Part 18: Update -XV- TremorsUpdate 15 Highlights - World of Final Fantasy
Welcome to Chapter 13. We will not be here very long. Somehow the chapters are getting shorter rather than longer.
This whole "adventuring" thing is hard.
Well, the word "adventure"-- it used to literally mean "bad stuff happening to you."
When did it mean that? It did at one point mean something along the lines of "risk" or "dangerous thing", but that meaning is closer to "taking your chances". Basically, bad stuff could happen or good stuff could happen, you were taking a shot in the dark. That's not exactly the same as "bad stuff happens to you". Adventure is Old English, derived from French, derived from Latin, which was something like "to arrive".
I know I'm doing the semantics stuff that I just called out WoFF for in the last update, shut up.
Thanks for the uplifting bit of trivia.
Wait! I the-hear some activity over thata-the-way. I think we're not far from a place to the-rest! Let's go take the-five over there!
There's a little Caravan in the distance and what looks like a town beyond that. Let's hit up the Caravan first.
Also, this guy is hanging out just outside the Caravan. He has some quests for us, but he gives them in the weirdest way possible.
[Merchant]: I need some of these thing-a-lings so I can make some nice accessories! What do you say-da-lay? Want to help-ity-delp me out? There'll be a reward-a-dard involved!
He wants 3 dragon wings to start with. I don't have enough right now, but they can easily be bought from Chocolatte. Nonetheless, I accept the quest to make him shut up.
[Merchant]: Yahooody-hoody-hoo! I'm so giddy-glad I asked you for help! We merchants are too busy-tizzy to do everything. Good luckedy-duckedy with the search-ity search.
We then enter the Caravan. There's very little here other than an access point to Nine Wood Hills. This really is just a rest stop.
Excuse me. Would you mind if we rested here a bit?
[Caravan Member]: Huh? But just look at you two... You'll get baked alive out here dressed like that. Wait right there! Here. Some sunscreen. Help yourself.
Oh, you don't mind?
[Caravan Member]: Please! Go crazy!
You guys do realize that you can go chill out in Nine Wood Hills, right? There's a gate right over there. Time basically stands still here while you rest. I really think you guys are vastly under-utilizing that asset.
Thank you so much!
You feel like maybe not staring at us, champ?
Now I'm all lathered up, I can smell 'em.
Mirages! Over there!
Over the-where? To the north?
There isn't much to this area. The treasure chest next to the gate contains Occult Fan Issue 3, which will be beneficial to us shortly (barely that is).
This Occult Fan doesn't give us a hint to a secret area, it just hints at how to get through the next story area.
Other than that, the guy standing next to the treasure chest will talk about the Berserk status and give us a tranquilizer.
Also, the malt shop is out of stock. This place sucks. Let's get out of here.
During a brief stop in Nine Wood Hills, I bought the items from Chocolatte to fulfill this dude's quest. He then has another one for us right away.
[Merchant]: Can you spare some time-ity-time to help a merchant out?
Tell me what you want and shut up, I beg you.
Healing Springs are something we haven't come across yet, so this gets a pin stuck in it for now.
After that, we run to the right and across the desert sands. Maybe the nearby town will be more interesting and contain less annoying quest givers.
What? Why not?
It's another Federation town. We'd better steer clear.
We don't want to run the-into those creeps.
Why not? We stopped in Agarthir or whatever the hell that creepy town was. They didn't harass us while we were there, they were just creepy.
This place is the worst.
There is a sandstorm raging on the left path, so our only choice is to swing right and go through that canyon looking place.
The person standing outside just tells us to always go in prepared. Don't worry broski, I got that covered now. Picked up some Seraphones and everything.
Update 15 Highlights - Crocodile Lanndee
Note: Lann says his line in a Steve Irwin/Australian manner.
Uh... a docu-what?
The lady near the exit gate tells us to follow the light if we ever get lost, which is the same thing the Occult Fan Issue told us. Even without either of these hints, you should be able to figure out this dungeon almost immediately.
Moving forward a little more, there is a treasure chest on the right behind a cliff that contains 3 gysahl greens. Gyshal Greens are Chocobo treats. They have different effects in different games when given to a Chocobo.
A Bahamutian the-soldier!
But why here?!
So the Bahamutians are operating in this area. They aren't summoning any new Mirages, though. M.C.Hammer makes quick work of them.
So we've got three paths in this first area. Take the middle one first. There will be a treasure chest along the way with 2 eye drops in it.
While heading for the middle path, I run into the missing Mirage from the previous area. Good, I can get this one out of the way without having to pull our Mu out of storage and level it to the point it can transfig.
This version is called Nut Eater. We have to use "magical enhancements" on it to create a capture chance. I get Reynn's stack to cast Protect on it.
It also has brass knuckles on its tail apparently. Pretty badass.
Anyway, the middle path will lead to a dead end with a chest. The chest has a Raise seed, so we can teach that to a Mirage if we want. To be honest, this isn't super helpful. Phoenix Downs are very easy to get, and even the full-heal Mega-Phoenix items are usually dropped by bosses (I actually sold some of them to Chocolatte for cash since I had more than I needed).
After that, turn around and head back to area 1. Then swing over to the ramp and head to the upper level where the left and right paths are.
Taking either path will lead to the second area (Toil 2 as the game calls it). There's a path in the middle that let's you go to the opposite side.
In Toil 2, taking the right path will--
--lead us back to the start of Toil 2. Have you figured it out yet? If not, then have some incredibly obvious hints (beyond the incredibly obvious hints given to us previously).
Exactly. We need to take the path that has the sun visible. Also the path with the Cactuar rock formation. Or you could just mess up and then take the other path because there's a 50/50 chance of taking the right one anyway.
I dislike this area. Let's just plow through here and move on.
First, new Mirage time. We need to knock down the stack, first.
Sandicore is the baby version of the murkrift Mirage back in Valley Seven. Leaving it as the only one standing will create a capture chance, but only once per battle.
That thing about sometimes neutralizing physical attacks is true by the way. Sandicores will sometimes just no-sell physical attacks, which makes them pretty nice to have in a stack.
In other the-words, this isn't going to end the-well...
Moving into Toil 3 a little ways will trigger some kind of weird noise and a comment by the twins.
After that, take the ramp down to the middle portion to find a chest with a Lure mirajewel in it. Lure increases the likelihood of getting into random battles. Could be handy for trying to get missing Mirages.
Such as these Cactuars. We already have one of our own, but we also took on a quest from a dude in creepy town to beat a few of them. M.C.Hammer steps on this one and one-shots it, thereby asserting his superiority.
We take the right path to progress.
Huh? The sky's gone all orangey.
It's getting late. We're taking too long.
We'd better get the-clear of here before the sun goes down.
Finally, we can also find regular Chocobos here. The giant flightless chicken mascots of Final Fantasy, they've been appearing since FFII and are typically a mode of transportation (similar to a horse). Their original concept design wasn't as cute as what we see here, though. It was--
...frankly kind of horrifying.
Chocobos come in a variety of types and colors. Sometimes the different colored Chocobos have unique abilities (such as the infamous Golden Chocobo from VII that is the only thing which can cross the ocean and make landfall on Round Island to acquire the also somewhat infamous Knights of the Round summon).
Outside of that, Chocobos also have a series of side games revolving around them such as Chocobo Racing and Chocobo's Dungeon.
Even though we already have a Chocobo that was transfigged from Chocochick, I captured this one to ensure that I posted the Mirage description. You need to use the gysahl green item on them to create a capture chance.
Toil 4 requires us to take the left side path to get out of here. We'll loop back for that treasure down there to the right in a little bit.
We quickly hit the end of this dungeon/area. There's a chest directly ahead, and a save point down the path towards the exit. Going south from the save point will take us back to that chest in the previous area, which contains a phoenix pinion.
Save at the save point, but make sure you've done what you need to in Nine Wood Hills, even if it means hiking back here. We're going to very temporarily lose access to it in the next chapter.
Update 15 Highlights - Tremors XIII
More than you can possibly the-imagine.
Aaah! I said don't tell me about it!
We're thrown into battle with three Sand Worms. There is a barrier up, so we can't imprism them, which means kicking ass is the only option. Thankfully, these things are not exactly powerhouses.
M.C.Hammer continues to prove why he is best boy, shaving off half of their health in one shot.
The Sand Worms have 4400 HP each and are weak to Wind, Ice, and especially weak to Water. Obviously, they heavily resist Earth. They have good ailment resistances, with Doom and Confusion being their only weak links in coverage.
Their special move is Constrict, which hits for about 400 or so. It may have a toppling effect as well, although I'm not positive at this stage.
One last thing to note about these three is that they are VERY slow. Both Lann and Reynn's stacks easily outpace them to the point that Lann gets in about two attacks for every one turn the Sand Worms get.
Overall, nothing to be concerned about. If you are having trouble, then try getting some Mirages with Water attacks (or just buy the items that do the same from Chocolatte).
We get 33,000 EXP as well as much needed Arma Gems.
Update 15 Highlights - Lightning Intro
Excuse me? We steamrolled those Graboids.
Oh, riiiight. There were four of those, weren't there? Oh well, shouldn't be any trouble. Three of them at once wasn't an issue, so what's--
Final Fantasy XIII Music: Blinded by Light
Oh, Christ. Never mind.
(I won't make it...!)
What just-- Whatever, I'll take it!
JUST USE YOUR MIRAGES! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO?!
Lightning is voiced by Ali Hillis in English, Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Motomu Toriyama requests that you now proceed to place your offerings at the feet of the Cult Statue of Lightning located in his office. You may kiss her feet if you wish.
Settle in for a bit, because this section might compose a third of this update, which is sad (these chapters are getting close to being like 10 minutes long).
Lightning is also from FFXIII. She's a disenfranchised soldier who doesn't like people being bused out of Cocoon, so she volunteers to be "purged" along with them, only to attack the soldiers on the train and free everyone. She eventually winds up finding her younger sister Serah (mentioned in Snow's intro from the last chapter) who promptly tells her to save Cocoon and then turns to crystal because she did what god told her and that's the "reward" (XIII gods are assholes).
Lightning and friends proceed to kill the fal'Cie (immortal beings that control the land and-- they're gods, okay? Let's just keep it simple), but then gets turned into a l'Cie (which I already explained in Snow's intro). Lightning later just presumes Serah is dead and splits off from the others after they all disagree on what the hell they're supposed to do about their "focus" (god's errand bullshit).
Lightning then goes on a vengeance journey against everyone and everything that she thinks is to blame for what happened to her and Serah. She also starts acting as a mentor to a kid named Hope, because hey, when you fail at protecting one person for a single moment then you may as well cut your losses and start fresh with someone else.
In the end, Lightning and company kill a different god, which awakens another god, which wants to be killed because immortality sucks. After said god dies and Cocoon is still saved from being destroyed despite that, Lightning turns to crystal and then immediately gets restored, reunites with Serah, and then everyone is happy and goes off to plan Snow and Serah's wedding.
This being post FFX-2 Square, things aren't allowed to stop there. In XIII-2, Lightning falls into a cosmic time machine and is chosen by the goddess Etro to be her champion. She also gets the power to see through time or something, as well as send dream text messages to her friends (as mentioned with Snow). Lightning's job is to fight off a guy named Caius who wants to kill Etro and destroy time so that the goddess he serves can be free. Lightning also finds the other protagonist of XIII-2 falling out of a goddess gate and sends him off to find Serah and bring her to where Lightning is.
The rest of XIII-2 happens, and the game ends with Caius' plan succeeding anyway, so Lightning goes into deep sleep for a few centuries as a way to atone for her believed sins like she's Vincent Valentine.
In Lightning Returns/XIII-3, Lightning gets woken up by another god who chooses her to be the savior of humanity. She's supposed to run around and save people's souls so that they can all go to the new world (basically Earth) that the god is going to replace the current fucked up world with. She only has seven days (or thirteen, god's schedule is flexible) to do this before the end of the world.
Lightning goes along with it because she wants to save Serah's soul and also because she's still on this whole "sin atonement" kick.
In the end, Lightning turns against god because she doesn't like the way he plans to remake everything, she kills him, and humanity is freed from the control of the gods. They also get to go to the new world and everything is peachy keen.
In a bit of extended material, a reporter tracks down Lightning and friends for a series of interviews because people have been having weird memories of a different world. At the end of the novella, the reporter gets a chance to talk with Lightning on a train where she discovers that Lightning really was the person that saved all of humanity's souls and gave them this new world.
This leads to the secret ending of LR, where Lightning gets off of the train in a modern looking world (again, one that looks like OUR world). She proceeds to look right into the camera while saying that she knows they will be together (more on that below).
With that out of the way, there is something that needs to be discussed about Lightning. I said that I would avoid taking shots at fans of particular FF titles and characters and such in the LP itself. This is not taking a shot at Lightning, this is a log of one man's insane love for Lightning and the accompanying ramming of her down the world's throat.
Namely this man right here. Motomu Toriyama has been a member of Square since 1994. Originally he was hired on as an event planner for FFVII and did a lot of the scenes involving Cloud and Aerith. He got his shot at directing a FF title with X, being in charge of the events. He must have impressed someone, because he got his shot at being full Director for the first true mainline FF sequel, X-2. He went on to direct other titles, but the most notable (and relevant to this rant) one was the XIII trilogy.
The man also fucking loves Lightning.
In developing XIII, Square tasked Nomura with coming up with a concept for the heroine. He put together the design on the left, and it was love at first sight for Toriyama. He basically said she was perfect in every way and they didn't need any other concepts or a redo.
Of course, character design doesn't typically work that way, which is how Lightning ended up changing very slightly to the design you see on the right. Still, the overall design was essentially the same, because Toriyama had discovered his waifu, and that waifu's name was Lightning.
Like Milla Jovovich and her director husband Paul Anderson, Toriyama kept jacking up Lightning's pedestal as time went on. In XIII she's the hero, in XIII-2 she is picked by a goddess to be her champion warrior and goes toe to toe with a guy that has an untold number of years of combat experience over her, and finally in LR she just becomes straight-up Jesus. At the end of LR, she's basically deified as a god herself. She's the woman that saved all of humanity (alive and dead) and delivered them to a better world.
And it doesn't stop there. On top of getting various costumes (including ones of previous FF heroes), Lightning is basically the de-facto protagonist of Dissida 012 (the prequel to Dissidia) and takes center stage on the game's cover art. This despite the fact that Kain Highwind from FFIV is arguably more instrumental to the overarching plot.
She also starred in a special crossover event in FFXIV (which Toriyama was brought on to write). In addition, her costume can be unlocked for Aya in The 3rd Birthday, which Toriyama was a writer for (don't go seeking out 3rd Birthday by the way. Read the LP on the archive instead if you absolutely must subject yourself to it).
Further evidence can be found in how Lightning is depicted in the games, such as the fact that her Eidolon is perennial series badass Odin (that she tames and rides like a horse) and she dual wields his signature weapon, the Zantetsuken (which is typically the weapon Odin uses in his special instant-death attack).
But that's not all! Toriyama's raging hard-on has only been going for three hours. He's got another hour to go before it turns into a weird medical concern.
So Lightning gets an advertisement deal to model a men's clothing line by Prada (along with the dudes of XIII).
She later starts hocking Louis Vuitton's summer collection of dresses and handbags in magazine and billboard ads.
And she also tried to market Nissan crossovers to the Chinese.
Now obviously Square corporate was responsible for the brand deals, but I'd imagine Toriyama has framed pictures of all of those adverts hanging in his house. No doubt causing his wife to roll her eyes so hard they look like the spin cycle on the washing machine.
The fact is, the man loves Lightning. He's described her as his favourite character and it very clearly shows. If you have seen the epilogue of LR, the final thing Lightning says even feels like it's Toriyama getting some wish fulfillment by having his waifu look at the camera and say that she'll totally be with him someday.
Anyway, that's the end of that little bit of history. This info dump is something of a prelude of what's to come. You've gotten a glimpse of what happens when someone gets way too attached to what they do. This will not be the final time we witness it.
Save it for later. The longer we all stay out here, the shorter we'll live.
Oh, cool. More Arma Gems. I need those.
The-run like the wind!
With that, we escape to the previous area and hang out with a caravan for the night. There's nowhere to go and nobody to really talk with other than Lightning, so let's just keep it going and nag Lightning.
Oh! So then you've heard of us.
Why are you so happy about that? Trust me, we do not want fame.
The keys from the prophecy? Interesting... That explains some things.
So you've heard of them? I don't suppose you can tell us more?
...There are four: earth, fire, water, and shadow, if I remember correctly.
You wouldn't also happen to know where the keys are hidden?
Is something wrong?
Oh... Sorry. I've never heard exactly where the keys might be hidden. But listen--
[Hospitable Woman]: I might know something about that.
[Hospitable Woman]: They Key of Earth... lies in the "cradle of mako's light." The Key of Tides... that one lies in the "temple in the deep." The Key of Shadows... lies in the "land of naught but night."
Right, so the exact places you would expect to find items of earth, water, and shadow.
Ohhh! That sounds nice and specific.
Wait. Is that from the Crimson Prophecy's missing verse?
[Hospitable Woman]: Yes. You know much, traveler.
Time out. What is this "missing verse"?
However, to be able to read that--
[Hospitable Woman]: Oh, I haven't read it myself. I heard it from someone who has.
And Bahamut's castle? You, uh... probably don't know that much.
How would she know where that is?
It's worth a shot, Reynn. She knows a missing verse from one of the prophecies. Who knows?
[Hospitable Woman]: I don't know...but there are whispers.
See, Reynn? Hints. It's worth taking a shot in the dark sometimes.
[Hospitable Woman]: This is merely a rumor, but... they say the castle you seek-- the domain of the Heralds and their king-- lies past the Crystal Tower, beyond the path of the gods.
Heralds... So then, the king who founded Bahamut.
Cool! So, all we have to do is get those four keys, and then haul hiney over to the Crystal Tower, am I right?
Yeah, from the sound of it...
*Yaaawwwn* All this reassuring info is making me sleepy.
What do you say we just... turn in here for the day...
You guys know that you're laying right next to the area with the Sand Worms, right? The desert sands are right over there.
Good night, Reynn...
And Lightning is suspicious of Hospitable Woman. Her name is Hospitable Woman, Lightning. I'm sure she's on the up-and-up.
*Final Fantasy Inn Music*
Update 15 Highlights - Castles in the Sand
We're back in anime-land. These things have been getting more and more frequent. Usually you only get like 1 or 2 anime cutscenes near the start, one in the middle, and then another 1 or 2 at the end. Kind of wish they'd have spent that budget fleshing out these short chapters, though.
Lightning, the Louis Vuitton photoshoot is finished. You can stop putting on the eye shadow.
Wh... what is... that noise?
Nnn... Now what...
The Federation... What are they doing here?
How did neither of you notice a giant chain sticking out of the desert? We at least have the excuse of not having camera control to look around.
Also, that chain really seems like it would undermine the stealth aspect of hiding under the desert sands.
What? They were--
Dude, my body... I can barely...
I don't really see that as a major issue. Just summon the Mirages.
Final Fantasy VI Music: Edgar's Theme
While Lann and Reynn are busy not summoning their Mirages to annihilate all of those guys, let's talk about Edgar.
Edgar is voiced by Ray Chase in English, Shin-ichiro Miki in Japanese.
Edgar hails from FFVI. He is the king of Figaro (the castle we just saw pop out of the sand). He is a "ladies man", engineer, something of a con man, and the brother of Sabin (the manly man who suplexed a train, as mentioned in Tifa's intro).
The party brings Terra to the castle in order to hide her from the Empire. Even though Edgar has an official partnership with the Empire, he secretly supports a rebellion against them, so he agrees to hide her. The Empire kind of knows that Edgar is a lying sack of shit, so the castle winds up on fire and Edgar is forced to escape with the party. The castle itself dives under the sand to get to safety.
Later on, after the world ends (that's a thing that happens in VI), Edgar goes back to the castle to try and save it. It's been stuck underground after the engines were messed up by monsters and the people of the castle are sort of having a bad time with stuff like food and water and the ability to keep breathing.
Anyway, Lightning proceeds to immediately ignore the "no heroics" thing and goes straight for Edgar, only to get punked by Plumed Knight.
Or as I frequently say, the churl never gets the girl.
Plumed Knight is also a lady, Edgar. I don't think she's particularly concerned about making a polite impression on Lightning.
Who's the knight?
The Federation. Who else could it be?
"Attend to"? That sounds... awfully churlish to me...!
Ah, but no. See, you may be a Jiant, but my attention... I save for real grown-ups.
That's a bald faced lie, Edgar. I seem to recall your interest in a certain someone named... Relm?
That's it! Nobody talks to her like that!
Lann finally decides to try calling out Mirages, only for Plumed Knight to short-circuit his arm... somehow? Apparently she can do that?
Reynn tries the same thing and Plumed Knight doesn't even need to lift her arm for the short-circuit to happen.
Let's try to keep things civil, if you don't mind. Please don't struggle.
Wh-what is going on?
I... I don't know...
And then they get knocked out by the guards. Excellent work, team.
We get a message saying that Lightning's Champion Medal and Jewel are unlocked, then get the chance to save our game. That's it for the chapter. Wasn't that fun?