Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wild Arms 3 Part 2 - Marvel Team-Up

Wild Arms 3 returns as the party assembles. Let's do this.




Fun Fact: Back in 80's newspaper ads, Japanese RPGs were known as "Secrets from the Orient: Super Sex".

This one resumes with our now-united heroes on the train. They're confronted by what might be the primary recurring villains: This trio. The blue-haired one is Janus (Chrono Trigger should sue), the leader. The other two are... well, they're pretty weird. The less said, the better.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, as four very different people join forces. It's like when JonTron and EgoRaptor teamed up for a Let's Play revolution.

Side Note: I've noticed that every time online media outlets mention JonTron (real name Jon Jafari), they always have (real name Jon Jafari) after his name. I don't really see that happening with other online personalities too much. I guess it makes things seem more serious when you're reporting on a menace like JonTron (real name Jon Jafari).

After a bunch of solo-chapters, it's very cool to have access to a full party now. Virginia's HP is super-low, but other than that all of them are formidable in their own ways.

Virginia's key power seems to be healing everyone with Mystic.

Some of the HP disparity is because she's a lower level, but her HP isn't that great either way. I wonder what JonTron (real name Abel Danger) thinks about this.

After running Janus off, our heroes learn that the dastardly trio was after Gallows' Arc Scepter. But why?

They decide to stick together at least until they get back to civilization, and end up at Gallows' hometown.

Gallows...is quite weird. Most of the time he doesn't say much of note, but then he'll get riled-up about something out of nowhere.

Halle immediately slams Gallows as incompetent. Moments after this picture was taken, Donald Trump put Gallows in charge of the Department of Competence.

Meanwhile, Shane-O-Mac prophesizes on the looming threat that we'll be facing in this game. I hope the "blue shadow" isn't Janus. It isn't that he's a terrible villain or anything, but everything about him screams "temporary semi-comedic bad guy". I can't tell if that's intentional or not.

Optimism!

Gallows wants to do something about the imminent global collapse, but the rest of our heroes remain unconvinced. What's in it for them?

Finally, it's decided. They'll team up a little longer. Just a bit, though, and then they all go their separate ways.

I like the way this is set up. It's realistic. They're not dedicated to their team-up, but presumably things will push them in that direction. Most RPGs just have the characters form their fellowship and then stay together without any hesitation. They stay together "just because". Here we have characters questioning whether or not they need to stick around for this party that they've just joined. They each have their own motivations. Every time splitting up is brought up, I'm right there with Virginia when she finds a reason for them to continue traveling together.

This is sorta like the recent disappearance of JonTron (real name Elian Mumbasa).

I've seen games do this before, most notably Everquest (which also puts text [between these] if you can click it). We've got a system here where you can (and should) "click" on key words in NPC text in order to progress the dialogue. It's pretty cool, but it also means you need to pay attention. Missing a key word you're supposed to ask about could easily halt your progression in this game if you don't realize you did it, considering that keywords are often the triggers that make entire areas discoverable on the world map.

I believe these are the ruins Gallows went through in his intro. Apparently they're home to four elemental guardians, and the next goal for our heroes is defeating those four guardians and (take, take) taking them home.

Everybody gets a huge headache at this point. If you're going to learn the ways of the summoned beasts, you better be prepared for some nasty side effects.

The first guardian has a specific request: We gotta show it our will. That's right: Time for no pantalones.

This is the guardian of the earth-element, and it has a ton of HP. It's both hardy and sturdy, like most earth-elemental creatures.

Gallows expands his arms to make himself look bigger, like a moth. Or some of our politicians.

With that, we have acquired the earth elemental...and it's time to take him home.

TAKKKE! TAKE ME HOOOOOME!

But wait! There are the other three elements to worry about. I decide to tackle them in Final Fantasy IV order, so here's the Kainazzo of the band. He attacks with huge waves.

Once you acquire an elemental, you can equip it on one of the party members to give them spell-casting abilities. I decided to give the earth element to Gallows since he's the most earthy. It has four spells. Remember, any of these can be turned into a group spell when paired with an FP ability:

Petrify: Earth-element damage spell to one enemy.
Shield: Increases one character's physical defense.
Protect: Increases one character's magic defense.
Decelerate: Lowers one enemy's speed (delaying its action in the current round).

Next up is the wind-elemental...a giant cat. I was expecting a bird or something like that. It's important to note that elemental weaknesses come into play for these fights. Wind and earth do extra damage to each other, while water and fire do extra damage to each other. When your characters equip summons, they don't take on any elemental defense properties, so you don't have to worry about being hit by a weakness. Two of these four fights will have to be done without the advantage of an element they're weak to, but the other two won't have that problem. Here, I use earth magic to do some massive damage.

Last but not least, the fire guardian is the most impressive of the four. It's worth noting that some elementals have two attacks (for instance, the wind elemental has both a wind and lightning attack) and often you'll find that only one of them is the weakness of a foe that fears wind (i.e. a boss might be weak to wind, but not lightning, or vice versa).

In this case, the boss shrugs off the water attack yet takes massive damage from the ice attack, so that's the way to go.

Also, all four of the elementals that we're getting can be used as summons once a character has enough FP built up. Those are highly damaging but they leave you very low on FP.

In any case, NOW we've got all four elementals.

TAAAAKE! TAKE MEEEE HOOOOOME! AND I DON'T REMEMBAHHH!

Oh Lord! I've been A PRISONER ALL MY LIIIIIFE!

I have to decide which one to equip on which character, and this setup feels like it makes the most sense. Speedy Jet might be more of a wind guy and dangerous Clive might be more of a fire guy, but other than that... actually, yeah, I think this is okay. As mentioned above, wind also includes lightning, and water also includes ice. Fire has a non-elemental attack, in addition to having a fire-based attack.

Strangely enough, earth doesn't have a sub-element attached to it, with only one attack spell. Poison-element would have been a good one for a second attack. I probably would have combined Shield and Protect into a single Wall-type spell and added Venom Blast or something.

There'll be more summons later on so we need to leave some elements for them.

Here's an interesting game mechanic. When you defeat enemies with elemental spells, they turn into gems that can be used to attack with elemental spells. This means that if you fight an enemy weak to a specific element, you're not limited to weakness-hitting only coming from the one character who has the right element equipped. Right now I'm pretty well set-up to lambaste any boss weak to water (thanks to Gallows using water as his element in the intro chapter) but it'll take some grinding to get a similar amount of gems in the other types. Or I could just be careful to defeat enemies with spells.

Gallows really likes to hold his arms out to look bigger. That or he's shrugging, like Rob Van Dam. I don't know why he'd be shrugging about our accomplishment, given that we just fought FOUR BOSSES IN A ROW.

Janus is lurking nearby, but after seeing how formidable our heroes have become, he beats a hasty retreat.

I already looked at earth spells, so let's take a look at the other three elements. I really like this system of magic and it reminds me of Secret of Mana. The spell variety is similarly limited, but the few spells we have are compelling and fun.

The water spell set is the one we saw in Gallows' intro. Pressure is a water-element attack, Refrigerate is an ice-element attack, Heal is...yeah, and Analyze is the scan spell of the game. Tells you the infos. Generally this set is self-explanatory.

Wind gives us a few options. Vortex is the wind-element attack. Inspire is an odd name for an attack, to say the least, but that's the lightning-element attack. Turbulence increases the evasion of a character fairly substantially, and is probably the best buff we have at this point in the game. Quicken speeds up one character, and might be good in conjunction with Decelerate to ensure that one particular character always goes before a boss (for heals).

Finally, here's fire. Cremate is the fire-element attack, Devastate is the non-elemental attack, Fragile lowers an enemy's defense, and Revive...yeah. Given how potent stat uppers/downers seem to be in this game, Fragile could be really, really good against bosses if it works and has a good duration. We'll see.

Continuing on, the guys still kinda want to all disband and go their separate ways. Virginia clearly isn't enthused by this idea, given how formidable they are as a unit.

They all sit down and discuss their next course of action, as Virginia gives the Four Horsemen symbol. I like the idea of having a steady four characters for the duration of a game. It's very old-school, not having a huge cast, and it allows you to really focus on the few characters you've got.

Virginia basically convinces everybody to stick together and, ya know, prevent the end of the world.

Looks like Virginia is now the lead singer of the band, dude.

Janus shows up with an offer we can easily refuse. We can find the clitoris just fine on our own, thank you very much!

"Scoundrel?" says Janus while attempting to be suave. Gallows then chases him off by jumping up and down screeching. I don't know about that guy.

In any case, Janus leaves without a fight again, and we're off to the next dungeon. I'm about two hours into the game now (don't be fooled by the timer, as I did quite a bit of unnecessary gem-grinding). The next update will be a big one, so stay tuned.


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for going into such deep detail about it! You presented the spells well, and I feel I have a good grasp on what's going on. It is an elegant and balanced magic list. I agree that it's cool the MCs are really thinking about why they're doing this, as adults would.

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  2. I love the item icons, just like the first two games.

    Mad Phil Collins references in this post.

    It'd be pretty wild to get the four elemental guardians as a team and then have everyone split up.

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