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Video Game / Ill Will

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"I thought I had too much time, but that was only a result of loneliness. Of course, I have all the time in the world, unlike you. So I'll try to keep this short. I wanted to change the course of things - just didn't know where to begin. Then I met an odd bunch. With their help I came back to life. I learned from them - from humans. I learned from their mistakes, their prejudices and lies."

Ill Will is an RPG by LouisCyphre and Rei, with art assets by Archeia_Nessiah. It was originally designed for a contest in 2009, though feature creep and Development Hell issues delayed the full release until August of 2012. It can be found here.

An ordinary college kid by the name of Will is invited to a night out with his old friends: Ethan, Aaron, Francesca, and Josephine. Things proceed normally, until suddenly, while Ethan is driving, he swerves to avoid an errant truck that seems to appear out of nowhere.

After that, everything goes to Hell — perhaps literally.

Will, Ethan, and Josephine wake up in a dank, dimly-lit cavern, next to a broken staircase. They explore their surroundings and quickly come across Francesca and Aaron, the latter of which has gone into a nervous breakdown. After regaining his composure, Aaron claims that, prior to waking up, he saw a strange vision that gave him vital information about where the group is and how to get out — but was also told that he would die if he told what he saw.

On that unsettling note, the team warily heads out to explore their surroundings, and find a way home. However, distrust and conflict quickly spread throughout Will's friends, and the environment itself presents danger at every turn. Knowing nothing about their circumstances, the group must persevere if they ever want to return home.

Unrelated to the 2017 horror novel. Or the retraux action game.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Averted. If you explore every area and fight every boss, you're pretty much guaranteed to end the game in the low-to-mid 90s.
  • An Adventurer Is You:
    • Ethan: Tank/Healer
    • Josephine: Nuker
    • Francesca: Warrior/Rogue
    • Aaron: Debuffer/Mezzer
    • Everyone can use Status Buffs, though they're spread out between characters according to the Elemental Powers theme. There's also some overlap between Ethan and France (who both attack physically), and between Jo and Aaron (who both attack magically).
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You have five party members, but for some inexplicable reason, you can only have three active at any one time.
  • Beef Gate: There is rarely anything preventing you from going straight for the boss of the area...except for the fact that it is almost certainly going to destroy you unless you gain some levels and Traces.
  • Bleak Level: The game's areas have unsettling atmospheres in general, but the Empyrean really takes the cake. The area is extremely dark, full of crumbling pits, and tinted a disturbing toxic green. The save statue inscriptions are "NAUGHT BUT RUIN LIES TO THOSE WHO WALK THIS WAY" backwards, while the music is off-key and sounds horrifically demented.
  • Bonus Boss: In New Game Plus, several of these are encountered and are incredibly powerful. Nobody has fought these, however, all thanks to New Game+ being unplayable due to a mapping error.
  • Boss Banter: Raymond speaks to you when you lower his HP below certain thresholds.
  • But Thou Must!: Played with. Most of the Dialogue Trees don't pertain to plot-relevant happenings, but when they do, there are actually a few instances where you can attempt to derail the plot. You won't be forced to go through the tree again and pick the "correct" answer, but Will's friends will end up overruling him anyway.
    • Possibly played straighter with a few instances where you literally have only one option to choose from in the Dialogue Tree, preventing you from making a choice.
  • Cain and Abel: Will and Raymond. Subverted, however; in his final dialogue, Raymond realizes that it's not Will he's angry at, but their parents. You can even choose to be forgiving towards Raymond in the Dialogue Tree.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Will, the protagonist, cannot be switched out of the party.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Physical skills use HP instead of MP.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Though it never explicitly cheats (except on the highest difficulty), things sure feel this way sometimes. Many of the most powerful skills are much more deadly in the hands of enemies than allies — there are two skills that deal damage equal to the user's max HP, for instance. Naturally, this is a One-Hit Kill when enemies use it, but relatively weak when used by you. Enemies also draw from the same skillset as you for the most part...but have access to high-level skills far, far earlier than you do.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted for most of the game...then becomes obligatory once you get Lethal Toxin and Nightmare. Otherwise, inflicting poison or sleep would make boss fights trivial.
    • The final and semifinal bosses are also "immune" to Cripple, to a degree — they'll counter it with Supercharger the first opportunity they get, making it impossible to debuff them to any significant degree.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Discussed by the characters when they reach Infernio. They chalk it up to the weirdness of the area.
  • Crutch Character: Ethan. During the early- and mid-game, he's very well-rounded, dealing physical damage on par with Francesca while being more durable and capable of inflicting magic damage that's worth something. However, he can't equip high-level physical Traces, so once you pass that point, he starts falling behind Francesca fast.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The zombies at the beginning of the game make short work of the main characters before they could even act in battle. Fortunately the party gains magical abilities soon after.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • In one of the early cutscenes of Paradisio, you see Loki, a guy you have agreed to take down, alone with one of his sworn enemies. Instead of attacking him, you have no choice but to listen to him talk and let him perform a Villain: Exit, Stage Right. Then, later, Flamberge berates you for not killing Loki when you had the chance.
    • When you storm the gates of the Polemarch's palace, it is painfully obvious that it's a set-up by Loki. However, you have no choice but to let the plot play out and further his plans.
  • Dialogue Tree: However, they are purely for flavor and do not influence anything beyond a single response.
  • Dual Boss: A few of these fights exist in the game The Duke and Duchess in Purgatorio, and the Black King and Red Baron in Eden and Empyrean. In all of these fights, all of the enemies must be defeated in the same turn or else one of them will revive the other.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Earth beats electricity, which beats water, which beats fire, which beats earth. There are also "magic" and "physical" elements, which are generally weak to each other.
  • Expy: Personality and design wise, all five of the main characters are suspiciously similar to a majority of the Investigation Team.
    • Will is essentially Yu Narukami with a beanie and dark hair. Both of these characters are Masters of All who can learn any skill in the game and are also Heroic Mimes. In fact, they can and, in the case of Will, have pursued a relationship with a female party member.
    • Aaron is basically a blonde Yosuke Hanamura. Like Yosuke, Aaron is the fastest party member, uses an element related to air (in the case of Aaron, electricity), and is the Butt-Monkey of the group.
    • Francesca can easily be mistaken for Chie Satonaka, up to the Boyish Short Hair, and is primarily a physical attacker. The only difference is that France uses fire instead of ice.
    • Josephine is similar to Yukiko Amagi, but instead of being The Ojou, she seems to be more of a snotty rich girl. Like Yukiko, she is very close friends with a tomboy (in Jo's case it's France) and she is also the strongest magic user of the party, though instead of fire she uses water.
    • Ethan is pretty much this game's version of Kanji Tatsumi, being The Big Guy of the group who serves as the tank. Unlike Kanji, however, Ethan uses earth magic instead of electricity.
  • Field Power Effect: Thunder Battle, Atlantis, Muspelheim, and Raikanishu increase the power of electric, water, fire, and earth skills, respectively.
  • Final Boss Preview: More of a semifinal boss, but when Flamberge fights you in Paradisio, the battle ends within a few turns. They fight you at full strength in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Flunky Boss: The Darkspawn Spawner, who fights alongside Darkspawns, and the Blood Seraph, who can summon Blood Drops.
  • Fragile Speedster: Aaron, so very much. He has the worst endurance in the game — though Endure can help a bit. Ailment Traces enforce this.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Using Predator on a poisoned target will crash the game. This is especially problematic if an enemy has both Venom Fang and Predator. This is due to a formula error in the game's script.
    • Due to a mapping error, New Game Plus is unplayable.
    • Muspelheim and the earth-elemental Field Power Effect spell are unlearnable.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: And how! Characters will frequently comment on things that seem like pure gameplay features, such as Traces, pits, and even the statues that serve as Save Points.
  • Gecko Ending: More like an entire Gecko Plot Arc. The team's main storywriter dropped out of development partway through, so other members of the team had to take up storyboarding. As such, there is a noticeable shift in tone and focus about halfway through the game.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • Subverted in a couple places. The Colossus and (especially) the Gatekeeper seem to be this, but are later revealed to have a plot-relevant purpose (they keep unworthy demons from easily escaping the outer tiers).
    • Played straight with the Venominion in Empyrean, which despite being mentioned once in Purgatorio, she was never mentioned anywhere else.
  • Glass Cannon: No one really fits this, except possibly Aaron under certain circumstances. Fire Traces enforce this.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Gatekeeper's "auto-sleep" effect doesn't affect characters if they're below half health. This fact is crucial to beating it, yet the game doesn't tell you it anywhere.
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: To an extreme degree. The only way to increase health is by increasing endurance, which only increases it at a constant rate (5 per point). Damage grows at a much faster rate, and so enemies have to become much tougher very quickly. It isn't too bad at first, but it gets pretty ridiculous by the end, where bosses have HP in the thousands, while your characters have a mere 200 Hit Points at most.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: "Will" is the protagonist's default name, but you can select another one if you want.
    • Interestingly, Loki allows you to nickname him as well.
  • Heroic Mime: Subverted. Will is not a silent protagonist and has a personality and backstory of his own, but the player is still encouraged to see him as their avatar, through the use of purely cosmetic Dialogue Trees to shape his personality.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The very first "battle" has a group of unknown enemies, revealed shortly after as zombies, deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to the player's party before they can even act. Justified as this was just before the main characters gained magical abilities.
  • Jack of All Stats: Francesca...kind of. Her focus stat is strength and her dump stat is technique, but you only really need one of the two to deal damage, and her other two stats are fairly well-balanced. Physical Traces enforce her "reverse Squishy Wizard" layout.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Raymond — or possibly Loki — obfuscated the protagonists' memory of being thrown into Purgatory by Raymond.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Endure skill gives you this.
  • Last Disc Magic: Averted. The final physical and magical Traces, obtained by beating the Climax Boss of the semifinal area, only teach a single skill each, both of which are fairly minor and which you probably saw bosses using three tiers ago.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Upon seeing a mysterious statue, another character will wonder what it is. One of the dialogue options is, "A save point?" (That's exactly what it is, as it turns out.)
  • Life Drain / Mana Drain: Life Thief and Mana Thief, respectively.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: To an extreme degree. Warriors get a skill that is stronger than any magic for a long while right off the bat, and quickly gain extremely useful passive skills and an area effect attack. However, after that, their progression just sort of...stops. The basic Strike skill remains the strongest physical skill in the game, for the most part. However, they still outclass spellcasters in raw damage — at least, until they get Mana Flare, which boosts magic damage by 50%. After that, the paradigm is reversed, with Josephine easily able to outclass Francesca in damage.
  • Luck Stat: Cunning. Subverted in that the game tells you exactly what it does — increase your chances to both resist and inflict ailments. Oddly, Will is the only one who can gain points in it (this is especially bizarre in Aaron's case).
  • The Magic Goes Away: Averted. After the protagonists return to Earth, Francesca demonstrates that they can still use magic.
  • Magikarp Power: Josephine, due to the extreme Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards functionality mentioned above.
  • The Medic: Ethan's secondary function.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ethan, though his role tilts closer to Stone Wall later in the game, when Francesca overtakes him in pure damage-dealing capacity.
  • Monster Town: Eden and Paradisio.
  • New Game Plus: It unlocks some new story scenes, some optional content, and allows Will to re-allocate his points. You can actually choose whether you want to keep your godly end-game levels or not. (You still keep all your Traces and learned skills in any case, however.) Unfortunately, it isn't playable due to a Game-Breaking Bug.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Discussed In-Universe. After their first battle, the characters remark that they should be panicked and terrified from all the horrors they're seeing, yet they feel completely calm and composed.
  • No Cure for Evil: Very much averted. Even normal Mooks will use healing skills, and some Dual Bosses will even use revival skills! (Extreme Health/Damage Asymmetry still results, however.)
  • One-Hit Kill: The spells Lethal Toxin and Nightmare will instantly kill anything that is poisoned or sleeping, respectively.
    • Some late-game enemies' standard physical attacks are this. Mercifully, their accuracy is terrible.
  • Point Build System: Will uses this to upgrade his stats; everyone else improves their stats automatically.
  • Point of No Return: Two.
    • Once you defeat the boss of Cocytus, you can't return to it or any of the lower levels.
    • Once you get to the final tier (the Empyrean), there's no way back to any of the other areas.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Physical Traces reduce the amount of health you receive from healing, yet only provide protection against one element, generally making them a poor trade-off. It's even worse at higher levels, where they will literally nullify all healing skills.
    • The final physical Trace may help things a tad, as it absorbs physical damage (not affected by the healing block), but it can still make things risky.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Dragon, a boss of Purgatorio. It absorbs every element in the game, forcing you to use the Conduct skills (or poison) to harm it.
  • Random Encounters: Averted; the game uses touch encounters.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: Though it doesn't say it, Mana Cycle halves the cost of all spells.
    • Inverted with Mana Flare, which doubles the cost of spells, but boosts their power by 50% in exchange.
  • Save Point: Strange statues serve as these, though they are rather bleak about it:
    "Take rest here, sinner, but know that your crimes have not been absolved. Should you falter in your journey, you will lose nothing you have accomplished."
  • Sequential Boss: An interesting variation. The Final Boss technically only has one "form", though it has a massive amount of Hit Points. Once you damage it past certain thresholds, it changes its tactics, and sometimes even its stats.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Squishy Wizard: Josephine. Water Traces enforce this.
  • Status Buff: They function in an almost Pokemon-like manner — they can stack up to a maximum of four times, and each "stage" increases the relevant stat by a flat 10%.
  • Swarm of Rats: The Rat Brigade in Infernio is a group of giant rats with weapons, serving as one of the bosses of the area.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The first four tiers of ailment Traces are named after stock undead monsters.
    • The penultimate set of elemental traces are named after mythical creatures (Titan, Raiden, Dragon, Kraken).
    • Most of the ultimate Traces are named after gods from various mythologies.
  • True Final Boss: The Fallen Morning Star, who was intended to be fought after Raymond in New Game Plus after defeating the other optional bosses. This fight is inaccessible because of a Game-Breaking Bug that renders the new mode unplayable.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Ill Will was notable for the amount of bugs in the game, even after a patch fixed a few of those. Some of them render the game to be impossible to finish, such as:
    • The Final Boss battle does not have a lot going for it aside from having a massive amount of HP. However, because the game crashes when Predator is used on a poisoned target, very few have beaten the boss all because of one buggy skill. The reason why Predator is broken is because of a formula error in the game's script.
    • In the case of "Unintentionally Unplayable", New Game Plus cannot be played because of a mapping error, rendering all of the Bonus Bosses inaccessible including the True Final Boss.
  • Video Game Set Piece:
    • The battle with the Gatekeeper has a special effect that automatically inflicts sleep on any party member that has more than 50% health remaining at the end of the round.
    • Venominon inflicts a status effect at the start of battle that halves your party's health every round.
    • Flamberge uses a skill that swaps the current (but not maximum) values of your HP and SP every round.
  • Warmup Boss: The tutorial boss is very easy to defeat, as it's weak to both of your allies' Elemental Powers.
  • Where It All Began: ...Possibly. The final area of the Empyrean looks identical to Will's house and the surrounding area. However, it's unclear if Raymond literally brought it there, or just formed a replica.