The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 93: Episode XC: The Lord of the Valley

Episode XC: The Lord of the Valley

Music: Rays of Light (Quiet)

It’s not happening, 9S. That nickname is NEVER happening. 2B could be surrounded by molten lava in a volcano while the Grotesqueries descend upon her and the only way of getting out of that pinch is to call you “Nines” and she’d still go “Ehh... I’m good.” Let it go, man...

Today’s expedition finally takes us to the Forest Zone after weeks of avoiding it in favor of messing about with every favor, errand and assorted task found across post-apocalyptic Japan. But we’ve got a few things to take care of before we progress fully with main plot threads.

First up, there’s another locked chest that 9S needs to address located just to the right of the entrance to the shopping mall ruins. Appropriately enough, it contains a Department Store Flyer. Let’s see the hot sales on tap this weekend only (while supplies last)!

You hate to see local businesses driven out by the ill effects of late stage capitalism and also an encroaching apocalypse stifling their ability to stay competitive in these trying times.

Music: ENDS

Apparently it’s something called a “shopping center” or “mall.” Records say, human teens used to loiter here to pass the time between sleep and educational training.
What’s a “teen”?
...I have no idea.

Before we progress, there’s one small bit of business we need to attend to in order to stay up to date on our completionism streak. Despite not having actually met Emil in this timeline, we’ve still got the key to his Kainé sanctuary at the bottom of the mall. Let’s head down there briefly.

Music: Kainé Salvation

Yep. Still real pretty. So why are we back down here, other than to enjoy the music and take in the atmosphere?

Well there’s another locked chest in here to loot. Hey, Emil invited us down here... in another continuity that both has and has not occurred... I’m sure he’s cool with 9S rummaging through junk and stuffing it in his pocket. He’s a nice boy like that. Appropriately, there is another Project Gestalt report. Let’s see what we’ve got...

Eh... What’s the worst that can happen with the artificial humans gaining sapience? What, is one of them going to flip their shit and go on a genocidal rampage resulting in the complete collapse of the program and the dooming of humanity? What are the odds of that even happening? Tch. What’s next? An alien invasion. File this shit under “not a problem” and don’t waste my time with these frivolous worrywart reports.

Music: ENDS

We might find reason to return to the Kainé memorial one more time before the game ends. But that’s long off in the future. For now, let’s get back on track with meeting the Top Boy all over again...

Um... What’s that?
An orb.
Hey there, guys! What’s up!?
It’s talking.
Correction: A talking orb.
Hey, what’s up with the blindfolds? I used to wear one of those a long time ago. I wasn’t blind or anything. My eyes turned people into stone. Long story. I bet it’d be real hard to wear one now. It’d probably just slide off unless you tied it REAL tight. But I’ll give it a tr—
This thing’s weird, 2B. Let’s kill it.
Wait, what? No! Hold on!
Good idea.
Nooooooo! <speeds off>

Okay, what WAS that?!
Proposal: Newly rebranded mascot character of franchise due to unusual appearance.
...A what now?
No further data found.
Let’s just go.
Er, right.

Music: Forest Kingdom (Quiet)

The way to the Forest Zone is now open. The Resistance has already set up shop here thanks to that earlier sidequest. You guys couldn’t have opened that gate for us? Thanks for nothing, guys.

As before, we’re immediately attacked by the Forest Kingdom’s patrolling soldiers as soon as we enter the Forest Zone proper. Gameplaywise, the remainder of this chapter is identical. We simply need to fi—

Music: ENDS

This forest we are stationed in... It is hot. Humid. Unhygienic. A punishing hell for machine lifeforms. None should have to live in such a place.
I have decided. I shall make this our kingdom and declare our independence!

After a long silence, one of the machines raises its hand.

What’s a kingdom?
Well, it’s... sort of... like... a large house. And inside this house, all of our people live together as family.
Fam... ily...

<fist pumps> I suppose a family might be... good?
<jumps> Yeah! Families are good!

Music: Forest Kingdom (Quiet)

—ind this chest hidden beneath a tree just to the northwest of the bridge connecting the two halves of the Forest Zone. Doing a quick hack-job with 9S results in...

No idea what this is supposed to be referencing. But the last time anything involved dolls and the woods in this series it was a bad scene involving a magic songstress who stuffed the souls of soldiers she boned into magic golems and... You know what? Forget it. Let’s just continue on our way.

Before we head into the Forest Kingdom’s stronghold to the south, we’ve got one final proper sidequest left in Route B. Indeed, this one was available back in Route A but we opted to pass it by due to it being WAY out of our league for the first run of the game.

If we head south from the City Ruins entrance to the Forest Zone, just past the cave were we picked up the Dragoon Lance and found a Lunar Tear for Emil’s Memories sidequest, there is a series of rocky outcroppings we can use to descend into the ravine dividing the Forest Zone in two.

Music: ENDS

The path down into the valley is mostly un-noteworthy, other than a chest containing Power Up Part M (a unique part needed to bring one of our Pods to Level 3.) However, as we reach the very bottom we come upon a non-hostile Enhanced Stubby hanging out by the entrance to a cavern. What’s your deal, little buddy?

Then you must be here to kill me. I’ve lived long enough. I only ask that you not make it too painful.
<Spare her.>
Why do you not strike?
Because you have no desire to fight. You’re like the machines in Pascal’s village. If you don’t attempt to harm us, we have no cause for quarrel.
You know Pascal? I see... Still, you should be careful.
Of what?
Some of our kind can be violent. They are beyond our control. They attack everything they see, be it friend or foe. Many of these machines are waiting in the canyon ahead. You would be wise to keep your distance.

Thus begins the final proper sidequest of Route B: the Lord of the Valley. Which involves completely ignoring this machine’s warning and going hog on any hostiles we find ahead.

Proposal: Unit 2B should eliminate the hostile machines.

One of those clunky, video game ass boxes that exist solely to prevent sequence breaking must be shoved out of the way in order to reach further into the valley. There’s actually another way to get into the area ahead, as you’ll see in a moment.

Look at all the corpses. Is this some kind of graveyard?

No. Graveyard isn’t the right word. Nor is scrap heap, which I’m sure would be your follow up, you little racist. This is more of a... suicide pit.

You may be able to tell from the mini-map’s overlay, but looking up we can see that this is the bottom of the ravine with the rope bridge connecting the City Ruins to the shopping mall ruins.

In fact, there’s an elevator here that leads to an obscured path leading back to the City Ruins. Why would an elevator be installed there of all places? Look, would you want to climb all the way up that incline if you fell in that hole and didn’t die? I didn’t think so.

It’s fully possible for 9S or 2B to cast themselves down to the bottom of the ravine from the bridge. It’s very ill-advised, since it will drop their HP to critical levels (you cannot actually die from fall damage.) But, at least there’s a quick way to return to the surface.

The reason we opted out of this quest in Route A was that it is populated by Level 40-45 enemies that would wreck 2B’s day if we attempted this early. This is another one of those quests, like the Escort Parade, that I feel like it was a mistake to have been triggered during the first playthrough of the game.

Still, they’re not the real issue. This large lad who drops in after the first wave is destroyed, however, is quite an issue. Also it may be slightly chatty...

There’s more!
What’s it saying?
Don’t listen to it, 2B!

Meet the Dying Goliath Biped. Other than looking like a 30 foot tall pin cushion and the death wish, this Goliath has no remarkable traits from any of the dozens of other models we’ve taken down. Other than it being Level 50 on top of having a huge mountain of HP. This is the real reason we didn’t take this quest with 2B. Unlike the Golden Machines, which just took forever and a day to kill, this one does likewise but could also one-shot 2B for the duration of Route A.

Of course now, we don’t have to worry about being insta-gibbed by a mistake in a prolonged battle since 9S can just hang back, hack it twice and grant the Dying Goliath its wish. Where’s the YoRHa androids wielding 20 foot stakes? I feel like we’re missing out.

It was talking. Maybe that machine who sent us here knows something about this. We should try asking her.

Yeah, we could do that. But we’ve still got business to attend to down in this canyon. Near the waterfall where the Dying Goliath fell are a pair of chests. One has an electronic lock and the other is free to open. Going with 9S’s specialty reveals a Weapon Shop Flyer.

It’s good to see Accord’s time traveling, pan-dimensional weapon acquisition and flipping enterprise is thriving. Canonically, the only relevant thing from Drakengard 2 to the rest of the Drakenier series was that at some point Accord stopped by that timeline to grab a few spiffy weapons nobody was using any more. The end. That’s literally it.

Fittingly, the unlocked chest next to the flyer contains a free sample of Accord’s wares.

The Phoenix Dagger is a returning weapon from the original NieR. In that game it was purchased from a vendor in the town of Seafront for a hefty sum. This go around, the Phoenix Dagger gains ATK Speed Up with its upgrades. At maximum level, it is augmented with Phoenix Flash which grants a random chance of restoring HP when damaging enemies. Overall, it’s nothing special. But the weapon story...

Phoenix Dagger posted:

The girl lay there on the day of her wedding. Her parents and
beloved were dead, and she herself had been violated in front of
their corpses. As she swore to kill those who had done this
terrible deed, a shining songbird appeared.

"Allow me to grant your wish," said the bird. "Wish upon this
dagger, and never forget this hatred that you feel." The girl
grasped the weapon and spat out a tearful curse: "I vow not to
forget. Please! Give them a painful death!"

Time passed, and eventually, she got her revenge. Years later,
when she was an old woman, the songbird appeared anew. "What
of your vow?" it asked. But she did not understand. And come
to think of it, what became of her beloved dagger?"

That night, bandits broke into her house, assaulted her daughter,
and murdered her grandchild. The songbird then reappeared with
a single question: "How long will your hatred burn this time?”

Welp... That one was a bit dark. The previous incarnation of this weapon’s story just had a bird tell a girl that her man was a cheating busta, so when he returned and as much was confirmed she cut his heart out. You know... so it wouldn’t wander again. I guess Accord really punched up the grim dark for modern consumption. You know how jaded these androids get after a few thousand years of endless war.

Anyway, back to the quest giver we go...

Music: Voice of No Return (Vocal)

We have a question about the machines in the canyon.
Yes. Very dangerous. You should avoid them.
Actually, we already took care of them.
You what!?
...I see. Then perhaps they can finally reach heaven.
Come again?
Many machines have thrown themselves into that canyon of late. They were trying to hurt themselves beyond repair. You found the remains of those who succeeded... and fought those who did not. I know not what would drive them to do such a thing... But I pray regardless that their souls might reach heaven. ...Here. A gift for you. Thank you for killing them.

For our efforts we get a suite of sort of useless chips. Taunt Up can be used to exploit high level enemies like the Lord of the Valley into being dealt with early in exchange for absolutely guaranteeing it will one-shot our androids if they flub it. In any case, that concludes the final sidequest of Route B. Our total completion is now at 80%. Hmm...

The Canyon Machine also becomes a Plug-in Chip vendor and is capable of fusing chips if we cannot be bothered to go back to the Bunker or Resistance Camp merchants. Nothing this machine sells is of any particular note. As 2B and 9S depart from the valley, they have one final conversation about the mission.

Souls and heaven, huh? Do either of those things exist?
They’ll find out in the end.
And so will we.
Okay, that’s grim.

Tune in next time as we close out this chapter with an assault on the Forest Kingdom's castle, the collection of the final Route B weapons and maybe a cameo by the third android on the box cover for another minute or two as NieR: Automata continues!

Video: Episode 90 Highlight Reel
(You should probably watch this.)

Kainé’s Hut Concept Art – I never realized it’s supposed to be one of those Aerie shipping containers houses broken open and tilted on its side.