The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy X-2

by BrainWeasel

Part 33: Episode 15 - The Medicinal Properties of Salt in Old Wounds

Episode 15 - The Medicinal Properties of Salt in Old Wounds

Welcome back. It seems Gippal's hubris has caught up to him, and Djose Temple's in a pickle. But before we can do anything about it, we've got a to do list to clean up.

Luca is hosting a Sphere Break tournament organized by Pimpmaster Rin. It's thankfully optional, so I'm skipping it.

I guess I don't have a problem with Sphere Break itself. The actual act of the game is fun enough. But there are two big, stupid problems with this mission. First of all, I know Luca has a history of being glibly detached from the world's misfortune, but this just works to the detriment of the chapter's tone. Surely a fresh, new disaster could inspire just a little bit of panic. And second; Rin announces that the prize for winning the tournament is a Dressphere. Not a sphere, a Dressphere. Shinra's supposed to have invented that technology, and we're the only ones who are supposed to have it, so how the hell does Rin know his sphere is a Dressphere, much less expect other people to care? And the final match is against Shinra; why doesn't he give us the sphere anyway if we lose? Does he want us to fail?

However, if you're actually playing the game instead of trying to weave a semi-coherent narrative out of its nonlinear pieces, you should do this part of the chapter first thing. Not only do you get the Lady Luck Dressphere, you can win two Garment Grids from specific players.

The one we care about is the Treasure Hunt, which gives us the Mug ability that no native Job learns. Mug combines stealing with a standard physical attack, but unlike Steal, earns the user one AP regardless of whether she stole successfully. Treasure Hunt is the key to the generic AP-grinding loop where your grinder uses Mug and two Alchemists heal the enemy and your party every turn.

The reason I stopped playing the game for the first time in Chapter 3 is because I listened to a FAQ which told me now was the time to grind up all of my jobs. The interminable bore of that task, and the complete lack of challenge that resulted kept me away from the game for almost a year, at which point I had lost all momentum and had to start over. A word of advice; this is not the right way to play the game.

Tobli's show is on at the Moonflow, but for all the hype we've been hearing (and spreading) for two chapters, it's pretty lackluster. And Tobli seems to think that Yuna is what's missing.

Paine might not say as much, but deep in her heart burns the hope that one day she, too, will be an actress.
Speaking of acting, wouldn't it be nice if Rikku acted her age?

Last time we got a reminder to check on Cid. He's probably still on the Thunder Plains, and while there's no temples nearby, we should make sure he's okay anyway.

For the first time, Cid is here regardless of whether we scolded him back in Chapter 1. If we did, he's still sulking, but just as we're walking away, he apologizes to Yuna for his insensitivity. Otherwise, he's still on his search for a solution to his monkey problem, possibly involving lightning.

At this rate, who knows when we'll be able to rebuild Home.
Well, for now, why don't you join us on the airship?
You really mean it?

You know he has his own airship still, right? It's not like he donated it to his tourism business as a tax write-off.

Nah, forget it. I'm not so down on my luck that I need help from y-you kids!
Well, there you have it. Let's go.

Well, he and Brother have put each other through an awful lot.

I like seeing both sides of this subplot. Cid and Yuna are both dealing with their own losses and attempting to honor them in their own way, and even when those ways are in conflict, they're both respectful of the grief beneath their actions. Yuna isn't even particularly harsh, compared to how long Cid sulks.

We can also find those missing Ronso youth hanging around under a shelter in the norther section of the Thunder Plains. This isn't their first appearance; they're also at the Travel Agency in the Calm Lands in Chapter 2, but while meeting them there is required for a later event, it doesn't particularly enhance the plot.

Anyway, they ask Yuna where to look. It doesn't matter what you pick; Yuna's just pulling stuff out of her ass. Just remember where you sent them, because they'll be there later in the game.

Yunie, you shouldn't make stuff up just because they're kids.
Your Ronso elder friend is worried about those two.

He is, isn't he? Let's go tell him we found them, and then sent them directly into the most dangerous place we could think of.

Ronso youth use force. Seek vengeance for fallen Ronso. Garik lead angry Ronso youth. Decide to take revenge on Guado. Garik go to battle. Now Garik climb peak, tell mountain battle plan.
And you're just gonna wait here?
Garik hear voice of mountain. Garik change mind. Kimahri hope so.
And if he doesn't?
Kimahri stop Ronso youth.
That's crazy.

As if one civil war wasn't enough.

How this segment plays out varies depending on how well you responded to Kimahri and the other Ronso in the two previous chapters. If you had enough of the right answers, and Kimahri's morale is high enough, he'll then say this;

Kimahri not know if found sphere is one Yuna seek. But Kimahri happy if sphere help Yuna.

And our reward for meddling is the last regular job of the game.

Mmm... nah.

Hm. Let Ronso deal with Ronso problems? I see you've made up your mind.

If you're worried about the fee, I'll pay it! Just promise me we'll go help Kimahri!
Letting the Ronso deal with Ronso problems doesn't always mean the problems will go away.

Okay, okay.

If Yuna go, Kimahri think Garik listen. Maybe. If not, Kimahri deal with Garik.

Garik is waiting for us on the summit of Gagazet, and unfortunately he's disabled all the teleport pads along the way. This means we're walking all the way to the top. As we go, we'll pass various disaffected Ronso youth who will speak their mind at us.

If you don't have a Charm Bangle, this is where you're most likely to notice the quantum leap in random encounter difficulty; the fiends here are assholes with way too many HP and the most annoying status attacks. However, we can thankfully reactivate the teleporters like checkpoints as we pass them and head back to heal and save, and it doesn't impact the success of the mission.

The Al Bhed have just as much reason to hate the Guado. But hate just leads to more hate, so what's the point?
I'd wager that calming down ballistic Ronso is anything but easy.

This save point is the last stop before Garik, so let's prepare for a beatdown.

Yuna's wearing the Covetous grid in case I need another way to restore MP. The upcoming boss and minions use purely physical attacks, which is nice, but their accuracy is pretty high, so we'll need a combination of buffs and debuffs to keep ourselves safe. I also reorder our items to put some Poison Fangs and Bomb Fragments, which drop occasionally from oversouled enemies, near the top of the list.

Ronso youth fearless. Go to battle with Guado!
And if I ask you not to go?

The thing about this fight is, whatever morale Kimahri didn't get goes to Garik. If we met the threshold for getting Trainer, Garik says this;

Garik not listen. Garik cover ears.

Why? Summoner defend Guado. Why? Who punish Guado if Ronso not go?
I don't care about your defending or your punishing. I just don't want to see Kimahri looking sad. The same goes for all the Ronso... and the Guado too.
Summoner not stop Garik with empty words.
If I can stop you, will you forget this talk of vengeance?
Very well. Garik swear to mountain!
I figured it'd come to this.
At least he let us cut to the chase.

Low morale Garik has one minion and will cast Protect and Shell on himself, but with only two enemies attacking you, it's not too hard to mitigate the damage. Floral Fallal is a pretty good tool for this fight; all her multi-target debuffs can take the bite out of Garik's attacks and counteract his spells.

But that's the easy way to do this fight. Here's what happens when Garik's morale is high.

Mountain tell Ronso to go!

Summoner not hold Ronso anger with puny arms.
But if I do, you will stop this talk of vengeance.
Very well, but Garik never fall!

Somebody's a few spheres short of a Garment Grid.
Typical Ronso.
Good point... But I was talking about Yunie.

This time, Garik has two minions and a wider variety of attacks. Most annoyingly, he likes to cast Mighty Guard to draw the battle out. That's not the sucky version we learn, mind you, but the good enemy version that increases Defense, Magic Defense and Evasion as well as granting haste and regen. Whatever we do, we want to stop him from casting that, or the battle might go on longer than our capacity to fight it. (Well, not if we're using an Alchemist, but it'll still be annoying.)

We can get around this by exploiting his AI script; if you bring a Black Mage into battle, Garik will prioritize applying Curse to that character using Bane Lance over any other ability. We make Paine a Black Mage and give her the Gris-Gris Bag from the Bahamut fight, locking Garik into that behavior; all that remains is keeping Paine alive in the face of Garik's focused attacks. Protect will mitigate the damage long enough for Matador's Song and darkness to get in place.

Video: Boss: Garik

Enough vengeance, Garik.

Yuna defeat Garik in battle. Garik honor Yuna's wish. Not go to battle.
Thank you.
Garik not need thanks.

Again, the response we get from Garik depends on his morale. If it was high;

Garik underestimate Yuna. Garik now understand he is weak in battle. Garik wait. Destroy Guado after he become better warrior.

Somebody learned the wrong lesson. Otherwise;

Garik spoke to mountain of plan, but mountain silent. Gagazet know. Garik wrong. Garik go against will of mountain, if Yuna not stop him.

I'd say we pounded Gagazet back into shape, wouldn't you?
Something tells me we haven't stopped Garik for good. The rest we'll have to leave up to Kimahri.

One place left for us to go for Shinra to complete his network installation. We'll be there some time between 6:00 A.M. and 9:30 P.M. on Tuesday.

Welp, that's done.

Aww, I wanna go crazy and break lots of machina!
The machina have nothing to do with the fiends in the temples, right? They can wait until later.

Actually, I guess they technically can't, the end of the chapter looming and all.

This mission is just thirteen fixed battles with various groups of sentry machina, but with two little twists. The first is that Al Bhed teams are also sweeping the Highroad and will occasionally get to machina before we do; to get the best result for this mission, we need to beat seven or more. The second is that we can now jump up and down all those places it looks like we should be able to jump up and down, and reach a couple of elusive groups of machina that way.

So what made the machina go all haywire?
None of us can figure it out. Pretty creepy, huh? We found agency property smashed up. Then the hover crashed. Just when we were about to look into that, the machina went out of control.

Now that wasn't a very feel-good ending, now was it?

I wonder why the machina went amuck... Let's get to the bottom of this!
When you think about it, this airship could malfunction, too.

One last thing before we advance the plot; stopping at Bevelle.

But we've already been to Bevelle, you say. That's true.

However, a certain scene opens up in Bevelle that you can only access between finishing the Besaid and Kilika missions and starting the Djose mission.

And this scene isn't as important for what we do there... who we find there.

There's no indication on the World Map that anything has changed, but if we were to visit here after siding with the Youth League, we'd instantly know that something was up because we'd no longer be turned away at the gate. This scene is accessible whichever side we're on.

One feature of note is that we can now access the balcony where Baralai's private lift rests. But for some weird reason, the private lift doesn't actually take us directly where we want to go, but instead throws a switch that makes the central lift take us directly where we want to go. Whoever installed this system must have been reading the instructions in Al Bhed.

Was that... Gippal? What's he doing here?

You know, for all of Gippal's talk about self-reliance, the fact that things at Djose fall apart the minute he apparently leaves would probably disappoint him.

There's nothing new to do in the Bevelle dungeon. If you missed the Ribbon, the Bloodlust, the Wring, or the Dark Knight Dressphere, you can still pick them up. Only some of the puzzles you've already solved stay solved, though, which is weird.

Anyway, we eventually track Gippal to where Vegnagun used to rest, and... well, I'll let the game speak for itself.

You're late.
If you were on time, then I'd really start to worry.

You expect too much.
Learn from us! So why we here?
There's something I needed to be sure of. Vegnagun... is gone.
Listen to you: "Vegnagun is gone." Are you trying to tell us that since that thing left on its own, Yevon's not to blame?
It's the truth.

It detects hostility, and in an instant, springs to life! Should one even think of harming it, it awakens like a frightened child.

Wait, wait, Leblanc was right?

Hah. You did your homework.
I've had two years.
Wait, so you're saying that Vegnagun woke up because someone was trying to destroy it? Who?

Who indeed. I'm a little confused.

But Vegnagun awoke. Why? Because deep down you hated it. Did you come here to use it or destroy it? Well?

You probably think that's impossible. You've always been too naive to see. I wouldn't expect you to understand.
Then, I hope you don't expect me to trust you, either. I believed in you once - When we were training for the Crimson Squad. I thought I'd never find a better friend.

Baralai pulls out a NerfTM N-Strike Maverick and aims at Nooj.

Why did you shoot?

Answer me!
Just calm down! Nooj! Apologize already!

The other two don't move for a little too long.

That's enough! Don't push me…

If this is what it takes.

Nooj's body shimmers green for a moment and he drops his cane. Also, his voice changes.

Yes, I shot you.

You shot Paine, too?
Why? Answer me!

I made him do it.

Nooj shimmers again.

I don't expect you to present any more of a challenge. Not now.

Pyreflies emerge from Nooj and enter Baralai, and Nooj seems to have gotten the worse of the deal.

Two years ago, it was the same with you. Nooj. Seeking your own death.


Whoops, somebody broke our cover.

Something that looks like a summoning circle surrounds the trio and a Malboro appears behind us and charges.

Video: Revelations

Time out. The upcoming fight has some unpleasant debuffs and status attacks. The worst is confusion, which we're going to avoid in a couple of different ways. Yuna will be in a job immune to it, Rikku will use a Garment Grid to gain Confuseproof, and Paine will be wearing a Ribbon.

Malboro gets harder the longer the battle lasts; its standard attack inflicts all four Breaks on its target, and soon enough it'll use Bad Breath and really ruin our day. The objective is to counteract these debuffs and end the battle before Bad Breath happens, which we pursue a couple of different ways. Paine will heal and apply Protect with her Trainer abilities, and Rikku will go nuts as a Berserker, but I do something a little more interesting with Yuna. I want the Dark Knight's attack power, but I'd also like to apply Armor Break, and also not be quite as slow, so I use a Garment Grid that grants access to the Warrior skillset. After spherechanging around the outer circle, Yuna gains +60 Strength and Turbo Swordplay, meaning she can use Armor Break twice as fast as she can normally attack.

Machina Maw is also a good choice for this fight, being immune to Bad Breath. Even though Malboro is immune to most statuses, Rikku can still apply Breaks, and her skills are optimized for single-target fights. Don't take too long, though, because Maw still isn't immune to Breaks.

Video: Boss: Malboro

I saw Baralai escape. Nooj and Gippal probably chased after him.
So you knew all three of them.
Long ago.
Yeah but Nooj, he…
Yes, he shot us.

Why didn't you tell us?
You never asked.
I'm asking now.

And Paine says nothing.

You don't wanna tell us.

Paine ignores Rikku's grumblings and looks to Yuna.

Yeah, but...

Video: Paine's Past

And we find another Crimson Sphere as we're leaving.

It's a battlefield video this time. Shaky-cam, explosions, the works.

This is rough.

Hey, aren't you an Al Bhed? Why are you trying out for the Crimson Squad?
Hey, the Al Bhed wanna protect Spira, too. I wanted to be a Crusader, but apparently we're, uh, "not eligible." Besides, no one can handle one of these babies like an Al Bhed can.
Machina. Even if the maester's okay with it, what about everyone else?
Shut up. We'll get reported.

Good, they're all there.

Nooj just walks away.

I've seen this a hundred times. Yup, a lot of people'd sooner shoot an Al Bhed than tell 'em their name.
It's Nooj.
THE Nooj?
Hey, uh, Nooj? My name is Gippal.

Then Baralai turns to the camera.

Video: Crimson Record 1

Pyreflies swarmed out of Nooj's body and into Baralai's... What's going on?
You think waiting will get me to talk? Sorry, Yuna. My lips are sealed.

We'll save an analysis of what we just saw for a little later. Next time; a hope beyond hope.