Best party members and skill builds for Sword Art Online: Lost Song
MMO-addicted Kirito and the harem of lovely ladies he always manages to surround himself with have finally escaped the eponymous Sword Art Online and moved on to ALfheim Online in the new action RPG, Lost Song. A new world to explore means new skills, new characters, and new ways to deal death to enemy mobs before reaching the difficult boss at the end of each quest.
This time around you can swap out members for a party of up to three characters, each with different strengths and weaknesses. With a large cast of playable characters to choose from, picking the best lineup for any given situation will determine whether you smash through quests or end up dying repeatedly.
Since you can swap out three different weapon sets for each character and the highest level abilities unlocked for each skill are quite devastating, potentially any character can be viable for PvE play in most areas. That being said, a few of the options are clearly a cut above the rest of the pack, and make a very formidable team if you are looking for maximum damage output in PvE situations, especially while grinding through all those extra quests.
Before reading on, keep in mind this article contains minor spoilers, as it mentions characters and special skills unlocked after the game's main quest line ends.
Sword Art Online: Lost Song Skills
Total character level is less important in Lost Song than the level of your weapon or magic skill combined with what kind of equipment you are using. Outside that consideration, there are also many areas both in dungeons and the world map where you can elevate yourself above certain enemies and rain down damage on them while they can't effectively retaliate.
When battling more difficult bosses or enemies in flat areas, the damage you're dealing will be influenced by your overall skill level for each type of weapon. After capping out at 250 in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, follow-up Lost Song decided to up the ante and let you grind all the way to an astounding level 1000 in each skill.
Actually going through that level of repetitive grind is more work than fun, but if you manage to reach the top tier, your character unlocks a passive skill greatly increasing damage with that weapon. Meanwhile, you'll get small boosts to damage every 100 levels and also unlock skills that cost MP at regular intervals – and here's where you get the real damage.
Katana or Dual Wielding? Decisions, decisions...
In terms of straight DPS, the dual wield skill is frequently the best and lands hits more frequently than the slower axe skill, which is probably second best in terms of overall damage potential. Two-handed sword seems like it would be devastating, but has a slower speed (this is especially negative in PvP against a mobile opponent who knows how to dodge and guard effectively). The katana, meanwhile, is fast and focuses on combinations of multiple attacks at a time, making it another solid option.
Keep in mind that even having extremely high levels in certain weapon skills won't always be useful – if you hear the metallic clinking sound while hitting a monster, it means your attack isn't useful against that enemy. For instance, rapiers aren't particularly useful against skeletons (which makes sense), while maces and magic are better against metal golems.
Sword Art Online: Lost Song Best Characters
Three open slots are available for building your party before any given quest, and the main character Kirito actually isn't required to be one of them for many sections of the game. While he is needed to trigger events, you can explore the game world and grind areas without him in the group, leading to more viable party builds with different characters.
While most characters get the ability to heal themselves to some degree, it should go without saying that you should always keep a dedicated healer in the party to deal with dicey situations. In this instance, picking a character of the Undine race is the way to go, as they have strong health restoration powers and the ability to revive knocked out party members.
Some characters gain access to special OSS skills not available to any other party member, but always be flexible and willing to swap out characters as needed based on the situation. Having all characters with high ice and wind magic skills are useful in most areas, but won't give you any advantage when battling bosses weak against dark magic, for instance.
As the main Lost Song character, Kirito is going to absolutely dominate on the damage front for a large portion of the game if you focus on dual-wielding. The End Revolver skill is incredibly useful when surrounded by large numbers of enemies, but things get crazy with level 300 skill Starburst Stream, which does 17 separate attacks. The final dual-wielding skill, Eclipse, at level 400 has an even bigger combination attack for truly devastating damage.
Kirito has high HP and useful sword skills, but is very poor at magic and has low MP, so you want a dedicated caster in the party if you are bringing along Kirito. He remains a solid all-around choice though, especially when unlocking the Boss Killer skill that increases damage by 10% against – you guessed it – every single boss. He also eventually unlocks skills that increase the chances of enemies dropping rare loot, so even if his damage lags behind other characterse in the post-game, this ability more than makes up for it.
A strong early game character who can act as your healer, Leafa will unfortunately be overshadowed by other characters later on (particularly Yuuki and Asuna). If you decide to keep at it, though, and level Leafa as one of your core members, her tier 3 wind magic becomes incredibly powerful and can easily stand toe-to-toe with other casters.
Asuna works as a fantastic balance to Kirito as she's almost the exact opposite: low in HP but high in MP with strong magic abilities. You can switch to bows to keep her out of harm's way, but after finishing her side storyline, Asuna gets the special Mother's Rosario one-handed sword skill. Without a doubt, this is one of the strongest attacks available, and only one other character gets access to it, so keep Asuna around.
On the magic front, besides being a very capable healer, Asuna's Absolute Zero spell (unlocked with Tier 3 water magic) can one-hit kill even high-level enemies. While Asuna gets the fast casting skill, she can be particularly devastating if you take advantage of the game's quick casting glitch. Press the block button just after casting an offensive spell to cancel the spell's animation (even though the spell has already gone off) and you can immediately cast again without waiting.
The only other character to have access to the Mother's Rosario one-handed sword skill, Yuuki is another great option for both magic and sword skills. As a bonus, she also eventually gets the Boss Killer ability like Kirito. Unfortunately, she has less MP overall than other characters -- and if you already have Asuna, there's not a lot of reason to also have Yuuki at the same time.
With access to an upgraded version of Boss Killer, a focus on dual-wielding, and the special Thousand Rain OSS skill, Rain can potentially become a better damage dealer than Kirito. Doubling up with Kirito and Rain can be effective even if they are both dual-wielding, however, as Rain's buffing abilities are incredibly useful. Sharpness in particular is helpful for taking down tougher enemies.
Unlike with damage spells where you have to actually hit an enemy to level up, buffs increase in power just by casting them over and over. So you can get Rain upgraded very quickly just by spamming spells outside of combat.
Hold on now – Sumeragi is a playable character? Yep, but not on the first play through. After completing the entire story the first time, head back to the game's first area (Woglinde) with only Kirito in your party and no other members. Fly to the blue dot on your mini-map to locate Sumeragi standing next to a chest.
As a “secret” unlockable character, Sumeragi is predictably higher powered and an excellent option for any party lineup. Sumeragi has the third limited OSS skill called Tyr that makes his katana attacks do large damage even from longer range, so put him in your group as soon as possible.