Previously on Xenosaga: MOMO is safe, Albedo is dead, and that whole Y-Data issue is a thing of the past. Wow, that would have been a great place for Episode 1 to end… Anyway, Old Miltia popped out of its black holes, and now every named person and organization in the universe is in a mad dash to get there.
Well, except this broad. And she’s not even listening to Miyuki!
So, Shion is back on the Dammerung, Vector’s home base, and she’s cranky about it.
And it probably doesn’t help that her former underling/maybe friend is demanding she actually do her job.
Right about then, all time stops, and the lights go dim.
Only one reason that ever happens. Hello again, Nephilim.
Back to reality! I guess Neph just wanted to stop by and show off her new ugly model.
“I’m hallucinating a whole bunch, so I’m gonna lay down.”
Evolving graphical style?
This is getting to be Shion’s catchphrase…
Allen’s true purpose is revealed! He’s Shion’s dealer!
So you can now explore the Dammerung. It’s basically a three-screen town, and is overcrowded with NPCs that have nothing interesting to say. You know, I understand that they wanted to show off Shion’s new outfit, but you’d think this would be the one place in the ‘verse where her old uniform would make sense…
Where we want to go is blocked by an ant.
You may remember the Dammerung from Episode 1 as the gigantic ship that dwarfed the entire Kukai Foundation. Now that we’re inside and exploring the thing, you can spot brief glimpses of your mammoth surroundings. It’s hard to see in this shot, but those looping trails are effectively highways inside the ship. Vector’s Dammerung is basically a flying planet.
It turns out Miyuki was calling Shion from like three doors down. Also, she casually reveals that Shion’s old glasses were a gift from her dead (not dead) fiancée. Maybe Allen is one of those bungling savants…
Talk to Allen, receive drugs, go back to your room and trip balls.
You won’t be allowed to revisit the Dammerung “town area” ever again, so if you really want to hammer those NPCs, do it before returning home.
4:20 take naps e’ery day.
Bad trip, Shion dreams of some people in tubes. Or something.
And Feb. And the Zohar.
“Man, I haven’t seen you since the last game. I hope everyone remembers that nonsense!”
If you’re playing Xenosaga Episode 2 immediately after Episode 1, this seems really redundant, or maybe like Feb is getting impatient with Shion accomplishing nothing. If you played XS2 two years after XS1, this is kinda essential.
You were just staring at them! Dammit, woman, where are your glasses?
“Uh, MOMO is the magical girl. I think she’d be better at curses…”
I miss the tree…
Maybe that’s her mantra?
Please, Feb, try to be a little helpful.
“At least it wasn’t that one where the hobbits keep punching me in the thighs.”
Next time you’re behind on a project at work, try to explain that the reason you were late involves hallucinating magical cursed robots.
Come on, Shion, do your job, then gleam the cube. Oh well, back to the same stupid room as last time.
Shion heads over to the com room and discovers that figments aren’t just localized to her place.
“How many cryptic, extraordinary entities do you know, Shion? Wait, don’t answer that.”
“Could one of you please start explaining something?”
Yep, we already got that.
Let’s see… was there anything unique about that place? I think there was a Zohar… How many Zohars are in the universe, again?
Dr. Pepper… or the mysterious Brand X.
“It is for your sake, as well as theirs. It is something very important to both your past and to your future.”
Yeah, because ghostly little gingers appear out of the ether to inform you of choices that have absolutely no consequences.
“This isn’t rhetorical!”
“I am trying, but someone won’t give me directions.”
Finally! Yes, Shion, you have to go to (Old) Miltia. Considering this was outright stated by Nephilim, Feb, and Blue Virgil last game, I’m starting to doubt Shion’s reasoning skills.
And a creepy warning about “he” awakening for the road.
Allen inadvertently terminates this little mystical powwow.
“Like, back to your room, or…”
In Xenosaga: The Movie, KOS-MOS is played by Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Stewart is covering Shion, and I want to say Allen is played by… Patton Oswalt.
Every superpower in the universe is making a play for Old Miltia… but I suppose none of them tried using the excuse “but a ghost told me.”
Hey, remember a couple of updates back when Shion was randomly thinking about KOS-MOS’s giant weirdo ship? That.
“I only know about it because I read your diary! I mean… nothing!”
Allen is such a dedicated little toady.
Shion doesn’t actually complete this sentence, but even the least attentive player can probably guess…
Time to hit the previously blocked elevator. Looks like Widder is taking a widdle nap.
From here on, it’s dungeon time.
Allen is along for the ride, but only to offer moral support. He will happily watch Shion die if the battles get to be too much.
So we’ve got a party of exclusively Shion. Considering Shion wasn’t required at any point in MOMO’s Subconscious, it’s entirely possible this is the first a player is using Shion in combat at all.
Better stop by the menu and beef up Shion’s skills and such. At the very least, dropping some healing ethers onto the gal is a good idea.
I have to give Xenosaga credit for this one. As Shion is your entire party, it may seem like a good idea to avoid any and all combat, as you’re as vulnerable as you’ve ever been in this game or the last. However, the first “random” battle is completely unavoidable… but it doesn’t chase Shion, and is standing right on top of a trap. This allows you to acknowledge “fight a-comin’”, hit the menu, “equip” Shion, and then gain the handicap of the trap for your first only-Shion battle. Ultimately, it’s a clever way to indicate to the player that you’re going to have to fight.
All that said, this entire dungeon is dumb as hell. As we covered the last couple of updates, Xenosaga Episode 2 has a very complicated battle system based on weak points and boosting and all sorts of other factors. With just Shion in the party, though, you only ever have one combat option (press circle), you can NEVER “break” an opponent, and boosting after your own turn is completely impossible. In short, everything interesting about XS2 is jettisoned for an entire dungeon.
The good news is that the monsters are scaled to fight exclusively Shion, so it’s not like any of this is hard. It’s just… boring.
The main “hub” of this area is a large hangar with random robots skulking around. There’s not much reason to engage security droids, so feel free to implement any and all sneaking skills.
Some bots waste their entire turn just whining at you. I suppose they’re there to balance out Allen.
There’s a save point at the end of the hub area, and you’ll pass by it as a matter of course every time you “unlock” more of this area. Save points restore your HP/EP in this game, so even if you’re really bad at pressing the circle button, you should be able to salvage a win out of this area with the free healing available here.
This is the room directly behind the save point. It has a number of rooms labeled with letters.
Each room contains something (like a Red Segment Door in Room A… but usually just monsters), and a number. This will be important later.
The end of the hallway has four different numbers, and the only locked door, Door H. If you’re really industrial, look at all the numbers in all the doors, figure out which number is missing, and acknowledge that that number must be connected to Door H. Or don’t. We’ll talk about it later.
There’s a garage area in the south of the hub, and it’s here that I have to compliment Xenosaga on building this whole dungeon to actually look like a real “forgotten experiments go here” kinda area. Like, I could totally see this being Vector’s old car hole in a real, this-doesn’t-have-to-be-a-level environment.
Like now we’re on top of this gigantic tank. That’s just the kind of thing you leave lying around.
There’s this “can you press circle with the right timing” puzzle on the right side of the tank that I’m sure impacts something… but hell if I know what.
The other side of the tank houses a turret that offers the choice to be a Super Shion or an Annoying Allen. You know the answer to this one.
This causes a healthy portion of the area to explode…
Which reveals a new doorway (and Allen’s cowardice).
New area, new stuff to destroy. Guess that’s one way to create some stairs.
This room features one of the first big stupid block puzzles of Xenosaga Episode 2. The idea is to eliminate blocks to create a perfect walkway across the second floor of this room. “Heavy” steel boxes cannot be destroyed, and the stacks are nowhere near equiheight at the start. It’s vaguely like Catherine.
Good news is that the game knows you might not be any good at this, and offers a simple reset button.
Here’s how a winning hand looks. This puzzle doesn’t take that much thinking, and is basically training for some of the later challenges we’ll see.
Past the block room, Shion hacks a security console to confirm that they’re in the right basement (reminder, the Woglinde is huuuuuuuge).
“We’ve already blown up half the room, Allen. There’s no turning back now.”
Now we’re above the save point, but we can activate this handy elevator to get that sweet save point healing.
Oh boy, conveyor belts!
If those numbers look familiar, it’s because they correspond to the rooms with the letters from earlier in the update. Fall down the “wrong” path, and you’ll drop into the correspondingly labeled room (and probably fall into a battle). The idea is to aim for the “missing” number that will put you on the other side of that locked door.
The station you’re looking for, incidentally, is #4. Choose any other room, and you’ll be using that elevator again.
See, here we are on the other side of H, and it’s time to dive further into the depths.
Lotta stairs in this place. Good cardio.
We’re not there yet, but we can see our goal behind the glass. Aw, this is where that flashback took place.
Down some more stairs and we’ll find this weird puzzle with a glass floor and an unreachable second floor.
The trick is to destroy all blocks but the far right “support” block, and then weigh down the glass until you have a makeshift ramp up to the next floor. This… seems wildly impractical for Vector employees.
But, hey, why not?
The final area of this dungeon is a wind tunnel. Hug the walls and any obstructions, and you should be able to jog to your destination.
Yes, we know, every third robot already said that.
Ah, yes, mandatory boss battle.
This might be the most perfunctory boss(es) in gaming. You could basically fall asleep on the circle button and win this battle without effort.
Like at least one bot will probably be dead before the third turn.
Wow. Almost a whole minute! Thrilling climax for the area.
Here we are, finally at our goal. This ship look like a squatting robot to anyone else?
In a nice bit of reality, they can’t just press the “go” button on something that has been rotting in storage for two years (and… probably wasn’t done yet, either?).
Still, a keen looking piece of kit.
Whoops, security team finally woke up. Shion destroyed every security droid from here to her room, but she’s not going to willingly battle a trio of Realians.
Allen is in the pilot’s seat, so maybe having the might of an entire space jet will help him “be a man”.
Or at least press the “fire” button with all the force of a great typhoon.
Yay! Victory over like three security guards through superior firepower!
She’s just glad he didn’t soil the pilot’s seat.
Weenie. Weenie man.
It can change a hawk to a little white dove…
Emasculation confirmed. Moving on.
Wilhelm watches Vector R & D First Division Chief Uzuki steal a little more than paperclips.
“Hey, Albedo unlocked Old Miltia. Uhh… the entire galaxy already knows that? Sorry.”
I’m going to assume Wilhelm is talking about… Miyuki?
“People always try to live a life of choices between ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ They make pessimism their foundation, and praise misfortune and sorrow. And then they try to seek a pure heart. Yet this is nothing more than their individual view, born out of comparison with others. Is she who thinks of others ‘right’? Is he who opened the door ‘wrong’? Only those who stand in a place beyond that point can comprehend the true essence and gain knowledge of absolute truth.”
Phew, I thought I might have to explain the title of the game at some point, but, thanks Wilhelm. You summed up that “Beyond Good and Evil” thing pretty succinctly.
“I mean, you built her, right? Before she killed you? Remember that? Huh?”
“In any case, the intermission is over and the players stand upon the stage. All that remains is to wait for the knight to appear. And for that, it is necessary that someone play the role of the villain.”
No! Dammit, Wilhelm! We have enough villains in this story!
Just ask DC Comics.
I can’t help but wonder if this is a meta comment, as the second disc of Xenosaga Episode 2 just started, and, as the halfway point of XS2, we’re literally just about at the halfway point of the entire trilogy. Hey, I might finish this thing before 2025!
And then a whole bunch of enemy drones and a Big Core appear. Guess Wilhelm had his villain on speed dial.
Big Core is apparently using some laser powers that… wait… why would a pair of scientists be impressed by a ship that is being piloted “beyond the limits of the human body”? You two build unstoppable robots professionally!
And Big Core unfolds to reveal its ES Mode. While it isn’t revealed during this game, we’ll call this craft by its real name: E.S. Dan. That… okay… that’s not very intimidating.
Let’s scoot across the universe and take a look at KOS-MOS’s space coffin.
Whoops, looks like she’s up and about again.
… Ya know, once again, I want to point out that this would have been the ideal beginning of Xenosaga Episode 2. There could have been this great symmetry with KOS-MOS “reawakening” in a manner similar to the start of XS1… but… nah.
I’m no robotician, but I want to say it’s more than a little weird that KOS-MOS is working without a power supply.
And our final redesign of the game appears. She kind of has a “half finished” look… that probably would have made more sense last game. Like her shimmering hair, I want to say that this is an effort to make KOS-MOS look more “alien” and “unique”…. Or maybe transparent plastic got cheaper between games.
KOS-MOS’s space coffin transforms into a rad space motorcycle. Was… was the solitary wheel always a part of the coffin’s design? I feel like that’s something that would be hard to explain.
“Shion is calling me.”
Err… yeah, sure. Android has a psychic link across the galaxy, that’s… that’s normal.
And she motorcycles straight up and into the sky. I like to imagine that, three seconds after she crossed the atmosphere, the remaining scientists all agreed to claim Shion stole KOS-MOS and call it a day. Wilhelm would believe it.
Meanwhile, Allen’s o-face is heralding the end of us all.
But KOS-MOS (who is apparently faster than light on that thing) is here to help!
Oh, this ship isn’t only a Transformer, it’s a Combiner.
KOS-MOS forms the head… and we’ve got a defender of the universe! Meet the ES Dinah.
And it comes with its own X-Buster! Say good night, Danny Boy.
But ES Dan just teleports away like a jerk. Wait, I thought teleporting was a no-go in this universe…
I should really go back and tally up all the times KOS-MOS saved the party, particularly Shion.
At least she’s grateful.
Hey, I know that voice!
Yep, by sheer plot-guided coincidence, the Elsa just happened to be in the neighborhood. … Does this mean KOS-MOS didn’t have to show up after all? Eh, let’s not think about it too hard.
Welcome to the new and improved Elsa! The bridge is mostly the same, but everything else about the Elsa is shiny and new.
And there are a bunch of NPC robots talking about stuff that hasn’t even been introduced by the game yet. Slow down, Cinzano!
I like that MOMO and Ziggy just hang out together. MOMO is probably describing a really convoluted plot from Sailor Moon Crystal Season 2, and Ziggy is just patiently listening and occasionally nodding.
WARNING WARNING WARNING There’s a sidequest now available over at the Elsa bar. The goal is to make a hangover cure for Captain Matthews through the power of a math puzzle, and I’d hold off on mentioning this until the proper sidequest update, but this sidequest can actually significantly affect your playthrough. Absolutely “solve” this puzzle on the first go, because if you don’t, when you finally score the ultimate attack of the game, it won’t be as great. It’s not game breaking or anything, but it’s literally the only sidequest like this in the entire game, so, fair warning.
There’s a robot in the crew quarters that apparently has been taunted by Junior. This doesn’t lead to anything, but I like that Junior is just running around messing with robots. Or one particular robot. Gotta burn that stress somehow.
Ship just got refurbished, and it’s already crawling with magic doors.
Down in the Elsa’s basement is the source of one of the worst sidequests in the game. I bring it up because I hate it so much.
Robot Academy? What’s this?
YES! Professor has officially become a member of the illustrious Elsa crew, and he’s hiding in the basement, making robots. We’ll be revisiting this esteemed scientist in his own update much later.
Assistant Scott is here, too. And, yes, he really wants to bro-down with Allen.
Alright, I’m taking bets: was it Professor or Assistant Scott that improved his tag skills between XS1 and XS2?
Anyway, hit the bridge and it’s time to reunite with the rest of the party. Everyone explains that they all have their own flimsy reasons to fly over to Old Miltia.
KOS-MOS is off in the corner, quietly sobbing since no one will acknowledge her new look.
You’ve got a little time to explore the Elsa before officially heading to Old Miltia (which is convenient if you hit the bridge first). Of note: Shion has absolutely nothing to say about Jin’s presence. This would be like if your brother showed up at your job one day, and you were just like, “yeah, that’s cool, I’ll talk to him about it later.” Oh, and you spent the entirety of two days ago sniping with your brother before running away from home…
Tired of waiting around, let’s roll.
MOMO’s entire reason for being here is her advanced navigation powers, so it’s nice to see those actually get used.
KOS-MOS is here to use her Super Obvious Detectors.
MOMO says the best path is… between a pair of black holes.
Maybe we want to choose a slightly less… suicidal route.
But Tony is all about it! Dude doesn’t even own one complete shirt, what’s he got to lose?
Everybody keep telling MOMO she’s great! She’s powered by good vibes!
This is such a bad idea.
A massive space distortion! No! It’s the gnosis here to…
Oh, it’s just a giant space base chilling between a pair of black holes.
A good question!
Great. Xenosaga found a way to stick a mandatory obstacle cave in a 3-D space.
Yeah, let’s have a space fight five feet from some black holes. I hear that worked great for Mario.
ACTION SEQUENCE (AGAIN)
The Elsa does not make out so well.
KOS-MOS would like to remind you to always wear your safety belt.
And we’ve crash landed on the space base. This should end well!
Well, we’re here anyway, time to take the giant robots out for a spin and wreck up the place.
But we’ll do that next time. One dungeon per update, folks, and the next one is a doozy.
Next time on Xenosaga: Revenge of the nobodies.