Part 36: Commentary: Updates 26 - 30
Reach for the Stars
This is an odd one. You have two groups of students led by two different teachers. One stole a magic book and plans to use it to destroy the world. Don't ask me why his students are helping him destroy the world, or even why he wants to do so. It never comes up again in future quests, and later on when you run into Mephianse again, none of this ever comes up. He just continues to teach at Geo despite trying to destroy the world. Mephianse is probably one of the more inconsistent characters in the game.
I like the students. It's hard to notice now, but each one has their own personality, my favorite being the one who talks like an old man. It's not much, but it's enough to make each student distinct, which is a nice step up from the usual generic NPCs. It's that extra bit of effort to make even the most generic of NPCs different from each other that makes me love this game and its world.
Plus you gotta love that ending.
Enchanted Instruments 101
Our final workshop lets us make instruments. To do that, you have to get coins. Like eggs, you'll usually encounter spirits in boss rooms, and it can be any of the eight. The idea is to play a certain song that will get the spirits closer to you. Once you stop playing, you have a second or two to "talk" to the spirit before it disappears. Do so, and you'll get some coins of that element. You'll always get Silver, and sometimes you'll get Gold, which has stronger effects. Farming for gold coins can be a pain in the ass, especially if you're forging a weapon that requires a lot.
Coins are used to create instruments (Gold giving more power), but they're also very useful in forging, adding elemental strength and thus boosting attack and defense of equipment. So it's never a bad idea to pick some up when you have the chance.
You can play multiple instruments while luring elements. I'll show this off once I actually make more instruments, as they'll play full-fledged songs when playing together.
As for instruments themselves... they kinda suck. Even the strongest instruments usually pale in comparison to your Special Techniques, taking as much time to charge but usually doing less damage. On the other hand, you don't need a full ST bar to use them, and you'll usually get a lot more range and can affect multiple enemies. It may be possible to play effectively with a magic build, but I personally prefer sticking to weapons and probably won't bother showing off instruments that much. I'll leave the magic to Bud and Lisa.
The next quest in the Faerie line goes a bit into the backstory of the arc's main four characters. Basically, these four grew up together, with Matilda being friends with Irwin just as much, if not more so, than Escad. Escad is pissed both because Irwin's a demon and he's racist, and likely because he had a thing for Matilda and she seemed more interested in the bad boy demon. Irwin and Matilda try to run off, Escad tries to stop them, and Irwin defeats him, with Escad going to the Underworld. Irwin then steals Matilda's powers, causing her to age rapidly, and flees off. Daena doesn't know what the fuck, she's just doing the best she can with this whole fucked-up ordeal.
Anyway, Escad gets out of the Underworld, murders some faeries to be a dick, and then heads to Gato to warn Matilda about Irwin. Matilda doesn't give a shit because she still cares for him, and then Matilda is kidnapped by Irwin's cronie.
So that's the gist of this story. Irwin wants to destroy the world because demon, Escad wants to slay Irwin because hero, Matilda seems to want to do fuck all, and Daena just wants everyone to be happy.
In the end, Daena is the only one in this entire quest that really comes off as likable. Matilda will only get more annoying as this quest line goes on.
This was actually one of the more interesting boss fights I've had so far. Evade lets him dodge my ST's easily and prevents me from stunlocking him with regular attacks, his special attacks has a wide area of effect, and his carpet attack can send people to sleep. Wasn't too difficult, but it definitely required a bit more finesse than the usual boss fights.
The Fallen Emperor
The third and final main quest line is the Dragon Arc. This is the most straightforward and the shortest quest line of the three. Each quest you do gives you an artifact that mainly only pertains to the Dragon quests and maybe one or two others. I believe there's only five quests in this line, which isn't too bad.
I found it interesting that you're playing for the bad guy this time, even if you're cursed. Of course, your character can be rather dickish at times, especially when we help Niccolo con people or whatever. Also, we're kinda being forced to, though we can just ignore the "curse" and do whatever.
The Underworld itself is easily among the more unique locations in the game, and there are a lot of those. Olbohn's pretty middle-of-the-road as far as the Wisdoms go, somewhat interesting but doesn't really do much in the game. One cool touch is that sometimes you can encounter "dead" characters like we have with Rubens. Let's just say the Underworld can get rather full as the game progresses.
Other than that, not much else to say. The Dragon arc is straightforward, the Shadoles are more comic relief than creepy, and the Underworld is just a creepy-looking dungeon with some interesting architecture. One last interesting note is that Drakonis is one of the few characters not to have a character bio.
Diddle Had It!
I find this one of the more unique and interesting quests in the game. Diddle is depressed and decides to "kill himself" by going to the Underworld. Capella's understandably upset and tries his hardest to save Diddle, leading to a rather interesting emotional conversation between the two. Eventually, Capella convinces Diddle to live, and they flee while you fight an ape mummy.
I like that the game goes into something as "ordinary" as depression, not bothering to really give Diddle a reason to be depressed since you don't always need a reason. He's just unhappy in general, and by this point he's sick of his life. In contrast, Capella loves his life, making people happy through his juggling and antics. He gets to see the world with his best friend and delight people across the world. I like how Diddle and Capella see the same thing in totally different ways. They're polar opposites, yet that's why they need each other.
The final scene really makes the entire quest. Diddle and Capella escape death after a harrowing experience, and now they're just lying down, enjoying the stars and life. Of course, things will go back to normal later on, since escaping death won't cure Diddle's depression, but for now they can be happy and enjoy life.
I wish more games would explore smaller, more subtle themes like this. That's really the beauty of these smaller quests. While the large quests have you doing major things that impact the world, you also get to do small things like help save someone from "suicide" or make a lamp-maker happy or help a cat-woman talk out her problems to a sentient rock. While some may not like these more mundane quests, I love them for the bits of worldbuilding they do. Not everyone needs you to save the world, after all, and the people with more mundane needs can be every bit as interesting as the great heroes and villains you encounter. Would it really work if Capella and Diddle needed your help to slay a dragon? Would you really get to know their characters as well?
This game embraces the mundane, and I love it all the more for it.