I’m back from catching Pokémon in New York City here on August 21, Saucer Day. What’s so fun about flying saucers? I don’t see anything neat about breaking dishes. I’d rather play with boomerangs. At least they come back.
Before we go any further, you must understand that Wild Arms 3 contains the longest ending in videogame history.
Endings are special in videogames. Whereas a story in any other medium has a general expectation of seeing a satisfactory conclusion, videogames require the player to earn a finale. Thus, there is a greater emphasis on there being a “good” and acceptable ending. Likely as a result of this implicit fact, a number of games go out of their way to have bombastic endings. Remember the Playstation era? When a game might have to be multiple discs just to contain a suitable number of ending FMVs? Or earlier, when it was not uncommon to see text and/or dialogue for the first time after you beat the final boss? And even today, it is normal for a game that has nothing to do with its own plot to be judged by its ending. You just beat a game that required pressing the X button seventeenthousand times to beat seventeenthousand random monsters! Why did you expect an ending more complicated than “You are a super player”!?
This begs the question of what players actually want from a “good” ending. Are all the loose threads supposed to be tied up into a recognizable ball? Should there be assurances that, even if there is some tragedy involved, everyone is going to be okay? Or should it be global? After all, a great many videogames feature protagonists literally saving the world. Shouldn’t there be a guarantee that that world you spent hours exploring is going to be better for your efforts? And that’s all before you get into the concept of “optional content”. I went out of my way to rescue Vincent Valentine from his crypt, dammit, somebody at Square should model that weirdo doing something during the climax.
As we remember from previously on Wild Arms 3, Siegfried, the erstwhile villain of the piece, has been defeated. Additionally, we saw the Prophets, ostensibly the weirdos responsible for Filgaia being a wasteland, turned to goo. We rescued Maya, protected the Guardians, and set the world back on the right path to peace. Wild Arms 3 could end right here.
Keep in mind, gentle reader, that there is more Wild Arms 3 to go. There will be a new(ish) danger, and, in grand plotting tradition, she will somehow be a greater threat than anything that has come before. But, from a gameplay perspective, this is a playable ending. There are four main dungeons to go, and, not coincidentally, you have four main characters that will learn lasting lessons from these dungeons. Hell, you might even call ‘em denouement dungeons. After that, we’ve got the grand finale dungeon that involves tools, skills, and battle strategies from across the whole of Wild Arms 3. Then there is a final boss that has more phases than I currently feel like counting. And after all that, there’s “an ending”. It’s not much of an ending in scope or length, but after everything else we’ve seen in Chapter 4…
Well, anyway, just keep it in mind as we move forward on these last 15 updates.
Chapter 4 is the final chapter of Wild Arms 3. But who cares about all this finality business? A new chapter means a new section of the opening animation! And it features Maya!
The final shot of the Schrodinger gang is seemingly meant to mirror (almost literally) the closing shot of our more recognizable heroes. You only see this Maya bit once you’ve reached Chapter 4, after you have seen the “Virginia Version” through every other chapter, so the parallels here should be almost subconscious to the average player.
And immediately after Maya, we get a brief glimpse of that happy little girl we’ve been seeing randomly for a while…
Okay, let’s get Chapter 4 going in earnest.
I was not kidding about Wild Arms 3 featuring gaming’s longest ending. Presumably in an effort to trick absolutely no one, this chapter starts with a faux ending of the gang celebrating back at Baskar.
Happy little camera pans, happy little stars shining, happy little music playing…
Miserable little Jet.
We even get someone’s 3-D modeling masters thesis for entertainment.
No dialogue for this bit, just vibes.
Virginia decides to stretch her legs.
Is it snowing?
The sky is crying happy tears… Or… Something?
Oh, we did blow up a nanomachine plant. Maybe these are dead robots.
It’s nice when you can go ten minutes without shooting someone.
You always think of yourself as a rookie…
(I can’t believe a cub Drifter like me got involved in a battle over Filgaia and won with the help of many comrades…I fought to save the world…Maybe it’s natural that it doesn’t feel real…I mean, this was like a fantasy straight out of a picture book…)
“Then, what kind of things do seem real? … Nothing comes to mind…I guess these things aren’t supposed to…”
You do professionally fight mythical demons to protect random gods. I can understand the confusion.
Did Virginia save the world any more than anyone else? Seriously! I’m asking!
Is your face hot? Because it’s killing me! … Wait, I never got that joke quite right.
“This is a village of, like, seven yurts, and you managed to lose somebody?”
Get your slashfic ready!
Probably just involves turning your head slightly…
Virginia: drunk as a skunk.
See? Jet is just over there.
With Shane! Convenient.
Shane has not had much of an opportunity to show his personality over the course of Wild Arms 3. He has mostly just been there to reflect how Gallows could be… not Gallows.
Shane is jealous of Jet’s adventures. Also: Jet might secretly be, like, nine.
Is Jet trying to cut this conversation short, or does he genuinely have such a high opinion of all his traveling companions?
Shane, every RPG needs exposition. You serve an important purpose! Somebody has to stand next to Granny!
Shane has led a sheltered life, Jet has had next to zero life. Hooray?
“Did one of those dicks tell you I’m a robot?”
He did have to get those Ark Scepters from the intro from somewhere…
If you revisit Baskar at any point in the game, Gallows will provide a Gallows-filtered recap of recent events to Shane. We’ve seen it a couple times in this Let’s Play, but I am sure there are neurotic people that would visit Shane after every episode to see how the dialogue changes.
While revisiting him is never required (unlike Shane here), Pike and Jet have a similar relationship/dialogue updates. Amusingly enough, Clive and Virginia do not do this with their actual families.
Shane asks Jet if he’ll have his time to shine and fight demons, and Jet basically replies that you fight because you can’t do anything else. So that is something like a yes…
And then Jet teaches Shane how to box.
Virginia is drunk and offering beer to minors.
There’s the Jet we all know and tolerate.
This is what happens when your heroes never look up…
Hey! We have control for the first time since we evacuated that flying castle.
Not that you can particularly go anywhere. Guide Virginia around, and be told of all the places you can’t go.
We know where Shane got to.
“He must have terrible spatial awareness.”
“Really thought I would find the two sad sacks together…”
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.”
Not everyone has a drinking problem, Virginia!
Just naming our favorite states today?
Maybe not a good time, Shane.
Virginia is not going to remember that come morning.
Shane might, though.
The following morning.
“Other than your BAC?”
“Dammit! Did you ask the dancing guy?”
“I’m right here. My name is Harold.”
Virginia did almost go a solid ten hours without an adventure…
“So they kidnapped Shane and the secret key!?”
… Gallows, you are making this too easy.
“Secret” or “sacred”, Granny!? I just got through a Zelda game where this was a serious problem!
So anyway, Shane has apparently run off to play Pokémon.
Sacrificial Altar, eh? Sounds great. Shane should be fine.
Considering Gallows himself is a pillar, you understand why this might be the one thing he would automatically remember.
Gallows and Shane having a grandmother but no actual parents makes a little more sense now…
And we’re off!
Says the woman who just immediately gave up her on grandson five seconds ago…
Alright! Back to the world at large.
Doesn’t hurt to check in on the locals talking about the Sacrificial Altar, though.
A couple of different NPCs note that the Hydra has a weakness to flame. Write that down!
Now we’re off. Sacrificial Altar is, like, seventy feet away from Baskar.
Compare the maps in the bottom right. It is a really quick trip.
“I didn’t even have time to eat my hangover burrito…”
Nope, we got all of those. No more slots left.
Is “billowing” a sign of power? And not just… uh… balloons?
“That… is probably bad!”
Man, this was supposed to be our day off…
This whole “can summon an unstoppable monster” ability of Shane’s never came up before now?
Anytime an RPG starts you outside a dungeon, go ahead and have a look around the perimeter.
Sometimes there’s treasure!
And a secret room.
Not much going on in here now, but it certainly looks like something that will be important later.
Obelisks are always cool.
Alright, let’s try the real entrance now.
Gotta walk all the way around…
Okay, take two.
Looks like there will be more to see from this doorway.
Dungeon puzzles! How I’ve missed you.
Create a partial path by pushing blocks into position with the steady doll…
Try to avoid monsters while you are working on puzzles.
Whether someone thought it was time to reuse these specific monsters randomly or not, the last time we saw fish-lizards, it was at the previous Baskar monument, Infinitum.
Eels really shouldn’t have legs.
Punish them for their hubris!
Or be smacked around with a water attack.
They are apparently electric (walking) eels. They do not have elemental weaknesses, but will literally feed on any lightning you throw their way.
Meanwhile, the Gargoyles…
Like to use wind attacks.
So throw rocks at ‘em.
One of these weirdos gave me an Earth Ring, so you have to hear about it.
Also available: Scorpius.
Wouldn’t your tail be more effective?
They apparently are not fond of water.
Okay, back to block pushing.
And now we have a passable walkway. I assume Shane manifested flying powers to make it past here.
Nothing much to this room.
Except some obvious treasure.
You have to use the steady doll again to reach the goodies in this duplicator-sealed room. Gallows is our MVP.
Now we can move on.
That’s some good ol’ Baskar puzzle tablet nonsense.
This one is straightforward.
Ice out the flames…
And the path forward will eventually reignite.
Solve for a couple of different rooms.
This is a fun little puzzle, but feels more like something that should have been earlier in the game.
Noticing a pattern with who is required as party leader most often in this dungeon?
Finally! A new room!
Never a good sign when everybody is present.
There’s our boy!
Lotta name shouting this update.
The hands are inviting, but the character portrait is possessed.
“We still have left over fiesta eggrolls from last night!”
I wonder how close Jet is to just shooting Shane…
Shane wants to get stronger to fight… uh… whatever comes next?
“Just as weak as we need you to be!”
Because you have absolutely zero combat training in a world where there are six random encounters between here and the closest convenience store?
Get equipped with Shane.
Incoming summoning orb!
The much-discussed Hydra finally makes the scene.
Do not use water. Do use ice. … Or don’t.
The Hydra is a pretty basic fight…
If you need to defend against an element, water would be a good pick.
Use ice or hit ‘em hard. Ice is the official weakness for creating big, red numbers.
But! Hydra can recover HP! And while it is not quite Siegfried’s full heal, that is still a healthy heal there.
The trick was relayed by the villagers: Hydra isn’t technically “weak” to fire, but a burn will reduce its healing ability.
Every time you use a fire attack on Hydra, its healing payload is reduced by half. Only a few casts will effectively negate its signature skill.
And without the ability to heal, guess what happens.
So much for the great beast of the pillar…
But Shane has apparently run off, and there’s more dungeon to go!
Next time on Wild Arms: Bro force!