The Let's Play Archive

Vanguard Bandits

by Smasher Dynamo

Part 1: Chapter #1: Destiny's Child, Part 1

Here's the opening movie, as posted by some guy named Tidal Dreams on youtube. It's not really much of an introduction, though

Mission 1: Destiny's Child

Meet Bastion, there are three different paths in this game, and yet we'll be stuck with him in every fucking mission.

: We both know I'm strong enough to fight the Empire...So why won't you allow me to prove my strength in battle? I'm weary of skulking from place to place in the dead of night, as though we were petty thieves.
Welcome to the wonderfully schizophrenic translation of Vanguard Bandits, which veers from faux-archaic to...well, you'll see
: We must stand up and fight, Father! We have to--
At this point, Kamorge hits Bastion with a stick. I'm going to miss Kamorge.
: Oh, whatever was that for?!
: To demonstrate that much training yet lies before you.
: But you struck me when I wasn't ready, Father! That's hardly fair!
: On the field of battle, "fair" knows not who the deserving are, Bastion, it is a lesson you must learn.
The hell does that mean? I think I understand the gist of it, but still.
: I still say you cheated...
Suddenly, a blond person of indeterminate gender appears to end this thrilling conversation

Forsooth! The time for skulkery has come to end! Make ye haste to the field of battle!

: The village in under siege by soldiers of the Empire! I counted at least four Imperials before Puck and I came to find you! One building has already been set ablaze in the chaos...You must stop those thugs from doing anymore harm!
: Don't fret, Milea. Of course we'll stop them! Are they ready, Puck?
: Ready and waiting, Bastion!
: Excellent, let's go!
So, Bastion's plan to save the village from destruction is to engage in a battle between ATACs right in the middle of it. Huh. Anyway, everyone besides Kamorge rushes off

Oh, good, we're setting up the most obvious plot twist in RPG history.

You get a screen like this before every battle. It's not particularly helpful.
: Do not allow anger to cloud your good judgment. Forget your emotions. Remember your training. Fight with honor.
: I know, Father, I know...But now is the time for me to use that training for just such an honorable purpose!
: Stay close to me as we engage the enemy, Bastion. Keep me within your line of sight at all times. This is your first big test. Do not disappoint me.
: Of course not, Father! I shall make you proud! (Proud enough that perhaps you can reserve that stick for someone else...)

And the battle finally starts

: Warriors of the Junaris Empire stop for no one!
: Sir, these appear to be the rogues we were sent to find.
: Are you certain, I was expecting mercenaries, not peasants...You may injure them, but do NOT kill them, or Faulkner will have our heads.
That's right, the big twist of this game is that it takes place in an alternate history where the South won the civil war and William Faulkner became a bloodthirsty general instead of a writer. Okay, not really, but that would have been awesome....

It's the first battle, so you only get to control Bastion. Kamorge gets the fight off to a rollicking start by standing around and doing nothing.

Interactivity at last. But, before we do anything, let's take a closer look at Bastion's ATAC

The Alba is one of the better units you'll have access to in the first half of the game. The other stats are:

BAS: Basic Skill, controls how much HP you have, and is also important for unlocking new attacks.
POW: Power, how hard you hit
DEX: Dexterity, how accurate your attacks are
AGI: Agility, how good your evasion is
DEF: Defense, how much getting hit hurts you
WEP: How strong your weapon is (and yes, oddly enough, you can raise this stat when you level up.)

Current Level: Your current level
EXP to Next Level: Self-explanatory
Spirit: Has to do with the nebulous stat of morale, which I'll get to later
Range: How far you can move
Speed: How often you get a turn

Now, I'm not in range of any enemies, so I just decide to head in their general direction for no really good reason. Take a look at the two gauges in the upper right corner of the screen. Those are AP and FP. At the beginning of a unit's turn, they usually have 100 AP, which is consumed by moving and attacking. The exact amount of AP you use is dependent on the type of ATAC, the type of terrain, and what attack you use. In this case, Bastion has used 60 AP and has 40 left. We can't attack, so we end our turn. If we had any FP, the excess AP would now automatically used to reduce it on a 3 AP for 2 FP basis.

The Imperials take their turn, and one of them is in range of Bastion and decides to attack. This is the screen that shows up whenever one ATAC attacks another. In this case, we are being attacked, so we have to choose how to respond. But first, let's discuss FP. You start with 0 FP and if the gauge reaches 100, you are 'dizzied' and can't do anything until your FP goes all the way down to 0. This, obviously, is a bad thing. A lot of attacks carry FP costs, as do any actions taken in response to an attack.

Attack allows you to use any of your attacks, except the cost of the attack, instead of being a combination of AP and FP, is entirely paid in FP.
Defend allows you to take less damage from the enemy attack, but it costs 30 FP.
Avoid allows you to boost your evasion and costs only 20 FP. It's also your only option if attacked from the rear.
Counter allows you to make a decently strong attack and prevent the enemy from hitting you at the same time. The problem? Well, you can only counter if attacked from the front and the chances of it succeeding are bad, and if it doesn't work, the enemy hits you for extra damage. It only costs 20 FP, but you'll probably go the entire game without using more than once or twice.

The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that a unit must choose one of these options whenever they are attacked. They can't elect to do nothing unless they are already dizzied. This means that a defending unit must take on at least 20 FP when attacked. This is important.

Anyway, I choose to avoid

Here's what the battle animations look like. Not terrible for their time, but nothing so great that I feel compelled to show it to you more than this once. Imperial 4 swings and misses.

Bastion responds by moving behind the Imperial and hitting him with a thrust. At the moment, Bastion has only two attacks, Slash and Thrust. Slash is more accurate, but Thrust hits harder.

At this point, another Imperial moves in to help his friend while Kamorge comes up to help Bastion out. And by help Bastion out, I mean to steal his damn experience.

Speaking of stealing experience, it's two more friendly NPCs!

: It's just like the old saying Reyna, where there's smoke....
: There's the Imperial Army!
: Look over there, Father! Two more Imperial ATACs!
: I would not so quick as to assume they are affiliated with the Empire...
: Fear not, brave villagers! We shall save your humble homes from these heartless bastards!

....And we get a choice that ends up affecting absolutely nothing.

: Who in the world are you? And what are you doing here?
Just because you get a choice doesn't mean that you can stop Bastion from being a dick, apparently.
: My name is Reyna, and I'm here to fight alongside you. I'll answer any other questions after I've slain these Imperial lackeys, alright?
: You mean when my father and I have slain them...

Okay, maybe Bastion will be slightly less obnoxious if we pick the other choice....

: How are we to know that you're not mercenaries hired by the Empire?
: Mercenaries?! We fight for the glory of the Avalon Principality, my friend, not for filthy lucre! And do you really think the Empire would approve the color of my ATAC?
Seeing as their frontline units are colored bright pink? Probably....
: Perhaps you'll believe us after we finish these annoyances for you.

Kamorge responds by killing a dude

Ione and Reyna start trundling over to us

But not before Bastion manages to do something right for a change and takes out an Imperial.

Bastion Levels Up! It's possible to get two levels for Bastion in this battle, in fact, to get a certain path, it's downright necessary...but I have my reasons for keeping Bastion's level down.

At this point, the battle is pretty much over. The enemy decides to pick on the weakest member of our team, and that is, as it will always be, Reyna.

The last two Imperials go quietly into the night, and Ione ices the last one, stealing yet more exp from Bastion.

: Victory is ours!