Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Secret

  I’ve found a breakthrough!  Arthur sells lumber!  Now I can purchase the lumber that I need to build structures for the farm and crafting system.  At hideously inflated prices! … That will exhaust all gold set aside to actually pay for the structures … |:(

  Moving right along |:(

  What follows is a story from memory – I took notes but my note-taking skill is obviously too low.  I might have remembered some of the finer details wrongly.  My bad, give me a shout out in the comments and I’ll review.  But I think that I’ve got it all, mostly accurate.

  Pico challenges Ventuswill (loudly) about doing all of this for her.  Ventuswill booms her response that she is aware, but she must do so anyway.  The new girl Dolce is already on the ground.  Ventuswill casts a spell, and then announces that it is done, and now Dolce shall never again desire to be a monster.  Pico is at first very pleased, but curious at the unspecified gift Ventuswill is refusing.  Belated Lest enters the scene, having heard enough to know that the secret is out. 

  Ventuswill knew all along who the mysterious monster people were.  They were … are … no wait, were, her friends.  Venti is a distant and guarded character, and she holds that distance because every one of friends feels committed to her, to sacrifice themselves for her, so that she can live.  There is a heavy handedness in this plot, as the humans made this sacrifice so that Ventuswill could save their world in some unspecified way.  Ventuswill has had enough, and wishes for the cycle to end.  And Lest has already defeated three of them.

  Lest’s conundrum is now presented: he wishes to protect everyone, including Ventuswill.  Ventuswill, in contrast, is resigned to death.  She has lived knowing that her life costs the lives of people dear to her.  Venti is responsible for the amnesia gripping the three so far saved monster folk, a deliberate tactic to prevent them running off and becoming monsters again (for her sake).  Lest cannot accept this turn: no literally, three separate dialog choices are offered, each with three selections available, encouraging the player to twist out of this inevitable conclusion as much as possible.  From the dialog, this turn wounds Lest greatly. 

  Ventuswill collapses, the majestic dragon exhausted from some effort (presumably her memory charm), but as her own perspective puts it, by the elimination of her life support.  Lest has brought her to the point of dying already.  She implores him to find the fourth monster-person, and sever her link to life totally. 

  Amid all of this twisting, Lest wrangles only one piece of useful information: Rune Spheres.  Ventuswill doubts that any effort could find enough rune magic to keep her alive, and her living would cause the land to go fallow over time (which is unrelated to the current state of my farm, which will apparently be cured by non-specific fertilizer).  With nothing more to gather from Venti, the actors (Pico, Lest, and the awakened Dolce) gather outside to let her rest.

  A tense encounter with Doug reveals him to be knowledgeable of the Rune Spheres, but evasive.  He swears to collect them first, keeping them from Lest and condemning Ventuswill.  Doug presents a very different, vindictive side of the characters, and implies Ventuswill is deeply responsible for his lost clan.
In the end it is Barrett the traveler who comes to help.  Pointing Lest towards the Water ruins in the south.  It is certainly easy enough to travel there and find a new boss to fight …

  But here’s where I have to cut it.  Sorry kiddies, from here, all I can tell you is that Dr. Jones and Nancy are quite generous with the recovery costs.  Finding that the monsters are beating me down repeatedly, I resolved to try and catch up on the forging and crafting, and to try to overcome the boss through smart fighting.  So far, it hasn’t worked!  But I’ve found it so difficult to even get started with crafting and forging, that I have much further to go.

  This seems like a good time to call this little story telling blog series.  I can revisit it later, but I think that I’ve now laid out the common challenges of this game pretty completely.  It’s aggravating being stuck in a losing fight, and more aggravating that other advantages are locked away behind a deep and complex crafting system, one that requires a ton of craft specific gathering to advance.  The tension between the two halves of the game is acute besides, as both halves are compelling and full of meaning, but completing one requires a very indirect, very different way of thinking.  All of this is in addition to the, honestly fully expected, cultural differences; they aren’t hard, but they are counter-intuitive.  But it is a JRPG, so what else is new?  I certainly knew about it going in.

  Am I best pleased with the purchase of Rune Factory 4.  I think that I will see my value in time.  Will I be lining up for the next?  Hard to say “yes,” easier to say “What else is on offer?”  There was always going to be some buyer’s remorse, held up against Pokémon X & Y and Ace Attorney.  Did I find something different?  Ha, no question!

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