Part 2: Cress and the Boar
Here's the South Forest, which is where we have to go. In case you've forgotten, we're going hunting to get food for the village or Cress' home or something.
Forget that though; we're off over here instead! There's a town to the north and it actually has shops we can buy things in rather than ones that are here just for show.
Skit: School Policy?
: Does the Alvein School of Swordsmen have an official bandana policy?
: No, not really.
: I mean, you, your old man, even the trainees are always wearing them.
: But Master Tristan doesn't.
: Hahaha. I definitely can't imagine that bald old guy wearing one.
: What's a stone figure doing in a place like this? It's impossible to lift...Looks like I can push or pull it, though.
The game uses this to give us a tutorial on how to move things (stand in front of it and press A; the game takes two text boxes to say this. Two full text boxes). Note that we get the tutorial for moving things after, possibly, doing an... odd job that involved moving a thing.
We're not going to move the statue though. Going left is quicker and leads to the same place; we get random encounters on both, but for going north we get a free item as well as many, many, many random encounters. Not worth it right now, so let's go left and just have the one fight instead.
The enemies in this place are exactly the same as the ones around Toltus only they're slightly stronger. By coming here at level 1 for both Cress and Chester we might need to actually heal. I'm shocked too, but we're not here for the challenge;
16 gald for one fight against 2 easy enemies is quite nice at this stage. Also Cheese is another food item we can eat or cook with. Generally, eating a food item without cooking it doesn't give you much HP back (like, 1% of your HP in most cases) but it can be good enough for that reason too. No need to waste a Gel when you have food on-hand and no need to cook it or can't for whatever reason.
Well, here's a town we don't need to come to yet. We came here for two things though, so let's get on with that.
Skit: Present for Ami
: We're this close, you think we should drop in?
: Yeah, I could bring back a present to thank Ami for her gift too.
: Don't worry about that. She made that for you just because she wanted to.
: But still, I should do something...
: I think in this case, the thought is what counts.
Euclid's signs help demonstrate something useful; they don't just tell you what is in the town. They give you an idea of where they are as well. The signs here mean that the inn is on the left whilst the weapon and armour shop(s) are on the right as is the item store and grocery store.
Now you can see why I wanted that 10 free gald from the other innkeeper. She'd basically be paying for this, even though we got enough money from one fight on the way here. Also we can rest for free in Cress' bed but that's too far to walk for what we need it for.
There's another optional scene in the grocery store that we can see as many times as we like if we go to the item store after triggering it. This also resets the entire event if we want to do it again and there's a very good reason for that which we'll see later. We have other things to worry about for now though.
Proprietor: What is it, sir?
: Um... Behind you...
This is the first real translation error, and it's not the last or the worst. It cannot be the grocer's pet as this lady IS the grocer. It belongs to the guy who runs the item store.
Proprietor: How does it get in here? I'd better go complain!
Yeah, yeah, whatever. There's no way to avoid that scene without entering this building though and we want to do that to talk to the chef over there to the right.
Chef: I'd like to share this taste with all who would partake. Would you like a little taste of my world? Here's one of my secret recipes!
Chef: Cooking is something you'll get better at the more you practice. Star marks show a chef's level of cooking master! The more stars you have, the better your cooking skills, so practice daily!
I wish real cooking was so easy. Maybe then I'd be go- uh, anyway, we have a new recipe. Let's check out this here cooking thing, shall we?
We start the game with 2 recipes we can use whenever. We don't need to wait for any arbitrary tutorial to tell us that we can cook in this game, and I like that. Unfortunately, we can't get any new recipes by cooking older stuff a lot with a specific character so we have to wait until specific parts to get a new recipe. We just got the recipe for the Cabbage Rolls, so let's check that one out.
When we choose what we want to cook, we get told what we need to cook it. In this case, we just need some Cabbage (naturally) and some Pork to go with it. We only have some Cheese in stock, from the Bugbears on the way here, so it's a good thing we can buy them both here.
With the ingredients in stock, we just choose who we want to cook it and then we're done. Note that the 5 stars all appear automatically; the number of stars lit up indicate the cooking level for a character with that recipe. As you'd expect, you get better results from having a higher level. Since Cress and Chester are equal here, we'll have Cress cook the Cabbage Rolls.
We only restored 12% of our HP with it, so we didn't really get any benefit out of it. Even if we needed the healing for such a low amount it wasn't worth the cost to cook the things. Apple Gels cost far less and restore more, so it's a long term thing. For reference, the Hamburger restores 10% of your HP as does the Rice Ball. The Rice Ball also has the ability to cure Poison so you might want to use that instead at some points.
As you'd expect, you can also fail to cook something which is more likely at low cooking levels. When that happens, you can all sorts of effects from a 1% HP restoration to the entire party being restored from various status effects including being revived. If you master every recipe with a character they'll gain a title from it (with one exception), though this is a bit of a pain. There's no shortcuts for cooking, unfortunately, so you can't do it immediately after every battle; you have to stop and open the menu each time you want to do it.
At level 2, Cress gains his first skill (later named an Arte). We'll be wanting to use this one quite a fair bit.
Demon Fang is a pretty basic skill, and just attacks by sending a shockwave along the ground towards the targetted enemy. Note that "0%" in the corner; if we get that to 100% by using it enough (100 times, of course), Cress will master the skill. For mastering the skill we... don't get anything actually. If we master specific skills, however, we do get a mini-reward. Note that Cress is the only character who's skills have an arbitary mastering system.
This can be seen with Chester's first skill, which is gained at level 3.
As you can tell, skills cost TP to use. You'll regain a couple after every fight (except on the hardest difficulty but that doesn't count as it's New Game Plus only and makes the game more of a chore than fun) as well as restoring some through the use of items.
This is all fascinating, I am sure, but we came here for a different reason so let's get on with that now that we have 200 gald.
: ... Excuuuuuuuse me!!!
Weapon Shop Owner: I was zoning out from all the boredom...
We came all this way to get a new bow for Chester. We could get a new sword for Cress too (depending on playstyle there's two possibilities but we'll worry about that another time) but I'm a cheapskate so we won't. It doesn't look that bad since it's an early weapon but let's put this thing into context;
It nearly doubles his attack stat. This thing is that good an upgrade, and we don't need it but it's damn good.
Skit: South Forest
: Let's bring home a big one today.
: Yeah, let's do it.
Okay, now we'll go the South Forest at last.
Watch the dungeon! (And the inevitable boss fight; there's also some voice acting for like one line of dialogue)
: After it!
So, the dungeon is pretty short and is lacking in treasure too. The random encounters here are the same old stuff we could encounter before, only without the wolves so it's probably easier than the world map in the same area. Wolves take ages to kill, so this is a good thing.
Life Bottles revive a character who dies in combat. This is the only item in here and it's kind of useful; we won't need it for a while either, mind, but it's still pretty good. We could always sell it if we need the money.
I see it too... Let's follow it again, and heal up since there's a boss just ahead.
: I know it went this way.
Note that this line is voice acted but nothing else in this scene is. It's kinda weird actually, but that lets you know its important! We're not to defile a... decrepit... almost dead... tree.. uh...
Oh, okay, that makes more sense. Shame it's just an illusion, but its nice of you to let us know.
: How about you? You OK, Cress?
: I'm fine...
Now it's time to kill something for plot importance. Y'know, so we can cook it... and eat it... why are we doing this rather than buying pork at Euclid anyway? Who cares; boss fight!
Watch the boss fight!
The Baby Boars are basically optional targets; most of the time they'll run away before you can even reach them.
Even for a first boss, the Boar is easy as hell. You can effectively stunlock it by slashing, thrusting and then immediately using Demon Fang. Since it has such a low HP value, it won't last long and Chester's Hell Pyre arte makes it go even faster.
That's a little over a quarter of the bow paid off from one fight. It was quite the nice investment if I do say so myself. Not much EXP; we don't even get a level out of it!
: This alone should be enough. Let's get back to the village.
: Hey... That's the village's bell! I wonder what's going on!?
: Let's go find out. Hurry!!!
Eh, we can afford to take out time. Some NPCs mentioned that they were getting married; it's probably just that. There's nothing to worry about!
"A spirit is said to dwell within this tree. Please do not harm or otherwise disturb it. - Euclid Tourism Association."
Ah, so that weird lady that came out of the tree was a spirit. Makes as much sense as anything else I guess.
Since we've got to do this eventually...
...It can wait a bit longer I suppose. I mean, it's not like the village is on fire or half-destroyed or anything silly like that.
: What's going on in Totis!?
: Let's hurry back!