The Let's Play Archive

Drakengard 2

by The Dark Id

Part 55: Episode XLIX: In Which We Go Stock the Armory

Episode XLIX: In Which We Go Stock the Armory

So another new lovely feature of New Game Plus is additional Free Expedition missions. Pretty much every single map in the game, outside boss fight arenas, will eventually be available for Free Expedition by the end of the journey. The first one is unlocked after Nowe deserts the Knights of the Seal in Chapter 3. And it is by far the worst of the lot.

The Courtyard of the Grand Shrine is actually five separate Free Expedition trials. Each is basically an enemy gauntlet tuned to the specific strengths of one of the four playable characters. And each one also offers a corresponding weapon for each character. So yeah, I was stuck doing this grind for about two hours... Good times...

The first mission is a Nowe oriented one against human enemies. There are five waves in each mission. Usually one for each unit of the specific enemy type, with the fifth round being a clusterfuck of the previous four waves combined. Here we have:

Our prize for all that fun is...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


A long, long time ago... A young girl regained consciousness in a small, dark space, thick with the stench of blood. She couldn't move her arms, her legs, or even her mouth. The only thing she could do was stare into the darkness with wide open eyes.

The last light the girl had seen was the fire that burned with people as its fuel. Its awful glow had illuminated the hand crawling all over her... After that, she had felt something cold pierce her body many, many times. And then...blackness. That was all she could remember. "What am I...?"

Suddenly the girl was freed from the darkness. The starry sky opened before her dazzled view, its faint light too bright. Desperately, she moved her eyes, searching to see herself, but the familiar lines of her body were gone; in their place, a ruined mass of blood and quivering flesh.

The girl let out a voiceless scream. As she did so, a black shadow obscured the stars. A monster with long fangs was kneeling over her, lowering its gruesome maw towards her face. In a moment of white agony, her ruined flesh contorted into a sword and lunged at the monster's head, stabbing it between the eyes.

Description: A sword with a girl's spirit sealed inside.
Traits: Breaks the enemy's guard. This trait becomes useless as hell at the half way point in the game, as all enemies' guard threshold will universally exceed the guard break of weapons.
Magic: "Sonic Burst" - You know, come to think of it...a shit load of characters in Street Fighter II were lacking eyebrows. Dhalsim, Blanka, Sagat, M. Bison, Balrog, Dee Jay... They just had big jutting lumps of flesh where eyebrows ought to be... Kind of freaky.

Wait, it just ends there...? The hell was that all about?! I wanted to hear more...

Next up is Manah's gauntlet against the game's assortment of mages and magicians. She gets to have fun with...

And her reward is as follows...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


Back, when magic flourished, magicians played an integral role on the battlefield. The potency of their magic was derived in large part from the power of their staffs. Indeed, wars were fought over the ownership of powerful staffs - especially the staffs of the ancient magicians, which contained mighty spells, long forgotten.

At around that time, a magician found a staff buried in some ancient ruins. Though he wasn't especially gifted, using the staff's power, he was capable of unimaginable feats and soared up through the ranks of his army. Within a year, he sat at the general's right hand.

The magician's powers knew no bounds on the battlefield and he became very influential. Then one day, an identical staff was found in the same ruins, with hundreds more like it... In a matter of months, every kingdom had acquired one, and the war raged on with renewed ferocity.

The magician who wielded the original staff had relied upon its power, and neglected to train. The other magicians were different. With their finely honed skills and the power of the staff combined, they easily defeated their lazy counterpart. By the year's end, he had been demoted to the rank of a mere soldier. Obscurity beckoned.

Description: A staff containing a forbidden curse.
Traits: Casts a powerful ground-sweep spell.
Magic: "Flare Claw" - Fireballs rain down from the sky and explode on the ground. Probably one of the best magic spells Manah gets. She has full invincible frames while casting it, it knocks back all enemies close to her, and it rains a super damaging storm of fireballs over a huge area in front of her. It's akin to Arioch's magic nuke spell from the first game.

Trolled by Mass Production.

Continuing right along, up next is Eris vs. the Undead Hordes. Our holy knight heroine gets to battle against.

Prize time...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


I awoke on a rainy day and looked up to see my brothers still in the nest from whence I'd fallen. It was a small nest, and I'd guessed that it would only be a matter of time before something like this happened. I was only two months old. "Well, that's life," I thought, just as my parents flew back. They looked down at me, but they began to feed my brothers.

I tried chirping, but they ignored me. "That's it for me, I suppose," I thought, when a lightning bolt struck the tree, setting it alight. I flapped my wings in a desperate attempt to get away. Once I'd scrabbled to a safe distance, I turned to see the nest in flames, my brothers' burning bodies illuminating the forest.

You can never tell what's going to happen in life. Cowering there in the wet grass, a human who'd come to investigate the fire saw me and scooped me up. One year later, I was an adult falcon and sat on his arm. He was middle-aged, poor, and drank a lot. That was all I knew about my savior.

After two years together, we parted ways when my companion sold me to buy alcohol. The human who brought me butchered, cooked and served me to another human whose belly I paused in en route to the privy. My feathers were used to decorate a spear which was sold to a fool at an exorbitant price. What a ridiculous waste of money and life.

Description: A spear decorated with a falcon's feathers.
Traits: Strong with a long reach.
Magic: "Innocent Eye" - A holy shockwave decimates enemies.

Even birds are not safe from being shat on by Cavia's weapon stories.

We're getting toward the end of this shit. I'd been at this for about an hour and change by this point. Up to bat is Urick against a monster legion. His foes are:

Urick gets quite a special reward for his efforts...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


What was once hailed as the largest blade in the world, striking fear into the hearts of men, now bore no trace of its former glory. Only a shattered heap of iron remained.

Back when this heap was still a sword, its owner had tried to fuse it with unimaginable variety of objects. His mania for modifying the weapon had seen its titanic form incorporate armor, other swords and even the bones of the dead. Mighty though it already was he was obsessed by the idea that it could be made yet stronger.

The blade slowly began to change color, turning crimson towards its edge. The gradation seemed to symbolize its place on the boundary between this world and the next. Certainly, it had been the difference between life and death to many a friend and foe in the past. But when its owner tried to fuse it with a baby, its blade finally shattered.

Discarded as a failed experiment, the sword longed for the days, when it had terrified men with its fearsome form... So it searched for an owner who could forge its blade afresh.

Description: It used to be a broken heap of iron.
Traits: Heavy and slow, but its sheer power can kill the strongest of ogres.
Magic: "Horns of Nightmares" - Awakens the spirits of the dead, who kill surrounding enemies.

Goddamn babies ruin EVERYTHING! I can't believe Hymir's Finger got broken again. Man, Caim is going to be so pissed. That said, Urick becomes a fucking BEAST with this weapon equipped. At Level 1 its attack power is 140. For reference, Nowe's strongest sword right now, fully leveled has 140 attack power. It tops out at 200 Attack Power and 340 guard break, meaning it will break almost every enemy's guard in a single strike and break their face in half with the second. Urick can pretty much win the rest of the game with this weapon.

Last of the Grand Shrine Courtyard gauntlet of tedium. This time it's a session of the highest level versions of all previous missions. We've got:

And our final reward for completing all five rounds of the Grand Shrine Courtyard gauntlet?

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


In ancient times, there was a realm ruled under magic.

The realm performed a ceremony each year to restore the magical protection. There a shrine maiden would dance with this bronze blade.

The bronze blade glowed with more radiance each year. A haunting purple light emanated from it whenever the shrine maiden danced. Strangely, the maiden's beauty did not fade with years, but rather, it intensified with age.

The princess of the realm wondered if the bronze blade was the secret of the shrine maiden's preservation. In a fit of jealousy, she took the blade for herself and killed the maiden. And so the princess gained everlasting beauty. But without the maiden's magical protection, the land faded within a year, and the princess took her own life.

Description: Deprives enemies of magic.
Traits: Acquires MP quickly.
Magic: "Sonic Burst" - On the other hand, Ryu, Ken, and E. Honda have some crazy ass huge eyebrows that pop off their heads.

Our ultimate reward is a completely middle of the road sword that only gets two points stronger (84 attack 96 guard break to 86 attack and 98 guard break) when fully leveled...

My spirit was too broken after two hours of that shit to even get too upset...

When we finish up Chapter 3 and save the drunken pirate weapons merchant and his Scottish employee, a free expedition opens up at the ever popular Closed Land.

This is a gimmicky Free Expedition involving the chase and slaying of a rogue behemoth that will run away to different points on the map after about ten seconds of spotting the player. This gets annoying fast. But this area's weapon does not involve that bugger.

Instead, the party must return to where Nowe and Eris fought the original behemoth mini-boss back at Manah and the rebels' hide out. Here is a nest of undead ghouls to take out for another shiny new instrument of war.

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


Once upon a time, there lived a pedigreed gentleman whose excellence with the sword had won him as many duels as his handsome face had the hearts of the young ladies.

One night, during an evening walk, he came upon the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, standing in the moonlight beside a lake.

Lost in her beauty, he stood there entranced and time seemed to him to stand still. Then suddenly, the woman let out a gasp and cried: "Why!?" Her beautiful bosom was stained red with blood. Following her horrified gaze, the gentleman saw that his own sword was buried to the hilt in her chest.

The lake reflected the gentleman's smiling face. In his ears, he heard the echoes of his own voice whisper, "Now there is no one fairer than you in this world." The next day, the gentleman's body was found next to the lake. He had pierced his own heart with his sword.

Description: A beautifully refined sword.
Traits: Powerful, but lacks defensive strength. So don't get hit you taffer.
Magic: "Sonic Burst" - Ever played that Street Fighter II HD remake? That game looked weird as hell. They made high resolution sprites for everything...but it still has the original game's extremely low amount of animation frames. It makes every look like a weird, well illustrated slideshow.

I think the only way to get by in Drakengard's world is to be sort of homely, unambitious, non-magical, away from any and all weapons, and hold a mediocre job position.

When we finish up Chapter 4 with the murder of Hanch and that stupid business with busy work for the weapon merchant jerk, the Fire Cavern Fortress opens up for another round of grind-tastic dungeon crawling.

This level is such a slog, that they take mercy and let you leave at any time through the front door with all experience gained and money acquired intact. The only other way to complete the mission is to perform the obtuse weapon unlock. This requires searching the depths of the dungeon in search of five hidden crystals to take down a barrier and unlock a chamber holding the treasure box containing the mission's new weapon.

It's of note that this mission is pretty much there solely to troll the shit out of the player. There are rooms where the door will lock and we'll be forced to open assorted crates. One crate has the key to open the locked doors. Every other one has a bomb or a face full of nerve gas. There are twelve crates to choose from. Have fun! There are no other rewards in these kinds of rooms. Only pain. But, for enduring the trial we get...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


In a small village, a man lived with his pet mouse in a shack. He was a kindly soul, but the other villagers mistrusted him because his face had been disfigured since birth. In spite of their prejudice, he harbored no bitterness towards them, smiling even when children threw stones at him.

Secretly the villagers schemed to drive their unsightly neighbor away. So they claimed that his mouse damaged their crops, and captured it one day. While he wandered the forest searching for his little companion, they cut off its head, and laid its body on his doorstep.

When the poor man returned to his shack, he saw that his only friend in the world had been murdered. With a howl of despairing rage, he took his axe and decapitated each of the villagers in turn, piling their heads in the center of the common. To add another to the pile, he then cut off his own, and the axe tumbled from his lifeless grasp.

When it was finally retrieved from its grizzly resting place, the axe's blade had been dried red by the villagers' blood. Lieutenant Zhangpo, whose pact cost him the pleasure of eating, may have tried to replace the lost sensation with the joy of butchering foes with this axe.

Description: Pact-partner Zhangpo's axe.
Traits: Possesses a great variety of attacks, but tests the wielder's skills.
Magic: "Vermillion Cell" - A fireball shoots magic arrows which burn the enemy.

Minsc! Boo! Nooooo!

Alright, one more for the road. Upon completion of Chapter 5, both the Citadel of Light and City of Rust maps become available. The City of Rust is a...unique Free Expedition that we'll take a look at later. But, I think we can tackle the Citadel of Light now before calling it a day.

Like the Fire Fortress, this area also has the option to go "fuck this noise" and walk out the front door. The alternative is another treasure seeking gimmick.

This time, there are nine treasure boxes scattered around the map numbered 1-9. The party must open each and every box in succession to claim the hidden weapon. Number 1 is, of course, all the way over by Yaha's boss chamber... So here's what we get after a half hour of backtracking and grinding...

Drakengard 2 Weapon Stories posted:


A bureaucrat was accused of treachery and executed by his distrustful king. His family followed his fate, but the executioner took pity upon his youngest son. He let the boy go and told the king that the job was done.

The bureaucrat's son grew up to be a beautiful young man. He made his living as a thief, stealing goods from the bazaar. Sometimes, he would be caught and beaten, but the pain was nothing to him compared to the joy of revenge would bring. In time, he used the money he'd saved to bribe his way into a job at the king's castle.

The boy's androgynous beauty caught the king's eye right away and soon enough, he became one of the King's "special" companions. Late one night, he decided that the time had finally come to exact vengeance, so he headed to the king's bedchamber armed with his father's staff, an elegant weapon tipped with a deadly blade.

However, the king became suspicious when he was beads of sweat on the boy's brow, and called for his guards. As they converged on him, the boy cut his own throat to the tune of the king's victorious laughter. Perhaps it was fate that Lieutenant Yaha, whose own beauty had shaped his twisted destiny, would eventually own this staff.

Description: Pact-partner Yaha's staff.
Traits: Powerful, with potent magic. Very versatile.
Magic: "Orion's Dart" - Arrows of light seek out and destroy the enemies.

Family murder, revenge plots, androgynous characters, suicide...this weapon story has it all. And that caps off the unique character specific weapons held by the bosses. General Gismor took his crazy spiked blade sword to his grave. Shame...

Oh well, tune in next time for a unique tour of the City of Rust...

Drakengard 2 Cast Illustration - I like how in 99% of artwork, Nowe has some manner of vacant expression, Manah looks decidedly meh, and Eris is pissed off about something.