Part 9: The Man Who DelvesPart IX: The Man Who Delves
I mean, I like Alvin, but marketing's a dirty business...
One of the special event jobs this chapter is to talk to Elle in Ludger's apartment. Let's see what she wants...
That's it! You found it! Rollo's brush!
It's just a brush.
Hey, don't look at me like that! This is no ordinary brush! This is the best brush ever! EVER! I've tried 'em all, and this one keeps his fur the softest and shiniest! Isn't that right, Rollo?
Oh no! There's something else I forgot! This is horrible! I need Rollo's scratching post!
Hey, come on, this is important! If he doesn't have his favorite scratching post, he gets all stressed out! His fur gets frizzy and he can't sleep. Isn't that right?
Oh, right! I forgot one more thing! Your hair gel and floss!
Don't you "What?" me! I don't like when people around Rollo don't practice good grooming and hygiene. I don't need those bad habits rubbing off on him! Right, Rollo?
Meow! Meow! Meow!
Boy, Ludger... You know, some days, you're a real handful!
Yeah, it's really-- OH WAIT! There's something else we need!
Glad that's over... Still, Ludger knew what he was getting into when he adopted Rollo and set his life on the path of dimension destroyer. It's all the cat's fault, when you think about it.
Still, unless you feel like grinding an absurd amount of gald for the next debt payment, we're going to have to put our necks on the line and fight some Elite Monsters. The one in Aladhi Trail is in the western section of the area.
However, especially for this next fight, no sense in making things harder on yourself for no reason. Before you get started, eat a valuable recipe (Veggie Sticks, which increases P and A. Defense by 30%, is an excellent choice), fully charge up your Linked Artes gauge, and make sure to have a Chromatus charge ready to go.
If you want to make things even easier, you could head on over to Hamil, the nearest town, and get better weapons for the characters you're bringing into the fight (no character is entirely useless, because everyone has a heal arte, but Elize, Alvin, and Jude are who I'm rolling with this time).
To be fair to this sack of crap, he's sure not trying to hide. Let's take this one. Heavy Claw
So this...it's a real tough fight. He simply refuses to be staggered, and get used to that happening a lot with bosses until we get a certain special skill. But, like I talked about with Volt, this defense is not absolute.
Again, it's hard to count on an enemy blocking so that Breaker will stagger him, but just keep attacking, and he will block at some point. Of course, that is your license to kick his ass, starting with Crossfire or Cerberus Strike, both Earth-elemental.
On the offensive side, Heavy Claw has about what you'd expect from the name and such a large monster. Powerful swiping attacks that hit a wide area around him (even slightly behind him), a powerful overhead swing that knocks the affected to the ground, and an unblockable rolling attack. However, if the final attack does not hit anyone, he hits the side of the arena and will fall on the ground for a few seconds. Unfortunately, you cannot stagger him at all while he's in that situation. However, it is free damage he can't block.
Thanks to some lucky breaks, I managed to bring him down quite a bit faster than I thought I would on my victory. Still, I agree with this assessment. At least we got it.
Anyway, the rest of the Aladhi Trail passed uneventfully, so let's just move on to something quite a bit more interesting.
The farming town of Hamil, also known as the first town visited after the prologue of Tales of Xillia 1. In fact, Aladhi Seahaven was the first area visited after Jude got himself in a whole world of trouble (still ongoing) with Milla Maxwell. But, while we're in the neighborhood, let's start Elize's story, why don't we?
The shy girl
C'mon, Bunnykins! Let's go for a stroll!
Are you and that stuffed animal ever apart?
Bunnykins is my bestest friend! Thank you so much for getting me one! Daddy said they were sold out everywhere!
Heh. I can't take all the credit. Mommy got lucky with her raffle tickets, is all. But it's mostly because you were such a good little girl. That's why Bunnykins came to you!
Of course! You gotta be good or Bunnykins won't be your buddy!
Ah, so that's the "Bunnykins" thing that has everyone in a tizzy.
It seems as popular in Elympios as it is in Rieze Maxia! It's so hot right now that it's sold out everywhere. Isn't Bunnykins just the cutest?
Eh, I guess. If you like that sorta thing.
You don't like Bunnykins?
Bunnykins is for babies! It's sold out everywhere anyway, and I'm broke.
That's no problem! If you're a good kid, Bunnykins will come to you.
That's a secret. But it's true!
I'm mostly good, and I asked Bunnykins to come to me a million different times...
Elle runs off to play with Rollo, presumably...
Hey, Ludger? Would you be willing to help me find a Bunnykins?
Well, we're involved in destroying dimensions and hunting down our master agent brother who also has the blood of countless dimensions on his hands, might as well look for stuffed animals in the mean time.
Thank you! They say Bunnykins are so tough to find that even Spirius agents can't track them down. But with you on the job, I know we'll find a Bunnykins.
You want to get one as a present for Elle?
It would make her year!
Elize gets a text on her phone. Seems everyone in this universe except Elle, Muzet, and maybe a couple other characters have one...
Oh, it's from Luna!
One of your schoolmates?
No, Luna lives in Elympios.
Luna isn't even her real name!
She's my pen pal.
So you've only communicated via text?
Yeah. I sent a message to Luna by accident one day, and we've been pen pals ever since. She knows all sorts of stuff. She always gives me the best advice.
Sounds like she's an excellent pen pal.
Yeah. She seems so grown up. She's almost like a big sister. And that's why...
Elize wants to be a big sister to Elle! Like Luna is to her!
Before I met all of you, I was all alone. No mom. No dad... I-I would've given anything for a family. I know Elle feels the same way.
Ho ho ho. Sounds like you're well on your way to becoming a big sister. You and Elle are practically sisters already.
You can guess which one I'll pick. Incidentally, Elize happens to be one the easiest characters to raise affection for. Basically any goody-two shoes response will raise her affection in character quests or events where she is a party to the discussion and there is a choice to be made.
I sure hope so.
You're like a little grown-up, Elize!
Anyway, if I get a lead on a Bunnykins, I'll let you know.
Don't let us down, Ludger!
Anyway, those affection points gives us Elize's first affection skit. Other than upgrading weapons, there's not a whole lot to do or see in ol' Hamil, but I suppose we could take a short look around.
Such as this house, where the party first met Elize in the last game. Now that the former occupant has moved on to bigger and better things, we can rummage through the house on our own.
Elize's former bedroom, in the basement of the building. The little crate next to the bed you can check for a porange, which I cannot recall the use of at the moment, but it is used for SOMETHING down the line.
But moving on, we have the Galia Trail. This is the first stop in a long road to Nia Khera, which will be the terminus of our journey in Rieze Maxia at the moment, because it's a town we can prepare for the next story chapter in, and it's good to get a few more locations opened up for Kitty Dispatch.
All the enemies here are about what you'd expect for an early-game location, so they should pose no danger whatsoever.
One curiosity a player may have been lucky enough to encounter at this point in the game are these curious foes, the Bacura. Bacura are strange because they randomly take the place of an otherwise normal enemy (but there's only a chance of that happening), but everything about them is curious.
First, unless you're using a Dark Bottle, which automatically causes enemies to try and hunt you down, instead of you having to get close to them, they'll run away from you at full speed. Unless they hit smack dab into an area's boundaries, you'll probably have to use the Winged Boots to catch them, but even then they could very well get away. However, Dark Bottles will attract them to you.
In-battle, no matter what the power of the Bacura you're facing (there's several tiers, with just "Bacura" being the weakest), they are completely impossible to combo, even with the Chromatus, are resistant to all elements, they all have the same basic attacks, and they all drop tons of elemental orbs. They are a curious bunch, indeed.
On the final screen of the Galia Trail before moving to the next area of the world map, you can find this well-hidden neko behind a large rock. Silly beast.
Speaking of the next area, here it is. The Kijara Seafalls are almost entirely a transition area, with almost nothing of relevance happening here, but to be fair, there's not really any "trail" locations that have anything really important happen in them, at least not for a while. Well, at least it's a pretty chill location.
Once again, enemies here are really easy and should not be dangerous at all.
Make sure you check out elemental orb pickups, because you can get up to 20 at a time, and you're gonna need those skills and artes, trust me. Also, don't worry about characters not in-battle (remember, you can only change parties in towns). They'll still gain elemental orbs, you can change their extractors to learn the skills you want even if they're not in the party, and experience leaks like a sinking ship. I believe characters in the party earn slightly more EXP, but the difference, if it exists, is negligible.
Moving on a couple screens, we have our Elite Monster. Like Heavy Claw, this guy is pretty tough. Maybe even harder, but I beat him on my second try, which surprised me. Let's see what Greater Demon has to offer.
Greater Demon has a wide variety of attacks, and a lot of powerful ones, at that. This is Aqua Spit, which launches a few bubbles in front of him, alongside firing a bubble of water that surrounds him and pushes anyone close to him away + damage.
Woo, broke a 100-hit combo for the first time. Now, I should introduce Rowen, since he's been in the party a couple updates but we really haven't had a chance to introduce him.
Well, to put it simply, I don't particularly care for Rowen in battle. He's a battle mage, much like Leia, but he just lacks either the killing touch the melee fighters have / support abilities characters like Leia and Elize have. His character skill is Arte Tuning, which, when he casts a spell, he has the opportunity to increase the power / effect of that arte. For example, the arte he's using now, Rock Trine, you can add more hits if you press the arte button more if you're playing as Rowen (the AI is inconsistent about this). For an arte where he summons a giant boulder to roll around the field, you can steer the boulder around via Arte Tuning. It's alright, I guess.
His support skill is a bit more useful. Whenever you are partnered with Rowen, and an enemy casts a spirit arte, Rowen will automatically throw up a magic shield for you and him, even if it wasn't targeted at Rowen or his partner, against it. The difference between this support shield and the one you can bring up manually is that you can still move around while Rowen's shield is active. It probably won't tip a single battle in your favor, but it's nice to act with near impunity to enemy spirit artes sometimes.
Arte-wise, Rowen has a bunch of spells, as you might expect, but he also has a lot of ranged attacks, including a few possessed by Tear Grants from way back when in Tales of the Abyss.
Getting back to Greater Demon, among other attacks, he has an attack where he tips his head forward, then quickly rushes forward. In addition to doing respectable damage, it also will basically always stun the affected.
Finally, he has a move called Aqua Laser where he'll stop, charge up the attack for a bit, and launch a devastating laser that sweeps right in front of him in an arc. Devastating to anyone caught in any part of it, so just stay the hell away from him when you see Aqua Laser flash on the screen.
Strategy-wise, however, there's not a whole lot of daylight between this guy and Heavy Claw. Both are really hard to stagger at this point in the game (without the skills Power Charge 2 and 3, which won't happen for a while, this is going to become a common thing). Basically just keep chipping at him until he blocks, get Breaker in play, take advantage of that crucial opening. Breaker is the one reliable stagger strategy you have, and you'd be a fool not to exploit it.
Speaking of exploitation, Falling Snow is better for a Chromatus usage than the basic attack infinite combo. Falling Snow will do about 2000-2200 damage per hit assuming you have a full, or near full, Power Combo (at this point in the game, anyway). That damage adds up REAL fast. However, I'd still advise using the infinite for enemies smaller than Heavy Claw or Greater Demon, because if Ludger starts in a bad spot (usually right next to, or too far away, from the target), after the first Falling Snow your combo will be broken by Ludger having to circle around to launch the second.
And yeah, I'd agree with the assessment my characters had for this battle, but again, I'm finding it hard to complain about how things went in the end.
To the next screen, this kitty cat is just off the beaten path, but not by a whole lot. I feel kinda bad interrupting its drink, though.
Welcome to Nia Khera, Maxwell's former home and all-around chill place. This is a quiet place, and will always remain so. Really, we only came out here to open it up for the Dispatch and pick up an easy-to-find cat, and turn in the Greater Demon job to put us more than over the top to finish paying off this chapter's debt.
Oh yeah, and Nova's calling us up to be weird, which we all love her for. The building to Ludger's left in the back there is the town's meeting hall, which I only note because it has a free inn, and hey, after a couple of Elite Monsters you could afford to hit the sack for once. The building Ludger is looking at is where the next screenshot is.
The cat is basically right in front of you as soon as you enter, so yeah, can't miss it.
But, there is another Elite Monster in the next trail area leading to the Nia Khera Hollowmont, which is a huge mountain, and is a place you can bet your ass we'll be going to at some point. Thing is...this battle is extremely difficult, and one in which your foe is an obnoxious flying enemy that throws out status effects like they're going out of business.
I mean, you can try, but I would not advise fighting him, even with the Chromatus. We'll have our day with him, trust me. Instead, let's pay off our debt.
This skit has our old friend Vera call up to inform us what's next. She requests we come to the Spirius Corporation once we're ready, to begin our first dive into a fractured dimension when we know what the hell we're doing. We'll be taking her up on that very shortly, as we can warp!
Well, she did say "prepare", so we better improve our armor situation, since there's really no more weapons worth a damn (when it comes to weapons, prioritize Ludger, of course, but Alvin and Jude could certainly use more, with Leia coming after. Elize and Rowen, not very important to upgrade at all, since AC isn't nearly as much of a factor for them, especially the way the AI controls them).
Here we go. Take care: this is a LONG chapter and a very important one.
Wait, Nova and Vera know each other?
The first fractured dimension
But my lips are sealed!
You must know what happened to Julius, right? Mr. Kresnik.
Ludger, hey. Word around the water cooler is a certain someone just got hired as an agent! Congratulations! Like big bro, like little bro, right? I know how much you wanted the job.
Why's the loan lady here?
Just gossiping with my twin sis.
Oh, you do look alike.
Nova, we've got work to do.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I should probably get back to bean counting. Oh, almost forgot! Let's all get together to celebrate your new job whenever you're free.
I can't believe he told us all about that fractured dimension stuff.
Obviously he wants us to come along.
No matter what, I chose poorly here. L1 increases Jude's affection, but R1 increases everyone BUT Jude's affection...
We're already in it. If the fractured dimensions really are interfering with spyrite technology and endangering this world...then there's no way I'm sitting out of this fight. And that means we need your help.
Very well. You may all assist Mr. Kresnik in this operation. However...
Everything must be kept in the strictest confidence, am I correct?
I'm glad we have an understanding. Now, allow me to commence the briefing.
Cool! Agent talk!
The object of each DODA operation is to infiltrate a fractured dimension and destroy its divergence catalyst. All fractured dimensions from around a catalyst. It could be an object, or perhaps an entity.
So you remember those purple gears Ludger destroyed with his lance in the three previous times we've destroyed dimensions? All of those came from the divergence catalyst of that dimension (evil Rowen, Volt, and evil Julius). The destruction of those gears (you could call them the "heart" of the divergence catalyst), caused the dimension to collapse.
For whatever reason, divergence catalysts are called "Corpse shells" in the Japanese release. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to a name like that to describe what they are.
So how do we find it, then?
It's typically the object or entity that differs the most from its original nature in the prime dimension. You'll need to be cautious, particularly when the divergence catalyst attaches itself to a person.
But considering Julius has the blood of so many dimensions on his hands, clearly he does not give a good goddamn who or what catalysts attach themselves into.
Following Ludger's pause, Vera takes out her phone and texts like a pro...
I've transmitted the coordinates of the target rift to your GHS. Use it to enter the fractured dimension.
You have to view the entire world map from the map menu to enter fractured dimensions, now and in the future. To quote Vera to what those numbers mean: "The "depth" is a number which shows the distance from the prime dimension. The "deviation" shows how different the fractured dimension is from the prime dimension.
There also exists something called a rift which is a set entrance point. The depth, deviation, and rift location form the coordinates for the fractured dimension" So yeah, just how the Spirius Corp. does its work, folks. Anyway, we've got nothing more to do in the prime dimension, so let's see how weird things are gonna get this time...
Once more unto the breach
It's Trigleph Central Station.
I suppose it would follow that this is the rift.
But are we really in a whole other world right now?
Well...I suppose not *technically* a whole other world. I'd call it more of a branch. The history of this world is the same as the prime dimension up until a point. It's that point we're curious about, actually.
It doesn't look any different to me.
Ludger gets a buzz. Hey, GHS' service area cannot be beat.
We've confirmed your entry into the fractured dimension. Commence your search for the divergence catalyst.
Yeah yeah, that's great and all, but seriously, how is the GHS still working here?
You can thank your chromatus for that. It maintains a link to the prime dimension.
We need to look for whatever seems most out of place in the dimension, right?
Correct. The catalyst should reveal itself when anyone with a chromatus approaches.
And if we destroy it, the world will disappear.
Exactly, but there's a catch. Only the wielder of a chromatus can destroy the catalyst.
So, the only one who can find and destroy these catalysts...
Well that kinda takes the fun out of it.
One last thing. So long as the divergence catalyst exists, you cannot return to the prime dimension.
You never told us that!
But the game did, Leia. Keep up.
I guess there really is no turning back, huh...
So much for goofing off on the job.
The Oscore train's still running?
Maybe in this alternate dimension, the hijacking never took place.
We cannot just blithely assume that. We have much to learn about this world.
It is fishy that Oscore's still in one piece.
Let's investigate in two groups.
Okay, Jude and I will ask around town.
Ludger, you handle Oscore.
We're on it!
Alrighty, so... Looks like things might get interesting in this dimension, if the train hijacking never took place...
Pretty nice skit. Ludger's power truly is formidable.
Oscore plant's looking nice. Still, I wonder who would run a place like this.
A man from the past
It's a factory that puts out veggies, and stuff like that.
Puts out weird vibes, too...
It's pretty standard for Elympios.
Well, if it isn't Alfred.
Oooooooh boy, it's Gilland...
You'd address the heir of the Svent family like that? Or has your mind strayed to a time when you were still the legitimate heir?
Yeah, so Alvin's full name is Alfred vin Svent, but no one calls him that except for Balan (who uses his first name only), and he had a very troubled relationship with his uncle, our friend Gilland here. Maybe not here in this fractured dimension, though...
Are you telling me you're the heir?
You know this guy?
Knew him, more like it.
It appears he has confused you with the Alvin of this world.
Yeah, when fractured dimensions are literally the prime dimension's history up to a point, that point universally includes the fact that Jude, Ludger, Leia, Alvin, Elize, and Rowen were born into them. So we're killing ourselves, when you think about it.
That may or may not be important later in the game...
He looks like a big-wig to me. If you act all buddy-buddy with him, maybe he'll let us in.
They don't really have that kind of relationship.
Is it inappropriate?
Don't forget, we're in a fractured dimension. It just might work.
Right. Forgive me, Uncle. I must've forgotten my place.
You are forgiven.
I was hoping you'd give my friends a tour of your amazing plant.
You'd better start acting the part. Poor Leticia is quite upset over your lack of decorum.
Indeed. She's had it with your constant gallivanting.
Who are these people?
My entourage. They're quite a bunch, yeah?
The world is full of dubious sorts, looking to sponge off of us. You should choose your friends more carefully.
They don't get much more dubious than yours truly...
Uh, nothing, Uncle. Thanks for the advice.
As you know, the Great Spirit Aska was thought to be nothing more than legend. That is, until I found, captured, and bent it to my will. Aska's spirit power is more than sufficient to operate this facility in its entirety.
I've never even heard of that spirit before.
I have no doubt spirits will become a crucial resource in Elympios. The very key to its future.
Hey...my uncle's not the catalyst, is he?
So, uh...do you keep Aska down in the basement here or what?
There is no basement. Aska's imprisoned in the central portion of the dome.
Alvin! Was that really necessary?
Well, if he's not the divergence catalyst, then I'd put my money on that Aska spirit being it. But it's not like he was gonna sit back and let us thwack it, right?
Indeed... And after all, we did come here...
...to put this world out of commission. Isn't that right, Ludger?
Ludger looks on with a steely gaze, and we begin our next dungeon crawl...
I know this has been one of the more uneventful updates so far, but trust, shit's gonna get heavy once again next update, believe you me.
Update 9 alternate choice compilation
Update 9 victory screen compilation