Part 41: Zore: The Hunter From the Future
As you can see by the chapter image, this chapter is going to be nothing but non-stop action! Yaaa
No, this one is a mercifully short one today, although it does set up a couple of subplots and give even more character development to the Non-Leonard characters. It also continues the running theme of Leonard being a non-presence in this game by and large.
We begin things right where we left off from the previous chapter, with Leonard and company escorting Miu and Scardigne through the Lost Forrest back to the Farian capital.
The Lost Forest is one of a handful of new areas created for the second game. About 80% of the game takes place in areas weve already seen before. This is the first of many reasons why Level-5 was able to crank the sequel out so fast after the first game had disappeared into Development Hell for nearly four years. Things tend to go pretty fast when youre reusing assets unchanged from the last game you made.
And Im talking everything here folks: game engine, locations, enemies, character models, plot elements. The only way White Knight Chronicles II could get any more recycled was if they shipped it in one of those brown paper boxes Disney used to sell copies of Wall-E in to try and cash in on the films environmental theme until everyone somehow decided global warming just wasnt happening any more
Anyway, heres more simultaneous new material and recycled material. These little fish enemies are our first new enemy type of the sequel. Theyre magic-based enemies and they attack with pretty powerful elemental magic. In large numbers theyre an absolute nightmare to deal with, primarily because theyre incredibly fast and smart and your characters are still slow and stupid even AFTER Level-5 completely revamped the battle system.
The green ones are Slypheeds, theyre wind based. The brown ones are Gnomes, theyre fire based. The blue ones are Remoras, theyre water based. And the red ones are Salamanders, theyre fire based. Theyre all weak against stabbing physical attacks and against magic attacks from their opposing element.
I dont really show it off all that well, but the Lost Forest can be very beautiful to look at some times in terms of its construction. Its the one area of the game were they really made things interesting where its not a samey forest. Though Ill cover that more in a bit once it starts revealing some of its secrets to us
Not pictured: 30 minutes of tedious running battles to get to the Farian base camp.
That purple fog there on the far right is Magic Bullshit. The Lost Forest is an intertwining maze of corridors that you can generally navigate any way you want. The trouble is, it was designed for the online quests primarily, the part of the game were youre free to run around and do whatever you want most of the time.
But because this is a single player game and we need to rip off Final Fantasy XIII, certain paths are blocked off by these swirling purple barriers in order to sluice you down the path the game wants you to follow. If you try walking into one of these Magic Bullshit barriers, youll get a message saying you cant go this way for reasons and then turn you around to make sure you do not deviate from The Hallway.
Ordinarily, that would be okay, but the game sets up the most obtuse, long-way-round routes for you to follow which lead to instances of 30-minute running battles through the forest to get to a part of the map that has five or six shorter routes to it blatantly blocked off.
But enough about this games incompetent design. Weve got Plot to deal with.
As we make it to the Fiarian base camp, we find a familiar face waiting for us.
CUTSCENE: Reunited With Lorias
It appears the reports of Ban Loriass demise were greatly exaggerated.
Miu: Ban Lorias! Youre alive!
Lorias: General, I knew you would keep her safe.
Scardigne: Alone, I would have failed, Ban. These people came to our aid.
Oh Scardigne, dont sell yourself short And dont hype up Leonard either. Please, god.
An idiot, a troll, a human disinterested shrug, and a broken sycophant. At your service, Ban.
Miu: Emissaries from Balandor.
Marcell: We come in the name of Her Most Exalted Grace Queen Cisna of Balandor, First of Her Name. We are here under orders to inform you that, and I quote Her Grace: Your piddly shitass country is mine now. Thanks for playing. Welcome to the Empire of Balandor, now come help me kill Grazel, end quote.
Eldore: Oh, godsdammit, Niles, I thought we discussed this already, I do the talking, not you.
Marcell: But I was only
Eldore: Do not make me hit you again.
Leonard: And by that you mean cookies. Right?
Lorias: Beg pardon?
Leonard: Youre going to give me cookies, right? For all my hard work. Being a hero and stuff.
Lorias: Is he serious?
Yulie: Like an arrow through the head.
Lorias: Good gods.
Leonard: COOKIES! YAY!
CUTSCENE: The Zore Crystals
Lorias: Father Yggdra? Queen Cisna has commanded you to meet with him?
Lorias: I would take you to him at once But it would do no good.
Lorias: Nanazel is using a malevolent force known as the Zore Crystal to erode the Fathers ample power.
Marcell: The fiend! Well show him!
Eldore: Zore Crystals
Eldore: Devices that absorb power from the earth and change it to magic.
Eldore: Ive heard of them.
Oh, its about fucking time you explain what something is before we walk face-first into it, eh Maxwell.
See, even Eldore gets somewhat better in the sequel. Leonard is still and always will be shit, however.
Miu: But what will that do to Father Yggdra?
Hopefully kill him so I wont have to go through the rest of the stupid bullshit he drops on us after we save his sappy ass.
Lorias: Come and have a look here.
Again, I will give it to Level-5's art department, the hand-drawn stuff for this game looks a million times better than anything that actually shows up in-game. This map almost looks like something youd see on Avatar: The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra. It also hints at the gimmick of the Lost Forest
Lorias: See the way Nanazel has placed these Zore Crystals around Farias perimeter? Our hands are tied until these are destroyed.
Ah, you didnt answer her question there, Lorias. You know, shes only just the Most Important Person in Faria and Your Future Ruler and all. But whatever, Leonard has more monosyllabic contributions to this chapter to vomit up.
Leonard: Well help you.
Lorias: The Knights power certainly would make the task easier.
Leonard: Dammit. If only we had a Knight.
Miu: B-but I saw you use it. You saved me with it!
Leonard: Wait I have a Knight? When did that happen?
Marcell: Does he do this often?
Yulie: Wait till he REALLY gets going.
Lorias: I have a feeling Im going to regret this, buuuut
Lorias: Very well. Could you start by eliminating these two Zore Crystals here?
They even start flashing and BLING!-ing just to Leonard-proof them.
Eldore: Wed better get moving then.
Lorias: Your team must strike out and destroy the pair of crystals in the north.
Good to know. This is one of the reasons why I really like Lorias. Were he anyone else in this game, hed of asked us to take out all four crystals for him, but because he realizes weve just emerged from the purgatory that is the first game of White Knight Chronicles, he steps up to the plate and helps us out by taking out the southern crystals himself.
That, and hes one of the handful of characters in this game that doesnt have his head up his own ass. Thank you Ban Lorias, for being a decent person in this cacophony of assholes, morons, posers and whatever the fuck weve decided Shapur is. The thread is grateful to you.
Be grateful, DAMMIT!
Oh, whats that Miu? Youve got some blatant foreshadowing for us? Okay.
Miu: There is something lurking beneath its metal surface that feels... sinister to me.
Leonard: Hah. No worries there. I dont know the meaning of the word sinister.
Eldore: He literally doesnt.
Miu: I have tried to convince myself that I am simply worrying unnecessarily, but the feeling persists...
In the time since we arrived at the camp, Miu went back and binge-read through the first half of the LP and now realizes what a truly horrible pestilence has invaded her homeland.
Theres no explanation for her suddenly feeling this, by the way. She just does for reasons. Because Akihiro Hino wanted Theres Something Wrong With The White Knight (other than Leonard) to be a Thing in this game and doesnt know how to weave it in with any subtlty.
Oh, and this guy acts as a condensed shop on the outskirts of the camp. You can buy weapons, armour and items off him. Hes still selling the exact same stuff that Johann in Sinca and the random Windwalker on the bridge of the Shahgna were, but hey, weve got access to an Items shop now.
This would be the point where youd stock up on Mana Potions to fuel Leonards inevitable destructive rampages with the White Knight. Because good god are you ever going to be whipping the White Knight out every five minutes just to get to the damn crystals.
And were off
As you can guess by looking at the party layout in the upper right there, Miu is staying behind at the basecamp while Lorias leads the second prong of the attack in the south, but weve still got Scardigne as a guest character for the attack on the northern crystals.
Weve lost the extra firepower Miu adds to the team, but that also means we only have one derpy NPC to babysit now instead of two.
Heres another new enemy: the Blood Bull. Its another Jackal pallet swap.
See what I mean about this place being kind of pretty? The compressed images and the fact that its night right now arent really doing this place justice, but if you play through a mission set here at dusk, this place looks amazing for a middling cheap-ass JRPG that walked through several plate glass doors Selena Meyer-style on its way to a release date.
And there on the horizon is our titular Zore Crystal.
CUTSCENE: Attacking the Crystals
BOSS BATTLE: Zore Crystals (with commentary by nine-gear crow and Blind Sally)
It even gets a Boss Subtitle. Yay.
Something about these things always seemed like to me like they were ripping off Final Fantasy XII in some way, but its been nearly six years since I last played FFXII. And Im also apparently one of the few people in existence who actually liked XII.
Eldore: Target the core to destroy it.
I want to say hes temping fate But this fight is pretty easy.
The Zore Crystal doesnt have that many moves in its arsenal. Its weak to impact attacks, but it has a nasty habit of randomly altering is elemental resistances.
On foot the only thing you can target on it initially is the base. You need to hammer away at that until you break a few shards off the actual crystal and the core itself becomes targetable.
You can see one of its resistance changes here.
It will also attack you with a tier 3 or 4 area-of-effect magic attack of the element its currently hardened against. I took a couple of +Comet hits throughout this fight, but it wasnt anything to worry about.
When these things start showing up in the post-game missions like Vellgander is when they really start to put the hurt on you.
Once you amass enough AC to unleash the White Knight, however, the fight is pretty much over.
I neglected to point out earlier, but if you start the second game fresh without playing through the first one, the White Knight automatically has Talion and the Argent Shield equipped. So yay continuity, I guess.
Whitesteel is still in your inventory, however, if you feel like equipping it for nostalgias sake, even though Talion is the better of the two weapons by lightyears. Its one of the few equipable items that you cant get rid of, by the way.
With the crystal down to about half health, we can now attack its core.
With the White Knight out, all you need to do is Shield Bash it a couple of times and it folds like a cheap suit.
Yulie: Well, you didnt kill anyone this time, so thats a start
And we get back under way through the creepy monster forest on our way to Zore Crystal #2.
And its here where the Lost Forest really smacks you in the face with its gimmick.
You see, the Lost Forest is divided into four quadrants: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each quadrant has the aesthetic of a different season, as well as different enemy types based on the obvious elemental parallels. Ice monsters are in the winter area, fire monsters are in the summer area, wind in spring, and earth in autumn.
Up till now, the other three areas have been kind of indistinguishable from one another save for different colours of leaves on all the trees. Its only once you get to winter that you realize what this places deal is.
At first I thought this was plot-related, and that this part of the map was all dead because the Zore Crystal was sucking up all the Mako energy from the Planet and shit and that it would go back to being green again once you took it out, like Mushroom Hill Zone did in Sonic & Knuckles.
But that would have required Level-5 to push the button, and we ALL know by now how averse they are to doing that when it comes to this game. But hey, theyve got a new generic monster-training anime out now that looks like its ripping off so many things I want to puke, so at least we have that.
How the fuck did these guys make Professor Layton again?
And heres another Jackal pallet swap: the Blue Boar.
Also, I apparently lied way back in the boss video with Awahnee in chapter 6 of the first game. You DO encounter one in an actual snowbound environment. Sorry Sally, I misled you.
It still looks completely stupid, however, even in its natural environment.
But oh hey, theres the second Zore Crystal.
Same tactic. Knight up, Shield Bash, watch cutscene.
Its screenshots like this that almost trick you into thinking this game is dynamic and action-packed. It isnt.
CUTSCENE: The Next Morning
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Ancient Heartbeat ~ Monolouge (Disc 2, Track 22)
Cisna: Were suddenly too cheap to show any of this to you, so enjoy more of my voice on a black screen, plebs!
Cisna apparently recounts events in purple prose. Was the script localization of this game handled by Christopher Paolini or something?
So everyone with a Y Chromosome gathers around the Magic Meeting Table to discuss what theyre going to do now that the Zore Crystals have been taken out.
Lorias: That should be the last of those wretched Zore Crystals.
Eldore: Then you were successful as well?
Eldore: Well Ill be. Im not used to this level of uninterrupted success. This is new for us.
Leonard: So can we meet with Father Yggdra now?
Marcell: Um, pardon, Master Leonard, but arent we forgetting the matter of oh, the rest of Ban Nanazels army?
Leonard: Wait Theres a BANANA army out there now? Holy
Eldore: Shut up, idiot. The elf wizard is talking.
Lorias: You seem to be mistaken, my dear Eldore. I am not a
Eldore: Elf. WIZARD.
Lorias: Oh dear .
Lorias: He dwells beyond the town of Faria
Lorias: Within the precincts of the Numenshrine.
Scardigne: Just slipping through town presents a large enough challenge.
Yeah, its too bad we dont have a super-fast airship or something to get us in there before Nanazel has any time to react or anything, right?
Eldore: Tell me what you know about the enemy forces.
CUTSCENE: Yulie's Reason, Miu's Purpose
And so the debate on how were actually going to infiltrate Faria proper is carried on just out of earshot of the heir of Faria. Because theres no reason to involve your future ruler in matters that will affect the future of her nation, right?
Eh, Mius still in Crippling Anime Character Self-Doubt Trope mode, so its probably best not to bother her anyway.
She looks out longingly, wondering what a better written character than anyone at that table would do in this situation.
Luckily for her, a better written character appears!
Yulie: Whats wrong, Miu?
Miu: Its just Ive done nothing to help.
Ive seen where you end up, girl. Youre a more helpful character than Leonard ever becomes in this game, and you can take that to the bank.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Mius Theme (Game 2 OST, Track 7)
Miu: What convinced you to fight, Yulie? Whats your reason?
Well, Im glad someone finally asked the obvious question thats been floating around her character for 90% of the game so far.
Yulie: Good question
Shes at a loss because she cant say Leonards Penis in good faith anymore because Im pretty sure she detests him as a fellow human being right now and is just really good at repressing it.
Yulie: I just sort of fell into this mess.
Yulie: And there was that Orren guy too We had some fun together. I kind of miss him. You know.
In the meanwhile, Leonard is frantically gesticulating like hes making an angry, impassioned argument, while everyone else just stands calmly and watches him. Its played without words, so it looks like youre watching him have a temper tantrum.
Yulie: But that doesnt mean Im just along for the ride.
Keep telling yourself that, girl.
Leonard: We need to charge right in there. Like just run right at them!
Marcell: With the Knight?
Leonard: What Knight?
Marcell: The Incorruptus. The White Knight. You know, the one weve been using since we got here?
Leonard: Wow, Not-Orren! You have an Incrutis?! Thats amazing! I wish I had one of those. My friend Caesar has one, and hes so cool with it.
Marcell: Beg pardon, Master Leonard, but Is there a problem with your memory? You seem somewhat
Marcell: Now that you mention it, Lord Eldore
Leonard: So then we charge in and then I scream out CISNAAAAAAAA!!!!! And then I
Leonard: OW! Man, what gives?!
Marcell: Heavens me! I dont know what came over me I just felt the urge to hit you when you said Her Graces name.
Eldore: Welcome back, Niles!
Yulie: I know there has to be a purpose for me in all of this.
Yulie: My big moment, you know?
Miu: And me? I have a purpose?
Must Resist Making Saints Row Joke I mean, shit, Ive essentially been escorting The Boss and Kinzie around for the last hour or so. Im amazed I havent cracked yet.
Yulie: A reason is something you have. But a purpose is something you find.
You dont see it in the screenshot here, but Miu cracks the barest hint of a smile during the fade to black.
CUTSCENE: A Plan of Attack
Lorias: Alright. As we discussed
Because Lorias too knows all about Leonard-proofing his plans.
Lorias: Our primary force will attack head-on to create a diversion.
Eldore: And well use that opportunity to enter from the back and free Father Yggdra.
Leonard: Works for me.
Ya know, Im pretty sure he hasnt said a sentence longer than four words since the second game started. Not that thats necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Less Leonard is Best Leonard.
Lorias: Then let the operation begin!
Lorias: Operation: "Fuck It, Lets Just Do What the Moron Said" is a go!
- 2.1 - Reunited With Lorias
- 2.2 - The Zore Crystals
- 2.3 - Attacking The Crystals
- 2.i - Zore Crystal Boss Battle (with commentary by nine-gear crow and Blind Sally)
- 2.4 - The Next Morning
- 2.5 - Yulie's Reason, Miu's Purpose
- 2.6 - A Plan of Attack
THE LOST FOREST