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Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


(This is a kinda-sorta sister thread to Argate's Xenoblade Chronicles LP which you should also check out)

The mid-2000's was a weird time for video games. With the PS2 generation in full swing, developers had finally (more or less) figured out this new-fangled 3D thing and were starting to make games that really experimented in a lot of ways. The RPG genre, though arguably a bit more resistant than most games, certainly had their own mix of ecclectic ideas - for every Dragon Quest VIII, there was Tales of the Abyss, a Final Fantasy XII, a Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, a Drakengard, a Xenosaga. But arguably, none of them were quite as weird as this game.



Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was developed by Namco and Monolith Soft for the Gamecube in 2003, and is probably single-handedly responsible for my love of weird and off-the-wall poo poo. On the surface, it's a fairly standard JRPG, especially by 2003 standards. It has a weird card-based combat system, and the decision to go full pre-rendered for all the backgrounds was a little odd, to be sure, but one listen to Motoi Sakuraba's soundtrack and those worries would be washed away... At least, until you actually sit down and play it. Baten Kaitos is probably the weirdest, deliberately-designed game I've ever played in my life. A "deckbuilder RPG" doesn't do it justice - to play Baten Kaitos is to play Slay the Spire and Poker at the same time...with the same cards. Your cards (including your quest items) evolve over time, quite literally - bananas ripen and then rot, ice melts, and fire goes out. The entire game has this weird, tinny filter over the voice acting to simulate the effect of not actually being in this world with the characters. Suffice to say that Baten Kaitos marches to the beat of its own drum, and it does not give a drat if you are along for the ride or not.

(It should come as no surprise that the co-developer, Tri-Crescendo, would go on to make Eternal Sonata for the PS3/360. There will be a lot of parallels with that game as we go.)

Despite the oddities, the game actually reviewed fairly well, with an 80 on metacritic (and an 8.4 user score, for what that's worth), a score which is well-deserved in my opinion. Regardless of your opinion on the game's core mechanics, it's undeniable that the game is gorgeous, with one of Sakuraba's best pre-Dark Souls soundtracks and a story that hits the mark far more than it misses. It is janky, yes, and decidedly not for everyone on a lot of levels, but I love it to death.

My partner in crime, Fedule, has never played this game. He has only heard of it by reputation, which I suspect is the case for a lot of you as well (unless you cheated and read Overrated Sage's excellent LP of it), so let's try and keep the spoilers under control, yeah? Do not post anything we have not seen in a video yet outside of spoiler tags. Updates will be Mondays and Fridays unless otherwise noted.

Table of Contents

Disc One

Part 0: Introduction
Part 1: Cebalrai, the Farming Hamlet
Part 2: Moonguile Forest
Part 3: Nunki Valley
Part 4: Pherkad, the Ancient Capital
Part 5: Lord Rodolfo's Mansion
Part 6: Nashira, the Fishing Village
Part 7: Lesser Celestial River
Part 8: Cloud Passage
Part 9: Sheliak, the Castle Town
Part 10: Castle Elnath
Part 11: The Shrine of Winds
Part 12: Komo Mai, the City of Flowers
Part 13: Ancient Library of Magic
Part 14: Holoholo Jungle
Part 15: Opu, the Waterfall Village
Part 16: The Celestial Tree
Part 17: Heart of the Tree
Part 18: The Trail of Souls
Part 19: Portal to an Outer Dimension
Part 20: Parnasse, the Confectionery Village
Part 21: Detourne, the Mystical Garden
Part 22: Reverence, the Picture Book Village
Part 23: Nekton, the Shrine of Spirits
Part 24: Balancoire, Borough of Illusion
Part 25: Coccolith, Labyrinth of Mirrors

Disc Two

Part 26: Mintaka, the Imperial Capital
Part 27: The Battleship Goldoba
Part 28: Azha, the Mining Village
Part 29: The Lava Caves
Part 30: Mintaka Imperial Fortress
Part 31: Interdimensional Cracks (Part 1)
Part 32: Interdimensional Cracks (Part 2)
Part 33: Interdimensional Cracks (Part 3)
Part 34: The Ice Cliffs of Gomeisa
Part 35: Cursa, the Snowy City
Part 36: Kaffaljidhma, Castle of Ice
Part 37: Mintaka Imperial Fortress Redux
Part 38: The Sanctum of Malpercio
Part 39: A Moment of Respite
Part 40: The Labyrinth of Duhr
Part 41: Gemma Village
Part 42: Capella, the Garden of Death
Part 43: Zosma, Tower of Stones
Part 44: Algorab Village
Part 45: Larikush's Confession
Part 46: The Celestial Alps
Part 47: The Phantom Goldoba
Part 48: Nihal Desert
Part 49: Revenge of the Tower of Zosma
Part 50: The Illusory Fortress
Part 51: Greater Celestial River
Part 52: The Plan
Part 53: Cor Hydrae Castle (Part 1)
Part 54: Cor Hydrae Castle (Part 2)
Part 55: The Final Battle
Part 56: O Mighty Ocean...

Artix fucked around with this message at 18:32 on Feb 26, 2021

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Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


So this is *technically* an ongoing LP that's been going on over at the LP Beach since the whole forums drama exploded earlier in the summer. If you were really so inclined, you could watch up to video 28 right now. However, in the interest of not dumping 30 videos on you from the start, I'm gonna post them in small bunches every couple days until we're caught up.

Part 0: Introduction
Part 1: Cebalrai, the Farming Hamlet
Part 2: Moonguile Forest

Blaziken386
Jun 26, 2013

I'm what the kids call: a big nerd


I tend to go for screenshot LPs more than video ones, but that intro cutscene was so baffling, I feel like I need to stick around? What even the hell is this??

The pre-rendered backgrounds are pretty though

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

As someone who has been following the lp in the other site, this lp and game definitely goes places.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





My only reference point for Baten Kaitos is the speedrun that goes for two entire weeks.

Jobbo_Fett
Mar 7, 2014

It would be a sad error in judgement to mistake me for a corpse.


Clapping Larry

This is one of the few games where I feel like I could adequately voice act every character in it, judging by the intro.

Blaziken386
Jun 26, 2013

I'm what the kids call: a big nerd


Episode 2 posted:

"So, unmentioned, I think at any point in the game, is that there is a trust... 'mechanic', between you and Kalas. And, when these dialogue options pop up, if you give an answer that he likes, which is not to say the correct answer, but the answer that Kalas wants to hear, you will increase your trust with him.
Between this and the unrepentant looting of dead bodies, I think Kalas might just be incredible?

megane posted:

My only reference point for Baten Kaitos is the speedrun that goes for two entire weeks.
w h a t

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Blaziken386 posted:

Between this and the unrepentant looting of dead bodies, I think Kalas might just be incredible?

w h a t
I've heard it's a 100% run and items needing to evolve is why.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!



the 100% WR holder posted:

- But if it takes 336 hours, why is your record a little longer, like 339?
Because the items pause evolving when in the menus. The thing is, because this is a card-based RPG, you are menuing nearly ALL THE TIME: when you want to change your decks, when you select your loot at the end of fights, when you are in a shop... Which can very quickly add tens of hours when you play casually. That means I have to minimize absolutely every menus in the whole game, and I have to stay outside of menus while idling. Also, you get the Shampoo at around 45 minutes. Then, when it evolved, you have to fight the Last Boss, which takes a few more minutes. In the end, it means the theoretical minimum time is a bit above 337 hours. But the time spent in menus is always, ALWAYS, WAY longer than you imagine.

Chimera-gui
Mar 20, 2014


It is interesting that everyone has wings, is there any reason why Xelha's are insectoid while yours are bird?

RevolverDivider
Nov 12, 2016



I played this game when it came out as a kid and I adored it, went back to it a few years ago and felt it still held up very well.

silvergoose
Mar 18, 2006

IT IS SAID THE TEARS OF THE BWEENIX CAN HEAL ALL WOUNDS



All I remember from watching some of this game is fire burst, chronos *blow*!

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.


silvergoose posted:

All I remember from watching some of this game is fire burst, chronos *blow*!

I haven't watched the videos yet and I heard those in voice. I played the heck out of this game and its sequel and I don't think I finished either of them.

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

This game rules so hard, thank you for bringing this playthrough back to the forums.

E: Though I have to admit, this opening cutscene looks way worse than I remember.

C-Euro fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Oct 11, 2020

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Every good JRPG needs obtuse mechanics and weird children characters. Most of them are sensible enough to not cast actual children as the VA, though.

Part 3: Nunki Valley
Part 4: Pherkad, the Ancient Capital

Fedule
Mar 27, 2010


No one left uncured.
I got you.


Every now and then someone decides to try the bold ploy of actually casting children as children and eat the expense of that (as it turns out, there are rules for this that basically all boil down to, you have to do a lot of things a lot more carefully, and therefore a lot more slowly, and therefore a lot more expensively) but also decides to actually put in the work and get very good results. Notable example I can recall, the part of Larsa in FFXII (discussed, among other things, here).

akkristor
Feb 24, 2014



I always appreciate this game's 100% Speedrun length.

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land






The most recent update (#30 or w/e) is very cool

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Man, so many memories of this game flooding back to me...

I think the battle system sounds more complex than it actually is in practice. As long as you have merely an OK mix of offensive and defensive cards, and don't put in too many clashing elemental effects, battles themselves are fun and manageable. The only thing I remember feeling clunky about actual battles is that you can't heal and attack in the same turn, which I suppose makes sense when written out but could be better explained in-game.
The real complexity lies in deck management, both for hitting those criteria and keeping ahead of cards that change over time. Fortunately, most characters favor a few elements over others so your deckbuilding options aren't completely wide open.

Agreed that the soundtrack kicks rear end all around, if you're like me and enjoy both guitar riffs and MIDI brass then there's a lot to enjoy here (though I'm disappointed that neither of you said anything about the music in Pherkad, which I love). Also there's like a dozen different boss themes lol

I don't know if this came up on the LP Beach, but you can get rid of the tin can voice effect by switching to Surround Sound in the Options menu. Playing with tin can voices is the true BK experience though.

Also, do you talk in a later video about how you can influence how enemy pictures turn out? I honestly forgot about it until I saw how that Sabre Dragon picture turned out...

C-Euro fucked around with this message at 16:15 on Oct 13, 2020

Lustful Man Hugs
Jul 18, 2010



So is it true that the English localisation of this game wasn't fully done properly which explains a number of the... inconsistencies in quality? Or what the hell went on that resulted in this?

Admiral H. Curtiss
May 11, 2010

I think there are a bunch of people who can create trailing images. I know some who could do this as if they were just going out for a stroll.


C-Euro posted:

I don't know if this came up on the LP Beach, but you can get rid of the tin can voice effect by switching to Surround Sound in the Options menu. Playing with tin can voices is the true BK experience though.

Is that actually true? I feel like I experimented with it and couldn't actually determine any noticeable difference in quality. Same with that weird rumor that the affection with Kalas affects the effect.


Lustful Man Hugs posted:

So is it true that the English localisation of this game wasn't fully done properly which explains a number of the... inconsistencies in quality? Or what the hell went on that resulted in this?

Uh, what does that mean exactly? This loc seems fine to me, apart from the VA.

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Admiral H. Curtiss posted:

Is that actually true? I feel like I experimented with it and couldn't actually determine any noticeable difference in quality. Same with that weird rumor that the affection with Kalas affects the effect.

I've definitely done it on console and contemporary TVs for the time, but maybe you don't notice it on newer hardware or in emulation? I don't know much about that and couldn't tell you why it works.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Party Member #3 doesn't take too long to join up, thankfully. A shame that we're headed to such water-heavy territory.

Part 5: Lord Rodolfo's Mansion
Part 6: Nashira, the Fishing Village

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Chaotic Dance is great and they're definitely saying "feeling gaaaaaaayyyyyy" at one point in the song, which teen me thought was way funnier than it actually is. Also Feudal Guardian (the music inside Rodolfo's manor) is really great as well.

Gibari kicks rear end, you're spot on with the "Wakka once he settled down" comparison.

White Coke
May 29, 2015


The main problem with deliberately losing in a fight instead of a cutscene after the fight is that if the developers don't properly telegraph that you're supposed to lose people might just reload and try to level up instead of making progress. It might also just be easier to balance winning a fight than figuring out what the right amount of losing is.

Commander Keene
Dec 21, 2016

This avatar helped buy Lowtax a new back.



White Coke posted:

The main problem with deliberately losing in a fight instead of a cutscene after the fight is that if the developers don't properly telegraph that you're supposed to lose people might just reload and try to level up instead of making progress. It might also just be easier to balance winning a fight than figuring out what the right amount of losing is.
I feel like the point is more "either have the battle or the cutscene, not both". A cutscene where the team just eats it is easier to swallow if you didn't just own the boss in gameplay, IMO. Both unwinnable battles and the "no u" cutscene kinda suck.

Blaziken386
Jun 26, 2013

I'm what the kids call: a big nerd


Commander Keene posted:

I feel like the point is more "either have the battle or the cutscene, not both". A cutscene where the team just eats it is easier to swallow if you didn't just own the boss in gameplay, IMO. Both unwinnable battles and the "no u" cutscene kinda suck.
I think the best version of the "unwinnable battle" trope was done in One Step From Eden's demo - you get a final boss character who shows up and goes "okay, this is the end of the demo, so i'm gonna kill ya now, okay?" and prepares a stage-wide attack. If you dodge it with an attack that gives you a brief window of invincibility, she goes "well. guess we're doing this the hard way, then" and proceeds to fight you for real - and inevitably kicks your rear end because she's bonkers loving strong.

akkristor
Feb 24, 2014



Or Demon's Souls.

You are underarmed against a mercless boss who likely kills you.

On the off chance you survive, you walk into the next room and get brutally murdered by an even MORE powerful boss.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


Have we mentioned this game's music loving owns yet? Because it does.

Part 7: Lesser Celestial River
Part 8: Cloud Passage

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Artix posted:

Have we mentioned this game's music loving owns yet? Because it does.

Part 7: Lesser Celestial River
Part 8: Cloud Passage

The music for the Iron Beetle fight always makes me think of a naval battle or some sort of fight on the high seas. The track has some hilariously bleak name like Trapped in the Underworld too.

I'm glad that the game has so many different boss themes because there are a lot of boss fights in this game!

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


I suppose we should probably do something about this whole "war on Diadem's doorstep" thing, but we'll have to drag Kalas kicking and screaming into some heroism.

Part 9: Sheliak, the Castle Town
Part 10: Castle Elnath

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE





Kalas never gets over his "avoid being the hero, love being a jerk" thing, does he? It's uncommon to see a main character written like this and I love it

AltaBrown
Sep 8, 2011


If memory serves (it's been 13 yrs), I got stonewalled on the second Giacomo fight, and gave up on the game.

So thanks for this LP!

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Lyude's "I attack with weaponized musical instruments" gimmick is maybe my favorite offbeat weapon in any RPG, but it's tied to an aggressively boring character. I don't think the term "soyboy" existed in 2003 but it would have been thrown Lyude's way if it did.

Slaan posted:

Kalas never gets over his "avoid being the hero, love being a jerk" thing, does he? It's uncommon to see a main character written like this and I love it

Many JRPG protagonists are extremely honest about who they are, but rarely is that coupled to the pragmatism that Kalas has. It's great!

Arzaac
Jan 2, 2020




Ah, Lyude's one of my favorite characters in this game, honestly. Though uh...maybe more out of pity than anything else. He's a naive, homeschooled, socially awkward kid who does his best to be a good person and is rewarded with the entire universe making GBS threads on him, literally all of the time. There's a late game dungeon that's 90% characters making GBS threads on Lyude for how weak and pathetic he is. Poor kid goes through a lot.

Lustful Man Hugs
Jul 18, 2010



AltaBrown posted:

If memory serves (it's been 13 yrs), I got stonewalled on the second Giacomo fight, and gave up on the game.

So thanks for this LP!

So is that the place where half of the beginners got fully stuck?

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Arzaac posted:

Ah, Lyude's one of my favorite characters in this game, honestly. Though uh...maybe more out of pity than anything else. He's a naive, homeschooled, socially awkward kid who does his best to be a good person and is rewarded with the entire universe making GBS threads on him, literally all of the time. There's a late game dungeon that's 90% characters making GBS threads on Lyude for how weak and pathetic he is. Poor kid goes through a lot.

You know, that's a more accurate description than what I said. I just remember him spending half of his dialogue with that one mopey face portrait.

Arzaac
Jan 2, 2020




He does use that portrait a lot, he generally has a terrible life.

Though his happy portrait is one of my favorites, he just looks high as hell. It's up there with Kalas' "just got spritzed in the face with a water spritzer" portrait.

Artix
Apr 26, 2010

He's finally back,
to kick some tail!
And this time,
he's goin' to jail!


In today's episodes, we're taking our good buddy Lyude, who definitely does not have anything wrong with him, to go cause an international incident or two. What could possibly go wrong?

Part 11: The Shrine of Winds
Part 12: Komo Mai, the City of Flowers

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C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010



Soiled Meat

Woof a doof, that Wind Shrine boss fight had some truly painful RNG. Fortunately it's rare that a boss in this game can truly punish you for being dealt a bad had, probably for this exact reason.

Also I too laughed when I first heard the term "Taintclouds" all those years ago, thanks for the validation Fedule.

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