Part 3: Update -III- All aboard the nostalgia train!
Okay, we've been through (the bulk of) the tutorials. We've been set free of Enna Kros and met our support team. It's about time we actually start exploring Grymoire.
At the end of the last update, our exit from the Wellspring Woods was interrupted by a late intro video. We pick up just outside the woods overlooking a beautiful landscape. We can also see our next destination way off in the distance.
Final Fantasy I fans may feel a little bit of a tingle here.
This is going to be a long hike. Let's take the easy way, instead.
So, uh... you think we're supposed to get on?
Abso-the-lutely! All the-aboard!
Oh, right. I took a listen to the Japanese audio for a little bit to see if Japanese Tama shares the annoying verbal tic. Japanese Tama likes to use 'Desu' a lot, so the 'the-[blank]' thing is just the English localization of the speech pattern. So it looks like you'll have to pick your own poison when it comes to suffering through Tama's dialogue.
-Cactuar Express - Jiant Car-
Oh. Hey Sis, let's park it here.
Uh... Can we help you guys? What are you even doing in the Jiant car?
*The White and Black mages look at each other briefly before trotting off again*
They're so tiny.
[???]: Whoa, pluck my needles! I don't know how long it's been since we've had new passengers.
I love this guy so very much.
Cactuar Conductor is voiced by Andrew Morris in English, Shigeru Chiba in Japanese.
Cactuars are reoccurring enemies in the Final Fantasy series and made their first appearance in Final Fantasy VI. They are bonus enemies that can drop lots of EXP, Gil, or whatever flavor of "Upgrade Points" a particular game uses (like AP). However, killing them and obtaining those rewards is a bit of a challenge. Cactuars have low HP, high defense, and are notoriously difficult to hit. They also have a signature attack called "1000 Needles" which deals a set 1000 damage regardless of your defense. There are variations on this attack as well, such as "10,000 Needles", which will just outright end you most of the time.
They also have a very limited frame animation to their movement which I think looks really cool. Check out the highlight video at the end to take a look, since it doesn't come across in screenshots.
What? It talks?!
Oh, I indeedily needily am a Mirage, but I'm also the train conductor, sooo... tickets, please!
It should be noted that the voiced lines are sometimes cut off right at the end for some reason. If you watch this scene in the highlights video, or checked out Chocolatte's introduction in the last update, you should be able to catch it. It's a weird issue that seems to crop up fairly regularly. I'll need to have a listen to the Japanese audio to see if the problem is present there as well.
The conductor? Well, all right... If Tama can talk, then why not?
But, the train tickets that we need--
Are right the-here!
Right, then. Pleasant journey!
*Cactuar Conductor trots off on his merry way. We'll see him again in the future, thankfully*
Where did those tickets come from?
Enna Kros made sure I was provided with everything we could ever the-need. Yup-the-yup!
Uh, okay then...
Right, everything we could ever need, except money, curatives, items, a map...
We obtain a semi-lifetime pass! Odd choice of words, but whatever.
Seems like everyone around here stacks things on their head, including... live fish?
Music: Town Theme (FFI)
Our first town, Cornelia! A very fitting place to begin our journey proper, as Cornelia is the original Final Fantasy town. It's where the Warriors of Light start their journey in the original Final Fantasy.
This is what I meant about fans getting a tingle. Newer fans may have also seen this shot in the Dissidia games.
Yeah, it's like something right out of a fantasy.
Hey, Tama. Why don't you hitch a ride?
*Tama hops up on Lann's head*
Oh, us? We're, uh...
*Before Reynn can fumble her way around that question, the ground shakes*
[Frightened Man]: Ah! Mirages from the Bahamutian Army!
Baha-moo? What's... a Bahamoo?
[Passerby]: Well, the Bahamutian Federation has a whole army of Mirages in their employ.
Huh? Someone's made a whole army out of them?
Sounds just fine by me. Line 'em up nice and neat for us, so we can round 'em up!
And then Lann darts off to attack the Mirages and get us into a battle.
These guys seem a little different somehow though...
All right you Baha-moos, what's your beef? Huh?!
Both of you shut your mouths.
Okay, so we've got two Goblins and a Goblin Guard. However, this is still Tutorial Town, so it's not actually a challenge.
The Goblin Guard should only take a few hits to take out. Reynn and Chocochick dealt out 88 damage with a basic physical attack.
Their attacks only manage about 14-30 damage, which is nothing to our 240+ HP.
The Goblins will resist Foxfire, but it still deals out around 60 damage. Just attack with whatever you want. Once they're all dealt with, Lann will automatically attempt to Imprism one.
Which doesn't seem to take this time. The battle will end after this.
Didn't you see the light the-surrounding it? That means it's the-beholden to another keeper.
Be-what? B.O.? They smell?
UGH! No! What I mean is, the Mirage already has another the-master. So until you give their boss the old heave-the-ho, you won't the-be able to claim it for yourself.
So we can't go around catching Mirages that belong to other
Ugh! Fire whoever wrote that little hook in.
Lann! Ix-nay on the fourth wall stuff!
Yes Lann, stay away from the fourth wall. This is not that kind of game, so don't just randomly throw shit like that out there.
[Astonished Man]: Jiants...
[Grateful Woman]: But they drove the Mirages off for us.
[Amazed Woman]: It's just like the prophecy, word for word!
[Confused Man]: But... which one?
[Fretful Woman]: Well, we know how it ends...
Good work, Lann. Oh well, the townsfolk seem a little wary but not outright hostile. Let's go see what that totally unimportant 'Passerby' wants.
Oh, well... I wouldn't... I mean...
Actually, I think you're pretty much spot-on. And we're Mirage Keepers, too!
But--Lann, don't tell her!
Why not? Face it, we're too awesome to try and hide it. I'm like... exuding all over.
Lann, you don't even know what "exude" means.
And with that, pink-haired Passerby takes her leave and heads up the stairs.
Well, you've the-got the direction correct, even if the rest of that was completely off the-base.
(That woman must be important if she's inviting us to the castle...)
Our destination is the castle, so of course I immediately run the opposite direction in order to look around. There's nothing to see or collect, though. Well, there's a single treasure chest on a nearby rooftop, but I'll point that out once we have a reason to go back to the plaza area.
At the top of the stairs, we find a shiny spot on the ground that gives us Old Journalist Notes 1. This is a series of collectibles that was added with the Maxima update and need to be picked up for some of the additional content. One more thing to keep an eye out for, although at least they are shiny. It could be worse, we could be running around clicking on every single part of the scenery in order to find 50 pieces of Stardust, like in Legend of Dragoon. I love that game, but damn was that frustrating in the days before the internet was commonplace.
Anyway, on to the castle. Approaching will cause Lann and Reynn to automatically switch to Jiant form.
Leave them alone, please.
Music: Cornelia Castle (FFI)
OH MY GOOO--nah, this isn't a surprise.
Princess Sarah is voiced by Brooke Lyons in English, Harumi Ichiryusai in Japanese.
Princess Sarah is from the first Final Fantasy, where she is the Princess of Cornelia, just like she is in this game. In Final Fantasy I, she gets kidnapped by Garland and the Warriors of Light go off to rescue her as part of the opening of the game. Her appearance here is based on her later design, which is basically established at this point. In the original NES version, she had blonde hair and a purple dress. The FFI remakes gave her light green hair and a white dress. Then they changed her again to what you see now and seem to have settled on it as her official look.
Wait, you're like, a princess?
We had no idea! Oh my gosh. I am so sorry Lann acted like such a royal idiot.
I'm not royal!
And here we see the kind of average intelligence that Lann will possess for most of the game. Square, this routine isn't funny. I can't recall it ever being funny. Do little kids even find this funny?
Oh, and I'm his older sister, Reynn. It's an honor.
Please forgive the ruse. At first, I suspected that you might be agents sent here by Bahamut. I was wrong. You stood up bravely against their Mirages, and kept our town safe. All of Cornelia thanks you.
*blushing* Oh, I wouldn't say we were that brave. Really.
Stop, you're so modest. Still, the fact of the matter is, we didn't do anything all that outstanding.
Yeah, we're more the "instanding" types.
Hwah? I'm pretty the-sure that "instanding" isn't an actual the-word.
Both of you shut up!
Tee hee... Ha ha ha! Oh! Forgive me. It's just so hard to believe that you two are the stuff of prophecies.
Prophecies? Oh, that's right... I think I heard the townsfolk going on about some kind of prophecy too.
Oh, I am sorry. If you will permit me, I will explain it from the beginning.
Yes. Let me explain that as well. The majority of Grymoire's countries and municipalities have annexed themselves to the Bahamutian Federation, under the rule of Brandelis, the Herald King.
The Federation has made attempts to erode this stance countless times. But we have held our ground, and now Bahamut has taken to armed provocation.
You mean like, that Mirage attack before?
So where does this "prophecy" factor in?
The Azure Prophecy speaks of a divergence.
Upon Grymoire, they will wreak two divergent futures: one that brings salvation; and the other, ruin-- an enigma to confound even the highest mind.
The Jiants may... wreak two futures?
Wh-wh-what are you the-talking about? There's nothing the-wrong with the way I smell! You big the-dummy!
Well, at least I'm dumber than you!
I'm sorry, Your Highness. I'm afraid there's just no hope for them.
(So, "the Jiants from the Hills"... As in Nine Wood Hills?)
*Lann and Tama take swings at each other in the background during Reynn's little internal monologue*
(I guess it's one of those "believe-what-you-want-to" things, but yeah, so far, it does seem to match up.)
Um, do you mind if I ask you a slightly awkward question? If this federation is really so terrible, why have so many countries agreed to become members?
Most of the Mirages in Grymoire-- not all, but certainly most of them-- are now firmly under the Federation's control. With such a powerful army behind them, citizens can go about their lives without fearing the Mirages that still roam free.
Dude, they control that many Mirages? Seriously?!
King Brandelis's Herald lieutenants, known as Segwarides and Pellinore, command all of Grymore's Mirages with the same authority as the famous Queen of the Keepers of ages past.
So there was a Queen of the Keepers? Sounds like she was pretty powerful.
Yes, but that was more than a century ago.
So.... sorry for the string of dumb questions, but, if the Federation can guarantee that kind of absolute protection, wouldn't it be worthwhile to take them up on their offer?
Reynn, the fact that the Federation resorts to armed invasion when someone says "no" means that there has to be a damn good reason not to cozy up to them. Obviously there are a bunch of strings attached.
It may seem wise... But you see, membership in the Federation involves following their laws, and adoption... of a heinous creed. It chills me, right to the marrow of my bones.
All right, then.
Now then. May I ask what the two of you intend to do next?
Well, whatever's going on out there, the only thing we can do right now is just keep rounding up more Mirages, am I right?
Apparently, at one time we commanded a whole legion of them. But somehow, we lost them, along with our memories. So, we're hoping by getting the Mirages back, we might stumble on some clues about our past.
That's right. So if Mirages like those goblins are bugging you, we can lay down the smack.
Lay down... the what?
Uh, I think what he's trying to say is we'll help you out. Or at least, in the best way we know how.
Oh, wonderful! You have my thanks. Mine and all Cornelia's.
Still, if we're going to be any help, don't you think we need to beef up our arsenal first? 'Cause we can't put up much of a fight without some strong Mirages.
Good point. Princess, do you know of any nearby places where strong Mirages live?
a network of caverns inhabited by many wild Mirages.
*Lann turns around and just starts walking away*
Not at all. Savage Mirages have been sighted in the Nebula. You may well end up dead.
*But that little part at the end causes him to stop in his tracks*
If you insist upon going, then please take the utmost caution.
He will, Your Highness. Otherwise he's gonna be extremely sorry.
Wait a minute. Why just me? What'd I do?!
You know, death shouldn't really be bothering you guys all too much anymore. Outside of specific circumstances, Tama will just rewind time and dump you guys back in Nine Wood Hills. You are both completely aware of this fact.
Anyway, we get a chance to save after this scene is finished. We'll be able to save again very shortly, but it's nice to develop a habit of saving whenever the opportunity arises.
Oh, it's not that the-strange to the people of Grymoire. Hey, while we're here, why don't we ask around town and the-see what we can find out?
Screw that. Let's just go to the guy that obviously has something of actual importance to say.
[Knight]: You see, there's a situation I'm dealing with where I could really use your assistance, since you must know Mirages so well. Could I trouble you to please bring me an earth hammer? If you could, I would be forever in your debt!
Here's our first quest, or as they are called here, "Miniventures." In this case, we've started "Best Helm in the Realm." Some of these are just simple fetch quests, but other Miniventures involve more important characters and could result in special scenes.
Either way, we'll keep an eye out for this guy's Earth Hammer as we travel around.
Have Reynn or Lann (whomever you are running around as) turn to Jiant form and they'll be tall enough to open this chest. It contains "Occult Fan, Issue 1." This is a series of collectibles that was in the base game. It gives hints about hidden stuff and how to navigate certain areas of the game.
Spooky. Ignoring that, the Biggs and Wedge referenced in that story are two reoccurring gag characters in the Final Fantasy series. They first appeared in the iconic opening of Final Fantasy VI (although FFIV: The After Years claimed they were in FFIV as two rando soldiers). These two guys appear as a pair and have varying roles. Their names are a reference to Star Wars, namely Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles.
The "Occult Fan" we picked up has roots in Final Fantasy as well. It's a magazine series in FFVIII that can be collected and will point towards a sidequest. They also have spooky stories that can be read, just like their appearance in this game.
And yes, for those who are wondering, the notes we picked up at the top of the stairs have a story attached as well. That one tips off the identity of a DLC character though, so I'll come back to those later.
Moving on, leaving the plaza to the right will take us further down. If you're curious, the NPC's wandering around all talk about how they don't like the Federation, and some of them mention that they left their own country and came to Cornelia when their country joined up with the Federation.
A few steps further than the previous screenshot, a small scene will trigger where Lann and Reynn will spot something and run up to this gate.
*Tama then hops right on through and Lann quickly follows*
And they're right back in Nine Wood Hills! That probably shouldn't be all that confusing considering the gate looks identical to the one they entered the world from.
Hm? We're back in Nine Wood Hills?
You see, the Gate here doesn't connect to just one the-area. All throughout Grymoire you'll find places-- safe the-locations that lead back here. Open the way to come and the-go as you please!
And how exactly do we do that?
You already the-saw. Just walk up to the right place, and that's all it the-takes.
But surely a means of transportation that handy must come with a catch?
No the-catch! You can use the Gate as the-little or much as you like.
So whatever crisis is going the-down, you can put it on hold and kick back here till you're ready.
Wow! It's like magic!
Yeah... Really irresponsible magic.
Uhh... excuse me? What about that is irresponsible, Reynn? Tama just said that there's no drawback to it. The hell are you on right now?
Just imagine. Revisiting any place we've been!
Are you the-kidding? That name definitely the-gets an F.
He deserves an H.
An H?! But grades only go down to F!
You really should have cut that gag two sentences short, World of Final Fantasy.
Oh well, pushing a gag too hard is just something World of Final Fantasy does. Best to just suffer through it and move on. Speaking of, time to get right back to--
Wh-what do you the-want here, Serafie?
In case you're wondering, you can use the Prism Case anywhere you find one of these Gates.
Oh, I think I the-get it now. Gates are the-what you meant when you talked about a "strong connection."
Heh? Oh, right, right. That's the gist of it.
Pretty simple. Gates will be scattered around in important places and let us travel to Nine Wood Hills, we can then travel to any other gate we've been to. So we can quickly get back to Cornelia later in the game, if we need to anyway. Exit Gates in dungeons are appreciated as well. No need to go backtracking through them.
I mentioned the Adventure Log before, but at the time we didn't have any quests to take a look at the Miniventures section. Being able to collect quest rewards from there is a welcome feature. Good on you World of Final Fantasy.
Well, we're in the neighbourhood now, so I guess we should take a look around. See if anything new has happened.
Heading towards the bottom of the screen in Plaza 99 is how you return to the Twin's Room that Lann woke up in at the start of the game. You'll pass Serafie along the way, although now that we can access the Prism Case from essentially anywhere, there won't be as much of a reason to visit her in person in Plaza 99.
Oh, and Tama is talking about the "Stroll" ability here. Sorry Tama, but we're sticking with the far more adorable Chocochick as our traveling buddy.
The Twin's Room is where you can access the extra stuff you've unlocked.
If you run over to the right, you'll find this... Playstation, I think? Kind of looks like the PS1 from this angle.
Anyway, examining the non-descript game console presents you with these options.
Who's Who will let you look at the profiles of characters you've run into. I won't be showing these off, because I'm pretty sure that they sometimes spoil things about the story. However...
"Mentally incontinent, but morally regular." Good stuff.
You can also mess with the character models, which sometimes leads to amusing results such as Princess Sarah here looking like she just came back from a trip to Canada.
Good old blink animations. Always a treasure.
The Mirage Manual should be self-explanatory.
Minigames will let you replay any of the Minigames you run into over the course of the story. We haven't gotten any yet, though.
There are a couple of shout-outs here in the room as well. There's a stylin' Moogle on the shelf sporting some shades. There's a Chocobo and Cactuar above the bed. On the bed itself is a stuffed toy resembling Cait Sith from Final Fantasy VII.
Leaving the Twin's Room causes this scene to trigger automatically.
Yeah. I know a lazy slacker when I see one.
Oh, just some news you may find of interest.
All throughout Nine Wood Hills, I have staked out some windways!
Are you ready for World of Final Fantasy to run another gag straight into the ground? Too bad, we're watching it happen anyway.
Steak! Now that you mention it, I'm starving! Have you got anything else tasty on the menu?
Oh, sure. Here you are. Might I recommend today's special, the sahagin soup...
*Both Lann and Serafie look off to the side as though there's an actual menu*
Huh? You want eggs?
Oh! Fried? Sunny-side up?!
Hmmm... All we've got is scrambled.
Just tell us about the windways!
Oh, those? They're basically just shortcuts. The kids call it "fast-travel." You get to zip around every which way using one of those GUI doohickeys. Yup.
Serafie pronounces GUI as "gooey". Why is that relevant? Like you even have to ask.
Uh, I don't think you're allowed to go there.
So what if the food's a little gooey! I'll still eat it!
We are not talking about food!
Ohhh, wait, I get it! All that business about steak-- that was a pun! Nice one, Lann.
Oh. Thank you!
Don't tell me you thought he was serious!
Heh heh, heh heh heh!
*Serafie and Lann starting working up a laugh*
I've realized something just the-now. We can never the-leave Lann and Serafie alone together.
Nothing good could come of it...
That entire scene contained three sentences of useful information. This tutorial card sums it up in two.
So, yeah. We can fast-travel throughout Nine Wood Hills now. We can save ourselves a whole 10 seconds of walking. There is one mystery location we haven't been to yet, though. Wonder what's up with that?
We'll end the update with an official explanation of Save Points. World of Final Fantasy uses the good form of Save Points, namely the type that restores HP/
The should be the end of all the basic tutorials. In the next update, we'll strike out for that Nether Nebula place and finally get around to building ourselves a proper party.
Update 3 Highlights