The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 34: A Look at Free Expedition: Part 1

A Look at Free Expedition: Part 1

You may remember (but probably won't) that way back at the beginning of the LP I mentioned the "Free Expedition" mode. As a bit of a refresher, I'll jog your memory.

Free Expedition missions are basically special missions replaying previous stages sans the main plot and with altered enemy positions, objectives, starting positions, etc. Now, keep in mind it's possible to go back and just play any story mission at any time.

So, why would anyone bother with doing the Free Expedition version of stages? That's easy to answer: Cavia decided to stick a weapon unlock in each and every one of them. And since each and every weapon must be collected to unlock the final ending path... That means yup... Replaying the entire damn game. Or at least, ever single stage again.

Luckily, there is no chapter in the game that features more than three maps. Indeed, most got by only utilizing two maps total. Unfortunately, it's still 25 maps total. Not counting replaying stages with the more strict time limits.

Oh well... Let's get this over with. We begin with Chapter 1, which contained three maps total.

Free Expedition: The Castle Environs

So, you may notice at the bottom there is an option to swap out dragons. Let's take a look at that.

The dragon options are just the assorted levels of evolution Red has gone through. I bet you didn't think our dragon pal had grown that much during the course of the game. In any case, this option menu is a bit puzzling. There's really no reason to ever use anything less than Level 3 or the yet to be seen Chaos forms of Angelus. Red's attack power is bound by a separate leveling scheme. The evolutionary forms just determine how many homing dragonfire shots she can lock on at once (Level 1 = 4, Level 2 = 6, Level 3/Chaos = 9) as well as how many bars of magic attacks she can stock.

It is worth noting that one hidden form is unlocked when the game is completed 100%. I'll show that off when we get there. It's a bit silly.

Moving right along, in Free Expedition the entire area map is unlocked from the get go. For instance, during normal play the courtyard of the castle was barred off into its own section, but it's possible to just waltz right in now.

The Expeditions come with a few objectives, but they're usually fairly similar to ones used on the map during the main story. For instance, in this one Caim must kill the commanders by the castle gates, then re-enforcements appear to the northeast and southeast. Then finally, a group of elite commanders show up in the court yard. I won't be going over the remixed objectives in these missions because it's boring and basically "Kill this...okay now kill this!"

I will, however, mention how to obtain the mission's weapon. The Castle Environs' weapon is obtained by taking a trip to that canyon on the northeastern part of the map and massacring everyone hiding out in there. No big deal for or resident sociopath.

Let's go check out our prize.

Gyllir's Hoof, eh?

Wikipedia posted:

In Norse mythology, Gyllir is a horse listed in both Grímnismál and Gylfaginning among the steeds ridden by the gods each day when they go to make judgments at Yggdrasil. However, in both poems, Gyllir is not assigned to any specific deity.

Gyllir is also found in the thulur as a giant name.

And knowing is half the battle!

Hahaha. Alright, that's my favorite story so far.

Free Expedition: The Castle of the Goddess

Free Expedition aerial missions are usually the most annoying of the bunch, as they often come with strict time limits or somewhat assholish requirements. This one, at least, is fairly simple.

Caim and Red just need to kill each and every thing on the map, including all the towers scattered about. No big deal.

Queen Hel, eh?

Wikipedia posted:

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being that presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In addition, mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th century respectively. An episode in the Latin work Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, is generally considered to refer to Hel, and Hel may appear on various Migration Period bracteates.

In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki, and to "go to Hel" is to die. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half-black and half-flesh colored, and as further having a gloomy, down-cast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions, her servants in her underworld realm, and as playing a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

How much you want to bet the story has nothing to do with Hel?

It must have been a load bearing emperor. Possibly Dracula.

Free Expedition: The Castle Keep

Fun fact: This exact mission appears during the main story of Drakengard 2. The castle has fallen into rather bad disrepair and has become haunted by ghosts, skeletons, and shit. But, the whole beginning at the top of the place and fighting your way down appears in Drakengard 2. It's followed up with a boss battle against Angelus above the place.

This next weapon is found in the same exact place as Knight's Vow was located in the story mission version of the stage. I still don't know what the deal is with the shadow soldier with the time limit above his head.

I've never met a self respecting thief who ever referred to himself as a "robber". Indeed...I don't think I've really heard any thief referred to as a robber much outside of bank robber... It's usually thief, assailant, bitch took my skull, nigga stole my bike. That sort of thing.

Wow...that story makes shit for sense. So there was a popular general who staged a coup d'état and overthrew the reigning tyrannical monarchy. Except he wasn't a general, he was a serial killer/thief. And he didn't kill the queen, he wooed her with his good looks and stole the throne out from under her. Also the people didn't really like him.

Err...okay... Moving right along...

Next up: The Silent Forest. I'm not sure what's so silent about it what with all the screams of dying men. But, I'm not in charge of Drakengard's national preserve naming, now am I?

Free Expedition: The Silent Forest

This is the first aerial mission where weapon requirements get a bit dickish.

This time, there is a two and a half minute time limit to kill all the enemies in the area. The stage has a number of high HP enemies like the Imperial Airships and high evasion enemies like the griffons. So the allotted time requires quite a bit of hauling ass.

Attack power is increased by 300% but damage is reduced by 33%. Alright... Considering Drakengard lacks any sort of attack power or damage modifier stats beyond Caim's levels err... I guess it's an overall good tally... Maybe...

The Butcher's meat is peo-no they would have just come out and say that... Maybe it's veal or something...? Ah! I got it. It's raccoon meat. You've got to be careful around that stuff. That 'coon meat is lousy with parasites.

Free Expedition: The Elf Village

Way ahead of ya, partner. This here town ain't big enough for the both of us, Injun.
"What on earth are you going on about?"
You know... Laying down the law of the land... Cowboy style and stuff...
"I do not know what a cowboy is, but I can already tell I hate it."

This one is pretty easy. Caim just has to turn around from where the mission begins and mow down everyone hanging out behind him.

These weapons sure are making me check out Wikipedia a lot...

Wikipedia posted:

A ranseur (also called a runkah or a rawcon [sometimes incorrectly referred to as rawcuer]) was a type of polearm used across Europe up to the 15th century. It was still seen in court as a ceremonial weapon through the 17th century. Often thought to be a derivation of the earlier spetum, the head of a ranseur was composed of a spear-tip affixed with a cross hilt at its base. Often this hilt was crescent-shaped, giving it an appearance similar to that of a trident. Generally, the hilts did not have a cutting edge, unlike the double-edged partisan. Thus Ransuers resemble a Japanese Sai mounted on a staff. Ranseurs are generally 6 feet or longer.

The spearing function of the weapon is apparent but not always effective against armor of great protection, and the deflection includes the trapping of opponent weapons in the space below the main blade, where a twist of the shaft would apply pressure from it or the secondary projections to either break the caught weapon or disarm its wielder. Additionally, the side projections provide both a means of holding an opponent at long range or of pulling mounted opponents off their horse.

Why do I sense this won't be the last time we learn about an obscure medieval weapon.

I'm picturing an episode of Dragonball Z where both of them are standing in a field yelling at the top of their lungs for fifteen minutes. Then out of nowhere a giant fuck-off spear kills them both and nobody knows what the fuck.

It still takes five episodes for both characters to finally die post impaling.

Free Expedition: The Valley of the Faeries

I really, really want nothing to do with "unholy rituals" involving "wizard-priests" in the "Valley of the Faeries" where Leonard once lived.

This next weapon involves traveling all the way to the westernmost shrine (the map is upside down...whoops) and killing everyone hanging out around it. The most annoying part is just walking there since the entire river has more wizards hanging out around it than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The weapon for stopping the unholy rituals of the wizard priests of the Valley of Faeries is...the dragonstroke... They had to be intentionally making a gay joke.

How do you have multiple battles with a dragon and keep living? I think dragons are the type of enemy where the thing gets slain, or the jerk battling it gets eaten/stomped on/incinerated. Was it Verdelet's petrified dragon?

You know what...? Thinking about these stories is making my head hurt... That's enough for today...

Bonus Content:

Music -
The Looping 24 Second Mission Select Music I Hate With All My Soul