October 18, 2010: Three months. That’s how long it took for me to get back in the saddle again.
Well, two and half, technically.
Allow me to describe Barthandelus’ basics. He has 3.3 million HP, nasty lasers, debuffs, and two particular moves you’ll come to hate: Thanatosion Laughter and Apotosis. The former is just a brutal laser barrage. The latter neutralizes all of your buffs and cures his debuffs.
Thanatos is the personification of death in Greek mythology. Makes sense now, doesn’t it? Sorry, I seem to still be bitter.
I finally broke and realized that overspecialization is what really kills you in this battle. All of those Paradigms you grew to enjoy over the last several hours? Put ’em in the shop, because it’s time for some new blood.
Here’s what you can’t go without: healing, buffs, or debuffs, and at the very least, a Sentinel for passive counterattacking.
All right. I finally beat him using Vanille, Lightning, and Fang over a very long 18 minutes. My reward? Crystogen Points, something called Goddess’ Favor, and an expanded Crystarium.
Barthandelus reverted to human form. “To save a people beyond salvation, there is only Ragnarok.”
He summoned his owl, which turned into a vehicle perched on the edge of the shattered road.
He said that Cocoon was suffering and left it to us to save her before he left.
Sazh, I believe that’s your cue.
Unlocked Instrument of Faith
Does that mean I can’t return to Gran Pulse now? But… that was place with lots of sidequests.
This is upsetting because I don’t want to get screwed out of anything valuable. At the same time, backtracking all the way back to the grasslands of Gran Pulse would be boring. So… I kept my save before boarding Minerva, so I’ll just continue on… for now.
The cutscene that opens Chapter 12? Awesome.
So what happened? Barthandelus abandoned his position as Primarch and forced Cid to take over the job. The team returns to Cocoon via their Eidolons in their vehicle forms. They drop into Bodhum on the highway during a race for which Cid was the master of ceremonies. It’s a spectacular CGI scene.
There is even a funny part where Snow waves to the crowd, but forgets to cover his brand. “Oops, probably should’ve covered that.”
In the end, however, Cid asked a Cavalry soldier to shoot him in the head so that he could stop being used as a l’Cie.
I’m kind of disappointed at how few abilities there are here. I’ve pretty much hit the ceiling with Snow as a SEN, Lightning as a Commando, and Sazh as a Synergist.
And a Final Fantasy where you can’t steal? Faux. Pas.
May 3, 2011: Unlocked Limit Breaker. I rarely pay attention to how much damage we’re doing/is being done to us. The battles are very busy.
Why are all the areas of Eden named after classic FF summons?!
July 19, 2011: We reached the entrance to Orphan’s Cradle, which had a way of getting back to Gran Pulse. I decided to wander around there for a bit.
We returned to Taejin’s Tower and connected all of the elevators, which brought access to the seventh floor. Descend to that floor from the Apex and you’ll find a Collector’s Catalog! I was saving up my gil for that!
Completed Mission 27. Mithridates was a toughie. Our reward? A Blaze Ring (snore) and the rank of Grudge Settler.
I forgot that you could earn ranks. 😛
Was the BGM in Taejin’s Tower always so Australian-sounding?
July 23, 2011: Who’s ready to repair Bhakti? I am!
Bhakti was Vanille’s little robot pet.
Unlocked Pulsian Pioneer
The components that Bhakti gives you are ridiculously valuable. Shopping spree~
December 16, 2011: We went back to Orphan’s Cradle and reached Orphan’s throne room. Barthandelus was there, and brought to us crystal edifices of Dajh and Serah, only to crush them. But they were only edifices.
He stood up to the team one last time, in a boss fight that’s all but suicidal on his part. He melted into the pool, and reemerged as Orphan.
This is where things get tricky. I tried so many times to beat him, but today? Today, I defeated him before I had even realized it. The battle came to an abrupt end, and I thought, “Oh, what’s it gonna do now?” Apparently, die.
Target Time: 13:51 | Battle Duration: 6:27 | 5*
For something that wants to die, it puts up one good fight. Of course, its destiny is to be slain by Ragnarok. Orphan tortures Vanille, and since Fang is the only one who isn’t totally exhausted, she asks Orphan to turn her into Ragnarok.
They waste too much time, or the brands completed – either way, everyone but Fang and Vanille turn into Cie’th.
Orphan grabbed Fang and tortured her to try to turn her into Ragnarok.
“Retake the form of Ragnarok. Deliver us that which we have too long been denied.”
He tortured her and healed her a few times.
“Steep yourself in hatred. Let it infuse your soul with the strength it craves.”
Vanille retained her human form. She cried and approached Orphan.
“Your awakening demands an offering of pain.”
“Vanille… run,” pleaded Fang weakly.
“No!” refused Vanille. “I swore I wouldn’t run away anymore! I’d rather fight and lose than give up without even trying!”
Suddenly, Orphan was attacked by several magical blasts. Fang went flying and was caught by Snow.
Sazh and Hope appeared. Hope healed Fang, and Light stood alongside her friends. “Sure, we’ve all better weeks.”
“You’re alive!” said Vanille happily.
“But you can’t be,” said Fang.
“Could be more fal’Cie smoke and mirrors,” said Light. She handed Fang her staff.
“But where were you?” asked Vanille.
“Somewhere cold and dark, just thinking about everything that happened up until now,” explained Hope. “And then – then it was like –”
“It was like – I had a glimpse of the future,” said Snow. “Everyone was smiling and laughing.” He pulled Serah’s tear out of his pocket. “Even Serah. Even Light.”
Lightning was surprised.
“I don’t know,” said Sazh. “It was a new Focus, or something. You know, I’m thinking, it didn’t really make sense of course. I mean, knowing we were worm bait and all, but…”
The chocobo chick popped up and sat on top of his afro. “As luck would have it, next thing I know I feel somebody pushing me right along.”
Vanille waved at the chick before it dived back into Sazh’s hair.
“You were there too, Fang,” said Light. “Same side. All of us. Together to the end.”
“Listen, you’re not alone now,” Fang said to Vanille back on Gran Pulse. “We have a new family now. We stick together, you hear me?”
Vanille nodded. “Yes, I promise.”
“We promised, didn’t we?” said Vanille.
“The brand of a l’Cie. The symbol of the Focus we all faced. The mark of the fate we all shared.
Proof of the promise we all made.”
Orphan screamed as it writhed in suffering and melted into the pool.
“Come on,” said Snow. “We’ve got a world to save!”
“If we have the power to destroy Cocoon, then we have the power to save it,” declared Hope.
“Time we gave the people what they really want,” said Sazh.
“We can do it,” said Vanille.
“Right,” agreed Light.
“Lady Luck sure ain’t on his side!” said Fang.
Orphan emerged from the pool with a new form: an infantile face in the middle of a series of wheels.
“You don’t believe in anything,” said Light. “You gave up on life before you were even born. Sat poisoning Cocoon from the inside, waiting for someone to come and destroy you. Sure, you think the end of the world is salvation. All you care about it death’s release. So take it, and leave the rest of us alone. We don’t think like that. When we think there’s no hope left, we keep looking until we find some. We live to make the impossible possible! That is our Focus!”
Orphan screamed. “Does eternity not entice you?!”
I came into the final battle with Vanille, Fang, and Sazh. The funny thing is? Orphan is vulnerable to Vanille’s Death spell, but I didn’t try it. I don’t even remember if I had her learn it at this point. Most games, you wouldn’t think of trying a death spell on the final boss.
The twisted fal’Cie failed to destroy the team, and Cocoon begins to die with Orphan.
Fang and Vanille fulfilled their Focus, and they fused Cocoon with Gran Pulse, turning into a beautiful crystal globe.
They saved both worlds.
The others were turned into crystal, until Vanille’s voice awoke them. She told them that the rest was up to them.
The former l’Cie realized that their brands were gone, and rejoiced.
In the distance, two figures approached them. A friendly young woman, and a happy boy talking about chocobos. “Daddy!”
Snow and Sazh both hugged their loved ones.
“They’re gone, aren’t they?” lamented Hope.
Serah hugged Claire. She apologized.
“I swear to you, I will make her happy,” said Snow.
“I believe you,” said Claire. “Congrats.”
Unlocked Instrument of Change