Previously on Wild Arms 2: Ashley menaced a cat and transformed into a literal monster. These two events are probably not related.
We now rejoin our hero tromping around the Sword Cathedral. Ashley is white, every other monster is green. This is… yes, I’m pretty sure this is racist.
So, important stuff to know: you have full control of monster Ashley, and there are other monsters wandering about. “Talk” to one of the monsters, or even just gently nudge against one, and…
Battle transition! Yes, WA2 has “bump into monsters on the map to initiate battles” capability, but decided to go with a random encounters system anyway. As someone that dislikes random encounters, I say boo.
That’s a good question, Ash!
Looks like a yes! Can’t run, can’t change equipment, but the player does have control for these battle scenes.
Ashley also can’t use his ARMs, but he can hit, and hit he shall!
Monsters hit back, though. Note that item use is also available, should you need healing or whatever.
These battles are pretty easy, but Ashley doesn’t exactly seem to be dealing well with all this winning.
It’s not available until later in the game, but here’s some in-game art of the monster packs around here. These creatures are called Proto-Blazers (hm!), and color our example white to get the Ashley version.
That last group of PBs were blocking the doorway, so, even if you’re good at dodging, you have to fight at least those dorks. This means that Ashley auto-kills a transformed human at the end of the last update, and then you, player, have to kill at least those two. Way to go, monster.
The next room contains a mirror. Hey, Ashley, don’t forget your freaky talon-toes, too!
I’m glad that we get some confirmation on where monster corpses go in this universe. I always figure the Dragon Quest worlds are awash in slime carcasses about halfway through any given adventure.
Ashley is not having a good day, and lets out an anguished scream at his current predicament.
Hey! A savepoint! This would be very convenient if you forgot to save on your way out of Meria. Who would have expected a dungeon at a happy little knighting ceremony?
Across the hall is the banquet room that appeared at the end of the last update. It was mentioned that the Sword Cathedral is a sort of religious site for people that worship the Sword Magess, so I suppose it’s only natural that they have banquet seating available for special events. … Or at least they used to.
At the end of the hallway is another mirror, this one shattered. I rather like this detail, as it confirms that the other PBs still have people inside, and at least one is none too happy with this dilemma.
It was probably this guy. Let’s kill ‘em.
Across the hallway, there’s… a library.
It is a really odd choice to have a “talk to everybody” style library in the middle of this dungeon that is supposed to emphasize how Ashley has been transformed into an inhuman monster. Probably would have made more sense to make the books temporarily unreadable (“Ashley’s monster mitts can only rend flesh from bone, not consume the classics!”), and you’d have to come back later for these nuggets of backstory. On the other claw, I guess this is the appropriate place to fill in the details on the Sword Magess and the Blazing Demon (hm!), so… go nuts?
As was mentioned last update, Sword Magess defeated the Blazing Demon, and she didn’t leave a manual.
Gee, sure would be rough if that Blazing Demon escaped and, say, possessed an entire troop of soldiers.
Hey, more details on that “companion werewolf”. Lucied… Lucied… I know I’ve heard that name somewhere before. Meh, I’m sure it’ll boomerang back to me eventually.
The Sword Magess defeated one fiery demon inside of a week, and she is referred to as “the queen of war” by later generations. That had to be one heated battle.
“Says here this book was written by Queen Azala. Neat.”
Got into a fight with the other Proto Blazer you see wandering around the library, and here’s Ashley’s other win pose. He basically ends every battle by crying. Ha ha, silly emotional loser crying over murdering all of his friends.
Isn’t it the dream of all little girls to grow up, gain a magical sword, befriend a werewolf, and then banish an unstoppable demon? Throw in a vampire buddy, and it’s basically Twilight.
“Why was the Sword Magess able to wield Argetlahm? Well, it’s hard to get a control group going with only one person, so we don’t have a clue.”
There’s an entire book that claims The Blaze of Disaster was nothing but bad vibes, dude. Damn hippies. I bet that kind of metaphysical crap won’t ever be relevant.
And our last book posits that, without a hero to wield the sword, if B-B-B-B-Blaze It ever returns, we’re pretty screwed. You’d think there’d be an entire industry of anti-demon weapon development going on as a result, but… Oh, I just figured out why there are ARMs dealers in every town.
Moving on. I think , if you’re careful, you only have to fight like two battles in this area. I suppose that’s the polite thing to do, given Ashley is not enjoying his monster time at all.
And here’s our last stop. For the record, I really like that this “monster part” is in the game at all, as Ashley never revisits this form, but we get a whole mini-dungeon of “what’s it like to be a monster”. Throw in a few panicked villagers, and this would have been perfect.
So, wanna give it another go, Ash?
Knew those claws would be good for something!
Let’s pretend we don’t notice that this “Woman of the Light” looks a bit like that lady from the stained glass window and anime scenes from the last update.
“Can you call me an uber? I think my cell phone turned into a bat.”
Sword Magess Woman of the Light seems hesitant to fork over the blade in this magical limbo land.
But Ashley’s got places to be.
By the power of Sword Cathedral!
Whoa, did you see that? Is Ashley changing colors for some reason? What’s going on?
“Oh, hello, Limpy Dude. Did you kill all the monsters I missed?”
This activates another naming prompt, so let’s talk about…
Irving Vold Valeria. Irving is history’s greatest monster. Moving on.
He also has no idea how to talk to a dude that was just an actual monster like thirty seconds ago.
“Uh. That’s great. By the way, thanks to the whole transformation thing, I missed dinner. Do you have, like, a cracker or something?”
“No? Okay. Coma time.”
Meanwhile! A couple of gray-haired folks are playing with a giant key.
“Well” here apparently means “transform an entire battalion of warriors into blood-thirsty beasts that proceed to kill each other”.
“Look, kid, you want some fresh Proto Blazer burgers for supper or not?”
“Want to make an omelet, gotta ruin a few lives.”
Kid with a key is Sora Caina. For anybody that is a Wild Arms nerd, yes, I will absolutely be covering the whole sordid Caina story, but for now, let’s just acknowledge that he’s a kid with a magic key. Or she. She’s a kid with a magic key. Crap, I’m doing it already.
We’re like an hour into the game, and we’re already starting to hit the heavy stuff. This plot is going to get complicated, folks!
-That Man- …. My kingdom to never deal with lame JRPG mystery writing ever again.
I think at the point that you have a giant floating key, you’ll believe in anything.
Somebody should have really tossed a “you” in there, as nobody talks like this. “The only thing I believe in is Sir Vinsifeld himself. That is to say you. You’re Sir Vinsfield. You know that, right? Your name?”
And that’s about it for this interlude. We’ll cover these dorks in an update that isn’t already introducing a bunch of other characters and concepts.
Meanwhile, Ashley is having unsettling dreams.
Hey guys! It’s murder voice! Everybody remembers murder voice, right?
Press B to cancel evolution, Ashley!
“You might experience some discomfort. That’s just the entirety of you screaming in pain. Please ignore that.”
Ashley, just get used to not understanding anything now, and you’ll feel better.
And stop hitting yourself, nerd.
Oh, it was all a dream. Yay!
Granted, she was worried before Ashley even left, so this means basically nothing.
“I’m okay now, mom. Can I go out and play with my friends?”
Ha ha whoops. Guess Ashley did slip into a light coma there.
This is the cover-up for the whole monster fiasco and technically accurate. Yay lie-truths.
Ashley has a brief crisis of self.
“Now come downstairs, we still have some leftover Proto Blazer claws in butter.”
Irving is on crutches and is able to carry an adult male across the countryside. Bad. Ass.
“I’m sure nothing important happened. Don’t worry about it. Kill everybody.”
“Thanks for saving me from something I can’t remember from a week ago?”
“So, how long you been a cripple? You got any problems going to the crapper?”
But on the way out, Ashley encounters… Finally! I was wondering if this game would ever get to having two party members.
Lilka collapses at Ashley’s presence…
And her growling stomach tells us why. Should have packed a lunch!
“Can magically create fire blasts but can’t summon up a sandwich? Sounds useful.”
Lilka is so bad at teleporting that she apparently had a number of teleportation gems, and used them all. And then spent all her cash on new ones. Our heroine, everybody!
"Can’t eat gems. Tried."
So the answer is “nothing” and “you’re the only place in town that actually sells food.” Note that I’m pretty sure this is the only place on the planet that bakes bread.
That’s a dessert food!
There was a running gag in Wild Arms 1 that Cecilia, the crest sorceress of that adventure, had a bottomless stomach on account of all the spell casting. That gag reappears here… and is then never mentioned again. I guess someone got over that joke.
Yes, let’s form a party. Move this plot along.
The Valeria Chateau is like… twenty feet away. It’s closer than the Sword Cathedral.
And Lilka does not have the best sense of direction.
But whatever! Party member get! …. Unfortunately, we won’t encounter any enemies between here and our destination, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the next update to get to seeing our two-person party in action.
But there is something new we can do!
Let’s make some spells! Normally at this point, you’d just have your starting crests from Lilka’s opening chapter and maybe a spare you found around town, but hacking in all the items ever has granted us an opportunity to look at the spells available in Wild Arms 2.
Basically, you’ve got the four elements, Geo/Earth, Wing/Air, Flam/Fire, and Muse/Water. To create a spell, you combine two elements, bind it to a crest, and you’ve got a new bit of magic. Obvious combinations are obvious (like earth + earth = earth attack spell), but some of the more useful spells come from odd combinations (like earth + water = revive). You’ll acquire a lot of crests early in the game, so feel free to experiment. You can always wipe a crest and then attain a different spell if you find one doesn’t work to your liking.
And you can name your spells at will, too. The spell names are pretty basic in Wild Arms 2 (like “vortex” for “wind attack”), but you could rename ‘em useless nonsense like “Magaru” if you want.
Note that your maximum FP, whether you’re level 1 or 99, is 100. So if you see a spell that costs 65 FP, know that you might not get to use it as often as a spell that costs 12 FP.
Oh, and Dispel doesn’t work. Ever. Just ignore it.
There are different kinds of crests, too. A Crest E will cut the FP use of a spell, and a Crest S will double the strength of the spell. That could be useful. We got a Crest Cap last update, and those allow anyone to use a crest spell like an item, but it’s a one-time deal. This can be useful, too, as otherwise Lilka is absolutely the only party member that gets to use crest magic, and stuff like the simple “slow” spell can be a game changer in certain late-game fights.
Anyway, that’s your magic primer for right now. We’re supposed to be heading off to a cliff now.
But what kind of a hero would we be without checking in on our fan club?
Wee Scott posits that the reason Ashley survived long enough to grab the sword was because of the medium Tim provided. This is as good an explanation as ever for Ashley’s white variant. Or maybe he just wanted it more? Well, either that, or he’s the main character.
Aw, Tim, you little dweeb.
Anyway, the walk over to Valeria Chateau is fast. Like I said before, not even a battle warning on our little hike.
And, yes, it is certainly on a cliff. Being a nobleman at least earns you a view.
“And what manner of unwashed street urchin should I say is calling?”
The help… is not too helpful. I mean, it’s not like Ashley has an invitation or anything.
This is going to be a thing, isn’t it?
Third floor, waiting for the job interview…
“And, frankly, I liked keeping you in suspense. Did you enjoy standing here for three hours?”
“Sir, we don’t have sitting sprites.”
This is the one thing we actually already know.
“I read everything in your wallet during the day and a half it took me to carry you back home. By the way, you’re welcome.”
“Um, sure. I didn’t kill my sister or anything. That’s me.”
“A terrorist attack wherein everyone was obliterated.”
“But the building was fine?”
“Oh yeah. And, uh, ignore all the monster blood on the walls.”
Maybe “magnificent” isn’t the right adjective to use in front of the only survivor. Also, humor me and make it sound like you’re not, ya know, responsible for everything.
And someone wants to do this… why, exactly?
So your reward for surviving is being purchased by some rich dude.
“And we’ve got a cool logo. Check out that banner I made. Eh? Eh?”
And in walks Irving’s sister. I’m pretty sure she reminds Ashley of someone.
“Naw, no big. She just made me think of a hallucination I had like a week ago.”
Watch as Irving gargles water while his sister introduces herself.
Altecia Rune Valeria is Irving’s sister. She spends most of the adventure in the kitchen. She’s also the final boss.
And Altaecia just leaves without saying another word. That woman creeps me out.
“Uh… can we talk about something else now? Does… does that woman own me, too?”
“I survived being plunged into hell and I only rank third!?”
“Is our enemy made of jelly rolls or something?”
“Uhh… by the way… my entire life is a lie. Is that cool?”
“I’m gonna get going. Thanks for the opportunity! I’m naming you as a reference!”
“… I kinda smell bad, my hair is a mess, I have jelly roll stuck in my teeth, one time I threw up in the back of the planetarium, and I just moved seats, and I hoped no one would notice, but they noticed, and I just acted surprised, and was all like…”
“Look, were you transformed into a demon and killed by that guy standing there? No? Then you’re better than the last guys from ARMS. You’re hired.”
“That’s super. Try not to be dead like your sister.”
“I’m so glad. I thought all men who are prettier than women were cold. Irving, you aren’t that way at all. You are actually very nice.”
Lilka? Lilka… dammit.
Listen to the man.
Yay! Doing stuff!
“Wander around town, and then report back. Be sure to encounter all the kooky characters I have working for me.”
Again, he carried Ashley home.
To summarize, Irving purchased (inherited?) the ARMS franchise after it was kind of obliterated (last week). Now Ashley, Lilka, and a mysterious third member are the new ARMS, a sort of “mercs without borders” program. Meet the new boss.
So now we have the ability to explore Valeria Chateau at will. Wow! Check out this cool painting that clips into Ashley’s head!
I know where I’m checking first!
Dammit! Irving’s room is mostly a library, a desk, and a bed.
He has a lot of books about Filgaia politics.
Everybody loves ice cream, right? Let’s start there.
I’m sensing a theme in Filgaia literature.
Altaecia’s room is stocked with similarly somber reading material. Incidentally, I don’t think it’s ever directly stated in the game, but Altaecia and Irving are fraternal twins. … They’re close.
You see a book entitled “No shit.”
Enough of checking out the bosses’ bedrooms, let’s take the elevator to the second floor. Note that all of Valeria Chateau is handicapped accessible.
Irving employed a bunch of nerds. Got it.
Nope. That Let’s Play is over now. Not gonna draw comparisons.
The Schturdark medium is ingloriously hiding in a random chest. We picked up the earth medium from Tim last update, and now we have a water medium. Schturdark ups your stats and allows you to use the Analyze command…. Which is practically useless in this game. Long story short, basically every boss in this game has ???? HP and “unknown” weaknesses. So, again, useless.
Here’s Altaecia chilling in the kitchen. She’ll be good for a hint or two, but I swear she doesn’t leave that kitchen until the second disc, and even then it’s just to stand around and say, “Wow, everything being on fire sure is bad.”
Cool balcony, though.
Moor Gault is the fire medium, and also just randomly in a chest. I want to say these are the only two mediums that are just kind of… there. Every other medium gets a little bit of a buildup. Regardless, Moor Gault comes with the Smash Hit ability, which is either a critical or a miss. Or I’m thinking of Death Blow from Final Fantasy 7. Maybe it’s both? Whatever. Now we have three mediums, and we’ll have three party members soon enough.
First floor! Save points and shops!
There’s a basic item shop by the entrance.
The entrance is kind of out of the way from the normal “flow” of the building. I’m only noting this to explain why I got randomly lost trying to leave approximately six times over the course of the game.
We’ll eventually see the real “unfortunate accident” responsible for that limp, but I kind of wonder what the plebs think was the cause. It certainly wasn’t summoning demons in an attempt to draw a magic sword! No siree!
And, fun fact, all the nice women that will save your game for you are employed by Sir Valeria. What a conscientious guy!
Attempt to leave through the side exit, and we meet these two.
I think Lilka just met her soul mate.
Bigga and Wedgette.
“Look, you triggered all the flags you need to trigger, go see Irving now.”
Head back upstairs, and, sure enough, we can get this plot rolling again.
Right, third member. I wonder who it could be. Hope he’s a hero.
Sounds simple! Yay!
Aim away from face.
Bum bum buuuuuuum!
And we’re done for now. Looks like Ashley has another fun day ahead of him!
Next time on Wild Arms 2: Suicide Squad.