Part 1: CH1: Two Roads ConvergeCH1: Two Roads Converge
: ...and we're here!
: Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!! *THUD*
: Oh my. I keep forgetting you can't fly. Are you alright?
: Great. More visitors? And why is he upside-down and embedded in the ground?
: Oh, I'm sorry. You are Martel, are you not? Your friendly pawns told me you would be pretty easy to find. As for my friend here, don't worry. He's really durable. It's the first time I ever opened a Multiversal portal!
: MMMPH MMMMPH MM!
: Come on, pull yourself together! Or out. Anyway, they told us you collect stories of heroism, daring, and world-saving.
: Well we've got one! Two actually, but they're sort of related.
: Should I help that guy?
: Nah he's good.
: It starts in a house hidden high on the side of a mountain.
: The woman who lived there sat deep in meditation.
: Incidentally there were some really nasty snakes in the area, one of the only kinds that will randomly attack people.
: Her meditation was interrupted by thousands of voices crying out in terror, and suddenly going silent.
: What, is that a cliche in your universe?
: Her standing up and talking agitated the snake, and it went for her.
: You'd think even an animal wouldn't be that dumb.
: I don't think she even knew it was there.
: Efreet'll burn you.
She does a nice little nod there that doesn't come across in screenshots. I liked it. The anime sequences here have a lot of character.
: With the power of the four Great Spirits, this should have been a walk-over.
Incidentally, each of these little bits are places we're going to go.
: Back then, Fennmont was amazing. Due to the spirit clime, it was eternally night. Glowing trees lit by spirit artes formed the basis of all architecture. Orda Palace, the administrative center, was grown from a single giant, living tree.
: Classes were ending at the medical school.
: Jude always was a silly boy.
: Always unsure of himself.
: I gotta move!
OK, now we go to the character select screen. Here you determine whose perspective you see the events from, Jude's or Milla's. Each has their own set of non-shared content, but most of it is the same. Jude's got somewhat more stuff than Milla does, and the bulk of the exposition.
We'll be going with Jude obviously, since you're all so fond of exposition.
: Okay! Let's go.
The character you select says a little something here. I think it's nice.
: Always such a do-gooder, he stopped to help that guy even though he might be late. He's not even thinking about it!
Nurse: Yeah, thanks for helping out.
You sure you have time for this? Don't you have residency training with Professor Haus?
: Don't worry about that. You're in a rush too, aren't you?
Nurse: Shoot, you're right.
Thanks again! You better get moving, too!
: Crap, I'm gonna be late!
After this we get a prompt reminding us we can display the current objective with the R1 button.
This is super handy!
They also give us the layout of the PS3 controller.
While we're here, note the icons over these people's heads. The open-mouth icon indicates someone we can talk to that we haven't yet, while the closed-mouth one indicates someone we've talked to. These two are talking about how the controller of the Four Great Elemental Spirits is someone named "Maxwell" who's probably an old man with a long beard.
: Tardiness won't get me any extra credit with the professor. Let's see... What building was he in again?
For some reason there's a cutscene to tell us which door to go into.
They zoom in on this door so you won't miss it. Not that there's any chance of that, it's the only other door here!
: Well, look who decided to show up.
: Um, yeah. Sorry I'm late.
: Worry not, lad.
Now, keep this between us, but I've been asked to help down at the lab. Top-secret research, they say!
: A request right from Orda Palace?! Wow!
: I need you to keep an eye on things until I get back.
You can handle it, lad. Only patients with appointments will be coming in today.
: Oh, right! I need you to sign my class-credit form.
: Your graduation thesis is coming along, I presume?
: More or less. I should have the first draft ready by Ignis.
: After all, I'm planning to make you my top assistant after you graduate.
: Thank you, Professor!
: I'll be back in a few hours.
: So much for an easy day.
: After that he went to the exam room to see if any patients showed up.
They fade in and out the patients and staff to simulate the passage of time.
: Okay, you're good to go.
: Any idea what went wrong, Mr. Eldin? Your brain's mana lobe looks tip-top.
: I'm not really sure. I mean, I was able to draw out mana like usual, but then, it was like the spirits ran off or something.
: Like they were gone, huh?
: Anyway, thanks, Doc. At least I can get back to work.
It's my wife's birthday, too. Now I don't have to worry about letting her down.
: No more patients for today, Doctor Jude.
: You sure this is all above board, Nurse Prinn? I mean, students aren't normally allowed to see patients by themselves.
: Don't ask me! The professor is the one shirking his duties. He knows full well that urgent patients always show up.
Serves you right for agreeing to stand in, if you ask me.
: I guess with the amount of mana at his disposal, treating ten people isn't any more taxing than treating one.
: He's spent so much time developing his mana lobe that it's skewed his perspective.
: Come to think of it, he should've been back by now.
Why? Did something happen?
Nurse: We've just been told he's been chosen for the Howe Prize!
: What? Wow! Research honors don't get any bigger than that!
Nurse: They want to see him immediately, but he didn't tell anyone where he was going.
: Don't worry. He told me. I'll go fetch him.
: Jude took a moment to change into his regular attire. It could get cold out there!
Nurse: Sorry for always sticking you with the odd jobs, Jude.
: No worries, I'm used to it. I'll be back soon!
ANOTHER cutscene devoted to telling us how to navigate the city.
: No point in leaving the city.
And the seahaven is out of the way.
My best bet is to cut across the Central Plaza and enter the Research District. I should find the lab with Professor Haus there.
Before we do that, though, let's catch our first sub-events.
The map in this game is pretty great.
So those things Jude just said correspond to the three branches in front of us, from top to bottom. But we're going back into the teaching area of the school at the bottom of the image.
: You could say they're the fount of spirit artes, feeding off the mana from human mana lobes.
You could say that they're the guiding hand that turns the wheel of all existence in Rieze Maxia.
In other words, the symbiotic relationship between human and spirit is at the core of every facet of our lives.
But we don't know when this relationship began.
How did humans and spirits relate before our modern spirit arte culture? What was the world like then?
Ah, it's hopeless... Once again the sun is setting without any answers in sight.
: Uh, this is Fennmont... The sun never rises.
: I'm pretty sure that guy was just practicing his lecture.
No voice acting for this so no video.
Medical Student: He's just a good guy who likes helping out.
Nurse: But doesn't he plan to apply for a job here?
Medical Student: Yeah, on Professor Haus' recommendation. He's gonna be the Prof's number-one assistant.
Honestly, I'm kind of jealous.
Nurse: I guess that's what he gets for flaunting the whole nice-guy routine.
Medical Student: That's a pretty cynical way to put it.
Nurse: But honestly, don't you think so too?
Medical Student: Well, I guess at times it does kind of seem like he's just doing a nice-guy act.
Medical Student: I'm not saying it's a bad thing, either. But I know exactly what you mean.
: Jude headed towards the laboratory. And his destiny.
So I mentioned this in the op and I'll mention it again here because it's happening. In addition to the traditional skits that you see when you hit the SELECT button at certain times, we've got these little conversations. Or rather monologues since Jude's by himself. Ordinarily I'd stick them into the skit video but we're not going to have any skits here because this update ended up being super-heavy on images. So instead they're stuck onto the start of the plot video here.
: I'll never forget how stunned I was when I arrived at Fennmont and saw the lumen trees for the first time.
: I still can't believe Professor Haus won the Howe Prize!
I need to go tell him the good news.
: As Jude approached the lab, he began to encounter more and more signs of people having problems with their artes.
Older Lighter: You messed up your foothold arte again? How many years have you been working this job?
Younger Lighter: I didn't mess it up! It was working fine, and then it just... stopped.
Older Lighter: Professionals don't make excuses! You young folk just can't concentrate right.
Here, look. First, you use your arte to stabilize the wind.
Younger Lighter: See? Even you can't get it right now.
Older Lighter: J-Just shut up and get back to work!
Remember, we have to adjust all of these lights today!
Younger Lighter:I know, I know...
: Sounds like a lotta work.
I wonder why everyone's having so much trouble spirit channeling?
: The gate was, of course, guarded.
Guard 1: Sorry. The lab is closed to the public at this hour.
: But I'm here to pick up Professor Haus. He's from the Talim Medical School.
Guard 2: Haus... Haus... He already left.
: Is that the sign-in sheet?
I'm not sure what Jude's suspicious of here. Is it that the professor doesn't close the loop on the center character?
Guard 1: Satisfied?
: Couldn't I just dart in really quick just to make sure?
Guard 2: Sorry. Rules are rules.
: Now what?
No way those guys will let me in.
: The lumen trees were beginning to fade.
: Hm, something must be wrong with the spirits.
: The wind that had blown Jude's form away wasn't the only mysterious phenomenon.
: You can't expect Her to just use the same roads as anyone else.
: Well, now he had to go and get it.
: Some random piece of iron is no match for the power of Fire.
: Of course, she hadn't really intended for anyone else to use the path. Pads she'd already trod on were expiring, and Jude wasn't exactly stealthy.
: Uh, hi.
: Just keep quiet, and I won't need to hurt you.
: I mean, really. She said to keep quiet, but he can't follow a simple command.
: That's strange. What part of "keep quiet" didn't you understand?
So? Ready to hold your tongue now?
: So much noise. Could you try coughing quietly? What are you doing here, anyway?
I kind of like the all-wet shaders they have here.
: I dropped something. I was just picking it up. See?
: Milla wasn't even looking.
: That's why I need to hurry, and you need to go home...
Before they arrest you for trespassing.
: She forgot to provide Jude a route home though.
: For the moment, the only path forward for him was hers.