Part 5: Mythe's Adventure - Part 5Unlimited Saga, Part 5: Undercity Pharos
Mythe and his party have made it to Iskandaria, and they've got a lot of money as well. Check out this rad accessory:
It's so expensive because it's already got all its skills revealed, but I have a ton of money now so that's just fine. Accessories made of a given material always have the same skills, so we know from this that bone accessories will always, eventually, get life protection. With armor you can work out a tradeoff between actual defense and protecting your LP, but with accessories the only defensive skill is this one. Unless you're doing tricky builds with specific weights, there's no reason not to give physical attackers at least one. Damascus armlets have it, plus the highest actual defense, plus Water Support, meaning they make your healing more effective... but we won't get much damascus in this playthrough, so we'll make do with other stuff. No worries.
Pharr starts with almost no equipment, and her skills aren't that great either, but she does have Artiste, meaning I can finally replace Sapphire's panel and still get rare items in stores. If you spend a lot of money in shops then their items improve, but it's certainly nice to be able to expand a shop's inventory and she won't be doing much else. Every character can recruit up to 8 members, and you can never use more than 7 in a mission, meaning someone has to get left out. If you can get some shop skills on them first, all the better!
I also made a steel knife for Tiffon. Everyone's pretty well set, so let's go do the dungeon.
The Undercity is one of the Seven Wonders, ancient weird locations from the Golden Age. This one is literally under the city, and so you first start out in the ancient ruins above-ground, before descending into the depths. Like so:
You're free to wander about and find treasure up here. It's got some monsters but is relatively safe, plus you can actually leave from the place you entered it. That doesn't work once you're actually on the big finale quest for Mythe, but we aren't yet so it's fine.
I figured I should at least show Pharr in action but she wasn't even able to attack an enemy, due to being stunned.
These zombies have an attack with an amazing name:
My go-to strategy at this time is to let Mythe or Sapphire lead off with a spell, which lets the enemies take all their turns. Then, in one long combo, Grace shoots everything with Random Arrowshoot while Tiffon stabs them individually. It works great!
The ruins have a fair number of chests to find, and as you explore it you'll find giant doors that block your way. One of the doors is open, letting us enter the Undercity proper.
Near the entrance, there's a button with a weird label on it.
I can't read it. Let's not touch it.
The Undercity is divided roughly in half, and we can only explore one part of it right now. To get to the other side we need someone with knowledge of the ancient world.
You can unlock the other doors as you progress, as it turns out they were only barred on the inside.
The city has multiple levels, and there's a lot of staircases and, though they are deactivated right now, elevators as well. You can see what it's meant to look like from the paintings in the upper left, and from the battle arenas when you get into a fight.
There are many doors we can't go through right now.
Here's a terrifying shark about to eat Sapphire:
It's in these large dungeons that the Guide skills really come in handy. First of all, you know that empty rooms have some hidden treasure in them, so it's easy to search for them; secondly, the map can be very helpful in figuring out where you haven't been.
Eventually, we come across this weird spiral corridor leading to a staircase.
Downstairs is a path which leads to this device, which Mythe is willing to mess with.
Oh no! Fortunately, while these guys seem intimidating, they really aren't. Plus, Sapphire finally learned Shock, meaning she can do this:
A nice touch: you can see she's using her dagger to channel the spell. Shock deals metal damage to every enemy, and so Sapphire is able to help with crowd control when fighting large numbers. She's not great with metal, but it's still nice to have, and I wouldn't use shock for single-target boss fights anyway. It also means that, at last, every party member has some effective way to deal damage, which is great! Remember, characters restore HP when they're not used during a combat turn, so in protracted fights you want to cycle them in or out. Sapphire can now deal damage when out on the field, and while casting to learn new spells.
Meanwhile, Tiffon can do Lightning Thrust. It's a thrust, with lightning.
This is one of the techs you can spark from using Stunner. Usually, the level 4 and 5 techs look cool, and others tend to be rather less impressive. Still effective, though.
Now, people have pointed out that many of the party members don't have things to say in cutscenes. This is true! They do, however, still say things when doing skill checks or stuff like that. For example, Grace failed to disarm this trap:
They have a variety of lines for these things, and sometimes they're funny or add character... but yeah, their relevance to the plot is pretty diminished. Some of them have larger parts in other storylines, but really this is Mythe's story and everyone else is there to push it along.
On the other hand, check out Mythe's familiar!
Thank you, fire parrot.
Every so often, the way will be blocked by a barrier.
These are deactivated by switches, but of course Mythe doesn't want to mess with things he doesn't understand. But some of them are open, thanks to the one we pressed before the insects attacked.
More weird devices:
We're looking for another spiral staircase, so we can go deeper into the labyrinth. Like this:
There's lots of treasure chests here, and if you keep fighting mimics you may find some more magic tablets. If not, you'll get some nice materials and maybe cash. I picked up a magic tablet, which I found out later was a basic water arts tablet --
something which teaches Purify! Eventually, we end up in an isolated area near the original entrance.
Here you are. This is where I got it. All the valuables were looted, so there's nothing left. The Golden Age people lived in places like this... I wonder what kind of dreams that girl was having here...
This place, this very room... There's no evidence at all here that she exists now. One thing is for certain -- she lived more than a thousand years ago. I felt something die deep inside me. Hiding that kind of pain was not going to be an easy task.
So, as everyone expected, the mysterious woman in a picture from thousands of years ago lived thousands of years ago. That's unfortunate, though since we finished the quest everyone still gets new skills.
Mythe picks up Fortuneteller, which has nice elemental growth generally and is good for spellcasters. Usually you might want someone to specialize, but since he's doing both fire and water casting right now it's not a bad skill to pick up. It goes right in the middle, so it can raise everything by a small amount. Sapphire gets the water tablet, since she's the other caster I have right now. Grace and Tiffon both got the opposite of what I wanted -- Tiffon got a nice Bow panel and Grace a lv3 Dagger -- but since they both scale off skill I realized I might as well just swap their weapons and accept it. So from now on Tiffon will be the archer, and Grace will have a dagger, and that'll be fine. Pharr didn't get any useful panels, so I just put something down that raises endurance.
Apparently Mythe was so upset by these events he went straight home.
Haah... No mind for anything. So this is what they call love...
Oh dang it's Laura
Are you listening!?
Uh... yeah... Relics last over a thousand years. But she's a mortal human. Give it up Mythe. It's pathetic.
It kind of is pathetic to be honest. Laura hands over this weird dagger:
This is the Blade of Escata, which is the central focus of her scenario. However, here it just serves as a way to introduce her to Mythe. Also, it's not her dagger but Henri's, and he's nowhere to be seen, so... I don't know how she got it, or when this happens relative to her story. It's strange.
This is not a weapon.
Fire! Fugar's mansion is on fire!!
Hah. Fugar's finally getting what he deserves. Let it burn... all of it.
I don't know him, but you shouldn't rejoice at the misfortune of others.
Mythe runs off, taking the dagger with him.
Where're you going!? The dagger!!
We're dropped right into another mission. The mansion is on fire, and we have to find the photograph and save it so Mythe can pine over it some more.
Every so often, you have to spin the reel to dodge wreckage from the mansion.
Even if you fail, though, it doesn't do much damage. This is really a race against time, since this mission actually has a turn limit.
In one of the rooms on the first floor, you can find a magic tablet. This mansion is used for a sidequest in other characters' scenarios, and you can grab it then too.
In this case, since Mythe is the only character, he's the only one who can use it, but I can't say no to a free magic tablet. The real gimmick of this quest is that there's a bunch of locked doors which you can't lockpick. You have to find the "Keyaxe" and then use it to break the doors down.
In a sense it's good game design: they wanted you to deal with reel checks and a short turn limit to add suspense, but it's certainly possible -- even likely -- that the player won't have Mythe learn to lockpick. If you're quick you can break open lots of doors and find good loot. If not, the proper path is fairly obvious and distinct from everything else, and looks like this:
Looks like the fire's boxed us in. Only one way out now!
So, I guess he jumped out the stained glass window? And he goes back to his shop, where Laura is waiting.
I know that this girl is someone from the past. Even though I knew that I would never have the chance to meet her, I couldn't just let her be consumed by the fire.
You're a fool to risk your life over something like that! What's useless to one person can be another person's treasure... I think... I've seen this girl before.
Which is it!?
I saw her get on the ship to Vaftom.
Whoah, what a twist! And we'll find out what that's all about next time, when we go to Vaftom and see the Festival. Stay tuned.