Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wild Arms 3 Part 3 - The Highest Summoner

 Wild Arms 3 continues! ...why is Virginia showing us her ass?



It's a magical moment as Virginia reaches level 10, finally tying her with everyone else in the group. When reached for comment,  JonTron (real name Fillmore Cobb) said that she was always the same level as the guys.

I've raised my "Migrant Level" to 2 at this point by collecting a certain item (Protip: It's found in a crate in the port town) which means that enemy groups that are classed as Migrant Level 1 now give me a green exclamation before battle. Tapping a button during this exclamation display actually "repels" the battle without me having to fight. It's similar to Earthbound in that it's a way to avoid low-level enemies. No experience, though.

This reminds me of the Atlantic City boardwalk, which tends to be crawling with cats. Yeah, they're right there on the beach. It's the weirdest sight. If this were JonTron (real name Jim Jablonski)'s house, these cats would be feasting on his parrot.

One issue this game has so far: Much like Breath of Fire 4 for the PlayStation, the camera angle isn't quite high enough to see over all of the huge buildings in these towns. Things get very claustrophobic as a result. One solution would be a higher view-angle. Another solution would be to just not have huge blocky buildings everywhere. So far it hasn't been too much of an issue in this game compared to BoF4.

A major goal of the early game is accumulating enough funds to buy a World Screen (aka map). 5000 gella is a lot at this point, given that most battles give a maximum of 15-20 gella. A quicker way to get this done is to use elemental spells to defeat enemies, then sell their gems for 100 gella each. I prefer to hold onto all of the gems I accumulate to use them on bosses, though.

Wait, what? The merchant just took off after I chatted with him about the next destination. COME BACK, I NEED TO BUY THE MAP

This guy makes a dire prediction about Global Warming. But wait! That guy in the background is the map salesman! He reappears!

I still don't have the 5000 gella I need, though. I could just sell some gems, but...no, gonna go outside and grind for a little while.

...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I went back after the grinding and he's gone again. No clue when he'll show up again. Will I ever get a World Screen? I bet he shows up again right after I spend my money on something else. For now, we don't know where he is...much like JonTron (real name Jericho Jenkins).

The next dungeon...looks a lot like the last one. I'm noticing a bit of cut+paste with these area designs, which isn't a good sign.

This is cool. Every so often I find a sealed chest. Reminds me of Chrono Trigger. You need Duplicators to open these, and they're essentially rare and coveted items in and of themselves. I've got one, but I haven't used it because I'd hate to use it on a chest that turned out to have a dud item. Then again, maybe they're all important. Hard to say at this point.

We meet Janus again, and he explains that an all-powerful spear exists. Wasn't this the plot of Wolfenstein: The Spear of Destiny?

 Hired by blokes, eh? The higher power is revealed, and it's... some blokes.

 "I'm not a good guy, and I'm not a bad guy" he squeaks. "I'm THE guy."

 Another battle with Janus and his two goons. Nothing new here. This game has a ton of boss fights compared to the average RPG. I think each dungeon so far has had at least two bosses, with that one elemental shrine giving me four boss fights in a row.

 Westwood...that might be where JonTron (Real name Michael B. Jordan) is hanging out with Hillary Clinton (George R.R. Martin name The Woman of the Woods).

 Including this shot because this town was a pain in the ass to locate. I can't say I'm into the way you have to locate areas anymore. Sometimes they're in places that make sense (like a cove, or the end of a road). Sometimes they're in the middle of a field somewhere.

 FINALLY, I catch the merchant with enough money to buy the World Screen. I imagine this to look like that giant electronic world map on the wall at NORAD.

 Even with as much grief as he's caused, I think this guy might be the most interesting RPG merchant out there. He seems to be moving around, doing his own thing, and waits around for nobody.

 Spent 2000 more gella to buy a horse (Real name JonTron). Now I can travel around the overworld much faster, which helps with the rampant random encounters.

There are still battles on horseback, and they look really cool. The enemies run alongside your galloping heroes. What this means...is that the enemies in this game can all sprint at about 30 MPH. The devil's hands have been busy.

 Buying a map and a horse leaves me bankrupt as I arrive at the next dungeon. Might need to do a bit of grinding to get the money back up. I could easily get a lot of funds by selling off all of the spell gems I've been getting from battles, but I'm not going to do that unless I have to. Considering I haven't upgraded any of my ARMs yet, I might have to sooner rather than later.

I mentioned the high encounter rate and I need to go into that more. The encounter rate in this game is WAY too high to the point of obnoxiousness. They mitigate it a lot with the repel system (where you can repel a certain amount of enemy attacks before they happen) and that might be why the encounter rate is as high as it is. However, I don't use the repel system too much because I like saving the repels for times when I really need them (when the party is banged-up or I'm near the end of an area and want to get it done). All in all, the encounter rate is probably the biggest negative about this game so far.

 Besides Virginia's group and Janus' group, there's a new competitor in the field of Drifters. Here's Maya and her band of misfits, which includes the world's angriest cat. I think that might be some kind of imp that they mistakenly thought was a cat. The weirdest thing? His name is "Cat". Seriously.

 Maya and Virginia immediately hash it out, being competitor Drifters. Maya's goal is to get the loot of this temple before Virginia does. This means doing bastardly deeds like...

 ...repeatedly flipping this switch to keep me from progressing. This might be the most annoying thing I've seen in a game in a while. The solution is to have Gallows freeze the switch.

 As far as I know, Maya just wants to be rich and spend her days being bathed by manservants. She doesn't want to be all-powerful like that Janus weirdo.

 ...wait, what are they talking about?

 A battle follows, during which Clive shoots Maya right in the hip! He shot her in the hip!

 That...was the most annoying fight so far. You have to defeat her and her three goons in a specific order or they'll heal themselves. Regardless, I have to say that she's the most interesting character in the game so far. It kinda feels like she could be the main character instead. Her goons aren't as fun as Virginia's allies, though. Even the cat is just so...impy.

 After that, because one lengthy boss fight isn't enough for a dungeon, we fight Janus and his posse again!

 Daario Naharis really let himself go since he dropped the extra A to avoid being sued by a wildlife fund.

 After the fight, Maya returns to make fun of Janus' penis.

...because that's what they mean here.

 Janus knows it, too, and makes fun of Maya for the way she runs around flaunting her 'giner.

 Speaking of penis, it looks like our next stop is Ka Dingel, home of the superweapon we have to get to before he does. Ka Dingel was the second-to-last area of the original Wild Arms.

 Here it is. Ka Dingel. It was basically a few blocks away from where all of these characters lived before this, but none of them ever noticed it. This is the final dungeon of Act 1 of this game, and it's where things finally get challenging.

 One major issue here are the trap chests. A lot of the battles here leave chests after they're over, and those chests usually hit you with a status effect trap. As a result, before too long the party is besieged by a litany of status effects. Here we've got Virginia and Clive poisoned while Jet is afflicted with the status effect that doesn't let you heal that character at all. Using Medicine cures that one, but I have a very limited stock of it. Need to really buy up on status effect cures next time I have money, but there are so many status effects and they each have their own cure items...

 Midway through the game we battle Trask, one of the cooler recurring bosses in the first two games. Great reference. I wonder who else is going to show up from the past. Hoping for an appearance by at least one of the Quarter Knights.

 Trask has super-high defense, which gives us the opportunity to learn a new trick: Casting fire on an enemy melts their armor a bit, and casting ice on the next turn will cause the armor to freeze and shatter. It only works on specific foes, and this is apparently the first of them. Once Trask's armor shatters, his defense plummets.

 The status effects are really bogging down my progress. With curing items in short supply, I have to use Virginia's Mystic power to turn one item into a group-effect when multiple characters are afflicted with something. This also means that when a single character has a particular effect, I have to wait until other characters get afflicted with it before I Mystic so as not to waste items. Protip: Buy status-curative items early and often. Once this game decides to slam you with status effects, it goes all-in.

 Arriving at the top of the tower, it looks like Janus' squad has already dispatched Maya's squad, despite being outnumbered 3-4. Or at least, they would have been outnumbered if Cat hadn't been off marking his territory.

 Uh oh. Janus has the Spear of Destiny now. Even his own goons are a little bit freaked out.

 He starts ranting about being afraid to die and wanting to cling to existence in some way. Apparently the solution is to cause enough devastation that people have no choice but to remember that you were there, making you "live forever" even if you're not around to see it.

 Apparently those are the names of the "blokes" that hired Janus. He cuts a full-on Kefka promo asking the trio to grant him their power. I wouldn't be surprised if he throws Dario off the tower like Gestahl.

I think she means that she isn't going to let Janus blow up the planet. She has a very roundabout way of making statements.

 I've noticed something peculiar: The max HP of my characters has been declining. Something's going on that I need to figure out how to fix. Regardless, at this point you fight Janus by himself, and he is by far the most dangerous opponent in the entire game up to this point. He makes everything else look like a tutorial. For one thing, he gets FOUR ACTIONS PER TURN. He has group-attacks, high-damage single target attacks, and can even heal himself for substantial amounts.

This is a fight truly befitting of the end of Act 1. It has the vibe of an "act ending" boss, like a Magus or a Zio.

Stats after the victory. I spent a lot of time saving up FP to unleash Gatling attacks (aka three attacks at once at a high FP cost) from everybody since it seemed like his heals were offsetting most of my damage. Finally I had Virginia do a Mystic to heal everyone, followed by a trio of Gatlings from the other three. The first Gatling ended the fight, meaning I could have ended things a lot sooner rather than waiting to have everyone's attacks lined up.

As of this writing 29.6% of players have beaten Act 1. Only 6.5% of people who started the game finished it, with progression rates declining steeply throughout the first two thirds of the game. Can't see my own progression dropping off any time soon, though. The story is just getting interesting now. Most of Act 1 was a little on the mundane side, but now it feels like things are happening.

Trophy percentages usually tell me a lot about a game. For instance, I'd be willing to bet that Act 2 is the longest of the three by a considerable margin.

Also, when as difficult a game as Bloodborne has a 60% finish rate you know it did something right.

Moments after this picture was taken, Janus got buried in rubble. No Spear of Destiny for this guy.

With that, Maya bids Virginia farewell...for now.

But wait! The Terminator 2 Menace Theme plays as Janus limps out from the rubble.

A trio of clearly-villainous characters appear and hover around Janus' body. Are they going to offer him The Power?

Janus does his president impression and passes the buck. The trio of villains expects him to carry out their orders...or else things won't end well.

Yeah, things have gotten interesting now. More on this later.

2 comments:

  1. They've definitely continued a lot of the things Wild Arms 2 did. Probably with less Liz and Ard though.

    Now these horseback battles are quite new, that's very cool.

    Maya is sassy.

    Eternal "Sparkle"? Hawr.

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  2. The game looks so good that I enjoy just looking at it. I also enjoyed your JonTron jokes. The moving merchant is cool, and I wish you good luck figuring out your Max HP and Status Effect problems. With the difficulties you mentioned, it's impressive you've gotten through everything in virtually one shot so far.

    Japanese takes on Westerns are interesting, and if I were an anime research that's something I'd go into.

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