It's Memorial Day here in the lovely US of A and I couldn't think of a more fitting way for me to spend it than working on this walkthrough. The good news is I'm 21 now, so I'm going to crack open a cold one and keep on keeping on.
New Bodhum - 003 AF Edit
We open to a very cinematic scroll up the beach as Lightning gives us more narration. Also listen to this theme its one of my faves in the entire game. As a meteor falls we see Serah in bed, having a nightmare of sorts but really it wasn't. Then her clothes change because that's how things work. At least Serah comments on it.
Soon enough we're in control, so head to the door and open it. We're treated to a live trigger, which just means you get to pick what to say. I'm going with because why not. She says some stuff about the other side but its really not important. Head forward to be introduced to jumping - I'm not going to go into it because its painfully self explanatory. Leap over the obstacles and exit the building.
Serah flashes into some sort of hell dimension for a hot minute and we're treated to another live trigger. I like so I'm going with that one. I love that she turns her death into something positive by hoping that it helps her find Lighting. Soon she falls to her knees crying and we flash out of whatever hell that was... and straight into a battle field. Fighting happens and some hell demon attacks the town. Serah gets attacked by a bug and calls for Lighting only to be saved by Lebreau. Noel saves Serah's ass and tells her to fight. Battle time! But first:
|Playable Character: Serah Farron|
Say hello to Serah Farron, now fully playable and one of our heroes of this game. Serah is awesome, I'm not just saying that because I love her new design, which I do by the way. She's just as much of a badass as Lightning but manages to be far more loveable, probably because she's got a much more obvious softer side to her. She's on a mission to find her sister who as far as the rest of the world is concerned didn't survive the ending of Final Fantasy XIII, but we know that's not true so its our job to help her out isn't it. I adore everything about this girl, excluding one thing - she's engaged to Snow but thankfully that plots almost entirely ignored and in my head cannon she actually falls in love with Noel and is far happier.
In combat Serah really holds her own. The Crystarium works differently in this game and she starts with the Commando, Ravager and Sentinel roles, but by getting crystarium expansions she can quickly unlock the other three. She's a fabulous Ravager, and a very solid Commando and Saboteur. She's even a decent Sentinel which I find surprising but I guess it just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover. She's really not that great as a Medic or Synergist however though her naturally high magic stat helps out with her healing ability. As one of two characters we get to control in this game you really can't go wrong with playing as her.
|Playable Character: Noel Kriss|
Noel Kriss was someone I was extremely nervous about the very first time I saw him for a promotion. I was terrified he was going to be an awful character, like a Snow 2.0 if you will. But boy am I glad that's not at all who he was. Noel is also a really great character which is excellent because Serah and him are all you get this game. His past is very awful, heartbreaking even but he still manages to stay positive about his ability to change how things are going to turn out. Oh and he also hates Snow so he gets tons of bonus points for that alone.
Overall, Noel is the stronger fighter than Serah which is probably because he's a hunter and she's a school teacher. Noel is extremely powerful as a Commando and a Ravager and a very strong Synergist, Saboteur and Sentinel. He's even a stronger Medic than Serah. It's kind of amazing how good he is at almost every role. Since he's one of your permanent party members you're forced to use him and trust me when I say you won't be at all disappointed with him.
So these first few battles aren't very hard. Your default paradigm is Double Trouble which will work for this area, but Slash & Burn (RAV/COM) is the better option. All you have to do is kill all the enemies. Easy-peasy. Once they're all defeated we can see the destruction left behind in their wake. Gadot gets the gang all together to investigate the meteorite crash while Noel and Searh make sure Lebreau is okay. Serah thanks Noel and introductions happen. Serah's bowsword reveals that its actually a moogle and Noel reveals he knows Lightning. Its all exposition really. Eventually they decide to go and check out the meteorite and off we go.
Start off by following Noel and talk to him. It's a live trigger so ask whatever you want. I'm going with "Where are you from?" because its a pretty standard question. He says some cryptic stuff about Cocoon and that's about it. Continue down the path to get a tutorial about the Mog Clock, basically you can preemptive strike all opponents if you hit them with your weapon before combat by pressing . It's helpful for sure. Keep going down the path. I should mention random encounters sort of exist in this game, so its hard to tell you what you'll fight, but nothing is very difficult. Open the treasure sphere right in your path for 3 Potions then chit chat with Noel again. He's awe struck by Cocoon and there's a live trigger. I'm going with "Not used to seeing Cocoon?" He says its his first time seeing Cocoon and that's sort of where the conversation ends.
Moving on take whichever path you'd like and open the next obvious treasure sphere for the Map of New Bodhum. Keep following Noel and talk to Gadot. There's an introduction of sorts between Noel and him. I'm going with "The boss sounds like a bully!" because its funny and also fuck Snow. Noel calls him a tool and Gadot gets shook by that for some reason. Head up the hill and open the treasure sphere here for a Librascope. Keep on keeping on, until you encounter some strange rift like thing. Keep going to encounter Yuj and another live trigger. He says Lebreau told him how Noel helped her which is weird because she's totally passed out but whatever. Yuj asks about Serah's clothes and the best response is obviously "You want to try them on?"
Just a little ways forward is a treasure sphere with a Phoenix Down, then head to the left of that and talk to Maqui. He's shook by how things are going all wonky by the meteorite. Basically whats happening is that time is overlapping with itself and we get a Live Trigger. All the options are dumb so I'm going with "Even you can't figure out what's going on?" because why not. Head on down towards the meteorite and Cocoon just disappears. Then the hell creature that attacked the town attacks!
|Boss Fight: Gogmagog|
This is it the first real boss fight of the game so its really not all too hard. You don't have access to any healing roles this time around so keep an eye on your health and throw a Potion whenever you feel you need to. His stagger point is relatively low, so use Slash & Burn to drive him to a stagger and then use Double Trouble to pound into him. Don't hesitate to switch to a paradigm with a Sentinel if you're worried about how much damage you're taking. Keep this up and he'll fall in no time.
After he's defeated he'll drop Gogmogog Fragment Alpha.
With Gogmagog defeated, head towards the meteorite. Open the first treasure sphere for 300 Gil and the second one for 2 Ghysahl Greens. Examine the meteorite to trigger the next scene. Noel explains he's from a different time - 700 years in the future to be exact. The men of NORA gang up against Noel but Serah protects him because she knows he's better than all of them combined. Then Noel reveals the Time Gate and proceeds to explain what the Time Gate means. A lot of exposition happens - I'm not gonna summarize it so just pay attention.
The next morning Serah wakes up and we're told we can change our Paradigms as well as upgrade via the Crystarium which is neat. A box also appears to Serah's left containing Lebreau's Olive Tattoo, which we can't do anything with yet but we will soon. Now for a brief section on character growth - you really can develop however you want, since this games not that hard, but if you want to optimize your characters keep this in mind on large orbs Commando upgrades give a guaranteed +2 Strength, Ravager is +2 Magic, and Sentinel is +6 HP. Go nuts with it. The exact amount of CP you'll have won't match up with mine as the random encounters throw that off so I'm just going to give what I went for but you're again free to do whatever you like. For Serah I picked up "Thunder" as a Ravager, "Steelguard" as a Sentinel, and "Blitz" as a Commando. For Noel I went for "Blitz", "Mediguard", and "Froststrike" as Commando, Sentinel and Ravager respectively. For Paradigm's I'm using the following:
|Slash & Burn||Ravager||Commando|
You might be wondering how/why I have Double Trouble-X. If you hit right once on the name of the paradigm you're given the option to change the tune of the paradigm. By selecting "Cross" you make it so that everyone in that paradigm focuses on the same target, so you can guarantee both your commandos will be targeting the same enemy. If you're wondering Wide makes you characters spread out their damage as much as possible to the group and Normal functions normally. Once you're all good and set up we're ready to move on.
Head into the living room and chat with Lebreau. I say "Good morning, kupo!" because its fun but you can do whatever. Chat with the rest of the gang around here and head outside when you're ready. Serah and Noel have a chat about time travel and how really neither of them know for sure if its true. Talking to Noel gives us a live trigger, I'm saying "What's with the Moogle?" because I'm curious. Noel mentions that Serah saw the future when she comments on her dream but he doesn't go into very many details. Once you're in control head to the area indicated by the "!" on your map. Examine it to find Lightning's Knife and a cutscene. It's a fun flashback to the ending of Final Fantasy XIII but this time Lightning is missing for some reason but only Serah knows that she's not in the crystal pillar. Noel supports her and tells her she's not crazy basically and then we get a live trigger, "Because history changed?" is what I'm going with. It doesn't really help explain the situation but its a thought.
Moving on, talk with Noel for a live trigger. This time I'm saying "I don't get it." because quite frankly I don't. All that gets is Noel saying we're thinking too hard about it, which is probably true, I trust the man. Head to the waterfront and talk to the woman sitting just below the tree, she'll ask us to find her Medical Kit. Accept the mission then head to your right and to the part of town we haven't been to yet. Mog will find something, but its just a cat. Still we should check it out and when we do that cat runs off. Give chase, and when you catch the cat we find out the cat's name is "Snow" ugh. Turns out the cat was NORA's attempt at making Serah feel a little better which is cute. Live Trigger time - "Why don't you settle down here, too?" is what I'm saying. Noel turns us down because he promised Lighting he would help her.
So where else could this Artefact be? Head back towards the center of town and Mog will react to some of the kids. Talk to them and they gather around Miss Farron, their schoolteacher. They chant and call her "Meanie Miss Farron" which is a cute nickname for her. Noel talks about his grandmother and we get another live trigger - "Do you know what happens next?" is a great question in my book. Noel says some more cryptic stuff but then he can't remember whats supposed to happen so we don't actually get to find out. Then Maqui yells at one of the kids and our job becomes hunting him down.
The map has a constant marker on him, so you can't lose the kid - but he basically runs back towards where the time gate is. At the first intersection head down the path to the right and we can see that an area to the right of this area is now open. Head over here to find a treasure sphere with an Iron Bangle. Put it on Serah. I somehow ended up with an extra one so I put that on Noel, but if you only have the one I say Serah is the bigger priority. After that return to chasing the kid down. When you catch him you're given a live trigger and I feel like being stern just to see how mean Serah can get so I'm choosing "What have you been up to, young man?" it doesn't work. Oh well. "All right now! Spill it, mister!" which also doesn't work but its fun to see Serah yell. "Talk to Miss Farron. Promise I won't get mad" will lead us to another live trigger. Let's just get to the bottom of this shall we. "Why did you run from Maqui?" which causes the kid to confess he took something. "I don't want to yell at you." finally gets him to really finally confess. He gives the necklace he took back to Serah which triggers some more backstory. Notice that she calls Snow "a good friend" so like he's obviously not important to her and she obviously likes Noel and he's the way superior choice and I'm not at all wrong about this. Noel asks why Serah didn't follow Snow and Lighting and I'm choosing to respond with "Because of the children." because "I don't care about Snow." isn't an option. Noel even asks if she was secretly glad Snow was out of her life and the fact Serah doesn't say yes is just a hair upsetting.
Well that's enough about that head back to the village now. On your way there you'll be able to talk with Noel, do so for a live trigger. Noel asks if Snow is Serah's boyfriend and because we can't say "no" we at least can keep it vague by saying "My hero." Once that's done you can return to the village to trigger a scene. Serah decides its best to head to the house and see if anyone else is missing anything. Talk to Lebreau to give Noel a history lesson about what happened to Cocoon. Head into Serah's room once that's done and we'll find a mirror has just sort of appeared. Examine it and lo and behold we've found our Artefact! Back in control open the box to your right for a Potion, then make your way back to the time gate.
As you exit the hut Serah asks Noel his intentions and he talks about wanting to save the future and tells us more about his backstory. He was truly the last of humanity, I wonder what it must be like to be the very last baby who is born. Along the way to the time gate you'll find a very obvious box on the path, open it for the Medical Kit Nell was looking for. Then keep heading towards the gate, along the way you'll see an area where you can leap to the right towards a treasure sphere that holds a Phoenix Down. As you approach the gate, we get attacked by the hell demon yet again. Sigh - Let's do this!
|Boss Fight: Gogmagog|
This game has a thing for fighting bosses twice doesn't it? Also this boss theme is garbage and I'm so sorry. Well this fight isn't much harder than the first one beyond Gogmagog having a great ability called "Causality Barrier" which boosts his resistance to Physical and Magical damage to sky high levels. Fortunately, we can bypass this by staggering him, which isn't very hard if you hit him with Dualcasting. Then once he's staggered pound into him with Double Trouble. Remember that you can always use any combination with Sentinels to boost your defense if you're worried about your HP and Potions are still more than potent enough to heal any and all damage he throws at you. He's still not too hard. Kill him and move on.
Defeating him nets you Gogmagog Fragment Beta.
After defeating him a Chocobo appears. Head towards the time gate and give it some of your Ghysal Greens in order to ride it back to the village so we can return the Medical Kit. Thanks to the Chocobo we'll move faster than normal and we won't have any encounters so you'll make it back in no time. When you give Nell her kit back she'll give you the Heart Prism Fragment which is worth 50 CP. Then ride your bird back to the time gate. You'll have to dismount before you can examine the gate. Doing so triggers a scene where Noel mentions we might not be able to come back, but that's absolutely not true so just say "I'm ready." to move on. Serah promises to trust Noel and then he asks her if she wants to say goodbye. Turns out NORA was doing all those things and they're the reason Serah's stuff was around where it didn't belong. It's actually a kinda cute good-bye from all of them. They're a fun cast of supporting characters I'll tell ya what. It is annoying that everyone acts like Serah can't take care of herself though because she very much can. Anyway, they activate the gate and are blasted off into the sky and they are watched by Caius and the girl he laid to rest at the beginning of everything. I bet they're going to play a very large role in all of this.
The next place they are is something called the Historia Crux - which Noel knows somehow. Which basically is our world selection map for this game. We've unlocked only one new area: Bresha Ruins 005 AF, so we're going to head on over there, but on the next page kiddos. See ya there!