Part 4: Chapter III: To Begin The JourneyAfter that scene, Eva will be formally added to the party, and trust me, she's not going anywhere. In fact, in the entire game, she's only unavailable for two battles tops after she joins, a rate of participation that puts every other character to shame. Once we've acquired the next two party members (of course, Aina is a playable character), we'll take a look at the pause menu and I'll cover what I will there. To proceed, just keep going south to a town called Malbayers. A fateful friend.
(... I should probably look into it...)
So this is a -town-. Where is this place you call an -inn-?
Um...Eva, may I ask you something?
I will allow you a single question. Ask, and I will answer.
Did that god really, um...
If you believe that one's corporeal body is proof of existence, then yes, you could say the god -died-. However, the human concept of death does not apply to the gods.
So if the power of the god is brought together and reunited, then... But, why must it be Weiss? Couldn't anyone else do it...me, for example?
Everyone has their own -role- that they must play. Whether they wish to play that role or not is of no consequence. All must accept their fate. It is very much like breathing. You do not have to think about how to breathe to do it, correct? Weiss' assigned role is to become the -Spirit Vessel-, while mine is to be an -Agent of the God-. And yours...yours is to become a -Maiden of the Pillar-.
-Maiden of the Pillar-? What is...
Did I not say that I'd only allow you a single question? Your overbearing curiosity is but one of many distasteful traits you -humans- have. I am under no obligation to answer any of your questions.
Another note about this game's world. Because of the existence of the Guardian Clans, there are very few, if any, pure-blooded races in Agarest. All races can apparently breed with any other race, meaning even someone who is human, like Aina, has Guardian blood in her veins. The Clans are not species-specific, as anyone from any race can join a Clan, just as long as they abide by the Chief's wishes. But, some of the Clans are heavily made up of a certain species, like the neocolom among the Alister, the onerthes in Fendias, or the harpuia in Graccea. Aina almost certainly has a lot of cat-person blood, but she appears, and is, a human.
Ah... I apologize for asking something so strange.
In general, I will answer any question you have to be the best of my knowledge. I have nothing to hide. What I want you to understand is that satisfying your curiosity is dead last on my priorities.
Yeah, Eva can be a pretty big jerk at times, but she does have a dry sense of humor, and never lords herself over the party. As she eventually says, the details about how her task is accomplished are not important, merely the results. That said, she does get humanized a lot during the third generation.
Is that so...
The town is in an uproar... It seems that something significant happened recently.
You got that right, buddy. Something serious did just go down.
Who are you?
Would -just a passerby- work for you?
Shockingly enough, that's really all he is, when it comes down to it. He's no spy, secret informant, anything. He's just some guy basically.
If you have no business with us, would you please go away?
I guess that answer didn't work you then. Well, how about this one... Ah, I was just jealous of your obvious charm, having such beautiful ladies traveling by your side. I was wondering if you could teach me the secrets to your winning ways.
Hey, hey! Hey, wait! No need to blow me off like that, okay?! I was joking! Seriously! I'm Jainus. From finding lost items to killing demons to teaching people what it means to love, I'm your man! My motto is: -If it pays, I'll play-.
My, aren't we the impatient little princess? Will you give me just a few more minutes? I thought you guys wanted to know what has everyone in town so riled up.
Ah, I see you understand me. Great! The word is that a demon appeared nearby and attacked some of the townspeople. It's been happening so often lately that people normally don't get worked up about it when it happens... But the demon that attacked those people is not only of unusual size, it is also still lurking around.
What?! How...how could something like this happen all of a sudden?
I finished up my last job and thought I should grab another just because. However, this one might be a little too much to handle by myself, and while wondering how I was going to pull it off, you guys showed up. That sword you're holding isn't just for show, is it?
So, what say you? Why don't you be reasonable and come exterminate some demons with me?
Total "But Thou Must" here, as you'll end up fighting anyway, but your answer will affect relationship values for your comrades. For the MasterLL guide I mentioned in the OP, the choice I'm highlighting in the screenshot will be the one I make.
And this pop-up lets you know the consequences of your decision. Eva starts out with at the lowest affection level for Weiss, but the game handles her affection level nicely assuming you're going for the True Ending and not grinding affection level like a dope. She starts out not liking Weiss at all at the start of the first generation, but warms up to him just a tiny bit by the end. In the second generation, she gradually defrosts toward the protagonist, and by about 75% of the way through the third generation she'll be a lot more affectionate.
As a general note right now, though, any choices that are not solely focused on Weiss becoming the Spirit Vessel will make her affection level go down. So, she tends to be at odds with everyone else in the party for a while, even though she seems agreeable for this choice in text.
How about we go check it out?
Yes. If the target is a -demon-, then fine, let us take care of it first and rest afterward.
As another note, most of the enemies and bosses we fight in this game are not the demons who are holding fragments of Chaos' power. Most of our adversaries emerged since the Day of Light, and only a small portion of the most powerful demons have Chaos' power inside them. Eva is, of course, completely uninterested in any enemies that don't have Chaos' power.
It's decided then! Wait a bit while I go prepare a few things. I'll also poke around and see if I can get more information. Later, then.
I'll go and see if I can help heal the townsfolk who were injured until Jainus comes back.
You're free to do as you will...within reason. Remember that your first duty is to become the -vessel-. However, there is one thing you need to keep firmly in mind. There's a limit to how long you can be the vessel, that limit being the time you have in this mortal coil. Whether important or trivial, each action you take takes that much more time from the little left to you. At the moment you go beyond the limit set for you, your life will come to an end.
And what will happen then?
But before that happens, I will have you follow my directions. But do not worry. It is nothing worth concerning yourself about at present.
After the above scene, Aina and Jainus officially join the party. From the top: Formation is all about Formations and who is in the active party. Of course, there's no reason not to use a team of Weiss, Eva, Jainus, and Aina at this point. From here, you can also check Formation bonuses for each character, and what the formation will look like in battle. Item allows you to check your current inventory, Equipment allows you to change character equipment loadouts, Skill allows you to assign attack, support, and extra skills, Stats allows you to check out everything related to the character, including Weiss' affection level with his entire party at a glance, Encyclopedia allows you to consult the monster bestiary, items acquired, movies and special cutscenes, as well as character profiles and the gallery, and all you need to know about the Battle Diary is that it allows you to save and load and adjust a few game settings, but not difficulty setting.
Since this is still very much the start of the game, we can't do much but assign different formations, but let's check out the skill screen.
This is all the skills Weiss currently has assigned (I'm still using Sword Weiss from last update, but no longer after this screenshot). As you learn new skills, you can assign new skills depending on what type. For example, skills that are highlighted in pink refer to skills you can only assign to the Stunned category. Once you're fulfilled certain requirements, you can assign more powerful skills to the three slots below the basic ones in the slots above.
However, the whole Skill system is based around things we won't be getting to this update, and Aina's in-game explanation goes on forever. When I can actually get new Skills, next update, I'll be able to explain things much faster than she can.
From here, you can check out additional skills the character has. You may remember Brave Storm from the battle against Summerill and the Hell Dog. Weiss always has that as a matter of course (indeed, and the animation featuring a glowing energy sword, doesn't change, no matter what his equipment), but has lost the use of Sacred Blaze until he hits level 45, I believe. If you want to check the actual properties of a skill, you can highlight it and press triangle.
At this point in the game, any Original Skill will basically instantly break an enemy, but in the future, they may make hardly a dent in the enemy's Break gauge. It's important to not consider Original Skills as an unbeatable trump card, but merely as a tool, a tool to be exploited for maximum effect on the battlefield. In the top left, you can see a little icon next to the skill's name. This screen indicates Brave Storm is a Fire-skill, and the box opposite from it indicates the attack radius of the move. If you have a field of three enemies in front of you, and you target the left-most enemy, Brave Storm will hit all three in the same strike.
Finally, you can check whether a move is a Physical, Magical, or both. In this context, Brave Storm's power goes up depending on how high Weiss' INT is. You can see what additional effects each Original Skill has, as well. Eva's Avilight Scythe from the last update absorbs some of a target's HP to be added to her own, and Jainus' Triumph Crochet gives him a (very good) chance to steal a rare item. Only three characters, including Jainus, can do this with an Original Skill, making it incredibly valuable and Jainus will be a regular on my team for quite some time. Additionally, the attack element for Crochet is Void, meaning no enemy is strong or weak against it.
The demon we're hunting is right outside town. Teamwork
Yeah, it should be.
Pay attention. Here it comes.
Aina herself introduces the next two battle concepts: Exchange and Standby. Standby basically just skips a character's turn in return for lowering Wait, and Exchange allows you to tag out any character and replace them in with someone in reserve. Working like tag team fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom, they'll gradually recover HP and AP while outside of battle.
I don't use this much, as the characters I bring in to a fight are the ones I intend to finish it with. Also, you CAN switch out a character who has been KO'd (they'll still get turns even if they're not standing), but if you do that, they won't recover from KO while in reserve. I shouldn't have to say it, but you are a leader. The soldiers you bring in to a fight, I expect those soldiers will be leaving victorious. Make every effort to look after each and every man and woman under your command. Failure to do so is unacceptable.
This is the next major mechanic of battle: the Ultimate Strike. If you reduce an enemy's Break gauge to zero, then when you're done attacking, you have the option to continue attacking even after you run out of AP.
If you elect to begin one, you'll be taken to this screen. Here, just mash the buttons assigned to each character to have them attack the enemy together, by shooting energy-ball things until either the time or AP goes to 0. You may be asking: why wouldn't you use Ultimate Strikes? Well, if you turn one down, you get a Wait and AP bonus, and late in the game, Ultimate Strikes can completely screw you over if you use it at the wrong time. I would say this about them: only use it when you're confident of killing the target. Attacking in a blind rage is only going to serve you well for so long.
I was a little scared that since Weiss is still using the animation for holding a sword as his default one (you know, the one where he was resting it on his right shoulder from the first battle), that he wouldn't have a unique posing animation at the end of a fight. I was pleasantly surprised. Eva has a surprisingly sassy one given her personality, but I like it.
The only thing that I should really mention here is the Battle Rank. After each fight, you'll be graded on how fast it took you to finish it. There's some sort of base value for each rank, but ending it on the first turn will invariably get you an S-rank. By getting higher ranks, you'll get more EXP, Gold, and TP from victory. There's only so much PP in the entire game, so that value will never change. All you really need to know about TP is that the higher your highest combo, and the enemy you fight, both affect it. Upon which the world turns.
I'm also praying that it doesn't come to that. You guys are pretty good. You really helped me out. It would have been laughable if I had tried to take that thing on by myself. You're quite the healer. With so much power, that must mean... Aina, are you a guardian?
N-No! I'm not a guardian...I couldn't possibly be...
I didn't mean anything by it. It doesn't matter to me if you're a guardian or not. A good healer is worth their weight in gold. Especially in dangerous times like these. In addition to being an excellent healer, you're also extraordinarily beautiful, dear. No, what's important is to know what a travesty it'd be if the world lost a precious treasure like you. Right, Weiss?
... What's with the sullen silence?
Is that...a gun?
Ah, you're pretty perceptive. While no match for your sword, it's good enough against demons. But forget about my gun for a sec... Why are you going out of your way to exterminate demons? If I remember correctly, you were on a mission of some kind. Does this have anything to do with it?
It is none of your concern. Unless, of course, you have no desire to continue your existence. However, I will humor you this once. You were correct in saying that Aina is a treasure. The -vessel-, and the -pillar- that supports it. The world will come to an end without either of them. If you truly believe what you said, you should do everything in your power to protect these -treasures-. Unlike Weiss, death could come to Aina at any time. The -vessel- is solid and has the potential for infinite strength and cannot be destroyed. However, the -pillars- are fragile and easily shattered. That could prove catastrophic.
What does that mean? Do you mean to say I'm immortal?
I am going to head back to the town and rest.
Her majesty seems to be fatigued. We should escort her back to town or risk losing our heads.
And this is a tiny glimpse of the world map. All you really need to know about the HUD in the lower left is about Limit Points. Related to the plot, essentially this means the number of events (read, time) that can pass in Weiss' life before he's no longer suitable as the vessel and must pass on the duty of resurrecting Chaos to the next generation.
What this means in gameplay terms is how much you can do as Weiss before you have to end the generation. As you see both plot-related and non-plot related events, that number grows. Once it reaches 9999, you can no longer see extra events or fulfill job requests. All you can do from there is continue on with the main story until the generation is over. There's no way to make it grow from events like battles or anything, so fight to your heart's content. Oh, and if you're grinding, you can initiate a generic battle anytime on the world map by pressing R1 and answering in the affirmative when you're given a choice. Generic battles on the world map are random otherwise. Anyway, after the fight, return to town. To Frensberge
The food here's pretty good, right?
Adequate, I suppose. All of the dishes were new to me, but I guess they weren't completely inedible.
Personally, I give the food here five stars. Seriously, what throne did you fall off of?
Eva, I have no way of determining if what you say is true. Because of that, I can't say that I trust you entirely. But I don't see what you'd gain by lying to me, and my memory loss could be a punishment for my sin. If all roads lead to hell, I might as well keep moving forward. But there is something I want to know. Not about my past, but how I became a -god killer-.
I'm pleased that you have made your decision. However, you need to focus your thoughts more constructively. What has already happened in the past cannot be changed. Also, there is nothing more pointless and futile than trying to find -meaning- in anything. Memories of the past are meaningless. Especially for one like you who has no time to waste on nostalgia. For you, the only thing more pointless than nostalgia is looking towards a future that will never be. It is not the past you should be thinking about, but the tasks you must complete in the here and now. If you do that, the answers that you seek my be revealed to you.
To be honest, I'm not really sure if I want to find out the truth. And if that's the case, then I will concentrate on what I can control and take care of the issue at hand. So, what should I do first?
Yes, your first task is to find the -key-. I'm fairly certain it is located somewhere in this vicinity, but...
Hm? Is there something you need, brother?
First of all, I am truly thankful for your help in healing the townsfolk's injuries yesterday. However, my gratitude and that of the rest of the town only extends so far. Your presence here is becoming a problem. There are rumors being circulated amongst everyone now. People are saying that since you've come here, demons have been appearing more frequently. I don't mind you coming here to run errands and I've never stop people from seeing you for healing. However, you can't stay here anymore. And didn't you promise us before that you wouldn't?
Hey, hey, there's no need to be so abrasive. Why don't we all just calm down and talk this over?
If you're friends with this girl, then I'll have to ask you to leave as well. I'll give some time to gather your belongings, but no more. Now you'd better see to getting your things together.
Man, there's no reasoning with that guy. It's like talking to a wall. I don't know what may have happened in the past, but there's no need for you to worry about it. After all, you've got us by your side now.
No, it's all right. And I did promise them I wouldn't say here, after all.
Where do you plan on going now?
I thought it'd be obvious. I'm going with you and everyone else. Even if you tell me not to, I'll still be joining you on your journey, okay? After all Weiss, you still need me to heal your injuries, and you saw just now, I have nowhere else to go.
I'm glad you have decided to come with us. I must have you fulfill your missions as well. Now then, let us prepare to depart from this place.
Whelp, I guess I'll go get all of my crap together as well.
I take it you plan on intruding yourself on our party?
As they say, two heads are better than one. In these dangerous times, the more the merrier...and safer. And anyway, anyone is free to join you guys, right?
And where in the world would there be anyone who could make a guarantee like that? Not even a god would be audacious enough to make that type of promise. Right? And seriously, if I am going to die, I want to go down surrounded by beautiful women...like you. That and I have a treasure or two I need to protect.
Remember that curiosity killed the cat...repeatedly.
I'll show you just how well I can handle myself in a scrap.
If that is so, perhaps you could start by actually doing something besides talk.
Whoops! That's right, we need to get moving. Oh yeah, there's a town to the north that I've made my base of operations. It's a bit far from here, though. However, I think we should head there first. What do you say? The way you talk, you haven't found any accurate info about the location of what you're looking for. And anyway, if we're going to be traveling for any length of time, we'll need to prepare, right?
Very well. Lead the way.
Okay, now we're getting somewhere! Well, I guess I should start getting ready, then.
To get to where Jainus is talking about, you'll have to head west through some forests and around some mountains, to a search point where you can "Move" from one cliff to another. After moving, head just a bit north and you'll hit Frensberge.
To illustrate. Reunion of fates
It seems to be more fortress than town, though.
Is that so? I guess you still have those kinds of memories left.
Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I just have the feeling that you might have been a soldier at one time.
You may be right. I assume the reason they chose to establish the town here was because of the increasing number of demons.
Hm? Ah...yeah, it has been getting more dangerous around here as of late. All things considered, there isn't a better place to prepare, right?
Jainus, you said you did freelance work for people in this town, didn't you?
Yep. The people here can be a little on the eccentric side, but all in all it's a good place to live. It's a town that even people like us can feel comfortable in.
And seeing is believing. You might want to take a look around and talk to some of the townsfolk. But before that, we should drop our stuff off somewhere. There's an inn just down the way. We should head there first.
Jainus, what are you going to do after we stop by the inn?
I have a few errands I need to run as well as some loose ends to tie up. I'll catch up with you later.
Then let us go as well.
"For a while", he says. This game takes place over the course of like 50-60 years or so. It'd be easier to buy the damn place with how long the party will be hanging out here. We're going to be bringing an eclectic bunch through the threshold of this establishment.
I will leave such matters up to you.
Is there something you need?
I-I apologize! I didn't mean to startle you. I never thought I'd ever see you again, much less in a place like this. What a relief. It's good to see that you're all right as well. I've been searching for you ever since then.
Do you know me?
Of course I do. Have you forgotten about me?
Um, sorry to interrupt, but Weiss is suffering from amnesia. That's why...
I see... So that's why...
Do you know Weiss?
I do indeed. There's no way I will ever forget him, either. You see... Weiss is the one who saved my life.
Then tell me, who am I?
That's...a difficult question. I consider you to be one of my closest friends. But I fear our friendship was very one-sided, as you didn't seem to care about me one way or the other.
I couldn't give a damn about any of that. Who am I?! And what the hell did I do?!
I'm sorry, but I really can't answer any of your questions. My relationship with you is as I just described. You never volunteered any information about yourself or your background during our time together. However, you obviously needed me. And that was all that mattered...at least to me. That's why I didn't press you for details. All I know is what is pertinent to the matter at hand. But unfortunately, I cannot talk about that, either.
If you're wondering if Fastie ever drops the creepy, the answer is yes. He's only...awkward, for lack of a better term, around Weiss. Still doesn't make this dialogue sound any less like Fastie is some yearning admirer.
What?! Why the hell not?!
Because any answer I give would only come from the -image- of you I've created in my mind. There's a possibility my answering would only give you, and those around you, a false view of yourself. I am of the opinion that it's important that you regain your memories on your own. And with that being said, I believe that I can help do just that.
Ah, that I can talk about. But the details are...
If you are concerned about our presence, do not be. Is that not right, Weiss?
If you say so... I will just summarize what happened that day, but hopefully that'll suffice. You must have lost your memories due to what happened on that day. I know you are wondering how that is possible, but I really can't answer that now. You had need of me, that's all that's important to know for the time being. On the day people refer to as the -Day of Light- you and I were at the temple of the Sera people. It was there that you took a hold of the hilt of that sword and pulled it out of the seal that held a god.
And with that sword in hand, what did I do then?
That is... The fight that ensued was terrifying and intense, but tinged with a feeling of hopelessness for some reason.
And it was in that fight that Weiss committed the unforgivable sin of deicide?
Yes... The area where Weiss thrust his sword erupted with a brilliant light that engulfed everything... The light continued to spread and seemed to swallow everything it touched. It was as if I looked directly into the sun. My vision went white, as if the whole world was being drowned in light... I was bracing myself for death in the face of that brilliance when Weiss sacrificed himself to protect me. I don't recall what happened after. All I know is when I came to, I somehow made it to this continent.
So now you understand what it is you have to do, correct?
Um...I take it the amenities are dead last on the list of things to talk about right now...? I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're the blackbird of unhappiness here.
My apologies. It wasn't my intention to create such a somber mood.
No, no, I didn't mean anything by it, either. Seriously, don't sweat it. I was just joking around...you know, trying to lighten the mood and whatnot. So, now that's settled...just who is this guy?
It seems like he knows me from before.
And so the plot thickens...
Ah, that's right! Once again, my apologies. I totally forgot to introduce myself. My name is Fastie, but please call me Faz.
Ah, the voiced consonant has a nice ring to it. There's no real reason for it, actually. But I'd appreciate it if you humored me.
Okay... Well, now that's all taken care of what's next on the agenda?
Oh yeah, the Great Iliya Forest... It's on the edge of the Aldo Plains. The Aldo Plains are a cakewalk, but I won't be able to guide you through the forest. That place...
The forest is considered sacred ground by the guardians.
And we should care about that why, exactly?
It's more trouble than it's worth to go there. I try to avoid the place like the plague.
I might be able to guide you through. You see, I am an archeologist. I make it a point to study areas of historical interest, such as the Great Forest, so I might be able to help.
And thus is the issue resolved.
Now then Faz, if you would please lead the way.
Hey, aren't you being a little too impatient? It's going to be a long trip. Are you ready for it?
Is there place in town where we can buy equipment and supplies?
But of course. And as an added bonus, the person who runs it is hot. I recommend hitting the -Item Shop- -if you need equipment and whatnot. If you're injured or need some information, head on over the -Hunter's Guild-. Although we have a cute little healer, we can't tire her out healing all of the inevitable injuries, right?
Thank you for your concern.
Oh, it's nothing. I consider myself womankind's greatest ally.
How do you get to the Item Shop and this -Hunter's Guild-?
The Item Shop is just next door, and there's even a sign out front so you shouldn't miss it. The Hunter's Guild is in the center of town. Both of them are equally important to our upcoming journey, so be sure to pop into both places.
Jainus speaks the truth, but all you can do at either is get a short little introduction scene for both places. Once we return from the forest, there will be much more to show around Frensberge. "Base of operations" is putting this place's importance to the gameplay and story mildly, I'll tell you what.
And to end this update, the Aldo Plains are a short walk to the east away from Frensberge.