Part 1: Cress and Chester
The game just throws you balls into a combat scene right at the start. There's "in media res" and there's this.
Watch the scene! (It has voice acting and everything!)
?: I dwell amidst the abounding light of heaven!
Hmm, things don't look like they're going so well for the four people who are presumably the good guys here. One of them's down already, the other chick has a "we're gonna die!" look in her eyes, one dude's gone mental and is screaming and the other is charging at blondie.
: Thou art at the gate to the Underworld. Come forth, thunder of the gods!
: What the heck is that...?
You're gonna regret asking that.
: It ends here!
: It can't be...
Needless to say, this wrecks the blonde tall guy and ends the fight on its own.
: What are you doing here!!!
Note that all text that appears in this scene is in white with no box so it's hard to see as it blends in with the background really well. It's kinda annoying so I'll spare you the trouble of trying to decipher it. You can see it in the video if you want to try so badly, though.
: Is the task appointed to my family through the generations fulfilled at last?
I guess that's a "yes?" Still, I like how vague it is here rather than being an conveniently round number like 100 or 1000 or whatever. "12-ish" is good enough.
Cress Albane is the main character of this little game and so is the dude we'll be using throughout the game. The guy talking to him is his father, Miguel.
: I did. How is your mother feeling?
Amazingly, his mother is still alive too and lives in this house to boot. She's sick, but not dead.
: Her fever's gone, so she should be fine now.
: So what's on your mind?
: About that pendant I gave you...
: Pendant? Oh, the one you gave me for my 15th birthday... What about it?
We don't get to find out what's so important about it though. The scene transitions to the house just below Cress'.
: Be careful. You're the only big brother I have...
: Oh, sorry, Dad. I already had plans with Chester.
: OK, let's talk about the pendant tonight at dinnertime.
: OK. Master Tristan, please make yourself comfortable.
If you look at the window in the middle, you can see the old guy from before looking out. Cress' dad stands at the left window for a few seconds as well before walking off.
: Master Tristan just stopped by the house.
: But I'm ready now, Chester.
: You're still recovering from that illness. You should stay inside.
: But I was worried about you. There've been monsters about lately.
: We'll be fine, as long as Chester has his bow, and I my sword. Plus, Dad's here in the village.
: Don't worry, Mrs. Albane. We're just gnna do some hunting.
: Well, OK, but... Don't overdo it. Oh, and take this.
Basic healing item; restores 30% of your max HP. Sounds like it'd be useful at later levels, due to proportional healing, but will be outdated before we need it... or it would be if we did what the game wants us to.
Well, we have control now and there's a few optional things in Toltus we can do. Not many, but as it is the first town that's to be expected. What can we do first I wonder...? Oh, I know!
Let's bug an old man. He never said anything in the scene and Cress mentioned him by name twice so let's see what he knows about things.
: Cress. I trust you've been practicing. You're bound to become a better swordsman than even your father.
And that's all he has to say about that. Oh, those sword guys in the back there?
That one guy is out of sync. You can try to get him back in it by walking in front of him and stopping his animation by getting hit (and yelled at by Miguel) but I find it funnier as is.
Oh, and since we're here let's check out an easily missed optional scene!
: She's sleeping like a baby. She always works too hard. She's gotta take it easy sometimes.
: What a great mom you have. I envy you. A magnificent father and a kind mother... What an ideal family.
Yes, that is a "sweat drop" icon in the text box. No, that doesn't stop it appearing as a bubble over character's heads.
: I mean, Chester... You have Ami, don't you?
: I've never seen a sister look up to her big brother more than her.
: And why wouldn't she! She's my kid sister, after all!
I think something got lost in translation already. It's not too bad, since you can still tell what he's trying to say, but it's still not great either.
Well, after getting yelled at by the family maid we might as well go do one other thing in town before running off to kill things.
Shopkeeper: How's your little sister? Here, give this to her, will ya?
Being a food item, we could keep this for ourself to use for quick healing or cooking or whatever later, but we do get a reward for doing this that isn't just a warm, fuzzy feeling.
: Nice to see you. I...made this for you.
: Ha ha ha... It looks just like you.
: Was that what you were knitting so late every night?
: Thanks. I'll take good care of it.
: Hey, Ami, what about me?
: Oh, umm...
The Stuffed Cress is a "Key" item only we, uh, don't actually ever need it. We do, however. have to get it if we want something a bit more usable. By talking to Ami again with the Apple from the shopkeeper...
: Chester... You got another apple from the man at the grocery? *crunch* Yummy.
Yep, we get a new title for Chester out of this. Unlike later games, titles are just for show and don't have any other functions. There's no alternative costumes for using a different title or whatever and we won't, necessarily, be getting all of them since a few for each character require grinding. We'll be getting all of the ones that are from sidequests and stuff like this, though.
Speaking of sidequests, this old lady at the inn is mean and never gave me one she was supposed to. There's a statue just behind the box that you can see sticking out slightly; she's meant to ask you to move it for her and then she'll give you 10 gald (money) for it but neither would trigger. It's not much, but it's the principle of the matter!
There's finally nothing left in town, so let's go hunting!
: Leaving already, Master?
: I am. And where are you two headed?
: We're going hunting in South Forest.
: That will be excellent practice.
Here's South Forest, mere steps away from the town. Not much chance of those "monsters" Maria mentioned attacking us during the journey. I put monsters in air-quotes as the random encounters in this area include such ferocious beasts as wolves (okay, that might be a problem), bees and the ultimate horror of horrors: owls!
We can worry about this another time, though.
: I was going to say the same thing about you. Feeling good?
: It's because I promised Ami that we were going to bring back a big one.
: Then I guess we'll have to do our best.
: Yeah, exactly.
Cress Albane official render.