Part 10: The Man Who StrugglesPart X: The Man Who Struggles
Following Alvin's assault, you need to examine Gilland's body to get a couple of important items: a Guest Keycard, which will allow us access to a nearby elevator, and a memo which has the writing "Cultivation room: 8778, 7654, 8708". I don't think you need the memo, per se, but you get it at the same time as the Keycard, so whatever. Let's get moving.
Generic enemies around here include goons with a combination of regular and spirit artes, as well as the same kind of robots (powered up, however) fought in Helioborg. Neither are much problem at all.
The first password-locked door. Refer to an above paragraph for the code entry.
The love of the Kresniks
Wanna see how many I can fit in my mouth?!
Honestly, I would, but we've got a choice to make. I went with R1 just to raise Alvin, Elize, and Rowen's affections. L1 increases Elle's, however.
Are you a good cook?
He's pretty good.
Really? I'd love to try your tomato omelettes sometime.
Ah, but roasting a tomato retains its juices, and is not to be underestimated.
Blech! Tomatoes are gross!
I'm with you. I draw the line at ketchup.
Alvin: a Bro for Life.
You two eat like five year olds.
I fail to see the problem with this, Teepo. Or should I say Elize?
The room opposite the elevator on this floor has this console right in front of Ludger right as he enters. You need to swipe your guest card to renew it and gain access to the elevator. There's also a Long Coat in a chest in the corner, which is the best armor Rowen can have at this point. Ludger can also wear it, but grandpa can do with a little more armor.
Taking the elevator down to the lower floor...
Oooh. Kitty Dispatch only gave me a couple worthless items, so let's see what this skit has to say...
Goddamit, Alvin. Anyway, Rowen mentions a number of spirits in this skit. The Tales classics, first introduced in Phantasia, are Efreet, Sylph, Gnome, Undine, and Maxwell as the spirit who ruled over them all. Less important, introduced in the third act of Phantasia, were Volt (whose power of electricity allowed Phantasia's airships to fly, the same role it filled in Symphonia), Shadow (who was entirely optional), Pluto (who was another entirely optional boss / spirit, and is very rarely mentioned, except in this game, incidentally), and the most powerful of all the spirits, Origin.
Since we're currently looking for Aska, Aska was also a Phantasia spirit who had no real connection to the plot, and accordingly has been a pretty rare sight in this series. Luna was the actual spirit of Light in that game, a role they joinly share in Symphonia. Celsius is another pretty rare spirit who was introduced in Tales of Eternia, I believe, and has made only very rare appearances since. However, Celsius was controlled by Gilland in the first Xillia, and they went down together at the end of Xillia's second act.
One of my favorite linked artes in the game is Pow Blade, which you can get by a Linked Art between Alvin and Elize when the former uses Tiger Blade or Elize uses Pow Hammer. Classic move.
Also, in this battle, I had an exchange between Rowen, Elle, and Ludger that went thusly.
Time for a duet!
But Ludger can't sing!
Just thought I'd let you all know.
Moving on from that circular area, we have another hallway. The room across from us has a console to stabilize the room environment of Cultivation Rooms 2 and 3, so, y'know, do that.
Not a whole lot going on in Cultivation Room 2, though (refer to paragraph or Memo for code).
And the final Cultivation Room. Again, not a whole lot here, but hey, might as well, for completion's sake.
Oh hey, the cats are back, too. With a new friend! I actually have a friend who had a cat named Trigger, very long ago (actually like six years). The other cat was named Bullet...
Trigger is one among many cats you can't get by looking for them; the other cats have to bring them back.
This is the last console you need to stop by to finish this dungeon. This lowers the cage Aska is in, and allows us to clip the bird's wings as soon as we elect to head into the central dome. The dome itself is back before the third Cultivation Room's door, on this floor.
I got this meal from a chest in the atrium area where we got the spirits skit. I don't think I need to tell you we'll be fighting Aska very shortly, and an 80% EXP increase from a boss is hard to say no to.
Here we go...
Wings of light
It... It's so bright!
Is that Aska? Ludger!
Ludger shakes his head. Guess Aska isn't the divergence catalyst either...
I got this.
It's hard to see with Aska in the back there, but a spark flew off of Alvin's gun. Someone's shooting at us from behind!
Gilland's ridiculous gunblade is not the only gun Gilland has been seen with. In Xillia 1 he had an ornamental pistol taken from Alvin's father, I believe. After his uncle's death, however, Alvin took it back, and if you finish a battle with Gun Ludger and Alvin linked, they'll have a couple victory quotes where Ludger will pose with his two guns, and Alvin will take out the ornamental gun and his regular one, to pose himself.
Hey! Knock it off!
Oh brother. Thanks to Gilland having shit accuracy, we gotta fight him. Just great.
Aska is a pretty damned annoying boss. First off: it's your first major enemy that's constantly flying. Technically Volt was hovering, but he was always much lower to the ground and without a particularly wonky hitbox like Aska has. Attack-wise, Aska has a swooping attack that is pretty easy to anticipate, as it'll fly off for a bit to swoop back down over the battlefield. While it's easy for you to prepare for, the AI not so much. However, when it does its swooping attack, it'll momentarily stun itself.
Aska also has an arc-fired laser like Greater Demon had, except, of course, it's light-elemental. Not that it makes much difference since you probably won't have any item / skill resistances, but still. Pretty easy to dodge. It also has a little eruption of light attack that comes up from the ground, you can only see coming about a split second before it happens, but fortunately, it deals very minor damage. Aside from the laser, actually, none of Aska's attacks are particularly dangerous.
Vulnerability-wise, Aska is weak to regular gun attacks and Darkness, but guns will be your primary means of starting combos. Again, you'll have to use the Breaker trick to stagger him.
When the ol' bird starts hurting, he'll start getting a bit more aggressive and add a dive-bombing attack, that, thankfully, is also pretty easy to see coming. Still, he gets quite a bit harder to get a bead on when he starts flapping around more. He also adds a new laser attack where he'll stop for a second, then stretch his wings out to launch a very powerful laser attack in front of him. This one just hits in a particular area, not the arc of his former attack, which he'll still do occasionally.
Overall, your strategy won't change much in the latter part of the fight, but he's still a very dangerous foe.
One thing that very much deserves mention, and I should have mentioned before now, is when you're linked with someone, your destinies are tied together. They get hit with a status effect, you'll get hit with one. You gain TP from a taunt, they gain a small portion, too. When you're linked with someone, you have to take the good with the bad.
I really love this Linked Arte, between Elize and Ludger, Teepo Launcher. Basically Ludger fires a bunch of Teepo-based missiles at a target. It's just comical, is what it is.
It was a rough fight, but we did it...
It would seem Aska wasn't the catalyst, either.
What're you gonna do with Aska now?
Will you let it go?
But without Aska here to power it, they'll shut down the factory.
Uh-huh. And a lot of people depend on this place.
Man... It's heartless to say, and it certainly wouldn't be becoming of Elize to point it out, the lives of the people of this dimension are meaningless to us... Anyway, in both an in-game and meta sense, neither choice matters. I'm going with R1, however.
Edit after alternate choices video was recorded: I was wrong about this, actually. L1 and R1 completely change how the rest of this scene plays out, aside for when Jude and Leia show up. It's actually pretty cool.
Elize and I should be able to restrain Aska with spirit artes, given its condition.
Seriously, does it matter?
Very well... If that is your wish, so be it.
It can talk!
You would betray your own ancestor's wish, that man exist in harmony with the spirits and reject Origin's all-redeeming mercy?!
The mightiest of all spirits. The Great Spirit of the Void, burdened with purifying humanity's befouled souls. For two millenia, he has toiled. Origin cannot continue purifying souls much longer. Heed my words, humans, and tremble! Your end is nigh!
Aska disappears in a flash...
The Great Spirit Origin, huh? Interesting. Can't say that name's come up before.
Aska, forgive us.
Was this truly for the best?
You used calculatrics without spyrixes?! Who... Who are you people?!
Allow me to explain. We use spirit artes, which--
Spare me your lies, demon!
Gilland hits Rowen in the arm with a shot...
Damn it all!
Even in a fractured place, we've done enough.
Yeah, I know.
What happened?! We heard gunshots!
Be calm. 'Tis but a scratch.
Sadly, this scratch is all we have to show for our troubles. The catalyst isn't here.
Did you have better luck?
No, not particularly.
But we did overhear a weird rumor. Someone saw a spirit in the wasteland beyond Helioborg. Said it looked like a woman with flowy hair.
Wait, that sounds like... It's near the dimensional breach. Let's check it out.
You guys go on ahead.
Yes. We'll catch up once we've tended to Rowen's injury.
I'm sorry for the trouble.
Hey! Don't sweat it, Gramps!
He might have to sweat the dragon slowly growing out of his head, though...
Looks like we need to hit the bricks to head to Rusalle Highroad. Unfortunately, we can't warp there, because this is not the prime dimension . On the way back, you might stop by the weapon customization shop, because we're fast coming up on another boss fight, and trust me, you're gonna want to be deathly prepared for it.
Currently, I can make only one of these three. Ludger's customization weapons all have Greek mythology themes, and you can get one in each element. Thing is, the next boss is resistant to Darkness, and even though both the Zeus Smasher (Darkness) and Prometheus (Darkness) are decent upgrades to Ludger's current weapons in those categories, while Mourning Edge is a more modest increase to Alvin's attack. I'd go with the Mourning Edge, under the present circumstances.
I ended up going with Prometheus, though.
With nothing to do in Trigleph (other than stocking up on consumables, especially Life Bottles, which are priority 1 after Aska and before this next boss), or in Torbalan Highroad (the game advises you new treasures are available, so you have the choice of either dashing through areas like these or exploring a bit. However, nothing in fractured dimensions is permanently missable), let's get a move on.
There is one exception to the "Unexciting" rule from Oscore Plant to our destination: the party hitting level 20 and getting the skill Power Charge 2. Read my text lips: you NEED this skill for the next boss. What does it do? Well, if you've been watching battle videos, when I block and keep blocking for a while, a little circle of light will fly around the character I'm controlling, making a unique chime. When you hear that chime, the character I control adds a free AC point to the next combo. That's because I have Power Charge activated on all my characters.
Power Charge 2 is MUCH more useful (no matter what extractors you've been using on your characters, everyone gets it when they hit level 20). What this thing does is that if you hold down block for 2 seconds, you'll get a second chime after the first, and the very next attack, regardless of elemental properties or resistances, will be a Power Hit. Your character will also temporarily add a second AC point to the next combo. However, your enemy has to have staggered for the Power Hit to register properly when you attack. Also, be advised that the game very much means that the next attack, regardless of whether it hits or misses, if it's an arte or basic attack, is what counts as the Power Hit. This upcoming boss is the first time you'll be fighting a significant enemy without any weaknesses. Power Charge 2 is the only way you're going to beat him without ridiculously good playing or just wanting a REALLY long fight.
I mean, aside from more powerful enemies, different music, and the fractured dimension filter, there's really nothing worth talking about around here. There is a pretty neat skit, though.
In the wasteland beyond Helioborg, the Rusalle Highroad, there is still no sign of the woman with flowing hair. Not that we have any reason to think this woman is connected to the spirits, or, god forbid, the divergence catalyst, but we really don't have any other leads at the moment. The path Ludger is facing leads to the Dimensional Breach, which seems as good a place as any to look for important things.
'course, with a name like "Dimensional Breach", you better believe something important is going to happen here. As I mentioned, a boss fight is coming up, so I'd advise eating Takoyaki Ramen to prepare for it, as well as maxing out everyone's HP / TP, to get ready for it. The Ramen is a spicy blend, increasing P. and A. Attack by 20%.
What's the matter with Jude?
It might be because of Milla...
This is where the breach was before, right?
Alvin is correct. The breach was where Jude and pals were vomited out into Elympios after the party fought the former Maxwell and finally made it there in the first game. They were discovered by Balan and brought to Trigleph where the third and final arc of the first game's story started.
By the way, if there's a few videos you should watch this thread, make this one of them.
Did it vanish once the schism got dispersed?
Y'know...maybe it was never here at all. After all, Gilland was living here in Elympios. I mean, I'm just sayin'.
Yeah... You're right. The schism is still here. The dimensional breach never opened. So...
...Elympios and Rieze Maxia are still divided in this dimension!
You're all making no sense to me.
That means, Maxwell must still be around.
Is that the spirit with the long hair?!
Casting a gaze in Elle and Ludger's direction...
If the other worlds are like this, then the sacred land should remain safe.
The sacred land? Wait, is that...the Land of Canaan?!
The Scion of Kresnik, huh? Must you keep insisting on crossing dimensions in search of the key?
We were looking for a key?
The sound of gunfire comes from Alvin's direction...
So, what's your story?
I am the Great Spirit Chronos. I'll hurl you into the abyss between dimensions.
I'm with Jude. Anyone doing harm to Milla is DEAD!
So Mr. Eventual Final Boss here is the Great Spirit of Time, and very deserving of that title. Chronos is resistant to Darkness and Guns, strangely, and weak to nothing, like I said, so we're going to have make damn good use of Power Charge 2. Unfortunately, as you might expect, the AI is nowhere near bright enough to use it effectively, so it's up to us.
First, a brief overview of Chronos' attacks. He has a simple two-hit slashing attack with his claws, which he's doing with Ludger here (hey, it looked cool).
Because we're fighting the eventual final boss (or is he?), he's taken more than a few moves from Dhaos, who, of course, was Phantasia's main villain, and still one of my favorite Tales villains. Chronos Collider is a direct take on Dhaos Collider, which is simply a move where the bad guy slams his fist into the ground and throws out a huge ball of damage that knocks anyone close to him away.
Another Dhaos classic is Tetra Spell, which launches the four basic elemental spells at a target: Rock Trine for Earth, Splash for Water, Wind Lance for Wind, and Fireball for Fire. Dodging all the spells through free run is near-impossible, but you can sidestep out of the way of them, and that's the only consistent way to dodge such a powerful attack. Spell will hit affected characters with a ton of status effects, so that's another big thing to watch out for.
The other spell he'll occasionally throw out is Haste, which simply increases the speed he throws out Tetra Spell. Not a huge problem for you.
Again, the Breaker strategy is your best bet for staggering him and getting some Power Combos in. However, you'll have to wait for Chronos to block / Alvin to Break him. If Ludger attacks him, you'll break your potential Power Combo, and he has no weakness.
Of course, it's in your best interest to hit him with the Chromatus as much as possible. It's a pretty tedious way to fight this guy, but it's the least risky. Also, if Alvin has the artes Tornado Drive and / or Demon Inferno, TURN THEM OFF. Drive will launch a staggered Chronos into the air, and that's one thing you definitely don't want to do with him. Demon Inferno will launch him horizontally far away from you, which I should not have to explain why you don't want that.
You can win without Jude or Leia. You cannot win in any reasonable length of time without Alvin. Revive him whenever he goes down.
When he gets within the last 25% of his HP, Chronos will throw out Trinity Bit. Throwing this out means he'll add a few new attacks on top of his old stuff, which he'll throw out occasionally. They're not particularly dangerous. Trinity Bit itself just summons three things to float around him that reduces damage done to him. Nothing to worry about, as they'll go away on their own, even if you don't attack him. What happens AFTER Trinity Bit is a bit more interesting.
Taking one more page from Dhaos (stop ripping him off!), Chronos gains a melee string called Tetra Assault, where he just does a number of hits and slashes forward. The effect is kind of lost if you're not stuck on a 2D plane, however.
His final attack, Chain Strike, is absolutely pathetic. You'll know he's casting it because his incantation is "Arms of Ouroboros..." It has a much smaller hit radius than Tetra Spell, and is just much less threatening.
When Trinity Bit vanishes, Chronos will finally become vulnerable to all base elements, and this is where you revive all your fallen comrades, if any are fallen, and throw everything at him before he causes any more trouble. Once his HP has fallen this low, he's still dangerous, of course, but because he'll stagger so much from Power Hits, once your Chromatus has charged up and you've got a decent combo, one more Chromatus usage should finish him.
Like so. Eat that!
I'm a bit disappointed he never threw out Dhaos' most famous move: the Dhaos Laser. Maybe next time... By the way, another Tales final boss has been given some of Dhaos' moves. Can anyone name who it is?!
Couple of final notes: if you lose to Chronos, his victory quote is "The Trial has reached a verdict". If you'll recall Shadow Julius, he also mentioned a trial. Seems this might be important... Also, even though he's a pretty powerful / tough boss, this is not an optional fight. Losing will result in a Game Over.
Also, less seriously, if you're lucky enough, you can steal an Hourglass from him with Leia. Not really worth the trouble, though.
He doesn't even have a scratch.
None at all.
Oh, there's Dhaos Laser!
Where did HE come from?!
Give it to me!
This is NOT the time for a debate! I mean, we COULD refuse, but we wouldn't raise Julius' affection.
Time to ditch this party!
Don't forget Rollo!
Seems luck was on your side.
Wrong side of the tracks
Wait, this is Rieze Maxia!
Guess the breach must've opened again.
Where're the others?
Ludger shows a touch of concern that no one other than Leia, Elize, Teepo, and Jude are around. I'd be, too.
Don't worry about Elle. Alvin was with her. I'm sure they landed somewhere around here.
Yeah, you're right.
Our buddy Alvin can be dependable when he wants to be.
Heh. Don't be so harsh, Teepo.
However, seems Jude has something on his mind...
I'm sure she's fine.
Oh. I'm not worried. There's a village called Nia Khera at the bottom of this hill. Maybe we'll find out something about the others there.
Boy, we've run into more than a little trouble this update. Wonder how much worse it can get...
Alternate choices compilation