Previously on Wild Arms 2: We’ve activated three Reypoints, now it’s time for the last of ‘em.
Up to this point, the other dungeons could be completed in any order. For reasons that are lost to time, however, the final of these four Reypoints requires a little more effort.
First of all, we have to stop back at that crazy drawbridge from back when Lilka was palling around her ice town. Then, we have to have already obtained Tim’s Mist Cloak from his signature dungeon. Mist cloak through the fence we saw a thousand updates ago, and…
Oh boy! Treasure!
Blast ‘em is Ashley’s last non-hidden, easily obtained Arm. Blast ‘em hits a whole party of monsters, so it’s pretty useful for large groups of mooks you need to clear out quickly. Unfortunately, basically none of the super difficult battles in WA2 are group battles, and it’s a lot more economical to use guardian summons or magic for general monster mobs. But still! Nice to have!
But more importantly than treasure (that phrase hurts to write), we can now access the bridge control panel that Liz & Ard monkeyed (lizarded?) with earlier.
Screw local traffic, we’re leaving that bridge up forever.
Now we can hop in our hovercraft and access the inner bay around Sielje.
There are two beaches that are now accessible. Both have rocky terrain, so our magical flying robot dragon can’t land in these locations. One island contains some random treasure, and the other…
Goal! Incidentally, while finding the way to this Reypoint might seem rather unintuitive (accessing a random dungeon from forever ago certainly doesn’t seem like an obvious way forward), the fact that flying over this area will indicate a green dot telling you something is there is rather helpful. Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get there…
Anyway, water dungeon time.
First, a basic puzzle that may or may not have thematic relation to our featured character. Look back, young Kanon.
And there’s a switch hiding on the back of a pillar. Yay retrospection!
And now for the hub of our water dungeon: a room with a raised raft, and a number of doors and objects that are clearly underwater. Link would be proud. Or terrified.
Technically, the reason the Mist Cloak is required to find this dungeon is that the Mist Cloak and its “hop over a pit” ability is 100% required to traverse this area. Considering Kanon has her own grappling hook for crossing pits, this is an… odd design choice.
There are also rudimentary block puzzles, because there’s nothing more dungeon-y than shoving around blocks to make progress.
At least there is treasure about.
And monsters. Can’t ever forget about the monsters. Gives Kanon a chance to learn a new skill, at least.
Incidentally, when you clear each of these block puzzles, the blocks disappear. Was there ever really a puzzle there at all?
Water dungeons require valves. It’s how they work!
So, yeah, we’re going to do that thing where we gradually make progress by doing the same things over and over again to lower the water level in the main hub room. I am less than enthused about this dungeon.
However, at least we don’t have to randomly raise and lower the water level to obtain small keys or whatever. This is at least one of your more straightforward water dungeons.
If anyone reading this is making a JRPG, please do not include any block puzzles. They’re the non-descript crates and barrels of dungeon design.
This is getting repetitive already.
Tim! Put that down! It’s dangerous!
This is getting repetitive already.
Considering this is a dungeon that requires at least one of the new tools to even access, someone could have made this a dungeon that requires the other two new tools, too, and designed a sort of “omni” dungeon, like the Wily Castle to the other dungeon’s Robot Masters. But, uh, no. It’s just block puzzles and same-y rooms all the way down.
Kanon gets all the good loot, even if we’re almost exclusively using Tim’s tools to traverse this dungeon.
Hey, cool, we solved enough block puzzles to drain this room.
Kanon wants to get out of this dungeon as quickly as possible.
Ah, must be the halfway point.
Move forward! Sprig ahead!
Yeah, she’s exactly like the last three, just water-based this time.
Again, considering you (almost) have to have defeated at least one Spriggan to even access this dungeon, this would be an excellent time to insert a boss or variation on a boss that subverts expectations…
But, no, she works just like the other three elemental knights. Dies just the same, too.
This is Kanon’s new hat. Anyone have a clue what a “Shamir” is?
I know what a save point is.
Oh, I was wondering when we would finally get around to Kanon’s final signature tool. Everyone else got their dungeon items immediately.
The jump shoes allow Kanon to hop up and down like an idiot. If you stand on a special tile (already seen multiple times in this update), Kanon can hop up and down like an idiot really far.
That’s one special jump, and a bunch of useless, regular jumps. As you may be able to guess, these Jump Shoes are only going to see wear and tear in this dungeon.
Clues to our next two puzzles are inscribed on these statues. At least there is some synergy between “Muse”, the Wild Arms 2 designation for “water”, and “Muse”, the Greek ladies that are responsible for all artistic inspiration (but, like most artists, didn’t get laid very often).
And a “walk a certain number of steps” puzzle.
For that second hint, we have to travel back to one of the block puzzle rooms…
Find that room’s muse statue, walk the right number of steps in the right direction, and then give the masonry a little hop…
And now we’re above the muse hint room, ready to make some progress.
The next area is a little flooded, but try to remember its general geography.
Keep remembering! The next puzzle is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Here we are. Hop on one of these rafts, and it’ll fall below to create a bridge. However, only one raft will actually connect to the other side, so choose wisely.
If you fail, you have to walk all the way back up the stairs. I do not fail.
The next area clearly has the same “puzzle”, but there are treasure chests of varying value for incorrect guesses. I suppose you could stomp every last raft down… or you could just use Tim and Pooka to steal these chests without having to create a path. This is what Pooka performance looks like.
Heading up to the next raft depot, there are also treasure chests that require the bare minimum of tool usage.
Here we are. Hop to make progress, Kanon.
And now for the final puzzle of the area.
As clued a few statues back, the goal of this Illusion of Gaia-ass puzzle is to make sure each and every Muse statue is looking square in the face of an adjacent statue.
These purple gems will rotate the corresponding statue 90 degrees, but the “broken” statues are never going to move. Thus, you’re forced to work backwards and accommodate the immobile statues first.
Ultimately, it’s a pretty simple puzzle if you just focus on individual pairs, and don’t get overwhelmed with trying to solve the whole room at once. There’s probably a moral somewhere in there.
And we’re at the end. For a water dungeon, this wasn’t bad. For general dungeon design, however, it was fairly uninspired for the first half, and then just… odd for the second. Hopping on rafts? Is that a thing?
Incidentally, as this is our last Reypoint dungeon, I’d like to take a moment to note that this quartet of dungeons is more interesting than the similarly themed Diablo Pillars of the first disc… but they’re still kind of lame. Tim’s dungeon is the only one that really feels like it was fleshed out, and Brad’s dungeon was generally visually interesting with its moving and falling platforms, but the other two dungeons seemed a lot like filler. Look, Wild Arms 2, we know you have a supporting cast with interesting characters that feel like they should have their own signature dungeons, but maybe try a little harder to make those dungeons interesting, too.
And now it’s time for one of those mystical spirits that knows everyone’s names. Do they have some kind of directory of all human life or…
Does your confusion bring you joy?
This Raypoint is basically just garbage collection.
WE GET IT.
So, yeah, treading some well-worn ground with Kanon here. Discarding your past to become strong… might have drawbacks?
And “Aisha”, the version of Kanon before she was Kanon, is here to point out the general… discomfort with discarding one’s self.
Kanon stands firm that she must be Kanon to be strong.
Maybe hero blood isn’t good enough? Maybe, like, werewolf blood would clear up these problems?
Aisha asks Kanon a simple question: if she had been a bionic monster hunter from the beginning, if she had been “strong”, would she still have suffered so much?
This is just the saddest thing. Aisha dreamed of being a hero not to save the world or whatever, but because she believed that if she were strong (and maybe kind of a robot), she would be able to escape the hellhole that was her existence.
But Kanon comes around to the idea that maybe she didn’t need to be a legendary hero to escape, she just needed a little help from her friends
And, uh, some friends at all.
You can’t hug your friends with a grappling hook.
The… uh… fleshy one. Tim is still a little shy around your bionic arm ever since you, ya know, killed him with it a few times.
And Aisha claims that if Kanon embraces who she truly is, her “real”, fleshy body will be reborn without the years of painful implants.
Yes, Kanon will now become her true self without confusion, she will become…
Oh, wait a tick.
Kanon is Kanon, dumbass.
Kanon discarded her old self to become strong, yes. And, yes, maybe that was the wrong reason to change herself, as she really needed friends more than a bionic eye. But you know what? Maybe because she did something for the wrong reason doesn’t mean she made the wrong choice. Kanon likes being Kanon, even if it’s painful and the general public doesn’t approve.
And a vaguely omnipotent spirit of the planet doesn’t quite get it.
Can I just say I love any situation where a divine being doesn’t understand a human choice? I’m not being sarcastic, I eat this kind of stuff up with a spoon.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that this is a trans/queer metaphor.
“No, you stupid spirit, I like being different. Thanks for clearing up my confusion, but we’re all onboard with this ‘constricted’ body.”
Uh… sure. People say that all the time.
“Okay, whatever, you pass. Now I’m going to have to get rid of this spare Aisha body. Anybody in the mood for sausage?”
Level 4 Gat is unlocked. We don’t know any Level 4 skills yet, though, so it’s useless for the moment.
Looks like we have to walk out of here, so let’s talk about Kanon, as this is her last big scene.
Look, I’m not prepared to see Kanon as anything but a trans metaphor at this point. She discards her old self, adopts a new name, changes her body, and everyone from random townsfolk to gods is like “dude, life would be so much easier if you just were normal like everybody else”. And you know what? Kanon says “f*** you” to all that noise. Kanon knows she has problems. Kanon knows she’s an outcast. Kanon knows there are people/deities that are never going to accept her. But Kanon also knows that she has friends that support her. Kanon knows she might not be like anybody else on this whole stupid planet, but she’s still all-in on being herself, no matter what form that takes. She could easily use some shortcut to go back to being “normal”… but would that make her happy? Would she really want that outcome? No. She wants to be herself, and now she has a support group that wants her to be herself, too. Kanon is Kanon. She is not her ancestor. She is not Aisha. She is the person she made herself to be, and no one can tell her to be otherwise.
Granted, Kanon isn’t much of a character past “is a cyborg” and “has a moral”, but she’s a pretty good moral for a crusty old JRPG.
Whoops, we’re saved from having to walk through this dungeon again by a phone call.
“I know you called us, but guess what we did!”
Oh, right, we’re going to bounce the Reypoint energy off our teleporting array to mip map the hyper thrusters until we reverse the polarity on a hot air balloon or something.
Remember that encroaching universe that is coming to destroy us all? It’s purple, I guess.
Global harmony! Unexpected bonus!
Do we… uh… flip a switch… or…?
Oh! Neat polygon cage!
Aaaaand we did it! We captured a parallel universe with the power of the ancient Super FX chip!
And now that cosmic trap is descending to Filgaia. Hooray?
Wild Arms Mission #24
Awaken the Reypoints and use their energy to capture an errant dimension.
Notes: We may have been distracted a few times during the mission, but it’s not like the entire planet was in danger or anything.
Yes yes, world peace is wonderful for all of us.
Gawrsh, wonder if this is some relevant banter…
Back to the world being threatened.
Dang! That’s terrible! You really want to aim for at least 5%.
We used all of the energy in the planet, and the best we could pull off was below a decimal point.
“Uh, sure. Go shoot your guns at it or something.”
“So it has HP. And you know what to do with a monster that has HP.”
Yeah! We are going to go punch reality a new one! Score!
I mean… uh… I like that you gave us directions, but I’m not so sold on this “Land of Death and Destruction” thing…
Whatever! Our next task is to go stab a trapped, for-some-reason-now-alive universe. What could possibly go wrong?
Next time on Wild Arms 2: Oh sweet Filgaia this is the worst dungeon ever.