Part 18: Episode XIII: In Which It's About Effort in Level DesignEpisode XIII: In Which It's About Effort in Level Design
"The jewel bearing the revered one ascends to the heavens from Mt. Bernstein of the Vice Norden, leaving a silvery shadow in its wake."
Following the stone's message, Zero and company made their way toward Mt. Bernstein of the Vice Norden.
Though named for a mountain, Mt. Bernstein of the Vice Norden is actually a man-made fortress located in the deepest part of the range. Feeling less than enthused by the length of the name "Mt. Bernstein of the Vice Norden," the group decided to refer to it as "Mt. Whatever" instead.
Verse 5: Repetition
Music: Wilderblades - Battleground
Welcome to Squall Leonhart's second favorite vacationing spot: Mt. Whatever. It ranks just runner up to Costa del Ellipsis.
Surely that weathered stone tablet buried in a nondescript snowfield vaguely pointing to this ancient citadel will lead Zero and company straight to Four this time. Fifth time is the charm, right? That's a saying somewhere I'm sure. Probably in like Finland. I'll fact check with the Finnish at a later date.
Why don't you hop on? I can fly us up there in a flash!
Because it's cold and you smell like a dead bear's ass?
...Oh. Then how 'bout I breathe fire to warm you up?
Let's think about that plan for a second, shall we?
So what'll you do once you track down Four?
That's it? Booo-ring! You should have a little fun with her first! Like, find her greatest shame and then tell everyone she knows until she begs you to kill her so the humiliation can finally end!
You're a sick puppy, aren't you?
So did you see the title of this Verse? Yeah... Mt. Whatever is kind of a lazy ass designed area even given the level design thus far in the game. There are three phases to the tower which are repeated three times during the course of the mission. Rule of threes and all that. First, there is a nice staircase climb marathon filled with assorted varieties of soldiers and maybe an ogre or two if they're feeling saucy. Judicial use of barricades may be in effect.
Stage two of the tower's loop is a good old fashion monster closet. Well, alright... It's more of a monster garage, I suppose. Maybe a monster storage space? Hmph... Well, it is spirits. So I guess that would qualify it as a monster containment unit. I think that's a tax write-off in the Land of Mountains. Not in the Land of Sands though. Those taxmen will put you through the wringer for trying to get an exemption for that business.
Beyond the boxed up spare spirits a group of ten soldiers teleport into the arena to serve as happy flesh vessels. You know, to make it a fair fight. Arenas really like to just spawn a flock of soldiers from the ether from here on out when rolling out another non-human biggun' creatures. It's like I'm playing Dragon Age 2 all over again.
...I never finished Dragon Age 2. I finished Drakengard 2 four times. I think that says a lot about the former.
Then we must be getting close to something! The more bad guys they throw at you, the more they wanna guard stuff, right?
Look at that. Big baby actually went and learned something.
Then explain Four's fortress... And that wild goose chase freezing my ass off in the mountains...
Hey, give the big dolt a bit of credit.
Yeah, give dolts some credit!
The third phase of the climb involves floating blocks and a mild bit of platforming. Why are there floating boxes lazily idling in mid-air in lieu of an actual staircase? Let me check my notes here... Hmm... Yep. Right here! Got it. It's a video game and fuck you is the correspondence I received from the developers.
Something wrong, Z?
I'm... not a fan.
Of what, heights?
No. Just... all this stupid precision jumping.
Pfft... Hahaha haaha!
You're on thin ice, buddy. You're slowing me down. Move it.
Um, hey, Zero? Can I ask you a favor?
Lemme guess: It's something stupid, right?
No! ...I just wanted a piggy-back ride.
Like I said. Stupid.
Maybe in a kinder, gentler alternate Drakengard universe, Dito.
As we progress onto the next loop of repetition the fog sets in to a comfortable setting of Turok 2 for the Nintendo 64 levels of draw distance. It's not really any hindrance to our progress. But hey it's the only damn thing different about restarting the tower sequence loop. Also I am contractually obligated to shit on Turok 2's draw distances. I dunno... It was a weird paycheck I got out of THQ back in the mid-90s. There's a reason that company went tits up.
Following another healthy bit of cardio for Dito and Zero we enter monster closet arena #2 on our ascension. Behind Door #2 we have the grand prize of...
...another cerberus! Alright, so this is DEFINITELY a monster kennel we're dealing with here. No arguments to be had. This cerberus is just the same as his predecessor. Sans postmortem bloodstream propelled rocket head antics. And just like the previous encounter, Zero can phone up Mikhail for an assist. Repetition alright...
Oohoho, you called me! You called me!
Just do your thing.
Couldn't you come up with something a little less cliché?
I know, right? C'mon, Access Games. This just a glorified mid-boss rush. Against the same rehashed jerks from this chapter. I bet there's a fuckin' gigas or a titan upstairs, isn't there?
What are you bitching about? And who are you bitching TO?
Don't worry about it. It's... complicated.
That's two recycled enemy encounters down. Onto the hat trick and another loop of lampshading the fact this is just a complete filler mission.
At the very least the third loop of barely rearranged scenery has laid off on the fog filter. You know, to really mix it up. Didn't I mention Dragon Age 2 earlier for some reason...? Weird... At least it's nice to see that magnificent hazy greyish-white blob skybox once more.
That stated, the new-found visibility of the third roundabout the tower seems to leave Dito a wee bit disoriented. One of these days video games are going to get that whole pathing thing down pat. Access Games will not be the ones to do so.
More moving to the left than a NASCAR rally later...
Who's the asshole who designed this place, anyway?
Hang in there, Zero! Hang in there!
Settle down, would you?
Poor Zero. She's getting trolled by the ghost of Cavia. A force she cannot know or comprehend. Fun fact: There's a Verse later just called "Trolled". No shit... True story.
Finishing up the trials of Mt. Rugal we come upon the final monster garage/kennel/storage container/broom closet featuring a Tier 2 and his adorable little bowtie. D'aww. He's got moxie!
It's not actually called Mt. Whatever, you know. It has a real name.
What was it again?
Uhh... Mt. Ber...something...
Fine. We'll call it Mt. Bersomething. Happy?
Mr. Bowtitan has a few new techniques added to his wheelhouse beyond the standard pre-baked sweeping combos his predecessors were packing. Both of them are charging power moves that possess a healthy reach and power. Yet are telegraphed out the ass for easy evasion. Firstly, Bowman here will wind up for the sword based equivalent of a Burn Knuckle. He doesn't ask "are you okay" beforehand though. Which I find to be personally dreadfully rude.
Second up on the roster, quite fitting for Mt. Bernstein, Rugal the Titan can perform a Reppuken. It brings a fatal fury to my heart this upgraded Titan isn't busting out any Kaiser Waves or Genocide Cutters. He's not even trying! I thought this was going to be a real bout... you know something special from the newcomers. I guess Access Games just didn't have such wild ambition when upgrading this mid-boss. Alas, such is the way of things on the road to the final victory.
...I couldn't work in mark of the wolves.
Regardless. With the defeat of Titan Mk.II that about finishes up our climb of Mt. Bersomethingwhatever of the Vice Norden.
Hey, I'd be cold too if I were dressed like that...
I can't take it. Here, gimme your clothes.
What? Why!? They won't even fit you!
I'm not wearing them. I'm gonna have dummy burn 'em for warmth.
You really are a demon...
So, after that big 'ole Mt. Whatever trek we arrive at the peak to find our grand prize of: Fuck all. Of course... Mt. Whatever now makes sense, I suppose...
Oh, hell. The SKY? Never even considered that.
Here, get on!
Uh. It's cold and you stink, but I suppose there's no choice.
Hey! That hurts!
And so ends a waste of everyone's time that could have been avoided if Zero just rode her goddamn dragon from the start. Fuck sake lady! You are really bad at this whole revenge quest thing. It's your own damn fault you were too lazy to teach your dragon sidekick how to properly bathe and not smell like a dumpster fire.
Tch. Maybe it wasn't all for nothing. At least we did pick up a new weapon up Mt. Whatever. Let's see what its sad tale entails
Thunder Princess posted:
A spear said to have imprisoned thunder itself. You can hear it rumble.
Weapon Type: Spear
Weapon Size: Large
The strait was called the Ship Graveyard for its stormy
waters. Few ships dared to cross it, and soon the nearby
island found itself dangerously short of supplies.
The islanders decided to make a sacrifice to the god of
the seas. As they debated who would be offered up, the
daughter of the island headman gave herself as tribute.
Once the fairest woman on the island, her skin was now
covered in burns. Her father tried to stop her, but she donned
the ceremonial armor and threw herself into the sea.
Soon, the waves lessened and the sea was calmed. The large
spear the girl carried with her stands alone on the seabed,
occasionally quivering to the sounds of distant thunder.
I think I missed the part about how her skin got burned. Was it lightning? Did the villagers do it? How'd it get burned?! HOW'D IT GET BURNED?!
Video: Chapter 2 Verse 5 Highlight Reel
Zero Official Art - Front and back feeling meh at this stage.