Part 39: Episode XXXVIII: Pick Up the StickEpisode XXXVIII: Pick Up the Stick
Back to it. Well be seeing more of the Animal Loving Machine later on. Hes got a couple future sidequests for us. Ones with some exceedingly nice animal related upgrades, at that. But well get to that in the next sidequest intermission block after this chapter concludes. For now, were going to comb the forest for a couple more hidden weapons scattered about the region.
Music: Forest Kingdom (Quiet)
The first of the two weapons well be collecting today. The first is on a plateau just south of the waterfall from the start of the area. Indeed, its on top of the cavern where we got the Dragoon Lance. But if you think you can jump on any of the outcroppings in that part of that map that definitely look like you ought to be able to climb em youre sorely mistaken.
The Forest Zone is easy to transverse from one end to the other. Nobody is fucking impressed if you can do that. Its getting to specific areas in the Forest Zone thats a pain in the ass. For instance, in order to get to that aforementioned plateau? Well, of course the route there involves going half way across the map to the east to a second waterfall/stream where another squad of robo-knights are honing their skills.
From there, we need to follow the stream south back to the canyon. We get a nice view of the actual bridge to the southern half of the Forest Zone from here. Thats further to the east. Well be heading there momentarily.
Instead, from here were going to head back to the west across this rocky terrain that absolutely looks like shit we shouldnt be able to climb on. But nope! This is the intended route to our destination back to the western waterfall. Its kinda denoted on the mini-map except the part where the only spot its reachable is a specific bit by the stream.
Although even on this trail, weve got to be careful traveling as not quite all of these rocks are marked as kosher for 2B to climb across. The ones with the shitty looking green textures are mostly OK. But the somewhat less mossy rocks just a hair below those? Invisible forces will shove 2B right off and shell have to try again.
Before you rush to defend the Forest Zones maiden honor because you personally have not encountered such difficulty on this ugly heap of polygons thats supposed to be craggy rocks... Consider this: Shut up. Nobody cares!
An android corpse and the telltale sign of 2B and 9S sinking into the geometry denotes were on the right path. To finally get to our destination of this wayward hidden weapon, we need to make a jump between cliff faces across the Dragoon Lance stream from earlier in the area.
At that point its still possible to hit the rocks wrong and slip off as they only programmed 2Bs mantle to work specifically on that middle outcropping. She just slips off the other two sides if she lands there. Thankfully, were finally here at another chained up tree like the one we saw when we picked up the first Spear class weapon prior to entering the Amusement Park.
This go around, the prize isnt going undefended. A Level 33 medium-biped spearboy and a trio of gunner friends emerge from the ether to defend the weapon. Honestly, the gunners are the bigger threat since an errant energy orb from an enemy with 11 Levels on 2B does a considerable amount of damage. Though the spearman is no slouch given his attacks have some nasty knockback if they connect. Getting ringed out after clambering half way across the area would be irritating, to say the least.
Once the machine lifeforms are scrapped we are free to investigate the chained tree and claim our prize: the first of a new class of weapon (OK technically unarmed counts as part of this class but there is zero reason to ever do that.)
Virtuous Grief is the first proper Combat Bracers class weapon. Lets take a closer look.
Combat Bracers are a class of weapon that first showed up in Drakengard 3. Although none of the weapon entries from Drakengard 3 make it into this game. Zero used Combat Bracers as more of a claw type weapon. 2B is more of a punch girl.
The first upgrade to Virtuous Grief grants a boost to ATK Speed. At max level, its another Holy Blessing/higher attack power at max HP deal. Kinda boring all around on the upgrade front. Lets see if its weapon story holds up...
Virtuous Grief posted:
I see you in my sleep.
My heart flies to pieces each time I wake.
I burn to see you in the real world.
I hunt for the woman who pines for you.
The scream pleases me.
Your body and heart shall be mine.
Your heart. I long for it.
Yet it does not return my love in kind.
All you care for is your cold, dead wife.
So I must at least take your body.
Your head is mine. Beautiful head.
The eyes that scorned me are so lovely now.
Hate me if you like. Begrudge me all.
You are still mine forever.
Uh huh... So thats another double murder with a side of decapitation. Im going to assume the man in the storys head was uppercut off like a cheap Mortal Kombat Fatality. What with the fist weapon and all...
Anyway, the Combat Bracers are really fun weapons if not the most incredibly effective. Lack of range is the biggest mark against them. 2B really has to be up in an enemys grill to get her punching on and there are several enemies where that is decidedly not a great idea. Theres also the fact that there arent very many Combat Bracers in the game. Indeed, this totally roundabout pain in the ass to get is one of the only ones for a very long time. I may have made it to the first ending blind having never seen a Combat Bracer outside of Unarmed. And by that point I already had a couple preferred weapons at Level 3.
Still, shoryukening the shit out of a robot is always good fun and thats what counts.
Lets get back on track. Weve done everything we can of note (within our abilities at the moment) on the northern half of the Forest Zone. Time to head south towards the castle. Which of course means heading as far as we can east first and hanging south down a ruin covered slope. Here we find...
Dont let any intruders get in!
We must protect our king!
Protect our king!
Royal knights. Give your lives for the king of our forest!
For the king of our forest!
Medium-biped knights further into the forest come decked out in the full Dark Souls coward kit. Giant great shield. Spears. Just missing a fully Havels set. And you just know if given the chance, theyd be rocking Pyromancy as a secondary ability.
Maybe the heavily armored guys are further into the woods. Regardless, shields, like most anything, are no match against Mirage. Once the shields are out of the way, theyre no different from the rest of the jerks weve encountered. Thats the last batch of machines stopping us on this side of the pond.
Now then, lets finally cross the river and head towards that ICO ass looking castle in the distance. No windmills to be found about the area, sadly. But 9S does have an interjection once we cross to the other side.
But how can a concept like loyalty be understood by a machine?
Its best to pretend the early sidequests in NieR: Automata exist outside the main plot narrative otherwise it sort of feels like 9S bashed his head at some point, corrupting all the data hed accumulated on all the machines that clearly arent just mindless drones and the occasional weird anime boyband man-machine anomaly.
The southern half of the Forest Zone is much tinier than its northern cousin. Not counting the massive castle part of it, of course. Its primary landmark is a trio of arches leading towards the castle proper.
To the south of the region, we find a barred gate leading out of the Forest Zone. Taking a look at the map, it seems like that direction loops back toward Pascals Village. But we cannot access that at this time.
Instead, our journey takes us eastward toward the castle. Though as the androids approach the looming structure, something disturbs the birds in the nearby woods. Im going to hazard a guess and say its probably some machine knights pissed were trespassing in their territory.
Music: Forest Kingdom (Dynamic)
Called it. Though this time, the Forest Kingdom knights have brought something new to the table...
Meet the Goliath-Biped: Enhanced Legpower Model. While all of the Goliath-Bipeds weve encountered thus far had bulked up considerably in the upper body region and skipped leg day, this one went completely the opposite direction. Gone are the jetpacks for mobility or the windmill spinning punches. Instead, this big boy sprints around the area eager to kick an androids ass. Quite literally.
Of particular note about its dashing, the Enhanced Legpower Models have electrified armor. Weve encountered electrified armor of the handheld variety and it was easily sorted out with use of Mirage. Its a much larger issue when said armor is 10x larger than 2B and getting within range with Mirage will get her zapped before the attack can fire off.
There is the anti-electricity salve which grants 2B immunity to electricity attacks. At no point does anyone remember it exists or uses it until the machine in question is moments away from dying. Thats just a fact of life.
Beyond the electric legs, Thunder Thigh Bot has a shockwave stomp. Of course it does. You cannot have legs that beefy and NOT have a shockwave stomp. Thats just not done. Its easily avoided with a double jump to evade. Just mind 2B doesnt jump towards the machine since, again, electric legs.
In addition to the stomp, the leggy Goliath-Biped has a mean whirlwind sweep that can deal a ton of damage if it connects. Not an instant kill like the standard Goliath-Bipeds similar attack. But still quite dangerous.
Dealing with the Legpower Goliath isnt too different from the standard variety. The only real armor it has are those electric legs and those arent remotely as well shielded as the standard Goliaths beefy arms. It also seems to be way easier to stun overall given the lack of general armor. It practically comes to a standstill for a good 10-15 seconds once both leg armors are destroyed.
All in a days work. Hopefully well never come across a Goliath-Biped that thought to work out both its legs AND its arms equally at the robo-gym. We wont theres only the two Goliath-Biped types and an enhanced version of the first one.
Now then... with the last of the Forest Kingdoms sentries dispatched, we could go on to raid the castle. But... well, I did say there were two weapons to collect in the Forest Zone and we only got the one. Sooooo...
On the third archway leading into the castle there is a treasure chest. Take a guess where the new weapon is located. Go on. Ill wait.
The trouble is actually getting up to that treasure chest. 2B cannot double jump that high up and androids dont climb surfaces. Even easily clambered up ones like eroded brick walls. Its against YoRHa regulations, you see. So what do we do...?
Bad news. No, it doesnt involve that boar butt. If only... No, instead it involves a precise platforming challenge. Indeed, pretty much the only one in the entire game. Mostly because this game does NOT have the controls for precise platforming. Like at all. For a few reasons. Let me explain...
First of all, we need to have 2B climb this downed pillar and onto the standing pillar its leaning against. From there, with a double jump + dash + Pod boost we can make it onto the first archway. Great job! Now weve just got to do it two more times. But first, weve got to make our way atop the two pillars in-between the archways. Thats easier said than done.
2B can easily float down with her Pod to the first pillar. Landing on it successfully is another story...
First of all, all of 2Bs motions have weight to them. She doesnt stop on dime nor does she instantly turn around. This is almost never an issue... except for here where we have to keep her on a tiny little square. Just over correcting course can accidentally send 2B flying off the platform and whoops! Try again from the start. Thats mostly on the player getting a feel for movement that is never required again in the game.
The second and far more irritating issue is this motherfucker right here: 9-fucking-S. Dipshit Robot Tails here just cannot be separated from 2B for any length of time. He just HAS to follow along as she attempts this platforming challenge. Wouldnt want to feel left out. Scanners can do this too! Call me Nines! Hurr! The problem is, 9Ss model has collision with 2Bs model. In other words, he can scoot into her and push her around. Which is a REAL GODDAMN ISSUE when youre trying to stay on this tiny platform and suddenly this fuckwit teleport leaps into the middle of the platform as youre right by the edge trying to maintain 2Bs footing.
Again, at no other point in the game is 9Ss ability to slightly nudge 2B ever an issue. Sadly, none of the commands for 9Ss combat style include FUCK OFF INTO THE SUN, 9S! IM BUSY! WAIT IN THE CAR!
It makes it so the easiest way to deal with this platforming is to just GO FOR IT non-stop. Dont think. Feel. Be the double jump to dash. Hone those skills well never need to use again because they realized the platforming controls in this game are kind of floaty garbage.
This was one of the very last weapons in the game I unlocked in my initial playthrough. Gee, I wonder why...
The Cypress Stick is a Dragon Quest crossover weapon from that quiet Enix half of the whole Square-Enix thing. Its err... a bat made out of cypress. Its usually the weakest weapon in those games, as I recall. And it is the weakest weapon in NieR: Automata as well. Initially... Upgraded, it gains insane Critical + chances to the point it might be one of the strongest weapons in the game.
At maximum level, it unlocks Hero Sigil. Which is a unique passive visual trait. Namely, it changes all the damage values from attacking enemies into the Dragon Quest cartoony RPG font and all of the treasure chest models are transformed into retro Dragon Quest models. Thats cute, I guess. Not worth that shitty platforming challenge. Thankfully, they never pull anything like that again in the game.
Now then, about that weapon history...
Cypress Stick posted:
I was in a dead sleep when mum started shouting. "Wakey-wakey!" she squawked. "Rise and shiine! Today's a very important day! Today's your first visit to the castle!" ...Annoying, right? But I got up anyway.
Today's my 16th birthday, and I have an audience with the king. Mum's apparently worried that he'll charge me with some big important task, so she gave me a cypress stick... for some reason. Pffft. Like that'll help.
As we walk to the castle, Mum keeps blabbing about how excited she is and how long she's been waiting for this day. She's told me this story a million and one times, so I just keep quiet like always.
When we arrive, I see my friend coming out of the castle. He's 16, too, but his fearless gaze makes him look like a legendary hero-to-be. I'm sure he's got a lot to live up to! MY dad's just a carpenter, so I've got it easy, heh.
I guess they couldnt have someones family get torn to shreds by Slimes or the like. Fun fact: Yoko Taro is drinking buddies with the current head Dragon Quest guy. Its the main reason hes not been cast into the mobile game salt mines despite just about all his games selling poorly.
Now then... Weve got a wooden stick and some samurai helmets we can punch machines to death with. I think were well equipped to take on the Forest Kings Castle next time as NieR: Automata continues!
Video: Episode 38 Highlight Reel
Forest Zone Ruins Concept Art - One of the first pieces of concept art released for the game. Guess they nailed it in one since that's pretty much the final product's design. Shitty jumping puzzle not withstanding.