Part 68: The Real Deal: Part 13: It's Been RealTHE REAL DEAL: PART 13
Time we got those shackles off!
From my updates, you might think the unshackling scene is just part of the story. You're wrong. It's optional for each individual spirit, which seems neat until you find out the method.
It's a matter of raising their CP, shown on the bottom right. For most characters, you'd do this with gifts, but material possessions are of no consequence to these ancient, magical beings! Also you can't give them presents.
You have two alternatives. The first is to ask them for advice by touching the question mark.
I talked about this in Real Deal 5. It's a fairly useless feature, but it will give 4 CP for the currently active spirit.
Option two is using spirit magic. This gives 14 CP for whomever you summon.
Each spirit's CP starts at 1200. You need to raise it to 3400.
Shall I calculate that for you? 550 taps on the question mark. Per spirit. 2200 in total. That's 2000 more requests for advice than there are pieces of advice (VERY generous estimate) and 2200 more than there are times you will actually need advice. (Exact figure.)
You can't just sit and mash it either. If you touch the question mark while the "advice" is already on screen, nothing happens, so you have to close and re-open the book before doing it again.
Pictured: The Passion.
But hey! What about magic? 14 points per use, so only 158 times per spirit. That can't be so bad. You use magic throughout the game anyway, right?
Firstly, no. You don't. We've gone over how useless it is. And remember, you only get the power boost after you unshackle, so they'll still be doing only 200 damage. Not to mention you have to watch the animation every single time.
Even if you disregard all that and resolve to spam the absolute shit out of it, guess what? You're gonna run out of MP! 50 MP a shot, remember? That's 2-8 uses before you have to recharge, depending on how many powerups you've collected.
Also, once you finally break 3400 CP, you still have to go home and sleep to trigger the scene. By the time you can map warp, it's much more efficient to teleport to an urn and get all your MP back instead of only 50, so you've probably forgotten your bed even exists.
It gets worse! Giving presents to wooable ladies will reduce Mieli and Neaki's CP by 50-100 points per gift, even if the recipient doesn't like it. I don't know, I guess they're jealous?
I swear to god, she means nothing to me! I only want her for her sidequests!
Same applies to male love interests/male spirits. Even if you're playing as Yumil, who can't have a boyfriend. So...the spirits are bi, but the protagonist isn't. Huh.
I suppose that makes sense. After spending a planet's lifetime alone in a bookmark, you wouldn't be picky either. Especially not with iron girders for hands.
In short, there is no chance in hell, heaven or purgatory of unshackling happening naturally. Furthermore, you're never told it's a possibility. You'll find out about it after beating the game, maybe by reading a guide, accidentally seeing spoilers somewhere, or from a friend who also played it. (PFFFFFFFFFT.) Then you sit down, load up your save, and realise you have to prod a question mark two thousand times.
And that's how Avalon Code cartridges end up on eBay.
Enough about the mechanics. Let's see this happening.
Boy, am I bushed! But congrats, Yumil, on making it this far! You ended up saving me! I was worried there for a moment, but now I trust you.
A negative response ends the proceedings immediately, with the spirit making some huffy comment. There's no reason to do that unless you can't be arsed to sit through the scene, though.
You can call me anytime, 'cause that's what I'm here for.
It's where we first started! What's going on? Hey! Look at that! What an immense power!
Ha ha! Look at me, Yumil! I'm free! I'm finally free! All right! This is great! Thanks a lot! Now I can really unleash my power out there! This is thanks to you trusting me! And now it's time I repay your trust.
Aw, c'mon, relax. Don't worry. I'll always be with you. Because when we're together, I'm always on fire!
So throughout eleven chapters, all we've learned about the shackles is that they're removable via POF. That stands for Power Of Friendship. I call it "POF" because it deserves a medical abbreviation, considering its widespread use as a panacea.
Why were they there in the first place? Why should POF be the key? Still don't know, and now that it's resolved, we never will. Told you.
The remaining scenes are identical, dialogue aside. Spirit asks "Do you like me Y/N", suddenly you're at Sunny Hill, you approach the monolith, screen flashes, shackles come off, hooray. To save time and space on the others, I'll just show one screenshot and transcribe the rest.
Good work, Yumil! I'm so glad it worked out! I was so scared back there! But you were there to save the day! ...L-listen, Yumil? If I need it, will you save me?
Hey, you and I make a good team. I'm so glad I get to work with you.
Huh? This place...Isn't this where your adventure started? Why are we here? Oh wow! Yumil! Come over here! Look! I sense a lot of power! Eek! What's happening?!
Yaay! Yumil, look! They're finally off! My shackles are off, and my power's swelling! Wow, this feels great! Haa...I feel so light now. Yes! I'm really powering up! But why'd they come off now? What could've been the key? It's because you and I get along so well together. I mean...with you, I feel as calm as the woods in the morning. I feel like I can tell you anything. Hee hee hee! Here's to our future, Yumil!
(Thank you...Yumil. Let's always stay...together.)
(Could you possible...be the one who will...No, never mind...)
(? Where are we? Ah. This is where...your journey began. I've never felt...such great power before...This power...is so warm...)
!! The shackles on my neck...they're gone. I can...finally speak. ...I'd heard this long ago. Our shackles bind us to the Book, but are also proof...of the user's trust. When the trust is strong enough, the chains come off. And our true power awakens.
...the bond of trust between us is very strong. Whew...thank you. Th-thank you, Yumil. It's all because of you. I...I just...from now on...I want to be with you always and forever. In this world, and the next.
You've defeated almost all the evil-doers. Well done, Yumil. Our bond's deepend a lot. I treasure our teamwork.
I'm very pleased to see your progress. I must say you're absolutely glowing with radiance.
Huh? What's this place? I see. It's where you started your adventure, right? What is this? I sense a great power...Yumil, look over there. Let's check it out. What on earth is this...? !! What great power...this power is...
The shackles on my eyes! Yumil, I can see again! I can see you! And I can see the world! It's so bright here. And so nostalgic...Hmm. So my seal's finally been broken...Excellent. I can't thank you enough for that.
Parts of our spirit bodies were sealed with shackles. These shackles were made to block our powers. Meaning, we couldn't use our true powers with them. Only one thing could remove them. Do you understand, Yumil? It's the bond called trust. You understand, right? Now a strong bond is between us, Yumil. Recognising that bond is what removed my chains. It's all thanks to you, Yumil. Thank you so much!
! Heh heh. You're right. It takes two to build trust. This is wonderful, Yumil. Never forget yourself. I've never greeted a new world with these feelings before. I'm truly amazed. I wish to stay with you, even in the new world. I promise.
I think this would have worked better if it was part of the main story. Not because you wouldn't have to do all that bullshit to make it happen, although that would be a HUGE bonus.
If it weren't optional, they could have the spirits react to it beyond this one scene. That could be done as-is, but it would require two sets of dialogue, and they'd have to take into account who's unshackled and who isn't and it'd get too complicated.
If it happened by itself in Chapter 11, it could come up during the Kullervo confrontation. It could come up during the ending. As it is, it's just done and forgotten, and therefore feels like no big deal. They'd also be able to have the spirits talk to each other and get some real dialogue going, rather than the usual one person yammering at Yumil while he smiles and nods.
I know I'm pretty much saying they should have done what I did, but come on! I think I have a point here. If you actually had to get to know the spirits and build a relationship with them, that'd be different, but you don't. Earning their friendship means clicking a question mark a bunch of times. Your only indicator of rapport is a number on a page. This is not how to make me give a damn.
While we're at home, let's check out the Lauca romance, which is also initiated in this chapter by sleeping. Gutter, mind, extract.
Lauca's here! People have been talking about a guy hunting down monsters! Was that all you?
Aha! Just as Lauca thought! You're really strong. Lauca likes you even more!
Good! Then once you're done moping about, we're goin' hunting! Lauca likes strong men! And you're the strongest guy Lauca knows! That's why Lauca followed you!
There's still lotsa monsters! We can't hunt them all. So beat the ones you can! If you do, then Lauca'll stay with you forever!
And that's it!
Turns out post-tournament love interests get the short end. Everyone else has two scenes leading up to the romance, then a third at the fountain where they admit they like you, then a fourth where you just chill together. And a fifth at Sunny Hill, if you revive them. And a couple of actual lines from Yumil (voiced).
Lauca gets the above scene, and no lines.
To reiterate, the snotty princess, the racist elf and the child predator get five scenes with Yumil, while the nice girl, the one I ended up pursuing thanks to you people, gets one. Justice is mankind's collective delusion.
About what happened that night. I can't believe I was so stupid. I wanted my revenge, without even knowing the facts!
Revenge against whom? Okay, probably the murderers, but until now, he's only been interested in getting his sister back. Never said anything about the people who did it.
Meenya's dead. She's gone, forever. But I just want her to live on in everyone's minds.
We used to play make-believe here. I'd always play as the demon lord.
I'll live for her sake now. For everything she loved, and everything that made her sad. I'll take it all as I keep on living for her. That's the best thing I can do for Meenya.
Brother! My big brother...Rex.
Meenya has something to tell her big brother Rex. Meenya may have died, but she is still happy! That's because Rex is such a nice brother to always think of Meenya. And now Meenya has a new friend that pays attention to her! Heh heh! So she doesn't want Rex to be sad anymore! Meenya's stuck here, so can you bring Rex over here for me?
Hm? Where are you taking me?
Big brother Rex...can you hear Meenya?
I sensed her whenever I passed by. I knew she was here, watching over me. I can't see her, and I may be assuming all this. I'd always talk to her in my mind. Hey, Meenya. How's it going? Don't run, Meenya, or you'll get hurt. That's a pretty flower you've got! Meenya, poor Duran's worn out. Can't you give him a break? Next time we play make-believe, can I not be the demon lord? Meenya, I promise I'll buy you a new doll. Meenya, I...
As more time passed, the more bitter I became. I hated the world and myself. Disgusted with who I'd become, I lost the ability to speak with you in my head. But now I'm different. I've made a friend I can rely on.
I want to live in this world. I want to move forward, even a little at a time. So I want Meenya to watch over me without worry.
Okay, big brother Rex. I'll be okay from now on!
Rex is probably the best-written character in Avalon Code. Not high praise, especially coming from me, but it's worth noting.
He stays important throughout the story, whereas most characters fade out once they've served their purpose, if they had one at all. Oh sure, some have more to them, but it's all just kinda there. Like Anwar. Anwar conks you on the head once, then does nothing for the rest of the game. He does have a backstory explaining why he is the way he is, but you only find out about it by feeding him cookies.
This is why some characters in the narrative (Sylphy) got sidelined, because they just sit and wait for you to talk to them. They don't leave their rooms. They don't involve themselves. When the overarching plot is the end of the world, you need to make an effort to be relevant. Rex does.
More importantly, he comes closest to acting like a real person. He has a few moments that feel genuine, which is more than I can say for anyone else. When he was telling us all the things he'd say to Meenya, I could kind of hear his voice crack.
Of course he ruined it by lapsing right back into exposition speak, but you have to wonder. Did the writers have some talent, but not the time or freedom to use it? Were there problems with the translation? Or was this just the broken clock's fleeting moment of truth?
Shame it doesn't run in the family. Meenya's insipid third-person saccharinity turns my stomach. "Eeee, Meenya loves her
But yeah, she doesn't go anywhere after this. Just sticks around to be a ghost. Forever. Happy end?
Waisen scum! You'll have to get through me first! Gustav of the twin blades will take you down!
This town gave me my freedom. I won't let you ruin that!
Hm-hmph-hmph! Try a taste of my bombs!
Hmph! I don't care what happens to the town, but...Rudrud'll stop you for Yumil's sake!
Hurry to the dungeon!
Well, if it isn't the general. I'm glad to find you alive.
Hmph! It's been a while, Werman. And the Demon Lord!
Go to the back of the dungeon, and destroy the demon lord's body! I'll hold them off here!
Okay. I was thinking we could fight these two together, then destroy Kullervo's body at our leisure. But I guess there's a reason we aren't doing that. Right? I mean, you are going to explain why your idea is better, right? You're not just trying to force a sacrifice for drama's sake?
I can semi-justify this in that some part of Heath might want to atone with a heroic death, and some part of Yumil still resents him and is okay with leaving him to it, but I'd still rather he hadn't run off here. Sadly, like I've said before, I can only do so much without redesigning the game.
If you'd kindly step away, we're in a bit of a hurry.
Werman...you monster...you abused the Empire, killed its prince and gave him to a demon! I will not let you get away with this!
Hya ha ha ha ha! Say what you wish. After all, you're about to meet your end.
This time, it's serious. I won't mess up like before! Yumil...take care of the rest...
The Great Spear's loose, but the seal's still in effect.
Now's the time to crush him.
Yumil! Do it!
Not so fast! Hya ha ha ha!
YUMIL THERE ARE SERIOUSLY TIMES WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE SMILING.
No! He couldn't have!
Hya ha ha ha! It's a shame I couldn't have you watch him die. You'll have to ask him...in hell!
Ask him what?
Urrrgh! It can't be! How could a mere human...?
Why are you doing this?!
When you created this world, you were full of hope and ideals! So why do this?!
The humans betrayed me. I shouldn't have chosen them in the creation. I must correct my mistake.
Correct it? How?
I'll use the Book of Prophecy to create a new world. One without the wicked creatures called humans!
Is that why you brought chaos to this world?!
Precisely. With the world in chaos, the Book would appear. Just like before. For centuries, I stole the bodies of humans...bringing chaos and decay!
Oh my god, I KNOW. THEY KNOW. WHY ARE WE STILL REPEATING THIS?
This world's not messed up. It's you! And you weren't chosen by the Book of Prophecy! Yumil was!
You still resist me? Then I shall squash you...and prove who is the Book's true wielder!
Yumil, Kullervo's soul is still inside Valdo. You must destroy it!
...Kullervo. We part here.
We'll make a new world! With Yumil!
Let's do it, Yumil!
Simple human! This is for your betrayal!
Okay, I have to be honest. I like this.
Kullervo doesn't have much of a presence in this game, and when he does show up, he has little to say. While he hates humans in general, we aren't sure how he views Werman. Is he excused for his loyalty? Is he "One of the good ones?" Nope. He's a whiny toady looking to elevate himself, and Kullervo just ran out of reasons to tolerate him. This moment right here tells you everything you need to know. Also, Kullervo does not say "Sinful/foolish human!"
He says that a lot. I don't know if you noticed.
But I can't get all positive on you now, so what's with Kullervo's voice? Pretty underwhelming! I seriously think it's just Valdo's voice with a bunch of effects applied to it. And since I'm almost certain Valdo shares an actor (actress?) with Yumil, that means Kullervo and Yumil have the same voice. That's nice for the parallels they have going on, but bad for your imposing, demonic giant of a villain.
Then you've seen Man's filth. You've felt anger towards them. They'll betray you someday. Just as they did me.
This is the last fight, Yumil.
Good luck! We believe in you!
Don't worry...I know you'll win.
Let's lower the curtain on our grand legend!
enough with the legend shit, please
So this is it. The key needed to create the new world.
What? There's a key to the world? Why is that the first I'm hearing of this?
Guys. The point of a macguffin is to drive the plot. To give the protagonist a goal to work towards. It defeats the entire purpose to have it suddenly materialise in the epilogue, where a character says "This is important and we needed it." Did we, Ur? Did we really?
Hmm. Unusual shot. I'm sure it'll prove irrelevant.
Yumil ascends to the cemetery, turns to Heath, and...
At least this does make sense in a stupid kind of way. Both Werman and Kullervo have precedent for being dumb and bad at killing people.
What I can't explain is how he still has his shield. You know.
Overall though, no surprise. By the time we were told the tornado victim could be revived, I'm sure we were all expecting everyone to survive. This game does not have the moxie to kill someone 100% indisputably dead.
PROVIDED THEY AREN'T TOO UGLY.
It seems Heath isn't even injured enough to need help, because Yumil just runs up to him, nods, then leaves.
Then he runs up to Georg, Sylphy and Vis, nods at them, and leaves.
Then he runs up to Xenonbart and Dorothea and this is the ending. This is it. Yumil runs up to someone, nods, then leaves. Repeat for the entire cast. Then the credits roll. That is what the ending of Avalon Code is.
Don't believe me? You should! You really should!