Part 74: Episode LIV: In Which I Swear You Kids Better Stop Messing With the Thermostat!
Episode LIV: In Which I Swear You Kids Better Stop Messing With the Thermostat!
Divergence: Branch C.
April the 13th, 1000 A.D. I've observed an extremely worrisome branch.
When the singularity known as Two captured the dragon Mikhail, I detected her imposing some kind of magical influence upon him. Until now, only Zero could enact such influence. This is the first known exception, and as such, increases the likelihood of an unforeseen accident occurring. This matter must be prioritized for careful observation.
M4110_E0020_DM: Begin Recording.
We are now in another alternate timeline. This time around, the murder road trip has passed through The Land of Seas, Mountains, and Forests claiming the lives of Five, Four, and Three in the process. Those sisters are all toast already. Mikhail still got kidnapped following Three snack time and was immediately rescued the next mission. But something strange happened in that interval in this version of events. The details will be forthcoming.
Beyond that Zero and company apparently made it through the rest of Chapter 4 but didn't seal the deal with Two at the Shrine of Sands. She evidently just wasn't around. We have no information if she's catatonic or homicidal giggle fit brain broken in this branch. I'm sure we'll eventually find out. Also Cent has defected to Team Zero once more at some unspecified point in time. Word hasn't gotten out in this branch that Cent might not be the most trustworthy idiot.
Oh well, hindsight and all that. Let's see how that all plays out this time around!
Verse 1: Desert Nights
Music: Thundervalor ~ Battleground
Night has fallen on the Land of Sands as we find ourselves back outside the Shrine of Sands and in that godforsaken open desert map. The first half of this chapter is entirely pulling a Devil May Cry 4 of level design and just retreading the entirety of Chapter 4's stages in reverse.
It's nicer here at night, huh?
Yeah. I got sand everywhere though.
Hard to believe it was so hot earlier.
In my hair. In my cracks... Lot of sand in my cracks.
Enough already! How about I bury you in your precious sand, huh?
Thirty seconds in and we're already talking about butts. That's always a sure sign of a good time.
Now that night time has fallen, soldiers out on patrol are reporting back for the evening and have reinforced all the troops taken out on Zero's first trail blazing through this area. At least... that's the bullshit excuse I came up in five seconds for this being a video game and there needing to be bad guys where there shouldn't be any.
Who are we here to protect!?
Lady Two, sir!
What is our ultimate mission!?
Our first challenge is thirty soldiers. Just swordsmen, archers and spearmen all of the red guy variety. At least red dudes in Drakengard 3 are far and away less annoying than the previous games in the series. Back then they'd shoot off homing energy shots when hit with magical attacks or dragon fire in a game where magical attacks and dragon fire were the most effective way of dealing with the then hundreds of enemies per stage ...I suppose removing magical attacks and dragon fire outside of specifically designated areas would have made those guys a touch less effective.
Fighting can still dehydrate you, even at low temperatures. Please be mindful of your health at all times.
Thanks for the tip. That said, my mouth is kinda dry. And my head hurts...
Lady Zero, those are classic dehydration symptoms! You need water right away!
Stop being such a worrywart, Decadus. It's fine. We can just take it slow this time around now that the obnoxious as all hell gimmick from our first run of this area is g--
Wait! What?! No! SON OF A BITCH! Are they really doing this?! Are they really re-skinning the sun environmental hazard gimmick?!
Welp. Fuck this chapter forever already! I believe this was the point my first playthrough I went "Ya know what... I need to go play something else. Something... good..." And then put the game down for around a month.
I fear it's a hostile magic attack. One that saps your bodily energy.
<sigh> I thought we were done with crap like this.
Let's use the enemy's fires to keep warm as we move.
First it's hot as hell, and now it's cold as balls.
Ho ho! Perhaps a little game of bury the sandworm would warm you up! Dear old Octa can heat your insides to the boiling point...
I think your brain is boiling, old man.
Forward! Get a move on!
B-but sir... It's so c-c-cold...
You call yourself a soldier, rookie?!
So yep... The previous miserable stage quirk from last time around is back again for an encore headache. Only this time instead of spotty shaded areas being refuge, it is now torches scattered across the desert. The torches are mostly reasonable distances away from one another. Though there is the nuisance of each torch outpost being guarded by at bare minimum a trio of assorted soldiers. Archers especially like to be utter knobs and camp snipe at torches. Remember, if Zero takes damage while her health is being magically drained then all the depleted HP is spent along with the damage from the blow she takes. Archers and crossbowmen: eternal bane of Drakengard protagonists.
I will say this version of the mission does have one large improvement over the first draft: Decadus no longer constantly reminds Zero to heed the level gimmick to the point I want to find Cam Clarke and toss him off a bridge. Small favors...
You sure talk a lot for a guy who says he can't talk.
Yes, do please be quiet.
Whatever, you fu--brrrr. <shivers>
You seem unfazed, Decadus. Aren't you cold?
I am, my lady. Cold and physically exhausted.
Theeen why do you look so happy?
<shiver> You know why? 'Cause he's a freak who likes having his junk--gaaaahbrraa. <shiver>
Sorry, I didn't quite get that.
Hiding my true desires from them... Such a devious game!
You know, I'm actually not cold at all. This kind of cold simply isn't enough to affect a man of my caliber.
So why's your nose runnin' like a fountain, then, huh?
There must be necromancers nearby.
This gets more annoying by the minute
Forced to fight even after death. Such a horrid fate.
Really? I'd think you'd be into that sort of thing. Think about it! Zero could keep kicking and punching and slicing you even AFTER you die!
Even... after I die? Unnnghahaha...
Gone from the buffer portions between safe zones are the patrolling sand wolf packs that gave little care of the scorching heat. The hazardous regions away from the torches are instead stalked by undead skeletons giving shit zero about the intense magic cold. Thankfully, you can just dunk on and run past the latter nerds since undead aren't the most agile fellows on the court.
The layout and set-up of this stage is exactly the same as last time around. Just with the order of destinations reversed and all the enemies sorted into nastier creatures or higher tier versions of the day shift.
Casting the magical air conditioning spell are Sorcerers: the final tier of magical jackasses. Sorcerers are just necromancers in a black Assassin's Creed looking get-up with double the stats. Now their fireballs are a dark purple shade. Beyond that... not a damn thing new! Now I'm not calling you lazy, Drakengard 3. But I am going to point out that both the previous titles in your series had five different mage folk that had different skill sets and attributes. Here you've put about as much effort with mages as a brawler from 1993 did with palette swap enemies.
Murdering all three sorcerers and their undead aides will extinguish the first magic ice sphere...
...leaving it to immediately be replaced by a follow-up twenty seconds later. I hate this map. Thank the heavens this is the final ground mission to use it.
All these temperature fluxes are messin' with my health...
I'LL mess with your health if you don't get moving!
I'm fighting! I'm totally fighting! Watch me go!
What's all the fuss about, Octa?
Hmm? I don't know of any fuss?
Oh, you don't, do you? Then what's with the sudden broom handle in your pants?
Oh hoooo! You've discovered my secret, did you!? I was just engaging in some dirty thoughts while fighting.
Well, knock it off and concentrate already!
You know, I could take these foes down with a single thumb. Heh. A single thumb! Buuuut I won't. That would just spoil the fun.
If you can do it, then do it already!
A bit of desert trekking and torch-side idling later...
What's wrong? You cold?
I... I don't know.
He does not seem to be in the best of health.
Why's everybody worried about that big crybaby? I'm a hell of a lot worse off than him right now!
It's purely a matter of character, I'd say.
Indeed. Mikhail has a... charming innocence about him. You... do not.
Oh, for hell's sake! He can't even tell if he's cold or not! That dumb lizard's gonna be just fine.
After recrossing the central desert, we arrive at the second hangout for ice sorcerers. This outpost contains another trio of magic jerks alongside a pair of nasty sand ogres.
"The root of all this evil?" Heh. Seriously, Z. Who talks like that?
Shut up and fight!
In a surprise to absolutely no one: Defeating the source of evil in this den of sorcery will just give rise to a third font of villainy immediately in its place. Such is the way of the world.
Zero? Hey, Zero! I think I feel cold, Zero!
Really? I'm surprised you feel anything through that thick head of yours.
Trivia time! Did you know ice baths actually warm you up if--
Shut up, Cent.
Why don't we retreat for a bit so we can recover?
<pant> I'm not sure... we can...
Ooof. It does seem this area is enclosed by magical power...
That must be what is holding in the cold.
Goddammit. I'll kill every last sorcerer around here!
It's all right. This won't take long.
Sorcerers... Soldiers... Intoners... Everyone. If they run, they die. If they surrender, they still die! We're gonna paint the walls with their blood!
Woah! Good heavens! What an oafish display of aggression!
My lady, perhaps we could let the fleeing enemies go? They are no danger to us.
No can do.
The cold? The heat? The sand? It's all your fuckin' fault!
I don't think they're responsible for the SAND, actually...
You know, I think Zero might be a pissed off. I dunno. Just a strange vibe I'm getting from her lately. I wonder what that's all about. I mean besides this godawful piece of steaming garbage level. This is the end of the mission up ahead and you know what? I missed a treasure chest. The one with the weapon unlock for this stage. You know where it is located?! Cuz hell if I know! It's a fucking desert with some copy and pasted ruins and rocks! It all looks the same! Good luck if you don't have a guide or video handy before searching in corners of the map with your health constantly draining. And as always a reminder: You HAVE to go find that chest to fully complete the game.
Screw this level. I'm with Zero. Death for everyone for even existing in this stage!
It's behind some ruins back toward the beginning of the desert's no man's land by the Shrine of Sands.
The final den of climate controlling conjurers houses six sorcerers and a trio of imps. Ugh. Well that wish for never seeing imps again was squashed far too quickly. By the way, with all these particle effects from the ice storm and sorcerers and imps both tossing fireball spells all willy-nilly, the framerate can TAAAAANK here to single digits level if you play your cards right.
Annoying enemy spread aside, the results here are the same as every other batch. No running the A/C with the windows open you jackasses. Do you know how high the electric bill is going to be now?! I'm not made of money!
Now that we can put all this hot and cold business behind us, the party is free to continue onward tow--
<screaming in pain>
<continues screaming in pain>
Umm... You doing alright there, Mikhail...? You need a healing potion or something? I burned through a bunch because of some goddamn aimbot archer pegging Zero in the head from over a rock wall while 90% of her health was drained looking for that weapon chest but...
What the hell is this?
...Alright then. So... That's not how Pokemon works last I checked. I mean... I last checked when there were only a reasonable number to catch 'em all and they weren't scrapping the crust beneath the bottom of the barrel like the keychain one or the sentient bag of trash that evolved into a garbage bag of trash. But still...
I don't think monsters are supposed to devolve. Pocket sized or no.
On that puzzling note, we end the first mission into this new timeline branch. At least I can guarantee it won't be a month wandering the desert. We started on April 13th this time around. All timelines come to a conclusion, one way or another, on April 22nd. So at most it will only be nine days of wandering the desert sands.
Before we take off, let's look at our first weapon score of the chapter:
A sword made of marble.
Weapon Size: Large
The marble sword was imbued with the blacksmith's
blazing soul. It yearned for an owner who thirsted for blood.
Who pined for battle. Who hungered for war.
But its razor edge emitted searing heat, enough to
reduce to ash any stalwart warrior who wielded it.
The sword waited for a strong soul to tame its boiling
heart. It waited for the warrior who would let blood
spill across its blade.
Even as it took the lives of those it sought, the sword
waited. It waited for a vessel for its soul, and eternity
spread before it like an icy embrace.
Now that eternity can be spent in the broom closet where Zero keeps the rest of her weapons I'm never going to bother using. A fitting place for any trash hailing from this map.
Video: Branch C Verse 1 Highlight Reel
Sorcerer Concept Art