Part 79: Trial And Error
Well, were half way home and we STILL dont have the slightest idea about what the story of this Avatar Storys about. Are things going to change in this installment? Lets find out!
EPISODE 5 Trap
So Framboise is conducting some sort of Incorruptus-related experiment out of Balastor Plain. Its our job to finally fulfill the mission Oruro tasked us with in the first episode and get the Ark Crystal to her to see what the hell she can make of it.
And also do a bunch of embarrassing stuff for her, because fuck the Avatar, were only doing this to shut you people up about what a useless waste of a feature they were in the game.
AREA MUSIC: Balastor Plain (Disc 1, Track 5)
We begin the fifth episode out in the middle of Balastor Plain, out around the halfway point between Balandor Castletown and Parma.
Framboises research encampment is off there in the distance, so weve got to spend a minute running to get to it rather than just having you start out right there, because GAMEPLAY!
On the path towards the camp, we run into Raus. Because THERES someone I want to talk to again, a drunken shitstain wagoneer who has about as much business being near a critical and potentially dangerous scientific experiment as an armless man does working a job that requires routine fingerprint identification to accomplish anything.
But, I guess since one of the first things we did near the start of the game was interact with Raus, its only appropriate that one of the last things we do near the end of the game is interact with Raus. Its like poetry; it rhymes.
Orren: Whats up there, shitface? You come here to see if you can score any rocket fuel hooch?
Raus: Oh, why hello again there, chief. Hm? Are you looking for Miss Framboise?
Orren: Just point in a general direction and youll probably get out of this without my foot going upside your head.
Raus: I believe I saw her setting up something near the waterfall nearby. Are you headed that way yourself?
Orren: I am now! Latter Tipsy Twister!
And that, thankfully, is the last we ever see of Raus in the duology.
Around the tree and across the bridge we finally come to Framboises camp. Theres a big brown thing there off to the side that looks like a giant fire hydrant, and a pair of assistants there to help her do whatever unspeakable things she probably gets up to whenever she gets bored waiting for an experiment to finish.
Framboise: There you are! What the heck took you so long?
Orren: Oh, Im sorry. Next time Ill just let the horror from the realm beyond have the Big Giant Destructive Item and show up here empty handed if it means meeting your schedule.
Framboise: Whatever, hand it over. I brought my Science Mallet out of its velvet case this morning and I dont want to disappoint it.
Orren: Yeah, Im pretty sure it doesnt have Oh my gods, you gave it feelings, didnt you?
Framboise: I call it Maxwell.
Orren: Everything you say to me horrifies me just a little bit more each time.
Framboise: Come on now, lets get to it then. Weve got some sparimentin to do!
CUTSCENE MUSIC: Framboise (Game 2 OST, Track 8)
Framboise: Ooooh~o! This is it? The new Ark Core you found?!
Orren: Hey! What did I say about grab hands!
Framboise: Give it to me or youre getting the mase again.
Orren: I REALLY uugh you.
Framboise: Hm? Whats the matter the matter? Is there something else I should know?
Orren: Youre not going to listen anyway, so whats the point?
Framboise: Good boy! You get a cookie.
Orren: Do I look like Leonard to you?!
Framboise: Hmmm I see. So that woman you encountered was able to use it to transform into a Knight just with the core alone? Fascinating. She would have had to have drawn a gimoungous amount of power from the other world then.
Framboise: I wonder if this has anything to do with all those gates that have been opening up around the world?
Orren: So what youre saying is, youre responsible for all this insan
Framboise: Do not finish that sentence.
Framboise: Still, the implications are intriguing But lets not get ahead of ourselves. We need to be looking at the Ark Core you brought all that way just for me. Huhah! Who knows, it might even yield some data on the enemy who stole it from you.
Orren: If it works
Framboise: Well what are we standing about for? Mwaha! Lets get started, pronto! And of course, youll help out too, wont you, Orren?
Orren: Um I didnt agree to
Framboise: Your free will means
Framboise: NOTHING TO MEEEEEEE!!! Also
Framboise: Im so excited! EEEEEEEEIIIIII!!!
And now for a segment Id like to call Orren runs all the way to Faria without stopping.
So the game doesnt give you any indication of what you need to do to help out Framboise immediately. You instead need to talk to Thing 1 and Thing 2 here to get that information.
Aide: Im Framboises second student.
Orren: You got a name?
Aide: She just calls me Number Two.
Orren: I know where you're coming from, son.
Aide: So youre gonna help us out? Framboise has headed out the other site deeper in the woods for to check up on them. We cant begin the experiment just yet anyway.
Orren: So what the hell was with that lets begin immediately! stuff?
Aide: My appologies. We need to repair the container over there by the tent to make sure there arent any leaks. I believe she left a note explaining everything on around here somewhere.
Alright. Lets see what this note has to say.
Yeah, Im just gonna throw my hands on up on this one and say I have no fucking idea. It throws out a bunch of Katakana here which is the script specifically used for 2 things in Japanese normally: transliterating foreign (mostly English) words into Japanese, and for writing formal names. What the game spat out at me here did nothing by cause my translators to meltdown so sadly, it will be lost forever to the language barrier.
Oh, and while Im at it, Oruro has a particularly nasty habit of using washi, the semi-formal abriviation of watashi (I/my/me/mine) when referring to himself in first person. Yet for reasons that baffle the fuck out of me, the game writes this in Katakana, (ワシ), which is also the Japanese word for eagle. So every time he says something like I believe that or According to my calculations it comes out as Eagle believes that or According to eagle calcuations and leaves me wanting to hit the game with a hammer for being so obtuse.
Aide: Hey there. Im Framboises first student.
Orren: She call you Number One?
Aide: One died in an explosion three weeks ago. Im Number Two-Alpha.
Orren: And Im Disturbed.
Aide: I dont mean to brag, but Im probably the more trusted of the two of us. After all, Im the one repairing the equipment here and he isnt.
Orren: That just means youre gonna die first when it blows up on you.
Aide: Indeed, Framboise knows what shes doing around here.
Orren: Thats a shocker.
Aide: Its a tough job working for her But its very rewarding too. Framboise has trusted us with this Ark Core. Maybe Im just imagining things, but it feels like this isnt like the one we experimented on last time, though. Theres something different about it We need to be more careful.
Well, theres that note we were told about earlier.
Framboise's Note: Dear Orren, Thank you so much for helping me! In order to properly conduct the experiment, the device you see before you needs to be powered up first. To get the best result, it requires a large amount of energy. If you could, please collect ten energy fragments and return them to my assistants to power up the equipment. You can obtain them from certain monsters here on the plain. Youll also need to obtain the observational equipment from the caravan at the waterfall cave. Please bring it to me at the observational tent when you have collected it. Thanks a bunch!
So weve got to go out and do the majority of Framboises legwork for her. Joy.
But then again, what else is new? This is just more of the same shit she foisted on us during the Arc Knight side quest.
Like the note said, weve got to head for the waterfall cave where we (technically) saved Setti from a trio of trolls in a scene Im 100% sure now was completely staged to garner sympathy for Setti among the party members. Kara nearly torpedoed the whole thing by using the Black Knight, but she only did so because she knew well enough that if she left things up to Leonard, Setti would have been dead twice over before he even realized he could transform into his Knight form.
Balandor Soldier: I went out on patrol earlier, but when I got back
Orren: Dont say it.
Balandor Soldier: Apparently, a monster wandered into camp, and, well, you see that beastwain over there?
Orren: Im well acquainted with the thing. Yes.
Balandor Soldier: Well, why dont you go over there and see for yourself.
Orren: Oh gods, what do we have here
Beastwain: A set of small footprints can be seen in the truckbed. It looks as though someone has stolen the equipment from the wagon.
Orren: You motherfucking incompetent
Okay, so now weve got to track down whoever or whatever stole the observational equipment. Luckily, we dont need to go very far to find it, as theyre holed up in the cave here.
In the clearing in the mine we come across a group of Polkans and Kibbles and are prompted into a mini-boss fight with them.
This fight is slightly on the pitiful side as far as mini-boss battles go. Its just a bunch of bottom tier enemies beefed up to a level where they pose a minor threat to your Level 80-90 characters. The only moderately interesting piece of minutia I have to relate is that the group is being led by Toto and Popo, the unique bounty Polkan/Kibble combo that was one of the very first bounties available to be hunted and the one I chose to show off when explaining Bounties way back near the start of the game.
Here they both are up close.
Down goes Toto
And down goes Popo
And Eldore scores the final blow with another completely overkill move.
You show em, old fart.
Orren: How many times we gotta do this song and dance, anyway?
So when the fight ends, were left to Totos corpse at our feet, and the observational equipment he and Popo stole left behind.
Popo, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found. But dont worry, well deal with his leafy ass in due time.
Rifle through Totos mangled corpse?
- Contemplate where your life went so wrong
You saved some poor schmucks career!
And then Orren punched out the guard on his way to find Framboise.
And then, quite surprisingly, when you exit the cave, a Megalo Tigris is there waiting for you.
Taking it out nets you one of the electromagnet pieces you need to power up the device, but were not going through that strange device down in the field. Were not going to be doing that sub-quest for this mission because it has nothing to offer us except more useless numbers, whereas most of these other side quests offer a minor bit of extra dialog or story developments for the chapter. But not this one.
So lets get back under way.
You can check my progress through this mission by the time ticking away at the top of each screenshot.
Eventually, after much running around, we eventually find Framboise as there is no indicator on the map of where exactly to find her, because Level-5 cant give a fuck enough to even give the player a hint any more.
This LP really should have been titled Your Must Be More Severe.
Orren: What new bullshit does Dr. Scientist have for more now?
Balandor Soldier: Uugh. This is taking too long. Im not even supposed to be here.
Balandor Soldier: Still, thank you for your hard work. What was that? This tent? This is the observation tent we set up to collect data for the experiment. Now we can get started since you brought the observational equipment. This is just one of many similar tents weve placed across Balastor Plain.
Framboise: Oh! You brought the equipment! Excellent. Well then, come on, hand it over already.
Framboise: Yep. Thats it alright.
Framboise: Now we can maintain a safe distance from the experiment and still observe the results In theory anyway. Oh by the way, thanks for your help. None of this would have been even an eensy bit possible without you.
Orren: Anything for science
Framboise: The Queens really cut back our budget now that the wars over, so thats why were out here in the woods doing this.
Orren: Yeah, cuz itll cost Balandor absolutely nothing if you burn down half of Balastor Plain if this backfires.
Framboise: Well then, Ill continue on to the next observation tent. See you soon!
And then she leaves.
Again, the game doesnt prompt you with anything, but now youve got to run across Balastor Plain again and catch up with her to continue the mission without the aid of any objective markers to tell you where to go.
You know youre getting close, however, when you come across this guard whos standing out here just panicking his ass off. Oh boy, this should be good
Balandor Soldier: D-did you hear somebody scream just now?
Orren: Knowing my track record Probably.
Balandor Soldier: I could have sworn I saw Dr. Framboise run past here in a hurry just a moment ago.
Orren: Shes about as much of a Dr. as Leonard is a Sir.
Balandor Soldier: I wonder where she could be?
Orren: Tell you what, you keep looking around at the dirt under your feet, and ILL go look for her. Because at this point, Im more of a Balandor soldier than anyone out in this field today is anyway You group of useless tits.
A short ways up the road we find
Orren: *sigh* Are you fucking kidding me?
Framboise: This isnt what it looks like!
Orren: What, are you testing a new invisible armour, and it turned out that just the armour was invisible?
Framboise: Damn. Thats a better excuse than the one I was working on.
Orren: I hate you. I really really do.
Framboise: E-everythings gone! I was out setting up the equipment for this section when I surrounded by a group of Polkan. They ripped off all my clothes!
Orren: Suuuure they did.
Framboise: But worse than that, they stole the key to activate the device back at the base camp!
Orren: This is embarrassing on so many levels
Framboise: Oh-hhhhhhh! Those lousy, sub-human monsters! Theyve got some real nerve messing with one of my experiments, Ill tell ya!
Orren: You do realize youre naked, right?
Framboise: The physical body is the crowning achievement of evolution. How could you possibly be embarrassed by
Orren: Theres a time and a place for the naked. Standing out in the middle of a field with animals and people watching you isnt it.
Framboise: Just be sure to bring that key back when once you find them.
Orren: And your clothes?
Framboise: Well, if you insist.
Orren: I wonder if Cisna still has that giant bomb kicking around somewhere round here? My eyes need a little thermonuclear clensing.
So after even more running around to find an objective thats still not marked on the map (fuck, Level-5s just being a real mangy dick with this episode), we approach another mini boss battle in order to rescue Framboises clothes.
Fuck me, and I thought frog sex was as embarrassing as this game got, but NOOOOOPE!
Up on the ledge here near the Kibble Forest in the southern part of Balastor Plain, we find a Treaent just hanging around, and right underneath it, if you can make it out, our old friend Popo.
Youre given a prompt to initiate the fight, and upon choosing Yes youre thrust into the battle.
This fight is a little more intimidating this time around at least, because Popos called in a heavy to back him up now that Totos bit the dust.
And now, presenting, Orren Takes Out His Aggressions On A Barely Sentient Woodland Creature.
On the way to do in the Treant, I actually take out Popo while hes hidden away in this bush here.
Yulie and Eldore by this point have taken out the remaining Polkans, so now only the copyright-skirting talking tree is left for us to take out.
And Eldore gets the final blow on this one.
Eldore: Now thats how its done, Niles.
Orren: Shame you couldnt have done any of that WHEN WE ACTUALLY NEEDED IT!
Down goes Treant.
It doesnt respond to you. Apparently, its out cold.
You know what to do now
You failed to reclaim your dignity. But you did get Framboises clothes back.
Orren: Im working too hard for shit like this
Framboise: Ah! My clothes!
Orren: Put these on. Now.
Framboise: Come on, you could be holding the fate of the world in your hands there. So hand em over already.
Framboise: What are you doing?! Turn around already, pervert.
Orren: Im taking steel wool to my eyes when I get back to Rapaccis. Trust me, I DONT want to watch you get dressed if I cant help it.
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
Orren: And well never speak of this again. Ever.
Framboise: Phew. That was terrible
Orren: No kidding
Framboise: Okay, Ill admit it, in all, this wasnt a very good representation of our department here today.
Orren: Today hasnt been a good representation of ANYONE out here right now..
Framboise: Everyones gonna think were failures! Everyone!
Orren: I saw a kid get tricked into becoming the very being he swore hed defeat somehow. Youre not THAT big of a failure, Framboise Yet anyway. I mean, the days not done yet.
Framboise: But still I suppose it;; make for one heck of a story someday. But thats neither here nor there. We need to get back to the device at the main camp right away! Go on! Skeedadle!
And then shes gone again.
This time around, now that were nearly done with this chapter, theres a convenient shortcut that literally drops us off right at the back end of Framboises camp.
Theres one last soldier out there to talk to on our way back, but he doesnt say anything interesting.
So lets keep on going instead.
See what I mean about literally falling into the camp pretty much?
And embarrassingly predictably, we find Framboise keeled over on the ground in front of her machine, out of breath and barely able to stand. Id make the joke that shes prostrate before her scientific god, but lets see what the game has to say instead.
Framboise: ...Man, am I ever pooped. I went all out to get back here too.
Orren: I just jumped off the ledge. Took me like 20 seconds not even.
Framboise: No one likes a show off. Now watch me show off my latest invention.
Framboise: Shall we Huff Begin?
Orren: So Uh What the hell is this thing supposed to be anyway?
Framboise: Isnt it obvious?
Orren: Im just gonna say bomb. That way, even if it blows up by accident, Im still right.
Framboise: Oh ye of little faith.
Framboise: There! Shes all done and ready to roll!
Framboise: Im just gonna reach reeeeeach in here and start er up!
Framboise: Oh shit. That wasnt supposed break off. Eeeeeh. Nevermind. Probably wasnt anything important Nope Just gonna put that back right Dammit! Eh, whatever.
Framboise: Lets rock and roll!
Orren: Im running for cover.
The device, the function and purpose of which we still dont have any goddamn clue to, sits there idly for the moment.
However, as we zoom out on it
So yeah, it just farts out a massive burst of dark energy.
Well, thats probably bad for everyones health
Framboise: Well, that was something.
Orren: I think I just grew and extra finger In my PANCREAS!
Framboise: Happens more often than youd think.
Orren: Get the fuck out of my life, please.
Framboise: Alright! The experiment was a complete success.
Framboise: We got some sweet-o data!
Orren: Still dont know what the fuck you were testing for in the first place, by the way.
A sudden roar in the distance startles everyone.
Framboise: Huh?! What was that noise?
Orren: Ill tell you exactly what that noise was
Yep, Framboises little technofart has disturbed a couple members of the local Troll population, and theyve come stomping down from the mountains to see what all the fuss is about, and to kill the people who fussed it in the first place.
Its boss fight time!
For this battle were squaring off against a pair of unique bounty pallet swap trolls, Gargantua (left) and Pantagruel (right). Each of them on their own are considered higher level bounty monsters, both of them together? Good god, what a nightmare. And worse yet, theyre both beefed up to post-game levels, so theyre that much harder to deal with too under normal circumstances.
But were not fucking around here either, so lets get our Knight on.
Thats looking to be a little more of an even match now, eh?
In their haste to double team me, the two Trolls sort of crash into one another and start clipping through eachothers models allowing me to hit the both of them at once.
Because even the enemy AI in this game is spectacularly dumb sometimes.
Both Trolls have shields and will throw them up and tend to keep them up for as long as they can to give them both Body Guard and Magic Guard in order to take a bite out of you damage dealing potential.
Gargantua tries to get off a charge attack.
And I kill it by Turn Breaking its face in.
And Pantagruel goes down even quicker because its the weaker of the two.
Orren: Okay, theyre all dead. You can come out now, Framboise.
Framboise: Stupendous! New test subjects! You mind staying as that Knight for a few more minutes and hoofing the corpses back to my lab in the Castle for me?
Orren: Woman, I am officially done doing stuff for you today. Am I understood?
Framboise: (Note to self: install priority override killswitch in Arc Knight )
Wow. A look of genuine impressed admiration. I dont think Leonard ever actually got one of those for anything he did in the duology. The closest we got was from Cyrus after he transformed for the first time, and even that was mostly shock on Cyruss part at seeing something that had been a lifeless shell chained to wall for the majority of his life as a servant of Balandor suddenly up and moving in the midst of an already hectic crisis.
Framboise: Whew Those Trolls just came out of nowhere
Aide: Miss Framboise!
Framboise: Whats the matter? Why are you in such a rush?
Aide: Youre not gonna believe this But weve just received word from one of our outposts via Bigelow
Aide: More space-time rifts are opening up across the continent as a result of the experiment we just did!
Orren: Oh for gods sakes, did you break the fucking planet again?!
Framboise: I I I dont know what we did wrong. According to all the data wed previously collected, this was just going to be a simple experiment.
Framboise: You cant blame me for any of this. Youve no proof!
Framboise: Eh? Eeeh?
Orren: I want to punch you out of existence right now, but I wont because its impolite to hit women.
Framboise: You beat up the woman who stole that Ark Core from you.
Orren: Yeah, cuz she tried to KILL ME! Several times.
Framboise: We need to head to that outpost and find out what happened, like yesterday.
Orren: I have spent the past four days running here from fucking Greede. I am taking an afternoon off, thank you very much.
Aide: According to the report from the observatory, the largest reading we picked up came from deep inside Frass Chasm.
Framboise: Frass Chasm. Got it.
Orren: ARUGH! Fuck me, did you just put my village at risk AGAIN?!
Framboise: Well then that settles it! Never fear men, brave Orren is on the job. Arent ya, my little guinea pig?
Framboise: Take me to rift and Ill get her all sorted out, just you wait. Cmon! Lets get a move on!
And as this chapter draws to a close, we pan back to find a familiar figure spying on our heroes over the nearby cliff. Could it really be?
Curiously, no, this isnt actually Shem, but now a mysterious otherworldly man who we now have to contend with.
Who is this masked man? Will he prove to be any more interesting than Shem did? Will he have any actual dialog this time? Will we FINALLY figure out what the hell this plot of this DLC is supposed to be? Or is this ultimately just the final bit of masterful trolling on the part of a game studio that utterly despises its players and displays that despisal through ball-numbing incompetence?
Who the fuck knows at this point?!
Can we just give in and bring Madoras back from the dead a third time? At least I could make fun of what a melodramatic twat he was, and I could rack up a goddamn hat-trick if I bashed his head in a third time in a row.
Hello, gods? Yeah, its me, Orren, again. Sorry about not following through on that whole stop cursing so much thing, but I figure after I took out Madoras for you twice youd give me a pass on that one. Anyways, look, I dont ask for much, buuuuuut
Please dont let Framboise destroy the world with her stupidity. I mean, come on, were just getting over Leonard here. Have mercy, please