Calculated by the character's AVD stat and the enemy's HIT stat, Guard is an ability that automatically triggers upon hit, putting the character into a blocking animation and canceling any damage the attack would have incurred. The rate of guarding can be increased by the Sidestep (Parry) Combat skill.
Guard is similar to its incarnation in the first Star Ocean. If a character's short range attack is guarded by an enemy, they will be penalized by a slower recovery from the attack, leaving them vulnerable to counter attacks.
Functioning similarly to the first two Star Oceans, Guard produces a blue shockwave when a character blocks an incoming attack. Because of the prominence of the Fury Guard and Anti-Attack Auras, the chance of a normal Guard is very rare, and considered inferior to Guards produced with the Fury Gauge as it interrupts a character's current actions and produces no aura. Unlike the Fury Guard, a normal Guard can block Major attacks.
When the Fury Gauge is filled to 100% and the character is immobile, a hexagonal shield will be produced and negate all incoming Minor attacks. Major attacks and Symbology will break the Guard and render the character stunned, leaving them vulnerable.
Guard returns as an important part of combat. With the three main components of the attack triangle, Quick Attack, Strong Attack, and guard, the character can counter or be countered in combat. You can guard by pressing the Square button.
Quick attacks can be blocked by a guard, which is broken by a strong attack.
Guarding just before an enemy's quick attack lands will activate a counter, in which the attack is blocked and the characters uses a special ability to counterattack for large damage. This adds an SP bonus to the Reserve Rush Gauge.