This should be easy to finish but the grinding may be more difficult; refreshing all the same.
Supporting (won’t be used when above assembled):
There is always the chance that it may be too difficult or I may wish to switch gears, in which case I could just bring in Claude, Opera, Chisato or whoever to back Ernest - it’s more about him than anything else. Rena and Noel may be difficult to adjust to. Dias is good in some ways but very linear and slow at times.
Assessment so far halfway through disk 2:
Rena - my main. Heal very occasionally, cast dispel and use items etc. Bunny shoes first user. Fun to attack with. Supervisor role. Battle suit wearer.
Dias - most damage, but still very linear, singular attacker. Tended to Gale Stab my other guys in the back rather than enemy!
Ernest - way better than expected. Nice ranged attacks. Decent Killer Moves. Got his ultimate weapon there. Solid but probably the worst performing of this batch, always low on HP and MP. Not quite Space Indiana Jones:
Noel - surprisingly excellent, can’t hold his own in Duels but in the group of 4 he really shines. Decent attack power thanks to accessories (better than Ernest) and just set to ‘throw own body into attack’ so just clobbers enemy. Other Battle Suit wearer as soon as I got him, prior to that Ernest had it. This fucking guy:
Fienal, Mihne, defeat the first 9 Wisemen up as far as final save point in Fienal, go back to Expel, Cave of Trials with this lot (oh Christ how will I do the 10/13 levels challenge bit with Rena and 1 other person), defeat all three superbosses???
After all THAT the next attempt will be Rena, Celine, Leon, Noel - the mages!
Managed to beat the Cave of Trials with Rena, Dias, Noel and Ernest easily enough, Rena and Dias at around level 199-200 and the other two in the 180's.
Went outside, saved, and defeated Iselia Queen easily enough too! Went on to beat her two more times to get more Angel Armbands.
I was surprised how much more effective the party became when I turned off Comprehension and started utilising the Slayer Rings and whatnot properly. Stars were flying everywhere! Also I only took control of Dias as my main deep into the Cave of Trials, and things finally slotted into place. Rena's attack was very quick but often got 'stuck' if the enemy managed to block, which left her hanging for a silly amount of time. This may have been due to Comprehension as when I turned it off after getting all my skill points herself and Noel could attack much more fluidly.
Some more character analysis: Rena was very good under AI control, casting Fairy Heal, Fairy Light, Antidote, Dispel and Raise Dead when I needed them. Dias was great to use, Illusion becomes super useful in its second, powered up form wherein Dias glows red. It helped a lot to control him as the only real warrior of the bunch. Air Slash as well is so fast and really really helped against flying terrors like the Phoenix and the Dragon Tyrant. It also broke up the super bosses spells and attacks.
Ernest's Broken Heart was the only thing saving him. Terrible stamina and costly Killer Moves left him in bits after most battles. The multiple attacks of Broken Heart combined with Cat o' 9 Tails and eventually Slayer's Rings/Angel Armband made him much more useful as kind of a ranged substitute for Opera. HONOURABLE MENTION for Sonic Whip, a nice KM that hits multiple enemies on a wide front, something I discovered very late in the game (as I made my way back to Fienal) but a nice substitute for Claude's Ripper Blast.
Noel was surprisingly beefy, he'd just go around clobbering enemies. It helped that he had a very good weapon (Death Claws, lol) and good accessories like the Atlas Ring and Berserk Ring. I tried really hard to get the 'Platinum Nails' weapon for him as it would've given him a multiple attack like Ernest's weapon apparently but no joy. He didn't seem to drag his feet as much as Ernest anyway.
I took apart the three superbosses within an hour or two of each other a few nights ago and am now bereft, trying out Civ V but still craving a classic JRPG. May try the Rena-Celine-Leon-Noel run soon and after that gun for Universe mode with Claude back at the helm.