Part 50: Episode 26 - So I Rewired ItEpisode 26 - So I Rewired It
Welcome back. We get to deal with two interesting areas this time, in that both of them have bosses that start the game sort of incomplete.
You'd think the Faction would have had enough of machina after that whole aeon possession thing, but I guess you can't keep them down for long.
Not even you could beat this thing.
The Experiment is apparently just a prototype, but we'll give it a workout.
I'll own up and admit, I accidentally cheated this fight a little bit. The Valiant Lustre grid, which I put on for some extra Defense, is one I wasn't actually supposed to have yet. But I earn it later in this update, and I could have done this easily with the third-tier, five-fewer-points version. I hope I didn't ruin your immersion.
Level 1 Experiment is pretty pathetic. All it can do is flail at us with a physical attack, and it's got stumps for hands. As long as you have a Songstress who survives the first round, you'll be untouchable.
Video: Boss: Experiment Lv. 1
I am sorry.
No worries. What is good about machina is they can be built anew, you see?
That was kind of lackluster, but what else could we expect at minimum level? But we didn't get an Episode Complete, so we'll be back.
Fiends on the Thunder Plains, again?
Sphere waves scattered during the concert caused fiends endemic to this region to rampage.
So, in other words, your Sphere Screen is to blame.
Moral of the story; always listen to Paine.
There's a Rhyos at every lightning rod tower, visibly sucking electricity, while lightning strikes the ground all around you. It's a pretty cool effect, actually. Like all chimera species, Rhyos is a huge jerk, and my experience is that it's best to be just as big a jerk right back at him. Bring all the damage you can muster and finish the fight as quickly as possible. Rhyos uses three out of the four usual elemental damages, so it's not worth trying to equip elemental protection less than Tetra Eater. Anything else takes up too much space or doesn't cover enough elements.
You also get a treasure after each fight depending on how well you did in the corresponding tower's calibration minigame. The default items are okay, but this is also a decent way to get another Ribbon.
After nine battles, the situation still hasn't resolved itself. The trick is that there are actually ten lightning towers, but one of them is some distance removed from the walkable path. (Yuna's the one who has to calibrate that tower, for obvious reasons.)
Naturally, there's a boss at that tower. I want to bring a Samurai and a Songstress into this battle, but I have to take measures to give them some actual survivability. About 1800 HP is enough to keep Songstress alive, but just barely.
Oh... I think we're gonna need a bigger boat.
Humbaba likes to start the battle with that annoyingly potent monster version of Mighty Guard, which sounds bad, but it gives me the chance to apply buffs myself. It then follows up with physicals, an undodgeable attack called Uppercut, and Thundaga spells. Samurai is actually a good class for controlling the flow of the battle; Fingersnap can remove the stat boosts from Mighty Guard, and Magicide can eat though Humbaba's MP, making it waste turns trying to cast spells. (I'll give you all a moment to recover from having your minds completely blown at MP damage being useful.) The defense-ignoring attack abilities aren't bad either, although Sparkler's damage varies weirdly.
Breaks aren't as useful as they should be, since Humbaba resists them most of the time. But don't forget to buff your own defenses, since it casts Meteor when it dies.
Video: Boss: Humbaba
That was bracing.
He says there's another hole by the tower.
Think it's connected to the others?
I don't think there's a fayth here.
Uh-oh… I've got a bad feeling about this.
Not right away. We've got enough on our plate as it is, and I need some time to make life interesting for myself.
First things first; souping up the Experiment.
Our first stop is the Calm Lands. I haven't shown off much of the chocobo ranch sidequest, because it's about as enthralling as a Microsoft Access tutorial, so all you need to know is that you can send chocobos you catch out to find treasure. I sent one I don't care about to Bikanel, because the first one you send there in Chapter 5 always runs away.
However, in doing so, it unlocks the Central Expanse, which is easily the best place to dig in Bikanel. Why?
Because you get to dig on chocoback. Not only does it prevent random encounters, it lets you navigate the dig area at a reasonable speed. If I have to dig, I'll do it in the Central Expanse, even if the drop rates for what I'm looking for are better in other areas. The experience is just that much better.
There's also a key in the CE to that chest that's been taunting us all game, but I don't care about that as much. (Oh, and we can still get in battles from an Unidentified Object Approaching, but it's not Angra Mainyu any more, just some generic fiends. We'll see where he went soon.)
Anyway, an hour or so later, I've collected enough parts to get the Experiment maxed out. Attack Assemblies increase its Strength and Magic, Defense increases the defensive stats, and Special changes the boss' attack list. We only need one more thing for a rematch.
There are five repair manuals we can find around the world, of varying difficulty. Playing a first-cycle 100% game, you might want to get two. For the purposes of this LP, the easy one here is all I need.
The result of our efforts is... impressive.
What? You made the thing and now you can't control it?
You guys should be ashamed of yourselves!
We are deeply repentant.
Only one thing to do.
This is going to be a tough fight. Level 5 Attack gives it over 200 Strength, and Level 5 Defense gives it over 200 in both defensive stats as well.
Meanwhile, we're struggling to break 150 Defense, and we can't match that in Strength either. As a result, Samurai will be our top damage-dealer with her defense-piercing attacks.
If you think you can beat it easily, you are mistaken!
Whose side are you on?
Experiment has nasty new attacks to match its nasty new stats. Rocket Launcher will put a hurt on the whole party and can't be dodged with Evasion, and Lifeslicer deals the target's max HP in special damage, making it an unblockable instant kill. It also uses Annihilator, a unique Blue Bullet that ignores Magic Defense, but even at max level Experiment's Magic is only 100, and the damage isn't too bad. I mentioned above that you might want to get two repair manuals instead of one, and that's why; you could save-scum nothing but Special Assemblies from the desert and fight Experiment at levels 1/1/5 to learn Annihilator relatively safely, then max it out and have a re-rematch.
Anyway, there's no shame in bringing an Alchemist to this fight, especially with a supply of Light Curtains to Mix Walls with, because having infinite healing still won't keep you alive with Lifeslicer in play. I got really good damage out of Sparkler this time around, but your mileage may vary. I also tried out Mirror of Equity, but the damage it deals doesn't seem to be a simple MaxHP-minus-HP formula.
Video: Boss: Experiment Lv. MAX
Why, thank you.
One thing I haven't been mentioning is that Chapter 5 contains a number of Key Items that open abilities to certain jobs. This unlocks one of the two end-game Songstress dances, but there are also ones that teach Break HP and Damage Limit to the girls' Special Dresspheres.
So what's our ultimate reward for having built a boss, only to destroy it? Well...
I guess he got me interested.
It's not like that. You see, it occurred to me that learning another language might help me broaden my horizons.
Did it work?
But I did come to a realization: In order to expand your horizons, you have to open yourself up. Get involved with the outside world, let it shape and affect you. That's the only way to change.
Um… I don't get it.
What I'm trying to say is that running around with you two has helped me change a lot.
What'd we do?
Well for one thing, you got me to talk.
That's good. We thought we were bothering you.
Oh, you did at first. You never shut up. I was ready to lay down some serious hurt.
Yuna puts on an overacted pout and turns away...
...but as Rikku goes to comfort her, we can see that she's faking it.
Must everything be so dramatic?
Will you get mad if I talk to Paine privately in Al Bhed?
Thanks. I open up to you and all you do is tease me.
I like this bonding moment, but it's particularly well-done for one specific reason. At this point, your average anime writer might have someone like Yuna, who values her friendships and has been trying to work Paine out of her shell the entire game, immediately respond to Paine's openness with an impossibly soft touch, like she was handling a porcelain egg. But Paine, despite her complaints, wouldn't actually like being treated that gingerly.
More importantly, though, Yuna hasn't fallen into the trap of placing her precious things on a pedestal any more. For a person who's lost a lot, and wallowed in that loss, she's grown to the point where she can actually enjoy the things she has without being bogged down by the fear of losing them. Compare that to the prequel, and her relationship with Tidus, where she cries most of the way through their first kiss because it's just one more thing she has to sacrifice. There's another example of this to come, and I think it's a vitally important one for making Yuna not just a complete and realistic character, but a strong one as well.
Oh, and the EPCOM screen hints more at Rin's nefarious plans. Hey guys, let's make a map of Hell.
One more boss this update, but I've got some prep-work to do first.
At the start of Chapter 3, these enemies called Watchers started appearing in random battles. I didn't show it off at the time because, well, I've had a Charm Bangle on since halfway through Chapter 2. I wanted to keep my levels low to make boss fights more interesting. But in order to make the upcoming boss fight interesting, I had to intentionally get into fights with Watchers in them and then use all my favorite abilities while they, well, watched.
Anyway, here's what's in that hole. That's a long fucking tunnel, which is what this dungeon is made up of. It's a maze designed to make you get into lots of random battles.
And the twist is, not only do Watchers show up in the random battles all the time here, but now they start jamming the abilities they've seen us use. There's one version of the Watcher for attack abilities, one for healing, and one for anything else. If you actually try to fight your way through this maze, you'll find it gets harder and harder as the things you need to kill the enemies get slowly taken away from you.
We eventually work our way to that red arrow on our minimap, which turns out to be...
Howdy? What howdy? What the heck are you doing?
But this place is swarmin' with fiends! I, uh…can't get out. Do Pop a favor and show him the way out of here.
You, sir, are a disgrace to the name Cid.
You are so lame!
Who's gonna carry him?
Hey, let a man keep his pride!
Got a better idea?
Well, how 'bout this:
Somehow, Cid manages to raise a wall in the cave by waving his hand.
We'll do that in a sec. First, our setup. Here's what I actually want to use for this boss, but I'll be forced to improvise a little at the beginning of the fight.
Here's why. Machina Panzer comes escorted by one of each flavor of Watcher, which immediately disable all the abilities you've ever had scanned. Machina Panzer then uses a skill that doubles the Watchers' HP and gives them Protect and Shell, making them that much harder to take out than we're used to.
I went and got some of my Samurai and White Mage abilities tagged before fighting this boss, so I started Yuna and Rikku as Alchemists instead. Machina enemies sometimes drop bombs that can be Mixed to great effect, and two Cluster Bomb recipes was enough to clear the Watchers off the field. Once Panzer's alone, it's kind of a joke, with flashy but fairly weak attacks. This boss could be trouble, though, if you've been relying on the Two Dark Knight Darkness / Alchemist Mega-Potion Cheese Machine and don't know any other way to play the game.
Video: Boss: Machina Panzer
Yuna offers to give Cid refuge, but it might not be that easy. Remember the bad outcome exchange with Cid in Chapter 3?
Father, if you want on the ship, apologize to me.
We're never really told what happened between those two, but I'm sure it was all Brother's fault, and being the guy who currently has an airship will never change that.
I'm sorry, son.
That was too easy. What's he plotting?
Cid and Brother have put each other through a lot over the years. Not even Rikku knows what caused their final falling out. Still, there's something nice about the whole thing.
Now Cid's aboard the airship as yet another passenger. Man, we still haven't found a way to get rid of Calli yet, have we?
I think Brother and Buddy are feeling a little uneasy now that Pop's around.
Just what we needed. Another whiny freeloader.
Cid's better than Calli, though, because he'll actually move around the ship like he's a real person, instead of an NPC with their feet glued to the deck. He also makes fun of Brother, which frees up my schedule considerably.
That's all for these DIY bosses. Next time; stupid.