Thursday, May 18, 2023

Stranger of Paradise, DLC 2 - Wanderer of the Rift


The Lufenians (or really just the one) are starting to realize the threat posed to their world-dominance by Garland, so they're using their powers to summon a fearsome combatant from the Rift to deal with him. The fearsome guy in question? Gilgamesh. That's right, it's time to KILL GILGAMESH.

Gilgamesh steps out of the Lufeni-portal and has no idea what's going on. Basically they're gonna pit him against Garland mano-a-mano, which is a great idea for a DLC. ...except it also involves a new difficulty level and tons of grinding.

This DLC revolves around The Rift, a place full of portals where you can redo portions of main game with new, more powerful foes.

Astos is back! Except it isn't Astos, it's a clone with no memory... or self-confidence.

Items are purchasable for the first time all game. Potions don't auto-refresh between missions anymore, but they barely cost anything. Plus you can get even stronger items that give you a huge advantage. Only thing to beware is that item usage/purchases don't way-outpace gil intake.

There's a new difficulty level: Gilgamesh difficulty! It's like Chaos or Bahamut, except it ramps up enemy levels even more. I'm still almost 100 ahead of the "curve" but it doesn't matter, these missions are still gonna completely kick my ass.

And again, the goal here is just to do missions to farm currencies to get new loot.

The Rift has like 100 or 200 floors of random portal-challenges. Each floor requires a certain amount of points to move up, and the portal-challenges give points depending on how tough their challenge is.

Technically you only need to get to Floor 21 and beat Gilgamesh there to "win" the DLC, but if you're going for the platinum you need to also get to Floor 30 which is significantly harder.

Every few floors, you gotta fight Gilgamesh and he gets stronger every time. The first fight is - of course - on the Cornelia bridge.

This fight is AWESOME. It even has the music!

Gilgamesh doesn't really know why we're fighting, but By God he's got his orders!

This is a knock-down, drag-out battle, maybe the hardest one yet in these DLCs. Neon's wielding Ultima Weapon here.

Gilgamesh agrees to take me on as an arch-enemy! We'll see him again in five more floors.

How does Ash, or anyone else, see with these gorram VR visor helmets on?

Gilgamesh drops various artifacts that then in turn summon various NPCs to The Rift.

This one summons Tonberry, a humble monster that travels between dimensions and serial kills people.

5 floors later, another Gilgamesh fight, this time in Tiamat's battle arena. Shoulda been another bridge.

Gilgamesh goes on high-falutin' speeches after every fight. It's awesome.

The next Gilgamesh is fought in the Gurgu Volcano center. No incredible Marilith music this time though.

Our heroes are starting to get tired of Gilgamesh and his speeches.

Jack: "Go on, get outta here!"

::Gilgamesh sulks away::

Next Gilgamesh fight gives us this superb moment where Jack had a Zantetsuken charging at the same time that Gilgamesh was charging his own big attack.

"I thought we told you to SCRAM!"

Finally, we get to Floor 21, the final (required) thing to beat the DLC. And it's home to...

...WarMech! Or by its original name, Death Machine. I was wondering when this thing was gonna show up. Maybe they really are gonna use all the parts of the FF1, like the Native Americans.


This is the big boss of the DLC and the big challenge, but it's also the second-to-last fight.

This seems to be a pattern with the first two DLCs. They both have a big "final boss" (Bahamut, WarMech) followed by an easier last actual fight (Warrior of Light, Gilgamesh)

After eke-ing out a win over the mech, Gilgamesh apologizes profusely for causing all this trouble with portal-opening.

"We said SCRAM!" says Jack while stumbling around bumping into things.

Gilgamesh then upgrades our heroes to his "mightiest rivals"

From there you're free to just plug away at portals and Rift floors for a few dozen more hours. I get the Floor 30 that's needed for the platinum trophy, and move on. I think they actually cap out around Floor 180. I don't know and I'm not even gonna try it.

The actual final fight is...Gilgamesh at the Big Bridge again, kinda like how DLC 1 just repeated the Warrior of Light battle.

Jack administers Zantetsuken!

That's all she wrote for Gilgamesh, and he sulks back to his home dimension.

Back in Lufenia, this woman is scheming. Her plan to have Gilgamesh take out Garland for her has failed, so now she'll have to do it herself.

You know, they keep going on and on about "the Lufenians" being this big cosmic threat since they're so advanced, but as far as I can tell it's really just this one woman who went rogue that is actually causing all the problems. I mean we don't even SEE any of the others.

Whoa, a Moogle!

Wait, it's one of these weird-ass New Moogles that fly around and have massive heads. It travels between dimensions to make things happen, or something. Remember when these things were basically just ewoks? Before they got all Dissidia'd up?

Time for DLC 3, which takes us directly to Lufein-ville. And has yet another new difficulty level: Lufenia. Which is the same as all the others, it just ramps things up to even more obnoxious levels compared to everything before it.

NEXT: The merciful conclusion, where we KILL LUFEIN.

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