There's no place like Agarest, there's no place like Agarest...
Let me begin this next update by pointing out a tiny error I made last time. When I said that Eugene had Wind-type skills, it turns out that they were Combo-type skills. Both symbols are green, and I don’t have a high-definition television, so I think making such a mistake would be inevitable. Why didn’t I just edit that last update, you might ask? Because after a few weeks of blissful holiday vacation, my first University classes of 2012 are tomorrow, and I’m honestly too worried to think of a better opening statement for this new update in such short a time.
When we last left Sieghart, he was a commander of the Light forces, a swordsman, and…well, kinda dead. Resuming from where we left off, it appears that the world around him is now in sepia tones, everyone else is gone, he’s still face-down on the ground, and he feels very cold. Suddenly, that white-haired girl teleports into the scene, and asks if he wishes to live. Sieghart says that there are still too many things left undone in this world, and the girl says that she’ll give him the power to do them.
We are now at the Character Creation menus, where we get to decide what kind of powers Sieghart will have upon his revival! Our first choice, a simple one, is what class he will be. There are only three to choose from: Warrior, Battle Mage, and Sorcerer. I’m guessing that Battle Mages are like the Red Mages of Final Fantasy: good at hitting things with both weapons and spells, but not strong enough to specialize in either area.
Next comes the part of character creation I repeatedly mess with in order to get a decent Sieghart. Remember when I said I had a smaller set of cards from an earlier part of the game? Well, now the game presents you with over twenty Soul Cards, and you have to pick five of them to determine your character’s stats and weapon of choice. And while there’s no way to tell which stats a card will boost, you can at least see the symbols of two weapons near the card’s base. There are a total of ten weapons in this game, but three of them aren’t available until the second generation, and picking cards with those icons will affect Sieghart’s eventual kid more than Sieghart himself.
Finally, there are the skill types. Remember how I said that Sieghart had two General-type skills and two Power-type skills in the tutorials? Well, the first two types of skills he’s going to get are determined by the weapon, and he’ll have appropriate skills in order to actually hurt an enemy. We now have to pick what other skill types Sieghart will have access to: two vacant slots from the start, plus another two for after he gets a class upgrade later in the game. It’s a bit tricky, since different weapons allow for different selections; you could have a Dark-type skill slot from the beginning if you use scythes, but not if you use spears or great swords.
So, after quite some time spent tinkering with the system in order to get a Siegfried that I will enjoy using, here are the results:
- Class: Sorcerer
- Weapon: Scythe
- Soul Cards and their Weapon Specialties:
- II – Knuckle (2nd Gen) / Scythe
- VII – Breaker (2nd Gen) / Staff
- XIV – Dagger and Sword / Staff
- XVII – Staff / Gun (2nd Gen)
- XVIII – Breaker / Dagger and Sword
- Skill Types: 2 Power (comes with Scythe), Dark, Earth, Dark, Extra
- Minor Stats: 735 HP, 16 AP, 164 Attack, 61 Defence, 206 Magic, 180 Resistance, 97 Hit, 14 Avoid, 3 Movement
- Major Stats and their Growth Rates: 10 STR (B), 8 VIT (B), 14 AGI (A), 17 INT (A), 14 LUK (B)
And now that this complex aspect is out of the way, back to the plot! After the mysterious young girl gives Sieghart some strength, he clicks his heels three times and is brought back to...wait; that’s the Wizard of Oz. He does get teleported out of sepia world, but by a giant red magical circle. Plus, he's heading from a dull world to a colourful one, not the other way around.
Back to Varacade in the world of the living, he’s about to punish the girl, but she pulls out a scythe roughly as big as her entire body. Sieghart gets revived, and after the Iori lookalike has a minor panic attack about how convincing that death was, we’re pulled into another tutorial battle. In this tutorial, while it’s interesting that the girl is actually speaking complete sentences in real life and that Sieghart just pulled out a scythe despite not using one before, the main focus is Extended Areas. Basically, all characters now have orange squares arranged around them in unique patterns, and if one character moves onto an orange square projected by another, they can do combo attacks. This extended area also provides other benefits, such as restoring more AP during the Attack phase, and allows close-ranged attacks to be used on far-away enemies if they’re in range of the person that starts a combo.
The actual battle goes off without a hitch. The girl knows a few Power and Dark moves, and while it didn’t say so in the character customization, Sieghart already has a skill in all four of his skill slots. It takes two turns for me to crush Varracade, during which he only deals two damage to the nameless girl. I don’t overkill him, but I do earn an A-Rank for the battle and get enough experience for Sieghart to reach level 2. I’m now taken to a menu similar to those in Accelate, in which I can allocate 10 Skill Points towards my four Major Stats. It costs 1 point to upgrade any Major Stat at 10 or lower, and then costs an additional point after every multiple of 10. So, I can spend one point in STR to bring it to 11, and then it costs 2 points to raise it higher. I decide to spend 9 points to bring VIT all the way up to 14, since I don’t want Sieghart to be too squishy, and then put the last point in STR.
Back to the main narrative, Sieghart’s glad to be alive, but wonders why he isn’t dead right now. Realizing his rudeness, he then introduces himself to the lady, who then replies, “Zeeg...heart...?” It takes a bit for her to understand that this is his name, and while Sieg starts to have second doubts about this girl, he’s quite sure that she’s responsible for what he just went through. Suddenly, a new guy in red armour enters the scene and introduces himself as Arzeat, commander of the Light forces on the front lines. After a small chat about sensing great power radiating from Sieg, a guy with blue armour and a somewhat scary face rushes in, and is glad to find ‘Mimelia’, AKA our nameless girl. However, Mimelia doesn’t seem to reciprocate these feelings, if hiding behind ‘Zeeg’ is any indication.
So this new guy, whose name is apparently Giganda, is on the same side as us, and was supposed to be protecting the girl because her powers are going to be our trump card. There’s just one tiny flaw with this plan: Arzeat can’t actually sense any special power within her anymore. On the other hand, Sieg is practically radiating power in his eyes, and connects this to Sieg’s story about how the girl revived the commander by giving him power. Now that this matter is pretty much settled and everyone’s okay, Giganda tells us to go report to Lord Ernesto while he goes back to escorting Mimelia to a place called Trizon. Even more flaws pop up when Mimelia says that she doesn’t like that name, even though her past guardian used it, and that she wants to stay with Siegfried. Since she’s got the stubbornness of a small child, it’s soon decided that Siegfried will take up Giganda’s mission after making his report.
Giganda and Arzeat leave to secure the area, while our main character wonders if he’s in over his head. He tells Mimelia to follow him, but she shouts “Mimi!” back at him, leaving him a bit confused. Akin to when Siegfried introduced himself, it takes a few moments to register that ‘Mimi’ is the name that she wants to be called by. With that matter out of the way, we reunite with those two characters from the first two tutorials. Eugene’s glad that we’re mostly unharmed, and while Linda doesn’t quite appreciate the way that the girl phrases things (being referred to as ‘that’, for example), she says that seeing to ‘Mimel’ was nothing. She explains that ‘Mimel’ was suggested by one of the soldiers, and everyone agrees to it, especially since ‘Mimi’ sounded a bit too pretty / ‘kawaii’ (one of the few words from the Japanese audio that I can instantly recognize).
Finally, after getting a few more healing items and a pop-up explaining how to organize a party for battle, we finally have access to the world map. Rather than head to our next destination, I decide to tinker with the menus a little bit. Not only can I save and arrange my party, I can also access galleries of images and profiles of people that I’ve seen throughout the game. Through them, I find that those blinking, breathing portraits can express multiple emotions, but it’s rather subtle, and I could barely tell one green Skill type from another last update. I also find out that both Linda and Mimel have half of their Affection meter filled in, and that my Siegfried is equally talented in scythes and staves. I suppose that the reason Siegfried uses the former instead of the latter is some hidden value that I have no knowledge of, nor do I really feel interested in finding out about.
With my curiosity satiated for now, I decide to save and quit. Next time, I’ll put up what Eugene’s growth rates are, and travel with him to Lord Ernesto’s place to make our report!