Part 5: Chapter V: Fishing For Answers
As Fou-Lu gets punched square in the face by a surprisingly un-bumbling villain, Ryu and Nina make their way back up to the top of the cliffs and head on their way.
We got a path to Sarai now, so let's head on over.
Hmmm. Something's weird about this ? spot.
Hah! It's in the same spot every time, no matter what direction you're going! Some ? spots are pre-set and actually hidden little areas, so if you see one pop up more than once, give it a quick once-over.
Score. This is used in the Skill swapping process, but I still need more stuff than Rest to show it off.
That's not the real reason we're here, though. There's a little path off to the side, here. Let's see what happens when we leave through it.
A new path opens up!
Wait, does that say FISH SPOT? FISHING SPOT MEANS FISHING MEANS DELICIOUS CONSUMABLE ITEMS SANDFLIER PARTS CAN WAIT
Every time you enter a Fishing Spot you get a little hint about where to fish.
So here we are in the first Fishin' Hole of the game.
We, sadly have no fishin' rod.
However, we do have a lure. Apparently that baby frog we found in the desert wasn't actually a baby frog, just a lure shaped like one. Still begs the question why there was a fishing lure in the middle of the freaking desert.
Let's check out the tutorial!
I'll summarize all of this, since it's a whole lot of words.
When standing in a spot you can fish, press X to get ready. R1/L1 move the camera, directional buttons move the angle you want to cast at. Press X again to bring up the power bar.
As seen here. Different rods have different maximum cast lengths. If you screw up, you might end up with your lure on land. If you don't reel it in carefully (or just teleport it back with Triangle) it'll get caught and the line will break, and you lose the lure. If you cast WAY too far it might fly off the boundary of the level and then you just get it back. After the lure is in the water, you can reel it in with X, or jerk it left and right with the directional buttons. There's a little doodad in the bottom right that tells you the depth your lure is at, which can be important for some fish, and also tells you if your dumb ass is about to hook the lure on the bottom and snap the line.
Now for the part that I find interesting, but people in the thread seem to dislike. If you just draw in the line or let the thing sit, it's not going to get very many fish. You move the lure in a specific rhythm, and more fish will pay attention to it.
For those who don't read musical notation, that can look a little intimidating. However, the game plays the rhythms in the background music to give you an idea of what they're like if you forget! Also, if you commit Tech 4's rhythm to memory you will never need to remember the other ones, as Tech 4 basically gets fish all up in your grille. Technically you get a bit of tension on your rod when a fish bites, and you have to reel in to hook it, but if you're just using Tech 4 repeatedly the damn things will hurl themselves onto your hook.
So now you got a fish on your hook! Congratulations, now for the part that you actually have to think a little bit to do. Fish obviously hate being fished up, so they'll try their best to swim away and break your line. When the fish struggles against the way you're pulling it, the tension on the line increases You have to let them wear themselves out for a bit by keeping the tension even - too high, and the line breaks, too low, and the fish gets away. The sweet spot is in that little yellow box. Keep it in there, and keep reeling it in, and you'll get the little bastard soon enough.
Let's try it out with the magic of Editing to get that fishing rod from town before we go to town.
It's simple enough, and I find it a nice way to kill time when I'm bored. Also, if you are about to start complaining about fish measurements or something, leave it be, they get worse later on when you can yank up 250cm whales.
Jellyfish are like the herpes of the waves. They're in pretty much every single fishing spot and go after any bait, meaning you can't get rid of the little bastards. They restore 50 HP each and sell for like 5 zenny, so they're sort of useless unless stockpiled en masse (which isn't too hard, but why would you do that?) or if you use them in Fishing Shops, which we won't see for a while.
Sweetfish are actually a damn fine fish in the beginning of the game. They restore 5 AP each, meaning they're handy to pop when you're in a dungeon and out of AP but don't want to walk all the way back out to rest. Later in the game they're pretty much useless, but you only really see them in these early spots.
Trout are tougher to wrangle up with a beginning rod and bait but restore 10 AP each, making them viable for much longer.
My fishamania sated, let's actually go into Sarai.
: "Does anything look familiar? Does it bring any memories back?"
: shakes head
: "No? ...Well, I don't know what to say, but, um...I need to buy some things, and get back to where my friend is, you know..."
Proof that Ryu can express himself! Since I am a sissy (and Nina does some stupid things if left alone) I say no.
: "I guess it's not that simple... is it? Hmmm..."
: "I've got an idea! You can help me look for the things I need. While we're doing that, maybe you'll remember something, or we'll run into someone who knows something about you! There has to be a shop here somewhere that sells parts for sandfliers. Let's see if we can find it."
Killing two birds with one stone is always best.
Ooh, fishing rod. I'll just send this back in time to myself so I can do the fishing bit in one chunk.
Nina's flying ability is actually pretty handy in towns as they often have a lot of blind alleys and hidden NPCs. Let's talk to that lady by the gate.
HOLY JESUS GET IT AWAY
: "I bet you've got a lot of questions, don't you? Well, then you've come to the right place, cause I've got all the answers!"
So, Terrifying Tutorial Lady and her puppet never really get explanations of who they are, why they're in several cities, or why they help out that I can remember, but they serve to tell you stuff about the game. I will be able to do their job for them, and you've heard everything this one has to say except for Combos, which I'll get into next update.
We continue through town, and most of the NPCs say something along the lines of "everybody in this town is just waiting to rip you off." They're not kidding, if we let Nina go off on her own she'd go straight to the shadiest motherfucker in town, lose her money, and we'd have to find the parts for her.
Hey, I recognize this parrot-ostrich thing!
Ahh, the tavern. Full of the stink of booze and sand. Down there is the merchant we found in the crater relating his story, a guy at the bar too busy eating to speak, and some other NPCs.
TREASURE!? Hell yes I love treasure!
I hate this town.
That's...odd. Maybe we'll find a guy who just can't get enough lead paperweights.
So, we talk to a few NPCs in the bar who say they don't know where we could get sandflier parts, then we talk to the guy at the bar.
: "munch munch munch...huh? You want to talk to me? Hmmm...munch munch. Well, if you want something from someone, you gotta have the right attitude, dont'cha think?"
Alright, alright, we'll buy you more food.
: "You will!? Well, then let's not waste any time!"
First minigame of the game (if you don't count fishing)!
Basically the point here is to stuff the guy's face with food and booze so he talks, getting his happiness bar up all the way before the food or drink bars. You do this by alternating between cheap stuff and the expensive stuff to keep him from getting disinterested in one or the other. Soon enough, he's sated.
: ".........BUUUUURP! Boy, I'm full! That was good! All right then, I'll tell you what you want to know! If you're looking for something, go talk to the information broker in front of the inn! He can tell you where to find what you're looking for! Burp! I'm impressed! Don't meet many young folks as generous as you! Here--I got something for you!"
Score. We essentially got a plot coupon AND a panacea (status effect curer) for dirt cheap. Let's go talk to that broker guy.
My word, he's creepy. Let's ask him about Ryu.
: "Who's Ryu? That's easy. I don't know. I can tell you he's not from this town."
Damn, there goes that lead. How about sandflier parts?
: "Hmm....well, I haven't got any of those, but I do know how you can get some. Interested?"
: "Hmm...now we're talking business. You want information, you've got to pay for it. If what you offer doesn't match how much the information's worth, the deal's off. Got it? Hmm?"
Another minigame occurs but it's dumb. You basically offer an amount of money. If it's below his price, he refuses. If it's above it, he accepts, no matter how high it is. It's essentially a test to see how much money you're willing to blow, unless you already know the price (123 zenny). We hand over exact change and he talks.
: "If you're looking for sandflier parts, you have to go to the black market. There's a man who sells parts behind the tavern. You'll have to find out the password to be able to meet him, but most traveling merchants will tell you if ask them. I just saw one leave so I imagine he's probably still close by. Try looking on the Highway outside of town."
To the outside! We find the guy on the first random ? we check on the pathway between the cliffs and Sarai.
: "What d'you want? ... What!? Black market!? In Sarai!? Humph! So you want to know the password to get in, huh?...Well, I suppose I could tell you, but I got my own business to take care of, you know. Normally, I charge 1,000 zenny for info like that!...but I'll tell you for free. I mean, you did come all the way out here after me and all...I don't know what it is you want that you need for, but good luck to you."
Back to the bar in Sarai!
: "This is a tavern, not a...oh, you know about that? Well now, that's different then, isn't it? Come this way."
The screen goes black and we enter the back rooms.
: "You're probably wondering why we go to all this trouble aren't you? That's because selling sandfliers is a dangerous business."
: "If the Empire found out we were selling them, the next time a war breaks out, they'd come after us! I don't want this place to end up under a hex like Chamba or Synesta, no thank you!"
This one bit of dialogue tells you quite a bit of information. A new war is seen as inevitable, the Empire are ruthless, and two towns called Chamba and Synesta got a 'hex' put on them. Somehow, I think what he's talking about is just a little bit more serious than something an angry witch puts on you.
Wait, Nina said her sister disappeared in Synesta.
: "Does that mean you don't have any sandflier parts!?"
: "Not exactly... there's a place they call Sandflier Valley near here. It's a junkyard, full of old, broken down sandfliers. If you go there and bring back some useable material, I'll make your sandflier parts. Deal?"
: "All right then, we'll go to this Sandflier Valley, and get the material you need."
Next time: our first actual dungeon! Less talking, more brutalizing of the local wildlife!