Part 65: YOU'RE NOT HELPING LEONARD!!!
The end is in sight, but were not getting there without a few bumps and bruises
AREA MUSIC: Redhorn Isle (Game 2 OST, Track 4)
We return to the game right where we left off with our heroes charging into the central fortress on Redhorn Isle. Grazel, Ledom, and Shapur better watch themselves.
Anyone got anything to say before we head in?
Kara: Father Yggdra, Im ready to play my role.
CUTSCENE: Grazels Trump Card
And by that I mean he has an autographed baseball card of Donald Trump that he wants to show us, not that he has a giant Knight-dwarfing hellspawn of phenomenal destructive power that hes going to unleash now that hes lured our local collection of Village Idiots right into its lair.
Thats just insane. Who would do something like that?
Grazel: Warmest greetings, friends.
Why do I think youre being sarcastic there, Grazel?
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Grazels Theme (Disc 2, Track 16)
[ENTER: Megatron, Soundwave, and Starscream]
Im getting tired of having to compare Grazel to better-written villains. Albedo, Sephiroth, Megatron, Visser Three, Scolar Visari; theyre all looking down at him from the Hall of Villains going, god, this guys a schmuck aint he?
Ledom: My, its been a while.
Ledom: I cant even begin to thank you for collecting all the Knights for us.
Ledom: Youve spared us from so much extra trouble.
High Priest Ledom: letting you know that even when youre winning, compared to him, youre still losing since 2010.
Yulie: Sarvain! You murderer!
Ledom: Really now, you wound me with such prickly words. I thought you loved me.
Never change, Ledom. Never change.
Oh hey, even Eldore Emotive Grunts are back for this chapter.
I think hes just realised that he looks like a mashup of like six separate Disney villains, at the very least. Theres a bit of everything in there: the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Judge Frolo, the Horned King, Captain Hook, Cruella DeViladd your own if Im missing anyone.
Ledom: Why is young Leonard not with you?
Caesar: Hah! What do you care?
Caesar: Id be more worried about US if I were you.
Ledom: Very well then.
Ledom: Since youre so insistent.
He struts on over behind Grazel
And whispers something in his ear which we dont get to hear.
Ledom: Tell them you like to wear womens underwear.
Grazel: Heh. Excellent. I couldnt agree more.
Grazel: I like to wear womens underwear!
Ledom: BWAHAHAHAHAHAH. Gods I cant believe its that easy sometimes.
Grazel: Wait! What?! Dammit! No! Thats not what I meant to say!
Grazel: Shapur, release Brimflamme.
Shapur: Uh! M-my Lord Are you certain?!
Grazel: Do it. We have what we need.
Jeez, if youre making the unflappable sociopath who damn-near jizzed when you told him to start firing the nuke-shitting skyscraper cannon startled, youve got to be taking one hell of a spin on the roulette wheel here.
Shapur: A-at once.
The ground begins to rumble as we cut to the lake of lava below.
The camera slowly pans up to a massive door in wall.
Yeah, because theres nothing but sunshine, rainbows and marshmallow kittens hidden away behind a door that has four Angles of Death, entwining tentacles, and the face of fucking Diablo carved front-and-center on it, right?
The Diablo-head lock starts spinning as the chains inside the door itself start winding around their spools.
Whatever, unless theyre holding Leonard behind that door, I doubt this thing is all that intimidating.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Infernal Beast ~ Pyredaemos (Game 2 OST, Track 14)
NOPE! I take it back!
God, who would have thought something named Brimflamme would turn out to be somewhat terrifying
Grazel: This island shall be your final resting place!
Fuck you, Crispin.
[EXUENT: Megatron, Soundwave, and Starscream]
So yeah, the biggest single boss in the game gets the longest boss subtitle to go with it.
How big is this motherfucker?
BOSS BATTLE: Brimflamme (and friends) (no commentary)
Its taking up a quarter of the screen right now, and its ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING FORTRESS!
Or, as Caesar puts it right at the start of the fight:
Caesar: Come back, Grazel! You forgot your giant monster!
This right here is just the warmup round with old Brimmy. Hes so far away that you cant even target him right now, despite the fact that he can lob attacks at your party at his leisure.
The big threat right now are the four Assassins and one Master Assassin that you have to fend off at the moment.
Once again, +Aftermath is a wonderful thing to have right now. It doesnt do all that much damage to any of the Assassins, as theyre all beefed up to Boss-calibre enemies, but its good for knocking them all off their feet for a moment and cancelling whatever (incredibly deadly) attacks they might be charging up, and for just getting them the hell away from the rest of your party members for a moment or two.
Jabronis in flight? Orrens delight.
Its around this point in the fight that I get the wonderful idea to attack the Master Assassin head-on
Im an idiot.
Im an even bigger idiot because I waste all of Yulies AC summoning the Moon Maiden for this fight.
Id misremembered that all you needed to do was take out the Assassins, which is doable on foot with a little bit of attrition between here and there. So I Knighted up expecting to take on la Flamme after I dealt with the cast of Assassins Creed: Unity, only to start cursing IRL when the screen faded to black instantly upon their demise.
Still, good on Yulie for the practicing the time-worn tradition of total fucking overkill.
Yulie: We won, right?
Orren: Uuuh. Giant fucking hellbeast!
Yulie: Aaaaww crapsticks.
So Flimflamme roars indignantly at the partys not-actually-touching-him
Rears its mighty head back
That doesnt actually hit or injure anyone. Awesome.
Caesar: Ugh! Gods! Give this guy a breath mint.
Kara: This way!
Run away! Run away!
Kara: Listen. I think there are some devices they use to restrain that thing.
Caesar: Alright! Lets find em.
Caesar: What the hell is that thing?
Kara: We cant fight that head-on.
Eldore: But there has to be some way.
Yulie: Right. Lets find those restraints!
Kara: Im certain there were three devices!
So like Kara says, there are indeed three working devices each in these circular rooms seen here around the giant pit where Brimflamme is still stalking. Weve got to reach all three and activate them. Because.
Yulie: I just knew Yshrenia had some ace up their sleeve.
Each restraint room is protected by a garrison of troops.
But theyre easily dispatched. Once youve cleared the room youve got to run to the center tile and activate the restrain system by talking to it.
Kara: Theyre abandoning Redhorn Isle?
And just for some added flavour, each restraint post is capped by a face that is screaming in agony. Nice.
As you will notice if you scroll back up to the map screen a few images up, there are a couple of decoy rooms with broken restraints.
Alright then, back on the hunt for the actual one. Thanks for more bullshit padding, Level-5.
Caesar: Dont give up! There has to be another way.
Kara: And were going to find it.
Yulie: You wont get any objection from me.
Eldore: Watch out for the beast and keep searching.
Eldore: Can you believe the size of that beast?
Our path to the first actual restraint takes us outside again on to this little balcony here, aaaand
Heres where we get out first actual confrontation with the Double Extra Delux Balrog Supreme. Theres also a couple of Yshrenian soldiers on the balcony too, but the big threat here if Brim Stokers Dracula, pictured here taking up a quarter of the frame with its big ugly face alone.
Luckily, I went into this battle with a trio of Pactmakers, so its time to actually use a Knight against this damn thing.
God, the Knights are smaller than its fricking head.
More evidence that Im an idiot. Brimtacular rears back to do a Bad Thing, and being all , I rush in to get into attack range on it because its moved out of the way a little
Only to get a face-full of Im pretty sure this was the thing stalking around LA at the climax of This Is The End minus 30-foot long free-swinging penis.
Orren: GHH! Didnt hurt!
You know, Id really love it if we got to do some Shadow of the Colossus-style scale-and-slay action here. Doubly so because it would one-up SotC by having you kill a giant monstrosity while playing as a giant monstrosity yourself. Like, just even as a tightly-scripted Quick-Time Event, and I say that as a person who loathes Quick-Time Events, just because it would be something new and interesting and flavourful in what has so far been the All-Bran Cereal of JRPGs so far
But as we all know by now, Level-5 isnt as creative or competent enough to do something crazy and action-y as that.
Also, Im doing a disservice to All-Bran Cereal by comparing it to this game. All-Bran Cereal a) actually tastes like something, and b) helps you poo better. This game inhibits regularity because it makes you want to shove it up someones ass, and thats a bad thing.
So instead heres some more shots of the Arc Knight repeating the same two attacks on it over and over again.
The most interesting this fight gets is that St. Brimcent De Paul knocks down the two pillars on either side of the ledge, though if you even notice that, youre paying WAY too much attention to this game.
This should would have been cooler had the games camera not been such ass so I could actually get a shot of Chock Full To The Brimflamme falling out of frame eclipsed by the Arc Knight Power Rangers-style or something, instead of a shot of Swordos colossal emerald ass and maybe the slightest peak at Brimflamme if you squint between its arms and legs.
Beating back giant hellspawn into the fiery pit from whence they came? All in a days work for the Mayor of Orrenstown.
Orren: I make this shit look easy.
Yulie: Come talk to me after you shoot down like fifty monoships in an afternoon.
So the game fades to back and then fades up for no reason and you get control over youre free to leave the little area now. However, as you can see, Flamey from Secret of Mana is still stalking around the pit there.
Once again, we cant target him, but oh god can he target us
When its tentacles splay out like that Hurricane carnival ride, its time to duck and cover.
Because that means it about to shoot a bunch of fireballs right at you.
Which are powerful enough to knock you down and scrape about a fifth of your health off in one shot.
Im just gonna lay here for a couple minutes and hope this massive fucker knocks a piece of the ceiling loose onto my head. Anything but more White Knight Chronicles II.
The only way to really avoid getting nailed is to run inside as fast as you can. However, dont be surprised if the games collision detection parameters dick move you and Brimflammes attack phases through the goddamn wall and hits you anyway.
Another room, another group of soldiers.
Lets hope this one works this time.
Success. A rare word in this game, I know.
CUTSCENE: Binding the Beast*
*This ones a roughcut combination of each of the various post-restraint activation cutcenes.
The chains are pulled tighter to the ledge where we originally fought the beast, restricting its movements somewhat.
Though it makes a valiant effort to resist their pull.
Heres a shot of the fully extended restraint pillarand JE-ZUS! What the fuck is it with Yshrenia and giant creepy faces? Theyre like the goddamn Necromongers from Riddick.
Orren: Creepy ass death cults
Once again we need to risk going out into the open to get to the next restraint pillar, but luckily this time Im All Out Of Funny Names For Brimflamme isnt going to try and attack us directly.
You can see it there in the distance, however, and yes, it is charging up another attack meant for us.
What can I say? Im amused by these kinds of bodies in mid-flight types of screenshots because they look so awkward and funny in this games engine.
I will give the game this, there is a palpable atmosphere in this segment. Youve always got one eye on Brimflamm in the background because it could at any moment launch another blast at you.
And you always want to book it inside as fast as you can once youre finished clearing out the enemies.
Theres another group of enemies in this room led by a Magi Commander
Who transforms into a Gigas once you kill him.
But this is old hat by now.
Gigas goes down, pillar goes up.
Almost there now
We head out the door onto what looks like on the map will be another direct open-air encounter with Brimmy, only to find
Yulie: The path!
Eldore: Theres no getting through now.
Caesar: Well find some way.
Some way, of course being that incredibly obvious white shiny thing there in the background.
Orren: Yep, rootin through a guys corpse. Thats EXACTLY what I thought Id be doing when I woke up this morning.
This Magi Captain has a Demon Pit Key on him that we can use to unlock a door leading to an alternate path in the last room that will take us deeper into the fortress and away from Brimflamme towards the final restraint pillar.
I just want to point out too that this guy is wearing a unique teal uniform that, to the best of my knowledge doesnt turn up anywhere else in the game. At least in the story-side of the game. There might be guys in the online missions who sport this variant uniform, but if there are I either havent played the ones they show up in or just never noticed them before.
Running through creepy gothic hallways
Is this the last one?
Noooope! Its another decoy. Thanks, Level-5.
The real ones down there through another hallway.
How To Train Your 1000-foot-tall Flaming Hell Beast
Brimflamme roars in rage and contempt at the partys attempt to neutralize him.
And then just decides, nope! and snaps both the manacles off its wrists like they were nothing.
Thanks for making me run around and waste twenty minutes of my time for nothing, Level-5.
Now Im convinced that Level-5 is just actively fucking with the player instead of merely being hilariously incompetent.
Seriously, there is no fucking way that you end a sequence like this with and then it got away anyway unless you are just messing with the player intentionally.
Unless of course, you actually are writing a game where the main theme is about failure, in which case, wasted effort on the part of the player is some incredibly immersive storytelling mastery.
WHAT THE FUCK AM I TALKING ABOUT?!
Doesnt matter, however, because Team We Meant To Do That just decide that after their gambit to NOT fight Brimflamme head-on fails, theyll just fight Brimflamme head-on anyway.
You can tell that Leonards return to the plot is nigh because everyones starting to act stupid again as they fall into the outer edge of his Stupid Gravity Well.
Okay, round two with the Flamme, the Myth, the Legend.
And this time, I use the Moon Maiden properly against it.
Yulie: About to be more useful and competent than Leonard EVER will.
Okay, so Arslese as a weapon was pretty much designed for this fight right here.
Why do I say that? 4.75 words: area-of-effect ice magic spell.
Brimflammable, being a fire-based demon, is weak against ice magic or skills and weapons with ice elemental enhancements to them.
It also has, as you see in the above image, four targetable tentacles, the things that shoot those balls of fire at you that knock you down and put the hurt on you.
NOT TODAY MOTHERFUCKER!
Taking out each tentacle robs My Cousin Brimmy of an extra bit of attack power. They also start bleeding lava from the open wound where the head on them was, which is both cool and creepy.
It usually takes about one Glacier Soul per head to take all four out, so make sure you have a decent number of as high a level of Mana Potions you can get to refill Yulies MP bar otherwise youre going ot be screwed here.
When Flamme On gets down near half health, it starts climbing up the side of the wall like its King Kong scaling the Empire State Building.
You only need to get it down to half health anyway, however, to end this part of the battle, so this next Glacier Soul puts it away.
But the game cant resist the urge not to dick move you again
The boss is dead, youre locked on to your end of battle/revert to human form animations, yet its attack is still happening and will continue happening no matter what you dobecause you cant do anything right now.
So it comes down on you like a ton of bricks for massive, critical damage. Critical damage that will be carried over into the next stage of the fight when all shitty hell breaks loose.
Thanks a fuckton, Level-5. Thank you for putting so much effort into this goddamn masterpiece of a game.
CUTSCENE: I Need a Hero(?)
The Avatar of Halitosis roars and belches more heat and flames, enraged that were actually kind of doing decently against it.
The camera pans up past Brimflamme to the sky
No, literally. The game makes a Team Rocket-esque DING! Sound when that speck of light appears.
You know what this means, kids.
The moment weve been dreading for so long has finally arrived.
We transition to a CG custcene now, because, well, shit we need something decent looking to put in a trailer for this game and weve come up with shit all so far.
Our pictured in the JRPG Encyclopedia under Idiot Hero non-tagonist has somehow transported his useless ass from the bridge of Cisnas flagship all the way up to the Shahgna high in the air for reasons that will quite literally never be explained.
I dont know if this is a remnant from a revised script that had Leonard sitting out the battle on the Shahgna originally and they left the CG sequence in place after they edited the in-engine cutscenes because they were locked in and/or too expensive to alter.
But my gut is telling me that Akihiro Hino wanted this big awesome heroic action sequence where Leonard quite literally parachutes back into the party to Save the Day, because hes a Gallant Hero in Hinos mind and Hinos mind alone.
So fuck logic or storytelling convention or spatial reality, Leonards on the Shahgna because Leonard needs to be on the Shahgna otherwise this sequence doesnt work.
And if youre so rigidly married to a particular set piece in a story that you have to break said story so completely open that it causes bone fragments to splinter outwards and piece flesh in order to execute it the way you need it to be done, then I have some bad news to break you. Spoiler alert: youre a terrible writer.
But I digress, weve got more stupid to attend to
Leonard feels it deep in his soul. The calling to which he can never ignore. He feels himself drawn to it like scraps of metal to a magnet.
The urge to fuck everything up for the people he wants to help.
He watches Redhorn Isle quickly fade in the distance as Rocco hauls ass away from there, knowing full well that Leonard is aboard the Shahgna now and is going to do something stupid, so hes trying to forestall that from happening.
Also, at that altitude, Im pretty sure our resident shithead would, a) have already frozen to death, b) already suffocated to death, and c) been blown off the Shahgnas outer deck by the outside windspeeds because its traveling at several hundred miles an hour, and ascending at a near 45 degree angle too.
But thats the thing about Leonard, hes so stupid it nullifies the effects of physics because his Stupid Field makes physics forget its fucking physics.
Yes, jump you dumb motherfucker, jump.
In this screenshot he actually looks vaguely evil, which, given how hes about to utterly fuck the player over in another few seconds, is disturbingly prescient.
No. I am not making another Superman joke. Ive made enough Superman jokes in this LP and of all people in this game, Leonard is the lest Superman-eque of the lot.
Halfway down the stupid jackass realises he cant actually fly, panics, and begins haplessly flailing about and screaming for a solid minute before bellyflopping into the ocean just off the port bow of a Farian destroyer at terminal velocity.
No, but I wish. Instead, the dense brick FINALLY remembers hes capable of transforming into a Knight and does it in the one place where itd probably be useful to be able to turn into a 20-foot-tall indestructible being made of magic and metal.
Its still not going to do his dumb shit ass any good though.
You know why?
BECAUSE THE WHITE KNIGHT CANT FLY! The one fucking Knight of the bunch they have that is incapable of flight, and THATS the one they decide to throw into air to have an aerial battle cutscene with.
Youre the best, Level-5!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Tense Battle (Disc 1, Track 30)
Id say this is falling with style, but Leonard and Style are as anathema to one another as Leonard and Competence are.
So Wizel drifts down towards Redhorn Isle with absolutely no plan of how to stop itself beyond smash into ground, which no doubt is probably going to get the entire party killed as the shockwave knocks everyone into the lava pit, or, in Orrens case, directly into Brimflammes mouth.
But then I remember physics only works when its convenient in this game, so who knows if thats going to happen or not.
A dark shape appears from within the clouds, rushing up to meet the White Knight.
Could it be?
Of course, who else could it be? Its Shapur in Black Knight form for reasons.
Because, again, we need something we can put in a trailer, so lets have another duel between the White and Black Knights, because that was a big selling point of the first game and were all about doing The Exact Same Shit Again in the sequel.
Nevermind the fact that there was no frickin way that Shapur could know that Leonard was on his way down to the island, or even back up and walking at this point, or have the time to transform and fly up to meet him on the way down.
But fuck it, weve already established were in the Logic Free Zone here, so anything goes now. Im half expecting King Valtos, Archduke Dalam, and Count Drisdall to appear next, alive and well for no fucking reason and reveal that theyve got Knights too now and triple-team Shapur with them.
Because, fuck I just dont give a shit anymore, can we start making Ni no Kuni now, please?
- Hino, Akihiro (c. March 2010)
And now were pre-ripping off BioShock Infinite. Hello Song Bird.
Leonard realizes all is not peachy in the wonderful land of the fluffy white clouds.
Again, more evidence of Shapur being a better swordsman than either Leonard or Kara, by striking the Argent Shield with Darkblades flat edge.
Either that or Shapur is actually kind of a shitty swordsman and doesnt know how to attack with the swords bladed edge. Did anyone ever think about that?
Lighting effects by JJ Abrams.
Shapur does the Smart Thing and uses the sun to his advantage, as Leonard loses him in the glare.
Although, is it really possible to lose a flat-black object like the Black Knight in the glare of the sun?
I dont really care, honestly.
Because heres something everyone wants to see, your supposed hero awkwardly flailing around in a pitch black miasma while falling at terminal velocity as a superior opponent rope-a-dopes him with his superior maneuverability, fighting skills, and other miscellaneous abilities.
I dont know what the fuck is going on anymore.
Leonard slashes and misses by a country mile. Because he sucks.
And were back to awkward tumbling.
Now I know why the Trailer Bait segment cuts out when the Black Knight disappears into the sun, because the rest of this cutscene is an incomparable mess of awkward action.
And then it just ends without resolution.
They both come tumbling out of the clouds, at a jarringly slower speed than they were falling at a second ago, because FUCK LOGIC.
The clang swords one final time.
And ricochet away from one another a speed so fast I had to slow the cutscene down to like 5FPS in VLC and I still barely caught this screenshot. Because NOW physics seems to work for some reason.