After clearing chapters 9 and 23, where Pit equips himself with the Three Sacred Treasures (Light Arrows, Pegasus Wings, Mirror Shield), for the first time, you have the option to play through the stages without using the treasures. Is it worth using your own weapon to play these stages, or would it be wiser to stick with the Treasures?
To start, let's look at the benefits of using the Three Sacred Treasures:
- Relatively high damage output
- Extremely rapid continuous fire with auto-targeting ability and decent range
- Large charge shots with average charge time, high homing, and long range
- Only weapon capable of damaging/destroying Ornes (those floating death-touch skulls)!!
- Mirror Shield can block some flanking attacks
These points make the Treasures a great choice for playing through either chapter on lower Intensity levels. However, based on your unique play style, you may prefer your own weapon to the Treasures, which are exclusively a bow-type weapon. Plus, in my experience, enemies become much more resilient above Intensity 5.0, causing the Treasures to quickly lose their effectiveness. In these cases, it'd be wiser to take the weapon you find most comfortable instead.
Here's how you can make up for the absence of the benefits reaped by using the Three Sacred Treasures:
- Plenty of weapons with value of 260 or higher have enough attack power or special effects to overshadow the strengths of the Light Arrows; pick one that you can use easily, learn how to make the most of its attributes and attack types, and select Powers that either make up for the weapon's weaknesses or add to its strengths.
- In most cases, Ornes are easy to spot and avoid; if you don't have the Light Arrows to slay them, memorize their appearances and motion patterns in Air Battle and use quick movements and dodges on land to avoid an instant death.
- Instead of relying on the Mirror Shield to guard your blind spot, learn the placement of enemies and study their telegraphs and attack patterns to know how and when to effectively dodge a frantic assault. Also, don't forget that the direction(s) of incoming attacks are shown by an orange-yellow indicator on the edge of the top screen; use these indicators and the sounds of enemy attacks to gauge the right moment to dodge and keep a sneak attack from getting the better of you.
Lastly, let's take a separate look at the two chapters where the Treasures are usable:
Chapter 9: This stage is one huge endurance test; the Air Battle is hectic and chock-full of dangerous enemies, including a fairly tough mini-boss, and the land segment is very lengthy, starting with re-appearances of three previous bosses and leading into a long and twisted trek through Medusa's stronghold. If you don't have a reliable weapon, or you don't have confidence in your survival skills, it might be best to stick with the Three Sacred Treasures.
Chapter 23: SPOILER ALERT!! This explanation gives away a bit of the late-game story, so don't read until you've beaten this stage once and actually have the option to not use the Treasures.
If you take the Three Sacred Treasures with you in this stage, remember that Hades will destroy them near the end of the Air Battle segment, rendering them useless and forcing you to use whichever weapon you had equipped previously for the remainder of the chapter. The sheer number of enemies in the Air Battle might make the Treasures out to be a good option (again, auto-targeting is VERY useful), but with the right weapon, memorization of enemy appearances, and some practice at dodging in flight, they really aren't necessary at any Intensity level.
In the end, it all comes down to how you play the game, but you might take some of the above factors into account when deciding how to go about replaying these two chapters.