Special Arts (必殺技, Hissatsu Waza, lit. Sure-Killing Arts) also known as Battle Skills and Killer Moves, are physical techniques developed for combat. They are the alternative to Symbology for characters that can't or won't use spells. Special Arts rely on STR and mostly use MP. Most playable characters rely on Special Arts on the battlefield. The majority of Special Arts are offensive abilities meant to damage opponents but can also come in the form of arts that 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 Special 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.
The Japanese name for these attacks are often used as the term for "special moves" in most video games, especially in fighting games.
- Main article: List of Star Ocean Special Arts
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.
- Main article: List of Star Ocean 2 Special Arts
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.
- Main article: List of Star Ocean: Blue Sphere Special Arts
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.
- Main article: List of Star Ocean 3 Battle Skills
Known as Battle Skills, the amount of skill slots were returned to four in the style of the first Star Ocean. The arts were assigned to the X and O buttons and adhered to the Major and Minor attack variations introduced here. For the first time, the majority of arts used HP and a set amount of Fury based on whether it was a Major or Minor attack.
The proficiency system, now known as Mastery, was refined. Every art that could be improved had ten levels of mastery.
- Main article: List of Star Ocean 4 Special Arts
All Characters can learn Special Arts with the exception of the symbologists Faize Sheifa Beleth, Myuria Tionysus and Sarah Jerand. The mastery system was altered so that the player sent SP to level each skill. This extended to field skills that were not used in combat.