Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Demon Fusing Fun and Entering a Domain (Shin Megami Tensei IV)

Having recovered the ring for Hope in my last post, it was time for a bit of leisure. I took Flynn to the roof to visit with Jonathan and Walter briefly where we had a nice chat about being samurai now, but it wasn't hugely eventful. Next it was time for some shut eye, and here Flynn had another strange dream where he encountered the alternate versions of Walter and Jonathan once more. It's still really vague, ominous stuff, so I'll just have to be patient and wait for the game to get to the point about why we keep getting shown a blasted modern metropolis despite everything taking place in a medieval world.

After completing the first bit of tutorial-like tasks in Naraku the other day, it was time for a bit more as the game has decided to teach me all about side quests. There were three of them, two that required collecting things from the dungeon, and another where I had to hunt down some extra powerful monster that was lurking down there.

The first two were easy enough. The apothecary needed some reagents in one of the quests, and I just so happened to have them in my inventory already, so that quest was over before it even began. Another was for the local blacksmith who needed griffon talons. There's no lack of these giant birds roaming the upper levels of Naraku and I was able to track some down fairly quickly, defeat them, and help myself to their remains.

Orthrus was a decent challenge.
For the third quest, fighting that big bad beastie, that took some time. It was easy enough to find, having parked itself in a room adjacent to the stairs combining floors one and two of the dungeon. However, it got two attacks per turn and hit like a truck. The thing's name was Orthrus but it looked more like a chimera from legends. What gave me the most trouble was that it had a fire-based group attack and one of my demons as well as Flynn were pretty weak against those. So, it was either one-shotting them ore severely damaging them all while scoring extra attacks for its turn because of this. This just meant it could dish out even more pain and would result in at least a couple of deaths per turn.

Seeing that this was futile, I decided to wander around hunting demons for a while and just work on getting stronger hopefully scoring a level up or two. It was also a good opportunity to recruit some more and try my hand at fusion, combining two demons together to create a stronger one.

The hardest part for me is remembering the names of the myriad of demons in the game. I haven't really gotten past referring to them as "the big, red cow", "giant goat guy", "the fairy looking chick with wings, seemed pretty good at healing...I think she may have been blue, come on, you know who I'm talking about!" and other such breathtakingly helpful descriptions. I should try and at least remember some of these guys' names.

Still, it's fun experimenting and seeing what kinds of new creatures I can make. There are lots of pros and cons to weigh before pulling the trigger on a new fusion. What can the demon resist? What is it weak against? What kinds of enemies will I be fighting going forward, and how can I create a fusion well suited to taking them on? The last question I don't have answers to at the moment since it's my first time playing the game, and I'm not really sure what to expect. As such, I mostly go with ones that look cool to me, hopefully having an interesting mix of skills. Ideally, they'll have one or two skills that could be useful to Flynn as well so that he can learn them or upgrade existing skills should an opportunity to whisper come along (Whispering is how demons teach some of their skills to those they ally with).

I mostly made a Strigoi because
I thought it looked kinda cool.
Anyway, after leveling up a couple of times and fusing together a few demons I was happy with, I decide it was about time to take another stab at Orthrus.  Joining me for this fight were a Strigoi, a Stonka, and a Pixie. (I had to fire up my 3DS and look at my monster list to get those names. About the only one of those I absolutely remember the name of is the Pixie. =p) Getting back on track, the fight was still challenging, but I got really lucky on the attacks Orthrus was using. The group fire attack only came down once and when it did my Strigoi actually managed to resist some of the damage and survive. My Pixie was using a skill that improved everyone's defense while Flynn healed (I'm building him as a magic user). Strigoi and Stonka had to handle the majority of the damage dealing. The former was particularly helpful as he could cast Bufu, an ice spell, which Orthrus happened to be weak against. After a few rounds our prey was dead, and my guys were still alive. Mission accomplished.

With that, it was time to head back to the castle. However, upon returning we were greeted by a samurai who told us that Navarre was missing in Nakaru and someone needed to save him. We had to keep it on the down low, though, as the samurai worried that Navarre may off himself if people found out how badly he'd screwed up.

So, back into the breach! This time we had to go all the way down to the third floor where even stronger enemies dwell. Before getting too far we were stopped by a mysterious robed man who didn't seem terribly keen on Casualries, thinking Luxorors far superior. He seemed annoyed that Flynn and Walter were doing so well even though they were from the lower classes. To teach Flynn a lesson, the mystery man unleashed a couple of fairly strong monsters on him. These things hit pretty hard, but we managed to beat them. Seeing that we were actually pretty decent fighters, the robed fellow beat a hasty retreat.

Going deeper into the dungeon, it was obvious that the path ahead would be difficult. Not only were the monsters here stronger, not only was there a guy after us here, but also parts of the dungeon were flooded with poison. Walking in this would hit party members with the corresponding status element. Thankfully there wasn't too much of the stuff and we had a decent number of antitoxins on us, so everyone got through this area relatively unscathed.

Stephen is a mysterious man I'm hoping
to learn more about.
Shortly thereafter we encountered the robed man again, this time bringing a horde of demons with him. Here Isabeau, Jonathan, and Walter appeared and joined my team to help fight the legion of baddies in front of us. This made the fight go by quite smoothly and afterward we got the low down on what was going on. The whole thing was a ruse by Navarre to lure the others into Naraku and generally make their lives miserable. It was becoming apparent that this guy was a very small, petty man.

Once more we delved deeper into the dungeon.  We came across another samurai who was escaping back to the castle, having been spooked by a scary doorway he discovered.  Before too long we found ourselves in front of the passageway, so we hopped in to investigate.

It actually lead to a demon's domain, which was kind of like a different dimension being super imposed on another. Chances were good that this is where we'd find Navarre. The monsters here were about on par with what we'd been fighting earlier on in the dungeons, but the place had a very strange, almost organic look to it. Things got a bit weird when a little girl would appear in front of everyone. She didn't say anything, but it did raise the question of who she was. As we continued, we met another person, a man named Stephen who was dressed in a suit and sat in a wheelchair. He explained the nature of the domain everyone was in and how to close it (kill the demon who created it, a very straightforward solution).

Shortly thereafter we found said demon, named Alraune, and low and behold there was Navarre and one of the samurai who was helping him. The slimy weasel had the nerve to beg for our help and even the demon called him out for being such a selfish prick. After this, the fight commenced. I was going in with the same selection of demons as when I fought Orthrus and they did a good job. Again, the Pixie got our defenses up and helped on healing, while the others focused primarily on damage dealing. It didn't take too long for this demon to go down, and this caused the domain to collapse with the surrounding area going back to normal.

The whole ordeal seemed to have traumatized Navarre and he went a little crazy. Everyone was upset with him, and he'll likely be punished for what he did, but now with this all over he's gone and locked himself in his room at the castle.

Alraune in the flesh, and lots of it.
Side quest tutorials out of the way, and having cleaned up after Navarre, everyone was granted a day off to do as they liked. Jonathan suggested a bakery in town we should try out, so we arranged to meet there with Walter. Isabeau again opted not to come along. Before heading there I decided to got for a stroll and talk to the townsfolk. Most people didn't have a lot to say but a couple did mention a strange person going around town called the Black Samurai. Hmmm...

When I finally did get around to going to the bakery, Walter and Jonathan were already there. Briefly we chatted with the owner and he was all excited about some books he was reading. Apparently there isn't any literature in this world. Books here seem to be educational, historical, or of fairy tales. The baker seemed to find this literature stuff fascinating, and he had the Black Samurai to thank for introducing him to it. The literature was getting him thinking about the inequalities of the world between Casualries and Luxorors, and how unfair it all seemed. After a time, everyone excused themselves as they weren't too comfortable with the level of zeal that the baker was displaying.

We bumped into Issachar while
at Lake Mikado.
Escaping the encounter, the three went to Lake Mikado to enjoy their bread. Here they bumped into Issachar briefly who was heading back to his hometown. He didn't stick around long to talk with Flynn. Apparently he had something that he wanted to show to everyone back home as soon as possible, and like that he was off.

With the samurai alone, they got to eating and the conversation turned to the rumors around town about the Black Samurai and the baker's excitement about literature. No one could make heads or tails of any of this stuff, and before long they were done their meal and went their separate ways to enjoy the remainder of their day off.

This is where I've left the game for now. I'm guessing these books and the Black Samurai are going to matter a lot more going forward. By the sound of it, this world tries to control information to a degree. Why else would no one know what literature is? To what end are the people in charge doing this for? I'm certainly curious as to why this may be. ^_^