The Future's BrightEdit
It's off to Academia -4XXAF- with us now to see what kind of new timeline we've caused. Arrive at the place and you'll see it to be a much happier looking place than the old Academia. It's brighter, the music's calmer, etc. Good work, you've made the world nicer. Upon leaving the gate, Noel and Serah will stand in astonishment at their achievement. Hope and Alyssa will then approach us, despite the fact that it's 400 years into the future and they should be dead right now. Hope explains this in a minute in a silly, dumb way. For now, he'll direct you to the Academy HQ, which is the biggest and shiniest building you can see. Feel free to explore Academia at this point. It's a nice place and there aren't monsters to spoil your fun. If you want progress, just head to the most northern point of the map via the conveyor bridges. These bridges are fun because they confuse the hell out of the civilian AI, who will get stuck in groups at either end as they try to walk up the wrong direction. Sometimes they fall over too. Anyway, there's a treasure chest containing a Gold Casino Ticket next to the HQ entrance. Grab it, then head in. Continue through the building until you reach the Research Facility, where you can find Hope. Talk to him and he'll explain that he got to the future via a Time Capsule, which roughly translates to dumb deus ex machina. After he shuts up about that, he'll tell you about his project to try and re-levitate Cocoon without the use of fal'Cie technology (because, you know, that'd just result in his death and the enslavement of the human race like we saw a minute ago). This failed, so he's decided to just go and build a new Cocoon. Talk to him again for a Live Trigger.
Hope has traveled 400 years into the future. What should I ask him?
X - What's going to happen to the pillar?
Square - Did you find out anything about Lightning?
Circle - Why did you decide to build a new Cocoon?
Triangle - How did you travel to the future?
I chose Square and got a long answer that can be summarised in the word "Not really, no". A Live Trigger reward will spawn to your east and now you'll want to talk to Alyssa, who'll tell you more about the Time Capsule. Talk again for information of the new Cocoon. She says that Hope needs a bunch of items called Graviton Cores to keep this new thing afloat. And guess who has to get them? That's right, it's ex-NBA superstar Magic Johnson and sidekicks: REO Speedwagon. Wait, no, not them. It's us, of course. These things are located across the timeline and information can be gotten from the HQs front desk. But, first explore this room. On the lowest floor (you can get there by waiting for the floaty people to stop near one of the blue circles on your current floor), you can find a Platinum Casino Ticket. You can also obtain a Silver Chocobo by throwing Mog into the centre of the big green orb that's hard to miss. Once you've gotten everything, head to the front desk and get your info on the cores. Now it's time to go on a long fetch quest.
The Graviton CoresEdit
Note that all of these also count as fragments, so you want to be getting them all at some point. If you're struggling to find any of them, examine the mission in the Fragments menu and it'll show you an image of the core's rough location. This helps.
The first core is located way back in New Bodhum -003AF-. In the eastern area of the north/middle part of the map, there's a place called Tidal Shallows, where two square, metal platforms are stood. Atop one of them (the western one that's slightly raised) is the hidden core, so just hit R1 and grab it.
Back to Bresha Ruins -005AF- with you. Hop on a chocobo and head east of the time gate in the centre of the place (the one you took to Yaschas Massif -010AF-), where you'll find a staircase close to an inaccessible area. There's small ramp that you can use nearby that allows you to jump with your chocobo into that area. In the overgrown grass up here, you can hit R1 and get yourself your next core.
To Oerba -200AF-. Carry on along the road from the gate where you enter the area initially (in the south). As you go along, you'll see a gap in the barrier on your right with a massive lump of sand there. Jump across the gap using the sand as a ramp, onto the building nearby and use Mog Hunt to uncover this fragment. Note: You'll need a Chocobo or Anti-grav Jump to reach the building.
Academia -400AF- now. Stroll on down to New Town and locate Chocolina's shop here, it's close to where you fought Zenobia in the story. Head north from here to find an escalator, leading to a dead-end. The escalator may be going to wrong way at this point and it can be controlled by a switch in the area, but it's much less screwing around to just jump down the thing. R1 here for another core.
Yaschas Massif -100AF- (get here via the Academia -400AF- New Town south gate). For this core, you'll want to go to the area where the searchlights are, in the west. Three cracks are in the ground of this area. Look for the largest, most northernly one and check around it. You'll come across a concealed item that can be accessed via R1. Grab it and that's the last core you need. Other two locations are noted too, just in case you don't fancy getting one of these five.
Sunleth Waterscape -400AF- (get here via the Yaschas Massif -100AF- south gate). After you've done everything involving the miniflans here, head to the Assembly Area. Around where you fought the miniflan bosses, hit R1 to uncover Graviton Core Eta.
Go to Oerba -400AF- (get here via Oerba -300AF-). Head to the north of the map, close to the disused schoolhouse in the area where the ocean would normally be in other Oerba timelines. Look around here for this graviton core fragment that you'll need to use Mog Hunt to uncover and grab.
Talk to Yeul, talk to Yeul, talk to Yeul, talk to Yeul...Edit
Once you've gotten five Graviton Cores, get back to Alyssa and hand her all of them. After giving her the third one, you'll be told about the Chaos Crystal by Hope. More info on that here. Continue handing her cores until you get a cutscene. Alyssa will hand our duo a Vagabond Artefact and Hope says that he and Alyssa will follow them to the future when he sorts out his Time Capsule again. Approach the exit and talk to Noel. After that conversation, head out and go to the time gate on the east side (it's a goal point on the map). Examine it and we'll get another cutscene where Noel will ask us if we're ready to face Caius. His wording makes it sound like this is the game's point of no return where we'll be fighting the final boss. It's not, but we will be restricted to certain areas for a little while. Noel will give us a Live Trigger, asking for our decision.
Caius could be waiting on the other side of the gate. Are you ready to face him?
X - Not quite yet.
Triangle - I'm ready.
Hit Triangle for progress and another scene, where Hope and Alyssa will come and say byesies to us. Hope will give us one of his patented Disney "we can do this!" speeches which were so abundant in the last game. It ends with the lamest joke anyone has ever said ever. "Well, as you would say Noel, 'exactly'!". This prompts an unusual amount of laughter from everyone and I die a little inside. Then it's off to the Historia Crux! Noel and Serah soar through its coggy lands, but oh no! Cogs are flying everywhere and the two are separated. And it's all Alyssa's fault. Damn it, I knew she was evil. This betrayal of hers isn't mentioned much in the rest of the main story, but one of the paradox endings (The Future is Hope) is partly dedicated to it. Anyway, after the cutscene, you'll be back in a Crux with just three options. Serendipity, The Void Beyond, and the Coliseum. You'll want The Void Beyond.
As the scene begins, we see Noel getting beaten up by Caius. He's then stabbed to death a violent, purply smoke death. Damn. Serah arrives and we begin Episode 5 with the trophy Sooth Seeker. I don't know what that means. She yells out for Noel and Mog to no answer. She picks up her bow and it vanishes. You'll gain control of Serah. Mog's here too, but he's in a weird paradox-y state, so you can't use him. Proceed forward through the Void until Serah sees Yeul. When she does, enemy encounters are turned on. Be careful here because it's just Serah (using a weird half existent bowsword) and her recruited monsters here. No Noel. The enemy's aren't too hard though, so you should be fine. Your objective in this place now is to talk to many Yeuls. The first Yeul (a Yeul who collects Lithuanian newspapers) is nearby. She'll say things and then it's Live Trigger time.
Serah's trapped in the shade of Valhalla. Yeul seems to know something...
X - Did I get trapped here alone?
Square - What kind of world is Valhalla?
Circle - How do I get out of here?
Triangle - Is this some sort of trap?
Boring choices are boring, so I went for Triangle. Yeul will comment of Alyssa's betrayal and then she'll disappear. You'll get the Etro's Sorrow fragment and then she'll pop up somewhere else. Go talk to the second Yeul (a Yeul who unironically enjoys Sonic The Hedgehog theme songs) for more nonsensical words and another Live Trigger.
The goddess gave her servants the ability to see the future. What else does Yeul know?
X - What kind of goddess is she?
Square - Is Noel a servant, too?
Circle - What does a servant do?
Triangle - How is she connected to Lightning?
Boring again. I'll have Square. She'll talk about Noel's role in the story and we'll get Pulse's Resolution fragment. Grab the Live Trigger reward and the Librascope (southwest area), then go find the third Yeul (a Yeul who's got two tickets to paradise) up the stairs. On the way up, you can obtain the Serah Mask adornment from a chest on a rock if you have a XIII save on your console. Now talk to Yeul for the Lindzei's Desire fragment. Back to where she was a second ago to find the fourth Yeul (a Yeul who is really into Fist of the North Star) for a fragment (Mwynn's Tenderness). Now back up the stairs and up the other set for another talk with her for the Bhunivelze's Sleep fragment. Carry on going upstairs and you can find Chocolina concealed. Hit R1 and buy stuff if you want. Then go and talk to the fifth and final Yeul (a Yeul who is allergic to dairy fudge) and get this ordeal finished.
Yeul will talk in cryptic confusion and start to smoke at the feet for some reason. She'll talk and talk and then gets very close to Serah. Their faces get closer and closer an- WOAH CRAP, IT'S CAIUS.
This is quite an intimidating battle since it's just Serah and whatever monsters you've got. Caius will retain most of the skills he had in the last fight against him. He can now break your stagger too, which is frustrating. This battle can be over rather quickly if you pull it off right. Stagger him as fast as possible (Ravager Feral Links help), then switch to COM/COM and batter his fabulous face before he can break your stagger. If you have Chichu with you, a well-timed meteorite will decimate his health and you'll be done in no time. Keep your health high as his attacks are brutal, and once you've won the battle, you'll receive absolutely nothing. Fantastic.
The fight will continue on into the cutscene. Caius talks about his intentions to mess history up so that Yeul will live because he can't bear to watch her die over and over again any more. He then says Noel is in a place where he knows only joy, and that Serah can be in her happy place to if she acknowledges her defeat and gives up. Serah refuses, so Caius shows off his time-freezing skills and stabs her through her chest, causing sales of her bikini costume DLC to plummet.
With Serah and Noel both meeting their end through the end of Caius' blade, that means the game is over.
Not really, that'd be pretty lame. No, instead, we arrive in New Bodhum. Serah's asleep beneath a tree in her old outfit that made her look more teenage, making her relationship with Snow all the more creepy. Her friends arrive and wake her up. They talk as if nothing has happened, making Serah think that the entire game had been a dream. Walk forward and talk to Lebreau for a Live Trigger.
Everything looks the way it did before I left on my journey. What is this place?
X - What year is it?
Square - Can I take a nap?
Circle - Where are we?
Triangle - Is this a dream?
A nap sounds nice right about now actually. Pressing Square results in a conversation where Lebreau at first refuses you a nap and then grants you a nap. Hooray. Head into town and talk to Yuj for another LT.
Yuj is acting like nothing happened. What should I talk to him about first?
X - What happened to the meteorite?
Square - Have you see Mog?
Circle - I wasn't feeling well.
Triangle - Where's Noel?
Circle for me, just 'cause. Yuj will express worry, then it's time to go talk to Maqui who is stood around the centre of the beach. Another LT...
Maqui says someone is waiting at NORA House. What does he mean?
X - Get back to what?
Square - The NORA House?
Circle - Who?
Triangle - Someone's waiting for me?
I'll have Circle again. Maqui will laugh because he's a jerk with dumb hair. Now talk to Gadot next to NORA House for yet another Live Trigger...
Gadot says I have it easy. How should I respond?
X - I work hard, too!
Square - I'm not happy at all.
Circle - What do you mean, I have it easy?
Triangle - Don't you like it here?
I'll have Square. Gadot will say things and then we'll be entering the house to find Snow, who's got his old clothes back. Serah will get confused and Snow will say that they're married and that Lightning has been living with them since the end of XIII. Serah gets more confused, then rushes out to see that everyone on the beach has gone and everything's suddenly gotten a bit darker. Grab the Live Trigger reward and then head out to the pier where you'll find a woman. It's Lightning. Talk to her for a cutscene where Lightning will smile a lot, which is weird. She'll ask Serah to come and join her family again. You'll be presented with one of the few game-changing Live Triggers.
Lightning is showing me a world of hope. Should I quit my journey and stay with her?
X - No
Triangle - Yes
X is the answer we want here, as it lets you progress through the story. Triangle will result in a paradox ending. After saying nope, Lightning will vanish and you'll hear voice telling Serah not to give up. You'll regain control of Serah and now you'll want to run all the way to the meteorite impact site to the east of the map. Expect enemy resistance on the way, but nothing too annoying. When you arrive, talk to the owner of the voice you've been hearing. It's Vanille, one half of everyone's favourite Australian lesbian couple. This'll trigger a cutscene where Vanille will explain how she's actually here. Our other lesbian friend, Fang will then appear (is it just me, or is her accent much stronger in this game?) and introduce herself to Serah since the two haven't actually met. The two are here to help Serah out of this dream world of hers. Fang does this by lancing a hole in time and opening a distortion for you. I like Fang a lot. After the cutscene's up, two treasure cubes will spawn containing fragments. As I've said, I'm trying to avoid fragments until post-game, but unless you get these two now, you'll have to go through this entire segment again (from when you give the cores to Alyssa) if you want to find them. Fang's Crown is located directly behind the distortion to the southeast, while Vanille's Fruit lies at the most northern point of the impact site. Once you've gotten those, head into the distortion to get Serah her regular clothes back and a short cutscene where Serah will comment on Fang and Vanille and how cool they are.
Noel's "Happy" PlaceEdit
You'll be taken to the Historia Crux. Choose A Dying World -700AF-. Upon arrival, you'll notice that the colour of Serah's clothes and hair are more intense now. Cool? Head west to find a downed behemoth and Noel. How'd Noel kill this thing single-handedly, you ask? He obviously channeled Craig Boone from Fallout: New Vegas (whom he shares a voice actor with) and killed the beast with nothing but an icy stare. Boone is that cool. Anyway, approach them for a cutscene. Noel says that he's killed the behemoth for eating purposes at someone's birthday feast. He runs through Serah and heads off into the distance. Head back east to encounter Noel again. He'll continue running off and yell for Caius, who he's friends with here. He brags about his kill and Caius comments that he's ready to become the Guardian. He says that it's time for them to fight, so that Noel can kill him and take his power as Caius had done to his predecessor. Apparently, the Guardians enjoy Highlander and have adopted the "There can be only one!" policy. Noel doesn't want to fight right now, because it's Yeul's birthday. Run up to Caius and talk to him, causing him to vanish. Noel will talk and narrates to us on why he uses two swords (he'd never beat Caius with just one). You'll hear Mog kupo after the scene ends, so you can now use Mog Hunt again. Follow Noel into the settlement and watch him disappear. A map of this place is where he was facing before he vanished, so R1 that and grab it. Go north from there to find Chocolina.
In the settlement, you'll see a lot of people who are all time shadow-y. Pressing R1 beside them will kill them. Well, that's just depressing, isn't it? You can kill everyone in the settlement by happily waving. This has no effect on anything apart from your conscience. Head south and you'll find a stationary time shadow-y person shaped like Noel. It's Noel. Who'd have guessed? R1 him and trigger a cutscene. Noel will return towards Yeul, who's happy and not dead for once. The conversation will reveal that Noel, Yeul, and Caius are the last three people alive on the planet. Talk to Yeul to make her vanish. Noel will angstily cut himself with words and we'll regain control of Serah again. Follow Noel southeast for yet another scene where he'll encounter Caius who challenges him to a fight again. Noel at first refuses, but we're roped into a one-on-one battle.
Noel's on his own for this battle, so the game's made it appropriately easy for us. Caius only has 5000HP, but he can regen and break your stagger. Don't bother staggering, just throw COM attacks at him constantly and heal if you drop into low figures. Should be over in no time.
A cutscene showing Caius leaving for Valhalla will start and then we'll regain control of Serah. Follow Noel to the north for a scene with him and Yeul. Noel will watch as Yeul dies again beside the Oracle Drive. Noel rightfully cries and Yeul disappears
into the Lifestream. Noel will talk about his anger at Caius for not telling him what would become of Yeul, then he leaves on his journey to nowhere. Keep following him to the northwest until you arrive near Chocolina's shop. Approach Noel for the last time for another cutscene. Noel will collapse to the ground and begin to float to the sky. Serah will grab him, causing him to mistake her for Etro. He'll regain his memory here and recognise her as Serah. Serah explains to him that he's been living in a dream where he'd be happy (this is happy?) forever. The two will drop to the ground and, oh, looks who's back for the fourth time, it's our good friend, Gogmagog! Now he's huge! Prepare to fight him as our duo say the lame "we will change the future!" simultaneously and land before their enemy.
Our old pal will start by debuffing himself greatly. Odd. RAV/RAV/RAV him into stagger at this point and deal as much damage as possible in COM-heavy paradigms before he uses Hellish Breath, which throws all those debuffs from him onto you. If you're quick enough, you can finish him off before he uses that, but if not, then just Esuna those debuffs and get to battering him again before he can heal himself significantly with Absolution. Keep going and you'll eventually win for Gogmagog Fragment Gamma.
Watch the cutscene where Noel will propose ending our journey so that Serah isn't killed by the visions that she sees. Serah will talk him out of this with a Live Trigger.
My life shortens each time I see the future. What should I say to Noel?
X - Did Caius know?
Square - What happens after death?
Circle - I still want to change the future.
Triangle - You need to take responsibility.
I'll have Triangle because I like telling people to get their shit together. After the cutscene, it's time for a long trek across this fairly dull looking area with its fairly dull music. Grab the LT reward cube and proceed east until you arrive in the large empty plains. At this point, stick to the northern wall until you reach the western side of the area. Then stick to that wall at head south until you reach an alcove with a chest containing an Obsidian Choker. Go back and carry on south down the wall to the bottom and find a concealed cube containing a Golden Chocobo, which will really help with Chocobo Racing later. Now, let's head alllll the way back to where we saw Yeul and Noel's scene earlier, which is at the east of the map and located at the goal point shown. Trek there (grabbing the 10 vitality essences on the way) to trigger a scene when you examine the Oracle Drive. A recording of various scenes from the game plays and it's all very sad, I guess. Mog will return at this point and explain where he's been and that Lightning saved him from the Void Beyond. He has a message for you. Talk to him to learn about Caius being a l'Cie, then him not being a l'Cie, then about him being immortal and various other crap about him and his intentions. After the scene's up, head into the spacetime distortion.
The Last Bit of Peace You'll Get...Edit
Serah and Noel will arrive in New Bodhum -700AF-. It's a bit dead right now. Head to the spacetime distortion near the pier and examine it for a rather long scene. Lightning will appear from the distortion. She's not very happy at the moment as time's still a bit screwed up. Serah asks like a billion questions, but Lightning shuts her up and explains everything. Everything. But it's all in gloriously pretty CG, so it's less horrible. We're taken back to the end of XIII. Lightning looks upon Cocoon and its new crystal pillar happily. Serah and Dajh appear near her and the rest of the group. It's nice and happy and everything looks gorgeous. Suddenly, darkness! Everyone disappears around Light as bells toll and everything goes weird. The floor collapses and Lightning is dragged into the hole by a strange black smoke. She falls through cog-land and explains how Etro had to warp the timeline. We see a quick, confusing shot of Yeul in Orphan's Cradle and Light lands on the beaches of Valhalla. She walks to the room we saw her in at the game's start and Etro's Divine Will causes her clothes to vanish. Strategically placed capes and glowing prevent any nudity as her new armour appears in place of her old outfit and she kneels, making her choice to fight and save history. We then see bits of the opening cutscene for the billionth time and then, boom, severe graphical downgrade. We're back in Bodhum as Serah and Noel comment on Light's story.
After the scene is over, Mog Hunt will be upgraded so you can open even more special chests (ones with weird rings orbiting them). You'll also see an artefact spawn near the destroyed NORA house. Go R1 that and get it. Use the Artefact of the Ark on the time gate at the end of the pier, starting another scene where words are said and things are done. You'll be taken to the Historia Crux, where Academia -500AF- will be unlocked.
And that's that, part 7 over. Wow, we're nearly done? Seems like it was only a week ago that I started this walkthrough and was guiding you through the Prologue. In fact, it was less than a week ago... damn, I'm fast. Join us in Part 8 for our final dungeon and the final battle against Mog, who transforms into Ridely from Metroid at the finale in Count Chocula's castle, which uses a medley of Bryan Adams songs as its theme music. I think that's what happens anyway, I don't remember it too well...