Part 67: Our Long Fantasy Nightmare Is Over
Previously on White Knight Chronicles II
In the year since Grazels defeat at the Dogma Rift, civil war broke out in Faria. Backed by Grazels forces, Ban Nanazel launched a bid to wrest control of the Archduchy from those still loyal to the late Archduke Dalam.
We met General Scardigne, a mysterious and powerful Farian warrior sworn to Ban Lorias and the Farian loyalists.
And Miu, granddaughter of Archduke Dalam, and heir to the Farian throne.
With the partys help, Ban Nanazel was defeated and the civil war was quelled.
Father Yggdra, Farias spiritual leader, gave the party the Retrospecticon, which would allow them to (not really) interact with the (not really) past.
Miu led the party back to the night of the attack on Balandor Castle to try and rescue her grandfather.
But Belcitane (and Fate) had other plans
They discovered that they could not alter the events of the (not really) past, however
With his dying breaths, Dalam passed the Sylvan Insignia, one of three fragments of Queen Mureass power, to Miu, and she resolved to rule Faria in his stead.
Then Caesar came back and the game got awesome again.
He led the party into the (not really) past and met his father, Count Drisdall, as young man. Ovaries everywhere exploded due to a high concentration of sexyfine.
Father and son faced the same problem in two different times: a plague wrought by the Yshrenian bio-weapon, the Netherwrym.
Caesar found the holy lance Wyrmbuke and slew the Netherwrym with it, doing at last what his father never could.
He then received the Dragonroost Insignia from his fathers spirit in the Retrospecticon and they finally parted ways on good terms.
Then this shit happened again.
I guess Shapur was still here. I think maybe hes an asshole now because he killed Kara, but nobody really gave a shit.
Then the White Knight glitched out for no reason
And Leonard fell into a Plot Coma for half the game. Everyone celebrated. EVERYONE.
Because Leonard fucked up that whole being an actual protagonist thing, Yulie set out for Faria with Eldore and Orren to retrieve the Moon Maiden Knight and show his dumbass how to actually be a hero.
We found Cyrus and Osmund in the Van Haven Waste. Eldore told to Cyrus to stop being a drunken, racist, self-pitying idiot, and he did.
Then the Best Moment of the Game happened.
Yulie returned to Balandor and broke the Yshrenian siege single-handedly. Because Yulie is fucking amazing.
Kara was revealed to be alive somehow, and to be General Scardigne, because, fuck it, lets recycle EVERY plot point from the first game. We dont give a shit any more.
And Sarvain/Ledom was revealed to be the General Dragias who killed King Valtos I honestly thought they werent actually going to resolve that plot thread from the first game. Seriously.
As he lay dying, Valtos revealed that the White Knight harbours a dark secret the other four Knights did not: an evil presence lurked inside it, biding its time for some nefarious purpose
He also bestowed the Philosophers Insignia onto Cyrus, telling him how proud of him he was before he passed. Also, FLORAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINE!!!
Cisna encountered her mothers spirit in the Retrospecticon as well, she broke the seal that kept Mureass powers and memories suppressed within her subconscious. Her powers now fully awakened, Cisna reunited the three insignia
And forged a holy blade, Falcyos, from the ether for Leonard to defeat the Sun King with. Because that worked out so well the first time when the holy sword she gave him was called Talion.
Fighting off pain and exhaustion, Leonard ventured out to meet Grazel in combat on Greydall Plain, with Falcyos at the ready
But because hes goddamn Leonard, he failed to actually destroy the Sun King. As Grazel retreated he challenged the boy to meet him at the Yshrenian stronghold on Redhorn Isle to settle things once and for all.
Before joining the invasion fleet, Orren obtained the Arc Knight thanks to the work of the (probably insane) Balandor scientist Framboise.
Cisna launched an invasion of Redhorn Isle with the full might of Balandor at her back. She was joined by Archduchess Miu and the entirety of the Farian fleet, and in the skies by Chanko Osmund and every Windwalker he could muster.
Leonards contribution to the battle was to sit comatose on a couch until Cisna told him, we won
But he somehow managed to fuck that up too
The party confronted Grazel in his stronghold, but it turned out to be another trap.
He unleashed the demonic beast Brimflamme on them and escaped while the monster held them at bay.
Leonard did something incredibly stupid
Trying to be a hero, he literally parachuted down to where the party was confronting Brimflamme, despite being in ill-health and unequipped to handle a foe of this calibre.
So he got has ass kicked, spectacularly.
Then Redhorn Isle exploded. Because places Leonard visits tend to explode. Its a thing. It literally is a thing in this game. I AM NOT MAKING IT UP!
Out of the ashes of Redhorn Isle quickly emerged the flying fortress Garmatha, Grazels ultimate weapon. The Garmathas firepower and armour proved more than a match for the Alliance fleet, as Grazel prepared to turn the fortress loose on Balandor Castle.
But then the Demithor appeared for some reason and held back the Garmatha with its massive strength. It turned itself to stone to stop the fortress just off the Balandor coast. However, it wont hold out for long, as the Garmatha is already beginning to overpower it.
With the Demithor buying them precious time, Cisna joined the party aboard the Shahgna to lead the assault on the Garmatha and settle things with Grazel, Shapur, and Ledom once and for all.
And now, the conclusion
Okay, here we go then. Garmatha Fortress, the final storyline area of the game. Its not the final area of the map that opens up, mind you. That would be the Lost City of Vellgander, which is going to appear on the map once we clear the end credits.
Another area opens up beyond that, though only in the Japanese version of the game: Guido's Hollow. Though Guido's Hollow only appears on the map at the climax of the Avatar Story.
We'll get to that in due time, though. For now, we have a plot to wrap up and a fortress to storm.
You guys know that one ending to Chrono Trigger where you skip the first round of the final boss fight with Lavos by ploughing Epoch right into the motherfucker? Well, guess what?
CUTSCENE: Take Er In Easy, Osmund
The game wastes little time throwing us back into the action. Every gun on the Garmatha fires at a non-stop pace to keep the Alliance forces at bay and to keep the Shahgna from touching down on it.
Not that a couple billion bullets are going to stop Osmund, though
The Shahgnas able to shrug off quite a few hits and keep going, but were probably pushing our luck something fierce here.
Osmund rolls the airship around another volley
And we get a stylistic Fast & Furious-style into-and-then-back-out-of-vehicle trucking shot.
Not pictured: Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.
And Eldores there too. Because these were the only full CG character models Level-5 made for the first game, and theyd be damned if they had to model, render, and animate brand new models for Caesar, Kara and Cisna just for a two-second barely focused motion shot.
The Shahgnas port engines go dead after a direct hit from the fortresss cannons.
And explode just for good measure.
Oh, now you know the game is coming to an end very shortly if theyre blowing up the airship right before you head into a dungeon. Because Level-5 isnt ballsy enough to pull off a blow up the airship twist in mid-story.
Plus weve had so much of this final battle drivel thrown at us over the last 30 minutes that itd be an absolute curve ball to the face if it turned out we still had another ten hours of story left after this.
Not that Level-5 isnt capable of making gobsmacking narrative choices, mind you. But no, this really is the end of the line, at long last.
Sadly, for all of Osmund's skill and bravado, theres not much you can do with a broken airship
And the Shahgna crashes right into one of the stone pillars dotting the Garmathas surface.
And sheers the right wing off it completely. Ouch!
God, I said gently, Osmund!
So the Shahgna comes to a spinning halt on the surface of the Garmatha. God, you let Osmund pilot it ONCE, and its a write-off now. Nice work team.
I think Im supposed to feel some kind of emotion here, like you do when you make the aforementioned choice to ram Lavos with Epoch or when the Highwind gets torn apart at the end of Final Fantasy VII, but I just cant muster the feeling. Because the Shahgna has been a non-presence in the story or gameplay thus far. Ive formed no attachment to it. It was introduced with mishandled fanfare at the end of the first game and then was a moot point throughout the second game thanks to the fast travel system.
Even its destruction right here is rendered a moot point, because once we get control of the characters again, we can just turn around and walk out of the final dungeon and go running around the world map doing random quests for people because there is no point of no return for this game.
So farewell, Mighty Airship Shahgna, you will be something. I cant really remember what that is.
Give me a minute.
AREA MUSIC: Chronicles of Darkness (Game 2 OST, Track 5)
This is it, Garmatha Fortress, the final dungeon of the game. And what kind of final dungeon are we talking about? The epic labyrinth of Kefkas Tower? The 1970s psychedelic fantasy painting of the Northern Crater? The bio-tech nightmare of Merkava? The gigantic puzzle of Ultimecias Castle?
Nope. Its a hallway. A straight forward hallway, not even a Final Fatnasy XIII-style hallway either. Hell, Orphans Cradle, as fucked up as it was, was longer and more complex than this. Still, good on Level-5, I suppose, for realizing that anyone who had made it this far into the game just wanted it to be over now, especially coming so hot off the heels of the Leonard-Brimflamme catastrofuck, so I can actually appreciate for once a burst of game design.
Like I said, Redhorn Isle was already the final dungeon in spirit anyway. Garmatha is just the room where the whole lets murder the fuck out of Grazel, Ledom, and maybe Shapur if we remember he still exists thing happens.
Leonard: Grazels in here somewhere.
Caesar: The final showdown.
But before we begin. Does anyone hear something?
Blue Ball: Hey! Listen!
Blue Ball: Hey! Listen! Hey! Listen! Hey! Listen!
Orren: This thing needs a new ringtone.
Hologram Framboise: Orren! Helloooo?! Can you hear me?
Hologram Framboise: Oh, sweet, it actually works. Youre not experiencing a dramatic increase in radiation on your end, are you?
Orren: Im just going to turn around and walk away now.
Hologram Framboise: Hang on! Ive got something to tell you. Ive been doing some further research into Incorruptus technology, and well Ive managed to whip up a whole shitload of new weapons for the Arc Knight!
Orren: Shitload, eh? That a scientific term?
Hologram Framboise: Stop being a smartass. Of course its a scientific term.
Orren: Okay, well, thats great and all, but Im on the Garmatha right now, so what goods anything you whipped up in Balandor going to do me here?
Hologram Framboise: Pfft. You think in such three-dimensional terms. How small you are. Ive used a high-tech ultra-spency phase-transfer jigger-majig to upload them directly to the Arc Knight on the magic plane. That thing has quite the mouth on it, by the way.
Orren: Yeah, tell me about it. Hey, about that big pink malfunction on Redhorn Isle
Hologram Framboise: You signed the waiver.
Orren: No I didnt!
Hologram Framboise: You had your signature forged on the waiver.
Orren: I want to hate you but you keep giving me all this cool stuff
Hologram Framboise: Excellent! My plan is working, then.
Orren: What plan?
Hologram Framboise: A dependency study. Just one of a few blind psychological experiments which I just invalidated by telling you about it DAMMIT! Why do I always have to gloat to them?
Orren: Just tell me about this new weapon so I can go back to not having you in my life.
Hologram Framboise: Its right up your alley, if I do say so myself. BEHOLD!
Hologram Framboise: Behold! A mighty weapon of calamitous power, the god-slaying hammer Drega!
Orren: Its a brick
Hologram Framboise: On a stick!
Orren: I can make this work.
Hologram Framboise: I figured you could.
Orren: Is there anything special I gotta do, or just
Hologram Framboise: Just pull out your Ark and press that red button.
Orren: Is it going to kill everybody?
Hologram Framboise: Press that blue button.
Orren: Thanks Framboise.
Orren: You know, you are simultaneously the best and probably third-worst thing to ever happen to me.
Hologram Framboise: What was the second-worst?
Orren: Beg pardon?
Hologram Framboise: Well Im assuming Leonard was the worst-worst, so what was number two?
Orren: Im not telling youthats how bad it was.
Hologram Framboise: My condolences. Laters!
Orren: Id say she needs to work on her people skills but then Im one to talk.
Eldore: Are you done talking to your girlfriend there, Niles? Lets get moving already.
And on that note, lets head into the fortress.
Eldore: Are you all prepared? This is the one fight that matters most.
Yulie: I hope this is finally the end. I pray it is.
Eldore: They wont escape us again. It ends here.
Cisna: Now is the time to protect the lands Archduke Dalam, Count Drisdall, and my father loved.
So out here on the outside of the Garmatha there are only a few enemies that show up: Skeletons, undead soldiers, and Ignis Wyverns.
You can see all three here in this image with the wyverns tail just peeking out from behind the outcropping there in the background.
At the level were playing at right now, the enemies here are very tough.
Taking them on on foot is going to be a bit of a challenge because they can quickly gang up on your and work over your still incredibly dumb party AI.
This is also the where enemies become capable of inflicting the Restrain and Confine status ailments. Restrain prevents you from using Combos in battle, while Confine, denoted by the NO sign over the Knight helmet, means you cant transform into a Knight while its active on your characters.
The best strategy for dealing with these kinds of enemies without power leveling is just to use a Knight against them.
I this case I used the Moon Maiden.
And heres that Ignis Wyvern I promised.
You gotta love the games awkward animations at times. Yulie just point-blanks the sucker because its so close to her.
Ideally, you should just run down to the area door at the bottom of the hallway and draw all the enemies to you there so you can take them all out in short order and cross the distance quickly without getting bogged down in a running battle.
Glacier Soul is good for taking out the wyverns (theres usually two of them on the fortressthree if youre unlucky), but the element type that actually works best against undead enemies like skeletons? Fire, interestingly enough.
Once all the enemies are dealt with you head into this sort of antechamber, a buffer between the two open air halves of the fortress. Its almost like an airlock given how you have to open one door and then open another one immediately after that. Theres a pair of chests on either side of the room perpendicular to your path, by the way.
Cisna: One last battle and this war can end.
Leonard: Everything weve fought for comes down to this.
Yulie: Yeah! If we dont stop them, no one will.
Eldore: Ten thousand years-worth of struggle now hinge upon one fight.
Kara: Either we win it, or we die trying.
Orren: Works for me.
Caesar: Riiiiight. So no pressure.
Yulie: Balandor would have been destroyed if they Demithor hadnt shown up.
Caesar: Thank you Demithor! Just hold out a little longer.
Leonard: Weve put the Shahgna through a lot, huh?
Orren: Oh yeah, destroying it sure is a lot, aint it?
Eldore: EVERYTHING rides on this battle! Gather all your wits!
Yulie: This mobile fortress HAS to be their last stronghold.
Cisna: Well topple the Yshrenian Empire together.
Most of these arent actual conversations, Im just stringing them together because there is an incredible amount of Live Talk for an area that you pretty much walk from one side of to the other in under five minutes. Most of this stuff isnt even heard by most players because theyre in such a rush to get to the final bosses.
Leonard: Come on, this is it.
Kara: Setti, Im coming for you
Caesar: Settis family, hes our responsibility, in a way.
Orren: What part of Setti died at Sinca Village are we still not getting here?
In this little arena-like area theres always either a Pyredaemos or a Pyredaemos Rex waiting for you, without fail. The RNG decided to give me a Rex this time, but Ive had just as many runs through this place where I got a Pyredaemos Lite too.
Taking the Rex on on foot is suicide, so its time to suit up.
Just ignore that the Arc Knight isnt wielding the Drega for the moment. I recorded like six separate runs through Garmatha for various purposes and stitched them all together for this update.
I promise you, BRICKSTICK is coming.
The King is dead.
Long live the guy who killed him, I guess?
Caesar: No stopping now! Not till we finish this!
Cisna: This war will rage on so long as Ledom draws breath.
Kara: Ledom, no hell is deep enough for you.
At the far end of the arena, you find a tunnel leading to the inside portion of Garmatha.
And you get a prompt asking you if you want to teleport inside because Level-5 didnt want to render anything outside of one hallway for it.
I suspect that this was at one point another massive seamless Dogma Rift Palace-like area, but Level-5 ultimately ran out of both time and money to make a proper final dungeon so instead it merely became a gigantic visual metaphor for White Knight Chronicles II in and of itself.
In that eventually it just stops.
Yulie: Leonard, are you are you okay?
Leonard: Yeah Im in this till the end.
Cisna: I believe in you, Leonard.
Kara: Pha. Well now we know were stuck with him.
Orren: I can fix that one, just give me a minute alone with him.
Caesar: Seriously, butter him up a little more, Your Grace.
Eldore: Once we finish this, the lad can rest. Come on!
The best part about that exchange is actually hearing it spoken in-game. Karas line is meant to be a playful ribbing of Leonards determined goofishness, but I swear to god Catherine Cavadini reads it like Kara is coming to some sort of frustrated realization in that moment, which, after the bullshit that we just saw on Redhorn Isle, works perfectly, in my opinion.
Because Im pretty sure that, much like how I portray Orren in this LP, Kara became good friends with Caesar, Yulie, and Eldore, but never really warmed to Leonard all that much, despite her reluctance to kill him in Frass Chasm when she had the chance.
But thats the thing of, though. Nobody really seems like they warmed up to Leonard in-game. True, the others all care for him on some level, but outside of Yulie, its the same kind of care youd show for a really dumb, rambunctious puppy that you were never actually asked to take care of but got stuck with anyway.
Leonard: I wont transform again after this, Cisna. I promise.
Orren: You never really did to begin with.
And this right here is the last door in White Knight Chronicles IIthe storyline, anyway. That Logic Stone right there is the final save point of the game before the final boss. Through this door is the teleporter that whisks you directly into the Final Boss Gauntlet, another trio of boss fights that serve as the final bouts of the games single-player storyline.
Orren: I just want to say, before we head in there and face whatever Grazels got up his sleeve next, that Well, just in case we DO all die in there I actually kinda had fun doing this. And, at the end of the day, I really do count you among my friends. Theres no one else Id rather be saving the world with. Even you, old fart.
Eldore: Why, Niles, II dont know what to say to that.
Orren: Say my name. My real name.
Eldore: I would fight and die by your side any day, but not today. Today, we will be victorious, I swear it Orren.
Orren: Thank you, Eldore.
Leonard: Hey, what about me?
Orren: I hope Grazel obliterates you, you dumb chucklefuck.
Alright then. Lets go save the world.
CUTSCENE: The Final FINAL Confrontation
BOSS FIGHT: Game 2 Final Boss Gauntlet (The Sun King & The Black Knight, High Priest Ledom (and Assassins), and Emperor Madoras (The Demon Knight) - with commentary by nine-gear crow and Blind Sally)
Team I Cant Really Call Them Heroes Any More Because Leonard Is Back With Them rushes into the curiously wide open space inside the heart of the Garmatha.
Well there we go. After an entire game of the party being fractured and incomplete for various plot bullshit purposes, we finally get a shot of everyone all together again, plus Cisna, who in any other game would have been our seventh party member anyway.
As for the boss fight video, just like last time, this video is a full 25 minute boss extravaganza featuring all three stages of the final battle, including interspersed cutscenes and the end credits to boot. This one is full on spoilers, so youd be best served by viewing it after the fact once youre finished this chapter.
If nothing else, youve been warned.
Okay, just what the hell is it with Grazel and having to be so high up and far away from anyone he tries talking to. I didnt bring it up last time, but I can only imagine having a scene with this kind of blocking playing out in real life and no one having any idea what the other party is saying because theyre all too far away from one another.
Its like that scene at the climax of Kung Fu Panda 2 where the audience misses nearly all of Pos dramatic speech because it keeps cutting back and forth between him and Shen whos like 500 feet away and keeps shouting WHAT?! because he cant hear a damn thing hes saying.
Also, Im pretty sure the last time I did this gag I lifted it almost directly from Zac Parsons Paranatural webcomic, which, by the way, is awesome, smart, and hilarious, and you should all treat yourselves and binge-read it to make up for me keelhauling you all through White Knight Chronicles II.
Do it right now. The LP isnt going anywhere.
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Final Battle (Disc 2, Track 17)
[ENTER: A Transformers joke.]
Grazel: You certainly took your time, friends.
Also, fuck you, Crispin, its been like 20 minutes in-game since we last talked to you.
Cisna: Grazel! Your evil ambitions end here!
Grazel: What?! I cant hear you. Come closer.
Ledom: My goodness, if it isnt Princess Cisna!
[KAYFABE NOTE: Im leaving this lone reference to Princess Cisna as it appears in the game, because its in keeping with Ledoms character to be a condescending dick.]
Ledom: Oh dear now, where are my manners?
Ledom: I suppose now we all ought to be calling you Queen Mureas?
See? Condescending dick.
Cisna: And you!
Cisna: You were behind all of this, Ledom. You have been trying to revive the Yshrenian Empire all along.
Ledom: Of course. I am an Ancient.
Ledom: I crossed through time and waited for this moment.
Ledom: And now, my wait is nearly over.
Eldore: A fellow traveller.
See, told ya that portentous passing glance between Eldore and Sarvain in the throne room back at the start of the first game would be paid off in the closing minutes of the second game.
They both came from the Dogma Era and made the same lifespan-swapping deal with death to jump forward 10,000 years in time to serve their respective reincarnated masters. Eldore came to aid Mureas, while Ledom came to aid Madoras, the key difference being of course, that Eldore sucked at his job while Ledom was fucking amazing at his.
Cisna: So where does this stop?
Cisna: How many more lives are you willing to throw away?!
Cisna: And by all means, be specific. I want to make sure that war machine I built to beat you gets its moneys worth.
Ledom: Throw away?
Ledom: ANY life ended in the name of my master
Ledom: is a life well spent.
Caesar: So much for moral gray area.
Ledom: Wouldnt you agree, Grazel?
Grazel: Friends, you have my deepest thanks for bringing the Knights together. Truly.
Grazel: However, they belong to my empire. They always have.
Grazel: And you will give them back.
Leonard: Please, Cisna, find some place safe.
Yeah, because youre about to do something. And when you do something, Bad Things happen. They ALWAYS do.
Leonard: Grazel! We didnt come here to talk politics with you.
Because trying to argue politics with Grazel is like trying to debate Jean-Jacques Rousseaus The Social Contract with Glenn Beck, try as you might to make your point eloquently, the fuckers eventually just going to scream NAZIS! apropos of nothing and make you want to push his doughy head into a pot of boiling water.
So, in this case, Im with Leonard. Lets kick this guys douche ass already.
CUTSCENE / BOSS FIGHT MUSIC: The Battlefield Flower (English Version) (Game 2 OST, Track 21)
Leonard: Lets just skip to the end.
Leonard: Your stupid war is OVER!
Leonard: [INEFFECTUAL PANTYWAIST MOAN]
And now we get a boss fight set to the accompanying music of the word salad vocal track from the promotional trailer for the game and the opening credits sequence.
Never let it be said that Level-5 doesnt recycle.
Grazel: The end, Leonard? Oh no. This is a new beginning.
Grazel: The sun has risen again on Yshrenian history!
So weve got the Sun King and Black Knight on one side challenging everyone to a fight. This is clearly an attempt to goad the party into using all three of their Knights the same time to kickstart the Final Awakening.
So were going to be smart about it and sit one Knight out, right? I mean, the game cant handle more than three Knights on the field at one point anyway, so it would only make sense that we pick our two strongest Pactmakers (IE: Everyone other than Leonard!) and only use them so as not to be goaded into starting the apocalypse because
Look at that face. Look at that fucking thoughtless face. You all know what the fuck is coming next. You know it in your heart of hearts. You can FEEL it coming, cant you?
Leonard: Im helping!
Leonard, Yulie, & Caesar: VERTO!
Yep. Five Knights. One confined space. Zero intelligence. You should just go on YouTube and right now and start playing Komm, Süsser Todd over this fight rather than The Battlefield Flower because were unsettlingly close to everyone turning into orange goop right now, and I cant think of a better way to watch the world end than with an upbeat song about suicide.
Yeah, because you just KNOW that this is actually a Good Thing now because Im pretty sure Ledom just came in his spikey purple pants over this.
Leonard: Bring it on!
So Our Mutual Idiot leads his troops into battle against Grazel and Shapur in what I can assure you is going to be the least interesting five-person giant robot brawl of all time.
Not even Jim Ross would call this thing a slobberknocker, and Im pretty damn sure JR was paid on a slobberknocker-per-broadcast pay scale.