The Let's Play Archive

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

by The Dark Id

Part 102: Episode XCVI: Relationship Status: It's Complicated

Episode XCVI: Relationship Status: It's Complicated

Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe

Following the lead Kato fed us, the Hojo Research Lab is now available as our next destination. It is nice a clandestine government super science laboratory where they harness dark arcane arts from chaotic gods beyond human understanding is easily located by just asking a few people directions on the street. Oh, you want to get to the Dead Factory where Umbrella processes and disposes of all the failed experiment corpses in acidic vats? Yeah, just take a left at Maple Street and Pine Ave. It's across from the Denny's.

That said, recent events have unlocked a myriad of side quest content that we are going to spend today knocking out lest our backlog build up. We do not want our sidequest backlog to build up. This game has way too much of it to let it hang for too long. Recent events in Nihonbashi have shook at a handful of new content to explore. So head there first.

Music: Rising Sun ~ Japanese Town

There are two main points of interest we want to check off the list. But also, the beginning of a certain quest of item swapping that severely starts to be one of those kind of things they put in so someone buys a guide book. Or... looks at GameFAQs. Does Japan have a GameFAQs equivalent...? The most old man hang-up I have about modern internet culture is the rise of looking up anything in a video game defaults to scanning through a video of some asshole with a 30-second brand intro and a "Hey, guys!" extra 45 seconds of talking before telling me the item I want is behind a dumpster in an alley to the left of the start of the area. Yeesh!

Ranting aside, a new NPC has spawned at the end of the bridge to the right. Let's chat him up.

<Becomes Lottery Member 7> You're into it too, right? Gambling and stuff? You wanna play?
Try and stop me!
That hasn't gone well for most people.

Wahoo! You're on fire. Come anytime you wanna gamble!

There is no gimmick to this Lottery Member's wheel. Just a normal spin.

Yeah... Given we're nearly 300 battles into this game and the party has been surrounded... maybe three times, ever. This doesn't have a whole lot of utility to burn an accessory space on. But it is a unique item that can only be acquired here. So there's that.

That out of the way, remember the trading sidequest? We haven't touched on that yet since we've gotten to Japan. But around this point it starts getting rude and more and more failure points start cropping. It's odd there is exactly one side quest in the game that can get completely shut down prematurely and get permanently locked out of one of the character's best gear for good. But here we are. Across the street from Lottery Member #7 another new NPC has spawned next to the entrance to the Great Gama's squared circle of manliness. If we chat him up...

You think my face is scary? I know! I don't need you to remind me. How do you think it feels not having anyone to talk to, let alone a wife? Eh? Stop staring if you can't help!
Hey, calm down, guy! NPC face is nothing to get worked up about. Everyone on this street but me has it. Just ask that identical clone of you walking back and forth across the bridge down the block. But...
I could give you a stuffed animal.
Hey, this thing is ugly! Are you suggesting I should talk to this?! Tsk! Better than nothin', I s'pose... At least you were tryin' to help. Here, I'll give you this.

And so we get another Third Key... An item we already have three of in stock. And that's a dead end for that sidequest. So... we're not going to do that. Sorry about your ugly NPC face, champ. You truly are all alone on this one.

Our next order of business is to return to the park where Yuri and Karin had a nice heart to heart before the monster of the day showed up to interrupt things. A trio of new NPCs have tagged in now that this isn't a cutscene zone. The old man has nothing of interest to say. But the woman on the right? Well, you remember how we just failed that last sidequest...?

Oh, that stuffed animal's so cute! I love it! Let me see! Look, the little panda's got gloves on! Aaaah! And it talks if you touch its belly! Cool! I want it! Please give it to me! You will, won't you?! Great!
You've pretty much taken it away!
You have to be the right person to trade this with. Mascot is in your name.
You're sure? Cool! Thanks! You're the best! Here, you can have this. You can tell everyone back home it's a specialty of Japan! Ah, I'm so happy! I'm gonna cuddle it when I go to sleep. Thanks!

And we arrive at the same dead end for this quest as before. As I said, this quest is rude. Anyway, you may have noted there is a wolf hanging out in the park. No big deal. Wolves just do that in Japan. I'm sure you can see where this is heading. The counter to this Wolf Bout's gimmick is technically a Pocket Watch to avoid Small Ring. But unless you're sitting several feet from your TV and have shite eyesight, that's the least debilitating status effect in the game.

Awroo, awroo... (At last we meet. Oh, how I've waited for this day!)
*pant* Awroo, awroo... (As soon as I saw you, I knew, ...I knew you were my prince!)

What kind of jerk drew on that dog's face with markers?
Awroo, awroo... (Some scrap bones you left behind... A snow-white fur ball you hacked up...)

Awroo! Awroo. (I licked it clean and kept it preserved! Don't worry, dear.)
Awroo... (I hate everything about this.)

I don't understand what she's saying, but it looks like a kook has fallen in love with you, boy...
Look at this playa over here.
Awroo... (Yuri, shut up...)
Yeah! Go get 'em, tiger!

<Enters fighting stance> Grrr... Awroo! (Look, you. Knock it off! I'm not interested in you!)
...Awroo? Awroo? (How can you be so cold? You're my prince, don't forget!)
Awroo! Awroo! (It's destiny! Can't you see it written in the stars in the sky right now?)
Awroo... Awroo... (It's late afternoon... There are no stars in the sky...)

*snort* Awroo? (You love me, don't you? You understand exactly how I feel, right?)
Awroo, awroo! (How could I? I just barely met you this second!)

Awroo... Awroo! (I'll never forgive you! And if you can't be mine, nobody will have you!)
Oooh. It looks like things are getting spicy. Get that hook up, Blanca!
Awroo... (Yuri, I swear...)

Awroo, awroo! (I'll kill you, and then myself!)
What else can I do? I'll fight.

Music: Soul Comet ~ Spirit of the Wolf

*gulp* This is a sticky situation. I guess this woman simply can't resist my charms...

Music: Glint of Light ~ War of the Hungry Wolf

Who knew you could have a yandere wolf? But here we are. Eleanor is a Water class enemy with 810 HP. She has the potential to inflict Small Ring with her physical attacks, or so I've read. All she did the entire fight was spam her one elemental attack -- Hail Crash.

So just casting a Barrier Spell basically makes her completely ineffectual. I think by this fight we all know the primary draw of the Wolf Bouts are the weirdo ass wolves that show up and not the battles themselves.

With our defenses up and the gimmick neutralized, this goes predictably.

Music: Result ~ Victory

For our efforts we receive another Crest. Having another Arc Heal in our tool set alongside a Cure Plus isn't too shabby.

Japan never recovered from the rise of the Meiji Era Maid Fetish. As noted, this is a Female only accessory and grants +3 Physical and +8 Special Attack Power. Pretty decent overall.

Music: Rising Sun ~ Japanese Town

I didn't think you'd be so strong...

Awroo... *whimper* (You'd rather I stayed home and raised the kids, right? I understand...)
...Awroo. (...Huh? Now, wait just a minute!)
Awroo... Awroo... Awroo. (No, no. It's fine. I'll keep the home nice and tidy. You'll be the bread winner. We'll make it work. Even when the hours at the office week in and week out take their toll. And the manager turns down your request for a raise and we have to take a second mortgage on the house. I'll be there.)
Awroo! (No, you're not listening!)

Awroo, awroo... (No need to be shy. But let's make sure we get this down on paper, okay?)

It looks as though we are getting near the end of the Wolf Bouts.

An ill-fated she-wolf doom to fight the one she most loved. Spent the rest of her days alone, pining for his return.

One day that white wolf will come around and see his folly. One day...

...Awroo. (...Lemme outta here!)
*whimper, whimper* (I'll be waiting for you! Forever and ever...!)

Music: Old Smudged Map ~ Europe

That takes care of our business in Nihobashi for now. We will have quite a bit more business there at a later date. But for now, with the unlocking of the Hojo Research Lab we also finally unlocked a World Map for Japan. Up until now we had been locked into the city sub-maps of the region. Since that's available, we're going to return to Yokohama for a bit.

Particularly we're going to return to the Foreigner's Cemetery as it's just slammed with new items for an area that is all of two screens.

Music: ENDS. Imagine the droning sound of a stock chirping cricket playing until further notice.

A couple of new NPCs have spawned and are just chilling in the graveyard. As you do. The first one is over close to the late Yoshiko Kawashima's grave.

Somebody asked me to hang on to it. Do you know the person it belongs to?
May I see it? ...Yes. It's scratched, but I can see the engraving. It belongs to the person in this grave.
I did receive it from a ghost. So that would check out.
...Excuse me?

"Major Wayne Hashida. Died 1894." Are you sure this is him...?
Yes. Died in action and promoted for his bravery. Not many half-Japanese soldiers so I'm sure it's him.
I see... Thank you very much, sir!

As you might surmise, this is a continuation of the Fortress of Regrets sidequest. That's the next step complete. The trouble is we don't have an airship at the moment so Europe is off-limits until further notice. We'll just put a pin in this one.

Atop a completely un-noteworthy grave we can find the penultimate Soul Drop. Hell if I'd know how you would discover this on your own unless you return to every area and hump every wall like the Doom Guy in the original DOOM. But here we go... And further down the path we find another NPC whom is evidentially the twin brother of Retired Old Man Iwai down the way.

I guess it should be owned by someone who knows its value. Someone who travels overseas. Your sword skills are very impressive young lady. They may even surpass those of my father's someday.
He regularly made it to Smokin' Sexy Style ranking in his combos. I was very proud of him.
Wow! Thank you, sir!
We all turn to bones when we die. But we leave something behind. Everything we have now is thanks to our ancestors.

Azama, Mindful of his Ancestors provides Karin with another manuscript which enhances her Bullenfogel power level. Nothung is a dumb name for a sword. It's another name for the mythological sword Gram. Which still sounds kind of dumb but not like someone misspelt "nothing" and went "no, I meant to do that."

And another thing that is some guide book ass fodder. Our old pal Ring Soul has been showing up in obscure corners of maps in areas. But it's almost always been along the critical path of a dungeon or town and not too obscure. Certain, not click this very specific spot on at the entrance of an area we have no reason to return to. But, again... Here we are...

Oh... You...?
What's up with you? What's wrong? Isn't it going well with Miyabi?
I don't know! Every night she's out until dawn. When I ask what she's been doing, she says it's work. ...But she can't be at work all the time! She's always saying she was a daddy's girl. She hates work! And she never talks to me when she comes home. Says she's tired. But she used to talk non-stop. You just couldn't keep her quiet. I don't know...
And she started watching AMC's The Walking Dead. She never liked zombie stuff. Much less really crappy zombie stuff. I don't know what to make of it at all.
Pretty bad, huh?
And I can't work when I'm feeling like this every day. I think I'm gonna have to give up this job.
What?! No! You can't! Who else could do this job?!
Why does it matter? It's not like you can't finish the game without me.
I know you're just giving these upgrades to secondary characters you never use in the main party by now. What's the point?!
You can't think like that!
Oh Miyabi! You've got a younger man, haven't you?! I'm trying to please you, but I'm just not as young as I used to be. I wish I still had it...
What exactly are you referring to?!
My luxurious mane of hair. It was a sight to behold. Young Triple H golden flowing locks. Stunning. All... lost to the ever marching passage of time...

Here, this is for you.

But for real, this is just stuff wasted on the B-Squad at this point.

I was really good when I was younger. Oh, I hate getting old! Bye, then...

Ring Soul is about to hit 30. He may as well have one foot in the grave in anime years.

Music: Holy Mistletoe ~ Graveyard

As our last order of business for today, we did get another Soul Drop and we may as well get that sorted before we continue forward.

We're just going down the line at this point crossing off checkmarks on the Fusions we'll seldom use except in specialized situations and uhh... I went in the direction that had the Wind Altar room. So here we are...

Music: Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan

Erisvorch is a Slavich god of heavenly swords. It's also the same level locked cloud monster we've fought every time to unlock Level 3 Fusions. Its big thing is it can cast Slow and Gale to make the fight last slightly longer.

And by "slightly" I mean very slightly. We've outleveled these encounters enough that they're only capable of doing 1 HP of damage per hit at maximum. Reminder: Unless you count returning to previous dungeons to do additional content and having some extra battles along the way I have never grinded during the course of this LP. It's just naturally like this if you do everything content wise. At least in the first game with the leveled Fusion boss fights you got a preview of what you were going to obtain and its abilities. This is just a huge waste of time since it doesn't even correspond with the Fusion in question. It's just a cloud of darkness with an assortment of spells of the same elemental class as what you're unlocking.

Music: Result ~ Victory

I feel like it would be difficult to sneer with a beak. But what do I know? I'm not a supernatural rainbow bird.

Stat wise, we're looking at by default:

Want to go fast and have decent magic, this is still a decent pick. Magic wise it gains:

That's all our extracurricular activities sorted out for the moment. Tune in next for tackling the Hojo Research Lab. My skin crawled that they made the Final Fantasy VII: Remake's Professor Hojo just Maeda from The 3rd Birthday's even slimier dad.

Wolf Bout: Eleanor

Guest Artist Illustration - The boys just hanging out doing their kata.