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Chapter 1: Neptune Falling...and Rising
Opening Cutscene: Goddess' DescentWe start off with a book named Histoire, waxing reminiscent about a dark time for all of the world of Gamindustri...a conflict known as the Console War. It was once ruled by a goddess (known as a Console Patron Units, or CPU for short) who derived her power from the faith of the humans below, and used it to protect them. In an ideal world, that balance would be maintained forever, but the goddess and Histoire chose to delegate that duty to four separate CPUs, who promptly began fighting each other out of intense hatred. Now, Histoire is locked away, waiting to be saved from the former goddess. Elsewhere, the four goddesses, Green Heart* , Black Heart* , White Heart* , and Purple Heart* are locked in a stalemate over who gets to be the "True Goddess". Green Heart gets it in her head to have the CPUs try to compromise for once, an idea that Black Heart doesn't like because she thinks competition is what drives Gamindustri forward. Rather than spend their time fighting the one CPU they hate the most, Green, Black and White choose to set their sights on the one CPU they deem to be the most threatening - in their case, Purple. The three goddesses lay a righteous smackdown on Purple with their most powerful techniques, banishing her to the world below.
Neptune AwakensAfter the battle is finished, Neptune (Purple Heart sans her superpowers) wakes up in pitch darkness, hoping that someone will help her out so that she doesn't wind up "collecting rings floating by the ground" or "stepping in some ABC Gum". Eventually, Histoire answers her call and, after some confusion on Neptune's part, tells her of the situation (how her creation and that of the other three goddesses was a mistake) and her desire to end the Console Wars once and for all. Neptune blacks out again, and wakes up a while later in the home of a cheerful-looking house, run by a nurse-in-training named Compa* . After they exchange introductions, Compa notices Neptune's covered in bruises from her fall, so Neptune asks to be wrapped up in bandages so that they heal properly. Compa explains that they're in the central city of Planeptune, one of the major landmasses in Gamindustri (along with Lastation, Leanbox and Lowee). None of this seems familiar to Neptune, leading Compa to believe that she's suffering from amnesia, and might recall some of old her memories if she just sleeps it off. The only thing Neptune recalls beside her own name is the dream conversation she had with Histoire. When Compa tells her that monsters are appearing all over Planeptune, she thinks that Histoire was trying to tell her that her mission is to defeat the boss behind the monsters and save the world. Compa tells Neptune that if there is a boss out there, they're far too weak to fight it in their current state, but since nursing school and other classes are being shut down due to the villagers' fear of being eaten or killed by the monsters, she agrees to help Neptune fight.
Tutorial Dungeon, Away!Using the power of DungleMaps, Compa is able to find a simple tutorial dungeon for them to begin their journey. Neptune is disappointed by the news and threatens to sit out, expecting to be ready to fight strong monsters right away. Compa thinks that the monsters may be taking advantage of the goddesses' weakening powers to prey on the innocent. She prods Neptune onward, saying that they'll get nowhere if they just stand around. The dungeon is a simple warehouse, with very few twists and turns and simplistic music. Neptune runs forward to the first treasure chest she sees and finds a wooden sword, which she uses to replace the one she took from Compa's dumpster before she left. Compa's armed herself with a giant medical syringe, so that she doesn't get left in the dirt when it comes to fighting. They come in contact with their first enemies, a pair of weak slime-like creatures called Dogooeys. As the lowest enemies on the Food Chain of Evil, they make perfect fodder for Nep and Compa (and the player) to learn the battle system. Each turn, the character is allotted a certain number of Action Points (AP), and can use those AP to attack the enemy with their weapons, melee attacks, ranged weapons, or whatever other skills they learn over the course of their journey. Up to four commands can be chained to form a combo, but certain skills can be used to extend combos (more on that later). Neptune and Compa beat them senseless with the weapons, and receive personalized R/W Discs for their trouble. With these in their possession, Neptune can personalize the skill image with anything the player has stored on their PS3. (At this point, I don't have any skill images I could use, but I'm thinking of replacing them with Mega Man characters, just for kicks...) Another treasure chest contains a Planet Hammer and Descent Bell. Neptune can use the hammer to break down obstructions in dungeons with "Hammer Crash", and Compa can use the Descent Bell to summon enemies. Defeating them will protect them from random encounters for a while. They can also be used at glowing black runes to fight powerful monsters, who drop items when defeated. Neptune runs ahead to an open room to find another treasure chest containing 10 bottles of Reflex, which are used in item skills (instead of actual healing items). Each of them learns a basic technique that automatically uses 5 Reflex to restore 30% of their HP when they lose more than 50%, and how often that occurs can be altered on the Item Skills menu. Right now, the highest activation rate is 50%, but this increases along with character level. Also contained in the treasure chest is an Eject button, which is used to escape from non-boss battles in a pinch. Compa spots some Pixelvaders (Space Invaders made out of voxels) as they exit the room. They use this opportunity to try out their R/W discs, which hits the target enemy with a magic spell (Neptune's is Earth-element, while Compa's is Water-element). A Pixelvader and a Poxvader (a Palette Swapped Pixelvader) attack them as they head up the corridor to the north, where they learn about Guard Breaking. The Poxvader can take a lot of punishment compared to its Pixelvader cousin, but a continuous assault from Nep and Compa brings it down, forcing it to drop a Fire bullet. Elemental bullets can be used in combos to exploit enemy weaknesses and deal greater damage. They reach a room at the end of the hallway, and Compa notices a great source of evil energy near the back wall. She stands on the portal and uses her bell to call out the boss, a sword-wielding half-spider, half-beetle monster called a Guard Vermin. Neptune tries using her weapons on it, and while she discovers that the creature is weak against Fire, they don't seem to be hurting it much. Neptune invokes the powers of her HDD (Hard Drive Divinity) to transform back into her Purple Heart form (the game does this automatically on the last hit, no matter what combo you use). Together, she and Compa take out the Guard Vermin (thanks in part to a timely Guard Break), obtaining a Key Fragment from it. After the battle, Neptune gets a call from Histoire. Compa is confused and saddened, because she can't hear anything Histoire is saying. Neptune learns that the Key Fragment she obtained from the boss is necessary to help unlock the seal on Histoire. Each of the remaining key fragments is being guarded by a boss on the other landmasses, so Histoire asks Neptune to find them. Neptune is uncomfortable about doing this just for Histoire's sake, but after some convincing that completing this task will also help save the world (not to mention boost Nep's ego), she accepts.
An interesting game that I've had my eye on for a while, and an enthralling liveblogger whose works I've enjoyed in the past...for a lack of better words, it's two good tastes that go great together. Best of luck on your quest, Willy, and know that I'll be supporting you all the way.
I like the fact that she just entered "Tutorial Dungeon" on Goog—er, "DungleMaps" and one popped up. Awesome.
Theoretically, you should be able to use it to find anything, so I don't think tutorial dungeons would totally be out of the question...
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