We are back for spooky times on October 31, Pumpkin Festival Day. We get to make jack-o’-lanterns today, but it’s hard to make a good one. Having such clever hands means I can use my nerves between my brain and hands efficiently. Based on this observation, I should be better… Why is it not working!?
Previously on Wild Arms: Virginia found her father! Then he left! It was a whole thing.
But we also picked up the Frozen Flame. So we’re going to go ahead and hand that over to Lynx.
“Kizim Fire. Right. Whatever. You’re not my dad!”
Lest you think this is some kind of storyline contrivance, you actually receive 2,000 usable Gella, and it comes in a fat sack. Unfortunately, there is not a giant dollar (gella?) sign on the bag.
“What part of ‘object of unimaginable power that can fuel an entire spaceship’ did you not understand?”
“Our temple is located on a small island southwest of Jolly Roger. Please think of it as an allowance to cover travel expenses.”
Here’s a tip for if you ever decide to start your own cult: please make it walkable. Nobody likes taking a ferry to crazy town.
“We have a god of water on call, can they surf us over there?”
Virginia: only moderately obsessed.
I mean, even without the hook of potentially getting more daddy facts, checking out the local techno-cult seems like a good idea. Getting paid to do so is just a nice bonus.
If you do not upgrade your ARMs immediately after this conversation, I don’t want to know you.
Outright stating “by Sandcraft” and “Jolly Roger” is your clue as to exactly how to get there.
Easiest thing to do is either use one of those Warp Stars you conveniently collected in the last dungeon, or walk your ass over to the nearby train station to stay on track to Jolly Roger.
Gee, Tony, who would have ever thought? Follow up question: where do they get boats?
Quick side trip before we get back to the plot. Remember this dungeon? Where we first fought Melody?
There is a block that we couldn’t move back during the first trip. Now we have the Mighty Gloves, and…
Some switches are a lot more useable now. Funny how a dungeon that featured Clive has a treasure that can only be accessed by Future-Clive.
Elder Record is worth the trip. This imparts a skill that reduces the cost of arcana (magic). This comes naturally with the Moon Medium, but having a spare means that both prime mages Virginia and Gallows can have reduced FP cost. More casting means faster battles!
Okay, another train stop takes us back near Jolly Roger. Remember to check on your garden while you’re here!
We already went through all the nonsense of securing a Sandcraft, so it is docked here and ready to go.
This is right about the point in the game where I start hating the Wild Arms 3 in-game map…
So we are that white dot in the south there. Wild Arms 3 flips the usual gaming script by starting you out in the big, wide open “ocean”, but you cannot access that “inner sea” area of the middle of the map yet (the area just to the right of the green square). As you can see, there’s a whole big world out there to explore now… even if you can’t do much with it due to the way towns/dungeons are “discovered” through plot gates.
And we’re off! There isn’t much to steering the Sandcraft. It is as simple as walking/horsing.
Oh! Sandcraft fighting! This is not as simple as walking.
Here is a brief tutorial on the most complicated system for the least payoff.
So back at the Jolly Roger, you can assign your party to different tasks. The four options are…
Helmsman – Moves the ship
Gunner – Actually attacks
Harpooner – Shoots a harpoon that does very little damage, but slows the opponent if it hits
Deckmate – “Boosts” one of the other jobs
As it outright states here, the Gunner is your most important character, as they are the one actually doing damage. Everybody else is just kind of there.
See all those icons in the bottom right? That is your turn order. Again, the important one is the gunner, which only appears once in all that nonsense as the… let’s count here… seventh icon/turn. Dammit. Unlike regular battles, character actions are 100% determined by speed (reflex) stat, and if a character is two times faster than another character, they will see two times as many moves. This is based exclusively on character stats (not sandcraft equipment), so, unlike some vehicle-based combat (looking at you, Xenogears), your level can and will have a significant impact on combat.
You predominantly accrue FP by forgoing someone’s turn. Like magic in regular battles, you must have the proper FP threshold to perform certain actions, but said actions do not actually use/deplete the FP. In other words, you may need to “wait” up some FP so your gunner can shoot at all.
As previously stated, the Harpooner firing the harpoon will delay the enemy’s turn. You can then retract the harpoon on a later turn, which I believe increases the accuracy for your gunner. Or it does nothing. I don’t know. It is a lot easier to measure the whole “delaying” thing. There are icons for that.
Helmsman’s turn! Moving to an advantageous position either increases your accuracy or decreases the monster’s accuracy. It is probably one of those. The flash bomb lowers the opponent’s accuracy, but seems to have terrible accuracy itself, so you have better odds of seeing a rainbow shoot out of this kraken’s ass.
We’re so close! That has to be good!
Not pictured: the deckmate has the practically useless job of increasing the speed of one of the other characters. Like all buffs in Wild Arms 3, this can only work once (i.e. does not stack), so this can only be used effectively a maximum of three times (for your three characters). Deckmate also has the ability to expend FP to “heal” the ship… but it is never enough HP to really make a difference. If you are healing in a sandcraft fight, you are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
That’s the stuff!
Look at ‘dem HP counts!
You have a choice in gunners. You can either choose one of your faster characters to shoot often, but do less damage; or you can choose Clive to gun, and wait for freakin’ ever, but usually eliminate the opponent in one hit. Clive is chosen as the gunner by default when you first get the Sandcraft, so I assume Wild Arms 3 wants you to select the latter.
Sandcraft battles offer experience points and gella on par with the monsters you would find elsewhere at this point in the game. There isn’t much of a reward for fighting every Sandcraft battle you find.
In fact, that is the big issue with Sandcraft encounters: they are boring for very little payoff. You can almost see what they were going for here with submarine-esque combat with your crew and everything, but it ultimately equates to a whole lot of waiting around. Additionally, your Sandcraft has its own HP (based on your party’s level, but exclusive to the Sandcraft), so getting your Sandcraft wrecked on the way to a dungeon does not impact your progress once you hit the beach one iota. In short, the Sandcraft is “neat”, but reveals itself as pointless pretty quickly.
At least some of the monsters found on the sandsea have fun names.
You can always immediately “warp” back to the Jolly Roger if you are somehow stuck. A quick press of the square button will teleport you back home without the fear of a monster attack. Note that you cannot then reverse-warp back to your warp point…
Since we understand combat a little better now, let’s see what Emilia has to offer in the way of upgrades (with some screenshots from later in the game, please ignore the dragon fossil count exploding).
Emilia can customize your ARM or ship. This is the only place in the world where you will see the Sandcraft option.
In general, the Sandcraft upgrade system is easy. Each of your four “positions” in the Sandcraft have roughly corresponding equipment. You start with “level 1” equipment. The Emilia shop offers Level 2, Level 3, and Max Level upgrades. Each of the Level 2 & 3 upgrades have three options available, while the Max Level upgrade has no options because it is just plain the best in all categories.
An easy example here is that each of the cannons either emphasize accuracy, strength, or bullet capacity. You can accentuate one trait over another, purchase the Level 2 or Level 3 version, or just forego all the nonsense and buy the Ark Smasher, which has the best accuracy, strength, and bullet capacity. The only hang-up is that the Ark Smasher requires 50 Dragon Fossils, so you won’t be able to afford it for a while.
Upgrading your harpoon is useless, and we shall discuss that no further. Upgrading your frame will increase your physical defense, magical defense, or (decrease) your craft’s weight. Or grab the best frame to max out all three.
I have no idea what increasing the engine does. Max payload? Let’s say it makes you shoot harder.
You may also purchase elemental ammo. This is ideal for the rare instances where you know the elemental weakness of your opponent and need to do some extra damage. I just checked, and the one required/super boss you battle in the Sandcraft is weak to light elemental, so purchase a light shell if you are having trouble with that (eventual) fight.
The Sandcraft never heals on its own. Stay at an inn, beat a chapter, nothing. However, it also costs nothing to restore your Sandcraft’s HP at Jolly Roger, and Jolly Roger is always just a square button away, so I have no idea why this is so much of a thing. It really should auto-heal every time you dock…
And here is your default setup for Sandcraft piloting. There is no real reason to juggle these assignments.
Anyway, don’t worry about your Sandcraft too much. There is exactly one required Sandcraft fight in the game, and then there is one other optional, “super boss” Sandcraft battle. You can probably get through the rest of the game by cancelling literally every Sandcraft fight you ever see. Sound and fury signifying a big waste of time here.
Though I guess it is nice you can do something with all those Dragon Fossils you find…
Oh, also the Sandcraft is extremely finicky with allowing you to disembark. You can only land on beaches, but lining up your parking space can sometimes be arbitrarily rejected.
This was the wrong beach, but at least it has a sign that offers excellent advice.
And a great treasure! I guess there is a reason to bump around the wilderness looking for whatever…
Okay, after a little confusion, here is where we actually want to be.
There are new monsters around here. This is apparently a kobold, but it is more of a sand monster. It can be primarily harmed by magic.
Here we are. Had to use the radar to see this big, honking ship.
Wild Arms 3 has a lot of polish.
Candles? More candles, right?
Legitimately, the old, dying religion of Wild Arms 3 appears to be lousy with temples.
Yes. That dying religion.
“Cult member” is not a career. Well, outside of Hollywood, at least.
Gallows! You were doing so well!
It would be hilarious if none of Gallows’s mediums worked for a few battles because his gods got mad at him.
This cult has a Mr. Saturn. That’s cool.
Please make a modern remake of Wild Arms 3 exclusively so we can hear what this font is supposed to sound like.
“Is the celestial chamber just, like, his room?”
Is this supposed to be a clue to how sleeping at an inn impacts your luck stat, or is it just flavor text? The world may never know.
Interior decorating is not a big thing here. Maybe you could toss a couch over there…
Here you are. One flame of inconceivable power.
You can tell he is the boss because he has the best chair.
Meet Lamium. Remember him, as Lamium is going to remember our party for the rest of his life.
“Yes. It is going to be an infinite source of microwave popcorn for the whole order.”
Here comes the pitch. Everybody insert your cult ear plugs.
Crap. We’re not going to have to go to the Farplane next, right?
“We’re big into the “now”. Now give me all your possessions.”
“That makes sense. My mom did die of starvation…”
So they’re using ancient technology to help evolve the planet. I swear I have heard something like that before…
Stop being seduced by so many religions, Gallows!
“We share the same ideology as Baskar. One thing that sets us apart is that we are more like volunteers, rather than a monastic order.”
The hell you have the same ideology! Show me your Guardian collection!
“I played Xenogears, and I thought ‘me too.’”
“And there is a milkshake machine in the back. Only one in Filgaia!”
We’re getting to that!
Lamium hasn’t even started the negging in earnest, but Virginia is already about two steps away from joining the cult, too.
Yes. Now we’re getting to the good stuff.
See? Absolute looney tunes here.
Gee, doesn’t it? What a coincidence.
A girl you say? In dreams?
“Sometimes, in my dreams, a -girl- appears and blesses me with advice. Yes, for example…this Ark of Destiny we use as our shrine was granted by her. I call this girl that guides me in my dreams, -The Saint-”
“A girl gives you advice?”
“Yes. I do not know who this girl is, though… However, her words are always accurate and true. For example…”
A girl who is leading you to unimaginable treasures in exchange for seemingly nothing? This also sounds familiar…
Interrupting cow says moo.
“Sir! Were you telling them about your dream girl again?”
You knew this was coming! Time to protect our new allies from…
Gaze in amazement as Virginia is gradually more and more embarrassed by her girlfriend.
And we cannot let -The Saint- down.
“Maya was saying she had a big score coming when we were getting boba tea yesterday…”
“Sir, that question is more loaded than Jet’s ARM.”
The actions or opinions of the Schröedinger Family do not in any way represent the opinions of us, Team Good Boys and Girls.
“You want me to kill my girlfriend!?”
It’s rough when you are embarrassed by your significant other in public.
Clive wants to get paid, son.
“Do you know how much I used to spend on hair ribbons?”
Oh, I guarantee it will be a blast.
“Maybe Maya will surrender willingly?”
“No, she and I got in a gunfight last Friday when I asked to try on her boots.”
Hey, it’s that place where we already were! There was money there!
“I am super excited to sit here in this chair and do nothing. We are the same.”
Before we leave the ark, let’s do what you should do at any church…
And check out the basement.
This is a fun little area.
Basically, everything down here requires tools, and (not unlike that block backtracking earlier) you are encouraged to return and earn treasure as you get new abilities.
Also: use some duplicators. You can wait to use ‘em right now, though. Save those keys for dungeons that would be more difficult return trips.
There are four doors on this wall, two more before the orange blocks, and I believe two (or three?) after the orange blocks. Can’t get past those blocks to confirm right now.
One room requires the Mighty Gloves, and we’ve already got those.
Excellent item to find! We will showcase this the minute we’re outside.
Using duplicators on the other doors around here just to give you obvious previews for future tools. What’s this tile do?
We will be “using” duplicators and resetting for informational purposes.
There is a Memory Figure that is off-colored and…. Dances? Huh. Would you believe me if I said this was a super/optional boss?
Oh, one room has no challenges and a collection of Warp Stars. This can be useful.
Nope. No idea what to do here.
Okay, let’s get out of this basement.
And out of the ark.
So Map Scope! Now we can have a map overlay on the screen at all times. Convenient!
We can even bring up a larger globe overlay if we really need to see where we are going. It cannot be a coincidence that this is found so soon after getting a boat.
While we’re hammering select, here’s the current map in PS5 land.
Okay! Set sail for that place we already saw.
Maybe fight a beast or two!
Have I complimented the monster design in this game recently? I should do that more often.
This is a nothing of a random mook, but I like its moxy.
So here is our next destination, a little south of that sign/treasure seen earlier in the update.
Survey Point #17 here we come!
Next time on Wild Arms 3: Every time we are together, there are fireworks.