Okay, so I signed up to OkCupid. I'm 27, I'm single, most people where I live are blue-collar drunks; I need help! It's not like I'm unattractive, but everyone's either taken or wildly unsuitable. You know it's not going well when you submit yourself to online dating, don't you?
Here we go again. Since I'm splitting one dungeon into two parts, I'll keep the enemy list (in case you're hunting Rare Game).
- Dragon Lich
- Undin Entite
- Chimera Brain
- Cataract Aevis
- Vishno (Rare Game)1
- Avenger (Rare Game)2
- Tower (Rare Game)3
1 Appears on Floor 48 - Fourth Flight after killing 10 Deidars
2 Trophy Game. 40% chance of spawning in Station of Ascension
3 20% of appearing when warping from 79F to 88F (Dais of Ascendance)
What on Earth is a Reach of Diamond Law? Anyway, there's a new puzzle here. There are four ways to the next floor; read the pillars around the circular platform and they'll lay down the law -- basically, one of your capabilities (Attack, Magicks, Items and the minimap, bizarrely) will be sealed as you proceed. The minimap is basically useless, and you still get to use the main map so you may as well take that option. It's the southeastern door, by the way. Take note of the pink-purple colour. Follow the path to Second Ascent/Station of Banishment.
Use the main map to navigate to the northeastern cluster of rooms. Once you're in the small, triangular bit go north, east twice then south to the stairs to Second Ascent/Station of Suffering. In the northwesternmost room you'll find the area map. Make your way to the southeast section and go south, east twice and north from the triangular room to the next set of stairs. Up we go!
Second Ascent/Station of Ascension next. The stairs are in the northwestern section. It looks like you have to go all the way east and curved back round, but in the triangle-shaped room is a Fool's Facade leading directly to the stairs rooms. Onwards to Second Ascent/Reach of the Damned. Nice, another Save Point. Do your thing. The stairs are in the southwestern nubby bit ^_^
In the next area, Second Ascent/The Bounds of Truth, you can probably guess where this is going. Enter the door along the way for another...
|Boss Battle: Fenrir|
Obviously Dispel him to get rid of Bravery, or enjoy an unnecessary beating. If you feel like it, KO Reddas and put White Tiger here to sleep, then spam him with non-elemental Magicks. I suppose this is only necessary if you decided to seal your Attack command. Also, it's really annoying that there are no viable Earth Magicks you can use.
Berserk your beaters to speed things up a bit. It's a generic, straight-up brawl with few gimmicks. He doesn't even get boosted Defence at low HP, though I think he gets Attack CT0. You probably won't have any problems unless you're severely underleveled.
And done. Proceed to the circular area. Now, hunt down the pillar that corresponds with the sealing option you chose downstairs. If you chose the Altar of Knowledge (like I recommended), you're looking for the southeastern pillar. It'll call a lift/elevator to you (on the far side of the circle), so ride it up to 67F.
On Second Ascent/Reach of the Occult, save and use the Way Stone to ascend. Ascend!
It's a Mete of Dynasty, whatever that is. The actual area title is Third Ascent/Spire Ravel - 1st Flight. Oof, that's some name. Anyway, go up to the highest area and note the coloured sigils. Use the green one twice to be warped to a location containing the area map urn...and a shitload of zombies. Seriously, this can be rough due to the status effects going on. Clean house until the game tells you that the magicks binding the nearby door have faded. Proceed through it back to the sigils, then take the black one.
On 81F, continue east to the more open area. At the (only just) southernmost point is a Fool's Facade leading to a green sigil. Take it to 83F. On Third Ascent/Spire Ravel - 2nd Flight, watch out for the traps in the tight corridors. Not that looking out for them helps you actually pass them, but there it is. At the end of either corridor is a Fool's Facade which leads to another one, which itself leads to more sigils. Take the red sigil to 84F.
Next, you have to use the sigil that corresponds to the colour of the pillar you used when you gave up one of your commands. Pink for Minimap, white for Attack, purple for Magicks and yellow for Items. On 86F, locate the Fool's Facade to the north and use the Way Stone that's inside. You'll end up on 88F. Do you get the impression that they should have either fleshed out 100 floors or just scaled it down a bit? Artificial size, man.
Buff your team (Add Float to your repertoire this time) and have the Dais of Ascendance take you to 90F. Iiiiiit's boss time again! At least this one is interesting.
|Boss Battle: Hashmal|
Leo, my guy! I didn't think he'd be an Earth-elemental, though. Float prevents his ultimate attack, which is predictably called Quakeja. Dispel his Protect and off we go. His other threats are his high attack power and the chance of inflicting Disease. (Dude, what? Disease? Come on man; Leos are much cooler than that) His other attack is called Roxxor, and I really like that for some reason.
Knock off half his HP and he'll give himself Haste and Protect, so knock those off too. At 20% HP he'll use Perfect Defence, but it wears off after he uses Quakeja...which is nice, actually. I hate those two-minute dead zones.
A good strategy for getting his HP down quickly is bouncing Aeroga off your party a number of times. Your call, huskies.
Hashmal, Bringer of Order
After the battle, you end up on Third Ascent/Empyrean Ravel. Floors 90 to 99 consist of a long, relatively linear path with enemies. Use the Way Stone on 99F. Scene time! I guess the shining thing in that spider's web of congealed Mist is the Sun-Cryst, right? Vaan prods Ashe to destroy it, not cut herself some new Empire-destroying bling. There follows a short, but impressive FMV -- which reminds me of the Tower of Rem scene from Tales of the Abyss.
Ghost Rasler shows up again, trying to get Ashe to commit mass homicide. She hesitates, and who should show up by Gabranth, who must have balls of steel casually walking around the windowsill of the hundredth floor of a tower. He goads Ashe into going postal on the empire, revealing himself as Raminas and Reks' murderer, not that we didn't already know all that. Also, Reddas is an ex-Judge Magister -- the "Judge Zecht" the other Magisters were on about earlier. Let's beat him up, shall we? Gabranth I mean, not Reddas.
|Boss Battle: Gabranth|
If Basch is in your party, there'll be a cutscene when Gabby here reaches 50% HP. He then gets an Anti-Magick, which let's face it is kind of irrelevant. He'll also focus on attacking Basch, so use Basch as a tank while the rest of the party does their thing. His only threat is his high attack power, and maybe Guilt, which happens every 12 turns. Dispel his Protect and go to town in the usual fashion.
After defeating Gabranth, who should wander in but Doctor Cid. How do these people get up here without us noticing? He sacks Gabranth for turning his sword against Ashe, and he's not happy about it. Luckily for Cid, Venat shields him and flings Gabranth against a pillar. Hee. Less luckily for us, he wants to take the Mist-glutted (ugh) Sun-Cryst for himself. They're really taking liberties with the subtitles, aren't they? To battle, I suppose.
|Boss Battle: Doctor Cid|
Right, here we go again. His new special attack, S-85 Cyclotron, looks pretty cool (as in Golden Sun lighthouse cool) and you can't avoid it by hiding behind him, you cheeky pears. Suck it up -- it shouldn't be too dangerous for you at this point and he only uses it every 20 turns. There's also Gatling Gun, which is less potent than Cyclotron but still worth preparing for -- it's Fire-elemental, so you can mitigate its damage with the correct equipment.
Cid buffs himself with Haste, Protect and Shell, so get those off him as quickly as you can. At 50% HP, he summons his Esper (the final one, assuming you completed the sidequests) Famfrit. Upon defeating Famfrit, Phase 3 begins. As his HP drops he gets a load of Augment buffs -- Reduce Damage, Reflect Damage, Counter+, Normal Damage+, Magick CT0...phew. Quickenings might be the way forward here.
|Boss Battle: Famfrit|
Two Espers in one section? Insanity. If you told 100 people who'd never played Final Fantasy XII that the Espers were based on the signs of the Zodiac, I think the only one all 100 people would correctly identify would be this guy. He couldn't look more like an Aquarius if he tried. Compared to Mateus, anyway. How does he resemble Pisces in any way?
Anyway, jugs here is weak against Fire and vulnerable to the status condition that makes you even weaker against Fire. This'll be difficult...N→R him to guarantee Oil, then bounce Firaga off your party for big damage. Fire-element weapons are also a good idea.
If you equip the party with Viking Coats, you'll become immune to both Briny Cannonade and Waterja, Fam's ultimate attack. Which means that this Esper can't really do much to you at all. Also, is it not a coincidence that "Famfrit" sounds similar to "Ffamran", Balthier's real name? Maybe Cid's really a "fam"ily man.
Famfrit, the Darkening Cloud
And with that, the boss rush is over. Poor Balthier; watching your father dissolve into Mist is never an easy thing. And with Fran looking like she's ready to lay down and die in the surge of Mist, it's just not his day. Reddas takes up the mantle, destroying the Sun-Cryst and being kinda vapourised in the process. In that anime-esque way where they get engulfed by light. You the real MVP, man.
Back in Balfonheim, Reddas' posse waxes lyrical on his passing. Meanwhile, Al-Cid! He let himself in, apparently. Oh, you. Apparently, war is about to break out. Vayne's endgame, the Sky Fortress Bahamut is up and running. Capital. Al-Cid leaves, but not without hitting on Ashe big time. I guess he realised she must have rejected Rasler's ghost. Did I mention that I love that guy?
Once the scenes are over, you're free. Shops have expanded their inventory, there's a new mark and there's only one last part of the storyline left to complete. If you want to skip on ahead, I'll put a direct link -here- when I've written it. For now though...sidequests! Lots and lots of sidequests!