Let's Play Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean!
Video: The pre-title screen cinematic
Baten Kaitos: EW&tLO is a Gamecube exclusive role-playing game, brought to us in 2003 by such big names as Monolith and Namco, with a brilliant soundtrack developed by the good people of Tri-Crescendo. There are actually two Baten Kaitos games - the other, Origins, is a prequel that was released in '06, which takes place twenty years prior to this one.
Baten Kaitos has several features which distinguish it from your average RPG (or even JRPG), but the main thing that draws me to it is the setting. Baten Kaitos takes place in a world where people live in the sky, on islands floating above the now-tainted earth. There are five primary islands, as well as a couple of other little spots. In the world of Baten Kaitos, people have what are called Wings of the Heart, which come in all shapes and sizes and allow people to fly moderate distances. I feel that the game does a great job of creating interesting and fantastic areas and generally creating a world that I would love to visit personally, and that's a large part of what I think you ought to see.
The gameplay is also a bit of a departure from the norm. Overworld stuff is still pretty standard fare - you've got your wall'o'text NPCs, your fetch quests, dungeon crawling, etc. The battle system, however, is not quite so normal. It's card and deck based, you see - instead of choosing simply to Attack or Defend, your characters are dealt a hand out of a deck you set up for them, and you pick which cards out of that hand you want to use. It's actually more fun and much better executed than you might expect, although it still can be frustrating about, say, giving you a hand full of armor cards when you need to attack.
Incidentally, cards are another setting point - not only is the battle system based around cards, but they are also an acknowledged and utilized aspect of the Baten Kaitos world. Basically, every object has a "Magna essence", and cards (called Magnus) have the ability to store the Magna essence of an object, essentially making cards equal to hammerspace transportation. So if you wanted to move from one home to another, you could just trap all of your furniture in Magnus and only have to carry over a deck of cards instead of a bed and a couch and a TV and a computer and so forth.
There is one other thing I want to discuss before we continue. You may have heard about Baten Kaitos' voice acting. It's...poor. Well, maybe not as bad as rumor would have it - I personally find the main characters decent enough - but some of the VAs are spectacularly awful. From what I understand, all of the voice work was actually done in Japan, so the VAs are Japanese people who happen to know English. Furthermore, the character's voices have a horrible tinny quality to them. This may actually deliberate on the creator's part. Apparently they wanted to simulate the fact that you, the Guardian Spirit, are from another world so you can't really hear the characters properly or some bullshit like that (though that may be an excuse and it's really just bad quality. Who knows?). Regardless, I must say that you just haven't experienced Baten Kaitos: EW&tLO until you hear how horrible some of the voice work is.
Now, let's have a look at the characters!
The Guardian Spirit
The game does away with the fourth wall by making YOU a character! You see, you play as the main character's Guardian Spirit, a creature watching from another world who can observe and, to an extent, interact with the Baten Kaitos world. The characters will occasionally interact with you and you can choose between two responses - what you say will have a minor dialogue effect, and will also impact your relationship with Kalas (which in turn affects how often you get the Guardian Spirit superattacks in battle). As this is an LP, I will do my best to hand over the Guardian Spirit role to you guys, so that you can at least get a partial sense of how the game attempts to involve you personally both as the player and as a character in the story.
When Spirits ATTACK!
The main character of our story, Kalas is one of those characters who teeters between being a lovable jerk and being just a jerk. His grandfather and little brother were killed two years ago, and sometime shortly after that he bonded with the Guardian Spirit. Despite his abrasive and selfish nature, he does occasionally have moments where he seems to genuinely care for the people around him, particularly Xelha and the Guardian Spirit.
The female lead of the game, Xelha is...pretty standard fare, really. She's sugary sweet, kind of mysterious, and has a piece of jewelry that doubles as a potentially world-ending artifact. She's mostly level-headed and rational, although she can be somewhat naive. Seems to have made it her personal mission in life to make Kalas a better person, and bounces back and forth between crushing on him and wondering why he has to be so horrible to everyone.
Gibari is a fisherman from Nashira. Despite being physically imposing and extremely grumpy looking in this pic, he's probably the most laid-back character of the group. He originally joins the party because they need his help reaching the capital city on his home island, and just kinda ends up tagging along for the ride because he knows that Kalas and Xelha don't have a hope in hell of making it on their own. He uses oars to surprisingly lethal effect.
Lyude is the resident fellow from the bad guys' nation who is actually very nice and ultimately defects. He was ostracized from his fellow Imperials on account of having a functional conscience and ultimately exiled to Diadem, where he met the group. Lyude is the straightlaced and formal character, and overall seems to be a bit more reserved and cautious than Xelha and Gibari. Sadly, the universe really has it out for Lyude and has no qualms about dropping it's trousers and taking an enormous shit all over Lyude's life with no provocation.
Savyna is the no-nonsense, stoic warrior woman. She is relatively blunt and cynical, but not quite to the assholish degree that Kalas can be. She doesn't talk much about herself, and her motives are not very clear. She basically forces her way into the party in Anuenue, and that's that.
The Great Mizuti
The Great Mizuti is the best character.
--Questions and Answers--
What's a Baten Kaitos?
It's another name for the star Zeta Ceti. As far as I remember, it's just a nifty sounding name rather than something that has any real relevance to the plot (although there is a constellation-based sidequest).
-addendum: after further research, I've learned that the Baten Kaitos constellation is also sometimes called the Whale, which is actually relevant to the game. Who knew?
Is this a completionist run?
God, no! I will be doing all of the major character sidequests, and am planning to complete the other three major sidequests (constellations, family tree, and pets) as well. However, I will not be finding every Magnus under the sun, and will probably bypass some of the minor fetch quests.
What kind of input to we have as viewers?
Well, the main thing I want you guys to have control over is the responses the Guardian Spirit gives to characters. I also plan to let you pick my team once that becomes relevant, and once I get to the lategame you can choose what order I do sidequests in. Of course, I also am accepting general feedback (Show us more NPC dialogue! More transcribing, less pictures! Tell us more mechanical details! etc), so please let me know if there's something I am or am not doing that you want me to change. I can't promise that I will but hey, it doesn't hurt to mention it.
What's the policy on spoilers?
I don't really care if you discuss spoilers for this game, as long as you use spoiler tags. I'd prefer that you use them for anything that could be considered a spoiler, although obviously you should use your own discretion (for example, "Lyude has a brother and sister" doesn't merit tags, but "Cedr kills Lyude and reanimates his corpse and tells people that Lyude was possessed by Ganondorf but he really wasn't" would).
Having said that, I would really prefer that there not be any plot discussion of Baten Kaitos: Origins at all. If you really want to discuss it, please specify that what is within the spoiler tags is a BK:O spoiler and not an Eternal Wings one.
Does this game require any grinding?
Well, I imagine it's possible without *requiring* it, but I for one definitely will be doing some offscreen grinding. I'll try to remember to show off any significant changes that occur between updates, like if I get a spiffing new Magnus or something while I grind.
How often do you plan to update?
I'm hoping for about once a week, though it may be a little longer for the first updates since I'm still getting used to everything.
At any rate, let's get this thing started!
Table of Contents
- Update 01: Rock Cats are bad news.
- Update 02: Liquid Snake?!
- Update 03: Because we didn't desecrate Moonguile Forest enough last time.
- Update 04: oh god spiders
- Update 05: Lactose
- Update 06: Giacomo
- Update 07: The Whale in all of us.
- Update 08: Thunder is not an element in this game
- Update 09: Cotton Candy Clouds
- Update 10: The prettiest king of them all.
- Update 11: The Male Harpy
- Mini update: Adventures in Voice Acting, Teachers Edition
- Update 12: It is time to judge the wicked!
- Update 13: The Great Anuenue Scavanger Hunt
- Update 14: The mandatory optional boss fight
- Mini-Update: The Best Character
- Update 15: Tripping in Mira
- Update 16: Reverence and disco
- Update 17: Hall of Mirrors
- Update 18: Farewell To Mira
- Update 19: The universe hates Lyude
- Update 20: Three
- Update 21: Selfless, charitable deeds
- Update 22: Eternal Wings...
- Micro-update: Sagey's Foreshadowing Corner: Mira Edition
- Update 23: Rescue
- Update 24: Blue and Pink
- Update 25: How well do you know your armory?
- Update 26: Cockeyed
- Update 27: The Angel of Darkness
- Update 28: Take a deep breath
- Update 29: A Matter of Perspective
- Update 30: Zosma Tower
- Update 31: Supreme Ruler of the Nine Heavens
- Update 32: Wandering
- Update 33: The Doctor
- Update 34: Xelha calls out Kalas' name a bunch in this one
- Update 35: Lyude vs. the Love of the Universe
- Update 36: Mizuti vs. Revenge of Zosma Tower
- Update 37: Savyna vs. A World Without Sunscreen
- Update 38: Gibari vs. Unconventional Fishing
- Update 39: Xelha vs. Multiple Choice Tests
- Mini-update: Reunion
- Update 40: Breaking and Entering
- Update 41: Siblings
- Update 42: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
- Update 43: ...and the Lost Ocean
- Update 44: Cetus
- 01: Cape of Introduction
- 02: Mighty Whale Beneath Us
- 03: Star Spangled Journey
- 04: Soul Poetry
- 05: The True Mirror
- 06: The True Mirror (Guitar Version)
- 07: Metallic Stroke
- 08: Doomed in the Netherworld
- 09: Glowing Clouds
- 10: Chaotic Dance
- 11: Rumbling of the Earth
- 12: Coolant
- 13: Lull in the Wind
- 14: Gentle Breeze
- 15: Amid Butterflies and Moonlight
- 16: Purging Light of the Sun
- 17: Limpidly Flow
- 18: Soft Labyrinth
- 19: Bellflower
- 20: Imperial Dynamics
- 21: An Icy Fog
- 22: Feudal Guardian
- 23: Flighty Spirits
- 24: Temple of Celestial Flowers
- 25: Mystery Crystal
- 26: Decay
- 27: Holoholo
- 28: Soul Spring of the Blue Ocean
- 29: Dusty Wind
- 30: Dead Beat
- 31: Disorder
- 32: Castle in the Sand
- 33: Divine White Bell
- 34: Embark on a Voyage
- 35: Glittering Violet Moon
- 36: Twisted Time and Distorted Sky
- 37: Enemy Strike
- 38: Chaos Awakened
- 39: Middle of the Night
- 40 & 41: Level Up! Class Up!
- 42: Spiritual Company
- 43: Spray of Shock
- 44: Bottom Out
- 45: Falling Hail
- 46: World Panic
- 47: Brave Way
- 48: On The Throne
- 49: Time of Decision
- 50: The Tower of DRUAGA
- 51: Survival from the Force
- 52: Ruler of the Nine Skies
- 53: Violent Storm
- 54: Evil Meets its End
- 55: Advent of Earth
- 56: Deep Sea of Tears
- 57: Whispering Stars
- 58: Fruitful Party
by Funky Jeep Man
By (friend of TheAsterite's name here)