I didn't actually check this before, but Aya is amusingly high level. She starts about 5 levels higher than Reimu started. Whoever beat the game on this file must have used her a lot. I happen to know exactly why that would be the case, so I'm now going to go on another game mechanics rant.
The key to Aya's level is, oddly enough, Sakuya. As you may be aware, Sakuya has an ability called Private Square, which is a Last Spell (costs 3 bombs) that stops time for everyone but her. Technically it just stuns everyone though, allowing things like cooldowns and poison to progress while Sakuya is doing her thing. And she's really good at killing enemies.
Private Square has a ridiculously slow casting speed, meaning that it'll always go at the end of the turn, no matter what Sakuya's speed is. This is to prevent the time stop effect's stun from actually being used as a stun. If she could cast it before the enemies, they'd lose that turn too, meaning that your entire party would get a free turn in addition to Sakuya's free turn.
And, in fact, it is possible to do this. There's an exploit, involving Aya. Using Aya's 3 bomb commander ability. It causes everyone in your party to go before the enemies, including Sakuya's Private Square. Because time actually does
pass during Private Square, it refreshes both its own cooldown and Aya's by the time it finishes, allowing you to do it again
immediately afterwards. So you can set up a loop where Sakuya gets as many turns as she wants with no fear of counterattack, and the rest of your party also gets one third of those turns. This is limited only by Sakuya and Aya's bomb count, which of course there are accessories and specs designed to maximize.
This is a pretty cheesy strategy, as you might imagine, and I never used it (although I was vaguely aware of it). Until I got frustrated with the final boss anyway. While that alone would not be enough for me to win, it is
enough for me to grind on fairly difficult enemies without experiencing danger. I can only assume that Mr. Uploaded-my-cleared-save-file did the same, as it's really just an efficiency boost. As a side effect, Aya must necessarily be in the commander slot for every battle, and gets full experience from everything. I'd imagine that Sakuya and Byakuren are also high leveled (Byakuren can enchant weapons to exploit elemental weaknesses).
Needless to say, Private Square was nerfed in the expansion. While as part of a general change to all Last Spells it now only costs two bombs, there are a number of other changes to make such exploits impossible. First of all, it now has a longer cooldown, so at best there's a one turn gap when you can't use it. A single turn can make all the difference though, because part of the point of the exploit is that you can completely ignore defense and focus on attacking. Furthermore, cooldowns do not advance when a character is stunned. So you can't use Private Square to refresh other people's cooldowns either. Lastly, it just costs more MP, and Sakuya doesn't have much to begin with. The particular trick with Aya's commander ability works, it's just not quite as much of a Game Breaker
The point of all this, other than to have fun explaining things, is that I'm probably not going to use Aya much because she doesn't need levels. Yet.
Anyway, Reisen is, as you might expect, hanging out at Eientei, at an area called the final depths. This turns out to just be the beginning of Stage 10, which luckily means I don't have to bother splitting my party. I note that there's a new starry sky effect◊
in the dungeon that I'm pretty sure wasn't there before. I head into a formerly empty room that now has two treasure boxes. Wait... were they planning for this? There a number of suspiciously appropriate places for treasure boxes that used to be empty...
I didn't mention this before, but all the previous areas had overlapping enemy sets. They weren't quite
the same from area to area, but overall each quest does not have its own enemy set. Muenzuka was no exception, and neither is this place. Although there are new enemies, in the form of a pair of giant feet. As always, knowing where the heal points are causes me to be very wasteful with bombs and MP, so everything dies fast. I feel kind of bad about this actually; was it more interesting when I was always struggling for my life?
In the third room, we detect Reisen and its just a matter of time before we find her. Sure enough at only the third enemy we encounter— Eirin and Reisen together in a double battle!◊
I have no idea why I didn't expect something like this, but it was quite surprising. I immediately run away to heal up and change my party around (Sanae is good for bosses, less so for normal enemies).
This battle ends up being disappointingly easy. As is always the case with double bosses, the initial question is who to kill first. I arbitrarily choose Reisen, mostly because she's standing in front but also because if either of them has less HP it's probably her. Despite being the "wrong" decision it ends up working out okay anyway. Unless Reisen goes berserk when Eirin dies or something, in which case I randomly did it the easy way.
Reisen is pretty weak. All she does are physical attacks with varying areas of effect, and they do so little damage that they can't even hurt Mokou. Her only purpose seem to be to finish off characters who are weakened by Eirin. She also pulled out her Last Word◊
, "Lunatic Red Eyes", but all it did was hit Mokou with berserk. Mokou just punches things anyway
. Thanks for the attack buff I guess? I had guessed that Reisen would use status effects (I mean, duh), so I had resistance up buffs and no one else was ever affected. I suppose it could have been bad if it hit the healers though.
The real danger for this fight is Eirin, who pretty much spams her own Last Word◊
. By the way, stare at that picture. What are those little things in her eyes? A reflection? Of what? The world may never know. Anyway, "Apollo 13" just hits everyone for about 350 damage, which is quite a lot but nothing I can't heal with both Reimu and Sanae in the party. It would be bad if she did this twice in a row, but she didn't. For the record Mokou was doing around 600 damage with her abilities back when I fought her, so the damage has gone down
. On the other hand, Mokou was vulnerable to freeze so I guess that was a gimmick fight?
In the end, only Nitori ever died although I suppose that happened twice. This first time she was protected by Mokou's Reraise Last Spell that I started the battle with and the second time she was revived by Mokou's Last Word. I love you Mokou! Other than that, the fight went really smoothly and I won on the first try. Eirin didn't seem to care that Reisen died; I was sure she'd do some sort of medicine thing.
Afterwards, we're treated to another cutscene of them snapping out of their mind control. But this time it's different! Slightly. First of all, they have to be introduced to Lithos because neither of them were there (and I suppose Cirno doesn't care). Also, Reimu and Lithos finally acknowledge that we've done this before and pre-empt the explanation of what happened with a "you felt like your mind was being controlled by a dark presence, right?" I guess this is the first quest I've done that wasn't available in the beginning.
Anyway, we explain that there's probably some sort of incident going around, so would you like to lend us your power? Eirin would love
to help us out here, so she's going to send Reisen with us. Well played, Eirin, well played. I was hoping Reisen would have an amusing reaction to being volunteered, like Youmu did, but she seems entirely enthusiastic about this opportunity. By the way, Eirin's excuse was that she had to take care of Kaguya. Come on, she's immortal, nothing happens if you leave her alone for a few days or months, right? Right?
So, Reisen joins the party. At level 1.
Well, at least she has 10 power points already. Cirno started with 0. Frankly, Power is more of a handicap in the long run because you don't get bonus power for being low level.
- Last Word: It's not listed on Japanese wiki, but I'm going to assume it's "Lunatic Red Eyes" and that it does Berserk. It just seems reasonable, and there are a number of similar Last Words. I hope to be surprised though.
- Red Eyes: CAS, RES, and status ailment duration
- Rabbit Ears: attack power and more slayer bonus damage
- Bewitching: hit rate, physical attacks don't break sleep or charm and debuffs are undispellable
- Lunar Mysteries: HP, MP and Everything-slayer
- Weapon: Suppository Bullets (...), even more Slayer power and can dispel positive effects from enemies.
- Passive: Increases chance of getting a pre-emptive strike (which I've never gotten ever)
- 1 Bomb: Insane Dreams, lowers hit rate of all enemies
- 3 Bombs: Waves of the Moon's Surface, raises the power of Slayer effects
- Overall: _/(°_°)/¯
I have no idea what archetype Reisen falls into, but she sounds damned interesting. You can't tell from above bit, but most of her spells have the special property of doing bonus damage to enemies with status ailments, by way of inducing a Slayer effect. Which seems to be pretty much her entire thing. She can also choose what statuses to imbue her attacks with mid-battle, so she's really versatile with only a few spells equipped. Anyway, I'm imagining her putting something to sleep with her attack, and then getting an absurd amount of bonus damage by shooting the sleeping target, which doesn't wake up. The synergy! My only fear is that her base stats are really weak and she needs
those bonuses to keep up.
It'll be a while before I can tell though, seeing how she's level 1. I'll definitely work on her and see how that goes. Next is a Kaguya sidequest◊
. If you can read Japanese, you'll note that the quest description is written by Kaguya herself, and seems to be an invitation for a 1-on-1 match with Mokou. Duel Boss
? We'll find out next time.