Part 38: Episode XXXVII: Deadly AllianceEpisode XXXVII: Deadly Alliance
Welcome to the Forest Zone, home of the most obnoxious area to transverse in the entire game. A Bethesda game would blush at the amount of arbitrary invisible walls on what by all means appears to be some rocks we should be able to climb or tree roots that are only a half foot too tall to mantle over.
But well get into traveling grievances later. Weve got other issues. Chiefly, it seems our androids are trespassing...
New Music: Forest Kingdom (Quiet)
Aim for the enemy androids! Now fight for your king!
For the kiiiiiing!
Here they come... Better keep your guard up!
Im aware of how to fight. You just be careful.
I will, 2B!
...OK, 9S. I know these guys have a king and all. But are you seeing this right now? Are they doing Viking/knight cosplay out here?
Yep... Yep, they most certain are doing just that. I hate to be the poor machine to have pulled the short cyber-straw and was reconfigured into being a robot horse mount. In any case, meet the Forest Kingdom knights.
Remember how the Pascals Village weapons merchant was selling a Machine Spear wed yet to see alongside the abundant Sword and Axe models? Yeah, thats because the Forest Kingdom machines had the monopoly on all the machine spears. Indeed, thats the weapon of choice for almost the entirety of enemies in this area.
Spear wielding machines have a fairly limited moveset. Theres only so much that can be done with a spear. I mean there is a stab. A charging stab. And a multi-stab combo. That is kind of it. Likewise, the mounted machine captain can charge with its err... steed and well. Thats kinda it as well!
The thing that makes the Forest Kingdom bots dangerous is they work as a team and always come in concentrated numbers. When together, theyll all charge at once in a group that can easily combo 2B if she gets caught... except for the part where we have the chip that prevents stun-locking and that tactic is completely ineffective since shes invincible for 2 seconds after taking a hit. That aside, after a charge attempt, the knightbots will then change tactics to surround the androids and overtake them by sheer numbers.
The thing about being bunched in a tightly packed formation the Forest Kingdom machines hadnt considered is that such a configuration makes them perfect fodder for the Mirage Pod Program. I know Ive built up Mirage as being really good. But in this area its especially an I dont feel like dealing with this group, everyone dies now button. Plus, annihilating a massive clusterfuck of machines all at once like that is just satisfying, ya know?
They were talking about a king, right? I saw what looked to be a castle further in. Maybe we should take a look.
A castle, huh? Id say the machines were really going full hog with this kingdom thing. But then it occurs to me that the previous batshit crazy machine lifeform we dealt with was also holed up in a castle. Albeit more of the Magic Kingdom and less Dark Souls variety.
Before we go too far into the area, we ought to establish a base of operations. Just to the north of the Forest Zones entrance is a small alcove with machines defending their king against the tyranny of vending machine capitalism. I dunno, androids... I feel like the vending machine camouflage isnt exactly working out here. At least in the desert there was the excuse of it being ruins of an ancient civilization. A lush forest untouched in centuries by man with a Coke machine is a wee bit more out of place.
Lets get our bearings while were here. The Forest Zone is runner up to the Desert Zone in largest singular region in the game. Though give me sliding across the desert any day. I kind of hate traveling through the Forest Zone. It doesnt help the overworld map is more useless than normal as they felt the need to render gigantic trees as part of the wildly uneven terrain.
Our ultimate goal in this region lies far to the south in uncharted territory. So heading in that direction and seeing whats up is as good a path as any.
Dont let any intruders get in!
We must protect our king!
Protect our king!
Just to the south of the Access Point we find a waterfall and accompanying stream. If you havent noticed, this area is lousy with moose and boars. To the point where we need to be careful fighting and not accidentally pissing off one of em, lest we get blindsided by a pissed moose charge while taking on machines.
But enough of that, its been a while since weve taken a load off and gotten in some good fishing and just enjoyed nature. Unfortunately, it seems my Iron Pipe RNG curse is still active as hell if I caught anything but duplicates. Plus...
Loyal knights! Give your lives for the king of our forest!
For the king of our forest!
Yeah, yeah guys. Just a sec. I think this is a new catch...
Hmm... how this thing was living in an ankle deep stream is beyond me. But I like the part about selling it at a decent mark-up.
Get lost you dinguses. Were not even attempting to assassinate your king yet. Hes all the way on the other side of the area. Cant a couple of androids fish in peace without being harassed by tin can LARPers? Sheesh!
If we follow the waterfall stream further south, we come to quite the obstacle in our way. Turns out the entire Forest Kingdom is divided by a huge canyon with a river running through it. I dont think were going to be able to double jump and air dash our way across this gap.
From here we can get a look at the castle were fixing to investigate. Why is there a gigantic intact European-style castle a few miles outside the clearly Japanese city ruins? Good question! Hell if I know! Maybe it was another cultural exchange with Drakengards Japanese city ruins of Notspain in a medieval fantasy region.
Still had no luck fishing here either. Four bites. Three carps and a rusty gas canister. Ive been cursed by some RNG Djinn recently and it blows. There actually is a path below this waterfall leading to the canyons bottom and a few points of interest. Unfortunately, thats also home of a sidequest that is WAY out of our current level of capabilities. So well leave that be for now.
Instead, well head back north the way we came towards the waterfall and Access Point. But slightly to the left is a small cavern with a treasure chest and another Lunar Tear growing. Still nothing to be done with Yonahs favorite flower. But the chest...
Boy its been a while since we just found a weapon hanging around out in the wild. Lets take a closer look...
The Dragoons Lance is another of the Spear set of weapons. Its a pretty decent spear at that. Though, I dont think there are any bad spears in the game. Its first upgrade adds Endurance Up, a passive increase to 2Bs defense stat while the weapon is equipped. Maximum upgrading grants Dragon Wings, which improves the damage of all aerial attacks. Thats somewhat less useful given most combat is at ground level.
Dragoons Lance appeared in the original NieR. It was the very last weapon unlocked in the game (assuming the player was diligently collecting every possible one as soon as they were available.) Dragoons Lance also appeared in the original Drakengard as Knights Vow and was one of the very first few weapons unlocked.
Lets see its storied past...
Dragoons Lance posted:
I had a dream. A dream about the day we met. He was small. He was insignificant. He was weak. Yet he hated the world just as I did."
I decided to aid him, and he did the same for me. Thus was our friendship born."
It wasn't perfect, of course. Mistakes were made along the way. Still, we remained friends."
The blue wind that caresses these grasslands has a pleasing scent. I bring my cheek to his and he twitches, almost as if tickled. Then I spread my wings and let him ride me into the skies above."
Mistakes were made along the way. Like agreeing to appear in Drakengard 2... But in the end, their unbreakable lust for murder made them the best of buddies. Rest in peace, Caim and Angelus. I hope wherever you are, youve found a way to continue your reckless killstreaks.
Lets get back on track. We need to find a way across that chasm and our only options like to the east. By the way, Id like you to take a look at the bottom right of the screen, above the mini-map. We picked up an Eagle Egg. Its a common drop in this zone. Its one of the only easy materials to grind out for upgrading one of the Pods. In the original NieR, Eagle Eggs were an upgrade component that spawned in exactly one spot the entire game (outside DLC) and were the most aggravating grind. The fact that they just grow on trees now, quite literally, is some beyond the grave Cavia trolling...
That bullshit aside, in a clearing to the east we find...
We must protect our king and kingdom!
We will protect them!
We must show our foes what we royal knights are made of!
We will show them!
Quite the fervor for this king in the ol Forest Kingdom. Sorry guys, were coming through. To investigate because umm... err... Well, this place sounds weird and weve got nothing better to do really.
New Music: Forest Kingdom (Dynamic)
You have lived your whole life for this singular moment! For the FOOOOOORRREST KIIIIIING!
The Forest King!
What is with these guys..
Don't listen to what they're saying, 2B.
Stubby Knights come in two varieties: those with helmets and those without. How do they differ from regular Stubby boys? Well, some of them are wearing helmets and some arent. They dont get spears because theyre too tiny and itd get stuck in the ground with the way they hop. So they employ the same exact patented flailing arms and head-butting techniques of every other Stubby out there. Just with some protective headgear!
Mirage is such a satisfying attack. By the way, remember earlier when we got the Gravity Pod Program and I said there was the bug where the game crashed if it was used in very large groups. And how groups of that size were rare? Yeah. They havent fixed that bug. I tried it out of curiosity and the game crashed. Gravity is a trash tier Pod Program.
Continuing westward, we find a red point of interest has appeared to the central northern part of the plateau. Theres not technically a sidequest up there. At least not a formally denoted one. But it is a point of interest were going to want to explore now in order to unlock a future set of quests once the Forest Kingdom story arc is concluded. But first...
Ready... Aim... Thrust!
Okay, next! Put your back into it!
I just like the idea of machines going through training regimen. Im going to guess they cannot actually improve their efficiency or strength through training regiments. But darn it, theyre gonna try!
There are medium-biped spear guys among the Forest Kingdom knights. Much like the rest of em, their attacks are thrusting stabs or combination stabs. The biggest thing about the medium-bipeds is their spear thrust lunge has RIDICULOUS range and seems to have semi-homing on 2B. Or the hitbox for it is far larger than the animation. Regardless, 2B needs to be dodging immediately if she is near a flashing eyed large spear boy.
Dealing with more knights, we can continue to the north to investigate that point of interest. That is, if we can manage to clamber over the correct tree trunks that arent invisible walls. That mini-map might say theres a large open space there but only a narrow chunk of it isnt constrained by invisible walls and nature denying 2B stomping all over it.
Beyond the trees we come to a pleasant clearing and a small house with a corral...? Hmm. Upon closer inspection, we find...
STAY AWAY FROM THEM!
Okay, now whaWait, what!?
Aww Christ! The machines and the boars have teamed up and formed a deadly alliance. This war has just taken a dark turn against the androids. We need to sort out this machine immediately. If it teaches others boar mounting or, god help us all, drifting? The machine lifeforms will annihilate the androids and humanity.
For this battle, weve got to take on a Level 30 extremely aggressive small-biped machine and a hostile Level 30 boar. Thats a decent clip above our level but nothing too bad. Especially since 9S was kind enough to immediate draw the ire of the boar and get owned repeatedly to give us breathing room to take on the cloaked machine.
As long as we can keep these two separated, this fight isnt too taxing. This angry machines cloak gives it no tactical advantages. It still just wildly stabs at 2B with the occasional lunge. But it does have a significant amount of armor, especially when taking into consideration its 8 Level advantage over our android.
With that in mind, its actually way easier to ignore the cloaked machine and tag in with 9S double-teaming the boar. There is the fact that, if it gets motivated, the boar can chew through a quarter to a third of 2Bs total HP if it gets in a good hit. But Ganon here has very poor armor and is easily stun locked if both androids keep up the pressure. Might seem like a dick move for a couple of war machines to start pounding the shit out of a boar that happens to have befriended a hostile machine, instead of dealing with the machine itself. But theres a reason for our actions!
SPARE THEIR LIVES!
If the boar and its significantly lower HP goes down to 33% or below the battle ends with the machine lifeform pleading for us to chill out with our animal cruelty. Alright, if youre going to chill out as well fine. Were not dicks. Usually.
Fine. Well spare your critters.
AHH... THANK YOU...
So why do you have all these animals here anyway?
Music: Voice of No Return (Vocal)
I DO NOT REMEMBER THE REASON. THE CREATURE TOOK A LIKING TO ME. SHE FOLLOWED ME WHEREVER I WENT. WE PLAYED TOGETHER WHENEVER WE COULD. SHE WAS... WARM. SHE MADE ME HAPPY.
NOW, IF I FIND A CREATURE THAT IS WEAK OR INJURED, I BRING THEM HERE. I WATCH OVER THEM UNTIL THEY ARE HEALTHY AGAIN. THANK YOU FOR SPARING THEM. PLEASE VISIT US AGAIN. WE WOULD WELCOME YOU ANYTIME.
Despite this not technically being a sidequest (it has no entry in our logbook and doesnt count towards total completion) we do get a healthy quest reward. Were about set on Animal Bait for some time, Id say.
And thus 2B and 9S befriend the forests machine guardian/veterinarian by beating the shit out of its pet pig. Eh. Ive seen friendships started on stranger grounds before. Lemme tell you about the time a guy became friends with a talking book by stabbing it so much it got partial amnesia.
Tune in next time when our exploration of the Forest Zone continues with more ultranationalist knights defending their kingdoms sovereignty. And more pressingly, a precise platforming challenge in a game that absolutely does not have the fine-tuned platforming controls for that to be a good idea. As NieR: Automata continues into the woods...
Video: Episode 37 Highlight Reel
Forest Zone Concept Art 9S current status: incredibly goddamn lost.