Skies of Arcadia : Part 9
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Before we get started, it's best that I address the giant elephant in the room -- or elephant-sized penis, if you prefer. Yes, it has been over two years since the last Skies of Arcadia recap. In the past few months, some of you have ever-so-kindly taken it upon yourselves to remind me that I'm behind on many of my recaps. Obviously, I would never have figured this out myself, so I must thank you for your unselfish, helpful concern. You will undoubtedly be thrilled to know that I am working hard to catch up on my laxity in providing you with your free entertainment. This should
allow you to shut the fuck up and leave me alone put your well-intentioned worries to rest. Thank you for reading!
As a 12-year-old gay male with sexual issues that involve, among other things, an acorn-sized penis and a constant masturbation problem, I naturally have the world's shortest attention span as well. Because of this, I had to go back and read all of my previous Skies recaps, just to make sure I remember every important, riveting plot detail. Mainly, I just refreshed my memory about the metric fuckton of penises in this game. We're all set.
Last time, our mentally challenged crew of Ass Pirates found themselves smack dab in the middle of the "evil people from a technologically advanced society travel to pristine, forested lands inhabited by primitive people and then force them to work in mines" cliche. In keeping with this, they managed to free the oppressed workers from the evil mine and stop the bad people from burning the rainforest. Along the way, they also rescued a pedophile who looks exactly like Elton John as well as a skeevy, purple-haired priest who's also into the sweet, sweet statutory.
Now it's time to deliver Isapa the Pervy Priest back to the badly-dressed King of Ixa'taka so we can find out where the Lost City of Rixis is or something. This sounds like an easy enough prospect, which should be my first flashing neon sign that something will go terribly awry. This time, the problem isn't with the plot -- at least not yet. It's not just the recap I've neglected for two years -- I haven't touched this game, either. I was trying to think of a polite way to describe my problem without offending the serious fanboys of this game, but that wouldn't be fun at all. So here it is -- this game is amazingly, aggravatingly, disturbingly, horrifically fucking slow. Like Shion's brain in a vat of frozen molasses slow. Like if Tidus and Rinoa had a love child, and Vyse and Shion also had a love child, and those two love children got married and had a love child of their own, and that love child was regularly dropped on its head and inhaled copious amounts of Uncle Wakka's pot smoke, then maybe that child's defective brain would start to approach the slowness levels of this game.
I will elaborate, since you asked so nicely. In Part 7, I covered the irritating nature of the nearly-inescapable random battles. I don't recall from my re-reading of the other recaps whether or not I went into any further detail about the battle system, so I'll be lazy and assume that I haven't. Well, better late than never. Assuming that my party doesn't get surprise-attacked, I start out (after an interminable load screen) by entering battle commands for all my party members. Then, the fun begins. For the next whole turn, I sit with my thumb up my ass while each party member and monster carries out his/her/its attack turn. So far, I'm sure this sounds to you like pretty standard RPG fare. Don't get ahead of yourself. See, each attack involves the attacker in question moving into range in a slow and stately manner while the attackee stands there looking bored. This is followed by a near-slow-motion attack animation. Even a regular attack has no sense of urgency or speed, so you can imagine the intolerable nature of longer animations such as special moves or magic. I may have mentioned this earlier, but monsters like to attack in large groups. Naturally, all of these monsters have approximately five kajillion hit points. You can imagine how many rounds this ends up taking. Almost as many rounds of drinks as I'll need to deal with the trauma of this experience.
|Worst feature of Skies of Arcadia random battles:
I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. In a lot of games -- most notably the Final Fantasy series -- you have the ridiculous battle system where the non-attacking characters and monsters just stand in place until it's their turn. Yeah, the gamer has to suspend a fair amount of disbelief, but most of us have managed to do so to a certain extent after years of numbing our brains with RPGs. Well, the game designers of Skies of Arcadia took one look at their slow-ass battle system and realized that not even the most gullible gamer would be able to watch the non-active characters standing face-to-face with the monsters they just attacked for the ten minutes it takes until their next turn comes around. This means that while the active character is leisurely jogging over to take a couple of ineffective whacks at a monster, all the other characters look as if they're sparring with various enemies. I shouldn't have to point out that this sparring is purely for show, and no one actually does any damage. But it's so much more realistic! The moral of the story is that when you have the world's least urgent battle system, there's really no way to make it the slightest bit believable.
I'm not saying every game has to have a Final Fantasy X-2-style battle system where you hold down the action button for two seconds and the whole thing is over faster than intercourse with Tidus. But I don't think it's asking too much to not die of boredom while supposedly fighting for my life.
I'm fairly sure I covered this in a previous recap, but even if I hadn't, it should be obvious that the game designers aren't going to stop at simply forcing these snail-speed battles on me -- they have to further deplete my precious lifespan by spacing them out roughly every two millimeters. With this battle frequency, the skies should be visibly blanketed with swarms of angry monsters, but no. That would be logical, and the game designers spent all their logic points on trying and failing to make their shitty battle system look less lame.
In short -- which I realize is way too late -- getting from point A to point B is a nightmare that makes Silent Hill seem a soothing nature walk by comparison. And that's when you know where point A is in relation to point B. Which is never the case for me.
Now that I've gotten myself into a suicidal funk, let's continue, shall we?
Eventually, the Ass Pirates make it to the King's Hideout, that floating island with the tree on it. It's all the way at the other end of Ixa'taka, but after all my bitching and whining up above, I only run into one random battle. Of course, it takes three minutes, meaning that ten random battles will require half a fucking hour. But I digress again. In case you can't tell, I'm not too fond of the battle system. I wouldn't want you to miss the subtlety of my opinions, here.
The teal-haired king expresses his thanks that this random group of Ass Pirates went and saved Isapa from the mine with all the icky men. "Heh heh heh... Yes, thank you for rescuing me. I'd love to thank you two ladies personally... But I must return to my priestly duties... Well, it was nice meeting you," Isapa creeps, a huge, shit-eating grin splitting his features. Setting aside the fact that Pippi and Fina wouldn't let this sweaty, purple-bearded perv touch them with a ten foot pole, what exactly about his "priestly duties" prevents him from having sex with women? Will he be shunned by his priestly brethren if he touches anyone who has already gone through puberty?
Also, I know he's a minor character and not worth all the speculation, but I figured you guys might be wondering why I haven't bothered to insinuate that Isapa is a raging homo. I mean, he has purple facial hair, right? Plus, every other sentence is all about how much he likes to bone those female ladies in their sexy womanly vaginas. Who is he trying to convince? The truth is, I'm perfectly willing to believe he's hetero. Before you run away in disgust and disappointment, rest assured that your quotient of closeted "CHICKS CHICKS CHICKS!!!!!!" homosexuals will be more than met before the game is over, and by much more pertinent-to-the-plot characters than this random slimebag. Patience, young padawan.
Before Isapa returns to his completely chaste job, Pippi reminds him that he was supposed to tell them the whereabouts of the Lost City of Rixis. What with all the boobie-related fantasies, this non-sexual task completely slipped his mind. Actually, in reading over my recap, I don't see that they ever discussed this with him, so either my recap is woefully incomplete or they never had this conversation and the current conversation is all a lie. I never received any rude, complaining e-mails on the matter, so it has to be the latter option.
Even with all his own mental impairments, Vyse thinks this priest guy is a total joke. Which says more about Isapa's character than any scathing comment I can provide. "He has much knowledge in ancient scriptures and history," the king defends his creepy buddy, as if Isapa actually spent time in the ancient archives not searching for historical porn. Isapa stuffs his wiener back in his toga and agrees to tell these foreigners what he knows about the location of Rixis. Which is, naturally, another God damn riddle: "The Great Bird with its wings spread and the kneeling Golden Man will open the way." I hope the kneeling Golden Man isn't directly in front of the Great Bird, because that's just gross, although might explain why the man is golden. But who knows what kinds of weird shenanigans took place in ancient times? The Rito had to come into existence somehow, and I'm not buying that "evolved from Zoras" shit.
|The catch is, he won't actually be able to answer.
Vyse's reaction mirrors my own indignation. "I have no idea what you were talking about," he complains. For once, I can't blame him for his complete ignorance. Those directions are bullshit! "To be completely honest, I don't know what it means either!" Isapa admits, still grinning. This whole exchange might be funny if I hadn't just gone through a depressingly tedious dungeon, risking Vyse's tender underage ass, to rescue this jackhole. While Isapa continues to laugh at his own dickishness, Fina stops Pippi from bludgeoning the priest to death with her boomerang. She repeats the bird fellatio/golden showers riddle, then follows it with a triumphant, "I know what it means!"
Once again, it's Fina's Magical Repository of Random Trivia to the rescue! Or is it?! Sadly, it's the second one. "'The Great Bird with its wings spread' and 'the kneeling Golden Man' are probably somewhere on this continent!" she exclaims. Somehow, Vyse doesn't find this "contribution" completely unhelpful and obvious. Instead, he responds with some Captain Obviousing of his own: "So if we find them, we'll find the Lost City!" Well, yes, that was kind of the point of the riddle, wasn't it? Am I the only one who's following the story here?
I get control of Vyse again, meaning it's up to me to figure out the location of the stupid bird and dude. Even the normally trusty guide that I downloaded from GameFAQs fails me, as it simply tells me to locate the Great Bird and Golden Man, without bothering to give me any locational hints. That's okay, I was really jonesing for some aimless flying and random battles anyway.