Part 52: This is an orderWe'll be spending one more night in Nanan, as there's dinner conversation to be had.
I don't know if I trust food made by someone who can't spell their own job title. Ah well.
Indeed, for The Great Rift is a place forbidden to my people.
None may say what will occur once its borders we cross. Let us eat our fill now while this meal at least is known to us.
How is the food? Is it to your liking? I was somewhat worried it might not be.
Oh, it is delicious, Mareg. Especially the fruit -- so juicy and fresh!
That pleases me! Ha! Ah, yes -- Elena, I suggest you try those berries there.
Ooh, this berry is so sweet and tasty!
What? Are you serious? [munch][munch] No, they are sweet! They taste just like a candy I used to eat as a child.
You're crazy! Gimme another one... [munch][munch] See?! It's salty! It tastes just like broiled fish!
How can the same type of berry taste so different to you and I? It's amazing.
Ha ha ha! How do you both like the berries? They taste like something you remember fondly from your past, yes?
These berries taste like whatever food you remember most dearly. Therefore, they tend to taste different to different people.
Oh, so that's why they tasted like sweet candy to Elena, but broiled fish to me. I used to love broiled fish as a kid.
Whoever thought Nanan Village had such amazing food.
Ha! They taste like the food you see before you! This is the food I think most fondly of.
These berries are simply amazing. But they are delicious. They taste just like a candy I ate as a child.
A person of Nanan who goes on a journey will sometimes take these berries to eat when he misses the food of this village.
Oh, I get it. But hold on, Mareg. I've never seen you eat these before.
I'm afraid I consumed all of mine before I even met you! Ha!
No, there is no such danger. You are not actually eating what you taste. The berries merely recreate the flavor in your mind.
So I can eat as many as I like? Well, in that case, I think I shall have another...
They are, however, very rich. Eat too many and you will become fat, or render yourself immobile.
Hey, Elena! Don't put your berries on my plate! You picked 'em, you eat 'em!
That's pretty amazing, alright. So, Tio, why don't you try one?
No thank you, Ryudo. I am sure they will hold no taste for me, as I do not have any memories for them to remind me of.
Tio. That is not so. I am sure you will taste something. Perhaps you will remember some food you ate recently.
If you say so, Mareg, then I shall try one. [munch][munch] Ooh!
What is it, Tio? What did the berry taste like?
See, Tio? You are capable of memory. You are not without feelings. You are a person... with feelings and memories.
The berries have proven that.
So, the fruit I ate at the feast I remember most fondly from my past?
It may be a little too soon to be saying that fruit was from your past... it JUST happened... but that's the idea...
Tio, was it good?
I'm not sure. I suppose so...
Tio, you have changed. You are already rediscovering your inner feelings. The berries are proof of that.
You already have memories in your mind. You can sense those memories inside you.
Don't bother. Skye's so old he can barely TASTE anymore. Last I checked, his favorite food was curd.
Hey now Ryudo! I'm not THAT old. And my favorite food happens to be the eyes of a certain classless, disrespectful GEOHOUND!
Skye's text box overlaps Ryudo's without covering up the text in it, making it really hard to read. I can't confirm it, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and blame the PC port. Bug Count: 32
All right. Let's get to bed early tonight, we have to be ready for the Great Rift tomorrow!
Realtalk, we're staring down the barrel of four dungeons. Strap yourselves in.
The first part of Ghoss Forest East is a mostly open field with seven or eight packs of monsters wandering around it. This includes Fenny Birds, the Dodo reskin in the screenshot above, but I'll talk about them a little later.
Since we're starting a new dungeon, let's catch up on some skills.
Elena's hit level 40, unlocking her fifth skill slot. Magic Recover removes the short period of IP stagnation after spellcasting, speeding up Elena's Burnstrike-Rinse-Repeat cycle by about two seconds.
Finally acquiring a Life Up for Mareg means that all of our characters are on even HP footing for the first time since Durham Cave.
The other skills in the Book of War are as follows:
Special Power (+10 to +50 SP)
Speed (+10 to +50 AGI)
Aim for Counter (sometimes counterattack after dodging)
Fighting Spirit (increases SP recovery from damage)
Full-Body Blow (unlocks at level 15; increases IP damage done by criticals)
Of these, the stat boosts are very useful. I've never actually tried Full-Body Blow, but I doubt it makes criticals worth using over our fully upgraded cancel moves.
Past the initial clearing is swampland. More or less boring than caves? You be the judge.
These things give +15 MOV, +15 DEF and +5% evasion. Seems good to me, but this game's numbers are more than a little opaque.
Trees are nice, I'm cool with trees. Wouldn't have said no to a dungeon that's just a bunch of huge trees that you climb.
These trees aren't nice, though:
Say hello to the sole gimmick of Ghoss Forest East. There are man-eating trees hiding inside fake, non-man-eating trees.
Sometimes they're real, to keep you on your toes.
Sometimes they jump out when you hit the wrong mushroom.
Sometimes they're the trap guarding a piece of treasure.
Sometimes there's just a row of five mushrooms, four of them empty, meaning the cost of the treasure in the fifth one is ten seconds of your time spent hacking at them. It feels like kind of an insult.
Anyway, there's a bunch of permanent stat bonus seeds around, as well as an accessory that negates all damage below 200 (useless) and one that increases the power of special moves (possibly useful). The rest of the area is nothing but mushrooms and uncreative tree traps, so let's speed things up a bit.
If it is as the Holy Book states, then that whirlwind is where the Granasaber lies...
What a horrible place... it pains my eyes.
The wind is incredible...
Come on, let's move.
My insistence on zooming the camera out by running around sometimes results in Tio going maverick.
Anyway, welcome to dungeon #2, the Great Rift. The first part feels like a callback to the End of the World from the first game, which was also a vertically-oriented area across a forest from a village of beast-men. We're climbing down this one, though.
The End of the World had a bunch of traps in it, but since instead of being made of magical bricks, the Great Rift is made of cliff face, you get chunks of ledge falling off. There's a lot of trapped treasure here and almost all of it is terrible consumables, for some reason.
There's a bunch of jump points around, most of them creating one-way circular paths. There aren't any enemies in the very first part of the area - I guess they wanted to give you time to reminisce about the first game for a while. Through the cave on the left, we can find some treasures:
I refuse to equip these items because they perpetuate gender roles. The headband suppresses IP slowing, the clogs negate knock-back and they both add ATK.
Alright, time for some fun facts about the Great Rift Pink-Crested Fenny Bird.
Fenny Bird (reskin of Dodo)
HP: 4800 (from 1570)
Immune to every status effect you'd want to hit them with
Special: , +1 on hit
Fact 1: They fly too high to start a fight with them without them noticing you first.
Fact 2: They divebomb you at breakneck speeds and inconvenient angles as soon as they do.
Fact 3: Getting pecked by one is so infuriating, it actually buffs your attack power.
Fact 4: If you don't come prepared with confusion resistance, getting surprised by them is real nasty.
Fact 5: As soon as we hit the bottom of the Rift, they start coming in packs of six.
Fact 6: Cripes.
The Warp Warriors from Cyrum probably keep their throne as toughest regular monster, but these birds take the prize for most annoying.
They're not too bad yet, though. They divebomb you when you run past their nests, but even if they surprise you, the flocks up here are only three strong.
This rock makes a bridge down below when pushed. This is pretty much the extent of the dungeon design here. Do thing in branch A to open up branch B.
The second part of the Great Rift is the Forest of No Return people kept talking about. It's not much of a maze or anything, it's just a big area full of mantises.
Right past that, however, is Fenny Bird Country.
As soon as you see this ground texture, you're in the death zone. There's four or five packs zooming around here just itching to peck your eyeballs out.
You know how I talked about how all the booby-trapped treasure is terrible? Here's a low value consumable you can get if you go the complete wrong way in the Fenny Bird feeding grounds, getting the attention of at least one flock along the way.
Yep, he's actually about to do what you think he's about to do.
What the hell? What's going on here?
Looks like we're not going forward.
But it is only wind... we must continue, for we have come so far... But what will we do?
Tio starts looking off to the side.
Tio, what is your concern?
What are those things? Tio?
They seem to be soldiers slain long ago. They are my sisters.
This would appear to be a graveyard for soldiers...
Tio picks up one of their heads and places it on a nearby rock.
Then why the hell did they do it anyway?
They did as they were directed.
Let us go to the "Demon's Law" over there. I can make this wall of wind disappear.
Then we go there!
Between us and the Demon's Law is just a short stretch of desert filled with these guys.
Desert Diver (reskin of Sandman)
HP: 5000 (from 1300)
Abilities: Terra Break (~1100, Cancel), Acid Spray (~300, -2, )
I think the hard hack's creator neglected to increase the damage on one of their abilities. They wouldn't be that much of a threat regardless; in sharp contrast to the Fenny Birds, the Desert Divers are slow, easy to surprise and lacking any particularly nasty status effects. Terra Break does a ridiculous amount of knockback and IP damage, though, which is kind of hilarious to look at - it sets you back most of a turn and knocks you clear across the battlefield.
Dungeon #3, though perhaps it does not deserve the title, as the Demon's Law is essentially a boss rush.
The Red Bird Stone is an item that casts Burnstrike, the Panacea works as advertised and the hat reduces IP slowing.
Well, hello there.
Leck Guarder (reskin of Durham Minotaur)
HP: ~36000 (from 15000)
Abilities: Buster Horn (~2400, -4, )
Resistant to , Weak to
Snow Leopard (reskin of Land Cougar)
HP: 9000 (from 4600)
Abilities: Cold, Crackle (~2000), Freeze!
Immune to , Weak to
If you've played Dark Souls, this fight feels a lot like the Capra Demon, in that it's a big scary man who's only really dangerous at the very start, while his dogs are alive.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is basically a repeat of the first Durham Minotaur fight, but with much better helpers on his side. The leopards are much faster than the Troglodytes were and will basically destroy you if you try to take out the big guy first. Thankfully, their weakness to fire means they go down fast, allowing a leisurely beatdown to begin on the Leck Guarder.
Speaking of which, surely his name was supposed to be Wreck Guarder?
As a reward for Burnstriking his pets, he's nice enough to give Mareg a halberd that lets him cast it.
Behind the minotaur is a save point and a brief interlude involving these techno-pillars.
Pressing the action button near one results in them lowering into the ground and lighting up one of the orbs on this door.
The first one also activates this little drone. It follows the path on the ground and does damage to you if you touch it. It's kind of adorable, really.
There's not much to say about the other two switches we need to press, so let's skip past that part and to the next boss.
HP: ~25000 (from 12500)
Special: on hit
Abilities: Blizzard Edge (~1200 in an AoE around itself, -1, Cancel), Freezing Eye (~1500 in a line, /-1), Fiora, Alhealer (~3000)
Fewer enemies means it's easier to lock them down, though it obviously takes longer to kill one than it took to kill the minotaur's buddies. You can protect against their Move block spell with the appropriate charms or load up on Blizzard resist to reduce their damage. One way or another, it's not that tough a fight and it only gets easier once you finish one off.
Plus, it's really funny when they Blizzard Edge and hit nothing.
That said, they look completely horrifying. for bare breasts and sheer ickiness.
We're pretty much set for spells for the rest of the game, so I'll come back to mana egg stuff when I put together a spell update near the end.
Interlude two: Lasers, more treasure.
No. I will not. I have come to retrieve the Divine Sword. I will leave with the Granasaber.
You are out of line, Automata. IF I, your commander, give you orders, THEN you follow them, ELSE you are defective.
I am my own master. And your master no longer exists. The orders are void. I will not fight.
...... I cannot understand. Controller requires repairs.
Tio is no longer your puppet! STOP that!!
Repairs complete. Eliminate threat.
Stop, Tio. We are friends.
Your actions need not be dictated by another. Remember, Tio. None save yourself is your master.
Ma......reg ...... yes, I... I ...... am my own master. Mareg ... I will not fight you.
Why do you ignore orders? We exist only to follow orders. Unit TIO-124 has malfunctioned! Decommision immediately!
HP: ~45000 (from 25000)
Special: A whole bunch of status effects on hit; counterattacks after dodging
Abilities: Howl (~2200), Lotus Flower (~1700, Cancel), Shhh! (hits all), Tornado (~2300)
When she does a normal attack, she oneshots people. Whenever she's not doing that, she's doing lots of AoE damage and using Tio's best skill against us. She's about as fast as you'd expect, too.
Her weakness? Being an enemy player character. Any successful attack on her triggers the same seconds-long recoil animation Tio has, but there's four of us and only one of her, so the party can keep her on lockdown for very long stretches of time. Debuffing her speed and attack power helps - Cold and Stram, respectively. Move buffs, whether in spell or mushroom form, are also useful to facilitate dodging her normal attacks. Finally, accessories that prevent Magic block are ideal for Tio and Elena, since she has a very good silence spell.
Oh, and Granas help you if you decide to use a normal attack on her while she's undistracted. She'll most likely dodge and counter for half a character's health.
Defeating her rewards us with a weapon upgrade for Tio.
This is an order ...... Destroy ... the ... Light... Darkness ......
I'm sorry. You were only following orders. Just as I used to. But you would not understand ME. I did not want to fight you...
Destroy Light...... Orde...... ...
Let's do it, then.
With no immediate threat in the vicinity, the Granasaber will have deactivated its protective wind barrier. Let us go.
Official Art: The Great Rift, Monster Concept Art 3 (Skull Snail, Dragonoid, Crimson Tail, Naga Queen, )
Also I never got around to posting the music you get when you win a battle really handily, so here it is.