After reading some posts on WordPress regarding issues with battles in Ni no Kuni, I noticed how controlling other characters was a main problem for most players. I must admit that I, too, initially had problems with Esther in the beginning. I felt she was a bit useless, and it was very frustrating how she would die on me a lot. It isn’t until later in the game that Ni no Kuni introduces the “All Out Defense” and “All Out Attack” system. After learning about this tactic, I felt I had more control over my party.
“All Out Defense” is used when you press the square button. When you pick this tactic, the party that you are not controlling immediately goes into defense mode. Unfortunately, this is not a shortcut to defending your controlled character. Rather, you have to quickly switch to Defend mode. Also, in All Out Defense mode, all characters being used (excluding the one you are using) will not move in for an attack, even after the enemy already made its move. Therefore, you must remember to revert back to “All Out Attack” right away.
Using defense in the game is critical in making your characters last longer and obtaining green(HP)/blue(MP)/gold(Super Charge attack) orbs. When an enemy attacks and your characters are in defense mode, the power shots are a lot less critical. Also, green/blue orbs will follow, which gives you and your party a great opportunity to increase your HP and MP. Normally, after an attack, I check to see the HP counter on all characters. At that point, I will either use an HP potion (click on “Provisions”) or the Heal spells (click on “Spells”) via Oliver/Esther.
Note: When you see a gold orb (“Super Charge”), you have to wait until it falls on the ground. Then, you run, run, run! The gold orb will only last for awhile. Once you reach the orb and you power up, it will say “Super Charged”. At that point, you have to click the X button and then point to the enemy you want to fire on. There will be a timer on the top, and if you don’t do this, your charge goes away. Super Charge will bring massive hit points against the enemy!
“All Out Attack” is used when you press the triangle button. When you pick this tactic, the party that you are not controlling immediately goes into attack mode. This means they will continue to attack the enemy and will more than likely use their magical attacks. You must be cautious when using this and the enemy is about to use a magical attack, because they will not defend. They will keep battling until they die; therefore, closely pay attention to their HP meter. If you see that an enemy is powering up for a magical attack, quickly press the square button (All Out Defense) and immediately manually defend your main character.
Second Note: When fighting boss battles, I make sure to have an abundant amount of HP booster potions and a couple MP booster potions.
Third Note: Whenever I use Oliver and his spells, I notice I have a hard time getting green(HP) and blue(MP) orbs. However, whenever I use one of his familiars, I am able to get these orbs. The only time I am able to get green(HP) and blue (MP) orbs when using Oliver is when I’m using defend and the enemy attacks.
Important: All Out Attack and All Out Defense are timed as well. After awhile, you will need to re-press these buttons. You can check to see if time has ran out by looking at the top screen. It will normally say “All Out Attack” or “All Out Defense” when using these tactics. If those words have disappeared, it means they are no longer valid and your party members will just do what they want themselves. Sometimes, I get too focused on my own character that I tend to forget this crucial part, which makes a big difference in battle.
And that is pretty much how I control my party during battles. Leveling up helps too, especially when it comes to familiars (I’ll post about this later if anyone asks). I hope this helps!
Ni no Kuni fans, let me know if you have any questions regarding the game by commenting. I can only tell you from my own perspective, but I’m more than willing to do a bit of research too.