The Let's Play Archive

The Way

by Fleshwit

Part 82: Bonus Ending Update: The Reaches Ending.

Bonus Ending Update: The Reaches Ending.

So the room we passed over right before the elevator...

The flames from the Shadow Plungers burn in four small rooms like this. We don't need to enter those rooms to check or anything, but they're there for us to gawk at if we want.

Me neither. Let's go.

Is this The Walk of Fire? The Road to the Reaches?

A Lesser leaps out at us with an earth shaking thud.

Generic demon looking motherfucker is gonna get his ass kicked.

Oh. Well. This looks bad, but I recover pretty handily thanks to Sacrifa's Revive 2 and beat him without too much trouble. He's one of the tougher bosses especially in terms of damage output, but... Not that rough all in all.

This is probably going to be our only maxed sword aura. Guess I'll never get to use Tri-Ultra. Actually, I don't think I ever have been able to use it. It'd take another couple hundred battles or something insane even with the AR Catalyst to max the other three sword auras though.

Moving on...


This is the final boss and ending video, so definitely do not skip it and even more definitely don't scroll past it until you've watched it all. (Well, you can skip the middle of the boss fight sicne its 8 minutes long if you don't care about watching that.

So. Watched it all? Well. Where to even start?


Well, first thing first. After you kill Gharon, it's hard to see, but at the top of the screen, Phantom Slasher appears and waves its arms, causing the... explosion? That casts everyone into The Reaches.

Is Gharon the real identity of the Phantom Slasher? Or is that move its last resort to prevent... something? After we slew its two minions/buddies. I don't know.

Note: The Black Shoals...
Note: I always liked Slade.

So did I, Lun. The name of this map is "Words to a Lonely Song."
SLADE: I didn't hate her.

So... this place is the Black Shoals. Given who we see, I don't think this scene is taking place inside the sword. Well, it's arguable if you're even meant to take this ending literally at all.
But if you are. I think The Black Shoals may be a place in the Reaches. The burning yellow sky... Rhue definitely dies in this ending too, and we know Slade is dead. He wasn't himself in the sword. This is something I mentioned briefly back in Episode 5 but...
There's a lot of confusion about why Slade is in Episode 6. I've seen it paraded about as fact numerous times that 'Rhue passing by Slade just as he died meant he only absorbed an incomplete aura of Slade.'

There's nothing in the story to back up this would happen, or did happen. Absorbing incomplete auras under such circumstances I mean. We -are- told that shadow swords are picky about whose auras they absorb, and I think the Phantom Slasher never wanted Slade.
Do you remember when Slade had the sword stuck in him? He should have died then, but the sword had 'grown into him', preventing him from bleeding to death. Even when the Phantom Slasher removed itself, it didn't finish him off.

But it did take something from him. Rhue earned the Transcendental Auras from that and immediately after, Slade seemed to have lost himself. He became more introspective and suicidal. I think, by whatever criteria it measures people by, the shadow sword didn't think Slade deserved to die, just that he needed to lose an undesirable element. The dutiful, obedient streak he had. But Slade couldn't cope without that, and even when he died nearby Rhue, the sword didn't take the rest of his aura.

SLADE: I... I never saved a
single one...
Note: That sucks.

GAIUS: I pushed her away because
I love her.

RHUE: That doesn't make any sense...
Note: You don't? It's so obvious.

Even if he doesn't, he seems stuck on it anyway. Perhaps reflecting on people he's hurt in hell.

He does talk about his life being on a course to destruction in the future tense but... maybe like people in the shadow swords, you don't realise you're dead in The Reaches, and just get tormented with ideas like this.

TRAZIUN: I didn't need her.

RHUE: You wanted to be alone?

TRAZIUN: I had more important things to do.

TRAZIUN: She was just holding me back.

RHUE: She had noting to offer?

TRAZIUN: Nothing that I valued.

RHUE: So why did you get so close?

TRAZIUN: I don't know... I missed my mother.

RHUE: ...
Who Traziun is referring to was a mystery for years, even though the answer is in the very same episode and people were tearing apart the scripting.
Once, the prevailing theory was Verdana, the woman who ran the Grand Casino in Episode 4/5.
She and Traziun do seem friendly and to have known each other beforehand.
I always suspected though, that it might be his blood sister from when he was a Blood Lyn. Holding him back sounds like he's talking about skill and all that. I had no proof...

... until in 2009, a random idiot took Sorya on the date and posted about it.

I'll quote Jeramyu's retrospective here too.


Reaches Ending -
I think this is my new favorite ending. Not because it's really dark or weird, but because it has some great writing, great cinematography, and some interesting insights into the characters. I'm still curious as to why the Phantom Slasher is the one who "casts" everyone into the Reaches (If you turn off the event and just walk to the next screen, there's just a cliff above the Reaches that Rhue throws himself off of). The descent monologue is great, and the momentary spottings of the Phantom Slasher as he quietly follows Rhue and destroys the women who try and distract him is inspired cinematography. Notice how Kloe doesn't show up there. I guess she'll only walk alongside Rhue if he breaks free from his muddy past . One by one we see how Slade, Gaius, and Traziun had to deny their feelings (who is Traziun talking about?). Rhue confronts the Phantom. "Some try!" "All fail." is my favorite exchange of dialogue in the whole series. And in the end, all that's left is a single splotch of blood. Again, in his interview, when Lun refers to "the end of the game", he references dialogue in this ending. Interesting.

His point about Kloe is interesting, I actually never even picked up on the idea there might be a reason she's not in the ending, though I'm not sure I agree with his reasoning why. I think it might more be that maybe Rhue never saw her as a straight love interest. First, she was an enemy, then a friend.

Before you say anything about Cetsa, he obviously thought she was sexy and suspected she might be Serena for quite a while.

Lastly, I'm pretty sure the credits are the same for this ending and the normal ending so I left them out. I think only the second alt ending has a different credits scene. An interesting one too.

... But what kind of important event could have taken place at the Black Shoals? The scarring of the Lord Below? The Birth of Phantom Slasher? Both?

King of Bleh" post="496364728 posted:

I don't know how to fully parse that ending either narratively or thematically, but "holy moley" indeed. The "walk with me" segment and then the one after it seems as close as you could get to expressing a thesis for the game. I think it's suggesting, and this is even kind of subversive from within the context of a cliched JRPG setting, that the grand quests and tragic destinies etc are all just shitty window dressing that gets in the way of people connecting with each other. That's a pretty novel punchline to put in a game like this.

I think you're spot on actually, and about something I hadn't even fully realised myself.

This was something I only touched on very slightly way back in Episode 3, and even said later that I kept meaning to write on it and never did but, do you remember the Episode 3 scene right after saving Scatha from the volcano, she starts ranting at Rhue about how he obviously thinks he's a big macho hero and all that? I said back then that I thought she was right, and I still do. Rhue changes a lot after that, and gets progressively darker and nastier, but there's no doubt he sees himself as on this big heroic quest to save a girl he hasn't seen in a decade or something.

Even his telling of the Landorin Massacre reeks of... typical beginning to a heroes journey. A happy life is stolen from Rhue. He somehow survives under mysterious circumstances. He gets a sword from two mysterious men. He himself even states that he feels like there was a lot more going on that night, and that if he ever came to fully understand it, he'd find Serena.

He uses his search for Serena not just as an excuse to do what he thinks needs to be done but an excuse to just keep moving on.

He never addresses things like what happens if he finds Serena and she's... what? What if she's been living on the streets of Estrana? Rhue sweeps in to give her a better life? What if she's happily married?
What if she resents him for not saving her? What if, what if what if?

Does he expect her to drop everything and be with him?

... The first scene where Traziun and Rhue really begin to bond is when Rhue tells Traziun of the Landorin Massacre and his quest to find Serena. (interesting point to note that Traziun seems really interested in Rhue's Sword, Phantom Slasher, at this point of the story). Lexus' and Rhues most intimate feeling scene in Episode 4 is the one where Rhue tells her what Serena was like as well.

Otherwise Rhue is very tight-lipped about Serena for a man supposedly desperately searching for her. He only mentions his search for her to someone if provoked (Scatha), deranged and on the verge of being killed by them (Slade), or if he thinks 100% they know something or even are her. (Cetsa). It's his special, personal quest that he keeps close to his heart.

I think the only exception is the very first scene of Episode 1, and even there it sounds like he was being really vague, since I think that scenes the justification for the opening monologue.

Tallgeese" post="496366844 posted:

Speaking of Pontifex Maximus Tetzel, who killed Eyashu:

Something is rotten in the Guided. Probably.

(Also, I point out that Gharon's strongest attack is End of The Way.)

the end