Part 61: The Arc Knight* (Batteries Not Included, Some Assembly Required)
In which I throw my hands up and just start blatantly cheating, because the Arc Knight (also called the Ark Knight by just as many people) is one of those things in this game that was designed for multiplayer and is now buggered thanks to the GeoNet being axed by Sony.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Framboise (Game 2 OST, Track 8)
We come out of the lets go murder the fuck out of Grazel cutscene and stumble immediately into another meeting between the Avatar and Framboise. Because Level-5 does not want you to forget the level of distain it has for the Avatar, and, by extension, you.
Framboise: By hammering that puppy with the magical waves, I managed to generate minor jiggles in the space-time contor-shum!
Orren: And youre supposed to be a scientist again?
Framboise: Hey, its is an art, not a science.
Framboise: I blew giant holes in the space-time fabric all across the world.
Framboise: It looked wicked cool, but now half my test-subjects are dead, two more are missing, and I think a few more were actually turned inside out. Im not sure about that last one though, for all I know that one was actually me. Most of the stuff I cook up when I get drunk in the lab tends to scream at me to please kill it. It is REALLY annoying to listen to when youre nursing a science hangover the day after. BUT ANWAY!
Framboise: I felt so bad I asked the Adventurers Guild to look into it,
Orren: Well, good luck with that one, lady. Now if you dont mind, I got an airship to catch and an island to invade.
Orren: Knowing Cisna, shed probably ask to you weaponize that shit for her.
Orren: Normally Id be angry with someone like you, but then I remember youre insane, so now I just feel sad for you And concerned for my safety.
Orren: Yeah, sure, Ill just tell Cisna to postpone her invasion. Pfft. Whatever.
Again, Level-5 has wicked presentation problems, as this is the prompt that tells you the Arc Knight side quest is now available to you. But it does it in a way that it makes you actively want to put off doing it, because fuck you, Im not doing shit to help out Framboise.
AREA MUSIC: Balandor Castletown (Disc 1, Track 4)
But anyway, lets go help out Framboise.
So we have to run down to the Adventurers Guild all the way from Balandor Castle.
Orren: Its been a while since I took a job for the AG. I wonder if they still have me on file?
Orren: Since whens fixing a hole in reality a little job?
So theres no real prompting for what you need to do here other than go to the Adventurers Guild.
However, if you check the Hunt Bounties tab, you will notice all the way down at the bottom of the page, there is a bounty labelled Knight Moves, which wasnt there before Framboise butted her head back into the not-plot.
Well, thats new. So theres a strange wild Incorruptus hiding out in a dimensional tear in the Dogma Rift, eh?
The Guild wants us to head in there and kill it for reasons.
AREA MUSIC: Infiltration (Disc 1, Track 12)
So lets go to the Dogma Rift, then.
I cut out so much bullshit to get to this point. Basically its actually quicker to go to Faria, head into the Lost Forest, and then exit the forest directly to the Rift because you can climb down this vine and head into the temple rather run down the entire stretch of the Rift to get here.
Orren: Because heres somewhere I want to walk back into willingly
So we need to wander through the temple a little bit to get to the black hole itself.
All the enemies youd expect to be there are there in the temple, though because its been a nice long while since we were here last time, weve leveled up a whole lot while all the enemies here havent scaled at all, so theyre all very easy to stomp through.
You can see the black hole (hereby referred to as a rift or rifts) up in the upper left corner represented by a purple swirl.
From this point on in the game, there are going to be rifts appearing in nearly every exporable non-town area of the game. Pretty much everything Im going to show you in this update will encompass your average experience in any given rift.
Yep. Thats a black hole alright.
So if you walk up to the hole and talk to it, you get a prompt asking you if you want to go to another world.
If you select yes, the hole swallows you up and youre transported to another area entirely.
So this other world turns out to be the weird magical dimension where Leonard fought the Phantom and Yulie and co. confronted the Efreet to claim the Moon Maiden.
Directly behind you when you first come in is a bright white ball of light. This is your exit point. Talking to this thing will let you return to the real world. Theres usually two or three of them in the stage.
This realm is made up of a bunch of floating platforms linked by light bridges. The big red ! in the middle of the large centre platform is our target, the Ark Incorruptus.
To get from one platform to the other, you need to warp using these red diamond-shaped gates.
The otherworldly rift is populated by undead enemies and giases.
In addition to Skeletons, we also get a preview of a new enemy type that is all over the post-game sections: Shadow soldiers.
These things are technically human enemies, which mean they have no attack weaknesses, so theyre kind of a pain to deal with. Theres four types of these guys: archers, short sword wielders, long sword wielders, and mages.
While the layout of the rift world doesnt change, different rifts have different explorable paths through them, meaning some platforms arent accessible at all in certain rifts. If you see a staircase leading up or down but no diamond in front of it, youre not getting anywhere.
If theres one there, then youre in luck.
When you come out of the transport node on the edge of the next platform, you usually have a brief window to do fuck, you cant do anything quickly in this game before the enemies on the platform realize youre there and rush to attack you.
With giant enemies like gigases, youre pretty much thrown into battle immediately.
I said earlier that gigases became beatable on foot later in the game. Well, weve hit that point already.
But first I have to take care of the minor enemies around it because theyre actually more of a threat to you than the gigas.
Didnt even break a sweat.
Orren: Whatever the hell this things supposed to be, its up there. You guys ready?
Yulie: On it.
Caesar: We got your back, Orren.
I have Caesar and Yulie with me right now because theyve got usable Knights on them, which Im going to need for this fight because Im five levels below the bountys suggested level requirement going into this fight.
MINIBOSS BATTLE: Ark Incorruptus Bounty Fight
Immediately after we come out of the warp, the Ark Incorruptus charges at us.
The Incorruptus itself is essentially a generic version of a Knight. Its an unformed shadowy prototype of a Knight.
Im guessing this thing is like the ghost of a failed Knight or a Knight that fell in the Dogma War. Because its implied that there were more Knights created by Yshrenia than just the five were familiar with in the plot.
In the post-game, were going to be pretty much tripping over every different kind of Ark Incorruptus you can think of.
Theres three types of Ark Incorrupti, sword wielders, spear wielders, and hammer wielders, and there are three tiers of them based off how strong they are and what armour configurations theyre wearing.
The one that were fighting is a tier 1 sword wielder.
Again, the best thing you can do here is to break its stats as quick as you can.
Because this thing will mess you up very quickly.
Like really mess you up.
The Knight doesnt really have many attacks, but there is one of note.
This attack lowers your attack stats so you do less damage to it.
So I hop into Yulie to unleash my secret weapon on it.
Yulie: O Luthia, argent goddess and beacon in the ancient night, grant me your power
Its Moon Maiden Chronicles time again.
So now were on a little more even footing with the rouge Knight.
The Ark Incorruptus is weak against stabbing attacks, so Yulies Energy Arrow is great to use against it.
And I spend the rest of the battle jumping between Yulie and Orren.
Having the Knights at your disposal again really helps make this fight manageable. Yulie just tears through its HP like tissue paper. My backup plan was to bring out the Dragon Knight once I burned through Yulies MP, but she actually did so well against it that I never even needed it.
Whats more, the Moon Maidens +Glittering Moonlight really saved my ass because it heals everyone in the field regardless of where theyre standing and for a decent amount of HP too.
But alas, all good things must come to an end, and Yulie runs of out MP and reverts to human form, but thats not much of a problem as weve nearly got the Knight felled now.
And just like that, Orren scores the deathblow and it drops.
Ark Incorruptus: Your power
Orren: Pretty sweet, aint it. I sure busted your ass with it.
Ark Incorruptus: It has been millennia since I encountered a being with strength such as yours.
Yulie: Hey, I brought this thing down.
Orren: Not right now, were having a moment here.
Ark Incorruptus: Humans, godsdamn fucking humans.
Orren: Hey, tell me about it.
Ark Incorruptus: All I wanted to was to live in peace, but NOOOOO, someone had to go break the barrier between our worlds and now I get jackasses like you coming in here and trying to fight me all day long.
Orren: I know exactly how you feel. You try to build one damn town and eke out a quiet prosperous life for yourself and then BOOM! The crazy Queen Bitch of Everything comes in and threatens to blow up everyone who youre supposed to be caring and providing for if you dont submit to her crazy whims.
Ark Incorruptus: This woman you speak of Is it Mureas?
Orren: Technically? I dunno, nor do I care. Alls I know is Im going to ruin her for what she did to my town once this is all over.
Ark Incorruptus: Hmm. I like you. Yes. I very much like you. It seems we have many things in common.
Orren: Thank you?
Ark Incorruptus: Yes, I believe you will do just fine.
Orren: Are you coming on to me? I mean, dont get me wrong Im flattered, but Im not giantrobosexal, is all Im say
Ark Incorruptus: Master, to thee, all my power I beqeath
Orren: THE FUCK!?
Orren x Arc Knight OTP.
Orren: Well, scratch that one off the bucket list.
Yulie: Can we go home now? Its cold here.
And thus our heroes returned to Balandor immediately.
Orren: I wonder if Cisnas launched her big dumb invasion yet?
So after killing the Ark Incorruptus, we have completed the bounty and need to report it completed to the Guild before we can claim another one, or more importantly claim our just reward for wrangling a wild Knight of our own.
So Knight Moves gets a nice little complete stamp on it.
And we get a little results screen showing us acquired gold and Guild Rank points.
This is also what it looks like when you level up your Guild Rank. The highest GR you can reach in the NTSC version of the game is 30. The Japanese version kicks that up to 50. What youre not seeing here is the nigh on 1,000 hours of your time needed to grind the 50-some million GR points it takes to clear the entire GR ladder.
I modded this save file up to GR 30 purely for the purpose of showing off as much of the stuff thats hidden away behind the GR lock as possible without spending infinity hours grinding away pointless numbers the legit way.
Because I have a job and family and a bajillion other things in my life more important and deserving of my time than White Knight fucking Chronicles II is.
But sadly, we dont get the Arc Knight from the Guild once we clear the bounty. Noooope. Weve got to run back to the castle and talk to Framboise again.
I hate the hollow rut my life has become thanks to this game.
Orren: Man, it seems like only yesterday this place was on fire and there was a giant hole to nowhere right underneath where Im walking Gods I hope Sarvain didnt stiff his contractors when he rebuilt this place.
So now suddenly Framboise is parked here on the same balcony where she stumbled into the plot, and curiously enough she has an Incorruputs Mechanic icon floating over her head. I wonder why that is?
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Framboise (Game 2 OST, Track 8)
Orren: Yeah, basic competence is apparently news-worthy in this Kingdom. Who knew?
Orren: Made a Knight? How does that even
Framboise: Apparently that Incorruptus you defeated was bound to the gem you gave me.
Framboise: You stole it?! Oh my gods, thats terrible. If Id known that I would have fenced it, but anyways thats neither here nor there. The point is, you made a pact with it when you
Orren: Beat the shit out of it?
Framboise: Not the term Id choose for it, but sure, lets go with that.
Orren: Let me guess, Cisnas got you manufacturing them now, right?
Framboise: By the barrelful. And I get to experiment on all of them. Ive never run so many physicals in my life. Im in heaven.
Ive already made like three Superman jokes in this LP. A fourth one would just be belaboring the point.
Plus, its not really funny when the game beats me to it.
Framboise: Just remember though, youre my guinea pig! My data farm, you got it?
Orren: Lady, I am not reporting shit to yo
Framboise: [HYPODERMIC TRANSPONDER INJECTION]
Orren: OOOWWWWW!!! GODS!!! FUUUUUCK!! WHY DOES IT HURT?!
Framboise: There are three things Science doesnt take: vacations, prisoners, and no for an answer.
Framboise: Okay? Good. Then go on, try it out!
Orren: So Wait. Does this thing have a cool name like Caesar or Yulie or the others Knights do?
Framboise: Oh, of course. I almost forgot.
Orren: What is it? Do I get to name it myself? Im thinking something awesome-sounding like Alkaizer, or Orthalus, or Excali
Framboise: Swordo the Magnificent!
Orren: But its wielding a hammer.
Framboise: Swordo. The. MAGNIFICENT!
Framboise: [BRANDISHES TASER]
Orren: Okay, gods I get it. *sigh* Swordo the Magnificent.
And thus Orren obtains the Ark of Swordo, the Arc Knight, the sixth and final Knight of White Knight Chronicles II.
Id also like to give a shout out to McDragon here too, whos throwaway joke all those months ago was just too good to pass up as the LP canon name for the Arc Knight. Because I thought it just fit perfectly that Framboise with overwrite anything Orren chose to name the Knight with something that was invariably inappropriate in every way possible to what Id crafted the LP narrative Arc Knight to be.
Ergo we have a hammer-wielding Knight named Swordo.
So thank you again, McDragon. This joke is for you.
OVERWORLD MUSIC: The Continent of Nadias (Disc 1, Track 15)
So of course now that you have a Knight of your very own to craft in as many ways as you can imagine it being crafted Allegedly (well get to why thats going to be a little more difficult in practice that it looks in the LP), youre going to want to put it some use.
You know, break it in before we go ruin Grazels shit with it on Redhorn Isle. Because seeing as how this this thing is an unholy combination of ancient Ysrhenian magic and engineering and Framboises Dr. Zoidberg-esque approach to science, we kind of want to make sure that it actually works properly first and not just explode in a thermonuclear fireball the second you try to summon it.
Today, Incorruptus Transformation 101 will be held on Greydall Plain.
Things are looking a lot calmer and pleasanter than they were the last few times we were here.
The Alliance has essentially beaten Grazels forces off of Nadias completely by this point in the story, so now you can go back and explore anywhere you want to again, including Baccea which has also been liberated and is visitable again for the first time since the beginning of the second game.
Since it would be a little anticlimactic to waste the Arc Knights inaugural summoning on a bunch of minor enemies, I seek out the first giant enemy I can, which, in this case, is a troll.
Before I transform, I make sure to break its attack and defense stats to grease the wheels of its defeat a little, because I wont have access to these two techs while Im in Ark Knight mode.
You can also see that the once-grey orb in the lower left on Orrens command bar has been replaced with the same Transform icon that Leonard, Caesar, and Yulie have been sporting for some time now. Now the only two party members who dont have a useable Knight are Kara and Eldore, and were too late in the game to be taking any more plot detours to go get Knights for either of them, so they get nothing and like it.
But weve lingered on the preamble too long already. Lets get to the main event.
Orren: O Swordo (fuck, I cant believe she named it that), emerald champion, master of the ancient hammer, grant me your power
Orren: You know what the difference between you and me is?
Orren: I make this look good.
Unfortunately, because its the Avatar, and the Avatar doesnt get shit in this game, the Ark Knight doesnt get the kind of long, overly stylistic transformation sequence the other five Knights get. Just a quick little cutscene akin to the truncated transformation sequences Caesar, et al. get when they transform into their Knights in battle.
There is one cool thing the Arc Knight does, however If you have a hammer equipped on it.
Hammer Knights smash the screen with their big giant cudgels when theyre finished transforming.
A highly appropriate way for the Arc Knight to make an entrance in the LP-verse, because Orren is the one who breaks the fourth wall the most in the narrative.
Orren: HOLY SHIT! This is incredible!
Ill get into the nittty-gritty ontology of the Arc Knight in the follow up post to this one, as basically what I am fielding right now should not even be out here in this form at the moment.
The weapon its wielding doesnt become bindable until after youve cleared the final dungeon, and the various armour parts on it are DLC variants of armour pieces that, again, arent available until after you beat the storyline of the game. And on that, theyre also locked down by GR level too.
Because like I said at the start of this update, I just do not give a fuck about playing this game properly anymore. I have given it enough of my time and energy in a foolish gamble that it would eventually get good if I was patient.
It never did.
Now its payback time.
So like I mentioned earlier, the Arc Knight has three weapon choices: swords, spears, and hammers. I chose to play as a hammer Knight to further set the Arc Knight apart from the other five Knights in the game, and to match Orrens regular weapon, since the other Knights so far have had a 1:1 parallel between their own weapon and their Pactmakers chosen weapon.
Your choice of weapon also affects a couple of supplemental things about the Arc Knight. First up, depending on the weapon choice, the energy that surrounds the Avatar in their transformation sequence will change colour. For a sword Knight, its blue, for a spear Knight, its lavender, and for a hammer Knight, its orange.
The second thing your choice of weapon affects is the Arc Knights theme music for lack of a better term. Sword Knights have the White Knights theme as a musical accompaniment, spear Knights have the Dragon Knights theme, while hammer Knights, curiously enough, are given the Black Knights theme. And I find that somewhat amusing, since the Black Knights theme is this big, bombastic and threatening sounding, thuggish theme that actually works well with the hammers blunt attack style.
And for those of you who are wondering, no the Arc Knight cannot either of the Moon Maidens bows. For whatever reason Level-5 just couldnt be assed to hit the button when it came to a true bow-wielding Knight.
The weapon Im using on the Arc Knight right now is called the Gigantic Hammer, which Blind Sally said looked like a giant baby rattle. Its a second-tier Knight weapon thats nowhere near the best hammer, or even the best Knight weapon, but for now it suits our purpose. Honestly, Im just playing with it because it matches the colour scheme Ive picked out for the LP Arc Knight, much like how the other Knights weaponry all match their colour schemes.
Beyond that, the Arc Knight plays roughly the same as the other Knights.
You can turn break enemies the same way too.
Though as youre noticing, each Knight weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. The hammer is a weapon of out and out strength, but it lacks a slashing attack. And that goes across the board for every Knight hammer in the game. And while thats all well and good for right now facing a troll with a stabbing attack weakness, or against dragons or golems with their impact attack weaknesses, hammer Knights are kind of useless against wyvers, tigers and treants with their slashing attack weaknesses.
That said, hammer Knights are natural Knight-killers in the post-game, as most of the Ark Incorrupti you encounter have stabbing or impact attack weaknesses. Funnily enough, the rarest Ark Incorruptus type you encounter in the wild? Hammer Knights.
610 damage per hit. Behold the power of cheating.
When I get the troll down to critical, I hop into Caesar and switch everyone to Keep Your Distance to make sure no one kills it, just to get some outside shots of the Arc Knight, because the in battle camera is shit and keeps you focused on your target so you cant swing around and get decent front-facing shots unless you REALLY fight with the thing.
Id like to think in-universe that the Arc Knight was modeled by Orren off of Thaumus, because after a year of living in Frass Chasm, Orren has developed an appreciation for the legend of Thaumusandif you despised the White Knight as much as Orren does, then of course youd want to model your own Knight after a sworn enemy of the Yshrenian Knights. Just to be contrarian.
And then I decide enough is enough and switch everyone back to Fight As You See Fit.
And then Orren caves the trolls face in. Because while all Thaumuses are Trolls, not all Trolls are Thaumusses.
Orren: Ha hah! Holy shit! That was totally ninja!
Orren: Okay, now I get why everyone wants to get their hands on a Knight.
Kara: Yeah, yeah. We all know how cool Knights are. No one cares.
Orren: Aww. Is someone bitter they lost their Knight to a twat with an eye patch?
Kara: [ROUNDHOUSE KICK]
Orren: AUGH! Shit!
Kara: Can we go end this war already, please?
And then Orren ran all the way to Redhorn Isle and crushed Ledom and Grazel under a ten ton magical hammer.
Yep. I gotta say, having a Knight of my own REALLY comes in handy, especially around a growing town like this one. I love this thing, I really do. You know how easy it is to build a house when youre already the size of a house? Ill give you a hint: its really godsdamn easy.
Oh, and bandits? Never had to worry much about them before, but NOW? Heh. Word spreads fast when I send a few of them flying in general direct of Faria with a massive spiked hammer. Suffice to say, I chucked Cisnas little bomb into the stratosphere when I got back here, and did a few other things too.
But Im getting ahead of myself now, arent I?
Sit right back down and give me a minute or two to let this thing wear off. Weve got an invasion to get to.
Strap in there nice and tight, Grazel.
Im coming for you.