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  #451  
Old 09-29-2017, 11:12 AM
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Eleni is surrounded by a pair of independently rotating circles that expand and contract. I mean, it doesn't look like evil blood magic...





Then the stars that make up those circles peel off one at a time to move towards the sword.



Did it... did it work?





I'm not sure that I want to anymore...





Ash doesn't hesitate, though. I'm sure it's fine.



I'm sure it's fine...





And that's the end of the penultimate chapter! The little girl that we were supposed to take care of got swallowed up by a hole in time and space, but she gets better, I guess, so we're not sweating it? Now that we have our magical macguffin, it's finally time to head back home drive it into Dolf's big, stupid, obviously evil face.

Next Time: SHOPPING TRIP!!!
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  #452  
Old 09-29-2017, 12:30 PM
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"Hey guys I just remembered that I'm that person who just got sucked up and lost forever. Also I just remembered that I already knew how to open this thing."

As plot twists go, that's right up there with orphanage.
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  #453  
Old 09-29-2017, 03:57 PM
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I totally did not see that one coming.
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  #454  
Old 09-29-2017, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
"Hey guys I just remembered that I'm that person who just got sucked up and lost forever. Also I just remembered that I already knew how to open this thing."

As plot twists go, that's right up there with orphanage.
I dunno, maybe (definitely) I'm too close to it, but I find this much less egregious. The timing is admittedly way too convenient, but I thought it was a totally cool twist as a kid, and I kind of still do now. There are little hints peppered throughout the game beyond just their similar appearance/names, like Eleni remembering the village burning down when you first show up (because she was there as a child and saw it happen) or Magnus' account of how he found her. Also, there's this weird little exchange:

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Eleni continues to look way too cheerful as she gives Leena a pep talk.



It's kind of amazing that, in a game that plays so ridiculously fast and loose with punctuation, I'm still incredibly bothered by the absence of an oxford comma.



Apparently we're going to take a little girl with us to battle from now out. How could that ever go wrong?



There's a cute little animation here as Eleni kneels down to give Leena this pendant, which shines briefly as she's examining it.



"I was an orphan baby with only this pendant to show who I really was. I'm giving this to you because now I know who I am. I'm me! Someday you'll know what I mean... Let's go back to the others, okay?"

WHERE DID THE PENDANT COME FROM!? GAH, TIME TRAVEL PARADOX. This is the kind of shit that keeps me up at night.
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  #455  
Old 09-29-2017, 06:21 PM
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*Is drawn like a moth to a flame when pretentious Latin appears in an RPG.*

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Another magic square, more questionably appropriate Latin. This one loosely translates to "All that's fair must fade." I guess that's slightly more applicable?
A more literal translation of that phrase is "Thus passes the glory of the world."

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More Latin masquerading as Biruni, this time meaning "now or never". At least this phrase seems reasonably appropriate to the situation.
That first word should be nunc.

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Uh... I don't so much like the sounds of that, though. And what's the Latin mean this time?

*JBear does a quick Google search*

"We who are about to die salute you."
Supposedly this was said by gladiators before they entered combat. But they prefaced it with Ave Imperator (Hail Emperor!)
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  #456  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:11 PM
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Hello there everyone, and welcome back to Let's Play Vandal Hearts!

When last we saw our heroes-- Actually, we're at an act break, so why don't I let the narrator do this bit for me?



"Having acquired the great sword, Vandal Heart, the only power which can resist the Flames of Judgment, Ash and his friends set off for the city of Shumeria to take their part in the Liberation Army's final assault."

(Check out Ash's cool reflection in his rad new sword!)



"At the same time, Dolf, who had been secretly hiding his true ambition for years, saw the chaos after the death of Emperor Hel as his great chance to grasp the reigns of power."

"Secretly"? Did no one look at this asshole's face?

Anyway, I think that about sums it up! Oh, and also we found out that Leena and Eleni are the same person, because something something time travel. Don't worry about it.



Here we go! The final Act! Get hype!



And just like that, we're dumped into a town interface. Where the hell are we?



"Glascow City". Okay, sure, why not?

(Also, check out that cool sword laying across the map now!)



Maybe the locals can fill us in on what Glascow City has to offer.



? What pun? Am I just being daft here? If someone knows what the pun here is, then please point it out to me, because I am at a loss. Was Hel secretly a vampire?



Speaking as one of said foes, I can say that this just isn't true, friend.



Too real.



"Werid man", eh? Harsh.



Admittedly, that interaction was a little weird. Free swag, though!

(This fellow does a check to see if you're been keeping up with your side-questing to this point. This is the cut-off for doing the five trials, so you need to wrap those up now if you want to try the sixth and final trial. If this is a casual play-through, you've probably already missed one or more of the keys and don't need to worry about it, and if you've been diligently key-collecting then you're probably the sort of person who has already completed all five trails anyway. What I'm getting at here is that I doubt many people got tripped up at this particular requirement.)



I would love to know this guy's deal, but Ash is apparently not interested now that's he's gotten what he needs from him. Sorry, weird guy!



A quick inventory juggle later and it's in Ash's pocket. Before we tackle this final trial, though...



We have one last big shopping trip!
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  #457  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:17 PM
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There's all-new gear for everyone, so it's time to spend that giant mountain of cash. In addition to the five keys, I guess we also must have picked up three pendants along the way, because we're about to obtain the Master Sword!



It's, um, a significant down-grade for Ash?



Oh yeah. So we have this now. It's a pretty good sword! Just... just ignore that bit about souls.



The Master Sword is a solid upgrade for our other sword-wielders, though.




Almost everyone picks up a new weapon, save for a couple of folks who were already rocking better from chests or drops.



Sara is also rocking such a weapon, having Kurtz' hand-me-down claws, but these Death Claws are still an upgrade.



New head-gear across the board too, although I couldn't bring myself to replace Clint's Grimhelm, as it's just too appropriate. It's only 3 points of DF worse, so I'm not too worried about it. Feel free to quote this at me later when Clint leaves the battlefield in a shower of blood.

Oh, and note that Diego's new head-gear there is a Rune Crown, not a Royal Crown, although he'll always be king of my heart.



Kevlar is apparently the ultimate in body protection, granting a pretty massive defensive upgrade.



It's even better than Plate Mail, apparently, so Dolan reluctantly trades in his while giving me the stink-eye.



Finally, our casters all pick up some good mojo.



So, we just bought the last set of gear in the game and are still lousy with cash. What's an independently wealthy freedom fighter to do?



Spend spend spend! We're unlikely to need any of these stupidly good healing items (Holy water heals full HP for every friendly unit on the battlefield, while Life Orbs restore a single unit's HP/MP entirely), but a little insurance never hurt anyone, so I buy a couple of each and spread them around the squad.



That still leaves us with a stupid amount of gold, but I can't bring myself to spend it all, so I guess it'll all go towards retirement savings for whichever members of the squad come out the other end of this revolution in one piece.
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  #458  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:20 PM
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Alright, let's go see a man about a legend.



It's... a line. You know what, at least it's not a damned pyramid. I'll take it!



So what we have here is kind of a boss rush/gauntlet. A bunch of our named foes from the past, including all of the dead Crimson Generals, have been raised from the dead with their original gear and are out for our blood. Oh, and I guess they've been cloned several times each as well?




They've all got a muted colour palette and new delightful zombie portraits, which is an entirely unnecessary little detail that I just adore. Kurtz and Sabina both have disgusting strands of spittle leaking from the mouths, and Dallas has the greatest doofy look on his face.



We've never really fought a caster boss, so there's four of these undead Dark Mages thrown in as well to mix things up. To my never-ending delight, not only does the undead Dark Mage trade his purple robe for a dirty brown one, but his portrait now also has his staff's head in it for some reason, so it looks like there's a tiny angry dog perched on his shoulder.



Capping things off at the far end are a couple of stationary statues from waaaay back in the mind-controlled village. They died in one hit back then, and even at level 25, they're no different now.



Just behind them is our objective, the chest containing the 6th and final prism said to hold part of Toroah's soul.



Annoyingly, the enemy front line starts just outside the range of our front-line. I have Ash and Clint stop one space back-- no reason to give the enemy a height advantage damage bonus for the sake of advancing a single space.



Everyone else files in behind them and waits for the enemy assault.
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  #459  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:23 PM
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Um.

Ash, I've missed you!

Rocking a bad-ass new magic sword, Ash is a murder machine in a way that he hasn't been since back at the start of the game. And now that the trials are about to be behind us, I no longer have any reason to keep him in check!



Ash is just chewing through these guys, and this one wasn't even able to get past the shield. I'm actually a bit worried, in that I thought Ash would only take one hit this turn, but he might take a bunch in succession if this keeps up. I've never had that concern outside of a Fire Emblem game before!



Fortunately, Dumas is made of sturdier stuff, and this exchange goes more in line with what I was expecting, finally leaving the space in front of Ash occupied. Clint then has a similar exchange with the other Dumas.



With my front line now unreachable, these guys further back decide that there's no point in advancing any further and instead choose to remain in place.



Let's see how these jerks like my line of Sky Lords flying up over their heads to stab them in the back of the skull.



I'm going to say that they didn't care for it.



With the way cleared, Ash and Clint are able to advance forward and take out another line of Zoots.

("Zoots" is very fun to say. Go ahead, say it with me: "Zoots".)



These last four units in the first group are fairly clustered, so Eleni steps forward to soften them up with a Roman Fire.




She apparently did not soften them sufficiently, however, as my line of Archers leaves both Zoots with fewer than 10 HP each.



Everyone else calmly files forward, and Huxley drops a quick heal to recover the damage suffered by my front line last turn.



Dolan patiently plods his away along in the rear. The trials maps really aren't kind to Dragoons.
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  #460  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:28 PM
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Most of this game's bosses have healing spells, which means that almost every enemy on this map does as well. With only a sliver of health remaining, both Zoots decide to retreat and apply some Self Healing. It will not be nearly enough.



Otherwise, this turn goes identically to the last one, with Client and Ash exchanging blows with a fresh set of Dumasses. (Oh shit, I found something more fun to say than "Zoots".)



Just like we handled the previous set, the flyers float up over their heads and prepare to clear the way.




And when JBear saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more Zoots or Dumasses to conquer.



A single cast from Huxley and the entire squad is back to full health. We're a third of the way through and no one has even broken a sweat. Many of them haven't even gotten the chance to hit anyone yet!



With the first group defeated, the second group begins to advance during the enemy turn. Kurtz' monk movement speed leaves him well out in front of the rest of the pack.



We have two Archers firing down from an elevated platform along a narrow corridor. This is pretty much the perfect Archer scenario. I'd take a whole squad of them for this map if I could. As things stand, Darius and Kira are just going to have to take all of the fun for themselves.



This map really doesn't feel balanced around the new gear that we just purchased.



I have no intention of forcing this next fight when we can make them assault our position instead.



Yes, that's right: come to me.




What a difference a few elevation levels makes. I've had just about enough of single-digit HP totals.
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  #461  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:38 PM
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Well, I certainly can't stand for that. Eleni, clean 'em up.






The new weapons may be over-performing, but we've reached the point where magic starts to feel as if it's under-performing, and it's just going to get worse from here thanks to the lack of scaling. Dallas is an Armor unit, but still only took 60 damage from our strongest area attack. Still, it's enough to finish off the front line; Dallas & Dallas (coming this Fall to NBC) were just a bonus.



I was initially tempted to rush forward and close ranks around Eleni to protect her at this point, but a quick check of movement range shows that she's in no danger from either Dallas, and the mages don't pose much risk to her either (she's resistant to magic damage, and she may not even be in range of them anyway), so she's perfectly safe taking a couple of Sabina-fired crossbow bolts.



Still, I have everyone tighten up behind her in anticipation of rushing forward to close next turn.



Eleni and Clint each take a bolt to the face during the enemy turn, but that's it. I have Huxley wipe that damage away immediately at the start of our next turn.




The volley from our Archers, on the other hand, is far more effective, taking out this pair of Mages handily before they can cast a single spell.





Our Mages have plenty of time to cast spells, though, and a pair of Roman Fires takes a large chunk out of this group's remaining four units.



Grog and Ash have a quick staggered dance forward to clear both Sabinas out of the way.



I love that portrait.



Our fliers have no problem cleaning up what's left, and that's it for the second enemy group.
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  #462  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:42 PM
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So, here's the deal: this rear guard consists largely of ranged units, and if we assault this position then they'll be raining arrows and spells while we're trying to climb, just like we did to the previous group. So we're not going to do that.



Over the next several turns, I cluster the main body of the squad back atop the same position we occupied previously, while Diego inches forward one space per turn, feeling out the enemy position and hoping to bait out an attack.






Hook, line, and sinker.

(Ow.)



Brave Sir Diego ran away. I make sure to move so that I am precisely as far away from the foremost Mage as I was at the start of the previous enemy turn, so that this little song and dance will go the same way the second time around.



Given that the previous shot took off almost half of Diego's health, that means that "going the same way" leaves Diego at death's door, but there's not enough variance in damage that he was in any real danger here.



Still, I'm certainly not going to leave him that way, so Ash rushes forward and does some rare healing. Note that Faerie Star is a pretty potent heal in its own right, and cheap too!



Now that's he's hale enough to survive a possible block and counter-attack, Diego rushes forward to jam his spear in between this Mage's eyes.



Well that certainly got their attention. Now that Diego has drawn blood, the rest of the enemy force charges forward to join the fray.



Diego rushes back up the stairs to assume his position in our formation and prepares to drop the hammer.



This "let them comes to us" tactic has made at least one squaddie very happy.



Dolan remains very good at hitting things with his axe when he's able to get close enough to do so.



Kira is the only Archer close enough to hit anyone else, and she's not able to finish off this Sabina, which presents a problem, as Dolan is presently way out in front and in range of two arrows and, much more notably, a Mage, who will gleefully nuke him for massive damage.
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  #463  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:45 PM
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So, we need to give them a better target. Sara slaps a Perfect Guard on to Diego, which, to remind everyone, guarantees that he'll be able to block the next physical attack that comes his way.



He then rushes out to finish off Sabina, and everyone else files along behind him.



Sabina obediently backs up and fires at Diego, since type advantage makes him the most appealing target here and the enemy AI ignores Perfect Guard. He, of course, blocks it with his shield.



An exchange with Dallas follows, and Diego gets the better end of it. Hey, remember when this guy used to be able to one-shot us?



Finally, the Mage drops a Dark Hurricane right in the middle of our formation, which was honestly half of the reason for clustering this tightly, as I'd rather the diffuse damage of the Hurricane over an Evil Stream on our most injured teammate.



Amon, Clint, Ash, and Grog all go for a fun ride.




Unfortunately, they totally fail to stick the landing.



This battle is coming to a close, and Supreme Healing is so prohibitively expensive that I'll probably never want to cast it, so I'll take this opportunity to demonstrate it.



It blankets the entire field in yellow to show the effective range, but rest assured that it only heals allied units.




That's about it. The... the sparkles are green?



Diego and Amon waste no time in dispatching both Sabina and the Mage by floating on over their heads and striking them from behind.



Dallas doesn't fall quite so easily, but that's why I have two Archers.
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  #464  
Old 11-08-2017, 01:48 PM
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We're essentially done at this point, but one final "trap" remains. Can you see it?



I don't feel like tediously advancing the whole squad forward, so here we are a few turns later with a pair of Archers, Ash, and Huxley for some added insurance in case I'm underestimating these statues.



The reason that I brought the Archers is that they are able to safely take out these statues from outside their attack range. There is zero risk here.



You'll notice that I didn't have Darius finish off the other statue, though, because if he had, then the battle would have ended immediately without giving us a chance to loot that chest! Yes, the final trap on this map is two very squishy statues that stand between you and your goal just begging for you sneeze on them and forget that doing so will end the battle prematurely. That's a dick move, game! Take a guess what young JBear did his first time here? I was pretty steamed!





Speaking of sneezes, Ash just shrugs off this final attack, no Huxley required.



And there it is, the final prism. I'm getting excited, you guys.



Kira decides to get up close and personal for this final shattering.



Huzzah!



Advance me, bro!



Alright folks, you've got a very important decision to make! All of the pixel hunting and side-questing thus far has been leading to this: the Vandalier, the holy warrior of story and legend! There's no going back once I click this button, and it will have a marked impact on how the last several battles of this Let's Play go. First of all, Ash will get a cosmetic make-over that, in my opinion, really detracts from the rest of the story, since it hides his face. Much more importantly, he will also become a ridiculously unstoppable juggernaut. Like, when I say that this class breaks the game, I am not being hyperbolic. You've never seen a player class this broken in an SRPG before, I guarantee it. Vandaliers eat FFT Calculators for breakfast.

So what say you, Talking Time? Shall we break the game? Do things the hard way? Split the difference and click this button later? Let me know!



Next time: We either have a hard-fought battle to storm Fort Gareth, or we roll over it like the walls are made of tissue.
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  #465  
Old 11-08-2017, 02:14 PM
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Break it over your knee
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  #466  
Old 11-08-2017, 02:25 PM
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JBear SMASH
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  #467  
Old 11-08-2017, 02:58 PM
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DESTROY ALL THE THINGS

I SUSPECT YOU ARE BEING HYPERBOLIC SO I HAVE TO BE SURE

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? What pun? Am I just being daft here? If someone knows what the pun here is, then please point it out to me, because I am at a loss. Was Hel secretly a vampire?
The Emperor's death was the final nail in the Empire's coffin. It's not particularly deep -- you're thinking too hard about it.
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  #468  
Old 11-08-2017, 03:35 PM
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The sheer ridiculousness of the Vandalier must be shown.
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  #469  
Old 11-08-2017, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
So what say you, Talking Time? Shall we break the game? Do things the hard way? Split the difference and click this button later?
Can you do both? If not then I want to see the reward you earned from all of the trials you have endured.

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 11-09-2017 at 08:25 PM.
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  #470  
Old 11-09-2017, 08:35 AM
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Can you do both?
I mean, if I had a reasonable update schedule and could actually stick to a new update every week, then maybe, but I'd like for this to finish before I'm old and grey. I have other things that I'd like to LP, and I expected to be finished this two years ago!
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  #471  
Old 11-09-2017, 12:38 PM
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Promote him!
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  #472  
Old 11-16-2017, 10:35 PM
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Promote him!
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