Part 1: Update I - The communications are out...Update I - The communications are out...
Music: Fight! X
Well let's get this show on the road!
Movie: Infiltration + Analysis
It was a dark and stormy night.
These three guys are in a hurry to get out of the rain. From left to right, we have a stranger, as well as series staples X and Zero.
You know, wouldn't a sword arm be incredibly awkward to have? Colonel.EXE had one but he was also entirely digital, so being down an arm wouldn't mess with much.
This fellow here with the wonderful hat is Colonel Redips. He's the guy in charge of this mission. Epsilon is the main bad guy we'll be dealing with. It remains to be seen whether he's secretly Sigma in a trenchcoat.
You'd think at some point the guys in charge would start sending the big guys in first, rather than sending in a group of nameless grunts who get shredded instantly.
Like, the alterative to a small squad succeeding is outright war, they should really make sure it goes off without a hitch the first time around. Now Epsilon knows that the Maverick Hunters are actively chasing him and can plan accordingly.
And with that, we have our starter dungeon!
Music: Resistance Line
The team enters the ruins, looks like no one has paid the power bill in a while.
Nobody to greet us, eh?
No navigators chiming in today, X and co. are entirely on their own.
A large force would be cumbersome.
Keep things small and sleek, huh?
I'm no great hunter like you two,
A better look at our new friend.
OK, let's move.
And now he has a name! Meet Shadow
Well we have our first goal for the dungeon.
Suddenly, everything explodes!
X is separated from the others due to the debris. Except X's entire thing is platforming! Look at this stuff, the rubble is barely taller than him! Hell, that gap is clearly big enough for him to just squeeze through! A single jump would get the three of them back together in a flash.
We'll meet up top!
This could be a trap. Be careful.
New objective: Reunite with Zero and Shadow.
Translation: This is an RPG so there will naturally be a ton of goodies to find.
Music: Chapter Title
Music: Place of Oblivion
If something happens, I'll be sure to contact you. Be careful.
And with that, we're finally in control!
Here's the menu. We can see that X was sent out with a few Sub Tanks and a bit of pocket money.
Hitting R2, we can see our playtime, our Coin count (which won't be relevant for a good while yet), and that X has 6 turns of Hyper Mode, which I'll go into later.
Going into the Sub Tank menu, we can see a rather interesting bit of design for Command Mission. Namely, that these are pretty much all the healing options we get for the entire game! Instead of the usual escalation of lowly potions up to megalixers that are far to valuable to actually use, you have to figure out how much juice you can spare at any given moment. Even with just X, I can only afford three full heals before running dry. It adds a bit of decision making that I really like. You can't just bring a bunch of outdated items to patch up between fights, so you have to ration out your heals over an entire dungeon.
The Item menu. So far we have a Vaccine Program (which heals Virus, the equivalent to Poison), and a Reboot (revives with 25% LE). The other four tabs are Main Weapons, Sub Weapons, Force Metal, and Key Items.
The Equip menu. All we have are a basic buster and Sub Weapons. Sub Weapons can only be used once per turn, and burn WE when fired. These Micro Missles costs 10 WE each and hit for low damage.
The Status menu. The important thing to note is the WE meter, which doubles as both MP and a limit bar. The yellow bar is how much X starts each fight with, and the red mark shows how much he'll gain each turn.
We can also see our weapons and Force Metal slots, but those will remain empty until we actually get some Force Metal.
Hitting R2 let's us see his Action Triggers as well as his combat model. Action Triggers are this game's special attack. They all need 50% WE to use, and get stronger the more WE it gets.
Now that the menuing is over, it is now time for my favorite thing of X's design here.
He has a light scarf that comes out of his back when he runs.
Just like his original series, X has a dash to help get around faster.
In the distance, goodies! Glowing crystals are Command Mission's chests, so we'll be seeing a lot of them.
To the side, a save point!
Ignoring the crystal for a minute, I duck into this side room.
This triggers a cutscene of that monitor turning on. Interacting with the monitor gets us...
Yeah. I found and activated what seemed to be a security terminal. It said that some lock was disabled. Did anything happen on your end?
So that's how it works! X, the door that you unlocked is... The door to the West block where Shadow and I are. The system is structured so that the door in West Block can only be controlled from East Block, where you are. The door in East Block can only be controlled by us here in West Block.
In other words, X and I just have to control the terminals for each other!
Teamwork is vital if we're gonna get through this. Don't be late, X!
So the forced party split would have happened anyways. They just wanted X to be on his own for the start of the game
With that out of the way, time to crack open some loot.
I mean that literally, by the way, you open crystals by dashing into them. Blue crystals hold zenny or consumable items. The crystal next to it holds...
A stat booster!
The boost is small, but it'll add up over the course of the game. I feed this one to X and move on.
This place has seen some better days, you can see the storm from the opening cutscene still raging outside.
It even has lightning!
I have a feeling you'll find something there.
On our way, we see a different color crystal.
Yellow crystals hold Sub Tank energy. But hold on, we're already full and the pop-up is greyed out! Does it vanish into the ether? Ponder this while we see what's in the room.
FM Modification System. Production process: ALL GREEN Roll out: OK
That... seems bad.
Those seem even worse.
Each pod gives a similar notice:
"Computational Humanoid Reploid" Dr. Psyche. FM Modification System. Production process: ALL GREEN Roll out: OK
"Super Heavy Cannon Reploid" Silver Horn. FM Modification System. Production process: ALL GREEN Roll out: OK
"Reinforced Light Armor Aerial Reploid" Mach Jentra. FM Modification System Production process: ALL GREEN Roll out: OK
Keep the name Silver Horn and these pods in your mind for a while, it'll become important down the line.
These must be the Reploid production pods Zero mentioned....There are 4 pods here. They've all finished production and the Reploids have already left the pods.
Shoot, I knew it. There are four pods on my side, too. Of course, all the customization was finished.
This was my first detail with you, and I'm not optimistic about the future!
We're not getting anywhere with this. We gotta check the upper floor. The doors here have been destroyed, so there's no need to unlock them. I unlocked the doors on your side. Now we should both be able to proceed.
As you might imagine, these are the obligatory 8 bosses we'll have to fight before
Anyways, time to head to the upper floor!
Leaving the room, we can see that the yellow crystal has respawned! If you're full on whatever a crystal holds, it'll respawn the next time you reload the room so you don't have to worry about wasting it without having a chance to see what it holds.
Stepping into the room, we find a crystal containing an Anti-Lock, which heals Bind (the local flavor of Slow). On our way down to the next room, we get...
Our first random encounter!
Music: Irregular Battle I
Right off the bat, you can see that there's a very Final Fantasy X turn indicator here. Command Mission came out 3 years after FFX and wears that influence on its sleeve. We can also see that X's WE has hit 50% and turned green. A green bar means an Action Trigger is now usable, however most times it'll be preferable to wait until 100% in order to get the most out of it.
Using an AT on a lone Wild Patrol Dog would be a bit overkill, so instead I just pop both my Sub Weapons and attack. You can see that the Dog's turn indicator shrunk when it was hit, the indicators actually double as health bars! It helps to both see how close an enemy is to dying and to see how much healing a party member needs. It also meshes nicely with the main source of healing being entirely percent-based, no need to remember how much maxHP someone has to figure out if a 50% heal would be worth it if you can see if their health bar has dropped below half.
Anyways, one more round of this and the Dog falls.
Music: Victory Jingle + Trajectory of Battle I
Music: Place of Oblivion
Back to the map, we can see that the door-like marker on the mini-map was actually two crystals next to each other! Also, I just noticed that the door indicators on the mini-map aren't aligned.
No idea why they did it like this instead of just one crystal with 100z.
Through the last door, and we come to another staircase, this one in much better shape than the last.
More encounters than the last too.
Music: Irregular Battle I
Batton Bones! (called Bat Bones here) These little guys have been showing up since the first MMX game, and they'll continue to harass us even in a spinoff.
Fun fact, these little tutorial prompts only show up when X is below level 3.
Strangely, neither of them attack, instead choosing to waste their turn Observing.
Well, the prompt said to use an Action Trigger, so who are we to deny it?
X's Action Trigger is his usual Charge Shot, a full party attack that hits harder the more WE you pour into it.
At 100% it even crits!
Music: Victory Jingle + Trajectory of Battle I
And from that, the first level up in the game! Levels in this come with a full LE and Hyper restore, which will come in handy down the line.
Music: Place of Oblivion
Up the stairs, we see the same room layout, with another Energy pickup in the same spot.
On one hand, I get nothing from doing that. On the other, breaking crystals makes a pretty noise.
"Plasma Energy Reploid: Knight Type" Scarface. Production process: ALL GREEN Roll out: OK
This pod may look the same, but it's actually a fair bit bigger than the ones on the previous floor. There's only two of them here.
...oh dear. These aren't just some random ruins, this is where Epsilon was built.
Two were produced here as well. One was....Epsilon!
What?! Are you certain, X?! Shoot! What do we do now?!
Four high-performance units and eight combat units....That's quite a squadron. No wonder those who arrived first never made it back.
We'll continue investigating, X. But we'll have to act cautiously. By the looks of things, I'd say there's something upstairs. We're going up to see what it is.
Well, nowhere else to go but up, but on our way out...
Another random encounter!
Three Bat Bones this time, but what if I ignored the tutorial and decided to take them down one by one?
They don't like it.
Really don't like it.
Well we learned our lesson, time to wipe the others out with an AT.
You can see an important change here, AT's delay the user's next round. Here things will be fine because the Bats will die in one hit, but against sturdier enemies you have to be careful you don't give them several rounds to pummel you.
Yes, ATs are just Overdrives from Final Fantasy X, how could you tell?
Ducking into this room, we see a new color of crystal. What could it hold?
A new weapon! Green crystals hold gear.
The Melt Missile doesn't hit as hard and costs a bit more, but I'll throw it on for now.
One room over, another security terminal.
Well that seems like a bit of a problem.
On this side, the two terminals have to be operated simultaneously. I'll send three audio signals. Press X when you hear the third signal! Are you ready?
The timing on this is a bit strange, I hit the button just before the third beep and it still went through, while on my recording test I hit it with the beep and it didn't count.
Disabling all security for Lagrano Laboratory 3F areas East and West.
We've been made.