Part 4: Update -IV- You've been ThunderstruckWhen we last left off, we were on our way to some place called the Nether Nebula in order to recruit more Mirages, and of course by "recruit" I mean forcibly enslave.
Heading left from the Home Gate in Cornelia, the exit is just down the path through this other not-Home Gate.
There's a save crystal at the bottom of the stairs, which... okay, I'll be honest, not really a need to save here. Home Base is literally just up those stairs and there's a save spot there. This one is just unnecessary.
This dude down by the bushes gives us some advice, and also a free antidote. Thanks, man. Not going to complain about free stuff.
This marks the start of Chapter 3. The chapters are still really short as of now, to the point that I can get them done in a single update. Even in terms of raw gameplay time, this entire chapter takes like 20-25 minutes.
We get another tutorial card telling us how to use the map. You should have long since figured out how to do this just by screwing around. It makes me wonder, does anyone who starts an RPG honestly not fiddle with any menus or buttons at all until a tutorial helpfully explains it? I can understand more complex systems, but who doesn't try hitting every button on the controller to see what they do?
Maybe I'm just weird.
Just don't hustle so much that you get yourself lost, okay? I might just leave you there.
Aha ha ha! When's the last time I got--
Don't push it.
Reynn being a bore aside, it certainly is a pretty view here on the plains.
However, as pretty as it looks, there isn't really anywhere to explore in it. Not yet anyway. The path off to the left is one that we can't take right now.
You're a yahoo!
No, no, Reynn, you need to shout for it to work. Ya-hooooo!
Moving on. There's a treasure chest on the path forward. It should be impossible to miss considering you head straight towards it. We get 3 more potions, which pretty much stocks us up for the coming dungeon without having to spend a dime.
Crossing over the rocks on the right and heading into the cave will take us to The Nether Nebula. Let's get to Mirage catching!
"Nether Nebula." Do you think you can do something about that habit of forgetting the name of virtually everything?
Does it honestly matter, Reynn? Is the dungeon going to get upset if Lann doesn't pronounce its name correctly?
We get to take two steps before we're interrupted again. Games, if you have another scene or tutorial lined up within 10 inches of the last one, then just combine it into one.
That's the-right. Gates the-usually turn up in towns or at the start of most Mirage-infested areas. You never have to travel far to the-visit a place you've been! Whenever you want to get from point the-A to point the-B, just use the Gate as a handy little shortcut.
A "shortcut," huh?
So like, if we wanted to go back to Cornelia right this instant, we could just take this Gate back to Nine Wood Hills, then we can take the Gate from there to Cornelia. You see?
Or we could walk. Cornelia is right there. We'd be saving, what, 10 seconds? Same number of load screens and everything.
All in all, it makes for a pretty short shortcut!
Yeah! If it were hair... you'd have to call it... You'd have to call it a "buzzcut"!
Finally. Heading straight ahead will lead us to a Treasure Chest with a handy item inside.
Mirajewels will let us slot in abilities that might be missing from a stack.
Yes... what I just said. Thank you Tutorial Cards. Thank you for separating that card from the other two for no reason.
The Mirajewels option is now open in the Menu. You can see the opening more equip slots will take a combination of leveling and gathering particular items.
For now, I slap the Libra Mirajewel on Reynn so that she can use Libra. Lann can already use it thanks to Tama. This does chip away at Tama's position in the stack, though.
Man, I love a good adventure! C'mon, Sis. Let's follow this rabbit hole as far as it goes.
Yeah, fine. Just behave yourself.
First battle! And we've got some Mirages.
So many of the S Mirages are adorable.
Golems are enemies/creatures that appear throughout the entire series, although they take many different forms (they actually take a bunch of different forms in this game as well). In FFI there were Stone, Clay, Iron, and Mythril varieties. FFII introduced Wood and Gold. FFIV had Steel. Games like FFVI, FFVII, and FFXIII had them appear as robotic entities.
Nothing much to them. One attack will give you a capture opportunity.
We get some gil, a potion, and 80 experience, which is enough to get Sylph and Mu a level.
As for our new friend, he's good for upping physical stats, but his abilities are not diverse enough earn him a spot in the stack. Tama and Chocochick have more varied uses.
This dungeon is incredibly simple, so there's no way to get turned around or lost. Before I can move on to the next screen though, we run into another new Mirage.
Mandragoras are a bit more recent of an addition to the series. They appeared in FFVII and IX as little grass/seedling things. FFX turned it into a big-ass pitcher plant thing that was essentially a mini Malboro (more on those way later in the game), but the enemy in question was part of the Ochu line. Not really sure why they decided to name it 'Mandragora'. The cuter appearance you see here came about in FFXI and it's been (usually) the go-to look for them ever since.
Same as the Mini-Golem, these guys can be caught by just whacking them once. Unlike the Mini-Golems, they can inflict poison on you in battle. They're a bit more threatening in larger group encounters.
This dungeon is way more dungeony than I thought.
Did you know that originally, "dungeon" referred to the biggest tower in a castle? It's what they called the castle "keep."
Ugh, how long has it been since I've heard Reynn go off on one of her educational rants? She must be pretty upset.
That's a stupid personality quirk. Be more interesting Reynn. Also, what crawled up your ass? Lann hasn't been any more stupid than usual in here.
You know where the word "trivia" comes from?
Sis, I think we're good.
Following the path further, we can spy a treasure chest sitting on a ledge above us. No need to go out of our way for it, just run off to the left (the only way you can go) and climb the path.
A battle shortly afterward against 3 Mandragoras bumps our main party up by a level each.
With the resulting SP, Chocochick is now finally able to grab that Cure spell. Now our potions can be saved for more desperate times.
Some abilities, like Cure here, can be used outside of battle from the Abilities menu. It will eat into the Mirage's AP though, so you're going to start the next battle with a reduced amount. In this case, the Reynn and Chocochick stack will start the next battle with 5 AP instead of 8.
There's a treasure chest along the way up the path, but it just contains an item for a Gimme Golem. This Gimme Golem is 10 feet away, making this a waste of time.
Eventually you'll wind up next to this ledge. The treasure chest we saw is just down from it, but we're going to keep going right first.
There's another treasure chest here with 3 potions in it, and you can then proceed to jump down the nearby ledge to wind up on the same platform that the other chest is on.
Just before I can swing back and grab that one, we run into another new Mirage. Okay, well new might be a little overstating it.
I also get a Preemptive Strike here. Preemptive Strikes will start your team near the start of the turn order bar, while the enemies start at the bottom. At the moment it won't really change much in terms of attacks, but later on this could allow you to act first and then out speed the enemies to get in a second turn before they can get their first.
Copper Gnome is just a variation on the Mini-Golem. It does have a new capture condition though. You only get one shot at it per battle. If the prismtunity wears off before you can catch it, then you'll have to track down another one in a different battle.
I'm aiming to capture every Mirage we come across, but if you're playing at home and don't care about Catchin'em All, then I'd still suggest grabbing this guy. We'll need him in a little bit.
Also, the Mirage descriptions continue to be an absolute treasure. God bless you Mirage Description Guy/Gal/Group. We'll be keeping an eye out for you in the credits.
Getting back to the treasure chest, it contains another potion. Every little bit helps.
If you jumped down here first, then you can jump down the next ledge to circle back around for the '3 potion' chest you would have missed. Otherwise, just head back to the right from here to progress.
The Mirages you imprism the-inside these caves should be able to help you out!
Here's why I said to grab the Copper Gnome. These switches will appear occasionally, either needing to be activated for story progress (like this one) or to be optionally activated for loot (as we'll see in a bit).
If you carry a decent variety of Mirages with you then you'll have a better chance of being able to get the right combination without having to backtrack to a Save Point (or use a Seraphone).
The game will let you know once you put in the right combination of Mirages to meet the conditions.
Switchever one of you thinks you're being clever is about to get a knuckle sand-switch.
Guh! Did... did I just get owned?
I'm the-raising the white flag here too...
Just over the newly made bridge, the path splits. To the left is the story path, but straight ahead we can see an optional switch that will lead us to two treasure chests.
This one requires a weight of 5 or more and a 75 in Earth Resistance. Our Copper Gnome can fill one of those requirements, but he doesn't quite have enough Earth Resistance.
Tacking on a Mini-Golem friend will fix that problem though.
Chest 1 has the Earth Hammer we need for that Knight back in Cornelia.
And once again, just a single step away from the next chest (which is two steps away from the current one) I get hit by a random battle. There is a new face in that group though, so I guess it's fine.
However, this one is an annoying little bastard, that's for sure. Floating Eye has an ability called Gaze which can inflict confusion. Reynn gets hit with it and starts acting at random, first by casting Cure on the Copper Gnome (which hadn't been hurt yet, so no big deal), then by casting Cure on Lann (which was actually helpful to me), and finally taking a swing at the Copper Gnome she tried to heal (which is also helpful to me). Overall, not a great result for the Floating Eye this time.
Floating Eye's capture opportunity is triggered by getting rid of all the other enemies on the field so that it's left alone.
Floating Eyes started showing up in FFIII (it was a boss in that game called Ahriman) and is one of the more recognizable designs in the series. There was a kind of variation that appeared in FFI called 'Evil Eye', but it was basically just a cyclops skull looking thing. It didn't have the wings that the others do, but it did share the trademark Gaze ability.
The other treasure chest contained a phoenix down. Handy.
We can also turn in that quest from the Adventure Log. No need to go back and see the Knight in Cornelia.
If you scroll down you can even see what happens when you give him the item. He uses the Earth Hammer to improve his helmet.
I also put our new friend to use. Large Mirages are in short supply at this stage of the game, so I switch Reynn to her Jiant form in order to get a triple stack going. Lann will remain in Lillikin form for now.
Hey Tama, weird question: um, how come all this really useful, well-presented information keeps popping into our heads?
Oh, that? I guess Enna Kros's the-trying to give you some tips!
Dude, really? And here I thought I was some kind of super genius coming up with all the answers on my own.
I hate to the-break it to you, but you will never the-be that person.
I know... It's so sad.
Whoa! Hey now, c'mon. You don't have to look that brokenhearted when you say it...
Coming up on our last stop for this dungeon, there is this weird rock off to the right. The icon means we need a field ability that we don't have yet. Going to have to stick a pin in this and come back later.
Going up the incline, we run into this ominous looking barrier.
This is the-called a "threshold." Mirages the-create them to mark their territory. When you see a threshold, you better watch out, 'cause the Mirages inside are extremely the-powerful. And the worst part: if you cross it and lose a fight the-inside, I can't use my powers to rewind time and extricate you.
It's a boss zone, got it.
No extri-cation? Guess we'd better be "extra" careful, then! Duh ha ha ha!
Ugh... Anyway, it sounds like if we're going in, we'd better go in fully prepared.
That's the-for sure. And don't the-forget to save your progress, too.
Boss zone that won't let you catch the boss, got it. Let's roll, we're already fully prepared.
*The ground starts rumbling*
Ah! Be careful!
Ohhh... I expected some foolhardy adventurer with a terminal case of curiosity.
Ramuh is a summon that shows up in FFIII and makes regular appearances throughout the series, sometimes playing a role in the story itself. He's Lightning/Thunder element and his signature attack is called "Judgement Bolt". He always appears as an old man with a beard and a staff. He's also one of my favourite summons from the series. I love old guy characters in games that get to be awesome.
Ramuh is voiced by William H. Bassett in English and Tamio Oki in Japanese.
Ifrit is also a summon from the main series, and also first shows up in FFIII. He's a Fire element summon that has slowly gone through an appearance change over the years. He had more of a general demon look to him throughout the early games, but FFVIII changed him to look more animal-like. His appearance in this game is based on his FFVIII/FFX look. The latest main entry, FFXV, went back to his more human look (but that's probably not going to stick).
Ifrit is voiced by Matthew Waterson in English, Keiji Fujiwara in Japanese.
Well, looks who's back.
Shiva is also a series regular summon and also shows up in FFIII, same as Ifrit and Ramuh. However, unlike those two, she is rarely (if ever) omitted from a Final Fantasy game. She's an Ice elemental and usually appears as a scantily clad woman (except in FFXII where she was an airship or some crap, and FFXIII where she was... well, you'll see). Her signature attack is Diamond Dust.
Shiva is voiced by Adrienne Wilkinson in English, Takako Honda in Japanese.
Ah! The half-pints. Hail and well met!
Wha-- Hale and Welemt? That's not our names!
I think he just means "hello." Oh, and for the record, he happens to be a half-wit and a half-pint.
Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha ha! You haven't changed a bit!
Huh? What's so funny?
Oh, you're having a "Lann moment." Guess I'll just add this one to the pile.
Wait, what pile? There's a pile?
Apparently, we've met the three of you before. Although, we don't remember it.
You do not remember us?
Reeeally? No wonder they haven't summoned us.
Then our course of action is clear. We must ensure the pecking order is pecking in the right order.
Hold now! Why must you two always let the blood rush to your head?
Wha... what do you mean?
Would you just look at them? These are not the Mirage Keepers we knew.
You're right. They do look rather... How do I put it?
Lann does set the bar low.
Like limbo the-bar low.
Hm? ...Ahh. I see...
Very well. What say we pit them against just one of us... to keep things nice and fair?
Hmm, agreed then. Go on. Choose from among us, and choose wisely.
Choose for what?
Time certainly has not made you any more clever.
What we're trying to say is, the two of you are no match for all three of us at once. Which means...
Right, I get it, thanks. Now let's see...
Thank you, Reynn. Let's get this show on the road, please.
Huh? Wait, get what?
So we're given a choice on who to fight here. Who you take on will determine your prize after the fight. I quickly polled the thread by showing them what we'd get from each battle, and the responses overwhelmingly pointed us towards Ramuh.
Which makes me wish I had multiple save slots for this game, because I chose Ramuh when I went to record footage for the update, but I had to quit without saving in order to give the thread a chance to choose. So now I have to go and refight Ramuh before getting to 'next update' stuff. Oh well.
World of Final Fantasy Music: Boss Theme
The game gives you a chance to rethink your choices in life, but we won't need to. Not when it comes to fighting Ramuh anyway, your other non-game life choices are debatable.
Watch it. For an old guy, he looks pretty tough.
Dude, "tough" doesn't even begin to describe it.
Be the-careful! Remember, we're still the-inside their threshold!
First boss fight, here we go. Ramuh's main strength is the fact that he has a good chunk of HP for this early in the game. 2,500 is going to take a while to burn through. Granted, I didn't stop to grind at all, so that might be a reason behind the minor difficulty spike as well.
Electricity won't do any good against him, but Earth certainly will. It just so happens that Floating Eye has provided Reynn's stack with a new Earth Element attack, so we have the means to take advantage of that weakness.
Lann's team will be chipping away during the fight, as he is only hitting for about 100 damage right now.
Ramuh's standard attack can deal out roughly 75 damage, depending on your stack's resistances/defences. That's easily manageable if you've been hoarding your potions (or have Mirages with Cure).
Reynn has an attack called Channel Element which, due to our Chocochick/Floating Eye stack, turns it into Earth.
Her first hit is a doozy. She's going to be spamming this repeatably during this fight.
The fight cycles through a pattern for the first part, but for some reason Ramuh decides to really start hammering Lann at one point.
Starting with Thunder, Ramuh digs up some kind of grudge from the past and really lets Lann have it. He follows up this Thunder with a basic attack, then lets loose with his signature attack.
Lann's team eats dirt while Reynn manages to hang on. Reynn heals up on her next turn (where I accidentally use a Hi-Potion instead of a regular Potion), then uses a Phoenix Down to bring Lann and Tama back. Tama pops a potion on Lann to heal him up and Lann returns the favour on his turn.
You may have noticed that Lann's stack has fallen apart. That happens when a stack gets knocked out. So if you revive them, you'll need to stack them all up again afterward.
Not pleased with Lann's second wind, Ramuh decides to immediately put him back down.
Reynn gets two more attacks off (Ramuh is relatively easy to outrun) and then just before the fight ends, I have Tama attempt to bring Lann back so he can get in on the EXP.
Ramuh will not be having any of it, and strikes Lann down once again.
So I just say "screw it" and let Reynn and Tama end the battle. Lann will pick up this EXP when I have to go through this scene again.
Ramuh coughs up 300 gil, a Mega Phoenix (revives the team with full health instead of only a little), and 3 Arma Gems. We'll have a look at the gems later.
That was fun, for what it was.
A shame the two of you have so much growing up to do.
Quiet, you! I'm a hulk waiting to happen.
So long. We shall meet again.
Well, our paths may cross before you know it.
Bye-bye for now.
The three summons disappear, but they leave behind a little reward.
Huh? What's this?
A prismarium! Duuuuuuh.
I know it's a prismarium, dummy.
Reynn, you asked "What's this?" Lann answered that question completely appropriately. How about you be a little more specific next time, Miss Smarty-ass. We all know that you would have ragged on Lann if he had asked that, so don't think you get a pass.
You didn't manage to imprism those tough Mirages, but it looks the-like they gave you this prismarium from the same tribe as a consolation prize.
Tama, there was a worrying lack of unnecessary 'the' in that sentence. You doing okay?
I see. I guess we made the grade, then.
This is our reward for beating Ramuh. The thread demanded this little Black Thunder Mage named 'Zapt'. Beating Shiva would have given us the ice element snowman 'Bablizz', and Ifrit would have given us the tiny fire tiger 'Fritt'.
We'll be able to grab those other two later on. In fact, one of the changes in Maxima is that getting the two Mirages you passed up is easier than it was in the base game. I'm not really sure how much easier at the moment though, since I haven't played with the Maxima add-on. Either way, we'll get them later on. For now, Zapt will be the one joining the party.
We also get a tutorial on Transfiguration. Transfigging is closer to Digivolution than Pokemon Evolution, since you can switch the Mirage between forms once it has been unlocked. If you have a Mirage with a lot of useful skills or good stats, then changing them into a different form may let you slip them into a stack where you might not have had room before.
None of our Mirages at the moment are even close to filling out their Mirage Boards though, so this won't be any use for a while.
Also, some skills are unique to certain forms, so there is a bit of a trade-off when changing.
Now for something completely different.
And once again, time resumes its march.
Good stuff. Let's go right back to where we were.
We gotta go all the way back?
You can head to Nine Wood Hills right the-now if you want to!
Now that the boss has been the-bested, I can make you an Exit Gate right the-here and now!
It'll take you the-back to Nine Wood Hills, and from there Cornelia's easy.
Thanks to the buzzcut! I remember.
You don't get shortcuts much the-shorter than a buzzcut! Wait! Unless you buzz the buzzcut, and then the-what've you got!?
Uh, I think at that point, you call it a "bald-cut."
And with that, we get the prompt to save. That's where we call it quits for Chapter 3.
Update 4 Highlights Video