Welcome back to the world of Erion as we start the fourth part of the Odin Sphere Leifthrasir character guides, this time featuring Oswald the Shadow Knight.
Oswald's story marks the beginning of the latter half of the game, however many of his actions are already known because of various dialogue from other characters' stories. As such, Oswald's journey isn't so much about making large discoveries, as it is fitting in smaller pieces of a puzzle. From a gameplay perspective, the game has already thrown us most of what it has, though it does introduce an annoying new feature: purchasing keys from vendors to progress in a given level.
Things ramp up quickly, but fortunately Oswald is up for the challenge. Here are the essential things to know about Oswald the Shadow Knight.
STR: 18 DEX: 14 ATK: 12
CON: 16 LUC: 9 DEF: 0
Last chapter threw us for a loop with Mercedes and her unique ranged attacks and POW usage. Fortunately, Oswald brings us back to basics somewhat with his traditional melee attacks and skill system. However, as mentioned near the end of the Cornelius guide, Oswald does have one thing that separates him from the rest cast in a big way: the ability to transform.
Up near the upper left corner of the screen, there is a meter labeled "Berserk" and when it fills, Oswald has the option to transform into a shadow creature that looks like it came straight from Netherworld Endelphia. During his transformed state, Oswald becomes faster and stronger, and through the use of passive skills, tougher and resistant toward status effects as well. Naturally, the transformation state is limited but you can get some of the meter needed to transform back by hitting foes with a charge attack. Honestly, there is no situation where transforming isn't viable, though be wary that the boosted speed can make Oswald difficult to control - making it difficult to hit specific targets.
Regardless of what form he's in however, Oswald's strong point is his skills. They aren't fancy like Gwendolyn's or quick like Cornelius' but what they lack in both attributes, they more than make up for in raw power. All of his pertinent skills are capable of laying the hurt on multiple enemies and, much like other characters, some of them double up as utility moves.
Whereas Oswald's skills shine, his repertoire of spells are lackluster. That doesn't mean they aren't strong, however - it just means that opposed to the four or five other characters could viably use, Oswald only has one or two that's worth using. Fortunately, Oswald is more than capable of using them to clear out a room in a single cast - which is fortunate for him since they cost a ton.
The return of a more traditional character type also marks the return of one of the more enjoyable parts of the game: combos. Oswald is the last of the three characters who do greater damage on the ground, though much like Cornelius, he's capable knocking stunned enemies up into the air and unleashing extended combos to take away significant amounts of their health. However, Oswald has another option that's only available to him thanks to his transformation: due to his increased attack speed and damage, it's fully possible to keep an enemy stunlocked just by frantically mashing square.
Lastly there's Dainsleif, Oswald's ultimate attack. It's a hard-hitting, multi-target attack and is worth doing if you want to pile on extra damage against a group of stronger foes.
In the end, players will need to level up all of Oswald's abilities - both active and passive - in order to maximize his stats, but some of them are better than others and should be prioritized. Here's what they are:
Vile Rush (Active): Once again, Oswald is continuing the trend of having his first spell/skill being among the most useful. Once activated, Oswald dashes forward while swinging his weapon furiously. As with all multi-hit attacks of this nature, it synergizes quite well with Assault High. Unfortunately it shares their weakness as well, losing effectiveness on higher difficulties when enemies gain an increased resistance to being staggered.
Serpent Grief (Active): This spell creates a serpent made of dark flames that jumps along the ground and deals damage to any enemy it touches. There isn't much to write about with this spell, but you get it early and it's only one of three worth using, so feel free to use it to compliment Oswald's damage whenever you need it.
Crazed Grip (Active): Just like with Gwendolyn's Beak Drive and Cornelius' Streak Slash, this skill is mainly used for getting behind a boss before it can launch a frontal attack. However, unlike those two, it does its damage all at once and requires the boss to be next to the opponent for it to work.
Aerial Dive (Active): This skill has a special place in Oswald's arsenal. Yes, the skill does a hefty amount of damage, capable of replacing Crazed Grip in most situations, but its true value is found when used against Frost Ben, one of the bosses encountered in Winterhorn Ridge. Unlike the other bosses Oswald fights, Frost Ben has only one specific point that can be hit to deal damage and unfortunately Aerial Dive is the only skill capable of hitting it consistently.
Nightmare Blast (Active): Everything that was said about Serpent Grief applies to Nightmare Blast, except this spell far exceeds the former. Instead of sticking to the ground, the serpent this spell summons can fly anywhere on screen, damaging any enemy it passes through. As an added bonus, it can actually bring enemies to Oswald, greatly reducing the amount of footwork he needs to make.
Madness (Active): This spell allows Oswald to transform regardless of how filled his Berserk gauge is. Honestly, this spell isn't entirely necessary as Oswald is still capable of dealing plenty of damage in his base form. If you do choose to use this, be prepared to lose out on Oswald's other spells as this one costs plenty of PP.
Banishment (Passive): This ability allows Oswald to automatically damage every enemy on screen whenever he transforms. The damage isn't significant, but it's free.
Skill Link (Passive): Lets Oswald deal more damage to enemies based on how many skills he uses in a combo. Self-explanatory.
Extent of Madness (Passive): Allows Oswald to remain in his transformed state for a longer period of time, letting him deal more damage as a result.
Assault High (Passive): Allows Oswald to deal more damage based on how many hits are in his combo. This works with Vile Rush and Nightmare Blast quite nicely.
Beatdown (Passive): Lets Oswald deal more damage to foes who are downed, or slumped over on the ground. Self-explanatory.
Now that you have an idea of what skills you should be using, here's a set of maps (found on wikisp, edited thereafter) to help you find them. As an added bonus, the locations of alchemy and food recipes have also been listed.
Key: S = Starting Point, B = Battle Stage, R = Rest Area, H = Hidden Room, Boss = Boss Room
Vile Rush – B2
Crazed Grip – H, go to the final room before the boss and move left on the far left middle platform
Serpent Grief – Clear Chapter 1
Gold – B2
Shadow Bite – B3
Beatdown – H, wait for 3 minutes in the room above B9
Fatal Raid – Clear Chapter 2
Nut Cookie – Found within a chest two rooms right of B2
Gushing Bane – B4
Spicy Chicken – Vendor
Inventory Expansion – B6
Skill Link – B9
Extent of Madness – Clear Chapter 3
Killer Cloud – B2
Banishment – B3
Muggle Crèmet d'Anjou – Vendor (Eat three times to unlock Yogurt Crèmet d'Anjou)
Inventory Expansion – B8
Stuffed Chicken – Found within locked room below room left of B4
Madness – H, go to the bone pile in the room above R1 and examine
Aerial Dive – Clear Chapter 4
Steamed Salmon – Vendor
Rising Void – B2
Nightmare Blast – H, go to the left of the room below R2 and then drop down below in front of the boxes
Inventory Expansion – B9
Phantom Killer – Clear Chapter 5
Roasted Lamb – Vendor
Assault High – B3
Inventory Expansion – Found within a chest behind a locked door between B3 and B4
Quick Charge – B6
Critical Heal – H, go through the bars in the room to the right of B6 while mini
Shade Pulsar – Clear Chapter 6
Brownie – Vendor
Dainsleif – B4
Vichyssoise – Found within a chest in a room to the right of B7
Exclusion – H, jump into the wall directly above the upper entrance in the room below R1
Eclipse – Clear Epilogue
There it is — everything you need to say with 100 percent certainty that you've obtained all the skills and food/alchemy recipes with Oswald. Next up is Velvet, the Forest Witch.