I’m not progressing in this as quickly as I would like. Although I feel like I’m generally enjoying the game, I can’t play it for too long before I get tired of it, so I wonder whether I’m actually liking it as much as I think I do.
We’re now in Murania, the country that destroyed Elfaria after Shiral’s coup. Here’s the map of the area courtesy of this nice walkthrough site.
Ell is still trying to draw our party onwards, and she’s now working with Zora as well. She tells him to make sure the hero parties don’t die, but other than that his role in her schemes is unclear. Pyne is also confirmed as Rishia’s son.
|We meet Zora|
This area brings us to the fourth and last party, the wind party of Sheena. Her parents were killed 15 years ago because they helped the heroes, and she refuses to join us unless we can prove that we have the Elfaria King with us, who alone can use the King’s Proof at the Zaza temple. The area also has a strange look to it that has computer-like wall fixtures, although there’s no obvious sci-fi element yet.
|The Water of Ra|
After we reach place 4 on the map, Pyne is able to use the King’s Proof and so Sheena joins us. The main goal in this part is to pass the Boa Gate at place 9, but this involves beating two bosses at different towns. Fortunately helpful scholars give us items we can meld to make it easier. With these items the Younger boss was easy, but the Elder boss still required a lot of defense upgrades to defeat.
|The Elder boss (I think)|
Along the way, we actually meet Shiral at Murania. According to Zora, it seems that he stole the Ra Staff 15 years ago and used the power of the Ra Springs. This has eventually resulted in him losing control over it (Zora is surprised he lasted this long). Zora kills the weakened Shiral, but this doesn’t stop the crisis the world is facing — Shiral’s use of the Ra Springs has caused earthquakes and other problems, and the world itself will soon be destroyed.
Shiral also confirms that we are the same group of heroes that fought him 15 years ago.
|Zora killing Shiral|
Rishia appears at the Boa gate to tell us to go to Elfas Castle and stand in front of the Ra Spring there, where she will lead us on.
Dalkan is happy to see Shiral gone because he now controls the world, but of course we eventually show up to defeat him. As with the previous bosses, as long as you have the right party he’s pretty easy — in this case it’s Sheena’s party that will take care of him. At Elfas we also get to see the original rooms of Pyne’s mother and father, and such.
|The Dalkan boss fight|
After the boss fight, Ell finally tells us what our role is — we have to jump in the Ra Springs to go back 15 years and stop Shiral before he can carry out the ritual that first caused the Ra Power to begin weakening. There’s no time to think about it because the world is literally being destroyed that moment, so we have no choice but to jump in the spring.
I think part of the reason why I find the game hard to play for very long is that there’s a certain repetitiveness in each area. One big problem is the lack of any way to restore MP other than leaving an area. Since you need most or all of your MP to beat the bosses, you basically have to explore around for a few tries, then make a single trip to the boss where you run from every fight. Sometimes you’ll be strong enough, other times you’ll have to grind a bit before beating it. The battle system, while interesting, makes your stats so important that if you go into a battle not strong enough, there’s really nothing you can do in the battle to overcome that. The choice of spells matters a little, but not that much. However, since losing carries basically no penalty, you can try even if you’re not sure about your chances. The only downside is that Chima monsters can come from towns and try to move towards your captured cities to retake them — but if you watch where the Chima are, you can always stop them.