After talking to Nancy in Euclid, she will actually head off to Venezia to follow Elwyn and make a pit-stop at Hamel. The player needs to drop by Hamel for a plot-item, anyway, but must make a detour and find Nancy in Hamel and talk to her before making a pact with Sylph. If the player doesn't do this Nancy will be among the corpses when Hamel gets attacked.
The next part has the tiny, tiny time-frame of starting after defeating Demitel, but be no longer available when the player sails to Alvanista, which is the very next thing the player needs to do for the plot. The player must make sure to see the scenes of Elwyn and his father arguing about his love for Nancy, and Klarth suggesting the two simply elope.
The last part is much kinder because its time-frame goes on until the party leaves for the present. The two have followed Klarth's advice and eloped to Alvanista, where the player can talk to the two. And in complete contrast to what the player has been intending this whole time, they need to go back and tell Elwyn's father where his son ran off to. Fortunately, this is the last, weird part, and the rest of the sidequest is straightforward.
Getting Suzu to join as a party member in the remakes. The player must view scenes in a specific area, to see Suzu. Later on, find the Ninja Village in the Treant Forest, with that location itself being a guide-dang-it. And then the player must participate in the Euclid tournament and fight specific enemies, then return to the Ninja Village, and Suzu will become recruitable. The worst part is that, aside from having to go through the Treant Forest twice for this, nothing indicates the Euclid tournament is necessary for this. And the tournament is something most players would leave for much, much later in the game because it can be a brutal place, and the player can only fight with Cless.
One translation error resulted in a guide dang it. In Helraois, the player needs to input a password. The dungeon itself has hints as to what the four letters in the password are. Unfortunately, two of the letters are one off their actual value, and both of them happened to be consonants. Have fun figuring out which ones are incorrect, and what 2 of the other 14 letters are required without resorting to a guide. Incidentally, the password is FATE.
The Bonus Dungeon is based on The Tower of Druaga, and getting the treasure in this game has the same problem as in that game. A few random villagers give clues, but they don't help the player much. In order to even access the tower, the player must hold onto a worthless item, and then waste a Rune Bottle on it. Definitely the hardest of the three staffs to find.
In order to progress through the story, the player must talk to three NPCs in two different areas, in a very specific order, then return to the King, and then talk to one of those NPCs again. If the player doesn't talk to one of them or talks to them in the wrong order, they can't progress.
Accessing the throne room in Terrazi Castle requires the player to know the western zodiac by heart. And even if one does, it doesn't start at the beginning of the zodiac, but at the very end of it. There is a guard NPC that will give a hint for 500 Gald, but his hint is only useful in telling the player where to start if they already know the answer to the puzzle... 'Goat', indeed.
The Aetherspere/Aeropolis location has the Sun-Moon-Star-Saturn puzzle. It's essentially the player guessing where to put each orb, until something ends up working. There are no hints or guides for this.
Getting the Blue Dragon disc. During the game, the player obtains an egg that Stahn comments on being 'too big to waste by eating'. In order to get it to do something, the player must visit Lilith, who is in a completely optional location, and then the player must go all over the world in search of recipes, after the egg hatches. If the player is currently on Mary's sidequest, they'll know she's the specialty chef from Phandaria, but good luck figuring out that Philia is the sweet-making chef or Johnny is the master fish chef without a guide.
Performing the Maxwell Mystic Arte chain Blue Earth, which will heal your party and net them a whopping 100000 EXP per battle. You must have Keele or Meredy equip a mana item and have the Maxwell summon on a main button (not a shortcut button) and have won at least one battle on hardcore mode. Once you have done this, you perform a specific button combination during each specific Maxwell extension to trigger Blue Earth. The enemy must also have enough HP to survive the encounter up to Blue Earth for the full effect to occur. The game never tells you that this kind of chain is possible, as it is the only example of such an attack chain in the game.
Gaining Judas' full Infernal Suffering Mystic Arte and Harold's full Crazy Comet spell require a certain number of playthroughs to unlock them in the Grade Shop. And what needs to be bought there for them does not have a very indicative name. Good luck even knowing about these without a guide. And this is especially bad because Infernal Suffering is Judas' most popular Mystic Arte because it unlocks an Easter Egg.
Opening the Aqua Dungeon is tedious and counter-intuitive. The player needs to find twelve stones on the overworld. Not that bad, except one of them requires the player to land on a seemingly random island in the overworld, and then run across the ocean (with no indication that this is even possible) until one finds a Pac-Man statue in the middle of the water. And then the Sorcerer's Scope must be used on it. And then the player needs to go to the optional Katz Town, and find a hidden door inside of the basement of a building.
The Time Travel mechanic in the game leads to several things being permanently missable because leaving a certain timeline means the player cannot return. This is especially bad if the player is trying to find all the Berselium needed to craft all the penultimate weapons.
Throughout the game, the player is given choices between two lines for the main character to say during certain events. Most assume these to be choices for a bit of fun, and getting some amusing reactions. But nothing in the game indicates that these choices actually raise or lower the Relationship Values of certain party members with Lloyd, which end up affecting several endgame events. Without knowing these, and even missing the Overworld Skits, most players end up seeing the ending revolving around the default choice, Colette. And this when there are seven different ways the endgame events can play out; with an eight focusing on Kratos, but it playing out mostly like Colette's, but with different dialogue.
This is particularly bad in an early scene where Sheena first appears and falls down a pit, with an option to have Lloyd worry if she's alright or not caring about it. Despite Sheena not having joined the party yet, these choices do affect Sheena's affinity with Lloyd.
The only upside to this is that the game does give visual indicators on which party member's affinity for Lloyd is currently the highest. For example, when Lloyd chooses to separate from the party to explore a tunnel in the Shadow Temple, the party member with the highest affinity will talk to him... however, this does not work for Kratos, as he's not in the party for majority of the game. And the player isn't told that this visual indicator means anything.
The Flanoir scene, which is the scene that determines which character will be in higher focus for the endgame events, has the three characters with highest affinity come in descending order and ask Lloyd if he wants to go outside and have a chat. The Gamecube version made getting a different ending slightly less annoying because rejecting all three options would automatically result in Kratos calling Lloyd outside, resulting in his path and the death of Zelos... which was no longer possible in the PS2/PS3 version because Lloyd will automatically go outside with the third person to ask him if the previous two were rejected.
The S-Tree (Strength) and T-Tree (Technical) skill separation. Each character has an S-Tree or T-Tree of skills to learn, with it being determined which tree they follow based on what type of Ex-Skill they use on their equipped Ex-Gem. Most first-time players will likely not care much about them, and leave Ex-Gems alone, with the characters gaining the default skill tree — Lloyd being Strength, Genis and Raine Technical, etc — which are decent enough. The S-Tree skills end up being stronger than their T-Tree counterpart, but the T-Tree skills end up giving the player more hits, which makes combos easier.
Using the Mystic Artes was given no indicator on how to do it. The simplest are Sheena's because those are simply her summoning one of the Summon Spirits she's made a contract with.
Lloyd must have gained the Eternal Swordsman title, although it does not need to be equipped, and have the Material Blades equipped as his weapon, have at most 15% of his health left, and then press the Guard, Attack, and Arte button simultaneously. Chances are, the player may have stumbled upon this by pure accident the first time around.
Colette must have used Judgement and Holy Song at least fifty times each. And Holy Judgement will randomly activate when using one of them in Overlimit.
Genis must have used Indignation at least fifty times, and then cast Indignation while in Overlimit. This is especially bad because of the S-Tree and T-Tree skill seperation for him, meaning if the player went for the S-Tree skills for Genis, they can't use his Mystic Arte.
Raine must use Ray (T-Tree) or Holy Lance (S-Tree) at least one hundred times, then use that skill in Overlimit to cast Sacred Shine. Her second Mystic Arte, Fairy Circle, requires having used Revitalize (T-Tree) one hundred times, then casting it in Overlimit.
Kratos must have the Judgement title equipped after he permanently joins, and the player must either not have Lloyd in the party or Llody must not have the Material Blades equipped. Then the health and button requirements are the same as for Lloyd's Mystic Arte.
Zelos must first have used Demon Spear at least one hundred times. After the first non-hopeless battle against Yggdrasill, have Zelos use Demon Spear while in Overlimit and with at most 15% health to learn his first Mystic Arte, and learn the Judgement spell. For his second Mystic Arte, Divine Judgement, he has to use Judgement a total of twenty times, and use it while in Overlimit.
Presea must have used Beast at least one hundred times. She also needs the P. Charge Ex-Skill (T-Tree) equipped, which allows her to get Power Charge if the player holds down a button in battle. After getting a Power Charge in-battle, use Beast during Overlimit for her first Mystic Arte.
Her second one deserves its own point. She must have the compound Ex-Skill Overcharge (P. Charge + Taunt; both T-Tree), and she must be the only non-KOed party member, and she must be at most at 16% health. Then she needs to have used Beast at least two-hundred times. Then the Overcharge must successfully occur in-battle, and then the player can use Beast in Overlimit to activate Hien Messhoujin. Oy!
Regal must have used Force at least one hundred times. While in Overlimit, the player needs to perform a four-arte combo where Force is the last one.
Getting all the treasure chests. This is particularly bad because some locations in the game become inaccessible past certain points, there are two trips through the Tower of Salvation that are one-time-only, each with their own set of treasure chests to open, and the Palmacosta Human Ranch has the really annoying mechanic that its treasures are invisible. The player must use the Sorcerer Ring's unique radar ability to make them visible, and that ranch also has a warp-tile puzzle, with some leading to treasures and some leading forward. The game tries to be helpful and kind by having the Katz offer a service of being sent to even-inaccessable places, to search and open any missed treasure chests, but they are very unreliable.
Certain sidequests becoming locked at certain points, and others unlocking at other points, with no indicator when they do. The best bet for the endgame sidequests is to open the door to the Final Boss area and watch the scene, but to not warp to the Final Boss himself.
Unlocking Niflheim. The player needs to defeat two stationary enemies in the final dungeon to make two treasure chests spawn, which contain two stones. These will cause colored blocks to appear in the main area, which the player needs to put into a certain order to open a treasure chest that holds the Sacred Stone. Nothing in the game tells the player that this will happen. They might notice the stationary enemies, but will unlikely know what they mean. And the only hint as to where the book containing Niflheim is, which the player needs the Sacred Stone for to 'recognize', is given by an NPC much earlier, whom the player may not have talked to or forgotten about. And even players that don't intend to do the Bonus Dungeon are likely to get this item, simply because it also allows quick-travel between the final dungeon and the Tower of Salvation, for the sake of finishing sidequests.
Just before the player first reaches the Tower of Salvation, a sidequest opens up that involves rebuilding Luin. It's not bad in itself, just very expensive because the player needs to end up donating a total of 455,500 Gald. The problem is that each donation step requires a specific amount of money, and the player has to give that exact, specific amount, unless the player wants to waste money. One cannot 'pre-pay' for the next step. And nothing in the game indicates what each step costs. And for each donation to count, and proceed to the next step, the player needs to leave the city and re-enter. The sidequest has a total of 15 steps, with increasingly expensive payments, but the player can only perform seven steps before leaving for Tethe'alla.
This is alleviated in the Updated Re-release, where the prompt will prevent you from donating more than you need for the present step.
Gaining certain titles are a nightmare, either because of how difficult it is to eventually obtain them or, in the case of the costume titles for the PS2/PS3 version, they have weird requirements.
The Gigolo title for Zelos requires him to have the Personal (S-Tree) Ex-Skill equipped, which allows him to flirt with female NPCs and gain an item from them. This title requires him to have talked to every woman in the entire game. Some women disappear at certain points of the game, while others don't spawn until later in the game, and Zelos can flirt with certain shopkeepers, but has to go behind the counter for the flirt dialogue to show up. The only upside to this title is that there's a glitch way to get this much, much easier... but the player needs to know to go and talk to Zelos' butler after several important scenes near the endgame, but before gaining a certain, necessary item to proceed.
The I hate Gels! for Genis requires the player to make it to the first battle against Pronyma without using a single Gel in-battle beforehand. Most players are unlikely to do this, unless they are playing a Self-Imposed Challenge, since Gels are the main HP-healing item and the only way to heal MP in-battle beyond the sub-par Charge spell.
The Twinsies <3 costume for Colette requires the player to do two things. Lloyd must have seen the Flanoir scene with Colette, which is simple enough to do. Then the player needs to return to Dirk's house after sleeping in Heimdall later on, but before heading into the Treant Forest to fight Kratos, with no reason to go there because of the plot-reasons going on.
The biker outfits for Zelos and Sheena, and the winter outfits for Genis and Presea. To get either set, Lloyd must view the Flanoir scene with Zelos or Sheena, or with Genis or Presea. However, if Lloyd has the scene with Sheena or Presea, he will only get their specific outfit. If the player wants the full set, it's easier to view the scene with Zelos or Genis, though nothing in the game indicates this. And this still requires two playthroughs.
Raine's bunny outfit. In itself not difficult, as this one does not require Lloyd to have had the Flanoir scene with her, but it requires a lot of betting at the Casino. Or buying a ton of chips, if one has the Gald. The costume is unlocked by purchasing the ?????? item at the Casino for 150,000 chips. Nothing lets the player know what this is, and might avoid it in fear of wasting their hard-earned chips.
Nothing in the cooking system shows that each character has a certain ingredient they really like, and one they really dislike. These determine how effective a certain dish is for each character. And a character cooking with their preferred ingredient will increase their Overlimit gauge, while cooking with the disliked ingredient lowers it. The only indicator that the characters have preferences is seeing the amount of stars the character can earn by cooking the dish. Lloyd and Kratos have low stars for dishes involving tomatoes, while Sheena has high stars for dishes involving rice, etc.
Finding the Devil Arms. Some are rather easy to find, once the player has activated the sidequest, as the unique treasure chests are in somewhat easy to find locations. Others are lucky to be found because the player has no reason to inspect the broken remains of the Bacura slab; one is dropped by an enemy the player only unlocks by talking to a certain NPC in a specific town; and one is given by talking to an NPC in Altamira at night. Although the last one was altered to be bought for 250 chips at the casino in the PS2/PS3 version.
Combined with Scrappy Mechanic, the game requires the player to actually type what they are going to say instead of getting dialogue options several times during the game. And there are many synonyms to the 'correct' words that don't work because, well, they aren't the exact same words. There's a reason the most frustrating ones were dropped from the PSP remake. This makes it impossible for anyone who can't read Japanese to complete these puzzles without a guide, and might be a reason why the game was not localized.
Again, Blue Earth. Its activation is even worse than in Tales of Eternia, as it requires a very specific party combination of Hilda, Eugene, and Mao to be in the party, as Hilda and Eugene will trigger Dual the Sol but Mao will activate the rest. You must have two controllers plugged into the PS 2 and hit buttons on Mao's controller at times and Hilda's at others, making things even more confusing. Nowhere in the game is this hinted at, and even players who are familiar with Tales of Eternia will likely be confused by the specific party and multiplayer requirements.
Majority of the sidequests, especially those that expand on the story or give good rewards, have very small windows of opportunity to complete. Special mention goes to the Yulia City sidequests, where the second part requires Rice, an item that was only sold in one city much earlier and has likely been used in cooking. And there is no chance for the player to get back to that city to get Rice at that point. And the less said about the Cecille and Frings sidequest, the better.
Din's Shop requires a guide to simply use.
The characters have various titles, with most of them having passive effects on them. But nothing tells the player what those effects are or if a title even has an effect. And the thing is that Natalia has two costume titles that do have secondary effects, beyond changing her outfit.
The Search Points and their items. The Search Points themselves are somewhat easy to find, but the problem comes from the items they give. They are separated into five Levels from 1 to 5, and it's random what the player gets... unless they use Natalia's character titles.
Natalia's character and costume titles that affect the Level of items gotten from Search Points are tedious to get, too. The Level 2 title is obtained over the course of the game, which is easy enough. Her Level 3 title comes from a sidequest that requires the Albiore II to be fully-upgraded to gain access to the location to begin with, and then involves finding three NPCs over Auldrant. The game does give a hint as to where each NPC is, but only if the player returns and talks to the original quest-giver again. The Level 4 title comes from completing the Labyrinth house's final level as Natalia within a certain time-limit. And unlocking the Labyrinth house had a small time-frame and cost a whooping 200,000 Gald to pay to get built. And the Level 5 title requires all Search Points to have been found, Natalia to have her Level 2 title equipped, and be the on-screen character, and then talk to Din. Nothing in the game says that changing the on-screen character does anything beyond alter maybe a line here and there, nor would anyone think to change their on-screen character for this.
The Secret Missions the player can do during certain battles range from being blindingly obvious or fall squarely into this.
The secret mission for the second fight with Zagi requires you to knock him off the boat you're fighting him on, except the game never even remotely hints such a thing is possible. Furthermore, while Zagi isn't a hard boss, his erratic attacks and AI make it where he rarely will be near the side of the boat, and even if he is, the game doesn't convey how you are supposed to do it.
The Secret Mission with Estelle that requires the player to use a certain item during a specific battle, with said item, Mother's Memento, being something she gives after activating a certain event. If the player doesn't find the right window to do this, the item is lost. And to make things worse, there's another scene activated by the exact same requirements, but it comes before the secret mission. This means the player has to do it twice to get Mother's Memento, which is something most players won't think of doing.
The mission against Yaeger is particularly bad. In order to complete the mission, the player needs to cause Yaeger to stagger, and then hit him with Raven's Rain or Rainsong arte. This mission not only requires Raven to be in the party to complete, but is difficult to do because Yaeger is not easily knocked back, and the mission message is misleading. The player needs to stagger Yaeger, then stop hitting him immediately, wait for Yaeger to run away, get exhausted, and then be hit by Rain or Rainsong.
Alexei's Secret Mission is pretty unintuitive. During battle, Alexei will use a powerful Mystic Arte called Brilliant Cataclysm, which can very easily do a ton of damage to the party. Unlike previous bosses, he will not use his Mystic Arte once, but up to six times. For the Secret Mission to even appear, the player needs to let him use Brilliant Cataclysm around three times, then hit him when he's exhausted, which is random and may take more than three attempts. Why would anyone think to let a boss use such a devastating attack on their party, unless it was known to be the way to get the Secret Mission unlocked?
The secret mission for the Duel Boss with Flynn requires you to have him use all his Artes, including his Mystic Arte. This is incredibly difficult because you naturally are not able to control when he uses each arte, and getting hit by his Mystic Arte can be a death sentence if you are not careful.
The sidequest to find the Fell Arms is incredibly difficult to do without a guide. The Fell Arms themselves take a few minutes to find, if the player knows where to look, but otherwise could take hours of looking and searching before stumbling over one of them. And nothing in the game informs the player that the last boss is powered up dramatically if the player has gotten all of them, and that the Fell Arms themselves are worthless until the game is beat and a cleared game save is made. So, these things don't even help in beating the ultra powerful final boss.
Unlocking the Bonus Dungeon requires the player to see one event by going back to Phaeroh's Crag at a very specific point in the game, otherwise the place cannot be accessed. The Updated Re-release rectifies this by adding an alternate method if the above event is missed.
Unlocking your parties second level mystic artes in the Updated Re-release are not at all made clear in game and require looking outside the game to figure out how to unlock them. They require doing specific things with each character that don't really make sense. For example, Estelle can only unlock her second mystic arte by using each of her Burst Artes 20 times each, meaning you need to use a total of 100 Burst Artes for her to unlock it. Others like Rita require such a strange and out of the norm approach that you would have to be lucky to figure it out, as to unlock Indignation, you need to use her Thunder Blade arte well over 100 times, then use in the arena against Dhaos and cast it in Overlimit.
Gaining Sophie's Level 3 Blast Caliber requires extensive synthesizing of a lot of items, and handing them to a certain NPC girl. While it makes somewhat sense that the player can do this, a lot of those items happen to be made with stuff that the game pretty much calls Vendor Trash.
The final boss in the Lineage and Legacies arc has a guide-dang-it in its battle. When the boss has about 10% health left, she will use "Dual the Sol", a different Mystic Arte than the one she's been using the whole battle. If the player does nothing (and indeed, someone who doesn't know the Guide Dang It! will not know they can even do anything), she will never again use this attack and the battle will proceed as normal until its conclusion. However, by pressing and holding a very specific button combination, the player prompts Fodra Queen to immediately follow up "Dual the Sol" with another Mystic Arte...and by inputting another very specific button combination, it happens again, and again, and several more times. The result is a very long, and extremely painful Mystic Arte chain that consists of all the Maxwell extension spells from previous games, and if the player messes up at pretty much any point after the 2nd one, they will generally result in a party-wipe when completed. However, if done correctly (that is, by correctly inputting the whole string of very specific button combinations when each Mystic Arte is performed), all the damage will be nullified, and the party counters with their own special Mystic Arte, "Blue Earth",instantly defeating the boss. Nothing in the game tells the player that this is a thing. As a matter of fact, the only hint that you can do this at all is in a different game entirely. Players were supposed to either be a long-time fan who played a previous Tales of game where these artes previously appeared and guess that they could try replicating them in this one battle, or look up a guide to figure it out.
Getting certain titles, especially the Skit Viewer one. A lot of skits appear by default throughout the game, but several Sub-Event skits and Etc skits are required to get the final title. And several of the Sub-Event skits won't appear if the player proceeds or completes the Sub-Event too fast.
The Sub-Events themselves. Most of them appear in whatever city the party is currently in, though some only count as sub-events if the player goes into a room for a scene, and then immediately re-enters the same room to view the 'real' scene. Some Sub-Events also appear in previous cities, so unless the player knows or fidns some reason to go back to those cities, those Sub-Events will likely not be gotten.
What items can be found via Kitty Dispatch, and which cats are found via Dispatch or by finding them in the field. While the Dispatch shows the amount of cats for each location, if the player has already found one for that place, it doesn't tell the player how to get the others. So the player will walk around both worlds and search, while having the Dispatch going, to see what works.
The game has Relationship Values like Symphonia, with certain dialogue options increasing the characters' affinity with Ludger. Unlike Symphonia, there is no decreasing of affinity with others, but the cutscenes and skits, where the dialogue choice matters, are rare enough that a guide is needed to find them all and get the most affinity possible.
How to unseal the Sealed Weapons. Getting the Sealed versions are simple, with one acquired by completing somewhat easy Jobquests and the other by playing through the Advanced Rank in the Battle Arena. To unseal them, the player needs to find a certain NPC in the Nala Lava Tubes, who will only sell things to those that have shown their strength, meaning the player needs to complete the Elite Rank of the Battle Arena. And that is only unlocked post-game. After doing this, the NPC will open his shop and the option to Custom Order the unsealed weapons is available.
Gaining the ingredients to create the Unsealed Weapons is worse. The player needs to custom order and create certain weapons to use as ingredients to unseal the weapons. While this isn't too bad, some of those ingredients only appear in fractured dimensions, and those dimensions are gone upon leaving them. Special mention goes to Milla's Dual Edge, a weapon only found in the fractured dimension of Chapter 10, and in a room that can only be accessed halfway through that place's dungeon, located in a hall that one can only get to by managing to find that one hole in the wall to crawl through in the dark caves.
The entire system of equipment, equipment skills, skill stacking, and equipment fusing could be listed here. The game runs on Empty Levels, with most of the parameters being based on what equipment the characters have and what skills are attached to them. A good portion of the game can be played by simply getting new equipment in towns and increasing parameters that way, but towards the last third of the game, the gloves come off. Enemies can cause status effects like Petrify, which can't be cured, and gaining immunity to that requires the player to have equipment on that gives a certain number of stacks in a skill. It becomes more difficult to stagger enemies, something that is required to do for the final boss, and damage output VS damage taken gets unbalanced. The game tries to help the player by having several skits play at save points or at inns that involve the characters explaining the system, but it's not very well done.
The strength of healing spells is affected by the amount of SG a character has, as well as a few other factors. The trouble is that the game never bothers to inform the player any of this, and SG use is almost crucial late-game. As such, it's not uncommon for late-game healing spells to only heal about 600 HP when a character's max HP is 4000, and this happening in a battle against a boss that deals 1200 HP damage per hit. The other ways of increasing a healing spell's strength are mostly not that intuitive, and it's possible to beat the game without ever finding out how to increase the spell's strength.
Coupled as an Achievement, seeing all the Mystic Artes in the game. This doesn't just mean the player must unlock the third Mystic Arte for each party member, and use them, but also view the Mystic Arte of bosses. The worst part is that the automatic occurence of Shigure's Mystic Arte during his hopeless battles does not count as having 'seen' it, or the fact that Phoenix has two Mystic Artes, which the player likely isn't aware of, or that one of those only randomly happens when he's defeated, meaning that if you beat him and it didn't activate, you'll have to restart the entire battle for another chance.
The whole nightmare that is arte hitstun. Combat in Berseria is heavily combo-based, so you'd expect attacks to affect enemies consistently, or at least improve from a starting point. What the game never tells the player is that yes, using a move over and over will invisibly improve it, increasing the hitstun it causes and opening more combo opportunities... but repeatedly using the same arte in a single battle causes the hitstun to decay for that battle. So artes that link into each other at the start of a fight won't by halfway through. Naturally this makes designing your own combos impossibly obtuse, and the game doesn't communicate a single factor of it.