01A: Defiers of Fate - Final Fantasy XIII
First Fight - and Chains
The game opens with a stunning cinematographic treatment that follows the 'Purge' train as it rips along the track inside of a tube of glass-like construct. Seated in rows along the sides of the train car are prisoners - or rather mostly prisoners since you have to be held in place by the electronic restraint in order to be technically a prisoner - so you do not qualify in that respect! The armored guard begins to patrol the car, and you make your move, taking him out and setting off a chain of events that eventually leads to the train being crippled and forced to a stop.
Outside you do battle with a saw-blade equipped behemoth called a Manasvin Warmech - and win - and in the process you learn about the battle system and how it works via a brief tutorial. How cool is that? The whole time-stacking thing will come in handy, but right now you are more interested in making your way off of the train and into the city.
You are Hans - and your companion is Franz - and you are here to pump all the girliemen... Wait... Sorry about that - 90's flashback - just ignore it, it will go away in a moment. Right, you are Lightning, and your companion is Sazh, and you are about to head out into the Hanging Edge to see what there is to see, and maybe dish a little payback to the man! Err... Machine?
As you run along the tracks ahead you will see a spot where there is damage and rubble - and on the immediate left of that spot is a glowing screen for a computer interface - this is a Save Station! The very first thing you should do upon spotting it is run to it and engage it, and save your progress up to this point. Now if the power goes out or you need to quite you are covered!
You may have noticed that in addition to saving, there is also an option to shop! If you select that you get a list of the shops you can access - right now that list has just one entry: Unicorn Mart. If you look on the lower left corner of the screen you will see that you have 200 Gil (Gil is a common monetary unit in the Final Fantasy universe, and is thought to be based upon the Dutch Guilders).
After you enter the shop you can choose to buy or sell - you don't really have anything to sell right now but you can buy some potions if you like as they are only 50 Gil. Why not do that now? If you used your potion in the fight a few minutes ago, having another to replace it would be a good thing.
If you had items to sell to the store, you could convert them to Gil and get them out of your inventory which is something to bear in mind later. Now that you are done here, go ahead and exit out of store and Save Station.
Continuing down the track initiates a pop-up window that explains Enemy Encounters to you - basically it shows you the warning on the map and explains that if you venture too close to the indicated symbol you will end up in a combat encounter with that enemy. You can access that information in your journal at any time by selecting it (Y on the 360) and then clicking the Exploration menu.
There are two enemies indicated on the map - and you should see them ahead of you as well, with the red triangles over their heads. This will not be a tough battle, and you can always use the CP, right? Go ahead and engage them now - or wait for them to notice you and engage you which they will eventually do.
When the battle concludes you will get a Battle Results screen that shows you a variety of information including how well you did (denoted by stars), how long the battle should have taken, how long it actually took, and the initiative bonus (assuming you attacked them and not the other way around there will be one). You also receive your score, and a breakdown of the damage done per second.
Right, so now that we have that covered, hit the action button to see if there was any loot (called Spoils on the game screen). I don't know how you did, but I did not get anything off of the pair. Bummer.
Ahead of you on the left just past where you saw the enemy is a warp portal - but of course you have no idea what it is and neither does Sazh, who actually speculates on what it might be for.
Continue on to the rubble piled ahead and you will spot a small swirling blue circle on the ground - that is a jump-point so just walk into it and you will jump up on the rubble and, eventually, over it where you will encounter another pair of enemy soldiers. Go ahead and kill them now, and then continue on, where you will find a trio ahead.
As you engage the trio you will notice that you have another attack option - a spinning attack - that you can use. Because there are three enemy here you are likely to take some damage - keep an eye on your health bar and use some of the potions that you have (if you bought one from the shop you will have 16 or 17 now depending on if you used one in the first battle).
At this point you have added some intel to your journal - having encountered a PSICOM Enforcer and a PSICOM Warden, which are members of the Shock Troop and Hunter Classes respectively.
Continue to the nect jump-point and over the rubble and you will encounter a floating ball that you can open - a sort of floating supply chest. Grab the potion from that and then run to the end of the track, where you encounter another warp portal with a trooper guarding it. As you watch the trooper summons two war dogs (called Pantheron) from the portal - now you know for sure what those devices do, don't you?
A brief dialogue takes place between you and Sazh - who you are still getting to know - and he is not a wave of sunshine and flowers! You don't listen to his complaining for long before you move in to engage the group - a fight that you should not have too much trouble with. In fact I would be surprised if you needed to use a potion here! Remember that once you exit from combat you automagically heal, so only use a potion if you actually need to to keep from dying, right?
Ahead and on the right is a small set of stairs, and if you go up you will encounter another one of those treasure balls with a few potions in it. Go ahead and do that now, you cannot have too many potions, right? Head back down the stairs and along the tracks for another Save Point on the left - use that now.
Continue along the path for a few more fights in which Sazh starts to contribute more, until you get a brief CS in which you encounter a trooper and dog and declare "Preemptive Strike!"
This fight triggers the tutorial for using potions - and you may as well do this now. After the fight ends an incoming energy weapon destroys a section of the tracks, initiating a short CS in which you start to use one of your special devices to float across and in a panic Sazh grabs you, damaging the device. Wow, what a brave man he turned out to be.
Sazh leads the way, trying to make up for his moment of terror by offering an alternate route, and you do battle with a Warden and a pack of dogs. After the fight he leads you up the steps where there is a jump-point - before you take that though look to the right - there is a Save Point here as well. Go ahead and use that now.
The jump-point leads to a lift you can use to go over to the lower level - so go ahead and engage its controls and then jump off. Ahead is another group of enemy for you to kill including a semi-boss mob. This triggers the Chains Tutorial - yay!
You learn about the chain gauge and how it works, and get an example as you fight to help illustrate the point. All things being equal you should five-star this battle in under a minute, so go have fun with it!
The CS that follows this fight starts to fill you in on the back story but only a little, and Sazh comes to one of those cusp events in every adventure.