Combat works like most traditional JRPGs in Cosmic Star Heroine, in that it’s based on menu manipulation. I really like that Each fight is its own, and if you hardly survived a fight, you were back at full health for the next one. Every character has a multitude of abilities to chose from (you can customize which skills they will use in combat as you can’t use them all) but I didn’t feel like there were traditional roles where characters were pigeonholed as healers or damage. Every character also has style which increases the damage that you do as a fight goes on. At the end of a fight you’re doing more damage than at the beginning. Enemies also have the same mechanic, so its in your best interests to get fights over with quickly.
Your character’s abilities are augmented with items and programs which are essentially the same thing, with one exception. Programs are character specific, where items are shared by the party. Each ability has a cooldown, which can be reset by using the rest ability. Figuring out when you should use the various rest abilities of your characters is essential to success. The coupled with the fact that your roster is changing often and you’ll have a very different style of play from one encounter to the next as characters in your party come and go.
Cosmic Star Heroine isn’t super easy. It has four difficulty levels, and even though I chose what was described as the “normal” setting, I still had a lot of trouble with some bosses and had to lower the difficulty in order to complete the game. That being said, Cosmic Star Heroine does let you change the difficulty any time you want, which is welcome as I was getting frustrated going up against the same boss many times in a row. Death is also handled very well. If you die in a fight, the game simply takes you back to the beginning of that fight. You don’t lose anything other than time. The game could have used some minigames as you’re often hacking consoles which consists of just going up to it and hitting a button on your controller. It would have been nice had I had a chance to fail at hacking and had something to do.