Previously on Wild Arms 2: ARMS picked up some random rocks, and now their home base can freaking fly! Vwoooosh! Where can I pick up some ancient technology? I’ve always wanted a mobile Custard Hut.
And we also picked up Tim, the little orphan boy that just found out a local castle is airborne and he can talk to gods. Oddly, these two facts are not related.
“… by anyone that isn’t immediately in this room.”
“Here is where you were born.”
“Wanna talk to gods now? How about now?”
“Can you control the ship from your desk, or…”
“I was being dramatic.”
But, gasp! Tony and Scott have snuck aboard and sequestered an entire bed room.
“He needs us! So let’s hide in this room and never tell him we’re here!”
Yay! We’ve got an airship!
Buuuut it kinda sucks. Yes, we can fly anywhere in the world, but we can only actually land on one of four distinct landing pads scattered across the world. Or maybe three? I can only think of three, but I’m sure I’m missing one.
But we can see the world. Here’s Illsveil Prison from the air. Oh yeah, landmarks don’t appear until you actually “discover” them, so even the world tour makes Filgaia look rather bland.
Is that snow… or something else? There is technically a “hidden area” we could access at this point, but I’m trying to play this game straight, like someone that doesn’t have the entire internet available at all times. The optional landing pad didn’t make itself known during this world tour, so we’ll be covering that area later (very later).
Hey, what happens if we try to call Valeria Chateau while inside Valeria Chateau? It’s confusing!
But if you don’t want to be confused, simply bring up the menu at any time, and you’ll autopilot over to Baskar Village. Again, aside from one hidden area (in the entire world!) Valeria Chateau is a pretty big tease of a JRPG airship. Then again, it is a fun tease.
Remote village in the middle of the woods has a magical landing circle. Seems legit.
Land and Irving will provide some directions.
“Hidden in the forest” is like saying “find some sweatpants at Wal-Mart” around here, but Baskar Village is pretty obviously sitting at the end of the cliff.
Baskar Village is a recurring location in the Wild Arms series. It managed to show up in all the titles (well, kinda, as Wild Arms 4 contains a “ruined” Baskar, and I don’t know about that TRPG), but it is not meant to be the exact same location. Kind of a Final Fantasy Cid-thing. Of note, Baskar is always a “spiritual” town, but in Wild Arms 1, it was distinctly anti-Guardian “usage”, and more into elves (elw) than gods. Here (and again in 3), Baskar is Guardian central.
Guardians are, once again, the (very real) gods of Wild Arms 2. Considering Baskars are treated like a primitive people for believing in these (very real) spirits, you kind of have to wonder if there’s any religion elsewhere on this planet.
Good times. Good times.
“Nobody wants a flashback, Tim. Let’s get stuff done.”
“Did you see the landing pad we put out for you? We try to be hospitable.”
“We tagged him when he was a baby.”
Long story short: Sabrina was a teenage witch, she fell for some dude, had a kid, dude died, Sabrina left with kid, Sabrina died. Tim has a life expectancy of like 16.
“Her tracer went dead right by that one bakery.”
They knew she died in Meria, but were unable to locate Tim, the child that lives in Meria, a town with like sixteen houses and one castle.
“We have some buildings we need held up.”
“We call her ‘The Buttress’.”
And we cut out of there to control Tim. Wait a tick? Control Tim?
Yep! Tim is now an official playable character. Again, this would have been a huge surprise back in the day if Tim’s membership wasn’t outright stated in the manual and during the intro that plays every time you boot the game. However, Tim was the first “fourth member” in the Wild Arms franchise, so that’s a monumental achievement.
Tim starts at the same average level as the rest of the party, and comes equipped with Odoryuk, our fourth medium. Odoryuk grants the “dig” command, which will award a random item when used during battle. Note that this is totally different from the pilfer/steal command, which we could have earned if we found that one optional landing spot.
Also, Tim’s equipment states his class as “Zoa Priest”. Tim’s mother is stated to be a Zoa Priest as well… but I have no idea what that means.
Wild Arms 2 does dip into the world politics well a number of times over the adventure, but, when the bigwigs are discussing the future of the planet, Baskar never gets invited to the table. Basically, Baskar is not considered part of “the civilized world” in Filgaia. This becomes a lot less subtle in Wild Arms 3…
Welp, screw you, too.
Baskar also has its own Stonehenge. This reappears in Wild Arms 3, and kind of appeared in Wild Arms 1, depending on how you interpret geography.
Tim enters some stranger’s house and finds a precious heirloom.
And then he finds love.
Play it cool, Tim!
Colette gets her own inner monologue, and it’s the only “dialogue” that is animated like such in the game. She deserves it.
Colette Mapleleaf is what would happen if you could combine a puppy with a kitten and wrap all that cuteness in a rainbow. She’s an adorable, walking ball of neurotic optimism, and she’s the perfect match for the generally mopey Tim.
Also, while we’re still talking about Wild Arms references, Colette appears to be deliberately visually evocative of Mariel, a flower loving recurring Wild Arms character.
Okay, Wild Arms 2 animators? Could you have moved Tim’s “glowing medium” a little higher up on the sprite to make this metaphor a little less overt?
Everybody here? Good. So “mediums” are literally mediums when a guardian decides to start talking, and you need a pillar to get the whole thing going.
But, naturally, there’s an entrance exam.
Tim is a coward.
And a supplementary fun fact: if Tim fails, he explodes. This is why his traditional dress includes a tarp.
Ashley has concerns about this whole… everything.
“You don’t want to know what the village poop-seer saw.”
That’s not good! We keep the sun up there!
“Do they have some kind of sky eating dog?”
“Uh, I don’t think so…”
“Then shut-up, Lilka.”
Tim is still adamant about the whole “don’t want to explode” thing.
Psychological warfare! Oh, well I guess we’ll just have to use this other, even cuter orphan.
“… Colette chunks. Everywhere.”
Easy to sway this kid.
Tim claims he’s just happy to have a job.
Bonus: it turns out that ARMS is allowed to chaperon Tim most of the way.
So Irving makes it an official escort mission.
And Colette will give us a tour. Everything is coming together!
One quick nap later, and it’s tomorrow. I don’t know if Tim automatically just pushes out who is in first position or what, but it is very appropriate that he bumped Lilka off the roster.
Tim’s Level 1 Force Ability is FP shift. This will grant 25 FP to the other two party members for 25 of Tim’s FP. In general, Tim is a mage, so losing FP (magic fuel) for the sake of other party members is a bad idea, but it can come in handy when you absolutely need to top off Ashley.
The Baskar creator god is Glaive Le Gable, a big hunk of unending mud. I’m sure that will never come up again.
Not much to do in town, as even the item shop doesn’t have a roof, so let’s hit the trail/trial.
The Hidden Trial Arena is back and closer to where we parked. How did we miss the “hidden” temple on the way here?
Colette is an excellent tour guide.
There’s some kind of inner sanctum somewhere in there, and the whole party is allowed up to that point. I hope there’s a sign. Don’t want to accidentally piss off any stickler gods.
Lilka offers encouragement! It’s not directly stated, but, yes, Tim’s trial here is not unlike Lilka’s earlier time in the box.
Lilka should go hang out with other little witches at some manner of academia.
Yeah! That’s how you get over stuff!
Tim is surprisingly smooth. Colette…not so much.
So here we are, about to become legends of the hidden temple.
And we’ve already got to chat with some… pink… thing?
Gods rule, yo.
And we’re dealing with… Pooka. Oh…kay? Pooka is clearly meant to be an echo of Wild Arms’ mascot, Hanpan the wind mouse, but his role/species is very different in this adventure.
Tim didn’t play Wild Arms, though.
Pooka does not explain himself well.
Tim does not listen well.
Brad of all people actually explains Pooka’s deal: in short, he’s a floating, fuzzy medium. Another one.
He’s the guardian’s mouthpiece. There, that should save us all some confusion.
And he’s a tool, too! In a good way!
Oh, and Tim explains his own ability. Tim does not learn spells like Lilka, he gains new abilities by clobbering monsters. Every monster, regardless of strength, counts as a “kill”, and when Tim kills enough baddies, he learns one of two spells from the equipped medium. This means it’s a good idea to keep cycling mediums, and also let Tim get the kill shot whenever possible. Granted, Tim is also the weakest party member… but still! Once Tim has some better offensive options, please make him your chosen murder boy.
In a lot of cases, Tim’s abilities are just reskinned versions of Lilka’s spells. However, he does learn a couple of abilities that are unique and amazing, which we’ll be exploring as the game goes on.
Here’s Pooka in action. Hanpan of Wild Arms 1 was a tool that basically worked like Ashley’s daggers (one straight shot), but Pooka has full reign of the entire screen. This will, of course, lead to a number of situations where Pooka can float around and be carefully navigated into precise locations. We’ll see a lot of that in this dungeon.
Like here in the next room, Tim has to stand at one switch, and then you toss out Pooka to flip the other side.
Or shortly thereafter, where we discover moving platforms that may be activated from afar by a certain purple fluffball.
Of course, there are monsters here, too. Hey, didn’t that worm retire to Monster Rancher?
Tim is weak, fairly slow, and has the smallest HP pool of any party member. On the plus side, some of his abilities are essential… he just doesn’t start with any of them. Poor introduction.
Pooka might see the most optional use of any tool, as he can float over gaps to collect distant treasure chests. This is useful for when it’s “necessary”, but it also means you can snag a few treasures without having to solve puzzles or whatever if you position the screen properly.
Here are some Pooka action shots so you can better understand his usage.
Even with Pooka around, there are some treasure chests conveniently left on the ground.
Wild Arms 2 goes the extra mile by letting you know how a boss fight feels.
Nope, just Reguleus.
Looks like we have some manner of plant-hydra.
Reguleus is fairly easy, but it is a jerk when it comes to status attacks, so it might be a good idea to switch in Lilka for her ability to use a restorative item party-wide. In fact, for this being “his” dungeon, Tim would likely be the least useful member of the party in this battle. Let the lil’ guy take a break.
Reguleus also doesn’t have any “body parts” to defeat. This is odd, as it appears to have more limbs than a lot of arthropods.
There, toppled this loser. Since you know ARMS isn’t going to be allowed to progress much further, feel free to unload all your Arms ammo at will.
“… Did we just slay god?”
“That’s a no?”
So… they hired a plant monster to guard the place? Weird gods.
“Yeah, there’s more hallway here. Dungeons don’t usually end half way.”
Thanks for slaying that boss! Care to save?
Hey! There is a sign! Thanks, guardians!
“Try not to explode! Toodles!”
“My trial is… farming?”
“Buddy, we just met.”
There is a lot of “maybe guardians are advanced computer programs or something” nonsense going on here, but it will never be revisited again. Well, at least never revisited again in this game.
Oh yeah, Tim did mention that the mediums had some extra power beyond “one lousy command” and “glows a lot”.
So Pooka collects the party’s mediums, and Tim sets off alone. You may recall that each of the other characters had their own solo, introductory dungeon, and now it’s Tim’s turn.
The worst part of this dungeon is this area, as it requires some fairly exacting running and switching. And here’s your general reminder that falling doesn’t “hurt”, but it is annoying.
This hallway has three different switch areas, and if you fall at any point, it’s back to the beginning. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason they put this challenge right after a save point.
The rest of the dungeon is almost exactly like the opening areas. Just a lot of moving blocks and Pooka-switching.
And there are treasures in this section of the dungeon, so be sure to look around.
The monsters are generally scaled to Tim’s solo abilities. Unfortunately, like the other intro dungeons, Tim has very few combat options, so fighting is just a matter of hitting the “hit” button over and over again. Fortunately, Tim as a solo combatant likely means you’ll score enough kills to learn at least one ability.
Hey, it’s Tim’s victory animation. He’s so polite.
More dungeoning around.
Could you take the medium out of your damn pants!?
Boss fight voice, or god voice?
Hey, Tim’s default medium is talking! Rad!
Can you hear me, guardians, it’s me, Tim.
Bad news: that flesh has terrible stats.
The fate of what now?
Oh, second boss fight.
Kind of a ninja dinosaur? With eyeball shields? Yes, that is thematically appropriate… I’m… sure.
Build up the ol’ FP? Got it.
So ridiculous fact: there are two Guardians with non-offensive, support powers. One is earned much later, and the other is Tim’s default medium. This is a really weird choice, as, come on, guys, you could have made this a little easier on the kid with literally any other medium. Regardless, Tim has to actually use the in-battle gear command to equip an offensive medium to satisfy this tutorial boss fight.
But may as well listen to the lil’ dude.
So Gehenna Neros will split into two when you him it, and… that can’t be good. However, as you can likely tell by Tim’s… Timness, GN isn’t going to hit that hard, and is basically built to stand around until you hit FP Level 2.
Jerk even restores his own HP… not that I think you can kill it through regular HP depletion anyway.
Here we are, our new Level 2 FP skill, Combine. Combine allows Pooka to combine with the equipped medium, and then…
Summoning time! Grudiev is an earth elemental dragon, so his attack is earth-based.
That… makes zero sense. This is a scripted battle! The designers knew he could only be defeated by an earth attack! Why make his death animation top based!?
… … Sacrificial?
Oh well. New power!
I’m going to write this on my next “congratulations” card.
ARE YOU EXPLODING!?
ARE YOU BOTH EXPLODING!?
“I can summon gods, but, hey, no big.”
So everybody gets summon magic. Ashley, Lilka, and Brad now all can summon a guardian attack at Level 2, with the only caveat that the weakest member of the team with the lowest HP has to be in the party at the time. He doesn’t have to be alive, he just has to be there. In general, summons (combines?) will offer a great blast of damage, but they’re not always worth the 50 FP. Ashley is generally better off saving up for Access, Brad is more effective with his arms, and Lilka should conserve FP for spell use. All that said, they can be impressive area-effect attacks against random mobs, so they can come in handy.
ARMS Mission #9:
Help Tim gain the powers of the very gods themselves.
Notes: For once, everything went exactly as planned. This is an ill omen.
Aw, Colette was waiting on the steps for us.
“Wow, the dialogue box really screws up this scenic vista!”
This is Colette’s secret flower garden. This entire update has been wall-to-wall blunt metaphors.
Tim tries to deny it, but he’s an obvious little guy.
“It’s a really nice bitmap.”
We’ll close on this delightful little scene, but before we totally wrap up, let’s take a look at the other summons that are available right now.
Schturdark the Water Guardian is a turtle that is finally fighting on the side of light.
Moor Gault the Fire Guardian is blowing smoke up your ass.
And Odoryuk, a gift from Tim’s mother, is the Life Guardian. Odie is a pretty prancing pony that restores your HP. Was… not expecting that.
Next time on Wild Arms: “Please die!”