Chronicles of Ascerth is an action role-playing game, where the players take control of Kaiden, although the player can later take control of different characters as they get recruited to the party. The player can traverse through the overworld and interact with other characters, go to shops, accept and complete quests and traverse to the next story relevant location. Like in Tales of Vesperia and Bravely Default, the players can press a button after certain interactions to trigger a short conversation between the characters about the events that recently happened. These conversations bring no gameplay benefits, but they are extra scenes of interactions of the cast.
While in the areas infested by enemies, the players can find the opponents in the overworld and choose to engage them or not. Unlike other RPGs, the battle doesn't transitions, instead the battle takes place on the overworld in a similar manner to Mass Effect or Xenoblade Chronicles where the gameplay style is changed into a combat mode. While in combat mode, a circle is drawn around the area and going outside this circle means the player is running away from the battle and won't be getting any rewards for the confrontation. In boss battles, the circles serves as a boundary where the players and the enemies can get bounced off from.
In combat mode, the players take control of a singular member of the party as the objective is to defeat all the current enemies in the circle. Combat is more action oriented, similar to Tales of Vesperia, actions are bound to certain inputs: there's an attack button, a shield button and a technique button. Each character has a different type of combos and specials but they all utilize the same inputs. Some characters gain an additional button for their Unique Skill. Each Unique Skill is a special command that provides an additional level of depth to each character's playstyles.
Pressing the shield button at the exact moment the enemy's attack hits the player will parry the attack and make the player no health. If the player miss the timing or shields normally, the attack will deal 25% less damage. Additionally, each character has a different set of techniques. Similar to Tales of Vesperia, each character can equip four different types of techiniques and each techinique has a different condition to be triggered. Some simply require the techinique button to be pressed and others require certain conditions to be met in battle, such as perform a combo of certain hits or parry an enemy attack.
The other characters the player does not control can be either commanded by the computer or by other additional players. If the party members are commanded by the CPU, the player can issue them tactics on how to approach the battle situation:
- Sit back/Heal commands the party to stay away from the confrontation in order to heal up;
- Rush commands the party to pummel on a single target;
- Split up commands the party to split up and focus on different targets;
- Support commands the party to help up the character that is being controlled by the main player.
These are by default set to the directional pad and the player can issue these commands at any point during battle but the player can automatically set certain tactics to happen during certain situations through the Conditions Settings, where the player can set up different situations to automatically switch tactics to. The player can also change individual party member tactics by being able to change the frequency values of each possible action, e.x. setting Elina to do more spells and less melee attacks.
Additionally, each character has an additional unique skill known as Forbidden Knowledge, which is acquired through each character's side quest. This is a mechanic that has more of an involvement in the late game. Forbidden Knowledge are abilities that occupy a different input from Unique Skills and they tend to be one-time, battle only use abilities. Despite that, they are pretty useful and add another layer of depth to each character's playstyle.
During combat, the players can take advantage of weaknesses in the enemy. Enemy weaknesses are only revealed when the player hits them with it, encouraging players to try different abilities on different enemies. When hitting an enemy with their weakness, the attack will deal twice more damage. Additionally, each enemy has a stun limit - the limit of how many hits can they take before they get stunned. Some enemies and bosses don't even have a stun limit but a good majority does. Like enemy weaknesses, the stun limit isn't revealed until it is broken. In order to hit the stun limit, the player has to hit the enemy multiple times. All information about the enemies are kept into a Bestiary, which is available right from the start.
Additionally, at the mid point of the game, the player gains the ability to perform Combination Techniques. Once these abilities are unlocked, a bar is shown below the character's health bar. Performing hits on the enemy increases the bar and when it is full, it won't do anything by itself unless another character has filled their bar. When there is more than one character with a full bar, the player can press an input and select a combination of characters, should there be more than two with a full bar and then choose a type of Combination Techinique: Attack or Support, which are self explanatory on their own. Combination Techniques are meant to be utilized to turn the tide of the battle to the players favor with one flashy attack or one flashy spell.