Part 7: Luca's First Strike
I'm not gonna lie, I hate little kids in jRPGs. First problem with Pilika is that, when she does speak, she talks about herself in the third person. It shouldn't be as grating as it is, but it really irks me.
Pilika mentions getting a 'sacrifice' for the shrine. I wonder what that is.
: Oh, that's right. You didn't hear that part. After the river took me downstream, I wound up stranded on this rock and this girl found me. Then her family nursed me back to health.
: Hey, are you a friend of Uncle Jowy's?
: That's not true! You shouldn't tell a lie. Pilika, this is my best friend.
: I knew it. What's your name?
: Okay. Uncle Azure, okay? My name is Pilika. Nice to meet you. Uncle Jowy, Uncle Azure, come to Pilika's house, okay?
I consider this Pilika business to be a low point in the game. Still somewhat short, though. Thankfully.
Suikoden 2 Tunes Heart Softening BGM 1
I didn't screenshot it, but Pilika's dad is named Marx. Translation goof or silly joke?
Jowy explains who we are, and that we can't get back to Highland. This family, for some reason, decides to take us in despite the fact that we're being hunted by a ruthless army.
Pilika then drags us off into this room for some reason
: Umm... err... Pilika has a favor to ask... will you listen, please?
: What is it, Pilika?
: Umm... when Pilika went to Muse with Mommy and Daddy, Pilika saw something really great.
Seriously, is she supposed to have some sort of developmental issues? I don't recall four or five year olds constantly talking like this.
Pilika tells us she has enough to buy the amulet, but can't go alone; she tells us to go buy the amulet for her in the nearby town of Muse.
In return, she gives us her precious 70 potch she saved up.
That's Muse, the capital of the City-State of Jowston. But there's a couple secrets.
There's a couple new enemies out here. These Sickles can occasionally drop Gale Runes.
They're also pretty strong. They can attack individually or swoop around and attack a whole row.
Muse has a few borders; one with Greenhill, a country to the west, another with Highland, to the north, and then this one, with Matilda, to the northwest. There's an infamous glitch here that people use to powerlevel in the early game, acquire two characters you wouldn't normally get for quite some time, and speed up their playthrough to complete a certain sidequest.
The Muse-Greenhill border has the most lax security, because of the good relations between Muse and Greenhill. People can easily pass through the border without trouble. The Muse-Highland border was the sight of old battles between Jowston and Highland. In 432, the forces of Darell of Muse were pursuing the army of Robert Blight. They were routed by Kiba Windamier when his forces were ambushed at their flank. The battle here would be known as the Battle at Fort Retto, where Kiba took down 3,000 soldiers using only 100, reminiscent of the Alamo. The Muse-Matilda border has the tightest security, despite having a door anyone could push open.
As you can see, the developers clearly forgot to make this door impenetrable, so with strength unknown to Azure previously, he has succeeded in pushing the very frame of a huge stone door backwards. However, until we acquire something later, it's a death knell to go past this border at the moment.
Dude. Dude your door has been moved. People ARE GETTING THROUGH.
To the south of Muse is the town of Coronet. Normally, we wouldn't arrive here until a bit later, but you can go here now if you want. The only use for this is that the blacksmith here can sharpen weapons to level 5. I'll only be doing this for Azure and Jowy at the moment due to an event later. If you did not acquire Rikimaru back in Ryube, you can also find him here (after a certain event soon).
Suikoden 2 Tunes Let's Climb That Hill ~ Muse City Theme
Anyway, let's go back to the capital.
First things first, let's go to the item shop. The shopkeep will only sell it to us for 500 potch.
Because I dislike Jowy, I'm picking this option.
When you choose that option, Jowy forks over his signet ring. He'll give us 2,000 potch for it, which means we get a net profit of 1,500 potch for the wooden amulet. Score!
: No..... let's go Azure. Pilika is waiting for us.
There are people galore to talk to in Muse.
Muse also has the game's first runeshop. Not only can they attach and remove Runes, you can also Buy them and find rare Runes from these shops as well.
We also see that Suikoden II has added more weapon-based Runes. The Titan Rune is only for two-handed sword users like Rikimaru, and it deals 1.3x damage at the cost of being the last person to move on your team. This is kind of a weird restriction because two-handed sword users are generally slow as shit anyway.
The Unicorn Rune is for spear users, of which we have none at the moment, and it deals 1x damage to a column of enemies, but for the next turn that character's defense plummets to zero. While it may seem like a good idea to equip Runes on your characters right now, it's best to save your money and wait. The Rare Finds at the moment has a Water Rune, but we have no mages.
These three bros all complain about their parents leaving them. You look like ya'll are old enough to move out by now, guys. Well, time to head back to Toto Villag--
Oh... oh shit.
: What happened?
: Waaah, waaaaaaah, da... da.. da... daddy said 'go hide'! So Pilika hide real good... nobody find. But Pilika hear lot of noise. Very scary noise. Very, very, very scary noise. So... so Pilika... Pilika take a little peek. And then... Pilika saw Mommy and Daddy... and they not moving...
While I'm gonna bash on Pilika a lot, I do find myself sympathizing with her. She just watched her family and town get slaughtered in front of her eyes. Pilika tells us that she knows they're dead, after her dad told her about it when her cat died.
: He says it just like going somewhere far away. Right? Right? Pilika... Pilika be a good girl...
War does terrible things.
Well that's a familiar face.
>>> What happened here?
: It's the work of the Prince, Luca Blight. He looted and burned this entire village just to keep his army entertained. And next he'll... do you know a man named Viktor? He's a mercenary man around here. I've got no time left, so if you know him, please take me to him.
: There's no time. Drag her if you must, but we have to go.
Pilika also joins our convoy.
The convoy is new to the series. Story characters who don't have roles in battle will frequently find themselves traveling with us this way. Sometimes battle characters will do the same; sometimes you can make battle characters do the same, such as shoving Nanami here all the time whenever you can which is just about all of the time.
Suikoden II Requiem of Grief (must listen, throwback to the Burnt Village of the Elves theme)
Back in the ruined remains of Toto Village, the warrior woman Hanna is here and she can now be recruited.
Hanna: So my journey was just a waste of time...
>>> Let's fight together.
Hanna, apparently, comes from the Nameless Lands, an area north of Zexen which remains unexplored in the series to date, although Zexen itself is a region in the next Suikoden game. Hanna's an incredibly average battle character with no real highlights aside from being able to equip shields and heavier armor.
Now all that's left in Toto is an angry, bitter dog.
: How dare you?! You're here like the godfather of all mercenaries and you don't even let us know?! We were worried!!
: Huh? No I... ahem. Anyway, Apple, what are you doing here? Doing a little sightseeing?
: Unfortunately not. Luca Blight attacked Toto village. I came here to relay that info.
: Luca... the royal prince?
: Luca Blight has his eyes set on an invasion of the City-State. This was just a warm-up. The fort is in his way. If we leave it, he'd be opening himself up to an attack from behind when he invades Muse.
: You're joking. What about the peace treaty?
: Luca set up things so it looked like the State broke the peace treaty with a surprise attack. Now he's screaming for all Highland citizens to take revenge for the lives of the young men slain in the attack.
: So that's how it is...
: Azure, Jowy, good work. We have some important strategy to discuss, but you must be tired. Why don't you go to your quarters and get some rest.
Apple Chifuku Star
Sigh... I think the Suikoden developers really didn't like Apple and thus make her do really dumb things just to make others look better.
Hanna Tensatsu Star
Awesome design, no backstory. A common theme in Suikoden games.
Little kids do not belong in jRPGs even in jRPGs that focus heavily on the idea of children being involved in war [wrap your minds around that paradox!]