I lament the fact that I can't think of a good Gate of Lament pun
Warning: This liveblog contains disclaimers.
Last time, Giulio took up the legendary spear Gungnir, granting him the power needed to save those he cares for. In doing so, he traded his lightweight, versatile sword for a heavy spear that has only one attack beyond its summoning ability.
Perhaps he should've stuck with the sword.
This time around, we open to Giulio standing on the bridge outside the hideout. Alissa arrives and asks him if he's thinking about his friends. He is, of course, and he gives an all-too-brief rundown of what they were like. Most of it goes to Noah, because he had the most established personality out of the three, and Alissa also has her own thoughts on the guy.
Alissa asks Giulio to pick flowers for their graves with her. Giulio refuses, though, because "[f]lowers won't bring them back". He feels that all he can do for them now is to bring victory to Esperanza.
Anyway, opening scroll time!
The magical spear Gungnir... With this vast power suddenly given to Giulio, Esperanza successfully warded off the Empire.
The son of the late hero Ricardo Raguel fought off Gargania. This victory emboldened the people of Espada. More importantly, it inspired the soldiers of Esperanza.
Esperanza's leader, Ragnus, seizes upon this opportunity and plans an uprising. Without even having time to properly grieve, Giulio throws himself into a new battle.
Meanwhile, at the Gate of Lament... The Governor of the East, Pierre, was obsessed with thoughts of revenge and a purge.
At the Gate of Lament, Pierre is plotting. He intends to use the peoples' fear of him to aid in an attack, apparently having missed the opening scroll that said that Giulio's victory emboldened
the Leonicians. His goal in this is to rebuild his reputation, which is code for "get revenge on Giulio".
Back at the Fortress of Esperanzatude, Giulio says his farewells to Fiona. He promises to defeat the Empire so that they can live in peace. Fiona's worried that she won't see either of her brothers again, but Ragnus assures her that things will go better than they did fifteen years ago. He asks her to pray for their victory, and leaves.
Fiona talks a bit more about how Ragnus isn't a Leonician, Giulio's the one with the ubergodspear, and so forth. The game then asks me whether I want to promise victory or just promise to return safely. I choose the latter, because it's more consistent with the decisions I've been making thus far.
Why do I get the feeling that this will end in tears?
Anyway, we cut right to ambushing the Gate of Lament. When Pierre rushes out to confront the attack, Ragnus greets him with some ISO Standard Discourse about how he's here to fulfill his father's dying wish and so forth. Giulio and Paulo join in as well, and soon enough the battle is on!
The victory conditions are pretty normal: wipe Pierre out in four days (it's 23:30 on Vanan 20, and I have until the sun sets on Vanan 24).
I still have no reason to not choose Giulio as my Ace, so I choose him. I also bring Ragnus, Elise, Paulo, and Cress.
My enemies are all level 15, except Pierre who is level 16. They also include a new class: the Trickster, which according to the manual can use siege weapons and create pit traps. The map also contains a crystal, which can be broken to get gems.
The battle begins simply enough, with a strike team of two Assassins and one Trickster approaching my forces. The first to fall is the enemy Trickster, Sean, followed by the Assassin Disa. The last of the group goes down soon after that, prompting Pierre's knights to advance on our position.
Paulo softens up two of the knights, but Giulio is the first to come into contact with them. Ragnus arrives second, while Paulo and Cress provide fire support. The battle eventually spills into the range from which Pierre is willing to attack, but not until the knights are scattered. They don't last long after Elise arrives at the battle.
Pierre himself isn't much of a threat. Giulio and Ragnus prove effective against him, and he can't do much to us without his allies. It's only a matter of time before he falls, granting me an Iron Mask.
After the battle, we get a flashback to the day Ricardo was executed. Someone who I assume is Ragnus as a kid runs toward the first person to come out of the gate, an intimidating fellow named Robertus. Robertus admits to Ragnus that he's the one who killed Ricardo, and challenges young Ragnus to fight him if he desires revenge.
Back to the present. Ragnus is recalling the Massacre of Espada and Ricardo's death. He recalls how Riardo told him that the Raguel family are the protectors of the Leonicians, and he should be proud to bear the name despite not being a Leonician himself. Giulio was too young to remember this, of course, but Ragnus tells him not to worry about that because he still has a hero's blood flowing through his veins.
Ragnus also mentions how he feels that Giulio wielding Gungnir isn't a coincidence—Ricardo was a great spearman as well. He suggests that Giulio would be a better leader for Esperanza than himself, but Giulio assures him that he's perfectly fine.
That's it for this battle. On the setup menu I go to the shop, which is selling boots this time around. The game informs me that equipping boots will allow a character to counterattack as long as they have a usable attack whose specialty number corresponds to the counter number on the boots. Unfortunately, I don't have many weapons that work with the boots currently for sale.
I purchase a Gust Bow for Cress, a Crossbow for Derick, all the Hard Leather the shopkeeper has, and a set each of Tough Boots and Wheel Greaves. The former goes to Ragnus (who is also given a Slasher as his second weapon due to its having an attack that works with their counter number) and the latter goes to Giulio because they improve his movement range.
Or at least that's what I would
say, except that Gungnir is so damn heavy that it would leave him too loaded down to do much of anything.
Dammit! (I gave them to Calvin instead.)
So, I'm rather enjoying this liveblog so far. The battle system seems to be inventive, giving a new and clever twist on a standard layout. Your commentary is quite humorous, and your descriptions are properly detailed. If I pick up my own copy of this game in the days to come, part of the reason why will be because of this liveblog. Keep it up, pal!