Wild Arms 2 Part 09: The Kids Are (not) Alright

Previously on Wild Arms 2: Odessa, a group of big, mean terrorists, made the scene, and encountered our intrepid heroes. And then everybody ran away. How does Ashley feel about that?

Not great.

But the always helpful Irving notes that ARMS would also have other problems with a pursuit.

Yep! For possibly the first time in JRPG history, WA2 is actually going to make a thing out of random nobodies stomping all over the whole world like they own the place (which, come on, these guys are the player’s avatars. We literally do own the place).

#realworldproblems

“Gee, I don’t know, maybe because you’re gradually and quietly acquiring every weapon on the planet?”

But, sure, let’s make it sound poetic.

We’ll get into it much more as the game goes on, but I’ll outright state it here: Wild Arms 2 is all about loving everyone in the world, whether they be from another country or not. I’m pretty sure I didn’t start this Let’s Play in 2017 by accident.

“Anyway, uh, we can’t really fight invisible borders… so… take a powder.”

“But I was just about to get to second base!”

Brad means this completely literally, as he isn’t going to leave that spot.

“Because I live there. No other reason.”

If you recall, Ashley picked up a shiny rock during the previous update. May as well unload that vendor trash.

Hmmmmmmm?

Methinks the musketeer doth protest too much.

Lilka, get up in there!

So we’ve got shore leave. Score! Brad and Lilka technically leave the party, and Ashley is free to wander back to Meria. If you want to power-level Ashley for some reason, please do it now.

Party chat in Wild Arms 2 is dull.

Christ, man, you don’t even know your boss’s name!?

Dash on home, Ashley. Once again, technically you’re a party of one for this section, but the battles here are scaled for Level 1 Ashley anyway, so no big.

Oh, good, it’s the weiner kids.

Ashley actually seems happy to see the squad. This will change shortly.

Nothing like small talk with prepubescent kitten chasers.

Oh, that rascally Tim.

And there’s some minor kiddy fighting going on here. Ashley is the adult, at least.

See? I knew Ashley didn’t want to deal with these losers.

Ashley is either blinking during this screen capture, or he has so checked out of this conversation that he is dead on his feet.

“I have to go give my damn not girlfriend this damn rock I found!”

Scott is the smart one.

Either that, or he came back to visit vengeance upon that kitten.

Occasionally Ashley will call Irving up in the middle of the night to remind him that he has absolutely no feelings for Marina. None.

“Don’t worry about our silly problems. Go get some, dude!”

“She’s just the only woman I know that is my age. Except Lilka. And, ugh, Lilka.”

Ashley dips out, and the cheerleaders stick around.

The rat tail is like a… Oh! I just got that!

“Not that I like you or anything!”

“Don’t you have a job?”

“Do I look like a jeweler? I found it wedged in an elevator switch. I could tell you a lot about elevator switches…”

“I already tried hitting Brad in the head with it, but he still couldn’t read my mind.”

“I’m just trying to make more room in my inventory for heal berries, I swear.”

“I will cherish this rock that may or may not actually work always.”

And that’s our “mission” for today. Delivered the rock, time to get out of here. Marina seems like maybe she wants to say something, though.

Incidentally, there’s official art of… I guess this is the first time Ashley heads out? I don’t know. What’s important is that Marina dresses like my grandmother, and Ashley is doing the toast thing, because he’s late for first period.

Back about town, people are still talking about Odessa broadcasting their terrorist agenda from various toilets.

And you can check back in with the kids to find that they’re starting Young ARMS. Oh, I wonder if they’re going to break into a little baby prison to find a new member?

Hooray! We don’t have to walk back to the chateau!

“That’s cool, I already ran out of trash to stow here… Oh, hi, Marina!”

This is… technically accurate. Just going to take a while.

“Don’t forget, I gave you that magic stone that may or may not transmit my thoughts! Oh, by the way, if the rock starts telling you to murder everyone, just ignore it! That’s probably not me!”

I am getting tired of this room.

International peacekeeping mission! Woo!

… Huh?

Is it really lost technology if we were just told to use it?

Okay, so apparently it’s an ancient teleporter, and the brain trust of Bazooka Brad, dork magician girl, and rock man are going to “get it working again”. This should go well.

“Anyway, when you inevitably succeed in activating lost technology that may have been inactive for centuries, your destination is just a short walk from the other side of the teleporter. Toodles.”

“Even if you have to leave Lilka to die on the battlefield.”
“Wait, what?”

Party reassembled, away we go.

Live Reflectors are usually in the woods, right?

Yep.

Here we are. You know, the towns on the world map always look scaled and correct, but “ruins” are almost always the same silly ziggurat. Weird dichotomy.

The Live Reflector is basically a room leading to two rooms.

One room appears to be inactive, and the other…

Gasp!

“Did we determine whether or not this organization warrants a ‘the’?” “I don’t know, it kind of sounds scarier.”

“Be cautious, but run as quickly as possible.”

Oh no, it’s… The Young ARMS? Dammit, I knew the game was reminding us these kids exist for a reason.

“We were thinking WWAD, and you’re here, so we were right.”

Ashley has had it up to here with you nerds! Time to get Steve Rogers on ya, Tony Stark.

But Scott negotiates their way into sticking around.

You’d think Lilka would be happy to have someone lower on the totem pole.

Reminder: Lilka is 14.

Lilka asks “who dis”, as Ashley is the only ARMS member to have met Young ARMS, and Ashley’s response is… not useful.

What? We have plenty of choices! We could just walk them back to town, like, immediately! There are really weak monsters out there! They got here in the first place… uh… somehow!

Duh!

Turns out Tony Stark and Scott Summers are useless, but Tim led the way over here. High five, Tim!

Man, I was just trying to be polite, you don’t have to be weird about it.

So the kids all pile into Ashley’s sprite, and they technically join the party.

Though it’s not like they’ll be participating. They’re basically Alby the Dog Mk. 2.

Okay, let’s find out what’s in the basement. Maybe this is some kind of escort dungeon, and we’ll work together with…

Oh, nope. This is the end. No dungeon here.

Unfortunately, the piece of technology that we were told did not work does not actually work. Shocking.

Is… is this generator powered by monsters?

Oh, yeah, definitely a monster.

But the battle doesn’t start immediately. The creature just kinda grows in the middle of the room while the kids cower. Walk through the door, idiots!

Hey, Tim is the leader!

“Tim, you’re dressed like a mage, so I’m assuming you have like 10 HP. Get out of here!”

Tim… doesn’t really do anything but acknowledge there is an exit right here. I… guess that’s helping?

“Good, they’re clear. Brad, ready the bazooka.”

Now we can fight this… thing.

Elebart appears to be part hedgehog. Elebart hits hard, but, despite the name, his attacks don’t seem to have a paralyzing effect. That’s good! His attacks are also presumably thunder-based, but it’s not like you can do anything about that, one way or another, at this point in the game.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, Elebart will actually get easier if you take out his “parts”, so attacking his left and right claw first is a good idea.

When he’s armless, he’s reduced to just attacking with a belly bump, which hits a lot softer than his stone cold stunner. Regardless, if you keep Lilka on healing duty every round, you should be fine.

And watch that puppy explode.

So the reason the Live Reactor hasn’t been working is because no one thought to fight the random albino Godzilla that was hanging around? Okay, sure.

“Welp, looks like we failed another mission, guys. Wanna go out for ice cream?”

“What? You think we have someone on the team that can just summon electricity? Ha ha, you idiot. Lilka, hit that nitwit with a lightning bolt.”

But something happens!

Tim’s… chest is glowing? Yeah, I’d like to know what’s going on, too.

Oh, right. Tim gave one Medium to Ashley, and kept one for himself. Guess it’s reacting to… something.

And Tim is just walking on air at this revelation.

Glowy times over.

But the mysterious light of Tim’s rock has now powered up the Live Reflector. Yay!

“I assumed it was some Tooth Fairy-level nonsense, but looks like she might have had a point.”

“But let’s not worry about that now. Move along.”

So many unanswered questions!

Fun fact: when the Odoryuk Medium inevitably finds itself into the party, we’ll discover that it is one of the few Mediums with absolutely no offensive properties.

Ashley Winchester: Guy who spends all his free time talking to friends about rocks.

You show those kittens whose boss!

“Local town leveled by child mercenary group.”

Okay, this is inevitable, so let’s talk about Tim Rhymeless. I deliberately didn’t introduce Tim when he first appeared in the adventure, because WA2 pulls off this amusing trick of making “one of the anonymous kids” gradually grow into being one of the most important characters. Or… it would pull off this trick if you didn’t watch an animated intro featuring Tim (and other party members, but not other kids) every time you booted up the game, or if Tim wasn’t prominently featured in the instruction manual as a party member. C’est la vie.

Whether it’s a surprise or not, Tim will eventually become our fourth party member. Sorta. In the grand scheme of the Wild Arms franchise, Tim is conceptually the third party member, and Lilka was just keeping that seat warm for him. Wild Arms 1, 2, and 3 all have an important party member that can communicate with the “gods” of the Filgaia du jour, and, for obvious reasons, that person is always important. Tim is no different… though that does kind of suck for Lilka.

Regardless, Tim isn’t just a living medium, he also goes through much of the typical hero’s journey over the course of the game, graduating from scared child to unwilling hero that discovers his own tragic/magical past (“You’re a wizard, Timmy!”), and even eventually scores what might be the most adorable relationship in the WA franchise. Basically, Tim isn’t your typical johnny come lately JRPG character, and does have a substantial arc for the remainder of the game.

So keep an eye on this kid. He’s going places.

But no time for that now, back to the top of Live Reflector.

Enter this room, and the kids bar the exit.

I would argue that monsters are attracted to shiny things, not repelled.

The Live Reflector can apparently send us to three locations. The two locations that are currently forbidden are Ruins Mine (that seems redundant)…

and Dragon’s Vein.

Currently, only Meria Boule Sacred Forest is active.

I really hope this ancient technology we just activated still works!

Every other teleportation sequence in every other franchise is crap.

And while we’re zipping across the globe, it’s time for a bad guy interlude. As a reminder, we learned that Caina is the kid with the ribbon during that cutscene back when Ashley went crazy.

Caina is apparently the Odessa accountant.

Yeah, can’t exactly take a part time job when you’re an international terrorist.

Let’s talk about Odessa for a moment. I mentioned it briefly during the last update, but Odessa does appear to be an attempt by Wild Arms 2 to make a “real” JRPG villain with real world problems. To wit:

• Where did the Odessa grunt army come from? They emptied the largest jail on the planet. Literally emptied it. So now they have a full staff of murderous prisoners that are being paid with early release.

• Did you pay attention to that speech? Odessa didn’t take credit for the monsters across the globe, but blamed their existence on the uncaring ruling class. The whole thing was a clear appeal to the “common man”, and a statement that Odessa is conquering the world “for” them. Odessa does care about its popularity with the locals.

Now we have Odessa facing the “real” problem of funding the revolution. So they’re running their own power plants and building their own bases for the express purpose of keeping their creepy jet running. This kind of pragmatism will continue through the rest of Odessa’s appearances, and is a clear nod to the actual logistics of attempting to be a JRPG bad guy (where did Sephiroth eat, anyway?).

Of course, none of it matters, because we’ll just hit these guys with swords until they all fall down anyway. But it’s the thought that counts!

Anyway, Caina blames the resource management on the one-eyed nitwit.

“Guys. Shut-up.”

That’s still a failing grade!

I bet all of these words will never be relevant ever.

It’s noted that the Odessa Death Jet is kind of expensive, but Glorious Leader thinks it’s worth it. If you’re gonna be a terrorist, you may as well terrorize.

Guy with Glasses continues to be kind of a dick to friend and foe.

Finally. Now we almost have everyone’s name. Where’s the redhead?

Judecca requests “fun work”. We’ll see what he considers to be “fun” soon enough.

Ah, here comes the redhead. Sidenote: These guys are apparently holding this conversation in Tourian.

Someone is actually getting work done around here.

There! All the names!

I do find it amusing that the bad guys have to do a little research on the good guys for once. I mean, ARMS did just start existing this week.

“Didn’t I turn those guys into green jelly?”

“They were much smaller.”

Ptolomea was not hired for his intellect.

Who owns the watchmen?

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

“Even so, they act like they’re the ‘Allies of Justice’. I hate that kind of stuff. It’s offensive.”

Caina takes personal offense at the idea of good guys. What a bad guy.

And Ptolomea writes ‘em off immediately.

But Vinsfield sees the benefits of…

Actively crushing the heroes. Bwa ha ha and whatnot.

“It’s just ARMS, sir.”
“What?”
“No ‘the’. Just ARMS.”
“What does that matter?”
“Well we don’t want to..”
“Shut-up.”

Now we’re getting to the fun stuff.

Judecca is kind of a lone wolf, but he does defer to Vinsfeld.

“Take the giant turtle.”
“Got it.”

And we close this villain powwow with Vinsfeld amused at his lack of funds.

Yay! Rich bad guys!

Just once, I’d like “that man” to secretly be, like, the villain’s dad, and he’s afraid to admit he’s been leeching off the family estate for his schemes.

Aaaaaand teleportation complete. Hooray! Not pictured: Ashley and Brad are accidently merged into one being, and Lilka must make the difficult decision to separate Brashley into his component pieces.

This Live Reflector appears to be exactly the same as the other location, though this one doesn’t contain a shortcut to the basement.

Remember how Wild Arms 2 is supposed to have a “wild west” theme? Well, it’s kind of undercut by a fantasy castle in the middle of a lush forest. You just don’t see that much in John Wayne flicks.

Here we are. It’s like twenty feet from the Live Reflector.

Oh, which reminds me…

ARMS Mission #5:
Reactivate the Live Reflector and reach Sylvaland Castle
Status: Success!
Notes: Required assistance from a twelve year old.

Upon entering, we immediately teleport to the throne room to deliver that letter.

Oh yeah, this is going to go well.

Dammit!

So, basically, if we fight the terrorists, we let the terrorists win. Got it.

Because we’re not directly threatening the entire world?

“Barging into our homes! Taking the heal berries from our barrels!”

“Anyway, tell Irving I say hi!”

Hm?

Gasp! Also, this is like saying “A hurricane has hit the United States state of Florida” to the president.

You know any other terrorists?

Gawrsh, if only there were some international peacekeeping forces in the area.

Yeah, you saw where that was going.

After ARMS leaves, the queen takes a moment to reconsider her position. I think we’ll have better luck when we return.

Oh, and this random knight seemed to like us, too.

Never trust anybody. Got it.

So now we’re allowed to explore the castle a little. It’s mostly soldiers talking about Halmetz.

Though there is this bell we can ring for some reason.

And this sleeping soldier that is blocking a treasure chest. I tried kicking the guy, but nothing happened.

Oh! Library! Abiding desire for peace, eh?

Enough to fight for it?

“Hey, Brad, whatever happened to Slayheim?”
“Don’t wanna talk about it.”

One of the books has to distinctly note that Sylvaland is a matriarchal society, and isn’t just currently ruled by a queen by a quirk of genetics or something. When women are in charge, there should be an entire book explaining why. Obviously.

And… this seems kind of heavy for your average semi-medieval library. I’m sure it won’t be important again, though.

Apparently Slayheim used to be responsible for all the mega-weapons laying around Filgaia, but, since someone turned Slayheim into a pile of sand, Guild Galad has taken up the torch. I’m assuming that will be more relevant than that whole silly “multiple worlds” nonsense.

On the way out, someone notices that a member of ARMS has a bomb strapped to his neck. You’d think that would have come up with the queen…

Time to go find Halmetz.

Here’s a random battle. Just wanted to remind everyone that this is a JRPG, and not a visual novel.

Here we are. Looks like a nice place.

Yep. Got the name on the screen and everything.

But… I don’t see any terrorist activity. Or… any activity. At all.

What’s going on here? Find out next time!

Next time on Wild Arms 2: It’s 4:20 somewhere, blaze it.

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