Part 1: The Dark Servicemen
First things first, we need to name the Guardian Spirit! Don't forget to vote on a name! Meemai is just a placeholder for the sake of this update.
edit: Actually Meemai is the name we'll be going with so nevermind that.
Video: Opening and update cutscenes
Music War Cries
We open with a dream sequence. It's extremely anime and there's stuff zipping around and so it can't really be conveyed in screenshots, but here are some highlights.
Yeah. Don't worry, it's not supposed to make sense.
The same dream...again...
As I said in the OP, you guys get control over what choices I make for these. However, in the interest of having an OP with actual content, I will choose the first few responses.
Wonder what it means. Such a strange dream...Well, there's no point in dwelling on it now. There's still a few hours before dawn. Let's try to get some sleep, Meemai.
Sagi starts to lie down on the bed again, but a soldier runs into the room.
A meeting in the middle of the night? I guess we do have to earn our keep.
Sagi does a flashy jump off of the bed, revealing his Wings of the Heart. Wings of the Heart continue to be a significant plot point in this game, for rather different reasons than in Eternal Wings. For now, just know that Sagi is capable of somewhat limited flight.
All right, my Wings of the Heart are good to go. Ready?
The Will Magnus can be found in Sagi's room. I'm going to hold off explaining it since we have no frame of reference to talk about it yet.
Music: Lord of Pawns
Welcome to the Dark Service Headquarters. I assume we'll be learning what the Dark Service is shortly. It's very small and there's not that much worth seeing, mostly just maps and army stuff.
There's also this defense item in one of the rooms.
If you wander around too much, some soldiers will chew Sagi out for not going directly to the meeting. I thought it was worth mentioning because...
Sagi may be a nice guy, but he's occasionally got an attitude. Also that is one of the poutiest faces I have ever seen.
Tonight's mission is an assassination. The target...is Emperor Olgan.
The soldiers turn and start to chatter...
Shut your traps! Attention!
...And immediately shut up and salute. I guess they're at least got some good discipline. That, or the captain is a really good leader.
As you were. I certainly share your unease. But as you know, the Imperial Dark Service does not answer to the Emperor. We're Lord Baelheit's private guard. I don't see why these orders should come as a surprise. Our duty is to take action when his lordship requires it nothing more, nothing less. Are we clear? Consider this mission Code S. All servicemen are authorized to use paramachina.
The camera moves to another room to show several hatches opening. Is it just me, or does the one second to the right look different from the others? I bet that's Sagi's.
Retrieve your paramachina and proceed to the rendezvous point. I'll provide further instructions there. I'm also going to break with protocol and issue blank magnus. Use them during the mission to store and transport the magna essence of whatever you need. That is all. Dismissed!
Leave it to the Dark Service to handle the dirty jobs. A high-ranking confidante sends his own men to strike down his master. And not just any master...this is the Emperor we're talking about, here. It doesn't get much dirtier than that.
Something tells me Sagi shouldn't be questioning his orders aloud to himself when surrounded by fellow soldiers.
I bet you never thought the Emperor would go down like this. Plus, we can use the money to put food on everybody's table!
Might as well. He's an emperor, so there's a 90% chance he's someone worth killing.
Trying to leave prompts one of the guards to give us 8 blank magnus, which you may recall from the briefing. Basically, blank magnus serve as the inventory system of this game. We can draw stuff like apples, water, fire, and even really esoteric stuff like thoughts and pain, and then use them in other places.
It's worth noting that in this game, some Quest Magnus (that is, items that go in Blank Magnus) can have positive or negative impacts on your stats. More on that later.
What kind of military operation is this?
Well, it provides a convenient excuse for a tutorial. You have to approach the water barrel and examine it to extract the essence of its water, then go to the fire and use the water to put it out. Simple enough.
Hey, we even get rewarded! Herbs heal a little HP and cure poison. Not great, but I'll take it.
The Travel Log acts as the characters' diary. All three characters will make entries in it. I will try to remember to show these entries off every now and then.
Leaving the room prompts a new cutscene...
The Service is crawling with men a lot scarier than you. And if they catch wind of what you said in there...
Right on cue, three soldiers come running toward Sagi.
Now, see? What did I tell you? If you want to stay alive, you'd better learn to keep a low profile.
The woman walks off as one of the soldiers slams into Sagi.
1 Hey, tough guy! You think what we do is dirty, huh?
2 Little runt. When Lord Baelheit asks you to do something, you keep your mouth shut and do it.
3 Yeah. We don't need any snot-nosed punks in our ranks. Maybe we can beat some sense into you!
Music: The Valedictory Elegy
And so begins our first battle.
The battle system is deceptively simple, but still can be difficult to get a grasp of, especially for people who just switched over form Eternal Wings. Basically, your turn consists of trying to create an attack string. You can only use magnus that are currently in your hand or which get dealt into your hand during your turn.
Attacks come in three types; weak, medium, and strong, with magnus for each. You can control how many of each are in your deck; I try to keep them about evenly distributed as they are now. There are also special attacks, specific to each character. The one my cursor is over in the above pick is Sagi's initial special, Scension.
The thing about creating attack chains is that you can play as many cards as you want, but they have to be done in a certain order. Specifically, you must go form weaker attacks to stronger attack you can't go form stronger to weaker. You can also skip steps and start wherever you want. So for example, an attack string could be Medium->Strong->Basic Finisher, but not Medium ->Weak->Strong, because Medium->Weak isn't allowed.
Basically, just follow this rule:
You can start wherever you want, and you can move down from there, but you can't move up.
Another helpful tool is the numbers on the cards. You can use cards in ascending order, but not descending. So when I play the 2 card, I have to move on to 3 or 4, but can't move back down to 1.
As a final note, the gauge on the right is the MP Gauge. Special attacks require MP to use, and MP is charged by doing...well, basically anything, but mostly through attacking. Basically, you have to charge up to use special attacks. The Will card I found back a the start allows you to charge a lot of MP at once, with the consequence being that it consumes your whole turn.
And finally, we have equipment. Equipment can be used at the start of a turn, before using any attacks. Weapons, naturally, make you do more damage and can imbue elemental damage as well. Armor makes you take less damage. Both weapons and armor have durability that is how many hits you can deal or take before the equipment breaks and loses its effect and is shuffled back into your deck. Also, you can only have a weapon OR an armor equipped at any time, not both. I personally don't bother much with armor and just use weapons, though armor is great to have in some battles.
Okay, I think that's enough battle babble for one update. If you're confused, don't worry; it starts making more sense the more you do it. Well, except I'm the one doing it, so you might stay confused, so just ask if you have questions and I'll try to cover them later.
After the battle...
1 Humph, is that all you got? I expected more from a spiriter.
2 Heh heh heh...Maybe his spirit's off taking a nap right now.
3 Ha ha! Seriously. It's not like we can see it. How do we even know it's real?
But, before Sagi can, the Captain walks out...
What's going on out here? Get to your stations, now!
They run off, finally.
Now, now, no need to get defensive. We have high hopes for you, spiriter. After all, legend has it that people like you and that spirit holed up in your heart are going to sway the fate of the world. Anyway you'd better hurry up and get ready. The paramachina are down that way. Get moving.
Music: Nettlesome Barrens and Arms
You looked a little cramped in there, Guillo.
Is it finally time for action?
What...is that? It's so strange! I have high hopes for this creature.
Yeah. But try to keep it down a little while longer. Paramachina can't talk, remember?
There you go! That's more like it!
Glad to hear it. I know we've been through this - but you and I need to be as like-minded as we can. The more we get along, the better the magnus we'll draw during combat. So for example, if things are going well between us, we might get a good sequence of magnus for setting up a chain attack. Or if we're taking a beating, we'll have a better chance of drawing a recovery magnus. Of course, we can't draw anything unless we put it in our battle deck first. Anyway, the point is, the choices you make will determine how well we work together.
Well, now that he's gone through the trouble of explaining things, I think it's time to stop for a bit. See you next time!