Part 32: The Lovesong of J. Eldore Prufrock
In the room, the women come and go
Talking about how much White Knight Chronicles blows.
CUTSCENE: The Last Play You Want to Be
CUTSCENE / AREA MUSIC: Frass Chasm (Disc 2, Track 10)
We come immediately back from the crash that should probably have killed everyone given everyones general velocity at the end of that cutscene, now firmly nestled on the back of the Greaver.
Again, I will give the game some credit here. This is the lone 100% unique story-based area in the entire duology. Everywhere else weve been so far or will visit, including the Incorruptus Vault under Balandor Castle, is re-visitable by the time you clear game 2. Except for the Greavers back. ...And the Shahgnas bridge.
Once were done here, were never coming back, for reasons that will be kind of obvious by the time were done here.
But dont go jumping for joy all of the sudden at Level-5s sudden burst of creative thinking. The button is still in effect. This place is just a moderately-sized Y shaped hallway that would probably be a minor junction in a larger level from Final Fantasy XIII.
We start at one part of the fork, theres a treasure chest at the end of the other fork, and the boss fight we need to beat to clear the area is at the base of the fork.
Truly, we are witnessing the handiwork of game-crafting gods.
Leonard: You alright, Yulie?
Yulie: Im just happy you didnt call me Cisna. This time.
Yulie: Wait! Are we on?
Eldore: Yes. The Greavers back.
Osmund: And I call myself a Windwalker
Osmund: More like Wind-compoop.
Caesar: Okay, so whats the plan?
Osmund: Crashing this Greaver WITH NO SURVIVIORS!
Orren: Wait, what?!
Oh, by the way, I had one last TDKR joke left in the tank for all of you after all.
Eldore: As long as the Greaver maintains this speed, not even the Windwalkers can help us.
Eldore: Lets move up its body towards the head, and maybe we can slow it down by attacking its antenna.
Caesar: Sounds nuts
Caesar: Just nuts enough to work.
Osmund: Once the Greaver has been calmed, my friends are certain to whoosh to the rescue.
Osmund: LET US GO!
Orren: Why do I think calmed is a euphamism for murdered?
Leonard: Whats Youth-in-ism?
Orren: Just kill this thing already you clod.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: New Allies (Unreleased Track)
So Osmund joins the party for about 10 minutes total. What a waste of a great character.
Also, I just noticed something... All the other Windwalker pilots who were with Osmund died in the crash. Because theyre not here with us alive people, thats for sure.
Osmund is about the apex of useful guest characters for game 1.
Like Caesar, Osmund fights with a spear so hes a damage-taking tank. So theres no worrying about him up and dying and you getting a game over because of it. Though if you game over here, something has gone catastrophically wrong.
Also, Osmunds attire (sans helmet) is buried somewhere in the games code, accessible only via a Game Genie these days.
His spear, shown off here, is also a 100% unique weapon that you never get the chance to buy or bind, and is accessible only via a Game Genie as well. Its a modified version of the Silver Spear, scaled down so as to be of appropriate height to Osmund.
Theres a couple enemies on the way between where we are and the Greaver Antenna. Nothing new for this area, just spiders and a few Umbral Flowers.
I cant remember whats in the chest at the other end of the Y fork, but it doesnt matter anyway, since there really arent any missable items in this game ala FFX or XII. Everything you will find in a chest out in the world will eventually become buyable or bindable if you progress far enough through the game and grind your Guild Rank high enough.
So lets go see if we can stop this thing
Eldore: To think, this is ALL one creature!
CUTSCENE: How's the Reception on That Thing?
Were getting close to an IMPORTANT PLACE because everythings turning from green to red now.
As they approach, however, everything starts shaking. So of course, Leonard has probably pissed it off somehow with his mere presence on its body.
Its giant head-mouth(?) splits open and it starts spewing more gas.
Hey, remember when this stuff was apparently dangerous enough that it halted our progress for an entire night while we waited for it to pass? By this point, Team Caesar has been doused with who knows how much of the stuff in the span of the last few minutes, and they dont seem to be any worse for wear.
Either Eldores a lying sack of shit in one way or another, or Akihiro Hino only lets things have consequences when its convenient for them to.
Its uniquely pitiful when the 90 lb purple-haired girl, the narcoleptic sexagenarian, a 3-foot tall rabbit-man in a purple gas mask and a shirtless guy in dreadlocks and silk chaps are able to taken more seriously than you in this situation.
Yulie and the human dialtone look up and surprise and horror at the Lovecraftian nightmare rising up to greet them.
Just wait, it gets creepier.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: A Worthy Opponent Draws Near (Disc 1, Track 8)
Jeez, you said antenna, not a goddamn satellite dish!
Leonard: Thats it! Thats one of its antennae!
Caesar: Thats one big antenna!
Eldore: Ready then?!
Jokes on you, Maxwell, youre benched for this fight.
BOSS FIGHT: Greaver Antenna (with commentary by nine-gear crow and Blind Sally)
The Greaver Antennas an interesting brid
First off it sends up all this little mini antennae.
This things are bastards because theres usually about 12 of them and while theyre up and moving, the main antenna is invulnerable from the ground. You need to kill all of them to coax the big one back down into a hittable range again.
They can slap you around pretty hard and they also have the ability to put your characters to sleep. The bigass antenna, meanwhile, can poison you too, in addition throttling everyone with physical attacks.
Because Im boring and high-leveled enough, I forego using the White Knight or Dragon Knight on this thing completely for this battle and just let the Avatar wail away at everything with his axe.
Once you goad the main antenna down to the ground, you have a limited window to beat on it and kill it before it sends its little helpers back up and becomes invulnerable again. In a normal playthrough, this is when youd whip our one of your Knights, but here, again, Orren just demolishes it with his axe.
CUTSCENE: The Greaver Halted
Cue Shadow of the Colossus mournful victory music.
Another unfathomably old and otherwise innocent creature, dead at the hands of Leonard Im calling this for him because Im pretty sure if you go back and check the video, he landed the killing blow on it.
The Windwalkers swoop in on the Greaver corpse to scoop up the party and return them to Baccea.
So to recap: we tried to rescue Princess Cisna a fourth time and score a victory over the Magi by destroying the Black Knight, only to:
Have them walk away with Cisna AGAIN.
Have our plans revealed to the Magi and countermanded.
Have Talion prove to be useless.
And have Kara defect to the Magi permanently.
Not to mention we killed a Greaver more-or-less in cold blood.
CUTSCENE: A Visitor to Baccea
Back in Baccea
Osmund: Well? We helped you good, now didnt we?
Leonard: Yes. Thank you.
Rocco: Yipee! Now were even-stevens!
Osmund: Aaah, but you still dont have your princess back.
Osmund: You must be sad.
Orren: Nah, were used to it by this point.
Leonard: Well Well get her eventually.
Orren: If you say so, Sisyphus.
Osmund: Oh yes, I almost forgot! You have a visitor.
Osmund: Hes in the headmans hut waiting for you return.
Maybe its Cyrus finally caught up to the party? Wouldnt that be adequate.
CUTSCENE: Back From the Dead
Team Youre Making The Stupid Self-Centered Assholes From Final Fantasy XIIIs Main Party Look Good files into Osmunds hut.
Leonard looks around, having some trouble spotting a man in a 1-room hut about the size of a large gazebo, when suddenly
Setti: Im glad to see you.
Oh, hey, youre not actually dead. Guess I can move you out of the Deceased section, huh?
Okay, so minus 1 for the Leonard Incidental Kill Count then I guess.
Leonard: Setti! Youre alive!
Setti: I was certain that someone wanted me dead, so I went into hiding.
Setti: Sadly though, a townsperson who came to visit my house was killed instead.
Okay, so plus 1 for the Leonard Inicidental Kill Count. Net change: 0.
Caesar: Man, did you come all this way on your own?
Caesar looks down at Settis boots suspiciously. Theyre immaculate. This would be and important clue to something if the game actually rendered dirt and mud on character clothing and we had some decent establishing shots of the party looking absolutely filthy in order to contextualize this shot.
Yet, as is it, it just comes across like Caesar is randomly weirded out by Settis boots for no apparent reason.
Caesar: Ah?! Huh.
Setti: Yes. I was compelled to.
Setti: The situation has progressed further than Id feared.
Were getting too far into the game. Were approaching Stupid Entropy.
Setti: We have to hurry now
Setti: Before my time runs out for good
Yulie: What does that mean?
Orren: Probably some Final Destination-type thing. He escaped Leonard-Death somehow and now fates got it out for him.
Setti: Oh. Nothing, really.
When anyone says something in this game is nothing its clearly A Thing. Between the clean boots, the flimsy explanation for his survival and absence, his ability to block Caesars dragonsight, this weird invisible countdown thing hes got going on and the fact that hes voiced by Crispin Freeman, I dont think Settis as trustworthy a character as we were originally sold on, folks.
Leonard: So where to now?
And with that, order has been re-established. Leonard once again has an authority figure in his life to cajole for directions, thoughts, and opinions on matters and his brief time as a Person of Agency comes to a close. He will never take another action that isnt a direct response to the actions of a villain or inspired by/ordered by someone else in a position of authority over him.
Setti: Sinca Village.
IE: The place we were kind of going to already.
Eldore: Sinca Village. The place where it all began.
Setti: There is a great rift in the lands to the west of here. It is known as the Dogma Rift.
Setti: Sinca Village is nearby.
Setti: I will guide you there.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: New Allies (Unreleased Track)
And theres our last guest party member. Settis going to be with up for the majority of whats left of the game, which actually isnt all that much of it.
Now all we need to do is make a run for the closest exit and head for the Van Haven Wastes.
CUTSCENE: Goodbye Baccea
Osmund: Farewell, friends!
Rocco: Take caaaaaaaaare! Haaaa! Bye bye!
Yulie: Aww. Thats so sweet.
Leonard: Yeah. Were never coming back here again.
Fuck Baccea, and fuck the Papitaurs.
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
It looks like were coming to the end of the World Map screen For game 1, anyway. The other half the map opens up for game 2, but well wander into that forest when we get here.
For now, up ahead of us is the Van Haven Waste. Not to be confused with the Van Halen Waste, which is what happens every time you spend money on a Van Halen album or song. HAIOOOO!!!
This big, ominous black spot on the map, by the way, is the Dogma Rift. Well be seeing more of that in the coming chapters.
CUTSCENE: Lets Hash Out Some Plot
So now weve gone from samey plains to samey mines to samey desert to samey city to more samey mines to samey canyon into samey dryland. The Van Haven Waste is Arizona without all the old white people.
Visually, its my favourite area of the game. Ive always had a thing for dry grasslands with rocky mesas all over the place. I dont know why.
Gameplay wise Fuck the Van Haven Waste, but well get to that after Leonard has a little bitch session to straighten a few dangling plot threads out before we move on.
See Caesar getting his swagger on.
See Idiot about to ruin that.
He grabs Caesars shoulder and whips him around.
Hey, hands off the merchandise, dingas.
Leonard: Why?! You must have known about Kara! You would have seen through her with your dragonsight.
Caesar: Yeah, but
Yulie: They why did you keep it from us?!
Orren: Because if you hadnt figured it out by the time she transformed in the Waterfall Cave, you were never going to until she did, well that.
Leonard: She killed the King of Balandor! And you knew that!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Scar (Disc 2, Track 13)
Caesar: No! I promise you, that wasnt her.
Caesar: All you saw was black armour Dragiass black armour, it was!
Caesar: But Im telling you, it wasnt Kara behind that mask. It was somebody else.
Eldore: What makes you so sure?
Caesar: Kara was made to believe she was General Dragias, not long before you first met her back in Albana.
Leonard: But why would anyone go through the trouble?
Wow, you know your writing sucks when the least self-aware character in the cast is now poking his finger through your myriad of plot holes.
Caesar: If I had to guess, they wanted to assassinate you, Leonard.
IE: What he already should have known. Hell, Kara flat out said it to him when they first met. Its simple: we want you dead.
Leonard is dumb.
Caesar: Except, a Pactmaker has the powers and reflexes of a Knight.
Orren: Well, two out of three, anyway
Caesar: Not just any old assassin would do.
Caesar: They needed somebody who was Leonards equal if they were going to succeed in killing him.
Orren: Okay, Ill buy that. Karas sort of been a comparable fuck up to Leonard most of the time. Except when it comes to, you know, actually heroism and stuff. Shes got you beat handily there playdoh brain.
Caesar: So they found Kara to do the deed. But they were still taking an enormous risk.
Yulie: Whys that?
Caesar: The Knights might begin to resonate. Kara is the Pactmaker of the Black Knight
Caesar: If she and Leonard came together, maybe the old memories would be awakened
Caesar: Maybe they would even join forces, like I the old days.
Caesar: So to prevent that, they implanted a false memory inside her mind, something that would put here and Leonard at odds.
Leonard: But thats just ridiculous.
From your lips to Akirhiro Hinos ears, kid.
Caesar: Kara isnt a killer, Leonard.
Caesar: Shes not. She couldnt bring herself to kill you. Or me. Even though Grazel ordered it
Leonard: Grazels behind it all!
Orren: Did you just figure that out NOW?! Holy actual shit.
Leonard has just now realised that guy who straight up told him he was the games main villain three chapters ago is the games main villain.
I am not fucking making that up. Watch the video. Listen to the shock in his voice when he puts the puzzle together in his mind.
This is news to him.
Caesar: Yeah. The whole terrifying charade. General Dragias is just a stage role, created by Grazel to help unify his organization.
Caesar: He employs different actors as the occasion demands. When he needs to control soldiers, he gives them a strategic mastermind.
Caesar: When he wants to demonstrate invincibility in war, he makes Dragias a master of swordplay.
Caesar: He makes sure that Dragias is always the perfect leader.
Leonard: Then who did I see kill the King?
[Attempt to be a dramatic action protagonist]
Caesar: It must have been the first Dragias, acting under Grazels orders.
Leonard gets right in Caesars face. Now in a decent work of fiction, this would be a tension-building moment and would have some lasting consequences, as Caesar has demonstrated he is willing to sit on vital information and compartmentalize his loyalties for personal reasons. Its a trust-shattering moment. Yeah, he did it for noble reasons, because he thought (wrongly) that Kara would ultimately side with the party over Grazel, but he still put the group in perilous danger and left them at a knowledgeable disadvantage going into the confrontation at Thaumus Rock.
The fact that they got blindsided is as much Caesars fault as it is Eldores and Leonards.
And yet Leonard is going to forget about the character revelations and continue being Leonard immediately after this scene is over with.
White Knight Chronicles! More things stick to Teflon than they do in this game.
Caesar: Sorry. That I couldnt see.
Caesar: Dragonsights not perfect, you know. Some people can block it. The man who played Dragias was one of them.
Caesar: Who was he? I dunno. I havent the slightest idea.
Eldore: Wait, why has the camera been lingering on me this whole time?
See. All is forgiven and forgotten.
Leonard: Come on. We should get to Sinca Village now.
AREA MUSIC: The Van Haven Waste (Disc 2, Track 12)
And now at the damn end of the chapter: GAMEPLAY!
Because theres no more story sections between here and Sinca Village.
We now has Setti in our party as a guest character. Like Yulie he has a bow and arrow, hes leveled around where you should be at this stage, but has lower overall stats than you. He only has a few low-level healing spells and tends to lag behind the other party members.
So that means that you need to clear out every monster in your path before they kill him and you get a game over screen.
Setti is a major reason the back half of the game is simultaneously rocket-fast and a slow tedious bore because he turns the rest of the game into one giant escort mission.
And Level-5 thought that was such a brilliant idea they turned around and made half of White Knight Chronicles II a massive escort mission.
In the Van Haven Wastes, weve got a couple of new enemies and pallet swaps. First up is the simple Scorpion, the bland earth-element based Scorpion pallet swap.
Yulie: Whos responsible for the Kings death?
Leonard: So youre saying theres more than one Black Knight?
Orren: Are you THAT fucking dense? Really?
Setti: Who could it have been?
Eldore: Patience, the answer will come soon.
Also, holy fuck, Leonard literally thinks Multiple Dragiases = Multiple Black Knights. This kid is duuuuuuuuuuumb.
We also encounter Jackals for the first time. Theyre pallet swaps of the boars weve been seeing throughout the game.
And then weve got a Cerberus, which is a fire type version of the Megalo Tigris from the Lagnish Desert.
Yulie: Feels like were finally getting to the heart of things.
Leonard: No turning back now.
Setti: The world knows so little about the Magi
The Van Haven waste by and large is a series of above ground dry brush areas connected by a maze of below ground stalactite cave tunnels.
Both halves of the area are pretty to look at, but a right proper ass to navigate.
Also of note, the enemies in the above ground sections are all wind/fire/earth based monsters, while all the enemies in the below ground sections are all ice monsters. Kind of clever, but not by that much.
Caesar: Gods, I feel lousy.
Yulie: How could they toy with someones heart like that?
Things are made all the more difficult by these things: magic bullshit doors.
Theyre thrown up at certain parts of the stage, usually at a point that in any other game would be an obvious shortcut in your route, in order to pad out the gameplay and make you take the long way around.
We also encounter Ice Dragons below ground.
Your milage may vary, but I find this rather pretty for its limited graphics capabilities For a fucking PS3 game.
And theres a Wind Dragon. We now have seen each member of the elemental dragon quartet.
And heres an Ice Elemental. I cant remember if I showed this to you, and Im just going to assume that neither of us care...
Eventually we come to a door at the centre of the wasteland.
Which opens up to a little oasis area. I always thought this was a neat surprise for first time players. I certainly wasnt expecting it. This area is known as Van Havens Navel, FYI.
Hello, foot-deep pool of otherwise inconspicuous water.
See you in game 2.
Yulie: How do you think this was formed?
Leonard: Maybe the Cataclysm had something to do with it?
Eldore: The ground water must have eaten away at the surrounding earth.
Setti: The water has been eroding the earth for tens of thousands of years.
Tucked away in the Navel is also the only important chest in this area. It contains a new weapon for the Dragon Knight, the lance Fiendslayer.
Aside from the Sword of Malice and Talion (and the White and Dragon Knights base weapons), this is the only other Knight weapon that appears in the first game. After this, there are three more weapons that show up in game 2, a story weapon for the White Knight, a chest-found weapon for the Dragon Knight, and a chest-found weapon for [GIANTASS SPOILERS].
I will eventually be showing off the Sword of Malice, purely for posteritys sake, of course, because it's pretty bland compared to the rest of the swords the White Knight has access to in the game.
Oh yeah, theres also a wild Pyredaemos roaming around here.
Oh hi, The Beginning of the Game, what are you doing here?
This asshole guards the hill at the end of the area leading up to Sinca, so you kind of have to fight him.
Which I did. And it was boring.
That wasnt just a random enemy, either. There will always be a Pyredaemos just skulking about the hill to Sinca at this part of the game. This me earning that Informative tag on the LP Archive.
We reached Sinca Village by nightfall. I just wanted to go to sleep, but Setti insisted he had to explain everything to us now.
If it turned out any worse than his last go at explaining things, I was going to toss his ass down into the Dogma Rift, with Leonard coming right behind him
I totally should have.
- 21.1 - The Last Place You Want to Be
- 21.i - I Lied, I've Got One TDKR Joke Left
- 21.2 - How's the Reception on That Thing?
- 21.ii - Greaver Antenna Boss Fight
- 21.3 - The Greaver Halted
- 21.4 - A Visitor to Baccea
- 21.5 - Back From the Dead
- 21.6 - Goodbye, Baccea
- 21.7 - Let's Hash Out Some Plot
THE VAN HAVEN WASTE