The Let's Play Archive

White Knight Chronicles I & II

by nine-gear crow

Part 57: Abandonment Issues

You’ll see why I chose that name in just a moment.

CUTSCENE: Gods Save the King

We begin with the game’s population of Competent People all gathered in the throne room to receive the latest edict from the God-Empress of All Creation, Long May She Reign.

Cisna: Today is funny hat day. Anyone caught not wearing a funny hat before sundown will be executed tomorrow afternoon. That is all.
Elvee: Um… Your Grace… What about Yshrenia?
Cisna: What ABOUT Ysh—oh wait, yeah…

Cisna: We’ve managed to stave them off for now. Yulie, you fought brilliantly.

Yulie: It was nothing, Your Grace. I’m sorry I ran off like that… without your permission.

Cisna: Nonsense. Your actions saved us all.
Cisna: I’m just thankful SOMEONE around here did something right for once. I was getting tired of being the only competent person on the continent.

Cyrus: Your Grace, the battle may have been won, but the war isn’t over yet.
Cisna: Duh. The war’s only over once I’ve dipped Grazel, Ledom, and Shapur’s bones in gold and made a throne out of them.
Cisna: …Right. Thinking out loud again… Opps.
Cyrus: Yshrenia will be back once they’ve had a chance to regroup. I must return to Greydall Plain to ready the troops.

Elvee: No, Sir, allow me. I can take command of the front lines.

Elvee: You should stay here with the Queen.


Cyrus: Very well.

Caesar: Right. Well you and me belong out on the field.
Yulie: Yeah, agreed.

Elvee: That is very kind of you.

Elvee: Excuse us, Queen Cisna – we must be off.
Cisna: Of course.

…Wait. Wh-where the fuck are you going? Are you SERIOUS?! You’re just leaving us?!

After I went through all that bullshit to get the Moon Maiden, you’re yanking it away from me just like that? Seriously?




So just when you think you’ve reached the light at the end of the tunnel of not having a useable Incorruptus, it turns out that that light was just some jackass on pushcart with a 20 million candle-power flashlight who stops briefly to kick you in the gut before continuing on his way, cackling maniacally.

Because Level-5 detests you for having the stickwithitness to have made it this far into a game they themselves just want to be done and forget with already.

Eldore: You Grace, how is Leonard’s condition? Better?
Orren: Gods, please say no.

Cisna: Worse, I’m afraid.

Cisna: Right now he’s abed in his chambers. He’ll need to stay off his feet for a while.

Eldore: Every time Leonard calls upon the Knight’s power, it seems to have a direct affect on his body. I’m starting to wonder if the White Knight holds some secret that the other Knights do not.
Orren: It’s bonded to a kid who can turn eating pudding into a lethal event. Also, “starting”? I think that little meltdown on Greydall Plain should have confirmed that one, doncha think?

Cisna: A secret?

Cisna: If we knew the nature of that secret, we might just be able to help him.

Cisna: And by that, of course, I mean “get the Knight operational again.” I need something out there to catch all those tank shells while Yulie and Caesar take out monoships and gigases.
Eldore: No one ever doubted it, Your Grace.

Cyrus: Wait! His Grace had that Knight brought here. Perhaps he knew and this secret died with him.

Eldore: Perhaps. If we spoke to King Valtos, we may find the answers we seek.
Cisna: Eldore, I would like to use the Retrospecticon to see my father.

Cisna: I presume you have no objections? We need the final insignia.

Cisna: Cyrus, will you come with me?

Cyrus: Of course.

Cisna: Thank you. Come speak with me as soon as you are ready.

AREA MUSIC:Infiltration” (Disc 1, Track 12)

Orren: So about that bomb you planted in my village?
Cisna: Look, this is awkward enough without your constant bitching about everything. I’ve been through just as much bullshit as you have and do you see me complaining—
Orren: Constantly.
Cisna: Dooooh! What the fuck did I tell you about interrupting—
Orren: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago, “Your Grace.”
Cisna: When this is over, you’re gonna be able to see the crater where your podunk town was FROM SPACE!
Orren: And they’re gonna need a microscope to see what will be left of you after I get finished with you and every other soul who throws themself in my path to you. So, it’s a date then, no?
Cisna: Holy fuck… And I don’t have you on my payroll WHY exactly?

So you’re permitted to actually roam around the castle now before you speak with Cisna to activate the Retrospecticon sequence. This is the point where you’d head into town to upgrade your equipment or buy new weapons/armour and restock all your items. I already did that, however, so sadly you’re not going to see a 28 screenshot detour of me running around the various shops of Blandor again.

Balandor Castle itself is now fully explorable as of this part of the game. The passage to the Incorruptus Vault opens up after you clear this segment of the story completely (ie: after the next chapter), but beyond that you have more-or-less the full run of the place now. That means you can wander around and get a full sense of the layout of the castle. And, like I said way back in Chapter III of the first game, once you get your bearings for where everything is in the castle, the entire attack sequence in that chapter falls hilarious apart because they’re trying to pawn off areas of the castle that are right beside one another as being vast distances apart.

But that’s neither here nor there for now. Let’s just get on with this.

CUTSCENE: One Last Jaunt

And so Team If We Lose Any More People This Game Will Turn Into A Cisna/Orren Buddy Comedy gathers around Eldore’s Big Book of Time Travel for one last kick at the causality can.

Cisna: Really? THAT’s what we’re going in?
Eldore: …It’s bigger on the inside.
Cisna: Yeah? So’s my—
Cyrus: GRH-HEM!
Cisna: Purse.

Eldore: Alright. Let’s begin.

Eldore: …“It was the best of times, it was the—” BLURST of times? Godsdamn typos.



To complete the illusion, just replace Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman’s names with Charles Shaughnessy and Kari Wahlgren in your head and boom, you’re welcome. BTW: I will buy anyone draws Doctor Eldore and Companion Cisna fan art an avatar upgrade of their choosing.

“Abandonment Issues by nine-gear crow”

CUTSCENE: Defending Balandor Castle

Cyrus: What?

Cyrus: This is the night the Magi attacked.

Why, it’s also like we were limited by a smaller budget to reusing stuff we’d already made because we couldn’t afford to do anything original.

Eldore: And their assault has already begun.

Scardigne: Huh?

CUTSCENE MUSIC:A Worthy Opponent Appears” (Disc 1, Track 8)

Aaaaand here come the Magi.

Eldore: Quickly, Your Grace, you had best keep out of sight.
Orren: Yeah, it’d look really dumb if they kidnapped you a FIFTH time, wouldn’t it?
Cisna: Alright.

Cyrus: I’m going to enjoy this. Come on!

Didn’t you get to do this exact same thing the last time around? Oh, right, this was your high point in the first game. Eh, I can’t blame a guy for wanting to relive the glory days. Have at it, Drake.

BOSS FIGHT: Past Balandor Boss Rush (Magi Soliders, Alphamiden Gigas & Betaena Gigas, and Pyredaemos - no commentary)

And thus begins the first of a three-round boss battle that gets progressively more difficult as you clear each level, culminating in the single hardest boss fight in the game, barring the post-game stuff.

For now, however, taking on the Magi goons is just a matter of crowd control.

A couple of +Aftermaths will clear them all out in short order.

Orren: Find a new career, dickbags! This one ain’t workin’ for ya.

Eldore’s gaze remains fixed on the castle gates. Whatever’s coming up the hill from the noble quarter isn’t to his liking.

CUTSCENE / BOSS BATTLE MUSIC:Gigantes” (Unreleased Track)



Yep, it’s another pair of gigases. Because GiveAFuck.exe has stopped functioning inside the Retrospecticon, and it’s just letting whatever it feels like spawning fly at us, regardless of whether it actually happened in the past or not.

Eldore: No rest for the weary.
Scardigne: So it seems.

Both gigases roar and get a little pre-battle stretching in. You need to be nice and limber before you try to crush four people to death, after all.

Now, as you can immediately see up the top right corner of the screenshot, the real “fuck you” mechanic of this battle has become blindingly apparent. Your health and MP do not reset between battles. Meaning if you spent all your MP in one fight and were down to a quarter health when you beat it, you start the next round against an even tougher boss with a quarter health and no MP.

Because this was the one thing Level-5 put painstaking effort into making for this game: a middle finger so large and vibrant you could see it from Jupiter.

For what it’s worth, this IS a very effective “oh shit ” moment in the game. You’ve got no Knight… Again… and you’re facing off against a pair of enemies you normally need a Knight to deal with.

However, from this point forward most of the non-unique gigases you will be encountering you will be able to fell on foot anyway.

The key to this fight is making it through it with enough MP and HP intact to start out round three on a decent footing. That means getting barriers up and breaking the gigases’ stats as quickly as you can… Which in this game will take you probably five minutes to complete because the battle system is so slow and plodding.

And you have to try doing that while facing a pair of giant enemies who can knock you off balance and interrupt your spells and skills multiple times over. Good luck.

Just like with the wyverns in the previous chapter, the only viable path to victory is to corral AI into focusing on a single gigas and then taking out its buddy once it goes down. Leaving the AI to its own devices leaves your party aimlessly attacking whatever gigas it feels like and diffusing your damage potential to the point where you won’t even put a dent in either of their HP bars before they stomp you to death.

And remember, Cyrus is in your party for these fights too, and the same rules apply as they always do when it comes to guest characters: if Cyrus dies, it’s an auto-game over.

Cyrus: One gigas? Easy!
Orren: Yeah, what about two?

Yeah, I’m in shit shape going into round three… I wonder what’s next.

Cyrus: Gah!

An explosion goes off in front of the party.



Eldore: Uhh.
Cyrus: What now?

CUTSCENE MUSIC:Attack” (Disc 1, Track 11)

Oh. Hey Pyredaemos… What’s shaking?

Eldore: It’s him! Don’t let him into the castle!

And here we go. The #1 worst fight in all of White Knight Chronicles II, Past Pyredaemos. Just google “past pyredaemos” and look at the number of posts on any given message board from people desperate to try and beat this sun’bitch.

This was the boss the broke an uncounted number of players. They’d suffered through all the bullshit leading up to this part, and then this proved to be a bridge too far. For probably 1 in 5 players who made it this far into the game, White Knight Chronicles II ended with the Game Over screen after Pyredaemos kicked the shit out of them.

It nearly got me back when I first played it. This fight was the genesis of my frothing love-hate relationship with this game. Up until this point, I had actually enjoyed my time with the game. I had come out of the wyvern fight bruised, but unbeaten—I was still in the game’s camp of fans.

This fight turned that on a dime.

This fight begins deceptively manageable. Pyredaemos is very slow out of the gate to start attacking you so you have some breathing room to either heal up or lay some stat breaking hits on it.

But when that window closes, it slams shut.

Those 2s and 3s you’re seeing are 200 and 300 HP attacks, by the way.

Pyredaemos has two charge attacks, an area-of-effect massive fire spell, and a running attack that clobbers anyone in its path.

This one attack leaves the entire party in the red, off their feet, and with KO status so no one can move or act until it wears off.

Pictured: A preview of post-game quests in offline mode.

Next up, Pyredaemos starts hacking up fireballs, each one targeting one of your party memebers.

And that right there is enough to kill Orren and Eldore.

Well, I can’t hop into Cyrus, as much as I want to right now, so it looks like Scardigne’s on point now.

I actually do a decent job of getting myself healed with a potion…

But when I try to heal Cyrus, I see Pyredaemos stalking towards him and I panic, scrolling the wrong way through the stupidly designed command bar and costing valuable seconds that could be been spent wandering to the toilet and taking a nice long piss while game melts down to cast Heal III for me.

Guess where this is going?


And Scardigne just stands there and sighs indignantly, regretting following whatever impulse spurred him to join up with this collection of fuck ups.

Well, there we go. You have just experienced a typical run of White Knight Chronicles II.

Thanks for reading this LP, but I’m just going to call it quits here and go do other things with my life now because I have had it with this game. You’ve all been wonderful and have made this an experience I will never forget.

On behalf of Blind Sally, thank you again and I will see you all out there.

Hit the music, Jimmy!

Like I’d do that to you.

No, we’re gonna beat this fucker legit one way or another. Well, not exactly legit, seeing as how Eldore, Orren and Scardgine are all wielding weapons that come from the Binding Posts and usually aren’t bindable at this point in the game, but if I didn’t have the extra firepower to compensate for the lack of defense from playing with everyone’s default armours, I’d be royally screwed.

This is the trade-off, though I don’t think anyone really cares at this point.

One thing that makes Scardigne really useful compared to the other characters is that because you get him so late in the game and have such a glut of Skill Points to spend on him, you can actually take him higher up the Divine Magic skill line than the other characters have gotten at the same point in the game. That means you can unlock Haste and +Haste.

Haste causes the ATB circle to fill in at twice the speed it normally does. So for an axe wielder like Orren, that means you can suddenly have the hit frequency of a short sword wielder like Scardigne, and for a bow wielder like Yulie you suddenly have the hit frequency of an AK-47.

Sadly, this isn’t like Final Fantasy XIII where combining a Haste’d party with a Slow’d enemy means you’re getting four times the turns as they are, it simply means that you’re moving just a little bit faster while they’re moving a little bit slower.

Remember, the battle system in this game was voted “Most Likely To Lose To A Snail” in high school.

I’m also in the midst of showing off the new strategy for this boss fight: when Pyredaemos charges up, switch everyone to “Keep Your Distance” and then run the fuck away from the rest of your party as far as you can.

One of two things will happen now. 1) Pyredaemos’s AoE attack will either hit your party and knock them out while leaving you unharmed. Or 2) it’s attack will hit you alone while leaving the rest of the party unharmed.

If it’s the former, you then have a chance to heal everyone up from a distance so that they’re ready to keep fighting once their KO status fades. And if it’s the latter, then you can simply hop into one of your non-KO’d party members and cut the one who get hit loose for the time being while the rest of your party hammers Pyredaemos.

Here’s another example of Orren exhibiting the “Fuck You Guys” Maneuver.

I ran him right to the invisible wall halfway across the bailey. He was just running in place at this point.

This is where Pyredaemos just charges at you.

Again, because of my gaming the battle system and Orren sacrificing himself, the mowdown attack that would have KO’d the entire party is now only a threat to Orren.

And I breathe a sigh of relief when it misses, immediately ordering everyone back to “Focus on my target” status to resume kicking the shit out of Pyredaemos.

Another way that you can make this fight easier on yourself is through judicious use of combos. Because by this point in the game you should have enough Skill Points accumulated and spent that you’ve filled in most of the combo-ready attacks in your chosen weapons’ skill line.

But I’m not stopping this far into the LP to explain combos, so you get to see more of me rope-a-doping the game’s battle system like I’m Muhammad fucking Ali.

I’m so mean I make medicine sick.

I have rassled with an alligator. I done tussled with a whale. I handcuffed lighting, threw thunder in jail!

The one saving grace with this fight is that you don’t actually have to beat Pyredaemos completely. Just knocking him down to ¼ health is enough for the game to continue on.

CUTSCENE: The Long Way Around

Cyrus: He’s so strong.

The party looks on, weary from the fight and filled with the overwhelming sense of dread that comes with not actually beating an enemy down to 0 HP in this game.

Pyredaemos roars and belches some more fire from its gaping maw.

It crouches down…

And springs forward.

Eldore: Look out!

God. Look at that expression on Cyrus’s face. That’s the kind of face you’d do that zoom-in-and-replace-everyone-else’s-face-with-that-face memes with.

Pyredaemos, meanwhile, just leaps right over our heroes and charges on into the castle, laughing at their pitiful attempt to alter not-history.

That’s the face of a man who wishes he was still an ineffectual drunkard right now.

Cyrus does a barrel roll.

Cyrus: Damn.

Scardigne: So much for our way into the castle. Any ideas?
Orren: …Climb over it? I mean, c’mon guys. It’s not that big of a debris field. I mean, the staircase is still mostly inta—
Eldore: Shut it, Niles.

Then Cisna appears out of nowhere.

Cisna: There’s a secret passage that leads inside.

Cisna: This way.


Cisna: Quickly!

AREA MUSIC:Infiltration” (Disc 1, Track 12)

Cyrus: I refuse to let this happen!
Eldore: Get a hold of yoursel— Agh, I suppose that’s not reasonable to ask.
Cisna: Cyrus, I feel the same way as you.
Scardigne: We can still protect the King, if we hurry.

So we return to Level-5’s low-effort addition to the game, the underground waterway. You can see ahead of us that Roger the mobile Item Shop guy is back here in the tunnels like he was last time. Hmm… I wonder if we’re going to run into our past selves trying to save Archduke Dalam?

No, wait, pocket timeline. My bad.

You can see here on the map where we are compared to our destination. Seems simple right? All we gotta do is go up and left and we’re there. Well…


As you approach the gate that separates you from your destination…

Level-5 whips out that giant middle finger again.

And does the same thing if you try the gate on the other side of the canal.

Because this dungeon has one last terrible mechanic to foist on you before you’re done with it for the rest of the game.

The first time we were here, there were a number of these switches all over the place. I didn’t show any of them off because they weren’t relevant to what we were doing, and if you walked up to them and tried to activate them you got a message like “the lever won’t move” or whatever.

This time around, they actually do something.

So because we can’t go the easy way because Level-5 needed to pad another half hour into the game, we’ve got to use these switches to drain the water from certain sections of the waterway to open up new routes previously inaccessible to us.

I didn’t show any of them off, but throughout the waterway the first time we were here, there were a number of paths that descended into the water and were inaccessible.

Well, now that we can operate the floodgates, when we seal off the water flow, the water drains away and the paths become walkable now.

Cyrus: His Grace must NOT perish. This day has haunted me far too long.
Eldore: Calm down. We have a greater goal.
Cisna: We know, Eldore… But still.
Scardigne: How can you not want to change what’s right before you?

This is really the only new bit worth mentioning, the rest is just a point-for-point retread of the first time we were here: ice-based monsters and more skeletons than you’d ever have a need for. Although sans any Wraiths, Succubi, or Direspiders of any persuasion.

On that note, I’m cutting pretty much every beat of it out then. Because we’ve done this three times now.

Cisna: The passageway leads into the castle. Quickly!
Scardigne: Swiftly, Your Grace, we will keep you from harm.
Cyrus: His Grace is in danger. Hurry!
Eldore: The final insignia will be lost if King Valtos perishes.

Pictured: Level-5’s design department.

We also get a Logic Stone to save at before the big chapter-ending boss fight, so be sure to heal and repair your weaponry at it.

I try to use the “buff before cutscene” cheat to game the battle system even more, but the game has an interesting and dickish surprise waiting for me on the other side of that door that renders it moot.

Well there’s 15 minutes of my life spent casting +Barrier that I’ll never get back.

CUTSCENE: The Return

Team Cisna rushes through the throne room after spending an hour wandering around through what’s essentially the castle sewer. If the Magi can’t see them coming, they can sure as shit smell them coming now.

Cyrus: Your Grace!

Cisna: Father!

Eldore: Do we get any lines?
Scardigne: Nope.
Orren: Hah! Welcome to my world.

Valtos: Aaah!

Well, he’s dead… again.

Alright, let’s reset and do this all over again then.

Oh hey, Dragias. God, Level-5’s just reusing shit from game 1 like it’s going out of style, aren’t they?

Cyrus: MURDERER!!!


Cyrus: Urgh!

Dragias is quick to block with a barrier, however.

Cyrus: What?


Cyrus: Uuuuh!


Cisna: …Sheeeeeeiiit. Okay Ser Osteoporosis, you’re up next then.

Dragias: Mwahahahaha.

Dragias: Wretched vessel for a wretched queen.

Dragias: Didn’t your father ever tell you not to snoop about?
Cisna: Hey. You remind me some asshole I’m going to murder. His name is General Dragias.

Eldore throws himself in front of Cisna…

And then Scardigne throws himself in front of them.

Dragias: Keep out of this.


This shot went all distorted because VLC is kind of shit at deinterlacing high-speed action shots like this holy shit zoom in on Scardigne’s face unless you tell it not to be... which I didn’t.

I wonder if we’re going to find out who’s under that mask now?

Scardigne takes Dragias’s fireblast right in the face, knocking his helmet off and revealing a long luscious mane of golden hair.

…Wait. Long golden hair?

Womanly hips…

Purple eyes…

Tendency to crossdress as a male military figure…

Dragias: How… How is this?


It is! This is such a bullshit fanservice plot contrivance that makes no goddamn sense, but you know what? I will allow it because FUCK YEAH, KARA’S BACK!!!

CUTSCENE MUSIC:Tense Battle” (Disc 1, Track 30)

Kara: Raaaaaah!

Dragias: Grrrh. How can you be here?!

Kara: Dragias!

Kara: I’ve come to atone for my sins!

Kara: Prepare to die!

…So wait, is she about to kill herself then? Oh, no wait, remember there’s actually two Dragiases wandering around Balandor Castle right now. Kara’s Dragias is somewhere else right now leading the Magi troops while this Dragias was the one that swooped in, killed King Valtos and then buggered off to who knows where.

We still don’t know who’s under that helmet yet.

BOSS FIGHT: Past General Dragias (and Assassins) (no commentary)

Kara: I know now… YOU’RE the real Dragias!
Eldore: I don’t believe it! Kara?!
Dragias: Nyahahaha! Fall before me!

So on the one hand, yay we get Kara back and yay all of Scardigne’s stats and skills are seamlessly transferred over to her. But boo because her and Scardigne are two separately coded characters that means replacing his model with hers at the start of this battle has rendered all the buffs we’d cast on the entire party before the cutscene useless.

See what I mean about the game kicking you while you’re down?

Still, I am somewhat buoyed by the fact that we’ve got Kara back in our party for the first time in nearly 30 hours.

Cyrus: My blade has yet to be broken!
Dragias: I couldn’t lose to you if I tried.
Kara: Let’s see who’s really behind that mask.

In addition to being beefed up significantly since the last time we fought him in the Nordia Tunnels, Dragias has a new tactic that he uses on us with much regularity.

He summons a set of support baddies called Assassins in to augment his attack power.

They drop in right beside him, so if you’re quick enough on the draw you can nail all four of them AND Dragias with a +Aftermath and send them all flying. It usually takes about 2 or three times to kill all them.

You want to make sure you get all of them quickly, however…

Because they cast very strong earth elemental spells on you that do killer damage and tend to knock you off balance.

Case in point.

Kara: I’ll never go astray again.

Cyrus: You’ll die by my blade for the sins you’ve wrought!

Killing the Assassins earns you a little extra EXP, and Dragias will summon them repeatedly throughout the fight. It got to the point where Kara actually leveled up mid-fight after I took one of them out.

Dragias: You’re playing with your lives.

He’s an absolute bastard.

Cyrus: Your Grace! No! We’re not too late!
Eldore: Have faith! The King still breathes.

Once again, Kara’s a tide-turner thanks to her having +Haste when everyone else doesn’t.

Here’s another little serendipitous moment that will only make sense once we’ve beaten the game.

We also get some generic live talk interspersed with the plot live talk, leading to some funny lines like this from Cyrus:

Cyrus: I’ll take ten of you at once!

Which now has me picturing Cyrus fighting ten Dragiases at once. What does everyone think? Is Cyrus badass enough to stop a Deca-Dragias?

Nightmare is probably the strongest single hit axe skill in the game.

It’s also got the most ridiculously complex animation.

The character does a handstand using the axe, when vaults downwards with it, using the momentum of their body to fling the axe around in a full 360 degree arc onto the target.

But that one actually wound up missing so I just go for the Deathdriver to seal the deal.

Dragias: NO!
Eldore: End it quickly! King Valtos needs us!

That is one flat Dragias.