Part 1: Episode 1: Part 1: Let's Plunge!Episode 1: Part 1: Let's Plunge!
So yeah, there was some changes to things across the episodes after Episode 6 came out. I'll point out stuff I remember. Most of it is adding facesets to characters that didn't have any before.
But this menu was also added, and beyond this a option to turn on cheat mode for plunges even if you select normal. I always play as the game was designed, however.
Then we get some credits...
Then there's the howling of wind.
"Thus it has been since the dawning hour."
Get used to these. The series relies heavily on 3d panoramas. Our view pans down...
Then this starts playing.
And our hero, Rhue!
"It was also that day I last saw "her".
Every passing day only fills me with more anxiety. How can I be happy when I am alone?"
Yes... 'that girl'. Rhue wont refer to her by name for a while.
The screen pans right to show a shadowy figure behind Rhue. One of the legitimate criticisms of this series is how Shadowy Figure heavy it is for the first 2/3rds. It gets real crazy at one point.
The Way finishes playing here and we're left with the sound of a roaring fire.
Curiously, this girl has always had a portrait even though she never appears out of this scene, while far more important characters went without until the 2.0 versions.
Ahhh, so dark and broody.
The Guidebook would probably explain this better but The Purpose is basically the religion of the wanderers. Enforced by the Guided, people wander and lead nomadic lives according to The Purpose. The way people refer to it, you could just find and replace with God, Destiny/Fate or The Force.
Oh great, we got a fantasy atheist over here!
I have no idea how this guy knows what a Forerunner is like but whatever. Forerunners are meant to be the guys WAAAAAAY ahead of everyone on The Way marking safe routes and dangerous caves and so on.
The shadowy figure draws its sword as it approaches the tent. You also see its faceset silhouette briefly as it says "...". It looks very similar to the outline of a character I'll point out later.
Anyway, the screen goes black and you hear stabbing noises.
Later, at daybreak...
Our first actual gameplay. I walk up a little and see a sparkle in the water.
"Almost like the one she used to wear... I have no need of it."
Rhue drops the pendant back in the water.
Nice little optional event.
On the next screen a guy watching the river turns to greet us.
The guidebook had a bit on Landorin that explains Therin's reaction. The short of it is, people introduce themselves as 'X of Y Stretch' where the stretch name is often but not always where you were born/largely raised. It can also just be a stretch important to you. Like where you met the love of your life or something. Landorin, though, is infamous because of the unexplained Landorin Massacre. The stretch is now regarded as cursed and tales of it spread up and down the way. People from that area are mistrusted and so very few use it as their home stretch. Only an idiot, an edgelord or someone naively honest would introduce themselves as 'of Landorin.'
I've been up since long before first light.
Really? Is there trouble behind you?
No. I'm just trying to make good progress.
Where are you headed in such a hurry?
I'm not sure...
Rhue backs away a bit.
I'm talking about taking the Plunge. Haven't you ever taken it before?
I haven't... ever. I've been busy with other things.
Insert yes/no prompt here.
All right. It sounds like it might be worthwhile.
Nice. Here's a tutorial so I don't have to explain it myself.
A Lunge Cut works well against a Drop Slash...
The respective attacks dim and light up to help illustrate the point here.
... and a Drop Slash works well against a Cross Sweep.
And Cross Sweep beats Lunge Cut.
However, just because you use a better attack doesn't mean you'll deal more damage to your opponent than they deal to you.
Choosing the right attack only helps to give your attack more of a wallop!!
The damage you deal is largely dependent on your Plunge Skill.
I won't go into all the attributes involved in the Plunge, but I can tell just by looking at you that your skill level is close to nil.
However, let's talk about HP real quick.
There are three attributes portrayed.
Hit Points - HP
Plunge Skill - PL
Damage Threshold - DT
The oval under each of these letters represents the condition of each of these traits.
During combat the ovals will change colors in response to changes that occur in these attributes.
If any of the ovals turns red it means that you are probably going to be defeated.
In other words, you are going to die if the Plunge is to the death. That's one of the reasons why we call it the Life Cycle.
During the Plunge you can check both your own Life Cycle and that of your opponent between passes (using the left and right keys.)
I've left a lot unexplained, but I'm sure someone else will be kind enough to give you some further training.
More advanced Plunge concepts include Critical Hits, Blade Arts, Risk Attack, Attack Links, Finishers, and such...
Once you learn about those things you'll be able to develop your own special battle strategy.
The general plunge theme starts playing, which is a midi version of this:
Anyway, when you select a move, the two run towards each other and jump to clash in the air in the centre.
Jesus! That's heavy damage for this fight. Rhue only does 4 damage to Therin.
Also Rhue gets a second grade injury from that 12. This is really bad. We'll get more details on this later, but injuries are inflicted by damage exceeding your damage threshold by certain amounts. An attack exceeding DT by only like 1 or 3 only is a Step 1 Injury, which merely lowers your Crit % I believe. A Step 2 injury also lowers your plunge skill. A step 4 injury, which you get for exceeding an opponents DT by 20 is a Step 4 injury which is Instant Defeat/Victory No Matter What.
Are you sure this is your first time?
Not bad Rhue, but not great.
Rhue seems fine with this almost praise. After that 12 damage Therin sticks to mostly doing 4-6 damage and Rhue ranges between 1-4
After a couple more passes, Rhues HP is in orange and Therin says just one more pass, which goes by without issue.
You're going to listen? To what?
So I can hear the Purpose.
Yes, but not in the way you might expect. I'm really not the person to talk to about this. Be sure to ask someone else though.
I know you are in a hurry so may the Purpose guide you.
And you as well
On to the next screen...
"It would be really nice to have one of those... Maybe I can catch it... How hard could it be?"
On the next screen you can see this suspicious ledge. When you walk down on it, Rhue says he sees a cavern below and you get a prompt on if you want to jump down. Press yes, and Rhue does and then enters the cave and the camera automatically starts panning right.
(Is it a glow rock?)
(No... it's a rock, it's glowing, but it's something else)
(I wonder what it feels like...?)
And then a electrical sound starts playing while Rhue says "Sweet Lands!" which is one of the curses of The Way we'll get into more later. The guidebook also explained them.
"A Shock Rock.
Someone once told me that the power you absorb from them actually makes your life blood stronger."
Max HP is the only stat shared between the two modes of combat so it's arguably the stat to focus on when you dont have the highest priority items. (We'll get to stat raising later, but its usually not so immediate and done through items. No -typical- XP system here.)
We leave the cave and jump back up the ledge. Rhue is really good at jumping high and far, as we'll soon see. The game makes you find jump points both for secrets and mandatory stuff with great regularity.
Oh and here's our menu. I'll show off the other two things later because hoo boy thats a lot to explain all at once. Lets look at stats.
So these are the normal combat stats. XL is basically MP. And I'm pretty sure Focus, Will and Poise are just different words for the basic stats of RPGMAKER2k, Attack, Mind and Speed. Well. Will might be Defense. Or maybe Poise is? I'm pretty sure the gudiebook explained it but I dont remember. Maybe attack is only tied to your sword aura and they're defense, mind and speed?
And here's the plunge stats. Also our Plunge rank. The Classification increases with your stats. Wins or losses have nothing to do with it, I believe.
The Classification is interesting because, the guide book listed all the ranks in order and with the Wanderer the odd one out, the length classification name increases by 1 letter each time. The first REAL classification, I believe, is Blood Lyn or Lyn. Then I think it's Plyn, then Hylyn? Something like that, all the way up to Straphalyn and then Paraphalyn. Paraphalyn has a note about it in the guidebook too. There's only one on the entire Way at any given time, and supposedly he/she is instantly recogniseable in some fashion. They are the greatest warrior alive.
Anyway, to the right is our first save point.
Pretty standard options really.
(My father once told me that Red Swiftfoots have horrible eyesight, but great hearing.)
(As long as he doesn't see any signs of motion or hear any odd sounds I'll be able to sneak up and grab him.)
(It's still going to be tough though. Look at all those leaves on the ground, just waiting to crack under my boots.)
(Plus, Swiftfoots have a wide field of vision of about 180 degrees.)
(... and if he's looking left he can see...)
The game does this in a couple directions to help you get the idea.
You don't want to skip minigames or certain battles cos you wont get the stat ups. Even with the skip them all option enabled.
So the idea is to slowly take a few steps (Rhue walks VERY slow in this minigame) at a time while not moving when its looking at you or to not step on the leaves. If you fail to do either, it runs away and the minigame starts over.
The rabbit also moves a couple times while you're moving towards it.
Rhue IMMEDIATELY checks out the rabbit balls.
One of my favourite characters shows up with his badass custom theme.
After brutally owning Rhue, he swings his sword around like a sideways helicopter rotor before sheathing it. It always reminds me of the beam rotors animation from Victory Gundam.
Well, that was quick. RIP Rhue.