P05A: New Bodhum in AF003
Before we get to the actual game play there are a few minor issues that we need to cover that are reflected in the guide -- the first is that throughout the game you will have conversations with different characters that include optional answers. The answers or statements that you choose to use with each of these characters can actually influence how the game goes, or result in your receiving rewards every now and then if you make the best (note that I did not say "right") answer. Basically using humor is almost always better than intentionally pissing the characters off... I am just saying. But what you decide to do is entirely up to you -- I am not going to be telling you how to play the game at that level, because this is a role-playing game and you should have the pleasure to play it in the role you adopt.
The second point we need to cover is items -- throughout our game play there will be in each chapter a selection of items that can be acquired. Some of them are Key Items that are really necessary, while others are more optional. Basically the guide is going to cover all of the items that are important but not necessarily all of the items in an area if the getting of the item does not mesh with the unfolding arc of play. That means, for instance, you may end up going to a corner of the game I did not, so you may find some Gil or a potion that I missed. That is fine, and taking those items is a good idea, but you can be reassured that no important items are being missed in this narrative guide.
-- Arrival at the Beach --
You are now introduced to Serah at the beach in New Bodhum. It is AF003 -- which means the third year following the events that ended Final Fantasy XIII -- and you are now taking control of Lightnings little sister, who is having a vision of Lighting's battle in Valhalla though she thinks it is a dream. She is awoken by the meteor strike, and you now begin another brief section of tutorials...
The thing you do is decide on how you want the camera to work -- right now up is up and down is down, left and right are also, you know, left and right... But you can invert the camera control if that is the way you are used to playing games -- go ahead and do that -- if not, say no and leave the camera settings as they are.
The next lesson is the Datalog, which is the encyclopedia for this game, and includes information on key characters, monsters, items, and locations and control/play information. If you are new to the game now is a great time to take a look through the current Datalog entries, and particularly the Primer entries. After you absorb all of that, do the following:
Check your Inventory: If you had a FFXIII save on your hard drive you will notice that you possess an Eternal Crystal -- if not, then not. The Eternal Crystal is a Key Item (more on that later). Under Items you will see that you have Potion X3, and under Weapons, Accessories, and Components, you have nothing. You also have no Gil -- you are broke!
Above you can see your stats for Strength, Magic, and Capacity. That pretty much wraps this part up, so back out of that and look at the Map, then Outfits and finally Settings. If there is anything you want to change in the Settings you can do that now, or not. I did not need to change anything and you probably do not need to either. When you are done back out to the character level of the interface.
Now head outside by examining the door to get the Live Trigger Tutorial -- after you decide what to tell yourself, open the Datalog and read the new section on Live Triggers to gain complete grasp of their function.
Now you learn how to jump over a pair of objects on the floor and head outside where some very strange visions confuse you! This opens another Live Trigger -- clearly Serah is a very confused young lady -- clothes that are not hers, a place she does not recognize, and then she is back in a place that she does recognize and there is a bloody battle underway between the forces of NORA (the resistance) and a variety of monsters!
Just when things look grim Noel finally appears, making a heroic vow and handing Serah the weapon that Lighting gave him for her, asking her the all-important question: can you fight? The answer to that is obviously yes, and a doubles battle now commences in which Noel and Serah face-off against a pair of monsters.
You can use the Auto Attack for this battle if you like -- but doing so will cause it to last longer than it should and likely will not score you a 5-star outcome... But it should score you at least a 3-star rating, and since 3 to 5 stars are considered the good result, a 3-star rating is nothing to sneer at!
You will still pick up some Gil though, and Crystogen Points as well as a Potion or two so that is OK - the higher the star count the more likely it is you will get an extra piece of loot or better loot, I am just saying... But not 5-staring these battles is not that big a deal right now, learning to fight and how battle works is more important, and you can always come back later and replay these chapters for a different or better outcome if you want to. But really the battles with non-boss mobs that you do not 5-star are not really that big a deal.
The Paradigm Shifts Tutorial
-- Paradigm Shifts Tutorial --
The next battle will cover the tutorial for Paradigm Shifts -- following the on-screen prompts which leads you to Staggering an enemy -- and the game will give you two more battle opportunities in order to reinforce these skills as you battle with Noel by your side. After the third battle you should have achieved a Stagger in both.
A brief CS in which NORA heads out to check out the meteor leaves Serah and Noel tending to the wounded -- and Serah finally gets introduced to Noel properly -- revealing the nature of the weapon that he gave her and who it is from. Serah immediately begins to interrogate you about Lightning and Valhalla -- and she tells you about her dream. You agree that checking out the meteorite is a good idea -- but before you do that, why not check out the area around the beach first?
After Serah's CS reviewing the past, you should unlock your first Achievement/Trophy (hereinafter I will just be referring to them as Achievements though you should assume I mean both), "Early Riser" (15 G) for Accepting a new fate in a world where everything has changed.
If you read the Datalog entry on Paradigm Shifts you will learn that the default Paradigm, Double Trouble, has each of your characters focus on their own enemy, while the Paradigm Slash and Burn has then focus upon the same enemy -- which is good for Stagger and Kill approaches. The Paradigm Twin Shields is used to reduce the amount of damage coming in from powerful enemies. Experimenting with the different Paradigms is really REALLY a good idea.
Of the jobs that you have available to you (depending upon the Paradigm you choose of course) you can use:
Commando -- which has augmented attacks dealing extra damage
Ravager -- which has a boost bonus gives to chain attacks
Sentinel -- which gets damage reductions from being attacked
The other jobs that become available later have other strengths -- and weaknesses!
Chained attacks are what increases the Stagger Meter (also sometimes called the Chain Meter) -- the idea being to get the enemy to its Stagger point as fast as you can so you can really damage it.
During battle you can choose to use an item -- like a healing Potion -- instead of initiating your abilities or attack for that stage -- bear this in mind so that if one or both of your team is injured you remember to use a bloody Potion! Potions will only heal a small amount of damage, but they can keep you alive and in action.
-- This and That on the Beach --
Before you head for the meteorite spot why not run around the beach and have a few conversations with the NORA fighters who are still here? You can have mutliple conversations with them, some of which will give you the current report on the situation at the beach... Once you have spoken to the NORA fighters you want to, jump over the barrier at the end of the beach and talk to Noel -- you get an LT opportunity with him in which you can choose what to ask him about with respect to himself of Lightning, after which the dialogue options with him are pretty boring.
About now would be a great time to save your game don't you think? Unlike the previous game which used save points, in this one you can save whenever you like -- and you should do that! In fact you may want to create a series of saves, especially before major events and boss battles, in case you do not like the way things work out and want a do-over.
With that out of the way, head down the beach to trigger the Mog Clock Tutorial.
-- Mog Clock Tutorial --
The tutorial basically shows you the Mog Clock and explains the meaning of the colors -- which we have already covered -- and then presents an enemy for you to battle. What you want to do is engage and attack the enemy quickly in order to get the preemptive strike flag that you get for attacking while the Mog Clock is in the green (Stage 1).
For this battle Slash and Burn Paradigm works really well to Stagger the enemy quickly, after which it should die in the next set of attacks. Noel will want to go up the stairs here, but if you run around the beach towards the tree line you can find another battle or two in which to practice the Mog Clock usage and get some additional preemptive strikes in, and maybe some extra Gil and loot, so why not?
The Mog Clock Tutorial
You can find another battle by the water past the stairs, and then several more random battles that you can get preemptive strikes in with some four-legged cat-like mobs. Doing a few of these is a good idea just to get you used to initiating preemptive strikes and for the Gil and loot you can get, which while the Gil is not going to be huge, should include some potions.
The cat-like creature is called a Gorgonopsid, and if you use the Right Bumper when you initiate the battle you can get its stats screen, which will show you its habitat information, its vulnerabilities (fire is one) and its Stagger rate. You can also see what its common loot drops are!
Remember that a few extra battles now is strategically a good thing for many reasons -- it gets you used to combat, it gets you used to the Mog Clock and gaining preemptive strikes, it earns you money and XP, and it also gains you items like Potions which will be useful to have later. Remember that hitting X will bring up the tasks and map screen, and Y gets you your menu screen, which you can use to check the Status of your characters, which includes the levels that they have reached in their jobs.
For instance after just a few battles when I checked Serah's Status she gained a nice piece of CP for her efforts -- which will come in handy when we an actually spend that CP... In addition to the job levels and CP you can also see the abilities for each job and their corresponding ATB costs. While I may be repeating myself, banking CP and Gil is a very good idea so spending as is practicing combat.
Depending upon how much practice battling you decide to do on the beach here you can easily unlock the Achievements:
Budding Hunter (30 G) Defeated an army's worth of enemies -- which is unlocked for killing 100 enemies.
No Retreat (16 G) Fought a significant number of battles without using "Retry" option -- which is unlocked for completing 50 battles without using retry.
Staggering (15 G) Staggered a significant number of enemies -- which is unlocked for Staggering 50 enemies.