Part 1: MuladharaWelcome to the Junkyard
As mentioned before, and will be the case in basically every instance, it is much, much easier to just watch this if you can.
But if not, then you should probably know that the first 30 seconds or so have this weird trippy background.
They also have a disembodied voice talking. We have no context for this, nor does it make a lick of sense right now.
Sorry, make that two disembodied voices. Thankfully it is easy to distinguish between the two.
That isn't true.
You, like me, need only what was lost.
I will release the uncontrollable rage that lurks inside them...
...And with that, we're dropped into the midst of a rainy, ruined city with a giant tower lurking in the distance.
Much more importantly, we have our main characters all assembled right here. There's actually five of them, but the ones on the far left and right might be harder to spot.
Also, there's that weird oval thing kind of in the distance. That's pretty important.
That eyepiece she was looking through, wasn't the scope on her rifle or anything. It was an actual small device of sorts and she hands it off to our grey haired friend here.
He looks through it too, and we get a pretty cool first-person view of what it displays.
Namely we get to survey an entire set of dudes, including this Harley fella.
So we know that we can get some vague information from this thing. What about that strange egg-like thing with tentacles?
...Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Weird.
Strange as that is, there's still a job to do. Thankfully, it seems like our grey haired friend there is a commander of sorts. With a mere wave of his hand, the other three who were standing by...
Get their assorted weapons ready. For his red-haired buddy that means an assault rifle.
Purple dredlocks has a submachine gun.
And, uh, Steve Blum has... another assault rifle.
Yes, everyone has a gun or ranged weapon of some kind.
Amanda Winn-Lee's little offhand comment there seems cold as all hell, but it does have meaning. Namely if the leader falls, you just lose.
And with that, we begin the Steel Ball Run.
damn uh wrong thing wai-
Y'know, to say he has four unique modeled characters heading his way right now, Harley sure is looking rather smug about something.
Perhaps he already knows that even after their leader gets into position he will be distracted by...
A kitty with a damn weird bell on its collar.
Not much of a distraction, but it does last long enough for this guy to get some shots off.
Right before he gets headshotted by our no-scoping sniper.
Thankfully, the grey-haired leader gets away just in time because those crossbow bolts explode.
Sure, why not.
Oh, and while everyone else has either automatic weapons or a sniper rifle? He just has a handgun (now; he had an assault rifle but threw it away by mistake just before this). Makes sense, since he's the guy in charge so he probably doesn't come out to the battlefield proper often or something.
Also he only needs it anyway. Can shoot those bolts out of the air like it's nothing.
A barrage like this might present more of a problem, though. But that's what the backup is for.
Here's your requisite reminder that all of this is over that betentacled egg thing. Complete with a requisite explosion.
Amazingly enough, it hasn't even been damaged by that.
Remove the unidentified object at coordinates 2314 5873.
Remove the unidentified object at coordinates 2314 5873.
Huh, it seems neither side knows what this thing is. And both think the other is to blame for it being there.
And while they're trying to figure out what that could possibly mean, this thing starts glowing green.
Then it gets hit by lightning. Because of course it does.
That's not an accident though...
It sure seems like it should be, considering that is what makes the egg-thing finally explode.
That releases these weird beams of light that run through everyone. Harley and the rest of the Vanguards...
Along with Mr. Grey hair and the rest of his group...
This, in turn, leads to Bad Things happening.
Like, dudes turning black and having these weird purple lines all of over them.
Schizophrenic voices in their head suggesting cannabalism.
And that Harley guy... being replaced by some zebra... looking... thing that sliced a guy in two.
It's at this point, you may have noticed our conspicuously silent grey-haired protagonist finally starts yelling out in pain.
Or at least Yuri Lowenthal's closest attempt to it.
This view is through that eyeglass lense thing by the way.
At some point, it cuts away from that and shows... this pseudo-silhouette of that tall thing with a blade coming out of his hand. In motion, it looks like he's eating something. There's even some sound-effects of chewing and the like.
Strange that it shows a blue sky here, ain't it? Not jarring in the least. Not to mention that the place we were just at sure as hell doesn't have a blue sky.
Oh well, seems we passed out during all that and are awake now.
Eh, probably just imagining things. Seems like everyone else passed out too.
*Coughs* My chest is on fire.
...Huh, that is definitely a new tattoo. And it glows. I'm sure that doesn't mean anything.
So, there's suddenly a giant glowing crater where the giant glowing egg thing was. If I know anything about superhero movies that's going to be radiation and will give us super powers.
But it does seem like there must be something else in there...
Oh, it's just a naked girl.
...Wait, hang on. What?
I want to know more about her. I am sure you feel the same, Serph.
Hurray, our protagonist finally has his name mentioned.
And if you think him being named "Serph" is lazy (yes, like surf)... oh boy. You ain't seen nothing yet.
With that, we skip to a short while later and are back at a place called Muladhara. Named after the seventh tantric chakra in Hinduism. Its name means the root of support ("Mula" is Sanskrit for "root" and "Adhara" is the same for "Support") and represents self-sufficiency and ambition along with one's own physical identity and their survival.
Heat is probably the second laziest character name in the entire game (which is a shame, since Crispin Freeman does a pretty great job). Or failing that it's a very, very close race with what I'd consider first place all the same. They might even be tied.
She did not have a Tag Ring.
Tag Ring being that giant ring-like thing that we've seen on everyone's hand before now. It's pretty important.
The woman is not our concern. The ramification of the battle are unclear. What are these markings?
Our priority is to clarify the situation.
To the Vanguard's territory?
They may have an answer for us.
The rest will stay and guard the base.
I will go.
I want an explanation.
Oh good it's finally over. Now we can wander around Muladhara for a bit, talk with our other party members, learn their names indirectly, see what bits of tutorialising there are...
And find out why Heat thinks the Vanguards would know anything.
He was present when she appeared, so he may know details about this girl.
It's pretty much just speculation though.
Anyway, since everyone has a gun we can choose the ammo they use. We have none yet spare, of course, but since we can't get to a stats page yet this lets us see them anyway.
Serph, being the main character, doesn't really have any inherent speciality. He can do just about anything and it won't matter too much.
Heat, on the other hand, is very blatantly a Strength guy. This won't change, like ever.
Argilla (it's Italian for clay) also seems like a bit of a blank slate, much like Serph. Only difference between the two at first glance is she prioritises Magic and Luck a little more, whereas he prefers Strength and Agility.
We'll go over stats and their various uses later, though. They're mostly self-explanatory but there are some subtleties that are less obvious.
Sadly, Gale (green-haired Steve Blum) and Cielo (dredlocked Dave Wittenberg) are sitting this one out. Despite seeming like they're totally party members, you can't actually sub 'em into the party, unfortunately.
Most of the nameless members of the Embryon just exist to spout basic unimportant exposition or give you dry tutorials. None of which is worth our time; it's all blindingly obvious or not necessary.
That guy out there, for example, was basically just telling us "there are treasure chests." That is what these purple eggy things are.
Lots of egg like objects in this place.
This particular one just has a basic revival item in it. As a nice change, to what most people may be used to by now, even if Serph drops he can totally be revived. That "leader dies, game over" thing does not apply to actual gameplay. At least not for us.
Opposite our free loot, we can find our black haired... kidnapee (I guess?) sleeping. Nothing else though.
Anyway, this door has a golden quincunx on it. This is the weird shorthand symbol for "this room is a shop."
Regular items are mostly uninteresting for now. Dis- items just cure the ailment in their name. Panaceas cure a couple extra. All very simple stuff.
We can also buy bullets from Vendors if we wanted to. Even though these are twice as good as our current bullets, we can only get two right now and we don't need them anyway.
Much like the vendor having a shorthand symbol, we can also find doors with a red lotus on them.
These ones are large terminals. Specifically only ever large terminals. They function, well, like terminals in the rest of the series. Save points and teleport spots. They also have the added bonus of letting you heal too. How nice.
There are smaller ones too, of course. They don't have dedicated rooms. You can't teleport to a smaller one, nor can you restore HP/MP there.
Ah well, let's keep poking around Muladhara a bit more. Argilla and Heat are waiting up ahead, but for now we'll head through that door up on our right.
This one just has a couple rooms beyond it. And a weird blue light... wall?
Yeah, it's a wall. Looks like we'd just be able to walk through but no dice. We'll be back for this later. So what about those other 4 rooms?
Three have items in them. A Soma Drop here (full HP/MP recovery for one person).
Three Chakra Drops (50MP to one person) in a different room and two Dis-Poisons in the third.
The fourth? Empty. How boring.
It is the smallest area, sandwiched between the Vanguards' and Maribel's sectors.
Argilla gives us some minor exposition. Heat, not even that. The only important thing here is that since we control Muladhara, there's no fights here. It's our home base, so of course its nice and safe.
It may be hard to see from here, but that purple light behind that pillar?
It's an item container we can't get to yet. It's easy to see, and you're constantly reminded of it since it's on the way to the exit.
Speaking of which, this guy by the exit proper is a dick. He asks you if you're low on healing supplies. You'd think if you told him "yes" that he'd give you some. Instead, he tells you to go buy some.
This guy, meanwhile, cares about our wellbeing a bit. He just thinks we'll be at a disadvantage since we're going into the Vanguard's territory.
Well, we will head there shortly. First things first, we're off back to Ground Zero briefly.
...When we do, we get this message. It doesn't mean much though. We just lost a couple HP.
What we're actually here for is to talk to this guy by the crater. He just gives us 5 Rations for free, no questions asked. Nothing else here but these. Nothing else left to do back at Muladhara either.
Let's go see what Harley knows. He'll answer our questions, one way or another.