Points. Because of the semi-realtime nature of the battle system, all arts freeze time when activated.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

Simply called Battle Skills, the amount of skill slots returns to four in the style of the first Star Ocean. Arts are assigned to the X and Circle buttons and adhere to the Major/Strong and Minor/Weak variation feature introduced in this game. As indicated by the position names, assigning whichever button dictates the special arts' potency. Furthermore, for the first time arts require either Hit Points (HP) or Magic Points (MP) and a set amount of Fury% to be used; their cost depends on whether they have been set as a Major or Minor attack.

Battle skills may deal HP damage, MP damage (accounting for the game's MP Death feature), or both. Generally the damage is calculated via the following formula:

$ (Character's ATK - Enemy DEF) × multiplier $

The proficiency system, now known as Mastery, was refined. Every art that could be improved had ten levels of mastery. The Charge and Aerial arts are available to all playable characters. Support skills give additional effects when the character uses the art they have been assigned to.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

All characters can learn Special Arts with the exception of the symbologists Faize Sheifa Beleth, Myuria Tionysus and Sarah Jerand. The mastery system is altered so that the player spends SP to level each skill. This extends to field skills that are not used in combat.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

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Star Ocean: Anamnesis

Also known as Special Attacks, special arts in Anamnesis are all those battle skills that use a character's ATK stat to calculate damage. Due to their physical nature, these arts are used by the melee classes: Attackers, Defenders, and Sharpshooters. Like symbology, using arts consumes the AP Gauge. Additionally, the more hits an art has, the more it fills up the character's Rush Gauge.

Trivia

  • The Japanese name for these attacks are often used as the term for "special moves" in most video games, especially in fighting games.
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