P05B: The Meteor Strike - Final Fantasy XIII-2
After you have practiced the Mog Clock, Preemptive Strikes, and battle to your satisfaction and you are happy with your grasp of Paradigm Shifting, it is time to head to the wooden walkway ramp and up to the jump point, on our way to the Meteor Strike.
At the top of the ramp when you jump up to the next level immediately to your right is a Treasure Sphere with three Potions in it, so be sure to grab those because you can never have enough Potions! Ahead you have a Chat opportunity with Noel -- if you ask what he means by the "Legend" that will get Serah wondering how it is that he considers something that happened three years ago to be a legend...
The path ahead splits with the path towards the site to the right and, to the left a shallow area with a wrecked piece of equipment and some NORA soldiers -- this is an area that spawns a lot of smaller multi-opponent battles, and depending on how much practice you put in before could easily result in your unlocking the Achievement "Quick Draw" (15 G) Performed a significant number of preemptive strikes -- which is awarded for performing 50 of them.
Opening your first Treasure Sphere nmjk
As you head down the ramp you may encounter a Pulsework Soldier who, while not really all that strong from a defensive point of view can actually dish out considerable damage, which should make you glad you obtained the extra Potions as loot!
You may have acquired some items that can be equipped by this point -- to use them open the character menu and select Equipment, and then the character you want to equip an item on -- Noel or Serah -- and then Equip followed by moving the cursor down to the first Accessories slot and hitting the action button. You very likely have an Iron Bangle or two, and a Power Wristband or two -- each of your characters can equip one item of that type (bracelet) in a slot -- so go ahead and do that!
In the lagoon to the right is a Treasure Sphere you cannot get to for now, so ignore that and then move ahead on the path past the structure to another Treasure Sphere with the Key Item Map of Bodhum in it. Take that now of course, as maps are useful things indeed!
Taking the map will open the Primer Window on Maps, and explain to you the function, along with the different icons, and tell you how to open the map window when you want it. When you open the map window you will notice that there is a new stat on the bottom left of the screen, Explored, followed by a percentage -- that is how much of the current map you have explored. You can now see where you are, where the impact site is, and the likely path you will need to travel to reach it. You can also see the other areas on the map that you can -- and should -- explore!
When you move forward from here Gadot will jump down and you have a chat with him in which you introduce him to Noel -- you get a chat prompt and hey, remember that flattery will get you places, I am just saying...
Head up the path to the left beyond Gadot to clear that, as it contains a Treasure Sphere with a Librascope and also leads to the path we need to take anyway -- you will get a few battles in as you progress along it, after you jump on the logs you get an odd effect that Noel sees as well that is similar to what happened when you first entered the beach.
-- Meeting Yuj --
Continue along the path and a double jump to meet Yuj -- who comments on Serahs new clothes -- giving you another opportunity for a funny reply -- remember using humor almost always obtains better results than sarcasm...
Ahead on the path is a Treasure Sphere with Pheonix Down in it -- after you grab that if you check the map you will see that ahead and to the right is an area that is not on the way to the Strike location -- may as well check that out now -- which triggers a CS in which Cacoon disappears and you are presented with your first boss battle with an intimidating mob called Gogmagog.
The first battle with Gogmagog
The game will open the Paradigm window to tell you about using Sentinel to reduce the impact of his attacks - and shifting to Double Shield is a good idea, but you will be shifting out to more offensive Paradigms to actually hurt this guy, and likley using some Potions as well to heal up. After the battle you receive your first (of 160) Key Items called Fragments -- in this case Gogmagog Fragment Alpha -- and a reward of 500 CP, so good on ya! You will be collecting Fragments through battle, buying, and other methods and there is an Achievement associated with collecting them all.
After the battle is completed the Primer will open on the Fragments Page -- reading that will teach you that these fragments are created when you resolve anomalies in the timeline -- and are basically memories of time that have solidified into shards.
Considering how low-level your characters are and the limited abilities that they have for their jobs, you should not be overly concerned about the poor showing in stars in the battle resolution screen -- in fact you should not worry about it at all, since (A) you can come back later to 5-Star this battle, and (B) when you do it will be after you have better developed your characters, making gaining that 5-Star rating a bit more easy. Remember, right now you are operating with severe limitations on your abilities.
Jump across the gap ahead and take the 300 Gil from the Treasure Sphere here, then jump down ONE jump and STOP. Concealed here is another Treasure Sphere with two Gysahl Green in it -- so be sure to take those now, and then head down to join your mates and examine the Meteor.
A CS now begins in which more of Noel's backstory plays out, and you learn that in his world Cacoon never filled the sky. You learn that for Noel 700 years have passed for the three years that have passed in your world. Gadot goes all macho for a bit and then Noel shows Serah the truth, revealing that the meteor is a Time Gate -- and then Serah goes into reminiscence mode -- and you are back at the beach in Serah's house, where Noel briefs Serah and NORA about the artifacts, and what is needed to use the gate.
-- The Following Day --
Some of the NORA folks believe, and some do not, but as it is late they all believe it is time to go to bed, and we take up with Serah again in the morning, when we are presented with the Primer for Preparing for Adventure -- reading that will tell you that you now have access to the Party Paradigms, as well as the Crystarium -- which is a really good thing, believe me!
You access these two new features by hitting the character menu -- Y for the Xbox -- and then selecting them from the menu. After you close the Primer window a Treasure Box will materialize in the room -- basically this is the reward you get for the LT choices that you made, and will either be Lebreau's Olive Tattoo or a Golden Flower -- both of which are adornments. If you do not like the one you got you can always come back later and replay the chapter to get the other, so do not worry about that for the time being, right?
-- The Crystarium --
Now that you have collected your reward, open the character menu and select the Crystarium, which is where you do your character job and skill development at. We need to cover this in some detail so grab your beverage or libation of choice and relax for a moment, right?
If you played the previous game you already know what the Crystarium is, and what it does -- but if not, then you need to quickly get up to speed with this because it is important. Basically the Crystarium is where you spend the CP you have acquired and where you level jobs/skills and obtain new abilities and spells in the process. This is way more important than it sounds -- because it is how you shape your characters and how you give them the ability that they need to progress either easy -- or hard. Easy if you make the right choices, hard if you do not.
Improving your Characters in the Crystarium
The first question you have to ask yourself as you approach spending what amounts to hard-won CP is what direction do these characters need to go in? What are their core skills and abilities? What jobs have they been filling?
For Serah that has largely been Ravager, and for Noel it has been Commando -- so sticking with those as their strengths is a very sound strategy, but it is not the only focus you should be considering... When you open the Crystarium you will notice that there are large and small nodes in it -- the large nodes take more CP to fill, and apply bonuses that are not easily apparent unless you know it is what they do -- while the small nodes generally apply skills and stats consistently.
A sound approach is to use the large nodes -- and their bonuses -- for each characters primary job (Rav for Serah, Com for Noel) while using the small nodes for their secondary jobs (Com for Serah, Sentinel for Noel). Doing it this way is a more balanced approach to advancement, and will offer a more well-rounded set of abilities. Alternatively you can focus on their main jobs exclusively, which will make them very effective in battle but not so versatile. It is your call, but I chose to take the balanced approach and this guide reflects that.
If you watch the video above you will notice that I made specific efforts to level each of the two complimentary jobs as evenly as possible, while applying the large nodes to the main job for each character. Because I did a little extra battle for practice, I had more than enough CP to completely fill the first Level of the Crystarium, and when I did so I was prompted to select the bonus for each character for doing that -- and you will note that I chose to increase each of their ATB Gauges rather than one of the other good choices -- as it adds a segment to the gauge and that makes Serah and Noel stronger as they are able to execute more attacks per turn in ATB!