Part 1: Prologue: Divine RetributionPrologue: Divine Retribution
Watch this video, it's much better than my screenshots!
The game opens with this man. He will be important.
The camera shifts to the side and we see a diverse crew of warriors from all around the world.
The man walks up to the head of the host, to his similarly attired companions who nod in approval.
Those...aren't normal eyes, are they?
I wasn't quite fast enough with the screenshot here, but our mysterious man's eyes turn all black like his comrades. It's rather reminiscent of the black oil possessed in the X-Files.
The enemy. A bunch of shirtless masked weirdos and men with halberds. We're gonna be seeing a fair amount of both over the course of this game.
They charge our mysterious man and his comrades, who run out to meet them.
No shirt, no service!
The halberd guys aren't doing so hot either.
The battle is a mess, a vicious melee between the people of the world and...whoever these other guys are.
Suddenly people start collapsing and dying. It's hard to capture in screenshots, but these guys were in the middle of fighting, stopped, and dropped dead. The camera pans to reveal...
The mere presence of whatever these guys are has a devastating effect on our heroes.
They get better, and come to a resolution.
They kill themselves, releasing their inner light to turn into a pillar of stone.
Someone is not impressed.
Contempt quickly turns to hate as the light seems to have an effect.
The archer lets her arrow fly.
It strikes down our protagonist just as he is about to perform his sacrifice. Fade to black.
The face of a man who survived while all his comrades died.
Now, the game proper begins.
: The Vale of Mercy, Foothills of the Milky Mountains
: A month ago, you met a Temple servant in the town of Gordinn. There was something peculiar about him. Feeling a long-forgotten sense of dread, you realized it was an Umbra Reaper in disguise. He noticed you too, but chose not to pursue. Bowing in jest, he merely winked at you.
A lot of the writing in this game is somewhat odd, being translated out of Russian at the behest of Russians who don't speak English very well. This is after the devs realized a huge translation patch.
Also yes, despite the change of clothing this is in fact our mysterious survivor.
: The return of the Umbra forewarns of an impending Reaping, so you head to the Milky Mountains, seeking the local seeress. You hope to learn the time and place of the coming Reaping - and prevent it.
The game throws us into combat immediately. It's a scripted tutorial battle where the game forces you to move.
So combat looks..very similar to The Banner Saga, actually. Instead of armor, we have a stat called "Energy" (the orange bar above Hopper's head). Energy is used to pay for moves, but can also be directly attacked by characters. If the character loses all their energy, they take DOUBLE HP DAMAGE.
Hopper here has two moves right now, a single target melee attack named Quick Strike and an aoe whirlwind slash named Circular Hit. Each of these moves can attack a target's energy bar or HP bar. Hitting a target's HP is fairly simple - do damage, when it hits 0 they die. Hitting energy is weirder. Let's say Hopper has a 10 damage attack. If he hits a target for HP damage, they will take 10 damage. If Hopper hits an opponent with 2 energy, they will take 2 of that damage as energy damage and 16 points as HP damage from the remaining damage. However, if you order Hopper to do HP damage to a target with 0 energy, he will only do his normal damage. You have to select the energy attack option for double.
I'll go into more detail about Hopper's skills as we get to use him more out of the tutorial. Suffice to say he gets some absolutely broken shit.
: (Bitterly): Please, call me Hopper. I'm already used to the name. I was called Blance when we were together. I wasn't hiding in that battle, you know. I was wounded. Pierced by arrows. That's why I didn't complete my task.
: (Nodding): Yes, I've heard the legend of the twelve brave ones - they who cast an enchantment on themselves and turned to stone. They achieved their goal. The land they called home was free from plague and Reaping. A price too high though, by my reckoning... Why did you come in search of me again?
: I wasn't looking for you but for the local seeress. There are signs... Beasts are leaving the Forest of Datura. The Vandil witch has been sighted on woodland trails. I ran into Atraakh while in Gordinn myself. They have returned. Is another Reaping upon us... [sic]
: What do you mean by "tied"?
: One day, the final Reaping will come. The question is, will anything be left in this world afterwards. [sic] Besidesof , what concern is it to you? Are you not immortal?
: I'm the same as you, Amma. Even if we are both Umbra, we have long embraced the human way of life. I care about the fate of Terminum.
: To the Reaping, we are no more than specks of dust. This time, we don't have twelve comrades willing to sacrifice themselves. Among those still living, some will succumb and become Reapers. Do you really wish to involve yourself?
: I need to stop the Reapings. They're happening again because of me. It's my fault.
: (Irritated) Still thinking of yourself? We are maggots. The lowliest of servants, lucky enough to have a seat at the table. Are you looking for the forsaken gods of this land? I have a book that describes the life of one. Here, take it. I had a good laugh reading through the nonsense.
: (Receiving the gift) Thank you for the book. I've been searching high and low for similar records. But still... when and where will the Reaping begin? That's where I'm needed - I know it. Seven hundred years the dead have blamed me! I need your help.
: (Passing the bundle) Pity. I'd really hoped to use it. I doubt anything else can kill a Reaper. Well, here you go...but why do you want it?
: (Taking the knife) The Reaping shall begin on the day of the vernal equinox, both in the North and the South - in the towns of Wodan and Albius. I wouldn't waste time if I were you.
: Sadly, I don't have time to reach the North. Farewell. I hope our paths cross again, though you still haven't told me why you need the knife.
: I saw you kill me with this very knife, Hopper. So, I hope our paths never do cross again. Farewell.