Part 5: Douche Ex Machina
When we last saw Yuri, Nicolai had managed to plant the Mistletoe into his chest through sheer dumb luck. While we wait to see what effect that will have on our hero, we get treated to a flashback scene.
While Yuri sits at the fire, Jeanne walks up carrying a basket. She's followed by a white wolf, Blanca.
Supper's ready. Momma made it.
Here. It's still warm.
He really likes you, doesn't he?
Uh, yeah. We've been together ever since Poppa died.
Why must this game always try to make me sad?
Yuri produces a loaf of bread from thin air and feeds it to Blanca.
Wow! Up until now, he's never taken food from anyone but me.
He's a huge wolf. Has anyone in the village beside Jeanne even tried to feed him?
I wonder if they'll come back.
Because they left soldiers alive in the town? ...I wonder what they want with the village, anyway.
Anyway, if they come back, this guy will let us know right away!
As Yuri and Jeanne talk, or rather, as Jeanne talks while Yuri grunts monosyllabic replies, an old man walks up to the two. His name is Gepetto.
Ah, so here you are.
I'm not sure if he's really Jeanne's grampa or if she calls him that because he's old. Probably the latter.
Jeanne, your mother is worried about you.
Mmm. Oh, that's good.
Ew, that stinks! Are you drinking again?
Eh heh heh heh! Don't be so hard on me! This is my one true pleasure.
Well, better get to bed. Your mom's waiting for you.
Oh. Okay. Goodnight, Yuri! Goodnight, Grampa!
I'll see you in the morning.
Jeanne and Blanca walk off, leaving Yuri and the old fart alone.
You, too. Shouldn't you be turning in soon?
Eh heh heh heh! After I have a few more drinks!
Let me see that!
Hm? Eh, just a little sip.
Yeah, just a little sip.
Hey! Hey hey hey! Gimme- gimme that back! Gimme!
Oh...oh, I can't believe it!
Ah, that's good!
Hey, how long are you planning on staying in this village, anyway? Huh?
I'm not really sure. What about you? How long are you going to stick with me?
I'm not really sure, either.
Lazy old bum.
We get a brief scene of a flashback within the flashback. This is getting confusing.
Yes, that's Alice's grave.
They're gonna keep coming back. No matter how much you beat 'em. They always do.
This war's not over by a long shot. We need-
A safer place to stay.
There is no safe place...not around here. You know that, don't you? That's why I'm staying right here. I'll protect this village until I die.
What's with you, huh? Sounds to me like you're just looking for a place to die!
Well, you're wrong. I don't plan on throwing my life away, old-timer, if that's what you're thinking!
Is that so?
Besides, my life isn't my own anyway.
This life of mine was given to me by her...
Suddenly, everything around Yuri turns pitch-black except for the fire.
Even the fire soon fades as Yuri looks around in panic.
Jeanne's Voice: Aaaaaahhhh!!
Yuri starts running toward the sound of Jeanne's scream.
He trips over something.
Sensing something behind him, Yuri turns and finds...Amon?
Amon drops Jeanne's lifeless body to the ground.
Yuri is asleep somewhere that looks to be outside. As you may have noticed in the nightmare, the Periapt around Yuri's neck has turned from blue to red. The Periapt was in the first game as well - it was called the Talisman there, and was used to keep track of Yuri's Malice level.
Yay! Blanca's not dead!
Karin's here, too.
And Gepetto stopped playing with toy ducks long enough to show up as well.
Yuri tries to stand up.
Note, I said tries.
We can't go back!
Don't worry about it.
I barely managed to pull you out of that light in time. You can hardly walk!
Thanks for telling me. As if the horrible wrenching pain when I try to move isn't enough of a clue.
What happened to the village?
The soldiers came and took the villagers away.
Can you walk? We can't stay here.
I'm feeling better.
Don't push yourself. You barely survived; you're a lucky man! We'll head for Paris through the woods. I've got an apartment there.
If they find you, they'll kill you too, miss, uh...
Hm. I'm Gepetto, the puppeteer. This here is Yuri. First, we have to think about surviving, right? Hm?
No introduction for Blanca? How rude.
Karin stands up. I guess that means she's with us.
And she immediately walks over and tries to take Yuri's elbow, presumably to help him.
He jerks away. Girls have cooties, you know.
I'm fine! I told you I feel alright now!
That Mistletoe... We better figure out what kind of curse it put on you.
Sapientes Gladio, huh?
Yuri's just repeating the cult's name so he remembers who he has to kill.
We've now got command of a new party. Karen seems to have lost her sword, since it's disappeared from her inventory when you get her back, so for now we have a party of three. There's also something new on the screen - the Soul Energy meter. This basically replaces the Malice meter from the first game. We'll find out just what Soul Energy is used for later.
Looking at everyone's stats, we see that- WHAT THE HELL!?! What happened to all of Yuri's stats!? Where are his Fusions!?
That's right, the Mistletoe is the game's way of making Yuri start all over back at the beginning. Sure, at the end of Shadow Hearts, Yuri was a total badass that could not only face and defeat gods, he could also turn into them, as we already saw with Amon. Well, that's all gone, and we're going to have to earn every single level and Fusion back the hard way.
You know, I'm a little sick of games, comic books, and movies calling their protagonist an anti-hero just because he's a little surly. I do not think that word means what they think it means.
Our next party member is the wolf, Blanca. While Yuri is geared toward physical power, starting with a 3-hit Ring, Blanca is a balanced character like Karin, though he leans a bit more towards magical power than she does.
Blanca is probably the smartest member of the party, I don't care what the Intelligence stats say.
Gepetto rounds out the group as the party mage. He attacks through his living doll, Cornelia. Because of her, some people are quick to label Gepetto a creepy old pedo, but Cornelia is actually modeled and named after Gepetto's deceased daughter. This either makes him sympathetic or infinitely more creepy. You decide.
Now, let's see everyone's equipment.
This time, everyone has an accessory besides their weapon and armor. Yuri attacks with his fists, so all his weapons are things like knuckle blades and such. His first weapon is the Rusty Fang, and he also has a Cotton Shirt for armor and a Leather Belt, which increases attack.
Cornelia is Gepetto's weapon - he makes her more effective by upgrading her string. He starts with Puppet Thread, and his accessory is a Leather Cap, which increases defense.
Blanca's weapons are his teeth and claws, so the items equipped in the weapons slot are things that help increase their effectiveness. He starts with a Tusk Brush. He can't equip shirts, so his armor is a Cloak of Rags.
We can't access Karin's items, but the boys are carrying much of the same, with one addition. Soul Benedictions cure all Status Ailments except Unconscious.
Talking to Gepetto not only lets us leave the cave, it also nets us some items.
Oh, and I should give you this.
You got the Andras Crest.
You got the Furfur Crest.
That crest has magical power. Anybody can use magic if they have that. All they have to do is equip it. What do you think? Pretty spiffy, eh?
...What's the matter?
H-he he he! Umm, thanks, but, uh, no thanks... I don't need magic like this. I can do my fusions.
You sure? It's a pretty handy thing to have...
Yuri don't need no stinkin' crests.
...Well, never mind. Blanca and I will use it, then.
You understand what we're saying?
Crests are a way for your party members to gain extra spells beyond what they get from their Special Abilities. Well, everyone in your party except Yuri. Yuri is special.
Speaking of crests, this is the Crest Equip screen. Each crest has spells associated with it. Furfur has Gale Spin, which is a Wind-based attack, Focalor has Hail Beak, which is a Water-based attack, and Andras has Mirage, which I believe increases Evasion rate. Each crest you equip decreases your DCP by its level. I give Gepetto Furfur and Andras, and I give Blanca Focalor for no particular reason. (On retrospect, I should have given Blanca Furfur, since his element is Wind, giving him a bonus to Wind-based attacks.)
On that note, we'll stop for now and tackle Ardennes Forest next time.