Xenosaga Episode III Part 04: True Rumors

Previously on Xenosaga: KOS-MOS met Omega. Specifically, she met Omega’s death laser. It didn’t go well.

Though if you want the official word, there it is.

We’re picking up exactly where we left off, lingering around Juli Mizrahi’s room. We have to walk our asses over to the Vector wing of the weapons testing facility, and it wouldn’t hurt to get used to the layout of this area now. And acquire a few treasures while we’re at it.

Shion has to walk through the official government viewing area to get anywhere. This seems like a poor design for the building, but it is a fine excuse to overhear random government officials milling about. Or ignore them. Whatever.

Monorail #4 will get us… like 60% of the way there. Who designed this place?

On the way over, Shion is distracted by a random AGWS standing guard.

Another reminder that the gnosis are a tremendous threat to the galaxy, so anti-gnosis weaponry is just everywhere (important people are).

Um… was this Shion’s AGWS from Episode 1? I… don’t remember. I think we only saw it once. … Nope, just checked. That one was red.

Still some more facility to wander through. There is much discussion about that Roth Montel character. This is going to happen a lot this update…

Almost there! And… Allen keeps a photo of Shion on his desk? Makes sense, I keep pictures of all my former bosses on my desk. Ah, Manager Hank… memories…

It isn’t just Allen, when Shion finally hits Vector property proper, everybody immediately acknowledges Shion as “chief”.

D’aww. Hey, is this Togashi guy single?

“Can’t you just use a few med kits on her? That usually works for me.”

The nostalgia train is running on time! Shion talking to KOS-MOS’s coffin like the good ol’ days.

Hey, how do you think Kevin feels? Everybody thinks he’s dead.

Shion decides to go mope elsewhere, and take the six monorails back to her hotel room.

But first, Allen has something to say!

Allen asks Shion out on a date… and she says yes! Okay, don’t get too excited, folks, this happened back at the Kukai Foundation during Episode 1, and that date got cancelled on account of Allen being a weenie.

Shion just woke up like a half hour ago!

Shion leaves, Roth enters. Maybe Shion and Roth are the same person!

Now, Togashi, be nice.

Oh, wait, never mind.

Consider the scenario that Roth is secretly Kevin (because he is), here is a guy that is not only gloating about his KOS-MOS Mk. 2, he’s also mocking…

… And firing his entire former staff. That’s a special kind of dick right there. Also, the love of Shion’s life.

“You’re all fired, and KOS-MOS is being tossed in the garbage. And your fat mother is known for her legendary promiscuity. Toodles!”

Allen reads Roth’s order… or… something? Anyway, it’s all legit, KOS-MOS (and everybody else) is done.

Sorry, no Episode 4 for you, KOS-MOS.

Ya know, if 120 star systems just blinked out of existence, there probably is kind of a run on raw materials…

But that’s about where the scene ends, and we’ve got control of Shion again. If you want to hit those weird little sidequests, feel free to do that now.

Or head back to Shion’s room, where she reveals that her spiffy viewing glasses secretly recorded the whole T-elos demo. Also the KOS-MOS battle, but she’s keeping that video to herself… for… some… reason…

Amusingly enough, Shion only seems capable of calling T-elos “This T-weapon”. That’s a far cry from her best friend, the robot that looks just like “it”.

Even Doctus of Scientia, an organization dedicated to exposing Vector’s lies, is like, “Hey, maybe Vector isn’t behind every bad thing in the universe, Shion.” Shion isn’t hearing it.

So remember the hack job from the opening of the game? Apparently they didn’t score much new evidence except some info on a mysterious “keyword: Canaan”. I wonder if that has anything to do with anyone we know. Like, ya know, Canaan.

“It’s… a looking program? …. We got nothing.”

If you paid any attention to Pied Piper, you know the exact origin of “Program Canaan” and how it’s been operating for the last hundred years. If you missed that cell phone game, this is just another mystery for the pile.

Doctus makes some jape about charging for the Canaan data, but walks it back when she admits that she’s curious now, too. It’s probably because she wants to bone the Realian.

As Doctus signs off, a ghost decides to swing on in. I guess this is our first confirmation after A Missing Year that Nephilim is still “active” (and not just chilling in cyberspace with her ghost dad). Also, presumably thanks to the events of AMY, Shion is a lot more chummy with our favorite lil’ haunter.

Unfortunately, Nephilim does not reciprocate the comradery, and continues talking in cryptic riddles.

Nephilm distinctly notes that Daddy Grimoire is dead-dead (and not just ghost-dead), but… things haven’t gotten any better. Oops?

“A certain being is leading this universe to destruction.” My money is on Allen.

Okay, something clever is happening here. Remind me to talk about it later. Anyway, apparently just like Grimoire in AMY, one dude is just trying to make someone else happy, but is incidentally destroying the universe. Stop that.

Wait, I want to change my answer to “Dracula”. Dracula is usually behind this kind of thing.

Gonna pin all your hopes on the year-old robot? Hey, at least Nephy is using proper nouns.

“Ghost girl OUT!”

“Did I remember to install that? Dammit.”

Well, if we’re going to have talking heads, they may as well be talking heads in scenic locations. Here are Nephilim and chaos hanging out on the edge of some building. Maybe Shion’s hotel? We only have models for so many places.

Nephilim reveals that she’s not an asshole like we’ve all assumed, but is deliberately cryptic because she doesn’t want to break Shion’s heart with the truth. Whatever gets you through the day, red.

“I remember when Junior told me my little shorts looked stupid. I… may have cried.”

“So go back there and tell her the truth.” “Nah, one visit a day.”

… Eaten by weevils? Details, woman!

“What if that’s inevitable? My existence and yours… may be an inevitable part of this world where all things flow to a certain point. If our reason for existing is that we are meant to exist…”

… What?

Or worlds, as the case may be.

Again, with dialogue like this, and the Yeshua thing from Episode 2, there is strong evidence that chaos was intended to be Jesus very late into the franchise’s development, but somebody chickened out at the last minute. I guess there were just two Yeshuas hanging around Jerusalem talking about the power of Man and whatnot.

Garden of Gethsemane, guys.

Or, put another way, chaos. Ya know, it’s nice to have a clear good guy that opposes order for a change. (And guess how I play SMT games.)

Meanwhile, we’re off to Canaan and Juli Mizrahi discussing Roth. He’s the talk of the town!

We already know that Yuriev knows nothing about Roth either, but Canaan and Juli agree that Yuriev likely just doesn’t care about anything but T-elos.

Anywho, back to rescuing the Elsa, since nobody else seems to care. The general consensus is that Omega could puncture space/time and save the boys… and that’s it. Sorry, it’s hard to find a phase transfer cannon in this economy.

Omega isn’t exactly available for rentals.

Oh, but KOS-MOS! KOS-MOS could get this done! Yay KOS-MOS!

Except that’s probably illegal, too…

But, hey, if they’re tossing her in the trash anyway…

Canaan admits that he was basically built for espionage like robot-stealing. That isn’t strictly accurate…

Meanwhile, Margulis is worshipping at the altar of Heinlein, who, again, is telling Margulis to sit this plot out.

Specifically, Margulis wants Omega back, but Heinlein isn’t having it. Legitimately, Proto Omega did get the last Ormus leader into a spot of trouble.

“Seriously, dude, lay off. I got this.”

That would be the name of the last Space Pope… which was never actually mentioned during Episode 2.

“Seriously, just take the rest of the act off. We’ll call you when it’s time to invade Michtam.”

Unlike with Space Pope, Margulis does seem to genuinely follow Heinlein, and is willing to be sent to bed without any dessert.

Meanwhile again, Wilhelm and Red Testament shout riddles at each other.

Shion… truth… searching… it’s basically the bizarro version of the Nephilim/chaos conversation.

chaos believes in a world of infinite possibilities and “not just one future”, Wilhelm is all about one, limited world, and getting everything you can grab within those confines. Have you picked up on these guys maybe being rivals?

I guess T-elos has a dream buster?

Speaking of broken dreams, now Allen has to tell Shion that KOS-MOS is not only cancelled, she’s literally getting melted down for spare parts.

Juli swings on by. She always likes seeing Allen. She thinks he has a weird face. Reminds her of a rodent she cared for as a child.

“I have her number memorized in six different languages, ma’am.”

“I’m going to need you to construct a life-sized, styrofoam KOS-MOS decoy…”

Back at the hotel, Shion is talking to Doctus again. There isn’t any info on what Shion was doing after talking to Nephilim, but I’m pretty sure she was hanging out in the hotel lobby, holding a sign that said “Will perform odd jobs for double techs.” There were no takers.

So, shocker, there’s no information anywhere on Roth. We already knew this from the last update!

“Or he’s your undead fiancée. Or maybe both?”

But Doctus has a lead…

Apparently T-elos’s space coffin (she has to have one, right?) may have been on a Hyams transport ship.

As we know from like one line of dialogue in Episode 2, Hyams is a business front for Ormus/U-TIC, so bad guys are involved! Gasp!

Or it’s all a feint. Do we need this much intrigue surrounding Dark KOS-MOS and her creator? (Answer: No.)

Like everybody else in this universe, let’s talk about Roth for a hot minute. First of all, I want to chastise this series of scenes (going back to last update, incidentally), because basically everyone, good guys and bad guys alike, are talking about how Roth is such a mystery and who could he beeeee? They’re whacking you over the head with “pay attention to this new character, he’s not just some rando we introduced at the last minute, he’s important, dammit!” and dragging in a new, unnecessary mystery with his introduction as well.

Personally, this kind of thing drives me nuts, particularly in our current inject-all-media-as-quickly-as-possible society. Like, it’s cool that you want to make Roth a secret, XS3, but we’re going to solve this mystery inside of a few hours, and you know some jerkass on the internet is posting a topic on Gamefaqs right now that says “Wow, who expected Roth to be Kevin” (maybe even I’m that jerkass). It’s a weird kind of problem, but “simple” cliffhangers like “who’s that guy” really don’t work in an environment where the solution is just a few hours away. Trying to explain six seasons of Lost is complicated, but revealing “who died at the end of season 4” takes all of twelve seconds.

And, to be clear, I’m not saying mysteries are bad, simply that when the answer is short and simple (Roth is Kevin), don’t act like it’s a big deal.

But something clever does happen during these scenes.

First of all, if you’re really paying attention, you know Red Testament/Kevin is Roth, or at least that Roth is working for Wilhelm. If you include Margulis whining about Omega (and, by extension, Roth and T-elos), Wilhelm and Red Testament are the “team” that doesn’t ask who this mysterious Roth could be. At this point, you may have already guessed that “the princess” from the first scene is now T-elos (uh, we’ll get into that later), but the simple fact that Wilhelm and Red-T don’t seem to care about Roth (when everyone else does) speaks volumes about their prior knowledge (and Wilhelm’s skill as a manipulator). It’s the old “when the answer to the riddle is elephant, what’s the one word you can’t use?” These guys are the elephant.

But the really cool bit is Nephilim. Nephilim is on Team Omnipotent, so she knows what’s going on, and, naturally, knows Roth’s identity. That whole “there is a person that wants to save one person but is going to destroy the universe doing it” bit? She’s talking about Roth, too. If you want to get all multiple personality, she’s talking about Kevin. And, technically, she’s talking about the overarching theme of this entire episode. We’ll obviously talk about that more towards the end of the game, but it’s a clever bit of plotting that Nephy basically reveals to Shion/the player the entire reasoning for everything that happens for the complete game.

So it’s a dumb mystery that involves too much setup for very little payoff, but there’s at least one ingenious bit in there. That’s more than most plots can boast.

Aaaaaaand Miyuki jumps into the chatroom.

Just in time to present the data on Suou Uzuki.

ARE YOU GETTING THE IMPRESSION THERE’S A THEME FOR THIS UPDATE?

Roth Montel! … I mean… Suou Uzuki! Sorry, forgot which mystery we were dealing with for a minute.

So Papa Uzuki was the government appointed inspector for U-TIC. Just a reminder: U-TIC wasn’t wall-to-wall bad guys at Suou’s time, but it’s pretty much assumed they’re still responsible for Old Miltia getting sucked into a big ol’ double blackhole. One way or another, Suou was in pretty deep with the wrong people.

Miyuki tries to help…

By noting that Suou might not have been evil, just incompetent enough to accidentally wipe out an entire planet.

Shion takes Miyuki’s… consolation in stride, and, again, claims that it doesn’t bother her. Nope. Not bothering Shion at all. Noooo sirreeee.

Shion is firmly in the “my father is responsible for the deaths of millions” camp. But it doesn’t bother her! Just, ya know, a thing that happens.

And Allen is calling! Great timing, slick!

Really great timing!

Later, Shion wakes up to Allen. She stops screaming after about three minutes.

Again, Shion knows exactly what is happening in this relationship, and is having a harder and harder time brushing it off.

And, again, Shion experiencing headaches that literally knock her unconscious for hours is explained with, “Ya know, been working a lot.”

“I had to ride like seventeen monorails!”

“Something about saving the digital life of… KAN-MAN? I may have written this down wrong…”

In a startling display of caring for Allen, Shion notes that talking to Juli on the Durandal will unfortunately cancel their date. I know this sounds kind of “washing my hair”, but remember that an eight hour (round trip) elevator ride is involved.

But Shion, perhaps just happy that someone came rushing to her aid when she was passed out on the hotel room floor, suggests they go out for their date now. Like, now-now.

After all those cutscenes, you’ve got control of Shion again, but it’s a fake, you’ll be back to cutscene land the minute you step on the elevator.

Date time at the park! I hope Allen used the right leftover ingredients to score extra relationship points.

“Not as nice as that private beach I was on two days ago, but it’s good.”

“I was going to order half the menu just to see the look on your face.”

Allen… tries to be smooth? Yeah, good luck with that.

I guess… they’re just eating ham? Like… ham snacks? Thought they were eating crepes or something, but, no this is just a glorious future where a young couple can swing into the local hammery for a heaping helping of hamdingers.

Déjà vu, dude.

This is the logical end point of all philosophy. Ham.

Aaaand the moment is over, she’s talking about her ex. Pack it in, Allen, you’re done.

“I… Really don’t need to hear about this, Chief.”
“I understand, Allen. Anyway, Kevin Kevin Kevin Kevin Kevin…”

Here’s this dummy that will certainly never enjoy delicious ham.

Doctus apparently has a stealth mode, and I guess it’s just a reminder that Ziggy had the ability to turn invisible for like six seconds back in Episode 1 and then it was never mentioned again.

Doctus is on to you, Canaan!

Or… Canaan has no idea what she’s talking about.

Doctus wants to interrogate Canaan about Program Canaan, but he’s got no clue what’s going on here. Really, Canaan, your own name isn’t in your database?

Apparently!

So Doctus, now convinced Canaan is on the up-and-up after thirty seconds of questioning, hands over all her information on Project Canaan. Maybe she’s not naïve, just really lazy, and wants someone else to continue the research.

Yeah, she doesn’t seem like the trusting type.

The following morning, let’s make it 100% clear that Shion went to bed alone.

So now you really can re-explore Fifth Jerusalem if you so desire. Look at this great… hotel hallway? Wow.

The elevator to space exists exclusively for Shion, even if the Durandal is now parked up there, and it has a crew on par with the population of a small town.

See? There it is.

We saw chaos earlier. KOS-MOS is being turned into Pepsi cans. We’ve got Shion, Junior, MOMO, Ziggy… I feel like we’re forgetting somebody.

Ah, yes. Also recall that Shion distinctly asked about Jin and his Elsa exploits, let’s see here… two nights back.

So everybody heads to the bridge (didn’t this ship used to have a meeting room? … Wait, maybe no one wants to go back there after it became a makeshift prison cell), and Juli, Canaan, and Miyuki are waiting there. What? Did Helmer have a hair appointment?

“She could be used for so many purposes! Like… uh… Can I have her?”

Junior gives a rundown of the whole “Elsa trapped in a space hole” thing. Didn’t chaos already cover this before?

Basically, if too much time passes, the Elsa will wind up stuck in phase space. That’s where gnosis come from, so it’s probably not too hospitable.

And, naturally, Shion immediately realizes that KOS-MOS is the secret to saving the Elsa. Good job, hero, Canaan figured that out yesterday.

Ziggy has tennis lessons later with MOMO (they’re going to play doubles!),so he cuts to the chase: let’s steal KOS-MOS!

Shion resolves to commit this crime against Vector and rescue her robo-daughter/friend… for the good of the Elsa. Sure.

Man, Shion just woke up, how are going to kill enough time to make it night again?

Yes!

That’s the stuff!

Allen was watching over Shion in the Durandal medbay, and now it’s Jin’s turn. The men in Shion’s life are… subtle.

I always feel like these two should have more to talk about…

“Yeah, I couldn’t believe that you were lounging around a beach for the last six months and not meddling.”

“Remember when you were like five and made that random passerby water flowers for you? You’re a born meddler.”

"Being human, having your health. That’s what matters"

And Jin leaves an herbal remedy behind for Shion. He doesn’t draw any attention to it. Just leaves it there. Dork.

Off the Durandal, back to town.

Juli gets about ten seconds of character development when she notes she might be a little conflicted about the whole “building doomsday weapons” thing.

And admits that she’s doing it in the name of her late, potentially crazy husband. Fun fact: the entire reason he got into trouble was he was building doomsday weapons.

“I have determined KOS-MOS is more than a weapon in the thirty seconds we spent together on screen.”

“Unlike the human-based Realians, KOS-MOS is composed entirely of machines. How much real difference do you think there is between the bundles of protein that make us, and the machines that compose her? We’re both a wave that makes up this universe. The only difference is the number of ripples. I think if we have hearts and minds, then it’s evident that she would have them as well.”

So KOS-MOS is more human… because she’s not a Realian? Huh?

“Well, I was talking to this ghost yesterday and… Oh, never mind.”

“Believe in your own private doomsday bot. One robo-mom to another.”

Junior warns Shion (you) to finish all your business in town and stock up on supplies. It won’t be a real issue, but this is the last chance to complete those whacky Fifth Jerusalem sidequests. When you’re all done, hit the hotel again to start the mission.

Second warning to make sure you’re equipped for an incoming dungeon. Again, it absolutely won’t matter.

On the way through the Space Port, make sure to check out Porte, a little girl that immediately identified Allen as useless. Awesome.

I am so damn ready for this incessant series of “town updates” to end that I made a beeline for Allen at the hotel. Oh, he has a tutorial for us!

Here’s the Skill Line for Xenosaga Episode 3. It’s really straightforward: you learn four skills per node, and each node requires progressively more skill points. As you might expect, skill points (SP) distribution becomes a lot more generous as the game progresses, so, while we’ve only got 36 SP after the entire first dungeon, we’ll earn that much SP in a single battle in later areas.

The three kinds of skills you’ll learn are Ether Skills, which are predominantly ether (magic) based, Tech Skills, which are generally based on physical stats, and Abilities, which automatically “equip” and upgrade your stat parameters.

Each character has two different branches that predominantly focus on one objective. Shion’s upper branch grants a lot of support and healing skills, while her lower branch is more about offensive ethers and techs. As another example, Ziggy’s two branches are based on either doing HP damage or Break damage. As you can just about see in the shot above, once you completely finish a branch (which won’t happen until a lot of the game is completed), you’ll earn a special “mystery” skill that is supposed to exemplify the branch. For most characters, that winds up being some “kill you all” ether or tech.

And, in one of those weird ways that gameplay and plot comingle poorly, Allen gives Shion all of his skill points. Those are transferred by… Nope, not thinking about it.

When you’re ready to rescue KOS-MOS, tell Allen it’s time, and we’ll fast forward to the espionage hour.

I already said we were!

“I think we can handle basic dungeon protocol, Allen.”

I never get tired of the fact that Junior arbitrarily can’t stand Allen. You make one racist comment…

Aw, Shion actually seems to be respecting Allen. The power of ham!

Actually, I feel like we do, because we’re going to stop this update here.

Next time on Xenosaga: Stealth is for poor people.

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  1. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode III Part 09: Shion Through the Ages | Gogglebob.com

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