Sunday, May 14, 2023

Stranger of Paradise, DLC 1 - Trials of the Dragon King


The FF1 Remake But Not? resumes with some DLC. Yeah, the main game ends on a bit of a cliffhanger with the Light Warriors showing up to battle Garland (now taking his place in the Chaos Shrine). So it was pretty cool to find out there are DLCs for it now. Unfortunately, none of the 3 (yes, three) DLCs are as good as the main game, and they can be tedious. Let's get going.

This starts right where the main game left off.

This first DLC involves Bahamut and his trials, and the other DLCs have to be done after this in order. Each one is a higher-level than the previous one. So here we are with Garland in full Chaos form, and our first battle... against the Warrior of Light! The guy from Dissidia.

And Garland wins.

So this isn't the beginning of FF1, but since this is a time loop situation, I guess Warriors of Light will keep being generated and battle Garland until one of them actually wins in one of these cycles?

After trouncing that guy (I hope these DLCs aren't more Dissidia than they are FF1) I head for the main thrust of this DLC: Bahamut Cave. Bahamut has trials for our heroes(?) to pass to unlock stronger versions of their classes. Time to KILL BAHAMUT pass his tests.

Specifically, Bahamut wants a new currency called Dragon Treasures that have to be farmed. This adds a new difficulty: Bahamut difficulty, which is a step up from Chaos difficulty and adds a new tier of higher-level versions of all the missions. On this difficulty, any mission can drop Dragon Treasures.

The only problem is...this difficulty makes the enemies way worse than they were at any point before this. Even a group fully decked-out in equipment from Chaos difficulty is going to struggle with Bahamut difficulty until they can win some missions and get some higher-level gear to put on. All three of the DLCs follow this pattern of dropping a new difficulty level that makes everything in it astronomically harder than it needs to be until you find a way to farm gear.

I find one beatable mission, and it's in Hallowed Massif which is one of my favorite areas so that works.

Also around this time I discover the greatest trick of the Stranger of Paradise DLCs: Aeroga knocks enemies backwards, so you can one-shot them if they fall off a cliff.

On Bahamut difficulty everything has new rewards and new enemy levels. Funny thing is it says the mission level is almost 100 below my actual item level and yet I'm still getting beaten on quite a bit.

Now that Jack has become Chaos, he no longer cares about killing Chaos. Now he wants to kill Lufenians! The main game established that those chime-wielding weirdoes from the northeast city are actually the creators and destroyers of entire worlds and use the crystals to manipulate world events...across the whole series? I think?

Except it's really just one Lufenian causing the problems and the rest are fine, but we'll get to that.

Ash makes a good point. Everyone who thinks their side does nothing wrong and should have all the power... is incorrect.

It's like Sophia's breasts. With two opposing forces, there's balance. If one gets too big or lopsided, or if one disappears, well, that would just look weird.

Bahamut thinks my breast metaphor is wise. Yeah, I'm back here to turn in some Dragon Treasures and get some new loot.

Since we've passed the first of Bahamut's trials, Jack suggests that Bahamut give the trials to future parties to help them out.

Next up is a fight with Bahamut, and this is kinda the big battle of the DLC (though not the last one).

I make use of the Liberator class and its Mighty Guard ability to basically be almost-unbeatable on this DLC since you have infinite mana to use it if you enable that "cheat" on the mission select. So basically they dramatically ramped up the difficulty of these DLCs while also giving you a win button if it's too much. .....which removes most of the fun from the proceedings either way.

This first DLC isn't bad at all compared to the other two though, since you're going in at a high item level at least.

Now that we've proven ourselves to Bahamut, there isn't much else to do with this DLC...except grind missions for more Dragon Treasures to buy more loot to be better-prepared for DLC 2. Orrrr you could just go into DLC 2 underpowered and try to find a weak spot to start grinding the (significantly better) gear there. These DLCs are like World of Warcraft expansions: Each one obsoletes the previous one.

This Fool's Missive covers Tiamat and it sounds pretty menacing. What does this have to do with Sophia (our Tiamat reincarnation) though? The whole "these guys are the Elemental Fiends" aspect of the story has never entirely made sense because they don't go through anything to turn them into that. They simply...are, suddenly.

After grinding for new loot (the "class affinity" stats are what you're really after here, as opposed to normal stats, since they confer all kinds of major bonuses), it's time for the final boss of the DLC:

Warrior of Light. ...again. Have 2000 years gone by already?

This one is way stronger than the previous one, so you need all those Bahamut armor upgrades and new class tiers.

"Even I had no means of ingress"

...Wait, who's writing these things? We thought it was Astos, but now it appears to be someone a lot more powerful than Astos. ...who is still around, because Astos isn't.

Dressing up Neon and Sophia is one of the more fun aspects of Stranger of Paradise. I've given Neon a sick Red Mage hat and a Blood Sword.

Now those are two iconic Final Fantasy series weapons.

Neon IS a Red Mage so this works. The DLC has also forced me to really pay attention to ally character gear to get every advantage I can over the stronger foes. In the base game you can go through the whole thing without upgrading their armor (weapons are a good idea though) since they're essentially just mild extra DPS. Now, they're a lot more important than that.

Using more Dragon Treasures to upgrade class levels.

Annnnd that's pretty much it for this DLC. There's also a new Gunslinger class, seen here, that has a totally new playstyle. I didn't do much with it though.


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