The Return of Talking Time

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  #331  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:00 AM
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Default Wild Arms 2 31-3

Post #3 in an update that started on the previous page.



Now we can take the second path around the save point.



Mostly just lava dodging…



Oh, this is… medium interesting. It’s basically a maze of rocks and treasures, but the design of the area does give the impression this “dungeon” is a series of natural rock growths (or the results of random lava flows? I’m not a geologist).



And some HP crystals in case you need a fill up after all that lava.



Now we can blast that final spout.



And, since we hit the other two spouts earlier, we can walk around with impunity. Progress in our time!



Sure, random slate in the middle of an inactive volcano. Whatever you say.



Whipping out “the power of destruction” (aka Brad’s bombs) will blast that monolith to pieces.



And leave a natural fart behind.



That final blast opens what appears to be our first doorway leading inside the volcano.



And this is our final destination. If you know what you’re doing, the Sleeping Volcano is a pretty quick dungeon. If you’re me… things take a little longer.



Please tell me ARMS isn’t just tripping on carbon monoxide poisoning…



Hey, that sounds familiar!



Knowing his name did come in handy!



Guys! Oh my God! Guys! He’s not a dragon! He’s a transformer! We’re gonna get a transformer! It’s Christmas!



“Am I doing this right? Is this thing on? You guys are pathetic. Did you understand that?”



This raises all sorts of questions about that dragon we killed yesterday.



Hey, remember when Ashley turned into a monster, and, despite being an intelligent creature, all he could do was communicate through grunts? And remember how we have killed 70,000,000 random monsters since then?



That’s what I thought.




Dragons are cool, but rude.



So Cybertron got eaten by Unicron. Got it.



Well, this all sounds very familiar.



So the good news is that if ARMS fails, a few humans might actually survive in the “new” universe. The bad news is they’re likely to be just as helpless as the dragons, and… that doesn’t end well.



“Couldn’t save your own universe, but why not give ours a shot?”

CONTINUED NEXT POST
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  #332  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:06 AM
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Default Wild Arms 2 31-4



“I understand. Hanging out alone in a volcano sounds like a much better use of your time.”



“And my programs are on…”



“Unlike some dragons.”



“Saving the world is just like learning to play the trumpet! We’ll be the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in no time!”



Score!



Okay, I’m going to talk about this three second GIF for a minute. Tim and Lilka are the two youngest members of ARMS, but, by and large, they barely ever interact. I think their biggest scene together was when Tim found Lilka on Ashley’s steps, and, for that bit of drama, Tim could have been essentially any other character. Or a particularly verbal chair. However, even though we don’t get reams of Lilka/Tim dialogue, we get adorable little moments like right here, where we have successfully convinced a freaking dragon to join the party, so high five! Brad, Kanon, and Ashley are as professional as ever, but the kids are freaking psyched, and, in a one second animation, we’re rapdily reminded of party dynamics.

It’s a pretty rad way to sneak some character moments into the script, and it would be nice if the talky JRPGs of today could remember this simple shortcut to making characters relatable and interesting.



Oh, but now, we fight.



Cool pose, caliber.



Official game art gives Lombardia a sort of Sonic the Hedgehog vibe.



“So you just want us to hit you?”
“Yes! That!”



Whoops! Kind of forgot to heal after all that lava…



And Lombardia isn’t going to wait around while we break out the berries.



Lombardia’s “belly” is clearly that jewel in his middle, and, while I don’t know much about dragon physiology, I’m almost certain you don’t want to hit a potential ally in that spot.



Lombardia’s strongest attack is some manner of party-wide dragon laser. Fortunately, this is Lombardia’s only threatening attack, so if you heal after each blast (which doesn’t happen that often), you should be fine.



We get 15,000 EXP and gella, which seems to imply Lombardia had a stash of cash.



Because, if you’re good, one day, you might tame a transformer.



“I feel like we really had a breakthrough when Brad hit you with4 that missile, but I’m still going to recommend continuing counseling for everyone here.”



Oh, right, fighting in a “sleeping” volcano always leads to an active volcano.



How will ARMS get out of this one?! Is anyone here secretly a jet?



BAD END



Oh, no. Lombardia. Right.



So where does the party fit in Lombardia? It’s unclear!



Meanwhile, back at the chateau.



Lombardia basically confirms what we learned from Gaia: a world is trying to eat our world, and it’s difficult to punch.



But apparently Lombardia provided info on where the parallel universe originated. So we know where to aim our rail gun now?

CONTINUED NEXT POST
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  #333  
Old 04-13-2018, 10:12 AM
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Default Wild Arms 2 31-5



Irving reveals that Ashley gave him an idea: if we can “trap” the encroaching universe in a physical shell (like how Lord Blazer is trapped within Ashley), then we can stab that universe until it… can a universe die?



Guess we’ll find out!



Ley lines are hypothetical alignments of a number of places of geographical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths. Their existence was suggested in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, whose book 'The Old Straight Track' brought the alignments to the attention of the wider public.”



So the newest plan is to manipulate our planet’s energy into forming a magical cage to trap the other universe.



Wonder why nobody thought of this sooner!



“Just make sure that ‘mortal conception’ has limited HP, okay?”



And that includes...



Our brand new dragon buddy!



Wild Arms Mission #23
Gain the power of a dragon.
Status: Success!
Notes: And it turns out the dragon was a chatty cathy, and we now have a brand new objective, too!



Seek out the reypoints! For great justice!



We finally have a legit airship! Hooray!

A quick word about Lombardia: we now have a sentient airship equipped with marvelous laser weaponry… but that volcano bit was the last that will ever matter. Lombardia is going to just stand around while we’re off exploring dungeons, and doesn’t join us for a rad dragon-based battle even once. Lame! This will be rectified when a version of Lombardia returns in Wild Arms 3, so please look forward to that game I am absolutely not LP’ing.

Oh, also, WA3 Lombardia is female. There’s really no reason to assume this Lombardia is male, but I’m going to do that anyway, because I suspect this Lombardia is Starscream in disguise.



So let’s talk about why the Wild Arms 2 world map kind of sucks. For the first time in the game, we have Kanon’s radar and an airship that can land (almost) anywhere. So that means, for the first time in the game, we can go anywhere, and find all of the hidden dungeons scattered around the map. Why couldn’t we do this before? Well, because the varied requirements for “landing” in the other vehicles are very limiting, and that can make exploration very bewildering.

Remember Judecca’s Diablo Pillar from a while back? We were told it was on that island, we could see it on the radar, but we couldn’t actually reach the tower through traditional means. We could park the hovercraft nearby, but, thanks to some random cliffs, we just couldn’t make it to the actual pillar. It was eventually revealed that we had to go to a ghost town halfway across the world, and use a hitherto unmentioned teleporter to find our way to our actual goal. And that was an interesting way to frame one mandatory dungeon, but applying that same thinking to optional content is absurd. We can’t get up this cliff to reach that tantalizing green dot? Well, does that mean we don’t have the plot mandated latest vehicle upgrade, we’re not supposed to go to this location yet, or that we’re simply missing a random hill on that cliff that we’re supposed to climb? Without a FAQ or a very dedicated map, there’s no way of knowing!

And, what’s more, with the “activate landmarks” system, even if you do find an “unusual” location where there is clearly supposed to be something hidden, if you don’t find anything, there’s no way of knowing if that area is waiting for plot activation, or if you’ve just encountered a particularly weird bit of geography. The Sleeping Volcano from this very update was clearly always going to be a dungeon, but we first found the area hours and hours ago when it was inert. Which, if we killed some time on foot looking for this impossible entrance at that time, we would have just been rewarded with a bunch of aggravating random battles.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that the world map of Wild Arms 2 is interesting, and it’s nice that it contains secrets that are available as early as Valeria Chateau’s first take off, but actually exploring this world is a pain in the ass if you don’t already know where you’re going. Without Lombardia and Kanon’s radar, determining whether you’re exploring a potential secret, an area waiting to be unlocked in another few hours, or a dead end is nearly impossible.



But now we have our airship, so everything is hunky dory. We’re supposed to be aiming for those four reypoint dungeons (which will remind us of Diablo Pillars soon enough), but we can also tackle a lot of optional content, too.



And our first stop? Well, this castle looks like a lot of fun…

Next time on Wild Arms 2: What crazy thing will we recruit next?
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  #334  
Old 04-14-2018, 05:56 AM
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Oh yeah, this is where the story starts to get delightfully bonkers (and we still got a bit to go until the end!). Trapping the metaphysical concept of 'a universe' into a physical form you can punch to death is such an absurdly wacky concept that's played just straight enough by the characters. WA2 came out on the cusp of when JRPGs were becoming particularly serious about their philosophical stories but there's still enough 'old school' charm to this game that it doesn't quite go there.

"Let's put this encroaching universe in a physical body so we can punch it!"
"Yay!"

If this story were in a game that came out today I'd expect we'd get twenty minutes of brooding and pondering over, like, what even IS a universe, man, and whether we're even doing the right thing and maybe it's OUR universe that's encroaching on THEIRS, all with inexplicable made-up fantasy jargon (like instead of 'Trapezohedron' it would be 'Ethereal Multiside Mana Enclosure' or something) every other word.

Not here though. 'We're putting a thing in a thing to punch it, now get in your goddamn Transformer Dragon'.

Oh WA2, bless you.
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  #335  
Old 04-14-2018, 10:31 AM
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Trapezohedrons are an actual thing, but their pop culture use comes from Lovecraft I think?
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  #336  
Old 04-14-2018, 11:02 AM
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Being trapped in polyhedral dice - truly a fate worse than death.
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  #337  
Old 04-14-2018, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoggleBob View Post
This will be rectified when a version of Lombardia returns in Wild Arms 3, so please look forward to that game I am absolutely not LP’ing.
That's just as well, 'cause I'm gonna spoil it pretty thoroughly at a certain part of this game's story.
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