The Return of Talking Time

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Old 11-17-2015, 11:27 AM
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Kazin Kazin is offline
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This is going to be awesome. I've only ever watched a friend of mine play through parts of Episode 1 when it was new, and I remember thinking how insane it all was.

Also, Gogglebob, thank you for posting mobile friendly screenshots, as that will likely be how I follow this LP.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SpoonyBardOL View Post
It's consistent, though. Those scenes in Episode II are immediately following the ending to Episode I, maybe half an hour has passed, tops.

For all its foibles, Episode II actually has a number of little touches I remember liking, such as adding the Episode I costumes for the Episode II character models. Once we actually get to Episode II I might go into it a bit more.
II also has the best battle system.

This was a controversial statement in a time when people cared enough about Xenosaga to argue these things, but it was the first JRPG battle system that I ended up figuring out and breaking over my knee. I'm even using it as sort-of inspiration for a system in RPG Arcade I haven't gone over yet.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:49 AM
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You're right about not caring about Xenosaga enough to truly bother arguing about it, but man, the battle system in Xenosaga II was terrible.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
This looks shit.

Sorry, that's all I've got to contribute. This looks like a game that is shit to play.
It's no illusion; I think you'll find it's every bit as fun to play as it appears!
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:14 AM
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As someone who loved Xenogears and then forgot all about the series until Xenoblade, I'm looking forward to this entire thread. Can't you just post it all at once so I can read it all now?!?!??!
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:56 AM
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Really hope that this thread doesn't end up just giving me some sort of nostalgia as if I'd want to play through these things again.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by boatie View Post
Can't you just post it all at once so I can read it all now?!?!??!
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Old 11-18-2015, 03:22 PM
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Hey now, doing a Let's Play takes a lot of time and work. Give him until the end of the week to get the whole trilogy finished.
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Old 11-20-2015, 08:15 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-1

PREVIOUSLY ON XENOSAGA EPISODE 1: …. Nothing much happened. Like, we figured out it’s the future, we’re in space, and Chipmunk Face and Mega Woman are going to run through some tests. So, let’s get right to it!

This is the first we’re even allowed to use the controller in Xenosaga, so, naturally, we’re dropped into a stark white void where you can either battle a dude or switch your tutorials with KOS-MOS acting as some kind of computer terminal. Not off to a good start humanizing your robot, Xenosaga.


Let’s learn about Normal Attacks! Normal attacks are your basic “fight” command for the game. You’ve got an option of square or triangle, and, most of the time, you then can make that choice twice a turn. Square is usually a physical attack (shown here as “Knuckle”), and triangle is usually a magic/elemental attack (shown here as “Firecracker” which is, I don’t know, water elemental or something). So you can do a double physical hit (square square), a magic to physical hit (triangle square), or the reverse, physical to magic (square triangle). Note that your order may switch your element: hitting triangle first will give you a fire attack, but square-triangle will grant something more electric.

For the record, I kind of like this system, as, traditionally, elemental attacks are linked to magical spells, which consume MP (or whatever). In this battle system, however, you basically have, as an example, “unlimited” fire attacks as long as your triangle button still works, so there’s no need to miserly hoard your MP reserves in the face of a battle that might be finished faster by exploiting a weakness. I refer to this kind of battle system as a “reverse-Persona”.

Speaking of weaknesses, here’s an explanation of the three types of monsters you’ll see in this game: B for biological (like the humans we see here), M for mechanical, and G for gnosis. Remember, just because a particular monster belongs to a particular group, they don’t necessarily all share the same weaknesses. #notallgnosis

Here’s Shion delivering a delicious knuckle sandwich (square button).

Followed by a shocking jolt from her arm thingy (triangle button).

Note that all biological enemies explode in an absolute Pollock of blood. It is deeply unnerving. But don’t worry, kids, it’s all a simulation!

Hey, here’s that thing I just said. Note that, like Xenogears, “Magic” is referred to as “Ether”. Space’s favorite show is My Little Gnosis: Friendship is Ether.

Here’s KOS-MOS’s victory animation. She often exclaims, “Shion, I need to be cleaned.” It’s never not weird.

Oooooh Tech Attacks. Here’s the good stuff. See that little bar of light blue under Shion’s portrait? Well, that’s like six little arrows. Four of those arrows get filled up every round, and every action depletes two arrows, thus the previously mentioned “two attacks a round” thing. However, when you chill out for a round either by guarding…

… or deploying just one attack instead of two, then you save a couple of arrows, and have six (not four) arrows for your next round. Six arrows allow you to perform two attacks, and then a special tech attack...

like Shion’s craziness here...

Or KOS-MOS’s Mega Buster. This is how you really do damage in Xenosaga, and learning when to go for the all-out tech attack or something more basic is what you really want to focus on. There’s a tad more nuance to tech attacks, but we’ll cover that sometime later.

Here’s the tutorial on the sub menu, which is barely a thing. We already covered Guard, above that is…

Ether, which is your basic magic command. As previously stated, but to reiterate, “regular” attacks can have etheric properties, so you’re not stuck relying on your EP points. At this point in the game, the only useful application of Ether is Shion’s cure spell… whatever it’s called here. Medici or something.

Move is another option, which, really, is just a row switch command. Want to hop into the back row? Here you go. We’ll look at that a little more sometime around when we introduce the magical girl and the terminator.

As is noted here, there’s no Run/Escape command in the game. You’re stuck using an item that has the exact same application, or a spell Shion can learn called “Goodbye”. I’m… confused as to how this offers any great tactical advantage, gameplay design wise, over just sticking a “run” command at the end of the sub menu. Maybe they didn’t have enough room for more buttons?

Oh, Medica! That’s what Shion’s Cure spell is called. It heals one ally. It does what it’s supposed to do.

Here’s the most important move in the game: Boost. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that, while there is a turn order displayed in the bottom right, it’s not like Final Fantasy 10’s order notation that clearly displays who will be moving when for the next thirty turns. Xenosaga only shows, I think, a maximum of four character turns at a time. This is, kind of, a good thing. If your character isn’t in the current “crop” of turn order, you can expend one Boost Point to boost your character to next in the line. To reiterate, you can’t boost if your character is going to be moving soon, but if they’re not, they can sneak in and really ruin the enemy’s day. An immediate use here is healing: boost Shion up next, and she can Medica an injured ally before the monster has a chance to cause irreparable damage.

See, here’s Shion boosting, so she's up next.

Now the other big reason to boost is to game the event slot. Every turn has an “event”, and it’s the same four events looping in a predetermined order: nothing, critical up, boost up, and points up. The ideal way to play is to boost your characters so they have the most benefits from the events. You’ll want your heavy hitters to attack on critical up events, anybody that needs to fill their boost gauge (boosting costs boost points that are gained over the course of the battle) on the boost up events, and defeat your foes on the points up event, so you receive more EXP and assorted special points.

Special Points are used to level up every damn thing. Ether abilities evolve and mutate into new skills through ether points, Tech points up tech skill powers and speed, and… I forgot the third thing’s name. They let you yank abilities out of accessories, so you don’t have to wear an anti-poison amulet forever, just draw out the skill and have it innately.

While this giant dome generates to trap our heroes in their first real battle, I’ll note that those previously mentioned events also affect the monsters, so you do not want a super powerful boss attacking on a high critical event, and whatever you can do to keep your opponents from boosting is a good idea. Yes, the enemy can boost just as well as you do, and the whole thing becomes a kind of struggle to boost properly and control the flow of the battle. It’s just the kind of battle system that allows you to stress all the time because oh God should I be boosting right now?

Anyway, here’s our first real battle, where the enemies actually fire back.

Let’s go team Vector Product Placement!

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Old 11-20-2015, 08:25 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-2

Yeah! Bad guys! Aim for the throat!

Aaaand 12 points of damage. After another eight machine gun blasts, we’ll really be in trouble.

Shion delivers a punishing electrical attack… and that’s about it for these guys.

Here’s Shion’s not at all creepy/awkward victory animation. You’re not actually playing the game, so you won’t have to see this another 10,000 times. I envy the dead.

Remember, we’re in a sort of virtual reality world right now. Back in Vector R&D’s lab, the Vector peons are acknowledging that all is going well.

Here’s Allen. Allen is helping. Let’s look at Allen a little more closely.

Allen Ridgeley is 24, and Shion’s second in command, a job that grants him the emasculating title of “Junior Chief Engineer”. This is appropriate, as Allen Ridgeley, spoilers, is just a giant weeny granted a human body by the Fairy Princess. As part of this magical pact, Allen must never actually reveal his weeny origins, but he must act like a completely milquetoast pushover for the rest of his days. Allen can only become a real boy if he experiences true love’s kiss, so he sheepishly romantically pursues Shion, the only woman in close proximity with a name. Allen, despite having the offensive and defensive capabilities of damp toast, will stick around and journey with the party from the beginning of Episode 1 all the way to the end of Episode 3, so buckle in, and get ready to enjoy that special brand of humor where a guy is constantly followed around by a magical invisible butt that farts only on him.

Back in the digital world, Shion, expert scientist, wants to skip all these stupid tests and just get to the fun stuff.

Weenie Man objects, as progress frightens him.

Shion assures Allen that it will be fine. Shion is filled with lies.

This might seem like Allen showing the tiniest glimmer of a spine, but, no, he’s basically just admitting that he won’t sit around and watch Shion die when the alternative is pressing, like, one button.

Shion makes their relationship status perfectly clear.

If you were to pan down the camera just slightly, you’d notice that Allen is submissively urinating.

The nameless staff smells blood in the water, and soon a thunderdome will break out to determine the next Junior Chief Engineer.

Allen attempts to recapture some faint trace of masculinity by demanding everyone actually do their job and not just sit around like a bunch of catty NPCs. Good luck with that.

Alright, enough of Shion’s Whacky Friends and back to the actual game. As Shion notes, this place is a virtual space inexplicably based on ruins from 2000 AD. Pretty convenient for all these guys playing the game from the distant past of 2002. I suppose I could mock this further, but I guess half our computer simulations are based on medieval villages from like a millennia ago, so maybe this all makes sense? Maybe Shion spends her weekends hanging out at 21st Century Faires?

Shion takes the time to tutorialize a little further: there is… stuff that you can blow up, like random barrels and such, that, when exploded, will release a “trap” for wandering enemies. Use the terrain to your advantage, and blow up whatever you find. Videogames 101.

Yay! We’re starting! My controller works for more than the “advance text” button!

On-screen encounters are the norm for this game, and, as noted a moment ago, you want to lure enemies into exploding stuff to aid your missions.

Of course, I could not for the life in me direct this tachikoma into the blast radius of that yellow barrel, so normal battles for me.

Nothing exciting going on here, just Shion calling the wrath of Thor down upon her enemies.

Nice truck.


Inside the nearby (virtual) installation, there’s a mysterious red door that we can’t reach. Somebody make a note of that.

Another battle, another pile of random points accrued. I guess it’s “S. Pts.” that draw out abilities from accessories. Steve Points? That sounds right.

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Old 11-20-2015, 08:34 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-3

Back to the trouble with doors, our ultimate goal here is hidden behind these shutters, but we need a key to open the door. I will remind everyone that, technically, the video game characters right now are in their own virtual video game, so this isn’t hacky, it just shows that there won’t be any new ideas in video games for the next 4,000 years.

Another locked door.

Though, seriously, look at that. Shion could freaking step over that knee high console and just shortcut through the broken windows. Come on, it’s not like we haven’t already determined Shion is impatient.

Outside on the catwalk, there’s a box that goes boom.

And reveals a Revive item. The way is clear: blow up absolutely everything in the universe, and you might receive cheap consumables.

On the way back in, I finally lure an enemy into a blast area, in this case a “Flame” blast.

For my trouble, the enemies are under stop status, and my allies get a free boost point each. This would be a lot more important if battles didn’t last approximately two turns, max.

In the next room, a giant robot comes out to play.

Hey, how come that battle robot is bigger than my battle robot?

Now, the main thing everyone remembers about Xenogears, aside from the pink puff ball crucified for our sins, was that you got to participate in giant robot battles. Skyscraper sized battle “gears” that could pierce the hide of god himself. Xenosaga, seemingly only to placate the fans that wanted giant robots, introduced the AGWS (pronounced “eggs”).

The AGWS are sad, 16 foot tall robots that could, at best, lance a wart off Godzilla’s foot. AGWS are still a part of Xenosaga, though, so, every once in a while, it’s a good idea to stick your main healer in a bot that is incapable of healing anything.

AGWS have dramatically increased firepower, but they cost a lot to maintain, and, if memory serves, they’re never really required, so they’ve never really been my thing. For Episode 1, my game plan was to simply ignore the AGWS until the absolute final boss, and then unleash the fury of having more disposable income than I knew what to do with. Oh, and I believe KOS-MOS and later addition Ziggy don’t even get to use AGWS, and they’re the best characters, so screw these stupid things.

As the enemy robot falls, I will note that I never noticed what “AGWS” stands for, so let’s go with… Awesome Sword Wielding Soldiers. That’ll work.

Thanks, guy!

Next step in the test: replacing all the generic soldiers and robots with Type-G Drones.

Aka Gnosis. We’ll get into these buggers soon enough, but for now, the main change is that we’re now fighting primarily mages as opposed to knights.

Allen is allowed to be actually helpful once per game, and here he notes another little tutorial bit: some monsters work on “sight”, and others “hearing”. Everything is set to “sound” right now, so if you don’t make any noise running around (literally, just walk), you won’t have to battle anybody. In this battle simulator. Meant only to test your battle prowess. Thanks, Allen.

Here’s our first save point.

Let’s take a short break as I tell you all a story.

When I was a young Goggle Bob, I used to watch a number of cooking shows with my father. At the time, I assumed it was just because my dad really liked cooking shows, which makes sense, as he had been head chef at a restaurant in his youth, but, now an adult myself, I wonder if it was just because cooking was a genre that guaranteed a complete lack of that sex and violence my mother was always worried I would absorb by osmosis through watching hard hitting adult entertainment like MacGyver or Matlock.

One day, while watching a dessert-based program, I noticed the chef mixed all the ingredients, explained her recipe, told us how long it would take to bake, and then mentioned that she would pop an “already prepared” cake right out of the oven.

I was shocked. I was flabbergasted. I was betrayed.

I turned to my father, and immediately asked, “Papa, what did that lady do? She’s not showing us the cake she just made. She’s showing off a cake that could have been made any time, by any one. Oh, papa, is that lady cheating?”

“No, my son,” my father replied. “She already made that cake some time ago. This is just like that cake we watched her make, but made a little earlier.”

“But, papa! It’s not the same!”

“Son,” my father said, imparting wisdom I would carry for the rest of my days, “Everybody wants cake, but nobody wants to sit around watching it bake.”

And I’ve always remembered those words.

Anyway, while I was telling that story, it seems Shion and KOS-MOS’s HP shot up to 9999, and their EP topped off at 99. Additionally, though not pictured, I now have 99 of nearly every item.

We’re on a mission from God.

Shion, now feeling surprisingly vigorous, heads off to the next room.

Oh, now we’re in that enclosed space we passed earlier, and there’s a bright blue glowing thingy on the console.

Yay! Thing!

She’s a scientist!

And now we can freely move through that area. Woo and whatnot.

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Old 11-20-2015, 08:41 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-4

As mentioned earlier, if you just remember to walk, not run, through this area, the monsters won’t even so much as glance in your direction.

But what’s the fun in that? Facing flying gnosis imparts the final tutorial for this area: airborne enemies can’t be just randomly smacked like their terrafirma brethren. This limits your options to just triangle based attacks, but it’s nowhere near as crippling a distant enemy can be in, say, Final Fantasy 12.

Note that defeated gnosis dissolve into pyreflies.

While KOS-MOS is pounding on some gnosis-kangaroos, I’ll note that my little… augmentation of our heroes isn’t just a “win” button. Everyone still has the same strength and skills they’d have normally at this stage of the game, and this has only affected Shion and KOS-MOS. Ziggy, for instance, will not show up with a similar HP count. With Shion being the only guaranteed party member for much of the game, this is basically just a shortcut to guarantee my party doesn’t get wiped by some lucky monster boost or similar nonsense. Xenosaga was built before JRPGs were at all forgiving, and this project is going to take long enough without worrying about being sent back to a save point by some overly unfortunate mob.

Oh, we’ve got the key, and we’re back at that locked door from earlier.

It’s also the only room in the whole place left, Shion.

Allen, knowing this whole Shion-conquest is a lost cause, is considering other coworkers.

Hey, everybody, it’s the boss of the area! Fat Boss Gnosis, or whatever.

KOS-MOS is glitching and clipping through her own hair, though, so maybe let’s call the whole thing off.

Oh, wait, it just means KOS-MOS is getting better… or the world is evolving… or… something? Science is happening?

The whole place is freaking out, and Shion just wants to take it in stride. Allen is sweating so much at the mere thought of it, people on Second Miltia are getting a whiff of that funk.

Allen considers openly weeping.

I guess this thing is called Drone GX… so Gnosis X-tra Large?

He won’t last long…

Against KOS-MOS techs.

And he is down for the count. It? I should probably be saying “it”.

Shion damns us all.

Let’s move on to the next stage of the test. I’ll explain what’s happening here a little later, but for now…

Just know that it didn’t work right. At all.


Honestly, this seems dramatic and important, but Allen had the same reaction to a 2-for-1 hoagie deal last week.

Shion, assuming Allen is allening as usual, has decided to override all safety protocols, and let Sentient Moriarty escape into the main computer.

Look closely, and you’ll see The Matrix coming apart at the seams.

And ol Gnosis X-tra Large has transformed into a glowing mass of light.

There’s… a girl in there?

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Old 11-20-2015, 08:51 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-5

This would be a rad shot for an album cover. Hey, little girl, do you know any songs?

She look familiar to anybody else? Tip of my tongue. I want to say… Jelly?

Allen breaks reality to undermine/save his boss.

Back to reality, Shion.

Ah ha ha. You have no idea, Shion. Just… no idea.

Allen curls up into the fetal position, as is the custom of his (weenie) people.

Shion half heartedly apologies, but subtly reminds Allen that, come on, this is our job.

She also has a brief moment of confusion as she’s thinking back on that red-headed child… umm… Evie? No, that’s not right.

Now, back to normal for everybody, discussing deadlines and delivering this precious data to whoever is asking for it.

And the PA system pipes in to confirm that, wow, it’s the future, and this is all taking place on a space ship. In space!




Let’s cut to the bridge, where they’re discussing time tables or something.

“It will be seven hours until the next rest stop. Billboards are sparse.”

Alright, credit where it’s due, this is a rather cool way to identify the size of the ship. On the other hand, was that something anyone was worried about?

Here’s Captain Gonnadie.

And his second for this mission, Commander Cherenkov. Spoilers: I hate this guy.

Ensign Alwayswrong believes everything will be okay.

Even though we’re still dancing around it with “them”, this is the first overt mention of the gnosis being kind of a big deal out in the recess of space. I’ll prattle on about them soon enough, but for now, just to be clear, the real gnosis, not virtual world gnosis, are bad news. Like, “body bags for everybody” bad news. Well, maybe not body bags… more like salt shakers.

Cherenkov calls the ensign stupid and fat, and Captain Gonnadie calls him out on being a gigantic dick.

Sargent Sniffles defends Cherenkov, claiming that it’s all a side effect of picking up that object ten days ago. If you’re wondering what “that object” is, I will remind you of the entire damn opening.

“Uh…Captain… Can you…uh, debrief us on the current situation? Our original orders from the Galaxy Federation were to investigate the vanished planet and assist the researchers, but ever since we picked up that object, it feels like…everything's changed. What exactly is that thing, anyway?”

“Fuck if I know.”

“Nobody tells me shit.”

“What about the rumor regarding the casualties during the retrieval process…?”

“Even if it were true, that's none of our business. The research team has their own orders to deal with. The only explicit instructions we've received state…that should any salvageable objects exist in the area, their retrieval takes top priority.”

“Top priority? What does that mean?”

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Old 11-20-2015, 09:01 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 2-6

This is why nobody likes you.

Captain Gonnadie is just such a great guy.

“Oh yeah, the robot chick, right? With the heels?”

“They're scheduled to turn in the A-7 reports today.”

“A-7, eh… Only one step away from fully operational. It's about time, I suppose… Lieutenant, please ask Chief Uzuki to come to the bridge once her data's ready. Ask her to bring all the previous data as well.”

“No, he was talking about your promiscuous mother.”

Okay, is anyone else thinking there might be some sort of meta thing going on with the reformed Xenogears team hanging an early plot point on a group of geniuses with a massive project that is far behind schedule? Just a thought.

This is -important information-, and will be elaborated on before everyone in this scene is dead. Er. Spoilers.

Space novels are like regular novels. In space.

It’s always a shame when a dude has no idea what franchise he’s in.

Commander “Fartknocker” Cherenkov, apropos of nothing, injects himself into the conversation with this little non sequitur.



Can… we go now?

Back in R&D, Shion gets the call to go deliver that precious data she almost died over.

I reiterate: you almost died, Shion. Seems like you should bring your A material.

This is all just jibber-jabber, but I wanted to note that Shion fondles KOS-MOS’s robo coffin whenever possible.

Shion has… strange emotions about her pet robot. This will not be the first time Shion acts like a weird kind of parent to the detached robot. I mean, I understand, she’s fond of to what is primarily her creation, but on the other hand, we’re still talking about an emotionless killing machine. Like, literally, that’s what she’s built for. As far as anyone on this ship knows.

Allen makes it clear, through passive aggressive name calling, that he is jealous of the robot. If this is at all surprising, you haven’t been paying attention.

“By the way, Chief, what do you think of the M.W.S. and then A.G.W.S.? It's just dummy data created inside the Encephalon, but it was pretty exciting stuff, wasn't it? If neither had problems during this test, all that remains are the functionality tests using actual models.”

“It worked pretty well. The M.W.S. in particular felt right to me. I sense something contrived in that, though.”

Oh yeah, Shion’s weapon is called a M.W.S.

And it was built by a fellow science nerd, Miyuki. She’ll pop up later, but for now, she’s kind of a mysterious character on the other end of the phone, so to speak.

And we’re finally free to explore reality! Yay!

But reality is kind of horrible in this world, so we’ll take look at it next time.

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Old 11-20-2015, 09:12 PM
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Before anyone out-pendants me (and I'm sad I remember this):

M.W.S. - Multiple Weapon System
A.G.W.S. - Anti-Gobbledygook Weapon System
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:12 PM
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You weren't joking about doing a Xenosaga LP. Cheers and all that.

Totally wish that the pics were bigger, but you already covered that. Off to a good start...!
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:22 PM
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The only thing I remember from this game is that AGWS stands for Anti-Gnosis Weapons System or something.

So, you know. Prototype, manned KOS-MOSes.
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Old 11-20-2015, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
And his second for this mission, Commander Cherenkov.
Is that supposed to be a joke or is that his real name? Because that last name has other meanings.

Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
“The only explicit instructions we've received state…that should any salvageable objects exist in the area, their retrieval takes top priority.”
Geez... Are we sure those orders were from the Galaxy Federation? They sound more like they were from Weyland-Yutani.

Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post

“No, he was talking about your promiscuous mother.”
Heh. Ice Elemental Burn.
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Old 11-20-2015, 10:37 PM
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aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
Is that supposed to be a joke or is that his real name? Because that last name has other meanings.
That's his actual name.
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:47 AM
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Man I vanish for a week and gogglebob starts LPing.

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Old 11-22-2015, 08:57 AM
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madhair60 madhair60 is offline
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Originally Posted by BEAT View Post
Man I vanish for a week and gogglebob starts LPing.

And for longer! :3
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Old 11-22-2015, 01:59 PM
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Best part about these games, and best tweet:
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:32 PM
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My original plan was to title the thread "Jesus Christ, it's Xenosaga"... but I figured that wouldn't pay off for another two games...
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TirMcDohl View Post
Best part about these games, and best tweet
You're shitting me.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:18 AM
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If your Lord and Savior was in a video game, I would not bullshit you about it.
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Old 11-29-2015, 05:39 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 3-1

PREVIOUSLY ON XENOSAGA EPISODE 1: Shion and KOS-MOS went on an exciting (?) adventure through a virtual world, and Shion made a new friend. Allen cried himself to sleep while standing up.

Alright, here we are back in the lab. For the first time, we have complete control over Shion in a “safe” environment, and we can chat with all the little green arrows on the minimap that you’ll see in screenshots occasionally. We are not going to talk to everybody for this LP, because it’s going to be long enough as is, but we will note a handful of important conversation topics. Here’s John Bell, and this capture exists purely to remind you that Vector R&D staff members, like Shion, treat KOS-MOS like a person who has desires (like to be happy).

And here’s Satan. Satan would like to remind you that you can venture back into the virtual world any time you’d like, and retrieve items (treasure). Satan is not to be trusted, and is encouraging Shion to give into the twin sins of gluttony and wasting all of our time.

Here’s our first real-world save point. Like, say, Chrono Cross, save points in the Xenosaga universe kind of have a “real world” component, and aren’t just twinkly gameplay conceits. If you squint, you can see the initials UMN on there, as every save point is an UMN terminal. What this means is that, basically, every time you save, Shion is updating her blog. Just almost died in a digital world, saw a ginger, lol, gtg.

Janice wants to remind you there is a box in the virtual world…

And you should go back in there and get it. I’m not doing that.

Shion leaves R&D for the fabulous hallways of the Woglinde, the enormous spaceship we’re sailing on right now. As a reminder of what happened last time, all Shion has to do is deliver some data, by hand for some reason, to the Captain. This is somehow going to take an hour.

Allen is in charge in Shion’s absence, and… yeah, that’s going to go well.

Here’s a map of the ship. If memory serves, the toastiest of frogs made a joke some time ago about “Shion’s Quarters” being a giant landmark on the map, and what that means for our intrepid heroine’s social status. Since I’m completely against recycling others’ material from a decade ago, I’ll just no-prize this one, and claim that maps of the future “know” who is looking at the display, and load directions appropriately. Anyway, as you can see here, there isn’t that much ground to cover, so… wait… didn’t I just say this would take an hour?

Have to admire that they stuck a “talk to everybody” guy at the top of the game’s first town, and made his info as opaque as possible. Xenosaga, everybody!

Shion got an email! I already loathe this message!

Yes, Shion has a space-PDA or something, and she will randomly receive emails throughout the game. Good news: they rarely, if ever, come along during a dungeon and/or dangerous, tense area. On the other side of the coin, they seem to happen every five seconds in some places (like here), and, like real life, you are punished if you don’t check your email and reply to everyone immediately. I’ll get in to more details on this specific thing soon, but for now, it’s just a reminder that email exists, really.

Oh, and Shion has a little hoppy bunny AI that manages her cell phone. Shion really likes bunnies.

Here’s a distinct reference to the UMN, so let’s address that a little more. Basically, the UMN is the space-internet, and it serves the incredibly important purposes of shooting information all over the galaxy, and directing (space) ships throughout the cosmos. It’s treated like a basic, everyday part of space life for Shion and pals, but nothing would be possible without it. Like the real internet, no one really considers how it works, though, which will be important in like a billion hours.

Shion, top Vector scientist, and Bunny AI, a bunny AI, have a brief conversation about exactly what I just said. I’m starting to see how Vector has fallen behind schedule.

And then they discuss how email works. Effectively, there’s two kinds of email in this game: basic “fill in the plot blanks” emails that are practically just NPC statements, and emails that require a reply, which wind up working out like choose-your-own adventure stories. This would be kind of neat, if it weren’t for the fact that those reply emails eventually lead to “prizes” for your choices, and, in some cases, the prizes are make-or-break the game affairs, and this game was released after 2000 AD, so there’s really no reason to ever reply to an email without checking Gamefaqs first to guarantee you’re on the right track. Additionally, the reply emails do tell their own story, and in a game this… intense with story beats, it’s a big distraction for a little payoff. TLDR: Email is lame.

This little UMN/Email tutorial lasts so long, it ends with a reminder of what you’re actually supposed to be doing.

You’ve got a UMN button right there in the menu, so if you want to read your email at any time, you may. The UMN will have some more features later, though, so it may eventually come in handy.

This guy gets it.

Like five steps later, a cutscene cuts back to R&D, where the staff is already preying on Allen’s myriad insecurities.

Allen is a great boss. He immediately starts taking out his romantic frustrations on the staff.

And the staff respects him for it.

While the veterans are putting together a pool on when Allen experiences his next stroke, one of the new hires has a brief conversation about not knowing the full history of the KOS-MOS project.

KOS-MOS’s initial, disastrous activation is referenced for the second time without any specific details.

Uh-oh! Someone left their gear on their computer console. You can tell it’s actually Shion’s because there’s that bunny motif again.

Allen resumes weenie mode when confronted with Shion’s stuff. Occasionally, the staff gets Allen to bark like a dog at the scent of Shion’s deodorant.

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Old 11-29-2015, 05:49 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 3-2

Everyone is anxious to get their boss to go play delivery boy and get out of their hair.

There has got to be an employee handbook that discourages simply everything that happens in this department.


Tantrum intensifies

And simply no one cares.

Back to Shion, here she is just casually strolling past a giant golden space monument.

Here’s this guy. Despite having a purple X painted on his face, he’s such an unremarkable nobody that even the Xenosaga Wiki doesn’t remember this dude’s name. He’s clearly a reference to a similarly decorated fellow from Xenogears, but I forgot his name, too. Let’s just call him General Strickland. General Strickland thinks his soldiers are a bunch of slackers.

Does he, like, go to a salon for that? Or paint himself every morning? So many questions.

Shion just watches human suffering like it ain’t no thang. This may explain why she keeps Allen around.

Reminder: Shion and crew are like months behind on their one and only project.

Aaaaand flashback time! Remember that time Shion was working in a lab… or… something?

Oh, a different lab, on a planet. You can tell it’s on a for-real planet, because it’s raining outside. A rare example of Xenosaga subtlety.

And who’s this fellow? Why, it’s Kevin, of course.

Kevin Winnicot was Shion’s boss when the KOS-MOS project started, back when Shion was filling Allen’s “junior chief” position. Shion was also emulating a future Allen by having a thing for her boss. Unlike Allen, though, Shion was actually successful at interacting with another human being, and Kevin and Shion were engaged. In both a Biblical and digital sense, this basically makes Kevin and Shion KOS-MOS’s parents. D’aww.

Less adorable, though, is the fact that Kevin is a raging misanthrope , and, to everyone in the universe, save Shion (and his mom… it’s complicated), he’s kind of a gigantic dick. When I say “gigantic dick”, by the by, I don’t mean “only tips 5%”, I mean “wants to kill the universe and everyone in it”. This won’t really come up for another two games (seriously), but I wanted to bring it up because there is a gigantic gulf between how Shion sees Kevin (oh my dear lost love), and how everyone else sees Kevin (homicidal asshole). Shion made a blue-haired savior-bot in heels, Kevin added a gatling gun and boob lasers.

And, oh yeah, Kevin is dead as of the start of Xenosaga. Died right in front of Shion a good two years ago, in fact. Despite this tremendous handicap, he still might be the NPC with the greatest impact on the entire franchise, and has weird connections to all of Xenosaga’s various villainous masterminds.

Kevin’s favorite color is red.

Anyway, back in the past, we learn that Shion cared about deadlines, once upon a time.

Kevin, meanwhile, is a friendly, caring boss that brings coffee to his busy little worker bee/fiancé. Not shown: Kevin stole that coffee from an orphan.

Kevin is not sleeping well. I’m naturally distrustful of Kevin, so I assume this is some kind of come on thing. “I’m sleeping terribly, if only someone would give me a handjob.”

Alright, a brief aside for any budding video game designers reading this. Since, literally, the age of Shakespeare, man has recognized that two people standing around having a conversation is boring as hell, so various tricks and techniques were pioneered to generate the illusion of, basically, stuff happening. We, as humans, have gotten pretty good at it, so you can watch any given episode of Law and Order and, despite the fact that all you’re watching is a series of boring people having boring conversations, you’ll find that it’s “interesting” because the detectives are walking forward and knocking on doors and whatever to trick your brain into thinking things are happening at a much more rapid pace. I believe it’s called “staging”.

Despite hundreds of years of drama performances, a lot of video games forget staging exists. We’re suddenly back in the stone age, and the reason so many people zone out during, say, Persona 4’s million year long opening is that two heads hurling text back and forth at each is about as interesting as mowing the lawn with hedge clippers. Progress is being made, but it seems so damn boring when it’s just head voice acting at other head, and the last thing any video game should be is boring.

So, anyway, Xenosaga Episode 1, for all its faults, is very good at staging a scene, and even something like this, just Shion and Kevin talking about an inanimate robot, is enhanced by some actual movement and staging and humans acting like humans, as opposed to particularly chatty trees. It goes a long way toward making cutscene after cutscene more palatable.

Reminder, we’re about an hour into the game, and Shion has taken like twenty steps through the real world.

Back to the actual scene in question, turns out Kevin is nervous about activating KOS-MOS tomorrow. Spoilers, it’s going to be a killer launch.

“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” …. Actually, he probably was considering that…

Going to just go ahead and reiterate this: Shion considered KOS-MOS a person before she was even turned on. Wait… I should probably phrase that differently…

Kevin agrees with the sentiment, but that’s only because he imagines the whole of humanity to be stupid baby robots.

Literally the last sleep he’ll ever have. Erm. Spoilers.

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Old 11-29-2015, 05:58 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 3-3

You just brought her coffee! Wait, no, this is the sex stuff, right?

There’s probably some good, important blocking going on here with Shion standing next to KOS-MOS (‘s space coffin) while Kevin exits the frame, but it just occurred to me that Kevin was 26 to Shion’s 20 at the time of this flashback, and that seems extra creepy on top of the whole boss/employee thing. Like, they technically started dating when she was a teenager, right?

Bah, no time to dwell on that, back to reality, and Shion considering how her project is technically two years behind schedule.

Actually, screw reality, turns out if you stare at our favorite monolith too long, the universe kinda breaks down.

Oh no. Shion, I need you to do something for me: if anyone asks you to sit in a chair and start narrating everything, you need to resist. I just… I can’t go through that again.

Oh, wait, it’s just our red-headed little buddy again.

She's Xenosaga's most transparent character.

Shion is a tad spooked.

And she winds up in a monochromatic world. Uh, emphasis on “world” here, as you don’t usually see that much foliage on a spaceship.

Red is saying something here, but someone hit the mute key, and the subtitles forgot to show up. I can’t read anime lips, so let’s just assume she’s reciting a recipe for lamb chops.

This creepy world has its own monolith, and our eagle-eyed readers may note that it’s slightly different from the monolith back in reality. What does it all mean?

Red just kind of fades into the monolith.

And Shion thinks that would be a lovely place to visit.

Touch-a touch-a touch me.

The world gets a little more rippley.

Wait, what?

I would have nothing but respect for a video game that spends an hour establishing its main character and then kills her with a practically inanimate object.

I love this line, because General Strickland has underlings literally vanishing from this plane of existence, and he’s more annoyed by it than anything.

And then he calls Shion a bimbo. Normally I’m not a big fan of that insult, but the shoe seems to fit this space cadet.

Shion skulks off, likely wondering why she ever leaves the lab.

Strickland has a hands-on managing style.

On the way out, we meet a friendly fellow that just wants to share information. Oh boy!

And it turns out he wants to stick us on some spam delivery list. Oh well, Shion agrees, because giving her email address to strangers is something she does.

Chief Bimbo is still contemplating that whole reality warping incident when Allen finally catches up. Reminder: she’s traveled like, maybe, a hundred yards at this point.

Shion can apparently demoralize Allen by simply stating his name.

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Old 11-29-2015, 06:05 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 3-4

Could have just emailed Shion, but, no, you had to walk all the way over here…

Shion is still shaken, and is barely paying Allen any attention. Not that she would on a good day anyway, but it’s the principle.

Allen at least senses that something is off about the chief, but she brushes him off, because additional Allen conversation is not something she wants to deal with.

Probably because ghost gingers are creeping on her.

Shion does at least thank Allen for defending her adamant “let’s never activate the fruit of our labors” stance.

As it keeps being alluded to, I’ll just go ahead and confirm that the last time KOS-MOS got activated, people died. A lot of people died. Kevin, previously the leader of these dorks, died. These people are “a little uneasy” about sticking their hands in a live blender.

I’m a generous sort, the game is still going to dance around this information for a couple hours.

Nobody likes to be reminded that their killing machine has actually killed.

Oh, wait, got a phone call. Sorry, Allen, have to take this.

So it turns out that Shion is helping out with the realian maintenance on the ship, too. I’ll explain what this means when we get over there, but for now it just means Shion has an excuse to get the hell away from Allen.

She runs off, and Allen laments his own allenosity.

Before we play Meet the Realians, Shion has to swing by her room.

We can explore the ship a little more than we were allowed previously, and we can meet this dedicated fellow.

What’s this switch do?

Hehe, closing doors is fun!

After using that button again to reopen the doors, we find that some people aren’t so much into confined spaces.

Here’s Shion’s room! Two desks, a savepoint, and a bed in the back. Pretty spartan, but it is just temporary lodging while zooming around space.

A glimmering data pad (or something) is the macguffin we need to advance the plot right now.

Miyuki emails us on the way out the door. This is like the second email in the game, and it’s already interrupting advancing the plot.

Miyuki is basically just bragging around building Shion’s arm-thingy, and prattles on about how using the weapon is an effective workout routine. I lost 15 lbs. with one simple trick. The internet hasn’t changed in centuries.

Route’s closed due to headaches.

On the way to the Realian Lab, Shion confides in a NPC that she enjoys talking to realians. In a moment, this will be reinforced ad nauseam, but Xenosaga does like redundancy.

Alright, we’re at the lab.

The doctor is in!

And here’s the dork in charge of the realians, Lieutenant Caspase, apparently. This guy is so bad at his job, he has to recruit Shion for help. Constantly. Who would admit that?

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Old 11-29-2015, 06:15 PM
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Default Xenosaga Episode 1 3-5

(fifth post in an update that started on the previous page)

Shion, empathy incarnate, acknowledges that she only does this to spread sunshine and make the world a better place.

She taps out some data on a nearby console, and finds that the problem is that all the malfunctioning realians require hugs. Shion is just the person for the job!

In a weird bit of “gameplay” Shion/you now have to run around the room and speak to each realian and listen to its problems. Let’s take this time to elaborate on what is a realian. A realian is a robot, but different. There ya go.

For instance, realians need, like, counseling, because they have mental problems and junk. KOS-MOS doesn’t need counseling. She has a laser sword.

Shion mentions her mentor here, and, just to be clear, it ain’t Kevin. But don’t worry, like Kevin, her mentor is very much dead, and will show up randomly to help out.

Shion makes mention of the fact that she kinda hates her job, and would rather just counsel realians all day. Caspase points out that that is just crazy stupid.

I’d love to just make another glib remark about how Shion is so woefully unqualified for her position that even her family knows this is all insane, but I’m going to mention something else, knowing the full ramifications of Shion going into this. Everyone Shion loves dies. Her parents, her nanny, he fiancée: they’re all dead. In fact, I think they were all killed in front of her, too, on separate occasions. Her only living relative is her brother, and, as we’ll find out before this update is out, she respects him about as much as Allen. Long story short: this is a really weird statement, as the only way it works translates to, basically, “My idiot brother thinks I’m the idiot.” Unless she considers her underlings to be family, in which case, this is even weirder.

Oh ho, nevermind, Lieutenant Virgil is here.

Virgil gets a big whiff of realian.

This is how you introduce a character: crank the creep dial up to eleven, and never look back.

Lt. Luis Virgil is another in a long line of absolutely horrible people introduced in the opening hours of Xenosaga. Technically, he’s on the side of the angels, and he will be our first male party member, but he’s also absolutely ghastly to everyone and everything in his immediate area. On the way into this scene, he kicked over a fern, and now he’s manhandling an entire room of realians in what is essentially their doctor’s office. Of all the people about to die on this ship, I’ll miss Virgil the least.

Oh, and for all you onomasticians out there, yes, obviously Virgil is named for the mythological Virgil, an unusually large chicken that guided Mighty Max, the cap-bearer, through Skullmaster’s underworld.

Luis Virgil’s favorite color is blue.

“It reeks. I can't get their rotten odor out of my system. Can't you smell it? It makes me sick to my stomach.”

“That's enough! You got your orders from the Lieutenant Commander, didn't you? One of the goals of this operation is to enhance combat support between the A.G.W.S. and the new-model Realians! And yet you're…”

“Support? Ha! In a battle against them, the last thing I want to worry about is supporting a bunch of untested Weapons-Grade Realians!”

Virgil is not a fan of realians.

Shion interjects.

If you’ve somehow missed it, a major theme of Xenosaga is the treatment of sentient creatures/AI, and should we treat creatures that are different from us like people. There’s a surprising amount of nuance on this topic throughout the game (if you’re looking for it), and, almost universally, our heroes treat all life, whether it be realian or human, as equals, while the bad guys, to different degrees, segregate and discriminate. You can probably guess where Virgil falls on that spectrum when he refers to all realians as equipment.

And to elaborate on my earlier description of realians, yes, they’re robots, but they’re partially biological, and 100% emotional and think like “real” humans. The practical distinction here is that they’re mass produced in labs, and all speak kinda like Data. Huh, some of the males even sorta look like him.

Good news: there are literal laws guaranteeing the rights of realians. Bad news: Xenosaga is taking place during the year 4767, so that’s only been a law for four years, and nobody ever makes that kind of law just for giggles. Worse news: Apparently I should have been capitalizing “Realians” this whole time. On one hand, I object, as realians are basically a species like humans or lions, but on the other hand, they are official products of Vector Industries, so they’re probably space copyrighted, like Windows.

Virgil accuses Shion of being a white knight.

If someone were to draw up some fanart of Virgil in a fedora, I’d be most appreciative. He’s so much more logical than Shion.

Virgil has done his research, though, and knows that while Realians have free will, they also have a super secret control override, and its mere mention freaks Shion the heck out.

Hey, a Realian has decided to come over and not just let the humans talk about his people.

“It is as you say, Sir. We are manufactured as merchandise, and raised accordingly. However, I take great pride in what I do now. And this pride was not forced upon me. It is of my own free will.”

I have the free will to burn at will, sir.

This literally makes Virgil sick.

Virgil kinda look hungry to anybody else?

Shion focuses on Virgil’s weird facial deformity, and contemplates that he may be a DME addict. We have no idea what that means at this point.

A brief cutscene respite, and a helpful NPC points out that Virgil is, as suspected, a jerk.

This update was later than I expected because I have to look up this guy’s name every time… Caspase mentions that he used to be buds with Virgil.


Last edited by GoggleBob; 11-29-2015 at 06:41 PM. Reason: Just making things easier
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