Xenosaga Episode III Part 06: Not Much of a Rescue

Previously on Xenosaga: KOS-MOS was rescued by the genuine altruism of The Brews. Also, they kinda needed her advanced weapons system to save some other humans… but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Alright, here we are in Gedalya Space. Uh… was this area identified as such at all before this moment?

The ESes are all here, and they brought technobabble!

We’ve also got some gnosis swarming the area, so keep an eye on that.

I guess we’ve already confirmed that Shion can pilot the ES Dinah by herself, so KOS-MOS decided to go outside and get some (complete lack of) air.

KOS-MOS’s tertiary weapons system (last seen during the finale of XS2… and before that during the aborted vision of the end of Old Miltia) is deployed.

This super laser completely tears through the gnosis…

But…

Not a scratch on the dome we’re trying to penetrate. Welp, guess this entire adventure has been for nothing. Who wants to go grab a porkroll?

Oh smack, I forgot about the power of believing in JRPG heroines!

… Or just turning the dial up a little more. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be more effective.

It ain’t anime until a protagonist inexplicably grows wings.

There we go! I guess that first blast was just a practice shot.

Unfortunately, the feedback (or something?) fries the tertiary weapons system. KOS-MOS herself is alright, but we won’t be able to use this planet buster ever again. Fare thee well, obvious plot device.

May as well mention this now: due to the circumstances we’ll soon experience, the party becomes “cut off” from the rest of the universe. The Brews are obviously all in their mechs, and we’ll also have Allen along for the ride… but no Miyuki. It’s never distinctly shown, but I guess there’s a deleted scene somewhere where Allen begs to have that extra seat in the ES Dinah, and Miyuki… gets left back at Fifth Jerusalem? Where she just robbed a government facility? Let’s not think about this one too hard.

I mean, Jin had an extra spot in his mech…

The hole seals up behind our heroes, and Mary and Shelley are left to mind shop. With Gaignun off being possessed by clone daddy, I guess these two are running the Kukai Foundation now. … The company will be bankrupt by Tuesday.

Well, I guess we did just determine “belief” works in this universe…

Roth and Blue Virgil are chilling back in that tomb from the intro. Hey, we might get some explanation on that in an update or so.

Never ever try to distinctly define the “assumed” family dynamics of Xenosaga. It… leads to a lot of incest.

I want to reiterate that Blue Virgil is my favorite testament by a pretty wide margin.

But Roth’s rebuttal is pretty alright, too. “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought I was talking to a transcended consciousness, and not a whiny baby.”

But here’s some real data: T-elos must destroy KOS-MOS. Hm, I suppose that is pretty obvious in retrospect…

Blue Virgil just wants to do something after two games of nothing.

Meanwhile, MOMO has determined that it’s cool if everybody wants to exit their gigantic, invincible, space-faring mechs. I mean, it’s an option, at least.

Now that everyone is on the same side of the dome, we get confirmation that the Elsa crew is just fine! Yay! Though we did have the brand new Anna lined up, just in case.

The crew descends into a comedy routine about six seconds after confirming they survived a deadly space hole.

“That way we can all be trapped inside this dome… Wait… was that the plan?”

There is all sorts of useless dialogue in this scene, but the gist of it is that the Elsa’s engines aren’t working at the moment…

So what the hell, let’s explore a dungeon.

But before that, we’re back aboard the Elsa for the first time in XS3, so let’s take a look around what will inevitably become home base. Bridge looks about the same.

The… uh… hallway? Quad? Communal area? I don’t know… Looks about the same as during XS2. We’ve got a few plates here: one save point, one shop point, and the blue-green one is for UMN diving. That’s your ticket to revisiting old dungeons.

The shop has updated for the chapter, so now everyone can upgrade their equipment.

About once a shop update you see this kind of nonsense: Jin has the choice of a sword that ups his attack by two, or he can purchase a sword that ups his attack and adds three to his evade, but it costs an extra hundred credits. No one else has this “choice”, but next chapter, it’ll be chaos or Junior with the options. It’s… a weird way to add customization to the equipment buying process. Otherwise, it’s all just “buy this chapter’s new stuff”.

“Rare Brace” sounds a lot better than it is.

Venture a little bit past the plates and you’ll encounter a Bunnie. Turns out that Captain Matthews upgraded a few of the droids around the Elsa to be Bunnie models. I’m not going to say Captain Matthews was drunk when he made this decision, but he is a boozer.

John Bunnie is helpful, and will fork over a free ES generator. He doesn’t have any more to give, but he reminds you to go hit that shop again to buy new ES equipment.

And, yep, the shop has ES items. Well, it doesn’t have any ES weapons…

But you can purchase generators, frames, CPUs, and accessories.

A quick rundown: weapons up your attack power (and sometimes change elemental affinity), frames up your HP, generators (pictured) up your EN, so you can perform more attacks per round…

CPUs let you equip more accessories…

And accessories are… accessories. Every accessory has a “slot” rating, and the better accessories take up more slots (and require better CPUs). I highly recommend buying the Sensor, as it’s an automatic “scan” command that only requires one slot. Very useful.

Oh, “accessories” are known as “discs”. Who cares? Incidentally, it doesn’t “work” like you’d expect, but it appears the ES Dinah absorbed both KOS-MOS and Shion’s inflated POW and EATK scores. This impacts special (anima) attacks, but not regular attacks.

Past the new bunnie is Cabrillo the droid. Anyone that has already played XS3 knows that Cabrillo is worse than Hitler. We’ll revisit him later.

The Elsa Diner/Bar looks about the same as XS2. And now there aren’t any math puzzles! Yay!

But there is this arcade machine. Hm. Nah, don’t really feel like playing that right now.

Like before, there’s a male and female cabin, but now the game actually recognizes the gender of your lead character and bars entry. Cute.

The men’s dorm has a droid that watches you shower. He wants to make a “legendary sword”. Freudian.

The women’s cabin houses my homeboy, Bunnie Bob. Bunnie Bob has a wife and kids and a job down at the box factory that he absolutely hates… but the game doesn’t really get into that much. He’s currently into rocks minerals.

The downstairs of the Elsa has changed quite a bit. That stupid roulette wheel from XS2 is gone, and now there’s a sort of universal command center.

It can project a hologram of the universe. That should come in handy for at least one cutscene.

The Professor and Assistant Scott still have Robot Academy downstairs, but it’s changed around a little bit (and lost the rad urban motif). Oh, hey, looks like Dark Professor is still around and mailing postcards.

Dark Professor’s general dark-professorness is introduced here during the first act of the game… and it won’t pay off until just about the finale. Odd choice.

Also, this is where the “where to look” clue is dropped. Remember this for fifteen hours from now!

I can’t believe this information will eventually be relevant.

Assistant Scott is milling about Robot Academy, just, ya know, assisting and stuff.

The familiar consoles of Robot Academy are located here. Scott’s terminal allows you to read up on a sidequest that won’t be available for a little while, while Professor Hikari’s console will give you information on Erde Kaiser models. Too bad we don’t have any giant robots yet.

Inches away is a hidden –golden- Segment Address Door. It requires Key #9, which is mandatory at this point in the game (it’s a 100% drop from the monster at the end of the last update). Behind this shiny door is…

Erde Kaiser! What the hell!?

Yep, we just earned Erde Kaiser. Check Professor’s console to confirm the data on our first Erde Kaiser.

In XS1 and XS2, we obtained pieces of Erde Kaiser, and each proper “pair” unlocked a new attack. Arms, Legs, Head, and then Complete, if you recall. Now we’re going to wind up with the same number of “attacks”, but we’re collecting individual Erde Kaisers. The EKs we saw in previous episodes are all returning (Erde Kaiser, Erde Kaiser Fury, and Dark Erde Kaiser), and eventually we’ll earn an all new Erde Kaiser (alluded to just a few moments ago). It winds up being basically the same “difference”, except now we’ve got a host of giant robots.

The downside is that each Erde Kaiser (except the final one) is now much weaker. Each EK also now has a related element, so you might get some use out of this “weak, early” Erde Kaiser because it will murder any lightning weaknesses. Good news, though, is that anyone can now summon Erde Kaiser, so you’re not limited to Shion casting these “spells”. It still winds up being based on EATK, so Shion is going to be a naturally better summoner than Ziggy, but it is convenient if you absolutely need to attack a whole enemy party on Jin’s turn.

Also, since I maxed Shion and MOMO’s ETAK… well, don’t think much is going to survive that.

Beyond Robot Academy is the hangar that holds the ESes.

There’s also a small room in this area that is home to KOS-MOS’s space coffin. I guess that makes this her bedroom?

Getting flashbacks to Xenogears’ Yggdrasil here. That’s probably intentional.

Oh, and if you want, you can hit that blue-green plate from earlier and revisit a few locations. So far, our only choices are the opening hacker dungeon, the beach, and the Testing Grounds from last update.

But feel free to go back to any area and open some segment doors. You’re not going to find a giant robot, though.

Alright, that’s everything to see in the Elsa. Let’s hit the launch elevator and get this plot rolling again. Incidentally, the clock is at 4:46.

I’m not certain why or how this particular stop was chosen, but here we are at some indistinct spot on Floating Landmass. I guess this is where the Elsa crashed?

This is our first ES dungeon, and… it’s a cave. Everybody ready for some spelunking?

There are droneish little bots floating around, so, naturally, combat. Your first battle grants a little tutorial on “chains”.

Basically, if you keep hitting an enemy, occasionally another party mech will join in and add an extra hit. It’s fundamentally an excuse to chain the weaker attacks to stronger attacks, as opposed to just using strong attacks all the time. It’s also fairly random, and, in at least one boss battle, might get you killed. Remind me to bring that up a whole heck of a lot later (I won’t forget… I won’t ever forget…).

Anyway, this entire dungeon is stocked with monsters that are numerous, but kind of weak. In general, you should be able to put down at least one drone per turn. I guess the “lesson” here is to properly manage your engine reserves so you use the most attacks per round, but it’s remarkably straightforward.

Unrelated to anything, XS3 is one of those games that grants full EXP to the active party, and then partial EXP to anyone on the sidelines. During an on-foot battle, you’ve got four people in reserve to your three person active party, but almost everyone participates in an ES battle. Jin is the only non-double, so there’s probably some min/maxing trick to always having him be the reserve ES, so the other six people in the party soak up all that valuable EXP. Or it doesn’t matter at all. I don’t know.

The start of this dungeon is basically just hallways. Woo blasting rocks.

As you can see, we now have generators that are capable of allowing more than one attack per round. This makes ES battles more interesting than during the Margulis battle, but it’s still basically a matter of going from weakest attack to strongest (and maybe toss the middle one… let’s see here… in the middle?).

Even in these cramped hallways, it’s not that difficult to back attack the drones, so try to do that. ESes do seem to move faster on the overworld than in XS2, at least.

Okay, I need to get this out of my system. You see that? That’s the second and main area of this cave dungeon. We’re going to be scaling that cliff side. Notice anything else about this capture? Yes, you will note that the ES Dinah is naturally hovering. That’s because it can fly. Xenosaga has been pretty smart thus far about having dungeons that had ceilings, but this is some classic Xenogears “why can’t we just fly up” nonsense, and it bugs me every single time.

And here’s a geocrystal. This one is just chilling off in some corner, but its indestructability will become an issue shortly.

Go up a little, and we discover the gimmick of this area. The only way to break a geocrystal is to drop another geocrystal on top of it. In this case, we’re just doing it for giggles, but later…

Since we’ve got to fight these drones up and down this mountain, the anima gauge fills pretty quickly, and you’ll have ample opportunity to utilize special attacks. Unfortunately, none of the special attacks hit any more than one enemy, and the monsters go down after one round anyway… so there isn’t much incentive here to “waste” your anima gauge on these flunkies. At least you get extra EXP…

Here we go with some straight up gobbledygook. Despite the fact that your party could easily hover around that geocrystal, apparently you have to navigate a giant, stupid maze to find a geocrystal to roll over this obstruction. Ugh.

The nearby cave leads to a path that will eventually get us where we need to go, but there are a number of branches and forks. Combine this with the fact that this dungeon could best be described as “nondescript cave”, and we’re in a NES style “have I already been here” labyrinth. It’s not completely horrible, since at least monsters don’t respawn, but it still seems poorly designed.

Where am I? I sure don’t know.

One path leads to an ES treasure. Equip immediately for extra HP. Yay!

Another path allows you to shatter a geocrystal, but not the geocrystal you want to shatter.

However, if, after completing this area, you make the trek aaaaaaall the way back down, you’ll get a prize. See that lil’ tiny icon? Come back later.

Is this the same place as the last screenshot?

Hey, here’s a chain in action. Yay for party members helping out and not just standing there motionless!

One path leads to a dead end. Now you’re actively trying to waste my time, XS3.

Alright, cool, geocrystal to push. We’re done with this place.

And… it falls and misses. Dammit!

More cavery.

Here we go, final stop.

Nailed it! Good! Now we don’t have to do that again.

Shion arbitrarily credits KOS-MOS with pushing a rock. Gotta keep that positive reinforcement rolling.

Thankfully, the game automatically deposits you back at the entrance to the maze area, so you don’t have to get lost on the way back (or maybe everybody flew down just to annoy me).

But you still have to double back to fish out that treasure I mentioned earlier.

Return this Rough Geocrystal to Bunnie Bob (he has the cutest kids) at the end of the game, and you’ll acquire a super weapon. Miss this part entirely, and, when it’s relevant in fifteen hours, you’ll have absolutely no idea where to look. Your choice.

There’s also a red segment door down here. It’s not gold, so I’m not going to remember it at all.

And now back up the path. Argh.

After many battles, all that remains is this cave at the top.

Uh, a cave?

Man, if MOMO were capable of sarcasm, she’d be my favorite character right now.

Can you see the writing on the wall? And did Junior just reveal he’s Jewish?

Or maybe not.

“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.”

MOMO actually comes up with the translation.

Or maybe she’s not actually translating it.

This was in the Y-Data? Jesus, those Gideon guys can stick a Bible anywhere.

And laser outta nowhere!

Hey, it’s an unfriendly scorpion looking mech. I swear we’ve seen this somewhere before.

Right, it’s Blue Virgil’s ES Nephtali.

Keep in mind, for the party, that was like ten minutes a year ago. I guess you remember a jerkass in a blue cloak.

Blue Virgil must be in a sharing mood.

Either that or his mask was getting hot. Probably a lot of moisture in this cave.

“That guy I knew for like a half hour a year ago on that ship that exploded and killed everybody!”

Virgil, are you… heiling?

Yeah, ya know, no one ever tries to steal these mechs that have the strength of entire armies…

Though I guess it isn’t much of a thing if you have a better ES.

Hey, no fair shooting before we get into an actual battle!

“Wait, Lieutenant! You’re right! It’s true th-that… that was—“

Shion is trying to apologize for that whole “my robot killed you” thing…

But Virgil isn’t having it. I do appreciate that Shion just immediately assumes Virgil is out for revenge, and not working on secret orders from an immortal Vector executive.

“We were doing that before you started shooting at us!”

I guess the letters make their cutie marks glow or something?

Everyone is confused, and Virgil taunts the party some more. I’m glad someone is finally saying, “Did you ever wonder where special attacks actually come from?”

“It’s quite simple! That is the kind of place this is, to those Vessels of Anima that you’re using.”

Well, that explains nothing.

Thank you.

We have literally two doctors in the party! And Junior can kinda read Hebrew!

Alright, for real boss fight time. The gimmick du jour involves your anima gauge going haywire all battle. Don’t worry about it too much, and unload when it’s full.

ES Nephtali isn’t much of a thing. He’s your first real ES boss, and, since you don’t have that many options at this point, the battle is basically confirmation that you’ve learned to chain attacks (and you had plenty of practice across the dungeon).

May as well throw ES Dinah’s special attack at the dork.

It’s more like annoyance!

After Virgil’s little interlude there, it’s probably a good idea to defend. He’s about to unleash this crazy laser barrage, so you’ll want to be prepared.

I’m a cheater with practically unlimited resources, but this is a reminder that, unlike XS2, you can now use items to heal during an ES battle.

MOMO with the kill. Or was it Ziggy? One of ‘em.

Then why are we about to get EXP, hm?

Yay! Ziggy learned choke! That’s going to come in handy.

Yeah, three against one doesn’t exactly seem fair.

She’s a doctor!

“No, you’re dead. Yo’ mama’s dead!”

And a familiar voice descends from the heavens.

White Testament meets the party for the first time. Well, he meets the party for the first time wearing a mask, at least.

Virgil? You have like two weeks seniority over Albedo, tops.

I think testaments get bored easily. Incidentally, this scene is a perfect echo of the end of the ES Simeon battle back at The Song of Nephilim.

Junior is not going to spend two episodes sussing out the identity of this testament.

Albedo just ignores him. I guess he’s not in a talking mood for once.

And… something is yanked out of the ES Nephtali.

That’s what those things look like.

Oh yeah, I guess the party doesn’t actually get to view the scan data, so they had no idea Albedo and Virgil were piloting ES craft.

Divorced from its vessel, the Nephtali collapses into a heap. I guess we won’t have to fight that thing again.

Also, for future reference, that’s one vessel out of twelve. That count will pick up again later.

And, without so much as a wave, Virgil and Albedo leave on Albedo’s ES, the Vessel of Anima in tow.

But… stuff is still happening?

“That’s what I tried to tell you! Like I said before, that’s the kind of place this is. Oh well. Good luck figuring it out!”

Virgil, you’re still not helping.

And the ESes shut down.

Guess we’re hoofing it.

“That’s how JRPGs work, Shion. I’ve played a lot of them.”

So, yes, the rest of this dungeon is sans-ES. Just as well, Ziggy’s legs had gone into sleep mode.

Oh, this looks promising. Everybody loves ancient architecture and incongruous shops and savepoints.

And I’m going to call it at 5:21. ES dungeon down, now it’s time for the on-foot portion. What secrets await us here? Find out next time!

Next time on Xenosaga: Legends of the Hidden Temple.

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  1. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode III Part 21: Jesus, Mary, and Gnosis | Gogglebob.com

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