From Atrocious Gameplay Wiki

Mystic Artes (JP: 秘奥義, trans.(Hepburn): 'Hi Ougi', "Secret Technique") are a type of attack useable by characters in the Tales series, usually their most powerful attack skill (also known as "Artes" in the series), and can be used only by meeting certain requirements. While they have been a staple of the series since its beginning, they were often shunned by fans by virtue of their impracticality in battle, before Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and Tales of Vesperia streamlined the system.


To activate a Mystic Arte, one or more of the following requirements must be met:

  • The user must be in Over Limit mode;
  • The user's health must be below a certain threshold;
  • A special skill (usually called "Special") must be equipped;
  • A certain Arte must have been used a certain number of times;
  • A special weapon must be equipped;
  • The user must have learned a certain number of Artes;
  • Sometimes, the player must input a particular button combination.

Why They Suck

  1. To get the elephant out of the room, Mystic Artes are the epitome of Awesome, but Impractical in the Tales series. While they are able of inflicting large amounts of damage (either by sheer strength or through repeated hits), the requirements are often too strict to make any meaningful use out of them.
    • The most infamous example is, without a doubt, Presea's Crimson Devastation. It is strong enough to take out half of Abyssion's health in one hit, and can outright kill all the Sword Dancers in one hit. However, its activation is heavily chance-based, which doesn't fit in with all the other requirements. Presea must be in Over Limit mode (which happens randomly when a character is knocked down), she must have 18% of her total HP or less, have used Beast at least 500 times in total and must have the Mighty Charge EX skill (which activates randomly) equipped. When all the requirements are met, the player must have Presea use Beast against the target, and hope that Mighty Charge EX activates. If it does, then the Mystic Arte is cast. If it doesn't, then not only is Presea a sitting duck for the enemy, but risks dying by virtue of her low health at the moment.
    • Maxwell, Sheena's final Summon Spirit (her equivalent of Mystic Artes). It can only be obtained by having each party member equip one of the four elemental rings while talking to an NPC in Exire, which is optional to visit (outside of sidequests) and can only be reached after the player obtained the Rheiards. The player must then play the game all the way to Welgaia, just before the final dungeon, to obtain the Derris Emblem, then return to Exire and interact with its shrine to start a battle. After winning, Maxwell will agree to a pact with Sheena, after which point she will be able to randomly summon it when in Over Limit mode. This process is incredibly convoluted, and by the time it's complete, there are few enemies worth using Maxwell on remaining.
    • While Tales of the Abyss made Mystic Artes more useful, there are still several that manage to stand out:
      • Luke's second Mystic Arte, Lost Fon Drive. It can activate only when Luke has the Key of Lorelei equipped (while the player must do so at one point to advance the plot, it's taken away soon after until the endgame), is in Over Limit mode and has 18% or less of his total HP. When these conditions are met, the player must press and hold down the Attack, Arte and Guard buttons. Not to mention, it is a second-tier Mystic Arte, meaning that it can only be used on a second playthrough and up.
      • Anise's first Mystic Arte, Fever Time, requires her to have used Lucky at least 100 times, then cast it when she is in Over Limit at full health, and tosses 20.000 Gald (or less, depending on the player's amount) at the target. This Arte can miss and, if it doesn't kill the enemy in one hit, the 20.000 Gald will be lost forever. Used too frequently, it can leave the player without money.
  2. The requirements to simply use Mystic Artes are often very obscure, and few games bother to actually clue the player in as to their existence or how they work.
  3. Late in the games, enemies start using Mystic Artes, too, and become deadly in their hands.
    • An infamous example is Alexei's Mystic Arte, Brilliant Cataclysm. It's the first Mystic Arte that covers the whole field, and deals considerable damage to every character in its area of effect. Whenever it's used, its power increases by 10%, up to a maximum of double the starting damage, which is enough to cause a total party kill, especially on higher difficulties. It doesn't help that the Secret Mission requires you to intentionally get hit by the Arte to expose Alexei's weakpoint, which has a very narrow window of time.
    • Again from Tales of Vesperia is No Items Ever!, Barbatos Goetia (aka the Killer of Heroes)'s Mystic Arte. As the name implies, it prevents the player from using items until the end of the battle, which can be problematic if you are fighting him one-on-one in the Colosseum and there are no healers in the party. Thankfully, it's only used if the player triggers it - namely, if the player uses an item during the fight.
    • Another infamous example is Abyssion, who can use all of the party members' Mystic Artes in the PlayStation 2 and 3 versions of Tales of Symphonia. In the PlayStation 2 version, in particular, he tends to start the fight with Zelos' Divine Judgement, which can ignore your Guard and deals heavy damage. He is also fond of using Lloyd's Falcon's Crest, which is just as damaging.
      • Abyssion and Mithos can also use Time Stop, which, as the name implies, freezes time for a bit for the party, leaving the enemy free to attack as much as they want and deal immense damage while the Arte lasts. By contrast, the party can never learn this Arte in Tales of Symphonia, and there are few items that cause the same effect.