Well, since I finished writing a review for Stranger of Sword City (https://www.giantbomb.com/stranger-of-sword-city/3030-42558/user-reviews/2200-30816/) I might well write some hints, while the game still fresh in my mind. Keep in mind, this as just stuff I either figured about, maybe read here and there, but mostly stuff which worked for me, might no be the most awesome or effective hints.
So, first words - this is for the Steam version of the game, which is the so called - White Palace version (白の王宮), the major different between this and the Vita (Black Palace, 黒の宮殿) is some Lineage boss and if you have either the White or Black palace as one of the dungeons.
That said, let´s begin:
Remember, your Main Character does not lose Life Points upon dying, which make the MC the ideal candidate for classes which use skills that make the user a target, such as Iron Defense or make your character and a enemy lock in battle, like the Carnage skills, because if the MC dies you don´t have to spend resource recovering those life points. Specially because, there isn´t much items of this kind around, and don´t bother using poeny powder, it give a life point but reduced the total you have.
One common tip you might hear around is that during character creation, older characters get more ability points but less life points, while younger character have less ability points, but more life points. That mean, that having your MC as older character isn´t a bad idea, since the less life points don´t mean much, unlikely for other party members.
Make absolute sure to at least get Sword Bound level 2, while the first level of Sword Bound will work for 99% of the game, there is one history boss, that will use Charm attack twice in a row and you need Sword Bound 2 to survive them. There is a level 3 Sword Bound, but I did not found any boss which used charm three times.
Veil is a very useful ability which protect the back row of your party, in my run I did not buy, and it made thing hard, since there is only a handful of item in the game which do the same effect.
Ok, here is a quick rundown, how this works:
- When you chance class you level became half of the current you have (if you are a Level 16 Wizard and change to Cleric, you will be at level 8 Cleric)
- During each run, there is a limit of how much times you can change, during the first play through, I think you can change around 6 or 5 times.
- Until your reach the level you was, you won´t gain ability points during level up.
- Each class gain Token points during certain levels, each Token can be used to have a skill from the previous class can use, this is cumulative, most class gain 1 at level 13.
Recommended class changes are:
Dancer - To have at least Weapon Trick and Trick Item.
Ranger - for Hunter´s Eye but Confine might be useful.
Ninja - for evasion bonus and related skills, Hide and Assassination can very good. You might wish all your front line member to be Ninjas for awhile. While other classes you might get enough at level 13, for Ninjas you might stick until 15 before you change, so you can pick up like Cicade Shell.
Wizard - Higher/Master cast.
Knight - Ability to wear armor and use heavy weapons, along with some passive skills which protect user from different effects.
Samurai - Slash skills can speed combat a lot.
Cleric - Holy Shield.
My party, during my play-through my party was follow, keep in mind, this might not be the most efficient or strongest setup:
Samurai 13 - Knight 13 - Dancer 13 - Ninja 15 - Samurai 40
Knight 13 - Samurai 13 - Ninja 15 - Knight 40
Fighter 13 - Ranger 13 - Ninja 15 - Fighter 40
Ninja 13 - Dancer 13 - Fighter 13 - Knight 13 - Ninja 40
Cleric 13 - Dancer 13 - Wizard 41
Wizard 13 - Dancer 13 - Cleric 41
Very quick observations on a few skills of each class, this is only a light observation, based on what I remember during my play through that was useful.
Chivalry (Normal, Light, Dark) - offer a full Line attack, at expanse of defense.
Iron Defense - Very useful skill, which make enemies target the character instead of the party, however, it can result in the said character itself get killed during some boss fights and other tougher encounters, so make sure to have a high enough defense end evasion.
Slash - One of the best skills, offer a row Line attack, and higher levels mean that the character can not only hit the full line ahead, but even one or to lines back. This speed up combat a lot.
Carnage Front/Carnage Back- I confess that I never used this ability, against normal enemies there is not much point, maybe lock down the treasure carrying monster from a ambush but against bosses is very risk to use it. But people say that if you make sure your samurai have a very high evasion and defense, this can be useful ability.
High/Master Cast: This allow the wizard to cast the same spell two or three times in the same round, very useful to get hid or pesky enemies, but more importantly, it is very useful to quickly buff your party, with spell use as Multi-Hit and Multi-Avoid, getting Evasion and Hit to very high levels if often key to survive in certain Lineage battles.
Holy Shield: Once you get this skill, get ready for sudden have your cleric reduced to just spam it at every turn and combat, it ridiculous good, as protect the party from one attack/spell, including thing like Requiem (which might kill a character or more) and other stuff, during Lineage battles, this can be a life saver, specially to protect against party-wide attacks.
Trick Use: It allow you to use the same item twice or three times at once, I can´t say how ridiculous useful is this, at first glance, you might think, that isn´t so good, but late game, begin able to quickly use stuff as Mind Eye Scrolls (Multi Avoid) and Battle Scrolls (Multi Hit) is crucial, since you need to quickly rise Avoid and Hit fast as you can and only having your spellcasters, might be not enough. Also, during some maps, which you can´t use spells, this skill again became crucial.
Weapon Trick: Allow a character to attack a enemy in any row, despite the weapon actual range (meaning you can hit someone at the back row, even with a weapon whose reach is just S and only could hit enemies in the front), this helps a lot to kill lineages which shift from front to back row during a fight.
Hunters Eye: This ability allow you to see the enemies health bars and mostly like be the main reason for at least on character make a class chance to Ranger.
Confine: A low damage attack which reduces enemy hit and evasion.
Most of Ninja skills are really useful, your front line fight benefit a lot form begin Ninjas for a while, while you might need only one character with Hide (used for trigger the Assassination Skill), all other skills they have, even the one which say would give larger bonus if the character isn´t using much armor are useful.
Rush/Berserker/Genocide - Ofter a full random row attack, kind like Slash, but the attacks are random.
Heavy Attack - When you first get it, might not be very useful, as it is a attack skill which causes lots of damage, but have a lower hit rate, however, a full buffed fighter can make use of this.
- The shop NEVER restock! use stuff wisely, specially Mind Eye Scrolls, Battle Scrolls and items related to recover Life Points and MP.
- Some Lineage Type battles are more harder then other, so don´t be surprised if one or two might be done way later.
- There is a couple of Lineage Type battles, which start upon certain conditions, keep an way out, some might show up after a couple of round in any combat on certain maps, you might need to flee in this cases.
Spoiler - New Game Plus
When you finish the main story an npc will give you an Hourglass, this is what you need to start the new game plus, but before that, you might wish to hunt down some new Lineage Type which will show up, however, they are much more harder and what you gain in the very end might no be worth the effort.