Part 48: Episode XLV: The Jack of HeartsEpisode XLV: The Jack of Hearts
Music: The Dark Colossus Destroys All
Sheesh... Make one too many Resident Evil references and the next thing you know you've got a three story tall Uroboros creature stomping in your front doors. Well, this bastard isn't going to be doing a complete....global...saturation...if Nier has anything to say about it.
Actually, this fellow is known as the Jack (or Knave) of Hearts. Jacks on playing cards used to be called knaves, don'tcha know? It is an Alice in Wonderland reference in case you were wondering.
Jack doesn't possess very many attacks. But those it does bust out, like this ground pound strike...
...kick like a friggin' mule.
In addition, the hordes of Shades that busted into the village and are continuously pouring in haven't buggered off anywhere since the big boss showed up. They're all still ready to rumble in the streets alongside their big brother. For the most part, they're basically there as cannon fodder meat bags to refill the MP gauge.
The basic strategy in the opening round is to just pick an arm and wail on it until an attack gauge appears. Dark Lances are pretty much essential for this fight. One slain Shade is also roughly equal to one Lance, so a quick murder is enough to reload another shot.
A destroyed Attack Gauge later...
It would appear Nier is going with the old tried and true method of magically punching the shit out of monsters. Hey, it worked pretty well last time with Hook, no? Maybe he can just avoid quite as much collateral damage as what happened to The Aerie.
Dark Hand goes long and high for the hit and...
FAKEOUT! Nier decides to just latch on to a limb and tear off the damn thing at the last moment. He's gonna feel that one in the mo-
-ing..? Huh. Well, that is uhh... Well, Nier sums up my thoughts pretty well.
"That...that ain't good."
"A regenerating Shade? How will we even know if our attacks are working?"
"We'll just have to keep hitting it until it stops moving!"
At this point, the creature loses interest in Nier and continues its crawl along the rooftops across the town.
Cavia actually did a pretty bang-up job with this boss battle. They didn't just throw in invisible walls around the main village and make you fight it in that centralized area so they could unload the rest of the geometry to use for the big tentacle hulk. Nier can still literally run all the way across town past his house, up to the Library, or anywhere else as usual. You can see the boss from anywhere in town and its little Shade underlings will give chase after you.
Jack stops just shy of the edge of the town square for the next leg of the battle. This is probably the most troublesome part of the entire fight.
The Knave gains a new magic orb vomiting technique. Weiss suggests the creature's interior could be more vulnerable. And this is true. Firing a few Dark Lances into the very center of where the fountains of orbs are pouring from will indeed do a bit more damage.
But, that should not be misconstrued as being the monster's only weak point. Nier can still go for the much more readily accessible hands. I made this mistake the first time I played. I then died about four times before realizing the limbs were still quite vulnerable too.
Jack can also do a shockwave attack down the upper bridge which will send a deadly stream of rock rolling along the platform. It is impossible to evade, jump over, or block this attack. You just need to be completely off the brick path to avoid taking a huge chunk of damage. Remember, Nier doesn't get invincible frames after being hit. If he's caught unaware half way down the platform, the attack will just juggle his ass to the end taking off over half of his life bar. That ain't good...
With enough hits, eventually a new attack gauge will appear on one of the Jack of Hearts' hands. Taking that out in short order will result in Nier's next trick of...
...of...ergh...? Where the hell does that prick think he's going?! You cannot just run away from a Finisher!!
"Like hell he is!"
The second half of this battle just consists of stopping the damn thing before it reaches the Library.
At the beginning of the sequence it will regurgitate some of the spherical Shades that Hook was so fond of barfing out. But, it only seems to do that once.
The rest of the time it just slowly lumbers forward. Each step causes a huge shockwave that needs to be double-jumped over. Otherwise, Nier and Weiss just need to pound the hell out of the abomination with all they have before it reaches the Library. The game is over if that happens since...you know...everyone in the Village dies... That ain't good...
A good chunk of damage and a destroyed Attack Gauge later...
Nier decides not to get all fancy with spectral amputations this time and just goes with the classics. You know:
...and Shoryuken! Nothing like a good combo to even the playing fi-
Oh, come on! It's not even phased?! This is getting silly!
"This isn't working."
"I can see that!"
"Heh ha HAHAHAHA!!!"
Kainé out of fucking nowhere bisecting the dreadlocked Lovecraftian abomination.
The Jack of Hearts topples over like a house of cards. Get it? Hur hur...
Kainé herself seems equally impressed by her cutscene based asskicking abi-
OH FOR FUCK SAKE!!!
"Keep hitting it! At some point, it's gotta start working!"
"Is she trying to raise our morale, or is she honestly that insane?"
"Probably both. Let's go!"
"It's retreating to the library!"
"No! That's where Yonah is!"
At this point, the boss just completely loses interest in anything but storming the Library and will pick-up the pace quite a bit. It still moves about as fast as an old man on the freeway in Florida, but there is now about a two minute limit before it reaches its goal and it must be slain before then. Jack's feet will periodically spawn attack gauges to refill Nier's MP gauge, which is nice. They don't actually do anything beyond that. I think it's just there to indicate that we're basically beating a small lake of blood out of the thing to slow it down.
"Shit-hog? Oh come now, that's not even a real word!"
"So glad you noticed."
A bit distressing is the fact that you can fully deplete the Knave of Hearts' health gauge and it still keeps trucking up the side of the hill toward its destination.
Nier rushes to the front of the Library in an attempt to cut it off at the pass...
After a non-stop struggle against the regenerator, an attack gauge finally appears on the thing's ugly mug. Hopefully that is a good sign. It's just outside the Library doors by this point...
Nier mixes it up this time and goes with some Dark Phantasm action. Dark Phantasm, Dark Hand, and Dark Lance are sadly the only attacks that ever get any boss Finisher play.
Well...bisecting the beast at least knocked it down last time. Let's go double or nothing.
Kainé chips in by trimming off a few of those unsightly tentacle dreadlocks. Dude, the Predator barely pulls off that look. It just isn't working for ya, big guy.
But, that is still not enough. Time for one final follow-up finisher.
Howabout a half dozen blood magic spears in your neck waddle? No...
Howabout a few more extra, then? Put a big smile on that face! No...?
What about if we turn on the rocket drill secondary fire? Did I mention Dark Lances include that feature? No? Aww...well, it's a new surprise just for you big boy!
And after all of that FINALLY the damned Jack of Hearts falls in defeat. That was one hell of a brawl. Now we just need to mop up the re-
Music: Kainé's Theme ~ Escape
Somehow, I think this party is just getting started...
Jack of Hearts Highlights
Jack of Hearts Full Battle (You should probably watch this. It's a pretty damn great boss battle.)
Papa Nier Concept Portrait