So, expansion. Now with the subtitle Zanatsu, meaning lingering summer heat. I load up the clear game file, and after a prompt the game starts, again. As you might expect, there's a cutscene. Annoyingly enough, the dialog automatically advanced so I didn't have nearly enough time to read it, being in Japanese and all. So I spent most of this time spamming the screen capture button. I have over 300 screenshots of this scene, but it's not really that complicated.
It starts in exactly the same way the original game started. Reimu is hanging out at her shrine, bored and hot. While the previous incident made a nice distraction, it's still boring and hot◊
. Heck, it's hotter
than it used to be. Isn't solving incidents supposed to make the world a better place? Hardly worth it if you're just coming back to this. That's pretty much it.
Cut to the human village, in some sort of bar◊
. Bio and Crab-girl (let's be honest here, I have no idea what her name is) are apparently mingling with the humans and youkai of Gensokyo. Yeah, we sapped your very life essence in an arrogant display of pointless power, but no hard feelings, right? Like most Touhou antagonists, they're now just random residents of the setting. Bio is drinking, a lot, but apparently that's okay. She's also loudly proclaiming how glad she is that they decided to move to Gensokyo. Basically just an establishing scene about how they're fitting in now. And how Bio loves alcohol.
Cut to Yukari, on the Youkai Mountain (she just walks around randomly, doesn't she?). She feels a creepy feeling in the air and is confronted by weird worm things◊
Cut to the Forest of Magic, where Bio and Crab-girl are now heading back to their temple from the bar. Bio is really
drunk and slurring her speech. Crab-girl is afraid of Lithos' wrath◊
being triggered by this, and especially the prospect that she'll be blamed for not stopping Bio.
This doesn't last long though, as Crab-girl is zapped by someone off screen. Who turns out to be this◊
shadowy figure. The shadow has no interest in answering any of Bio's questions for her, as well as apparently no interest in fighting her. Bio wants revenge for Crab-girl though and attacks. Using her patented "announce your full name for maximum power" technique.
There's a scripted fight scene here. Not a cutscene, but an actual battle where you can't control either side. Basically it involves Bio shooting magic missiles into the darkness◊
. After realizing that her attacks have no effect (and lamenting her drunkenness), Bio goes all out◊
and uses her Last Word. This does 99,999 damage, which happens to be how much HP the final boss had in the previous game. But still no effect. The shadow, which had just been laughing at her until now, decides to end it with "Wind of the Abyss"◊
and the fight is over. Winner: new girl.
Then we get a montage of youkai and humans in various places being all collapsed and weakened, followed by a gratuitous title screen.◊
Back at the shrine, Reimu is still bored. As she's lamenting her fate, Yukari appears in front of her, and Reimu decides to respond by pretending that didn't happen and walking the other way◊
. Yukari isn't gonna let that happen and just teleports in front of her◊
. "C'mon, don't just ignore me. I have something important to talk about." Reimu seems to think that visits from Yukari never end well.
"Sorry, can't talk right now, I'm on a mission to go inside and eat some ice." "There isn't any ice in your your house." "What." "There isn't any ice your house." "Why?!" "Cause I ate it before coming here."
At this point Reimu walks up to Yukari, grabs her by the collar, and starts shaking her◊
. "Why?! Why?! That ice was my Oasis, the one thing worth living for in this heat! Why did you have to...?" "Because if I didn't you'd have an excuse to ignore me." Sorry, but Yukari is now awesome.
Anyway, Reimu, now demoralized, agrees to listen to Yukari under the condition that she never do anything like this ever again. Yukari happily agrees, which pisses Reimu off even more because she's obviously lying. Anyway, explanation time. This explanation is punctuated by Yukari saying that surely Reimu's felt ____, to which she always answers "no".
Recently Genoskyo has been getting tense. Lots of fights have been breaking out, involving humans, youkai, and even gods. Also, random attacks have been occuring frequently. And no Reimu, it's not just the heat making everyone cranky. Yukari feels some kind of creepy presence and upon being asked to concentrate Reimu can also feel some kind of malice. Yukari is sure that this is an incident of some sort and obviously wants Reimu to resolve it. I don't think she mentions the worms.
At this point they're interrupted by Lithos◊
, who also wants Reimu's help. Bio has been attacked, as we've seen, and surely that's related. There's a bit of banter, but it's not important or funny, and in the end its decided that Lithos will join Reimu on her quest to do whatever. When asked if she wants to get involved too, Yukari turns down the offer and leaves.
Reimu has no idea where to go, but Lithos has a vague sense of where the malice is coming from. However, neither of them think they can do much with only two people, so they decide to gather party members first. So I guess this is going to be like Mass Effect 2
, where you spend most of the game preparing for one thing at the end. Or maybe not.
Finally I get control. I immediately open the menu◊
to see what level Lithos is. 68, eh? Is that the minimum level that they expect you to beat the final boss? I suppose it doesn't matter anymore. Lithos has one bomb, which is somewhat silly. She seems to be able to summon her sisters or something since she has their moves in her spellbook. I can't tell what she's supposed to be good at yet, so I'll do her summary later when I get more of a feel for her. Reimu has been completely unequipped for some reason.
There's been one change to the shrine itself: a bulletin board. With quests on it. The rewards for most of the quests seem to be characters. So that's how it's going to be, I guess. Vaguely nonlinear but not really. The quests have a difficulty rating measured out of eight stars, and the two easiest ones here are Nitori and Cirno. Cirno! The ice fairy who needs no introduction seems to be playable this time around.