The four Elemental Gods each represent a season: Seiryu, spring; Suzaku, summer; Byakko, autumn; and Genbu, winter. At the beginning, the player will be asked what their favorite season is, and the first arc they choose will take place during that season. The seasons progress with each successive arc, so the fifth and final arc will coincide with the first season they chose. This system is meant to encourage replay to experience the stories in a new and different way each time.
The season determines the power of the Elements, similar to the days of the week in E2 and astrological signs in E3. Individual characters also power up during the season of their respective god, and power down in the opposite season; because of this, a great deal of strategy is involved in planning the order of the arcs with respect to the characters therein. Certain geographical features naturally change with the seasons, enabling or restricting access to specific areas or items, adding further replay value.
Each character's prime season is as follows:
Spring: Devon, Quirien, Colleen, Duke
Summer: Shelly, Rita, Angel, Ezra, Isidora
Autumn: Drake, Astor, Yeika, Ace, Leila
Winter: Kai, Sybil, Cugei, Nina, Luminaya, Mila
According to the teachings of the Illumination, all human souls descend from one of three divine progenitors: Alpha, Beta, or Omega, which correspond to the blood types A, B, and O. Blood type AB is rare and special, believed to portend gifted individuals who are destined to change the world. The divine progenitors correspond to the Hindu deities Brahma (Alpha), Vishnu (Beta), and Siva (Omega) as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer.
As such, bearers of the respective blood types carry these traits: type-A individuals actively shape the world around them, type-B defend what has been established, and type-O challenge the establishment in order to begin the cycle anew. Thus, the three share a precarious relationship whereby they cannot easily coexist, and yet they depend upon one another to fulfill their roles. Type B and O are in constant conflict, where type B cherishes what type A has passed down, and type O clears the way for type A to create something new. Creation cannot stagnate, and existence itself is predicated upon this endless cycle of constant change.
From a gameplay perspective, characters with the same blood type power up together in battle. Type AB powers up with both A and B, and both A and B power up with AB. The characters' blood types are as follows:
Type A: Rita, Ezra, Devon, Astor, Quirien
Type B: Kai, Sybil, Isidora, Colleen, Mila, Ace
Type O: Drake, Angel, Cugei, Nina, Leila, Duke
Type AB: Shelly, Luminaya, Yeika
Kai as a Hero (left) and Elementalist (right)
Characters may change classes to learn different abilities. These classes are obtained by accomplishing specific tasks, such as completing side quests. Nimbus grants the initial six classes, and more are gained by defeating each of the Elemental Gods. Some, like the Kitsune, are kept secret. The ultimate class, Elementalist, is earned by mastering all of the others. The abilities of mastered classes may be transferred to another class.
The classes are as follows:
Hero: A sword user with superior attack power.
Bandit: An agile thief who can steal from enemies.
Barbarian: A berserker who specializes in axes and bludgeoning weapons.
Bishop: A cleric who learns healing skills.
Templar: A white knight who focuses on buffing and defending other party members.
Roleplayer: A wizard who can learn monsters' special abilities, like Lala and Pica.
Kitsune: A magical beast that uses illusory/evasive maneuvers and moon/fire magic.
Ranger: An archer with a feathered cap, boasting superior accuracy and critical rates.
Gambler: Relies on the roll of the dice to bring about risky effects in battle.
Rancher: A cowboy-esque monster tamer.
Gunner: A stylish gangster.
Tinker: An engineer who supports the party with their technological wonders.
Animist: A geomancer at one with the forces of nature.
Randomist: Only has access to the skill "Random Panic," which can evoke any effect.
Pundit: A scholar who can teach enemies a lesson they won't soon forget.
Lancer: A spear-wielding warrior who wears elegant winged headgear.
Necromancer: Summons past foes from beyond the grave to attack opponents.
Troubadour: A knightly bard who cheers allies on or charms enemies with their songs.
Grandmaster: A monk whose spirituality greatly empowers their attacks.
Draconian: A mystic who can transform into a dragon to wreak havoc.
Dungeon Master: Manipulates battle via Double Time, Time-Out, Penalize, and so on.
Elementalist: Can make use of elemental combos without needing a partner.