Part 70: Odds and EndsODDS AND ENDS
This is just some miscellaneous stuff I want to talk about before our very last update, in which we'll take a look at the postgame and then get this baby archived.
Unless you're already reading this in the archives, in which case, hi! Baldurk makes this possible, bestow unto him all of your props.
RETURNING TO RHOAN
First things first. Remember when I said you couldn't access Rhoan again until you rescued Ur? I was wrong! The main entrance is blocked, but you can still get in via the secret ladder to the cemetery.
I assume that was an oversight, because if not, what's the point of this asshole?
Anyway. Before the climax forces you to, you can in fact return to Rhoan.
Do you remember the last time we escaped from prison only to come right back home, and nobody, not even the guy who sentenced us, cared a whit? This time it's different!
...that's what I want to believe. But everyone says you're at fault. If you did it, you have to atone. Otherwise...you'll just have to wait until they trust you again.
Everyone does this. Every single character in town instantly forgives you, or at least gives you the benefit of the doubt, once you tell them (again) that you didn't do it. Yes, even Xenonbart himself.
So you were behind all this!
Do you think I'll believe your excuses?! ...but that is what the public is saying about you. If it's true that you didn't cause this disaster...then prove to me your innocence with your own two hands!
Oh, the public are all saying we didn't do it? Really? Then why did they accuse us in the first place?
Either kick us out of town or don't, people. This half-assed "Oh, everyone has turned against you but not really" approach pleases no-one, and destroys the impact when Yumil officially returns and everyone admits they were wrong.
This was doubly annoying for me because it ended up locking me out of Rhoan until the last chapter. Gameplay-wise, I wasn't barred from returning, but I couldn't justify:
1. Yumil wanting to return to Rhoan.
2. Him doing so without everyone flipping their shit.
And that messed up my pacing, because I really needed some sidequests to break up the prestissimo of dungeonSPIRITdungeonSPIRITdungeonSPIRIT.
Mind you, there wasn't much left besides fetch quests that don't develop anyone or get you anything besides another stupid recipe you'll probably never use.
For example, Fro has a sidequest. He gives you ten jewels and asks you to bring them to Romaioni. Do so, and Romaoni lets you keep two as payment. Two jewels. Enough to buy one fifth of a Zeno-9 card. The end.
What's the point? If this taught us something about either character or changed them in some way, I'd overlook the rubbish reward. In fact, you don't even need a reward. There's no reward for the Rex/Meenya/Duran quests, but they give us some insight and explain Rex's motives, and that's fine.
This one doesn't. We already know Romaioni's a skinflint. We already know he's trading with Fro from his last sidequest. There is no outcome. If they're not going to bother, why should we?
BUT, since we're on the subject, and since we're wrapping things up, here's all the plot points we didn't get to cover.
Gustav lost to Heath in the last tournament, Dorothea visits town to connect with the working class, Nanai agrees to apologise to Ellie for going astray, Kamui is in love with Fana (comes out of and goes nowhere), and a cursed sword ate Anwar's emotions.
Am I missing anyone important?
I think this kid got the scissors during production.
Anwar. Sylphy. Vis. Kamui. I've accused all these characters and others of being pointless, but at least you can't get through the game without bumping into them. They all have some role to play, no matter how minor.
If you happen to bypass Rudrud's cave, that's it. You will never meet Gim. You won't even know he exists, because Rudrud doesn't talk about him. I only put him in the narrative because shit, the guy's there. Gotta give him something.
Why do I think there's more to him? Two reasons.
First, look at the Falling Stars cutscene again. When Yumil's told his "loved ones" will be erased, who does he think of? GIM. Of all the characters that could have been there, they used the only one you can miss. There are players who watched this scene and went "Who the hell is that guy?"
Admittedly, there is an alternate explanation for this. The last person shown is always your current love interest, so if they had, say, Fana show up in Gim's place when she's not your girlfriend, they'd have to program someone else to appear when she is. I'm guessing they were too lazy to do that.
Thing is, once you discount all the kissable characters, who's left? Romaioni? Xenonbart? Vis? Nobody that Yumil would be attached to. However! They still had Kamui and Gustav, both of whom would have made more sense than Gim, so I still think this holds up.
Of course the alternate alternate explanation is that Kamui and Gustav were once eligible boyfriends, but I'd prefer to lock that thought away somewhere and pretend I did not have it.
Second, all that stuff about rebelling against his father and wanting to see the town. What comes of that? Nothing. He never visits Rhoan. He never leaves the cave. He never comes to terms with Rudrud, not even in the flimsy way that Duran did with Gustav. It's all forgotten about.
No. That's not how it was meant to be. Clearly, he should have been so impressed with Yumil for beating up his dad that he followed him all the way home to become his dwarf sidekick and best bud, who stands by him when Rhoan won't. And that's why Yumil flashes back to him.
Or perhaps I just want that to happen.
Lookit him. Lookit his face.
If you free the spirits, then go back and watch the Missing Sun cutscene, neither Ur nor Neaki have their shackles on. However, this scene happens before it's possible to unshackle them. It's not just a bug, because Neaki actually says her lines instead of going "Haaaah."
COULD IT BE THAT IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSSIBLE TO UNSHACKLE THE SPIRITS EARLIER?
Yeah. Probably. Like I've said, the shackles don't really affect anything or get brought up at all. If you unshackled Ur right after defeating Perkele, nothing would have to change. He could be even be unshackled when you first meet him and they'd only have to remove that "Though blind, I can still sense you" line.
Perhaps Neaki was the issue? I suppose being able to free her in Chapter 9 would require a little extra voice work, but if this cutscene is any indication, they already have it. There's only one other voiced scene before unshackling becomes available, and she doesn't say much there either. It can't have been that much trouble.
Hell, maybe they just forgot to record those lines and had to cover it up before release day. Wouldn't put it past them.
The fuck is this?
You can find it at the Site of Cyril, in one of the mission rooms. I didn't bring it up because it does nothing. It's not important.
But that's just it. Why is it not important? Look at it! Floaty crystal gubbin, illuminated by a single beam of light, surrounded by glowing runes, dead centre of the room. It's screaming "Pick me up" louder than a hitchhiking nymphomaniac. You can't slap something like this down just for decoration. Can you?
They did. But they may not have meant to.
This is concept art unmistakably depicting the room above. I'm no expert, but I don't think they'd bother doing a full-colour drawing of what amounts to a piece of furniture. This thing had a purpose.
Moongardener brought this to my attention and provided the picture (I thank her for both). She thinks it may once have been this, not the Great Spear, that Olly wanted to get a hold of. That would make more sense. Remember, all anyone confirms about Great Spears is that they are, in fact, gargantuan-ass spears. You wield them like spears, to stab things. Olly is a skinny geriatric who could not possibly have used it.
We know that because she doesn't use it. She succeeds in getting the thing. She could take over the world any time she wants, but as far as we can tell, she just sits and stares at it for a while, then says "Shit. Maybe if I had the book?" Even though she COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE, AND WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE BOOK IN CHAPTER FOUR, but let's not revisit that plot hole.
Then she gets the book. And it doesn't work. And she dies.
Olly is a pointless character.
Welp, I did say I'd transcribe this once there was nothing to spoil. Here you go.
[Age of Legends]
The time of great Gods. Man battled the Gods and won. The Gods' realm was crushed, thus the human world was born.
A time where many kingdoms came and went.
[Ace of Ancients]
A highly civilised empire rose to conquer the world. Strife destroyed it, causing great calamity.
[Age of Darkness]
After the fall of the Ancients, there was no advancement of civilisation for nearly 1000 years.
[Age of Old Kaleila]
A demon, resurrected from the past, build a kingdom of monsters on Kaleilan land.
[Kingdom of Kaleila Founded]
500 years ago, a man named Xenoncross took up the holy sword and smote the demon who suppressed the land. The Kingdom of Kaleila and Rhoan were built.
[Rise of Kaleilan Power]
400 years ago, the 3rd king Xenonride spread his power and invaded nearby lands. The Kaleilan kingdom grew its territory for centuries, but its affluence waned, and it gradually lost land.
[Waisen Empire Founded]
Decades ago, the Waisen Empire was founded in the North. Flexing its power, it soon reached Kaleila.
[Assassination of Valdo]
A peace treaty was proposed between Waisen and Kaleila, but a failed attempt on Prince Valdo's life nullified it.
[Kaleilan Northern War]
War breaks out between Kaleila and Waisen Empire.
Like I said, nothing that interesting. It's all either stuff you learn throughout the game or vague waffle that doesn't matter. "A time where many kingdoms came and went." And the generic ancient civilisation was destroyed by "strife." Come on.
Notice there is no mention of Great Spears, because they are determined to tell us as little about those as possible. And apparently there were gods once, but humans kicked their asses. Before the human world was born. Figure that one out.
Here's what I don't get, though. At first, I assumed mankind overthrowing the gods was the reason the book first came into being. Like we'd overstepped our bounds or some such. However, this all seems to be the history of this one particular world, not every world. So there were gods here? In this timeline? And we up and fucking murdered them with no apparent motive?
And that didn't cause the end of the world?
Also, if Kullervo wrote himself in and became ruler, how come he has no presence for so long? Where is he during the Age of Ancients, or the Age of Darkness? Why'd he let all that crap happen?
Oh yes. Because he's not actually very smart.
You're an awful villain, dude. I'm sorry.