Part 60: God, schmod
Welcome to the final dungeon. It's trash.
Here's maybe the fifth most baffling thing this update: There's gold in New Valmar. We've already gone past the point of no return. There are no more shops.
Anyway, the first area has these flesh elevators that get you under platforms...
...allowing you to bypass these green walls.
This is the first big room of the dungeon; a fleshevator to one side allows access to the low ground where a few packs of Valmar's Moon enemies patrol.
The way out is through this inconspicuous low ground opening, which leads to another fleshevator and allows us to access the main part of the high ground.
Two paths lead to treasure, one to progress. It's pretty good endgame stuff, including a seed that gives +10 to HP, MP and SP permanently for one character.
First new enemy is a tree recolor. You'll excuse me for not doing writeups for these anymore, they're completely uninteresting save their resistance to fire.
This room is kind of a retread of the tree cavern from Lumir Forest, if you remember that; pressing these buttons as they open up removes parts of the walls, either releasing enemies or allowing access to treasure (a big ol' knife for Roan) or progress.
Choosing correctly rewards us with a path to the first miniboss. This is a Valmar Magna and two Valmar Moths. I have two things to say about this fight.
One: The Moths inflict every status effect under the sun on hit, but can be dodged.
Two: The Magna has an attack called Magna Boring which I was very tempted to use as an update title.
VIDEO: Space Valmar (next few screenshots)
Welcome to New Valmar 2, now with five times the circular rooms populated by trees.
This floor is structured around this large room that initially has most of its paths inaccessible to us.
Here's the one part of this dungeon I kinda like, though.
The red eggs in these hatching rooms burst when you go near them, releasing a pack of Valmar Moths. They're not interesting to fight or anything, I just like the aesthetics of the area.
Incidentally, the moths give oodles of experience if you're interested in grinding at the very end here.
Back to circular rooms and trees.
There's another Lumir-style button room in this area, featuring reskinned ghouls. They have the same plan they've always had of AoE canceling you to death.
Seriously, Game Arts, what the hell.
Anyway, the correct path out of that room leads to another hatching chamber, larger and significantly more mandatory than the other.
It takes us back out to the main room...
...where a pair of convenient buttons rearrange the fleshy parts of the room to allow access to every area at once, as well as the exit.
New Valmar 3.
Featuring weird green stalks that slap you around?
The meat of New Valmar 3 is a stealth maze. I'm not even kidding. You see that little ball of light? There's one or two at every loop in the maze. Touching it spawns a pack of Valmar Moths at the nearest vertical opening (like the one in the top left) which then proceeds to hunt you down.
There's a few optional exits in the maze, leading to such wonders as circular rooms with trees in them.
Also really good items, admittedly. The robe gives resistance to everything ever and the face paint is a great combat item, +5 ACT to one ally.
This ghoul room is where we want to be; it opens into the second part of the maze.
There's a few more rooms off to the sides with treasure in them, but I expect you're as tired of this as I am.
Zip a dee fucking doo dah, it's two Magnas. Past them is final boss territory, so for completion's sake, let's have a quick rundown of the party.
The only thing Ryudo really has going for him is high strength and SP, so I make the best of it. His Tenseikens do a lot of work with this setup.
Elena's fortes are Droplets of Life and high magic defense, so I give her enough SP to use the former three times without use of items. The two Toughnesses are there to raise her physical defense to the same level as her magical, helping her survive the kinds of things Droplets is there to save the party from.
Roan's our heavy artillery. He exists to Burnstrike. Every part of his body has been replaced with cybernetic prostheses designed to maximize flaming bird output.
Tio remains the best character in the party. Between Lotus Flower, Whisper to Stars and pretty good overall stats, she's the only reason the upcoming boss is even possible on Hard mode. On that note...
I will not become a monster knowing only of madness and bloodshed. My soul I will not sacrifice for empty promises of power!
You who have renounced your own heart: you are a mindless beast who only plays at being a god. And buddy, playtime is over.
I believe in Ryudo, and in people. To love people is to save them. I have finally realized this!
So what if we were the People of Darkness! The past has no more hold on us!
It is not destiny that binds people to the past - it is YOU! And we shall be free!
You are mistaken. I AM complete. I have a heart.
We have no more need for gods who would use us as tools. We are neither your puppets nor your playthings. We are your destruction!
(you should listen to this)
Alright. Full disclosure. On my current playthrough of this game, I did not beat this boss on Hard Mode.
I've done it before, it's not impossible, but it's an endurance fight and I really don't have the patience to beat my head against it anymore. Here's the lowdown.
The boss has four parts. The core has a lot of special attacks and mostly does physical damage that can be reduced by Stram. The left face casts offensive spells, most of them AoE, a few of them pretty beefy. The middle face primarily uses Destruction Light, a bugged attack that will veer off into the wrong direction but still hit one or two people.
The right face is a fucker.
It knows Alhealer, which is manageable, but it also knows Zap All and hits for 3600-3800 on people with no resists. If you let the right face get too many turns, it's guaranteed to come back to haunt you. To make matters worse, it's astoundingly resistant to most forms of damage, so while killing it first is an option, it makes an already slow fight extra tedious.
Note, however, the above screenshot. Elena has +5/+5/+5/+5 and so does everyone else. This is the power of Whisper to Stars and it's the only way to stand a chance against this thing - it gives you enough ACT to keep things under control. If this were where my description of this fight ended, it would merely be an excruciating journey through the bowels of hell. But no.
Let me release you from your suffering!
Back to square one, shitlords, 'cause all your buffs and debuffs have been reset. This is the part where you throw out all your Feathers and Hyper Mogay Bombs and pray that the faces have an argument and don't combo you to death while you're unexpectedly thrown back into the stone age. If you have everyone donate their turns to Tio and give her SP you can get back to +5/+5 in about two full rounds of turns, but that's a long time to be vulnerable against this boss.
If you'd like to see a few parts of the fight in action, graphical bugs and all, you can click here for a video. I didn't get a recording of his Big Final Boss Attack, but you can click here for a soy-based substitute. With all that behind us...
Because we're not stark raving mad, you pathetic blockhead. Now you realize the true power of humanity.
The power of humanity? A weak and mortal heart? How can you place faith in such fallible things?
Ryudo, give me the Horns. I was taken from you because I did not possess them. I can't continue my existence without them.
Stop it! Don't you know me? Millenia!
Ryudo! That is not Millenia!
Millenia... She never used to care for anyone but herself. She was as selfish as a child, yet she was as innocent as a child...
But Millenia came to love us. If that were the real Millenia, she would never do this!
Ryudo, do you not understand!? She only LOOKS like Millenia! This is deception! ... She doesn't even SOUND like Millenia!
Millenia is somewhere else... Yes, I understand now! Go away, you IMPOSTOR!
And we get a fight against Millenia, because the endgame didn't have enough filler. Anyway, it's time for the plot to go completely off the rails.
VIDEO: I don't even know (Search for "Cutscene ends." to skip screenshots.)
... Elena! Then where is Millenia?
I am afraid no more. My mind is no longer troubled. I can believe!
Anyone could see through that parlor trick!
... But... it's OK now.
Hee-hee. OK. We're together now... right?
I guess so.
Fine, Miss Millenia!
And you've made it this far, Miss Marionette.
Yes. I believe in the human heart... Just as you do.
This cannot be! How can you still live? The will of God is absolute... The will of man could NEVER overpower a God!
The only thing here that's absolute is your total lunacy! I am right here in ALL my glory!
"Bolster your soul and you will not fail." Yes! It is exactly as you taught us!
Got it, Valmar!? No, Zera!!
If Granas is dead and Valmar is destroyed, there would be nothing to lead man! Is that what you really want!?
If there is no need for gods... then there is also no need for man as well! Without man, there is no need for the WORLD!
We're fine. You go after Zera!!
Ryudo! That Zera wants to destroy the entire planet! We gotta stop that loon!
I believe in you. Take care of Zera.
Sure, leave it to us! Just hang in there!
Hey, fellow Game Arts developer, you know how we made it so Millenia gains the powers of bosses the player defeats, like Mega Man?
What's everyone's favorite part of Mega Man games?
New levels of filler, right here. Hard hack-wise, the Tongue fight is mostly the same as the first time around with souped up numbers and a shiny new Hellburner. Of course, we're only running on three people now, so plans need changing to a certain extent - Elena takes over Tio's job as healer while Millenia mans the Burnstrike cannons and Ryudo desperately picks up Tio's cancel slack with buffs to his speed.
Our buddy the Eye waits on the next platform and is a bitch and a half. It knows wind spells now, but more importantly we're extra outnumbered and you can't sleep the eyeball bats anymore, so Delta Burst is more of a threat than ever.
Finally, the Heart gets to be a gimmick fight by gaining absurd levels of resistance to magic and Valmar abilities. Thankfully, that's all the refights we need to do.
VIDEO: The power of hearts and whatnot (voice acting and final boss; search for "Zera Valmar" to skip screenshots)
Why not try to understand the human heart? Your heart is suffering because you do not understand it.
Meaningless, human love... I don't CARE to know about love!
But you still have a human heart, Zera! Look at you! You're shaking with fear!
There is no way that YOU could be a god! Petrified humans like you cannot rule divinity!
I am NOT some human named Zera! I AM GOD! I am the one and only absolute God, VALMAR! You impudent humans! I shall show you my DIVINE POWER!
BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER.
So here's the actual final-final boss, Zera Valmar. His deal is simple - he floats around casting offensive spells and occasionally casts WOW! on himself, which actually increases all of his stats to +5. As such, it's not worth debuffing him for the most part, except for having Ryudo throw out Flying Tenseikens to speed things up by lowering his defense. He'll be fast enough to double-turn the entire party regularly, but even that probably won't kill you, especially if you have two Life Ups on Elena to make sure she survives to restore the entire party. This entire area feels like they added it because they were 20 minutes of playtime away from getting a bonus for game length or something. At least we get to hear the final boss theme again.
I am relieved. Now I can die with no regrets...
No. You are going to live. I cannot stand it anymore!
The salvation of the world... the future of mankind... is not to be. How could I, the almighty God, the supreme being... lose...?
God, schmod. The only thing you've lost is your memory, you senile fool - gods don't survive for too long around here, 'member?
Wha- what is this...!?
You are no GOD! You're a pathetic loser who forgot that people SHARE their hearts with each other - they don't throw them away!
And why the hell would we need YOU to "save" us?! Trust, consideration... love. These things make us strong!
I've learned how to share my heart with Ryudo and Elena... and everyone! That's why we're standing here and you're... not!
You've cheated and betrayed all of the people who trusted you!
There is no way that a man such as you could see what really is important - our future. Our hearts. The power of good within us!
If you couldn't see that our hearts are capable of more than just breeding darkness, you were only ever looking into a mirror!
You had already given up on us from the very beginning, forgetting what truly matters... You could never be a god... much less a man!
Have I been so wrong? Was it Valmar's Moon that led me here to this cold, dead place? Or was it always only... me...?
What a pitiful man...
Not a man... just a FOOL!
VIDEOS: Home (Three of them in the playlist. "Cutscene 2 ends." to skip screenshots)
No, you are alive.
Did you... save me?
... I'm sorry. It must have hurt... It must have really hurt!
I want to be near people!
Um, um, Tio, you're squeezing too tight.
Oh, I am sorry...
... You won't be sad again... I'll be with you!
I have fond memories like this. So warm... I think someone once held me like this.
This is a very strange feeling... Is this "heart-to-heart"...? I feel so peaceful.
Cutscene 2 ends.
The world is returning... to the way it was...
We have... won. The world has been made safe.
Yes. Valmar has been defeated...
But, just because Valmar's gone doesn't mean that everything will be made perfect.
What do you mean?
The Granacliffs may be healed, but Valmar has destroyed cities... wounded the land... The world is still plagued with misfortune.
The people possessed by Valmar have still not gotten their souls back...
The little blind girl... The dead whose bodies were defiled... They haven't found peace yet.
I realized that it was wrong to believe just for belief's sake, but having nothing to believe in makes life purposeless.
Now that Granas and Valmar are gone, there are some who will seek to replace them.
... Others will despair and lose the will to live...
So will man continue to fight forever? Has the fate of man not changed at all?
VIDEOS: Whatever the hell this is (Two videos, rest of update)
Everyone must pray and hope for happiness. They must live a proper, disciplined life. People had too much freedom.
The word "proper" is way too subjective! We gotta live as free as we feel!
In space, no one can hear the localization team scream.
Elena, you are so straight-laced!
I guess I will never see eye-to-eye with you...!
Say, Ryudo? What do you think?
Yeah, Ryudo! Whose side are you on?
I believe in neither Darkness nor Light. I believe in people!
We gave our birthright away; we didn't trust in ourselves! But now, I'm going to return the world to its owners.
That's just like you, Ryudo. Always taking the middle ground!
I guess so, huh.
Um, um, Millenia. What do I do?
Jeeze... come on, Elena. Don't you know...?
I... I see...
Join me next time for the epilogue.
Official Art: Zera Valmar
Fan Art: Valmar Core