Part 11: Episode XI: Quite an OutfitEpisode XI: Quite an Outfit
Welp, we are done with errands about the village for the time being. I think it is time to depart for this Aerie joint we have been vaguely pointed toward. Weiss and Nier have some banter for the journey west.
Music: The Northern Plains
"-the whole damn world. ...I'm almost glad we met."
"Pah! I told you you'd need me."
"And to think I was going to use you for kindling."
"You really should treat omnipotent magical beings with more respect."
"Not scared, just...cautious. But I'll do what it takes to save Yonah."
"I see. Then I won't try to stop you."
"You're a pretty good listener for such an old time, Weiss."
"Bah! I should be offended!"
Most of the Northern Plains is now infested with Shades. The density of Shades in the area varies with the weather. Overcast days will be a clusterfuck of the squirrely little bastards, but bright and sunny afternoons will make them a sparse sight. I think the weather is just randomly determined when you load a game, but I always seem to start with overcast and misty weather when I played for the LP in the wee hours of the evening.
While we're in the killing neighborhood, I might as well mention the Word upgrade system. In NIER, enemies will randomly drop magical words which can augment weapons and magic.
Words come in offensive and defensive varieties and one of each can be equipped on weapons/magic. Their functions are all rather self-explanatory. The only one that you cannot just glance at to know the meaning is effects.
Effects are like your standard status effects in most JRPGs. Equipping them to weapons and magic will add a random chance of status ailments afflicting the target on strike. Effects come in flavors of:
- Confuse - Enemies will attack their allies.
- Poison - Enemies' HP drains slowly.
- Berserk - Enemy's speed and attack frequency increases...I have no idea why you'd ever use this one...
- Paralyze - Enemy becomes immobile.
- Weaken - Enemies are gimped and lose half their attack strength.
Pretty standard stuff. In any case, I usually don't fiddle with Word allocation until the conclusion of a dungeon, as combat areas usually shit out Words with reckless abandon and you'll just end up swapping in slightly better ones every few minutes.
I'm uncertain how many Words are in NIER. GameFAQs tells me around 80, but hell if I know for sure. There is a trophy/achievement (Wordsmith) for getting 50% of them all and that is pretty damn easy to get via normal play. But, I'm the type that subscribes to the Caim school of enemy displacement.
Okay, that's enough word jibba-jabba. The path to the Aerie is located down an old train tunnel to the south of the western section of the Northern Plains' great divide. Poor east is totally left out of that sentence.
The derelict railroad line itself is rather free of enemies at the moment. Later on, some rather jerkish bats will begin inhabiting the tunnel. What the hell is it with video games and bats being such aggressive, berserker critters? They're either a background detail that flutters by in a blink for some atmosphere or else they are hero hating, eye gouging pricks that die in a single hit. There is seldom any middle ground.
Half-way through the tunnel, Nier and Weiss will come across a broken wall leading out to a field with a weathered tent set-up at the edge of it. I'm sure nothing will come of that. No sir.
Anyhow, it is just a short, uneventful trek past the abandoned tent to The Aerie. Shield your eyes when going from the darkness of caves to brightly-lit outdoors areas. The bloom/fake HDR effect can and will burn your retinas out.
Right, then. Welcome to the...Aerie...?
Music: The Aerie Chant
So, the Aerie is basically a town built suspended over an extremely deep canyon, connected together by crude scaffolding, ladders and narrow, guardrail lacking bridges crisscrossing the deadly drop. Right... Papa Nier sums up my thoughts on the Aerie fairly aptly...
I mean honestly... I know the world is rife with disease and marauding magical shadow monsters. But, this is just silly. What's next? Is a town merchant going to meet me around back to sell a sniper-rifle and moderately sized attaché case at reasonable prices?
The mayor's house is at the highest point in town. Basically, it is 100 feet vertically above where Nier begins traveling across the village.
I got stuck here briefly during my first time playing. The opening of the Aerie gives this majestic overview of the neighborhood, panning across several bridges, ladders, and climbable structures before stopping at the village chief's house. So, of course my normal video game senses tell me I need to take the longest damn way across the entire village, battling Shades the whole way, before finally reaching our destination. I mean, isn't that how it always works...?
Not in NIER, it doesn't. You can follow the path, battling Shades the entire way, taking the scenic route around the poor urban planning poster child. But...that just leads to a dead-end at this point.
The true path is far simpler. There is a ladder leading upward just across the first bridge. You just climb that, cross another bridge back in the direction you came and bam! You're there in under a minute flat. That is...strangely reasonable...
All the residents of the Aerie are shut-ins that refuse to leave their homes and just yell at the outsider Nier to piss off. Unlike every other town, there are no shops at all and we'll never see any of the villagers wandering about. So yeah...Aerie residents are kind of pricks. Maybe post-apocalyptic MMORPGs exist? That would explain a lot.
"I'm looking for someone who knows about the Sealed Verses."
"Go away! We want nothing to do with you!"
"Shut up and listen to me!"
"Cursed! You are cursed!"
"Well, this appears to be a glorious waste of time."
A brief jog to the chief's home later...
"What is it!?"
"Uh, well, we're here from-"
"Strangers! Go away!"
"Wait! Listen to-'
"Enough! Leave this village at once, and never return!"
"What a pathetic bunch of rabble!"
Well, this trip was about as useful as going to a gynecologist for a broken nose. Terrific...
Some annoyed backtracking later...
On the way back toward the Northern Plains, Nier will spot something new and shiny in the previously abandoned tent outside town. Nier just cannot help but investigate shinies. Well, at least they are consistent with gameplay... I know I make a bee-line for anything shimmering in the distance, come hell or high water.
"Those are Lunar Tears, legendary flowers of almost perfect beauty..."
"That's...that's the flower that I told Yonah about."
Florists in the distant future are territorial as all hell.
"I am not even going to dignify that with the luxury of a proper reply."
"You never know when someone might be packing heat."
Music: Shade Battle 1
Welp, folks... I do believe it is time for a mid-boss.
Our half-naked flower enthusiast has seemingly pulled a pair of blades out of her ass and seems quite intent on shoving them up Nier's rear end.
The first leg of the battle is fairly basic. Our lingerie clad assailant will basically just rush Nier and try to stab him to death. This is easily countered by just stabbing her in the face first.
She also possesses a charging attack that is unblockable, but easily dodge rolled past. There is a reason I just call this a mini-boss. Though, once her health dips below 50% things will pick up a bit.
Well, that is just a bit gratuitous of a camera angle.
Half way through the first, little miss Victoria's Secret will call upon the powers of anime and...apparently the Black Scrawl for flair, to power-up to Super Saiyan Panties Level 3.
The mysterious woman now gains access to magical attacks including Hadokens and Repuukens. Where's a high rise building window when you need one...?
Both of her projectile strikes hit for a decent chunk of damage. But, they all just shoot straight from wherever the woman is standing, so having Nier roll more than a hedgehog will evade almost everything she throws out.
When our foe's health dips below 10%, the battle will abruptly be interrupted by a rather loud interloper.
That...that ain't good...
It would seem this ball game of no-shirts vs. too-much-skins will have to take a raincheck. The biggest neck waddle this side of George Lucas seems to be a slightly more pressing matter...
The Aerie Highlights
Music: The Aerie Chant