Part 85: Episode LXXX: Our Regularly Scheduled ProgramEpisode LXXX: Our Regularly Scheduled Program
Music: Cold Steel Coffin
Well, enough of that detour into other...sillier timelines in the legacy of Drakengard. Maybe...I'll LP Drakengard 2 someday in the distant future. A very remote maybe. Yeah it's probably the next LP... But, that is a decision for another far off day. We still have over a third of NIER to go yet. So, let's get back to that, shall we?
Welcome back to The Aerie. Apparently, the town has turned over a new leaf and is opening up to the outside world. Still, they hang out in their storage tank homes like the goony shut-ins they are. But, we can actually knock on the doors now and get a response from the townsfolk. Let's have a look...
...This is totally a trap, isn't it...? I hate this friggin' town...
Welp, I suppose the best course of action would be to visit the Chief of The Aerie and see what his story is. After all, he sent that letter about the Shadowlord Castle Key to Popola. Maybe he's the only progressive person in town and the rest of the citizens are still mostly xenophobic shithogs...?
"It's all over..."
"Um... I'm here to ask about the letter you sent?"
"Our days are numbered... Our village is doomed..."
"As cheerful as ever, it seems."
"Okay, that's enough! We know you wrote the letter!"
"I...I don't know about any letter..."
"It may be faster for us to take our inquiries elsewhere. Let us ask around. Someone must know something."
It just so happens there seems to be some manner of gathering across the gorge on the second Boss Battle Platform™. I guess that is good a place as any to begin our investigation.
Traveling across The Aerie...
It seems some of the citizens of The Aerie have gotten together and opened a flea market on the former Boss Battle Platform™. Yet still nobody had the sense to get a bit of wood together and build some damned guard rails for this town.
The shops themselves are nothing to write home about. They offer the same goods as the ones in the Village. Well, other than the Blacksmith. He offers nothing unless Nier missed obtaining one of the weapons from Act 1 (they all will automatically show up in all blacksmiths for a nominal fee.) Oh well, let's ask around and see if anyone knows who forged that letter from the mayor...
Sweaters survived a millennium and a half into the future? Meh... Even the apocalypse cannot put down those awful Christmas sweaters relative you'd not seen in 18 years mail you...
As always there is a big helpful TALK TO THIS MAN word bubble above the only one in the area that has anything worth a damn to say. In this case, it seems one of the town guards has some enlightening info. Let's chat...
"So you know about the letter?"
"Hmm, maybe I don't... I'm not sure..."
"Bah! Which is it, man!?"
"Oh, and if I may ask, are you friends of Kainé?"
"You could say that."
"Ah, I've heard the rumors! Hear to hunt Shades, are you?"
"Exactly! Our aim is to defeat every last one."
"Every...every last one?"
Music: Cold Steel Coffin ~ Battle
Holy shit, what?! Shades can turn into friggin' people now?! This is an uhh...distressing turn of events...
"I thought as much!"
Great instincts, Admiral Ackbar. So it turns out half the damn town is really disguised Shades. But, not everyone. There's still a bunch of terrified human dopes running around. Nier needs to be careful not to slice their heads off while routing the Shade infiltrators.
Kainé yells from across the canyon...
"A thousand apologies. We were distracted by the local welcoming party."
"Mind if I join you?"
"Kainé, the villagers are possessed!"
"But not all of them! Some are still human, so be careful!"
At this point, we need to fight our way back to Kainé toward the front of town, slaying every Shade and possessed human along the way to her. Fighting Shades in The Aerie is pretty fun with the tight quarters of the platforms and the fact you can send Shades flying into the abyss off said catwalks. I told 'em they ought to have installed some damn guardrails. Shade or human...safety is always important!
A path of destruction later.
Kainé already seems to be a bit occupied on this side of The Aerie battling a Sh-
Uhh... Kainé...? Whatcha doing here...?
"Get out of here!"
"No! I'm not going to abandon my sister!"
Nier and Emil rush over...
"Kainé! Who are they!?"
"Don't believe her... This woman's a Shade..."
Uhh...well, I certainly hope you were right about that one... The rest of the Shades kind of went to their original form first before attacking. But, I guess you have more authority regarding Shade possession than most...
"My sister! No!"
"You...you people are the true monsters!"
And then Kainé was a monster.
...No wait, that was the chick she just cut down. People really need to get into the habit of stabbing downed Shades a few times just to be sure. How many times has this happened now...?
While Kainé is busy being stunned by claims of being a monster from an emotional little brat from a village who's inhabitants all already completely despised her, the disguised Shade takes the initiative and bum rushes her and...
...Completely ruins her shit. Goddammit, Kainé! Stop getting killed during cutscenes. This is like the fourth time now! We're going to have to go seek out that seasick Seafront pharmacist and get him to whip up some post-apocalyptic anxiety pills for all of Emil's panic attacks at this point...
"Stop it! Don't hurt my sister!"
"What madness! These people are behaving as if we are the villains."
"Kainé! Look out!"
"Kill them! Kill them now!"
"We're trying to save you from the Shades! Please! Please, stop!"
"We need to get outta here! Kainé? Kainé, get up! Hurry!"
"Stop this at once!"
"Leave us in peace!"
An absolute flood of Shades the like of which we haven't seen since the Village invasion during the Act 1 climax absolutely choke the area. I'm not even sure how many of them spawn into the area or if there's even an end to them.
The game doesn't make it particularly clear as to the next objective. Staying around to defend the unconscious Kainé just results in fighting an infinite number of Shades. Trying to leave town like Nier suggested is also not an option as Weiss will just bitch us out. Instead, the gang is supposed to double back and return to the Boss Battle Platform™ where this whole chaos began.
Fighting back to said platform...
A crazy looking cloud of swirling black energy has appeared above the chasm in the center of The Aerie. That...that ain't good... Especially when it's that close in proximity to the Boss Battle Platform™...
Back on the battle arena, one of the giant armored Shades has appeared to rumble. This is the same manner of advanced Shade from back during the Northern Plains bridge brawl from some time ago. Only, this one hasn't been eating its Wheaties and as such is not nearly as formidable a foe. It also doesn't have remotely as annoying underlings as its bridge troll brother.
Following the brief battle mopping up the last of the Shades on the arena, Nier takes note of an interesting development nearby...
Namely, that maelstrom of swirling black energy is now looking significantly crankier these days.
Aww geez...it's turning into a giant fuck-off magic ball... I suppose this is the natural conclusion of all these bullet hell battle sections, hmm?
The swirling energy explodes in an eruption of power...
Okay, no... It's a giant ethereal tear...? Or perhaps a big black raindrop? No wait...it doesn't rain anymore... Maybe a giant upside-down Shade turnip...? I don't get it!
Ah! It's a giant terrifying Lovecraftian abomination emitting a symphony of cackling and shrieking... That makes more sense...
"By my pages... Is this beast a Shade as well?"
"That thing sucked up the villagers..."
"N-no! We have to stop! We're gonna kill them all...! I...I can't!"
"Our village... Our world... Where am I? Who...am I?"
Welp, I didn't think I'd revisit The Aerie today and end up fighting the collective consciousness of the entire village's populous merged into an eldritch abomination. That is uhh....that's definitely a new one in my book...
The Aerie Revisit Highlights
No. 7 Concept Art