Part 21: Episode 11 - Couture Among ThievesEpisode 11 - Couture Among Thieves
Welcome back. I hope nobody's forgotten what we're really after this chapter. It's past time to take the fight to the Leblanc Syndicate. Let's begin.
Once we beam in, we're informed that there's a Mysterious SignalTM out by the Oasis, and Nhadala won't let us dig until we check it out. I am truly saddened by this. Also note; you have to do the interview with Gippal and sign up to dig before you can get this uniform. They really didn't want you to miss out on the digging minigame.
Before we head out, we should equip ourselves for the boss fight of this update. For there is only one boss fight, although we will fight it six times. We'll be relying on the Highband Pass grid again. This means that our choice of which girl gets which job actually matters; when all three have First Strike, as with a Preemptive Strike, Yuna always acts first, followed by Rikku and Paine. Yuna as a Songstress will be shutting down the boss with an appropriate status effect, and her Charm Bangle will keep this section from taking any longer than is strictly necessary. Rikku will follow up with a Scattershot to take out any mooks and try to apply Poison to everyone else, and Paine will clean up the survivors. The Favorite Outfit is there to boost Paine's Evasion and Luck.
There really is nothing to this mission. You ask the pilot to go to the Oasis and you're there. No dungeon, no chase scene, no nothing.
In fact, two of the uniform missions are really just an excuse to give our remaining party members their Special Dresspheres. The third one... is also an excuse for something.
Well, fancy meeting you here.
Say, those are nice uniforms.
I gotta admit, the Terminator approach to clothing theft is kind of refreshing, even if it does reduce the whole mission to a boss fight and a drop-down menu. We haven't had a chance to fight Ocelot in a while, and absence has not made the heart grow fonder. He's got some new attacks, but we never get to see them, because for some reason he's not immune to sleep.
Video: Boss: Logos
That's one of three.
I guess it was worth getting covered in sand after all.
One neat feature of this chapter is that, as you acquire uniforms, your party will wear them on the bridge as a visual indicator of your progress.
On to Djose. Gippal's still here being awesome. Seriously, he looks like he's swaggering when he's standing still.
Again, Leblanc's goons are pretty easy to find.
Why don't you stop complaining and help me look?
Someone's turning Yuna into a bad girl.
And again, this mission is basically just a way to force Yuna's Special Dressphere on us.
What? You're not giving it back?
I've edited about sixty percent of the *~WaCkY~* out of this scene.
This time we have to fight both Boke and Tsukkomi. Guess what they're still not immune to?
Video: Boss: Ormi and Lzzzzzzzzz
It's fun to be the bully every once in a while!
I suppose Logos and company are "getting the heel" right about now.
That's two. Last stop: Gagazet.
As with the last chapter, all the Ronso have multiple-choice tests for us to answer. Much as I rag on this mechanic, it's not actually hard to figure out when you've fucked up a response, and there's a save point right there, so it's not a challenge to get this right. It's annoying, but not a challenge. We have to give Kimahri another answer as well, once he's done telling us about his sphere hunt.
Sorry about what?
Kimahri look for sphere for Yuna. But Kimahri find nothing. Kimahri disappoint Yuna.
It's all right, Kimahri. Of course, I'm happy that you tried to help, but Yuna has to deal with Yuna problems.
Kimahri search mountain long time. But still one place Kimahri not look.
Ooh, it's a blue name. It must be important.
Might still be some spheres up there.
Summoners no longer climb mountain. Now only sphere hunters come. Kimahri worry hunters defile sacred ground.
Do you think it's Leblanc and her goons?
Maybe we should check. Is that okay?
Kimahri trust Yuna. Kimahri not worry.
It's easy to forget at this point that Kimahri was the one who found the New Beginnings sphere that started Yuna's whole adventure, which would make his apology not make much sense. I also like to think that searching for a lead on Tidus is his own stoic way of showing respect for the boy. Anyway, now we can talk Kimahri problems.
Ronso youth filled with anger. Hate Guado.
Kimahri agree with Yuna. Elder who rely on other... not worthy.
Again, the right answer is to tell him to suck it up.
With that out of the way, we can head for the Fayth Scar.
The Fayth Scar is where the fayth that once summoned the simulation of Zanarkand rested. We passed by here in the prequel, although we didn't have the opportunity to climb up into it. We can still see the outlines of stone figures in the rock, which goes curiously unremarked.
I feel like Leblanc needs to institute a training program for situational awareness. Anyway, now we have a nice little climbing puzzle to follow that goon.
The Fayth Scar maps have the same problem as all the new maps; outside, they're beautiful, sprawling, organic obstacle courses that feel thrilling to jump and climb around in, and inside, they're blocky, short, snooze-worthy corridors. I have a hard time believing that the same team was responsible for designing both. One new feature of the outside maps are platforms that run away unless you slow down and walk towards them, but they only hold optional treasure, so don't worry if you can't get the hang of them.
This point is a minor fork. The goon jumps down, and we can either follow or keep climbing. If we follow, we run into this scene;
The goons we were tracking are taking a soak, complaining that they can't figure out how to climb any higher and gossiping about the boss.
I know! Let's grab their uniforms!
I don't know... Isn't that a bit much?
They're the ones slacking off.
However, before we can enact our cunning prank...
Your little helpers are taking a break in the spring.
Hey! I's got a reputation to think of too, you know!
Even a lieutenant in a semi-infamous criminal organization has standards.
This time around we only fight Fat Captain America, and he's just as not immune to sleep as he ever was.
Video: Boss: Ormzzzzzzzzz
Then we have to clean up the mooks who heard us kicking their boss' ass.
The alternative is to keep climbing at the fork. After a handful of boring screenshots, we come out over the hot spring, and we took so long that the goons are already done.
But isn't this supposed to be sacred Ronso ground? Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...
What? You think some Ronso boogie man is gonna come get you? Better that than the boss, know what I mean?
It's all well and good until the rock Yuna's standing on gives way and falls into the spring.
It's enough to scare the superstitious goons and Ormi both away.
Look! They forgot something!
So we get our last uniform, and absolutely nothing else happens.
Hmm. Maybe I'm being too hard on Brother for being creepy at Yuna. Apparently it's genetic.
On our way out, though, we have to deal with Ormi and the goons who have composed themselves and returned to investigate. There's little practical difference in the fights, except that we fight Ormi second instead of first and we can run back to the save sphere between fights.
This is Brother! How is everything?
Roger! We're on our way!
The voice actor here slurs the word "Roger" to the point where I'm not even sure the caption is right.
We chased off Leblanc's meatheds, so now Kimahri won't have to worry!
That's the last place I would have expected to find a hot spring.
Also, since the uniform hunt is complete, we get an extra little scene.
We're off to Chateau Leblanc!
Let's settle the score.
Surprisingly, this isn't a point of no return yet; we can still exit the world map or go wherever we want. There's nothing else worth doing, though, and I already ground up all the PR points and gil I'll need for the Calm Lands missions, so we might as well plow right ahead and be done with this chapter.
I hope this works.
Worry after we're caught.
Now it's a point of no return.
The initial infiltration is successful, but we quickly discover that things might be more complicated than we thought.
Anything for you, love.
Now I finally know the location of Vegnagun. Spira is in for a rough ride. Take care.
These days without you are not easy on me, love.
Man, we can't get away from this guy. It's nice to see he's not just manipulating the Gullwings, though.
Perhaps the laziest part of Chateau Leblanc is here in the banquet hall. In the prequel, Seymour threw a feast for Yuna in this room as part of his plan to woo her and eventually destroy the world. Now we come back two years and one remodeling later and all the food is still out. Anyway, those guys we've been beating up all update are hanging out here.
Suppressing her natural charm and acting like some housewife... She must be tense.
You know, use your talents to help her, uh, unwind.
Double entente sense tingling.
Leblanc even has a statue of Nooj in her bedroom. Exactly how long has this been going on? I guess the decorators have been busy with making a statue instead of, for example, taking down the old pictures of the Guado royal family in the foyer, or cleaning up the two-year-old food in the banquet hall.
Anyway, "use your talents" means "give her a back massage." The game thinks it's being subtle and clever trying to make the player think of something more indecent, but we just had a hot spring episode, so subtle and clever have pretty much gone out the window.
That said, the minigame itself is just fine. It's like playing a tiny game of Minesweeper over and over; we're told how close we are to one of Leblanc's knots, and once we hit it, the grid resets. The nice thing about this minigame is that it's reasonably possible to figure out the rules, devise a strategy, and win the game on your first try; there's just enough leeway in the score requirement for a couple rounds of experimentation. It's also easy to screw up on purpose, too, which changes the item you get as a reward. There's no penalty for failure besides having to do it again. Anyway, once we're successful, Leblanc will start to open up to us (see game, I can do it too).
Noojie-Woojie is such a manly man, don't you think? He can be blunt, but that makes the occasional smile all the more irresistible! That godly smile... That's the whole reason I became a sphere hunter. Oh, if only there were some miracle sphere... something that could make him truly happy. What I wouldn't give!
We's been waiting for her too, 'cause she had something important to tell us.
Now that the three of them are sufficiently occupied, we can try to find that sphere.
There's a hidden switch on the wall in the banquet hall behind where Logos was standing. Pressing it raises the crest on the wall, but there's no door behind it.
"Put... the candle... back!"
Take it up with the boss.
I've had this thing on too long. Let's change.
This seems like a bad time to remove your disguises. After taking a couple of steps, the radio chirps on.
This is Brother! How's it going?
Be quiet! This is a covert operation. Over and out.
Rikku! How dare you speak to your leader like that!
Ooh! Shut up, already!
Ah! The Gullwings!
Now we fight Ormi again. He's immune to sleep this time around, but we can still neuter his attacks by blinding him.
Video: Boss: Ormi
The party says nothing after Ormi runs off. I would think being discovered behind enemy lines would impart some urgency to your actions, but what do I know? Instead, the team investigates the lieutenants' bedrooms. Ormi's room has our reward for the massage minigame, and Logos' room has a sphere!
Let's watch it.
It turns out to be a continuation of the sphere Ormi dropped back at the Den in Chapter 1.
Video: Crimson Report 2
So rather than raise a general alarm after we kicked his ass, it seems Ormi just ran and got his partner. You know, it'd be nice if the pro- and antagonists started taking each other seriously.
We fight both of them, but they're inexplicably vulnerable to sleep again.
Video: Boss: Ormi and Logzzzzzzzzzz
We then run into a security system which punishes us for falling into it by... teleporting us to one of the switches that turns it off? This is the most baffling attempt to disguise a linear corridor I've seen in a long time.
Finally, we reach the treasure room.
Of course! They already had the other half!
Very good, loves.
So don't you lay a finger on it! Let's get 'em, boys!
This is the last time we have to fight this boss fight. All three of the Leblancians participate, and none of them can be put to sleep. Still, Logos falls to a single round of attacks, and Leblanc spends her first turn casting Not-So-Mighty Guard (which, insultingly, is way better than the genuine article our Gun Mages can learn) so she gets put down before she can actually deal any damage. The battle quickly comes down to us versus Ormi, and we know how that fight goes, buffs or no buffs.
Video: Boss: Ormi, Logos, and Leblanc
Incidentally, that's six boss fights in a row without taking a single point of damage.
No one's gonna hear you scream from down here.
W-Wait a second! I'll let you see what's in the sphere!
We were going to take it and watch it anyway, lady.
Video: Reassembled Sphere
I see Bevelle hasn't lost its old fondness for secrets.
Exactly. Those Yevon scum have been concealing that weapon all along.
But we already knew that! We just didn't know where.
If anyone uses that thing, Spira is done for.
But it's a machina! All we have to do is take it apart!
Leblanc is taking a lot of what Nooj says on faith, from Vegnagun's level of power to his true intentions. As far as I'm concerned, taking into account all of the manipulation Nooj has been pulling off, everything he says is still suspect.
What about you? The summoner who defeated Sin ought to stand up and defend Spira again.
Yuna nods a little here, but doesn't say anything. She still doesn't know enough to know what to say.
So then I guess we're on the same side. We'll be waiting for you.
I've realized how fragile it can be.
Well, it looks like Nooj is planning to make the conflict splitting Spira come to a head again, and it seems Yuna's going to get dragged into the middle of it, whether she wants to or not.
Next time: Things fall apart, and the center cannot hold.