Part 6: Episode V: In Which We Wonder What Happened to the Draw DistanceEpisode V: In Which We Wonder What Happened to the Draw Distance
Welcome to Chapter 2 of Drakengard 2 - Gaia. I have no idea what that title has to do with this chapter other than there is an underground dungeon at one point. Oh well. A few new things open up at this point. But first, a wishy-washy monologue from Nowe to begin the chapter!
Nowe is haunted by basically "Hey, let me out of here assholes! No? Well FUCK YOU!" Something tells me our hero is a wee bit sheltered.
Right, then. Behold the World Map of Drakengard 2. If you flip the map 180 degrees this time you'll see that we're actually on a rotated map of...absolutely nothing. I guess we're supposed to be in the Drakengard equivalent of Eastern Europe, but it really doesn't look particularly like anything other than generic fantasy landscape. Consistency between sequels, who needs it! You can see a cameo by the old Castle of the Goddess (which was roughly in bizarro Romania) up in the top-right corner, for frame of reference as to where we are compared to the original game.
Oh well, let's take a look around the new locales.
Chapter 1 took place in the Blessed Plains, which are the home lands of the Knights of the Seal and their base of the Grand Shrine.
To the west is our next destination, the Endless Grounds. Kind of a shithole, apparently. But there is a village there we'll be visiting eventually. Drakengard 2 features villages we can visit. Thankfully, there's no sidequests to be found there. They're basically just glorified weapon and item shops to use that money we've been earning from eradicating that demi-human scum.
Also returning from the first game are Free Expedition missions. For those not in the know, these are basically just extra missions re-using old maps for weapon/level grinding. Though, annoyingly enough, there's usually extra weapons found in these missions. Joy. Also annoying is the way the Free Expedition stages are unlocked in Drakengard 2. In the original title, when a chapter was completed the game would just give you all the maps at the chapter conclusion for Free Expedition. Not this time...
This time around we need to do the rather pointless (beyond leveling Legna slightly) Aerial Missions to unlock the Ground Missions. Insert 5 minutes of killing Gargoyle Cubes here.
The Free Expedition ground maps are usually just a matter of depleting an entirely too long Murder Meter and then fighting a few mini-bosses (read: Ogres) for completion. This first one features a weapon in an underground chamber that was inaccessible last time. I'll just trim the fat and jump right to the weapon story
Drakengard 2 Weapon Story posted:
This staff was created with the skin and bones of a gaunt magician. The magician was a famous man with many disciples. When he grew old, he asked his disciples to select one of their own numbers to be his successor.
One of the magician's disciples was a talented young man with eyes as sharp as an eagle. The old magician named him his successor, and taught him everything he knew. The young man mastered every known spell within half a year. Thrilled by his progress, the old magician asked him to help train other disciples.
During training, the young man began to invent new spells. Soon the other disciples began to train directly under him, rather than their former master. The old magician knew that his time passed, and asked him protégé to take his place. But the young man refused. He said he wanted to travel the world and seek out new magic.
Stung by the young man's refusal, the magician's emotions, pent up until now, exploded... Jealousy. Hatred. Love... He unleashed every spell he knew, but the young man calmly reflected each of his curses back at him. Caught in a maelstrom of his own magic, the old man's flesh melted leaving nothing but skins and bones.
Description: A staff made from a magician's skin and bones.
Traits: Conjures short range spells. Acquires MP quickly.
Magic: Bloody Vortex - Darkness overwhelms enemies.
So that's one village torched, one princess with her throat slit, one woman raped and murdered, and now an old wizard with his flesh melted off. Keep on truckin'!
That said, you may notice that this weapon is a "Rod". We don't currently have anyone who can use rods or staffs. So, it just goes straight into the closet for several chapters until such a character eventually shows up. Great...
Right then. That was twenty minutes of my life I'll never get back. No, let's get on with Chapter 2 proper, shall we?
Verse 1 - The Flank
Music: Abysmal Earth
"Hurry up, hurry up! I'm already getting hungry. Let's finish this today, shall we?"
"You take to the sky and watch our flanks. And be careful."
"Eris may be young, but she has a lot more battle experience than I do. Why shouldn't I follow her orders?"
"My boy, have I ever told you the follies of being whipped?"
"What, like...as a punishment for something?"
<sigh> "We'll discuss this another time..."
"Anyway, do you see the monsters yet?"
So this is basically a filler stage. There's a bunch of bats. Legna has to shoot down all the bats. Nowe has several really stupid musings as his dragon dad does all the work along the way. I included a shiny gameplay video at the end of the update if you really wanna see what all the Aerial Mission excitement is all about.
Many, many dead flying monsters later...
"You obey her every command and follow her around like a puppy. When did you become such a sycophant, my boy?"
Verse 2- The Fog
"This isn't any normal fog. It reeks of evil. We'd do well not to stay here too long."
"Is this a district...then the people live here, too?"
"Who knows? It has nothing to do with us."
<sigh> Taking orders from a little girl. Tearing up over the plight of strangers that would gladly stab him in the gut if given the chance. Where did I go wrong...?
"Eris. Are you alright?"
"Yes. But I've lost contact with Sir Zhangpo's forces."
"How did you manage that?"
"It is not too difficult when on foot and the draw distance is five feet ahead of yourself."
"He must have gone ahead into the district. Let's go after him."
This mission mostly consists of several waves of enemies, each coming with a Murder Meter to deplete for the next phase to commence. Though, there are a few new gimmicks along the way.
Given the utterly abysmal visibility in this area, the revised mini-map in this game is quite handy as it displays all the dense clusters of baddies to fry. It's quite essential when flying in Turok 2 level visibility conditions.
A depleted Murder Meter later...
At this point the Knights of the Seal's useless collective asses show up. Where in the hell was Eris wandering off to where she got separated from both Zhangpo's nutty ass and his entourage, as well as her own forces? Did she have to take a Paladin Poop when suddenly a dragon and a moron dropped in on her out in the woods about to squat?
Yet another one-sided slaughter later...
At this point, several strange rock formations start farting out poisonous gas from the earth's rectum. Lovely. Legna and Nowe are flying high enough to be unaffected. So at least that's a relief.
Unfortunately, the terrible ally NPCs are too retarded to retreat from the nerve gas billowing throughout the area and thus must be rescued within a time limit by destroying the source of the miasma. Since that's how poisonous gas works. Cut off the source and everyone is A-Okay, even if they've inhaled several lungs full of the vapors.
Destroying the gas sources is just a simple matter of flying to three targets on the map and shooting a few fireballs at each poison geyser. There's about a minute and a half to accomplish this task and no enemies to ward off Legna, so it's pretty simple to accomplish.
At this point, some Ogres show up for the party. I really dislike Ogres depending on the terrain in which they must be fought. In this case...it's a trying affair.
You see, Ogres are massive. So, in order to make it so they don't block the screen when Nowe is running behind them, the game turn into a semi-transparent mess for 'ease' of visibility. In tight quarters, this happens very often. Doubly so when there's pants-on-head retarded helper knights getting in the way. This crappy effect makes it really hard to tell exactly where the backside of the Ogre that Nowe is supposed to be attacking is located. Especially if the camera gets caught on a wall and swings slightly upward so you cannot see the thing's feet. I wish Caim had finished that genocide of 'em in the first game...
Three dead ogres later...
You'd think these guys would be wearing red to go faster. What a bunch of maroons!
Also, look at all those assless chaps on those goblins. Just look at 'em! They're an allegory for this game. Drakengard! 2!
Another Murder Meter pops up at this point. But, you might have noticed that treasure box amongst all those monster rears. It also appears on the mini-map to the very south of the region. That's another splendid new weapon Nowe needs to pick up or else miss forever. Drakengard 2 does not feature the chapter replay feature its predecessor had. Once you've finished a chapter, you're done for good unless you kept a back-up save or else replay the game. As such, we've got to pick up these weapons as they come along. Don't look back!
Drakengard 2 Weapon Story posted:
This sword was forged by a tribe using a closely guarded secret technique. In order to maintain secrecy, a daughter of the tribe was forced to kill her lover, whom the elders suspected of spying for a neighboring tribe. She committed suicide soon after.
The tribe secrecy was maintained but it came at a high price. Paranoia gradually spread, and the tribe began to punish and torture its own. They blackmailed each other and soon, all order was lost.
The torture methods were cruel. Some died of having melted iron poured into their mouth, and others simply lost their minds from the trauma of the ordeal.
Then all trust was lost within the tribe, they began to murder one another, and in a matter of days they had wiped themselves out. And so their technique remained a secret for all times, just as they had wished.
Description: Created using a secret technique.
Traits: With training, the wielder can master linear-sweep attacks.
Magic: Sonic Blow - Unleashes inner energy and sends enemies reeling.
Alright, adding a murder/suicide to the tally along with mass torture and another village destroyed. I should make a bingo card just for weapon stories.
Now where were we... Ah yes, zombie horsemen decided to join the rumble. Sure, why not? I guess there's some unseen goblin/ghost alliance going on here. You'd think the Union would have looked into that kind of stuff...
Another new gimmick in Drakengard 2 is playable characters having strengths and weakness against certain enemy types. For instance, Eris, being a pure holy paladin virgin type, is of course strong against the undead. Likewise Nowe, being a pretty boy pussy, is weak against ghosts, specters and ghouls. Since they're icky and might mess up his neatly feathered hair. If a character is strong against the enemy type it is combating, then the damage indicator numbers pop up in red. For weak strikes, they'll be a lame blue color. Easy enough to remember.
Undead Horseriders are fairly simple to take down. Eris just needs to flank behind them and whack away until dead. The riders' only attack is re-aligning themselves toward a target and then charging.
That is...unless they charge into a wall and get stuck clipping into the thing. Then they can be a pain to battle since they can still charge and their hitbox is basically 180 degrees in front of them. If this happens, Eris is basically stuck chipping away a couple hits, retreating for the charge attack to go off, and going back in again. Great playtesting!
Slaying the ghost horsemen will end the mission. Some extremely competent hooded bloke announces over the intercom that he needs to go inform...someone...of the Knights' invasion. This is an odd thing to do, seeing as the Knights of the Seal are supposed to be regularly patrolling this place and everything...
Some time later...
"So, Lieutenant Zhangpo is the guardian of another one of these keys that rob people of their lives."
"Are you going to whine about this every time the subject comes up?"
"I'd suggest refraining from that behavior in front of the Lieutenant. I doubt he'll be as tolerant of this foolish talk."
"The guardian of the district went missing. I don't know exactly what happened, or where he went."
Hmm....a missing guardian of the District, eh? How mysterious! I'm sure that will never come up again. No sir. I'm also positive there will be no startling revelation that a character is actually the missing lieutenant later on in the story. That would be an outlandish twist.
"My apologies, sir. Our way was blocked by the fog."
"Oh, yes. That fog is a damn nuisance. But we have to get inside and make sure the key is safe. Right, you lot! Go on ahead and be quick about it."
"Lieutenant Zhangpo! You can't! It's too dangerous in there!"
"But, the war with the Empire was years ago! We can't keep punishing them!"
"Insolent boy! Hold your tongue, or else! This is my land, and you will not question my authority!"
"But it's not right!"
"Oh really... Not right? Tell me, boy? How old are you?"
"Oh, eighteen is it? Fancy that! Just in time to be born into a world after the great war! No hordes of imperial black dragons razing your village? Missed the flying fortress raining fiery death on your head? Didn't see the breaking of the old seals, the genocide of the faeries and the elves, the sky turning into a burning hell as the dead rose and creatures of old ravaged the lands as the world nearly ended, hmmm?"
"Well then maybe your damned pampered arse sho-"
...Lady Manah? Manah?! Lalalalala MANAH!? NOBODY LOCKED UP MANAH!?!?! I know she was like six years old but holy shit, you do not let the former avatar of a pissy, world ending god keep running around unchecked!
Well, it seems someone grew up in-between games. This isn't gonna be awkward or anything.
Oh wait... Mysterious woman...connection to the original game...carrying a staff like the one we picked up before... Oh hell! She is gonna be Nowe's terrible JRPG love interest, isn't she...?
Verse 1 Cutscenes
Verse 2 Cutscenes
Manah Intro FMV
Music: Abysmal Earth
Lieutenant Zhangpo Artwork - Where do you buy tailored pant/shorts anyway? Or utterly unwieldy fanaxeswords? Or chainmail armor with a hole for stylish red dreadlock curls? So many questions!