Xenosaga Episode III Part 15: Back to Reality

Previously on Xenosaga: Wow, here we are, last disc of the last Xenosaga game. Let’s reminisce about the past. Like when Shion summoned the gnosis into this universe 15 years ago? Or when Shion summoned Abel’s Ark 15 minutes ago? Good times, good times.

So, uh, would anyone be mad if I just skipped this update? Move ahead a LP chapter, and just ignore this bit that is going to be wall-to-wall talking heads? Is anybody still reading this thing? Can I just LP Chrono Cross for an update and see if anybody notices?

Like, okay, Abel’s Ark showed up, we already know this.

And I suppose there’s some debate over what’s fantasy and reality from the last update. There’s nothing more interesting than watching your heroes try to figure out what the hell just happened.

For all the running around since the tomb adventure, we’re still in the exact same spot. Metaphor.

Again, chaos distinctly pointed out that it was all a simulation during the last update, but I guess The Brews were distracted.

And, for the slow kids in the back, again, this was all a bad guy plan to summon Abel’s Ark through Shion’s sheer shionness.

Oh, yes! Something might actually happen!

Shockwaves are pretty!

Looks like Abel’s Ark is getting out of here.

Bye Abel’s Ark! Bye Old Imaginary Miltia!

GOOD! MORE TALKING!

That loud squealing noise is the plot grinding down to “construction ahead” speeds.

Let’s explain something you probably forgot was even happening! Remember, like, twelve billions hours ago when it was established that entire solar systems are blinking out of existence?

Well, that phenomenon has picked up a bit, and all of humanity is in danger. This would probably be more significant if we had visited more than two planets this entire franchise.

And it turns out the cause of this strife is that planets that wind up in Abel’s Ark’s wake are disappeared. AA was completely hidden, but now we can see it (and the damage it causes).

Sure! Let’s go with that!

So since we know Zarathustra is on Planet Michtam, we’ve got an idea on where to go.

Though you may recall there’s a literal war being fought over Michtam right now. I was going to make a crack about comparing this to finding out some weird, mythological monster is headed right for Iraq in modern times, but then I realized this whole stupid thing is probably supposed to be a metaphor for the last thousand or so years of war over “The Holy Land” in reality. Subtle, Xenosaga.

So let’s check in with current Federation leader/constant asshole, Yuriev.

Ya know, we just had that whole stupid past sequence to flesh out Mizrahi as a human being, but now we’re right back to quoting the dude like he was some all-knowing sage. Way to undermine stuff we learned ten minutes ago.

Who is Abel, pilot of Omega and a kid that presumably has something to do with Abel’s Ark? Yuriev is playing it close to the vest.

Abel is immortal. Yuriev is immortal. Sellers can’t use his legs. Some people are just lucky.

“Half the cast is immortal. Get over it, Strangelove.”

Abel interacts with the Zohar well. I want to say we already knew this, but it’s been hours since we last saw the kid, and the theme of this update is repeating everything, anyway.

Abel controls Omega well. I want to say we already knew this, but it’s been hours since we last saw the kid, and the theme of this update is repeating everything, anyway.

Abel’s Ark isn’t the only planet-destroyer in the area looking for Zarathustra.

When Sellers asks if you want to fight God, you say yes, Dmitri!

Meanwhile, over in ships facing the other direction.

We may have seen Young Pellegi and Young Margulis during the flashback, but it’s been a while since we saw them in the present. Mainly it’s because they’ve just been hanging out defending Michtam this entire time.

Oh man. Could someone with artistic skill sketch out Jesus being crucified, and then, I dunno, somewhere up the sky some giant, fleshy spaceship appears? Never mind, perceiving massive objects in space doesn’t work like that anyway, and I think the crucifixion took place during the day anyway.

DO YOU THINK WE MIGHT WIND UP GOING TO MICHTAM!?

Alright, yes, everyone is going to be at Michtam all at once. That should at least save us a few dungeons.

… I want to go back to not knowing what Zarathustra is…

Oh, and for anyone playing Pied Piper, here’s the confirmation that Abraxas, Ziggy’s home planet, is also known as Michtam. Xenosaga Episode 3 was absolutely not episodic itself, so it’s weird that the script held on to that little tidbit so long to obscure the PP connection.

MICHTAM! WAR! WE GET IT!

Though apparently Ormus Boss Heinlein isn’t into it. Eh, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Everybody wants to talk about U-DO, nobody wants to talk to U-DO.

U-DO is having a hard time understanding Shion. You and me both, Buddy.

This goes back to Xenosaga’s earlier mentioned thesis of “humans fear loneliness more than death”. I don’t buy it, because I’m very alone, and I only cry myself to sleep like every other day.

Shion killed that horse, and now she’s beatin’ it but good.

Shion, you have to believe in the Allen that believes in you. Wait, that sounds stupid.

Haha, obsessing over an ex-lover that has reentered your life. Way to be human, Shion.

Hey everybody, it’s Jin, the absolute last person Shion ever wants to see, ever!

Shion and Jin disagree on matters of the Kevin.

“Well, not exactly like mom. It’s hard to find an Asura unit nowadays.”

“Most of the time…”

“Come back with ice cream!”

Jin makes a comment, and KOS-MOS is like “yeah, she really is, isn’t she?”

But Jin elaborates that he’s more mad at himself than his sister. This has been a theme since… about ten minutes after Jin was introduced.

“You’re an emotionless automaton. You should be good at this.”

“Shion, there is a 90% chance that if you keep talking about your ex, someone is going to hit you.”

“There is no connection between my current systems and your life functions. Nevertheless, given that those are words from Kevin Winnicot, the system designer, we cannot be certain if they should be ignored. At the present time, I am restricted from taking actions that would jeopardize your life.”

Credit where it’s due: I love when KOS-MOS actually talks like a robot, as opposed to a “fiction robot”. Here is the data we have, we don’t know everything, draw your own conclusions.

“This is the primary reason the one called Allen Ridgeley has survived this long.”

D’aww?

“My second most important directive is to keep my six feet of hair clean and shiny at all times.”

There we go! Shion, you keep seeing what you want to see (even if it turns out to be right).

“That is dumb, Shion. You have said a dumb thing.”

Oh, now you decide to shut-up, KOS-MOS?

Aw, we’re making progress! No matter what happens, Shion, you’ve got KOS-MOS by your side, you don’t have to obsess over…

Dammit.

Oh, and you’ve always got a random ghost girl following you around, too!

Remind me to talk about this statement later! It’s important to that whole “gnosis” thing.

YES! BLESS YOU, XENOSAGA!

Nephilim chooses to ignore that comment, because she’s a polite ghost.

“I want to *thrusts hips in a suggestive manner*”

Because everything so far has been a damn picnic.

“Do you still wish to—“ “KEVIN KEVIN KEVIN!”

Huh. That was more straightforward than usual.

“Here’s what you’re supposed to do next. Abel. Got it? Go, shoo.”

“So Virgil was in love with Feb and that killed him after he exploded twice?”
“Yeah, it was a confusing couple of days.”

Reminder: universe in danger.

Yuriev’s Merkabah is heading to Michtam. U-DO DAMMIT, WE ALREADY KNOW THIS!

Hey, it’s Helmer, skyping in from Second Miltia. Been a while, dude.

Oh yeah, Abel’s Ark gulped up the Zohar during the finale of XS2. Guess we’re back to coveting that holy object.

There’s the suggestion that Yuriev wants the Zohar to win that war he seems to be fighting, but Junior knows better.

Here we are, back to the “slay God” reasoning. Junior, as we know from a few moments ago, is dead on.

“Hey, where’s Gaignun?” “Don’t think about it too hard. Literally, considering you’re telepathy bros.”

Oh, Canaan is here. Hi, Canaan.

Right, war is hell and allegory to holy wars. Now I’m getting it.

Helmer is on one of those planets about to be obliterated, and he’s resigned to his fate.

And, with a sad sign-off, the communication is cut, and it’s presumed that Helmer and all of Second Miltia dies off screen. At least we lost a planet we actually visited this time, though I am still mad about all those sidequests.

… Except, Helmer will pop back in during the ending of XS3 with absolutely no explanation, so don’t mourn too much.

Keep saying it, maybe one day it will be true.

“Are you sure you want me around? Because, you know I might call the Gnosis again, or maybe run off to join the enemy?”

There’s really no way to interpret this as anything but Shion being a jerk. These are your friends, Shion! I know you’re upset that Junior tried to shoot your fiancée, but there’s no need to be petulant.

Shion, you just found out you have a terminal disease like twenty minutes ago!

“There’s other nonsense to worry about! I didn’t level up to lie around in bed all day!”

“We still don’t believe you!”

Whatever, let’s go fight some dudes.

And thus the party… WAIT! Where’s Ziggy?! He was on the bridge, too! YOU FORGOT THE BEST CHARACTER!

Ziggy got back to the Elsa on the cool people only elevator, and everyone ships off to the Merkabah.

Hey! It’s the first freedom to move we’ve had since… I guess before we decided to raid Labyrinthos the first time. Been a long track of railroads, here.

Helmer will be fine. Everyone stop weeping.

For the curious, the “revisit” section of the last update occurs about now in “real time”. You can fly over to the Merkabah at any time after that string of cutscenes, but I think anyone would want to stretch their legs after that little deluge.

Another curiosity, the recap screen for this area confirms that the whole stupid flashback area was thanks to the machinations of Kevin, and not anyone else on Team Bad Guy. It’s kind of implied by the events, but you could maybe convince yourself it was Wilhelm without this corroboration.

Okay, picked up an Erde Kaiser, time to hit the road.

It’s going to be tough weaving into the Merkabah from here, but this ain’t R-Type, so it should be over pretty quick.

Weeeee! It’s cool that the Merkabah looks so much like the Proto Merkabah from the outside.

Yes, it’s a chaotic time for everybody.

The ESes disembark the Elsa, and zoom on in to the Tactical Warship Merkabah.

Hey! A dungeon! Remember those! Fun fact: this dungeon sucks.

First off, all the monsters of this area are boring mechs or generic soldiers. There is nothing interesting tactically or graphically about these battles.

The opening area of this dungeon is a big, wide room with a few treasure chests. Absolutely grab the EX Skill Key II, which will unlock additional available skills for all characters. It’s not completely essential, but it’s always convenient to have a few extra “heal all” spells available.

Welcome to Hell!

We’ve got our initial goal for the area.

I want to say that every dungeon in the franchise up to this point has been carefully segmented into ES and on-foot portions. Yes, there was occasionally switching between human and vehicle mode, but, by and large, you could plainly see the “this is the ES helping” versus “now we’re on foot”. In fact, nearly every ES dungeon has been ES -> ES Boss -> Walk -> Walkin’ Boss. Merkabah here is a dungeon where you’ll be constantly switching between the two modes, and it will absolutely prove why that’s terrible.

As an easy opening example, the minute you disembark at this dock, there’s a locked door, so back to the mechs.

Toward the back of the room, there’s a door.

And it leads to a conveyer belt that bars your progress. Never mind the fact that the ESes can fly, and the ES Dinah in this very screenshot is currently hovering.

Let’s try Door #2.

Yes, let’s get this over with.

This room is a series of one-way conveyer belts, and each stop hides a different prize.

You want Stop #3 to ride a whole new conveyer belt heading up.

“Fifth” floor, nonstop fun ahead.

In the center of this area is a switch that will turn on the elevator we were just told was unusable. Progress.

And now we have to use that elevator to move forward.

Back down the conveyer belts. We wind up using that one belt from earlier in its proper direction.

And we’re ready for some elevator action.

Okay, remember that spinny bit from the opening of this room? We’re inside that now, and we have to disable the locks at the north and south ends of what amounts to a giant, boring hallway.

So boring.

Yuriev soldiers are all over the place, and they’re exactly as difficult as pressing the Circle button.

There are four locks per side of this hallway area, and guess what you’re supposed to do.

Blammo.

Here’s Junior reprising his Storm Waltz from XS1 for his Level 2 Special Attack.

You’re exploring a giant centrifuge for this area, so, when you’re at either end, gravity is a little wonky. I suppose this counts as the gimmick of the dungeon.

There’s also a friendly soldier hiding in some corner. He’s here to tell you to come back later for treasure. We’re not going to do that.

Oh, there’s a decoder hiding around, too.

North side, time to blow up more stuff.

There’s a door right here, but we have to hop back into the ESes, go back to the fifth floor, flip a switch, and then come back.

Back through the giant hallway, down the elevator…

Back to the same stupid switch we used earlier.

There we go. Now the rotate-y bit stops, and we can go through that door.

Oh, and an elevator activated so we don’t have to play with the conveyer belts again. Why didn’t this happen the first time?

Go downstairs, disembark ESes, ride the elevator, back to the hallway…

There, now we can use the door on the north side. Incidentally, since the room is no longer spinning, the gravity is back to normal.

OH GOOD MORE STUFF!

As you can sorta see on that display, this area is kind of a giant honeycomb of rooms.

And a door just opened up back in the ES section of the dungeon. Next stop.

So the honeycomb area is a series of rooms that appear to be designed to confuse.

We can’t do what we’re supposed to do here yet, but we can loot the place.

There’s a decoder, and a separate decoder door hiding in this maze-ish area.

The door hides a Sweet Pain, a necklace that increases your boost gauge. Since the boost gauge is shared among party members, it’s a good idea to stick that one on someone that is constantly in your party.

But for now, it’s time to leave the honeycomb, go down the hallway, take the elevator, and reboard the ESes.

Here is that area on the fifth floor that opened up earlier.

And it’s a stupid collection of floors connected by one-way elevators. Ugh.

Get through that, and you’ll find the room that is generating those forcefields upstairs.

Blast ‘em good!

And beyond the room is…

Dammit! Fun fact: we won’t actually ever make it through this door. Well, at least I won’t. I’ll talk about it later.

Back up the other side of the stupid elevator room…

Back to the main elevator…

And a short jog back to the honeycomb room.

Now that the forcefields are down, you must eliminate every generator in every room. Every. Single. One. If you miss one, welp, good luck figuring out which room you missed.

After that deed is done, we can hop on this really pretty bridge and move forward.

And we found… Sellers?

Fun fact: nobody in the party has met Sellers. We kinda saw him from a distance during the past segment, but I guess Jin knows him from back in the day when he used to date Margulis Pellegri.

Sellers: Mercenary Mad Scientist.

“I know you are, but what am I?”

Sellers was playing it cool for a minute there, but then he starts whining about how he’ll never be Joachim Mizrahi: greatest scientist ever. Despite the obvious opening, MOMO doesn’t say a word.

Yes, let’s finish this update before we’re all dead.

Sellers retorts with “Ya know, you really should know this one.”

There we go: Junior finally learns that Yuriev has been possessing Gaignun all this time. I guess Junior didn’t feel like using that ol’ psychic link at any point in the last year.

And Sellers additionally blabs about Gaignun and Citrine being designed to kill Junior.

“And Gaignun was designed to be Yuriev’s new body. Are you writing this down?”

This… where the hell did this come from? There have been like a combined five minutes in this entire plot dedicated to the UMN teleportation experiments (specifically mentioned during the opening of XS2), and now we’re supposed to know the significance of “the original Salvator”? For anyone that doesn’t religiously read the in-game wiki for Xenosaga, the “big reveal” here is that Yuriev is the original 1% that survived UMN teleportation experiments a few hundred years ago. The characters understand the significance of this plot point, but I’m not sure the player has a chance.

And, yes, as we already sorta know, that means Yuriev directly encountered U-DO, which caused him to have a feargasm, and he’s been trying to commit deicide ever since.


And he picked up the useful ability to “teleport” his consciousness into other bodies. Depending on how you interpret fictional teleportation, this makes a certain kind of sense. If a body is destroyed on one end, and then reassembled as a “new” life form on the other, then that’s a short trip to “consciousness can hop around other bodies”. There… was probably a Star Trek episode about that.

And, yes, to slay God, he’s going to need those Zohar Emulators that Junior conveniently collected during XS1.

Hey, some explanation on the Zohar Emulators! They’re connected to the Anima Relics! And… that’s it.

We’re on the wrong ship!

Also, Sellers has the insanity of a manatee.

We’re not even going to get a cathartic boss fight out of this!?

And Sellers leaves. Forever. Seriously, he just flies off in his hoverchair, and he’s never seen again. This is important, and will be covered later, but for now, just know that the smartest guy in the series decided to maybe not fight the heroes that have a tendency to seriously maim their enemies.

So, a couple of things.

This dungeon sucked, but the entire point of the dungeon is that it’s a distraction while Yuriev moves in to commit to his real plan. If I’m being generous, this is kind of amazing, because this dungeon always feels like a stupid waste of time (go there, go there, now go back there, now go back to the other place), and, surprise, it’s literally designed by the villain to be exactly that. Clever! On the other hand, this dungeon is unmistakably the worst in the game (though certainly not in the series), so, even if it’s supposed to be terrible, that doesn’t make it any actual fun to play.

And, two, for the curious, you may reenter this dungeon and finally enter that one stupid door in the middle and get some treasure. I… didn’t bother, because I hate this dungeon, and never want to see it again.

And The Brews rush back to the Durandal, desperate to curtail Yuriev’s plans. Let’s find out how that works out next update.

Next time on Xenosaga: Maybe we’ll get lucky with Door #4,271.

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

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